The Haze | Session 6
Session was played on 15 September 2023.
Last session we had was in April, so it's been quite awhile, but we're finally back! This time with lots of new faces too.
Where we last left off, the group had just encountered a crowd of Bluelanders surrounding and shouting obscenities at a rather stylish-looking stagecoach.
|Tried to pass as a Porcelain Prince; it did not go well. Despite being outcast as a fraud, they still continue on acting as if they are a Prince, clearly not having learnt their lesson. Can also be rather arrogant.
|A blue-bearded dwarf that sold out his union for a grudge.
|Plays a guitar which somehow is always horribly out-of-tune.
|Academic that complains about having his stipend cut off. Has a bowl-cut unironically.
And of course we cannot forget our lovely referee NonDairyGiant.
Playing Both Sides
After a long journey, the party was just a day out from the Violet City. On the road up ahead their path was blocked by a medium-sized, rather elegantly designed stagecoach pulled up front by two, meticulously groomed Clydesdale horses. Moreso than the carriage itself though, what stood out most was the large crowd which had amassed itself around. There seemed to be about thirty Bluelanders all shouting various obscenities at the carriage, ranging from, “Thief!”, “Criminal!”, “Extortionist!”, to simply saying “You suck!”
As the group got closer, a few of them started to get closer to the mob to investigate what this was about. Those in the mob seemed more interested in shouting rather than talking, that is save for a rather unenthusiastic looking man. He would barely jeer, shouting the occasional “Yeah you tell 'em!”, but seemed to view this more as a social event than anything. At being prompted, he happily started to share what their issues were.
“Man, this is bullshit. These cat lords are jacking up the prices, they are monopolising the supply, and it's just not right. We're honest people, but this is just getting ridiculous. If they don't at least say something, this could get ugly”
A disgruntled Bluelander.
Electrochromia, the front of their body a charred, sickly mess from radiation exposure, asks if one of the cat lords is in the wagon. “Oh yeah, I think one of the big ones is in there,” the man replied, going on and on about the various things the cat lord did to deserve their ire.
As Electrochromia probed for more information, a tall, somewhat academic-looking fellow with a bowl cut approached. He had been standing on the sidelines the whole time taking notes, but just now had walked toward the party.
“Excuse me, my name is Severus Killdeere. If I might ask, what are your intentions here?” Through conversation, it seemed Severus had also been wronged by this cat lord. Apparently this specific cat had headed up an economic body that provided research grants and stipends. Severus, as a recipient of the prestigious Piscine Fellowship (sponsored by this cat lord), was conducting research downriver from the main lake, working on his research project, creatively titled “Fish and Fishing Culture Among Native Grasslanders”. Once he had arrived though, his stipend was abruptly reneged upon with no forewarning.
“My stipend was a poultry sum compared to which these Bluelanders have been denied,” Severus continued, “But it nevertheless reveals this cat lord to be a great purveyor of injustice.”
“Mmmm, an academic it seems,” Electrochromia observed, unable to hide the disdain in their voice, “Always talk talk talk, yet no action.”
As Electrochromia went on, Severus took vociferous notes, jotting down things such as “Judgemental. Arrogant. Porcelain Prince. Sick?” The back-and-forth between the two went on for some time, with Electrochromia being quite dismissive and judgemental while Severus continued to take notes.
Eventually their attention turned to a handsome, young, muscular guy with a loud voice, passionately shouting atop an overturned wooden box. He seemed to be dressed a bit nicer than the rest of the crowd, but still quite simple compared to the extravagance of the carriage. He shouted loudly, his voice carrying over the crowrd, decrying the depravity of the cat lords.
“These felines sit in their palaces and villas, hard work totally unknown to them, and yet decide to raise the price of cat coffee! Why you may ask? Because they felt like it. There has been NO increase in cost, and NO supply costs to justify the price increase. WE are the ones who work day and night tirelessly, yet the cat lords are not satisfied with what they have. They want MORE, jacking up the prices of one of the few luxuries we have.”
He goes on and on listing how the cat lords have conspired to oppress them and how they now gather to demand the cat come out and face the people.
Asking around, the party was able to learn that the cat lord in the carriage, cat lord Zarca, is one of the senior members of “Federation of Violetland Coffee Producers”, which is commonly regarded as a cartel . The federation is officially run by Rainbowlanders, but everyone knows that the ones really behind the scenes are the cat lords.
Seeing the opportunity, Electrochromia walked up to the Bluelander on the wooden box to see if they could come to an agreement. Together they agreed on the following plan: Electrochromia will request an official audience with the cat lord, meanwhile the mob continues to jostle and heckle the carriage; then, once done, the group will disperse, Electrochromia sharing any valuable intel they were able to acquire in exchange for lodging in Violet City.
Going back to the group, the idea is pitched. Severus is instantly skeptical, saying, “Does Electrochromia speak for the rest of you in this decision? I know he is a polybody, but his one mouth is already enough”
Oozlon Pink, with his out-of-tune guitar on his back, shrugs, saying, “Well, I'm not really the best with people anyway, so I'd probably mess it up if I went.”
Electrochromia smiles mockingly at Severus as if to say, “I told you.” Severus then tries to advocate for himself joining in on the delegation, to which Electrochromia responds, “Well, to be honest, I'm not quite sure if I like you yet. I've met a few academics before and none of them knew how to keep their mouth shut. How about you just stay here and I'll think about it for later, hmmm?”
It wasn't mentioned, but the reason for Electrochromia's insistence on going in alone was because they figured that a deal might be made to screw over the Bluelanders, and seeing as Severus had so quickly come to the Bluelander's defense earlier, Electrochromia didn't want to take any risks in messing up a potential deal.
A Meeting with a Cat
Upon reaching the side door of the carriage, Electrochromia steped up the metal steps leading to the door. Just as they were about to knock, the driver shouted back “keep your hands to your self, peasant!”. Electrochromia quickly retorted that they are in fact a Porcelain Prince on official business to meet with the cat lord, and that he should watch his tongue.
At that, after waiting for about a minute, the door unlocked. Inside the carriage is not what one might expect. Rather than the two benches of a standard stagecoach, there instead was a singular singular bench along the long wall directly facing the door. The bench is of a heavy hardwood with a guided platform in its centre, on which sits an all-white cat with its front paws tucked under its body and little horns barely noticeable. To the right quietly sat an average-looking Rainbowlander almost lifeless, their eyes open and staring blankly forward.
A soft, but almost melodious voice purred in Electrochromia's head, “A prince this far East, eh? So, what have you come here for? To rescue me away and charge some exorbitant rate?”
“No no no, you misunderstand my Lord Zarca,” Electrochromia said in response, feigning insult, “I come here merely to offer you... a proposition. I see your cart here has been surrounded by an uncivilised mob, so I come to make a suggestion. Me and my party will disperse the mob, letting you get to wherever you need to go, while in return, we might have some fruitful business in the future. I am a well-connected Prince and you a powerful Cat Lord. Imagine how profitable it might be to coordinate to our mutual betterment.”
The details are discussed for some time, with the cat lord initially skeptical, but eventually they are able to come to a mutual understanding.
Just as they were about to leave, the cat lord said to the seemingly lifeless man in the corner, “Edgar, give this man a card.”
The Rainbowlander handed Electrochromia a card with a blank look in his eyes, before settling back into his corner. The card was printed on a radiant pink paper with gold-foil lettering featuring an address.
“I'm quite busy these next few days,” Zarca purred, “but feel free to make an appointment and we can meet later to discuss business.”
Upon leaving the carriage, Electrochromia motioned for Giorgus, the rabble-rouser atop the wooden box, to disperse the crowd. They briefly talked to discuss the details, planning to meet the next day at noon. The man then turns to the crowd, announcing, “This melty-face guy got us a deal. We will meet to discuss the details tomorrow, but for now we will let this cat piece of shit go back to the toilet or wherever they hell they are going. Whatever happens though, we will never stop fighting.”
With that last sentence, the man raised a fist in defiance, and then started to head back to the city, the rest of the mob gradually following suit. As soon as the crowd dispersed, the carriage jolted down the road at full speed, seemingly not wanting to wait to see if the crowd changed their mind.
Now having gotten themselves an in with two competing interests—the Bluelanders and the cat lords respectively—the party continued on to the Violet City.
Entering the City
Severus, having decided to join the group, at least for the time being, is given a dozen or so papers to sign to formalise his entry. Each new member of the party has to sign a variety of legal documents which have been drafted up by Electrochromia. They are relatively straightforward, establishing the sharing of all belonging and working for the common good of the group, but the last of the papers stood out as it specified that, in event of death, all rights to the carcass are ceded to Electrochromia to do with as they please.
On the way to the city, they stopped briefly at the Last Chair Saloon to finally, finally pay off their debt. They had initially loaned $800 for a trade run, but at 20% interest weekly, their debt had ballooned to a total of $1920 ($800 principle plus $1120 for 7 weeks of accumulated interest). Now it was finally paid off.
Having secured a place to stay through their agreement with Giorgus, the group made their way directly to the Exile Camp, which was situated outside the city walls. The buildings were mostly low, flat stone structures with the occasional animal pen abutting to it. The camp felt in some ways akin to an open-air bazaar, admixed with the strong stench of animals and of cat coffee.
Getting into town, they recognised people from the mob earlier in the day. It seemed that they were expected, but not exactly welcome. Everyone was giving them dirty looks and acted as if their presence was an incredible inconvenience. Eventually they were able to find someone that led them to an empty shack to stay in. He said quite simply “lock up anything you don't want stolen,” despite the fact that the door had no locks.
Over the next week, the party regrouped, each doing a particular task. Severus started on some market research along the route between the Steppe of the Lime Nomads, Porcelain Citadel, and The Last Serai, looking specifically into the joy worm trade (joy worms are symbiotic worm-like creatures that release endorphins into its host; traditionally implanted into labourers to increase passivity and make unruly workers more docile). There was normal demand for joy worms in the lime nomad steppe, and high demand in both the Porcelain Citadel and The Last Serai.
Garth headed to the market and bought himself a bow.
The rest of the group, still undecided on how to best spend their time, decided to take the night off, to decide what to do the following morning (i.e. next session).
Our travels for the session.
While much has transpired over the past 7 weeks, it was almost as if they were back in the same position as when they started. They were still $10,000 in dept to the cat cafe and only had radiation poisoning, and a broken motorcycle to show for it.
Caravan Inventory Tracking
Items which are large enough to be tallied on the caravan sheet are counted in number of sacks. Each member of the caravan must consume one sack of supply per session.
Given that the inventory can vary throughout the course of play, note that anything marked with a '+' is something gained this session, while anything marked with a '–' is something lost this session.
3 Ramshackle Cart
4 Party (1 slot per person)
0 Broken motorcycle (pulled like trailer)
6 supply, basic
1 fancy projector cube
Cash and Debt
-$1920 (paying off debt to Last Chair Saloon)
-$20 (bow for Garth)
-$1920 (paying off debt to Last Chair Saloon)