Federation-Apocalypse Session 188b – The Negatives of Power Leveling

A poster with twelve species of flowers or clu...

Not in MY flowerbed you don't!

Level minus two was a lot like level minus three, but there were more guards, flowers, and roots.

They went about it in much the same way too – although Marty focused on the roots since they didn’t explode on dying while Raphael built a balcony for hise extra-dimensional space from raw magic and the corpses of the enemies, so that he could remain above it all and still fight!

Well, at least still conjure more robots. He wouldn’t be able to close the door, but a levitating wooden fortress might come in handy!

Kevin continued to summon bugs and coach his aides. Thanks to multi-tracking, it was easy enough to do both at once.

There were some protests about “dragging children into battle” from the guards and bystanders too – as well as a few nasty remarks about slavery and a few VERY sharp protests about the apparent treatment of the pets – but it tended to die down fast what with the distractions, the exigencies of battle, and the fact that the “kids” seemed to have an endless reserve of regeneration, defenses, and destructive magic to call upon.

They had most of the level cleared out – oh dear, this WAS a universe that had originally been based on an adventure game and evidently it was carrying over – when the floor started shaking in time to footfalls.

Moments later, large dents began appearing in the next blast door – accompanied by the sounds of massive hammering…

(Kevin) “A BIG flower!”

Raphael was still summoning “robots” – but they probably wouldn’t be big enough to match whatever abomination of horticulture was coming through.

After a few moments, a pair of blossom “hands” ripped a hole in the blast door and tore it open, revealing a massive purple flower that had to weight more than a thousand pounds – with huge arms and tiny little legs. The flower petals on top were pulled back into an odd sort of pony tail.

(Marty) “Hi!”

The thing came towards Marty… STOMP STOMP STOMP STOMP.

Raphael took a momentary break from summoning to divine what this one would do if killed…

The yellow ones made large lightning bolts, red ones created fireballs, blue ones exploded into slime, and white ones released a particularly potent stench that made almost everyone wretch and could kill very weak things. Purple ones… would apparently detonate in a hail of vegetative shrapnel – some of it mildly toxic, some of it more seeds.

(Raphael) “Icy Robotic Minions Attack!”

(Kevin) “Now remember Feanor! Force barriers can be virtually impenetrable as far as physical force goes but – at that power level – work both ways! The rest of you will have to go to indirect effects! (to his usual aides) Excellent Job! (to the pets) Good puppies!.”

That got him the usual “Thank you sir!’s” from his aides and some happy, eagerly, tail-wagging, “Thank you master!’s” from the pets.

(Raphael) “This one will explode when it dies, so watch out!”

He’d been kind of worried that it might have been napalm for blue plus red.

(Marty) “Thanks for the warning!”

Marty stood his ground – within the force-barrier that Feanor was throwing around the thing. There was no reason for anyone else to suffer just because he was being reckless!

The purple flower loomed over Marty menacingly – and then begins to flex and pose in a rather comical and yet intimidating way.

Marty actually felt quite intimidated!

(Marty) “Oh no! NOT THE PETALS!”

That was a silly power!

Meanwhile, more guards from below, now out of opponents, were filtering upwards – and watching a teenage wolf-mage endlessly summon forth swarms of doom while he directed a quintet of even younger children including two as they methodically blasted their way through a small horde of opponents, countering, shrugging off, or healing up their attacks.

And two of them were obviously slaves? The locals all had magic – but that was rather a LOT of power! How in the world did they prevent revolts?

And a few of them know that Angkor had been… casually handing out small powers to THEIR children – apparently on an indulgent whim. Rather more had heard the rumors about that trio of slave-children had done out in the marshes – at least according to the rest of the caravan that they’d come in with.

The other two… Martin the Macaw seemed to be a specialist in destruction, blowing things up endlessly just by waving knife at them. Raphael the Fox… seemed to command an endless supply of high-powered constructs.

Just what was loose in their city?

Kevin found the guards mildly distracting; since they could really die, they needed protecting – and had some of the Thralls switch to shielding them. The others – now that they had semi-formal battle lines – switched to area effects.

Marty gritted his teeth! Two could play at this game!

He intimidatingly posed back!

(Kevin, to the kids) “Now, remember to save limited-use powers for good opportunities! Your simple magical attacks are your basic standby in universes where they work! If you’re in a pretty much non-magical universe, use plasma pistols and force blades, and – if you must – witchcraft.”

The flower apparently couldn’t be intimidated – but it also apparently saw no difference between a battle of intimidation and actual fighting, which left Marty and the Flower flexing at each other…

Marty found that amusing enough to continue for some time – which meant that everybody got to watch a purple flower and a military macaw strike bodybuilder poses for awhile.

Was he waiting until it was surrounded by flower-allies to blow it up?

Kevin was still busy with bugs and directions, since a flood of small flowers had arrived with the big one – but he stayed posed to toss a major destruction-spell at the flower. If it started to blow up he might be able to disintegrate it before it could get very far.

But Raphael enhanced Marty’s ability to be intimidating while Marty tried to use the intimidating flexing to cover setting up for a low blow…

He was having his icy minions aim for the roots first though; the big flower was both impressive and amusing at the same time, but it really didn’t seem to be that big a menace.

The purple flower, clearly impressed, began to rub it’s chin thoughtfully as it considered Marty – leaving itself open to attack.

Marty stabbed the thing right in the pistil, or whatever that flower part was, inflicting enough damage to destroy a tank as usual!

An outpouring of sap sprang from the wound, infuriating the purple flower as it reared up in retaliation.

Kevin threw in his disintegrating blast – and the pesky thing resisted (well, everyone knew that dread dark lords were weak against flower power). It was gravely wounded – but not yet out of the fight!

Raphael was considering how difficult it would be to enhance everyone on one side – but it was likely to be rather hard… What, were those two still fooling around with the big flower? He sighed as he watched it batter Marty again (and Marty reflexively heal most of the injuries). Oh well… He summoned a bunch of shield-bots, to interpose themselves protectively around Marty and some of the nearer guards to absorb the blast.

Kevin left off summoning insects and hit it with another massive blast of destruction! This time it blew a massive hole in the things center – but still didn’t take it out!

Drat it! He was being upstaged by a flower! With his luck, the upper level would be being attacked by Biolanthe!

Marty cheerily sheared it’s head off while the rest of them contained the exploding mass of sappy, sticky, vegetation.

Naturally enough, with the end of the “Boss Battle”, what little was left of the enemy forces went into full retreat – clearing out another level.

Kevin complimented his aides and patted the pets!

Marty made a note to get Raphael out drinking when all this was over!

Raphael made a note to avoid partying with Marty at ALL COSTS!

On to Level Minus One!

Level one was disappointing… There were too many other players on it already! By this time the yellow and white flowers were almost exterminated, although there was a fair supply of red and blue ones still running around. They could see through the holes in the roof that a number of giant flowering plants – that hadn’t been there earlier – were now burning.

Still, the fact that the city guards had now accepted that funneling the enemy towards the group – even if most of them DID look like kids – was a fast way to dispose of them.

Raphael let a Thrall steer his warp while he summoned, Kevin summoned bugs and did more employee training, and Marty massacred larger opponents…

After a few minutes, it was time to go up the hole.

Raphael switched out his construct-armor for a lighter, winged, and far more mobile variant (with gears, and wings of ice, and hydraulics) – and ascended to take out whatever was making the most trouble for the defenders.

(Kevin) “All right! Who can do a levitation? Limey, why aren’t you with Marty? You wanted to fight with the rest of the pack this time and it was only flowers? Oh fine, you handle the levitation up…”

Marty decided to use his own mystical oratory to boost the kids a bit (Harmonize to activate Amplify (giving every ally within 30′ a +2 to their effective caster level) and Emotion (giving his allies +5 against mind-affecting powers and +5 to attacks and damage)).

It would only be a short-term boost, but they should have fun with it while it lasted!

(Marty) “Don’t let these stinking flowers take over! Let’s make some salad!”

That helped get the defenders rallying as magical support arrived… With the yellow and white flowers exterminated, and the big flowers that had been generating flower reinforcements dying, things ran down fairly quickly into a slow mop up operation as the last of the little flowers were hunted down and exterminated.

(Kevin) “Now, you’re NOT powerful enough for solo operations if you can avoid it! Being sent back to Kadia is usually a waste of time unless your sacrifice allows the mission to be completed! So stick together until you’re SURE that all the major opposition has been taken out! Once it has been, those without healing powers should stay on guard while the healers spread out to help with casualties, worst cases first!”

Raphael made some mop-up robots and sent them out. He might inadvertently kill everything in a fair radius that resembled a flower, but it was worth the risk!

Marty sighed and went along. Without supervision you never knew what constructs would take it into their heads to target!

(Kevin) “Right then! This has been a good exercise! Everybody got some of the tactical basics down now?”

There were various “Yes Sir!” and “Yes Master!” responses – along with a little over-excited -bouncing-and-barking from the pets (who were quite sure master would find it cute!).

(Kevin). “Excellent! Well done and (to the pets) Good puppies!”

The guards asked if any of them were hurt – and if there were any casualties or damage below.

(Kevin) “Oh, we’re fine! The kids will be healing any injuries your forces have taken – and the situation down below is mostly fair” (He provided some damage summaries and showed some quick illusion-illustrations).

(Guard Captain) “Well, repairs are going to take a while. We’re also going to have to look into upgrading the defenses again. Maybe that batch of mages the leaders brought in might be able to come up with something to help.”

(Kevin, cheerily) “Oh well! I’ll patch a few things as long as I’m up!”

He did some battlefield-scale repair spells – but avoided drawing on the darkness for truly massive effects since it supposedly “upset the balance”. He could pretty well blanket the city that way anyway!

Raphael did some battlefield-scale Unseen Servant spells to help clean up – which got things straightened out in short order.

That got quite a few cheers from the crowd as they watched.

(Kevin) “Back to bed!”

Raphael fell in with the showmanship. It was indeed time to yawn and go back to bed like that was nothing at all…

Marty agreed too! A rare moment of complete unanimity!

Of course, the people at the Inn then wanted to chew them out for taking kids to a fight. The city guard might have done that too – but they’d seen the “kids” in action…

(Kevin) “What’s the problem? They can take care of themselves!”

(Innkeeper) “Children are supposed to be protected and sheltered, especially during times of crisis! Not thrown into battle as disposable fodder for the protection of adults!”

(Kevin) “My my… You do realize that they’re not at all disposable, and have enough magical power to destroy opponents by the hundreds?”

(Innkeeper) “If children routinely had that level of power here, there wouldn’t be anyplace left habitable. Everytime you’d turn around there would be another one blowing up a portion of the landscape by accident. The fact that there is still a world here to live in suggests that such things are impossible or rare. Claiming that all of the children in your retinue are that exceptional seems difficult to believe.”

(Marty) “Yeah, but it’s true!”

(Kevin) “Oh that part’s easy! They start as fairly normal children; I make sure that they have the power!”

(Innkeeper) “Huh? How can you possibly do that? I thought magic around here was some sort of personal development.”

(Kevin) “It is for most! But there are ways around it…”

Sadly, the innkeeper did not have any kids of her own around. Might that explain a bit of the over-protectiveness? Oh well!

(Kevin) “Would you like a little? It’s a lot harder with adults, but a bit of magic is easy enough to bestow!”

(Innkeeper) “You can do that?!?!”

(Kevin) “Why would I bother to lie about something that can be checked in thirty seconds?”

(Innkeeper) “Alright, show me.”

Kevin cheerfully granted her the same basic witchcraft package he’d been handing out to the local kids…

(Kevin) “Now that isn’t very much magic! You’re too old to really do much for, and you don’t really want to make the commitment to it! But it should be handy for you…”