The Imperial Job
|"You know this was never about the gold."
"Whatever helps you sleep at night, sweetheart."
| The run takes place on Midsummer, the Day of the Phoenix in the month of the Phoenix, in the thirteenth Year of the Magpie since the Regency Council was formed.|
The run takes place in the Hidden City, now known as the Dragon's Throne.
After two final contests arranged by Cai Wen, the bribery mechanic in the Hidden City is broken! Reverberations flow through a number of mechanics throughout the city, including changing the packet of 41 successes of forged bureaucracy passes provided by Ford into 41 successes that can be thrown into anything. Takanata and Lijuan both draw some art, but it is not necessarily of any use, due to the scry-guarding protection from Horse which has been arranged.
River Ford arrives to let everyone know what the plan is. His guys will have their own tasks, but if things get bad, shout and they can jump in and help. Is everyone here who is coming? Cai Wen, Takanata, Shen-Ji, Kasumi, Lijuan, and Xiao Fa are here, and everyone but Xiao Fa says yes. Xiao Fa, unexpectedly, says no. Well, Ford can work with that, but the late guy won't be in the communication loop, so Xiao Fa will have to tell him what's going on. Ford has everyone put their hand on an orb, and until the end of the run, everyone can hear each other talking.
Shen-Ji is just starting to remind everyone to not leave any witnesses alive, when Ford warns everyone - don't kill anyone during the job, because then in the World After, their name will be "Random Bank Guard, Murdered By Yang Shen-Ji" or whoever. That's the thing that he thinks is the biggest hole in their security and the hardest thing to patch. Now, investigating in the World After isn't the sort of thing that happens a lot, because it's hard, but it seems like someone might be willing to go to extra lengths to investigate the Imperial Job.
Anyway - stick to the timetable, and make sure to do all your assigned tasks. If folks do better than what Ford expects, then there will be some extra time left for additional looting, but most important is getting everything done.
- "So... here's what you do. Wait until exactly 60 minutes before the parade..." -Ford
And then, everyone comes to their senses in the tea tent at the circus, in the northern Arcade. One of the circus hands asks in concern if they need anything else. Oh, and Xiao Fa's friend said that they would undoubtedly meet again, before he left. Er... what did Xiao Fa's friend look like? The circus hand describes a tall guy in blue armor and a blue dragon mask.
Takanata checks his secret pocket, and finds some scraps of paper with notes, and some ashes. He starts piecing together the notes...
Both of them are ridiculously stealthy; Kasumi grabs the guards' noses, while Sipensai finishes knocking them out after that. The pair grabs the uniforms, and beats a hasty retreat.
Two bonus points
There are four boilers - under each of them is a drain. Shen-Ji wonders if there is anything he should know about the chi of the room before he begins spellcasting. Xiao Fa looks around at the chi, and notes that there are chi lines running the length of the room, quivering with anticipation. When he crosses a line, a little chi-horse hops him over the chi line, leaving it undisturbed. Xiao Fa boggles at this for a moment, until he realizes that it's Horse's scry-guarding protection keeping the alarm from going off. Xiao Fa and Blue Dragon start doing chi-kata to push the alarm lines away from the drains.
Shen-Ji ponders how to block the drains with walls of iron. He could put a big wall around each drain, but that's not so invisible. The shtick doesn't make floors of iron without some tweaking. For the first drain, he puts a wall above it, and then melts the metal of the wall to flow into the drain. For the second drain, he puts another wall up, and Pao melts the metal, while Shen-Ji uses Move Metal to move a blob to the third drain. Then with a karma to refresh his shtick, he repeats it again for the fourth drain.
Two bonus points
The pair is standing outside a door labeled "Treasury Administrator". Blue Dragon takes the letter and Xiao Fa takes the statue. Xiao Fa contemplates cleansing himself of the Persuasion Curse, but then decides that he should honorably atone first. Surprisingly, the administrator is wearing an ornate yellow mask.
- "I have your statue, Mistress. I'm sorry I didn't bring it earlier. From the Lord Archivist, for the beautification project. " -Xiao Fa
Xiao Fa finally convinces her to take the statue, while Blue Dragon slips the letter into her Priority Drawer.
Two bonus points
Shen-ji summons his flying carpet, and spends a karma to make it better able to carry a heavy load. After they carry the sandbags to the end of the hallway, they pile them against the door, making a cursory Architecture roll to try to make the pile structural, but with not enough successes.
One bonus point
Cai Wen and Lijuan are both stealthy and observant, and spot the largest fireworks. Lijuan brings the fireworks down in a steady succession of arrow shots.
One bonus point
There are six guys wearing masks, and carrying several flags. Lijuan goes into high-pester mode, demanding to know where the masks came from and if someone can buy her one, and Takanata gathers the clouds of his enormous status to get the group of inspectors to pay attention to him rather than what they should be doing. He splits off two of them to take Lijuan outside to buy her a pink dragon mask, and manages to get several of the others to take him to the Treasury Administrator's office.
Two bonus points
Takanata and Cai Wen start outside the office, where there's another guard. Cai Wen guesses that keeping him from leaving is a bonus point, so he stays to talk to the guard, while Takanata heads inside to be an Obstreperous Taxpayer. There are two guards inside the office, as well as four desk workers and another taxpayer. Takanata throws a fuss - with the new changes in bribery, their taxes aren't taking into account their decreased income. He's persuasive enough that the desk worker concedes he has a point, and offers to pull Takanata's file.
Then, there's a dull thump several hallways over. Everyone inside the office pauses, and the guard outside looks concerned. Cai Wen explains that it's undoubtedly fireworks, from the celebration outside, and waxes rhapsodic about fireworks. Inside, one of the clerks suggests that one of the guards go check it out, but Takanata intercepts him to get the guard to draw him a map to the records hall.
There are two more dull thumps. The guard detained by Takanata suggests that the other guard go to check things out, but Takanata chi-trips the second guard. Then, there's a ka-thoom. Cai Wen persuades the outside guard to go in and keep everyone in the taxpayer's office safe, which mostly puts an end to anyone going anywhere.
Two bonus points
Now that some bombs? have gone off and things are happening faster, the party switches from the green scenes to the yellow scenes.
Cai Wen goes into overdrive of persuasion - it doesn't matter that they don't have the day off for the celebration, they certainly don't want to be caught without masks when the inspection team comes by! Blue Dragon, who is passing out masks, notes that Box Two is one mask short. Cai Wen helps adjust masks and makes them harder to remove, while Xiao Fa tag-teams in with persuasion.
- "Offices which are not showing the correct civic fervor will be defunded."
The guy who doesn't have a mask is sent out to get tea, and Blue Dragon switches the triple-stamped forms for double-stamped forms on his way through the office.
One bonus point; no awryage
Lijuan and Cai Wen find themselves in a pantry, with a lot of containers of flour. Squeaky indicates one of the flour canisters, so Cai Wen grabs that one, but he doesn't dare open it. Hmm. Could Squeaky be wrong? Cai Wen checks the scoreboard.
|horse horse||horse horse horse|
Well, that is not so much help. Cai Wen spends a karma to ask Squeaky if he is sure, and he is. They take the flour canister away, without opening it at all.
No bonus points; no awryage
This is a fast-moving combat in which people try to stay on top of the pipe while kicking it to bits. The pipe is broken quickly, but Kasumi gets wet.
One bonus point; one awryage
Takanata turns on Eyes of the I Ching, and notes that there are little chi-ish dragon heads, watching the tael. He spends three karma to use Inopportune Moment to prevent the detectors from detecting the next magical action, and Shen-Ji spends three karma to combine his metal-shaping and art-creating shticks to create a (masterwork) horse statue. Takanata realizes a little too late that the detection lines don't go to the tael they have in their pockets - ah, perhaps those were the really spare tael. As they go, Shen-Ji uses the last of his dice to grab a handful of tael, increasing the awryage.
Two bonus points; two awryage.
There are, in fact, a bunch of guards on the roof. Exactly where the trees are isn't clear, without sneaking over to the edge to look. Paoku says that if Kasumi knocks random people off the roof, then she can grab anyone who isn't going to fall into a tree so they don't get killed. Kasumi thinks that sounds like a reasonable plan, so pushes someone off the side of the roof. Paoku leaps off, and grabs the guard on the way down; a springy rope brings her to a halt just before the ground, where she drops the guard and flips back onto the roof. The next guard goes into a tree.
As it turns out, this was not the best of plans, and leads to some awryage.
No bonus points; four awryage
Takanata and Shen-Ji make magic ritual rolls to get the elemental sacrifice ritual going. Once they are ready, Takanata scuffs the circle, breaking the metal spirit into its component pieces, and Shen-Ji fireblasts the map twice, taking each piece down to fairly few hit points. Takanata manages to slay two with the ritual dagger, but then Shen-Ji goes down to the remaining metal elementals. Takanata auspiciously summons the Blue Dragon, who kills the remaining three elementals with the dagger.
'No bonus points; two awryage
This proves to be a more worrying task than expected, as Kasumi is wearing the Monkey Talisman, and if she puts it down, the Cartogramancer might be able to tell where it is. Takanata could auspiciously arrive to take it, but then he would have two Talismans, which could be a problem when he has to take one of them off.
Instead, Kasumi calls for help from Sho-Fi, and Cai Wen joins her. He takes the Talisman, and then spends three karma on his moll shtick to get Sho-Fi to get the two of them out again.
Kasumi realizes that she has a magic Tortoise Tattoo, which she can't put down. However, the tattoo will pop if she has to make a death check. Sipensai is very conflicted about pummeling Kasumi, even with her permission - she ends up using her ninja reputation shtick to briefly look scary enough that he knocks her out.
Then, after she makes her death check, he wakes her up again with healing potions, and they put on the uniforms and go to run the patrol. However, a guard with some sort of magic detector becomes concerned that it's not working - it's supposed to say if they have magic items (which they left behind, so they don’t), but it's just saying "horse horse horse". He sends them back and forth a few more times, but his detector just keeps talking about horses. He goes to call for his supervisor, reaching for a rope, and Kasumi and Sipensai knock him out. A loud bonging noise starts, and gates start to shut up and down the hallway.
The rest of the yellow scenes are abandoned and the party switches to the emergency red scenes.
Holding the doorway, Kasumi does initial injury or nose-grab while Sipensai does the final non-lethal takedown. Lijuan puts up bramble-patch covering fire, and then opens the Monkey King's Barrel on the people in the hall. An exploding rock lends credence to the idea that there are reinforcements coming, and the group holds the doorway for a full combat turn.
In the clerks' room, Takanata and Cai Wen get everyone moving, except for one clerk who is stopping to pack up papers. Takanata tries to persuade him enough to get him memorized as a hostile, and then uses Hand on the Pattern to decree that he be out of the room shortly and Curses him to drop the papers as he runs. Cai Wen wonders what the hidden opportunity is - mostly horses, but something about Ford. Ford is apparently looking for the four-stamped file, which Cai Wen finds. They go.
Takanata uses Cheat At Minigames to not appear in the third red card. Paoku sticks a bag to the ceiling, and starts unreeling a string. She asks Shen-Ji to light the string on fire, but he is too wary to do one of her plans. He shoots the ceiling with a lot of iron arrows, but those aren't doing enough damage to any single place. Then he hits the far end of the hallway with Wrath of the Phoenix, which takes out the ceiling. They run.
People seem to be looking at the abandoned property already, including some guards and some inspectors. Paoku thinks the plan should be "charge at them really fast and then knock them out", but gets vetoed. Instead, a smoke grenade gets lobbed at the closet while everyone sneaks closer, and Blue Dragon takes out the remaining guards with Xiao Fa's drug-delivery arrows.
Kasumi hides imperfectly, and Lijuan rushes into the room to tell them that there's a ninja coming to kill them all. However, Lijuan is insufficiently talky to direct them where to flee, so they end up fleeing into the safe room rather than down the hallway. Sho Fi follows them in before the safe room vault door locks, and after a little while, she manages to convince them to fight each other over her, and comes back out. Kasumi and Lijuan drag the unconscious bodies into the hallway.
Impressively, Shen-Ji is convinced to leave without any more personal looting. There is an ominous rumbling sound in the distance.
Kasumi and Lijuan come out the front door, where there is a big crowd and several people with firework injuries. A guard from an upstairs window points - "that's them! Get them!" Lijuan vanishes into the crowd, while Kasumi pretends to be a medic, assisting one of the injured people. More guards come out, and Kasumi takes a perilous coin flip which fails and then tries to use escape smoke to leave before she is grabbed. Since she failed the perilous flip, she vanishes but a guard goes with her.
Takanata and Cai Wen come out the back, managing to evade a bureaucrat who wants them to sign out first. They vanish into the crowd.
The Blue Dragon vanishes, while Xiao Fa and Shen-Ji slide down a zipline to a neighboring building. They claim to be fleeing the fire, and manage to get away from that building's guards.
Everyone meets up at the rendezvous point, including the luckless guard. Takanata spends a karma point to have a little smidge of Oblivion left for him. He’s mind wiped and left behind.
The party ends up with:
- 271 tael, plus an Imperial 100-Tael Plaque, serial number 2222. (Cai Wen takes 5% of this to give to the Ivory Thieves Guild as previously agreed).
- A portrait of Lisan Tan: Last of the Emperors
- A Ivory Crown: Captured from a Southern Barbarian Chieftain
- A deed: The property deed to the Pagoda of Heavenly Light in the Ivory District
- Deep Green Robes: Robes of the Imperial Heir, said to have been crafted for Lo Si
- A deed: The property deed to the Hall of Shadows in the Obsidian District
- Armor of the Bear: Swaps the Body and Reflexes of the Wearer
- Sash of True Honor: Add 5 to all Mental Substats of the Wearer
- Wand of Healing and Wounding: Heals target 5*Yin roll hit points, or does the target 5*Yang roll damage.
- Imperial Birthing Gown: Bestows the child born of its wearer with strength and stamina
- Orb of Light: Provides the Holder with True Seeing
As Shen-ji looks around with Detect Magic, he confirms that tael are no longer magical. There is a giant roaring sound, possibly like a boiler room exploding and possibly like a giant dragon breaking his bonds.... and then everyone wakes up in the tea tent in the northern Arcade.