Posted by: lordkyler | February 1, 2014

Radiance: Part II – Fight Club

Part Two: Fight Club

After searching for leads at the Twisted Tavern, the party goes in search of more information.

By the time our heroes left the bar, night had fallen, providing the city and its more unsavory citizens with a cloak of darkness. Gas street lamps flickered into life, but those did little more than highlight the rain and provide small islands of light. Motorcars splashed through the growing puddles, and although the sidewalks seemed nearly empty, furtive shadows could be seen moving through the alleyways.

Our heroes headed north, staying clear of the more troublesome areas. This part of town was known informally as the Narrows because of how Republic City was slimmer in the middle, and known officially as the Nexus, since it formed the hub for the figure-eight track that circumnavigated the island. The area was a hodgepodge of vastly differing classes and cultures, ranging from wealthy bankers like Mr. Partridge to lowlifes of the sort that frequented the Twisted Tavern, in a strange patchwork of sharply divided neighborhoods. Our heroes weren’t headed for one of the nice areas.

Gradually, the city changed from shops and apartments into warehouses, and the streets gave way to railroad tracks. It was in the center of the tangled tracks that their destination lay. The Bloody Knuckle Brawlers was one of the more popular brawler’s clubs, and they were sure to find some information there.

The warehouse appeared abandoned from the outside, but the presence of armed men skulking by the doors confirmed that they hadn’t yet moved their operations. Our heroes waited for a train to pass by and made their way to the warehouse.

They were greeted by an enormous fellow even larger than Ian. He was bald as an egg, but sported a magnificent mustache.He crossed his burly arms and stood in the doorway.

“Entry’s twenty dollars,” he said flatly. “‘less you’re fighting’.”

Ian and Connor looked at each other. “All right,” said the men. Lilly handed over the money without complaint, and after a moment of indecision, Aria did as well. She didn’t want to draw attention to herself. The club was predominantly men, and it seemed that the only women in the area were either girlfriends or those that could be for a price. She didn’t particularly fancy either of those choices, but it was preferable to revealing themselves.

They checked their weapons and armor at the door and took in their surroundings.The warehouse was spacious, cold, and full of ruffians. Ramshackle tables were scattered around the edge, littered among derelict machinery and empty crates. The lighting was kept dim to hide activity from the outside, and although the crowd was fairly noisy, it was easily covered by the sounds of the trains and equipment in the yard.

The centerpiece of the brawler’s club, however, were the brawlers. A ragged ring of spectators were gathered around the center of the warehouse, cheering or booing on the participants depending on where their allegiances lay. A significant amount of money passed hands as bets were made.

All of a sudden the crowd went crazy, and an announcer with a megaphone called out, “There goes Big Ted! Laid out by Wallopin’ Daniel Clay, the reigning champion! If he can hold to the end of the night, he claims the pot! Who’s next to face the champ?”

“That’s me!” called Ian. The crowd turned to look at him, and a buzz of conversation broke out, followed by frantic betting.

“All right!” said the announcer. “Big fella. What’s your name?”

“Ian,” replied the mechanic, flexing his muscles. A couple of men dragged off the last combatant and tossed him in a trough of water, and Ian stepped into the circle.

“Simple rules,” explained the ref. “Nothin’ below the belt, no magic. Fancy-pants fighting ain’t illegal but it ain’t exactly welcome, neither. Understood?” Ian nodded. “All right then. Let’s get going. Three, two, one, GO!”

The announcer withdrew quickly, and Ian and Wallopin’ Dan began to circle, sizing each other up and looking for an opening. Dan was of average size, but he moved easily and seemed pretty tough. Likely grew up on the streets and been brawling for some time. Even with Ian’s size and strength, Dan would be a formidable opponent.

Ian took the offensive, wading in with a couple of haymakers, but Dan bobbed slightly and avoided the massive swings, darting in with quick jabs when the opportunity opened up. The blows did little to injure Ian, but they angered him.

“Hold still, you git,” he said, and unleashed a powerful straight thrust. Dan deflected the blow and stepped behind Ian. Before the mechanic could turn around, the brawler had grabbed both his arms, locking them at the elbows. Unfortunately for him, the effort required to keep Ian’s arms pinned distracted him from Ian’s next move, which was to snap his head backward. His thick skull smashed into Dan’s nose, snapping it like a carrot. Dan released his grip and stumbled backward, fending off the automatic tears.

Ian tried to take advantage of the opening and his opponent’s vulnerability, but Dan had had his nose broken before, and he could handle the pain. When Ian’s charge left him overextended, Dan ducked, tripping the larger man and sending him sprawling to the concrete.

Hoping to maximize his advantage, Dan began to kick at Ian, delivering punishing blows with either foot, even though each stomp sent a dagger of pain through his nose. Ian rolled to the side, but when it became clear he couldn’t rise without being knocked back over, he opted for a counter-attack instead, wheeling his legs in bicycle kicks. Dan easily dodged the first few kicks, but as they kept up, he was forced to retreat, giving Ian a long enough time to regain his feet.

He began to close again, but after his embarrassing round on the floor, he took things more carefully. They traded blows at a fairly even rate, Dan’s fast and numerous, Ian’s slower but more damaging. Eventually, the mechanic began to get the better of the exchange, and at last Dan stood wobbling, too tired and dazed to defend himself. The crowd feel silent as Ian wound up and delivered one last roundhouse punch. The crowd erupted, and Wallopin’ Dan joined his previous conquest in the water trough.

“We have a new champion!” called the announcer. “Ian the invincible!” A cheer went up from most of the crowd. Ian raised his arms, though it hurt slightly. Dan had done a lot of cumulative damage during his assault. “Next up is the championship round, so get your drinks and make your final bets.”

While everyone went to get their drinks, a tattooed man approached Ian. “Excuse me sir,” he said. “I represent Mr. Onishi, who is betting on you to win the final round. He has noticed you are injured, and would not like this to affect your performance. Would you like assistance?”

Ian shrugged. “Nothing’s broken, just some bruises and sprains. Not much you can do.”

The tattooed man smiled. “I’m not a normal doctor,” he said, and placed a hand on Ian’s chest. A transparent ripple flowed from his fingers across Ian’s chest, spreading through his limbs and bouncing back to the man’s hand. The fresh bruises and aches vanished instantly.

“Oh, that kind of assistance,” said Ian. The tattooed man was a morphologist. “I thought magic wasn’t allowed.”

“I have not made any enhancements,” the man said. “Pure healings are allowed, and me and my master are trusted here. I hope our trust in you is not misplaced.”

“I do my best,” said Ian. “In fact, I feel sorry for whatever sucker has to face me next.”

“Three minutes until the final round, folks!” shouted the announcer. “The invincible Ian versus newcomer Connor Williams!”

Ian’s face went blank. “Oh, bugger.”

This scenario had, of course, been overlooked when they had agreed to become participants. Ian stepped into the ring.

“Just a friendly fight, right?” he asked. Connor merely grunted and popped his neck. Ian grabbed someone’s whiskey and drained it one gulp.

When it seemed that the majority of the betting had taken place, the announcer signaled the start of the match. With the speed of a snake, Connor stepped forward and slammed a piledriver straight into Ian’s nose. Ian roared like an angry hippo and began swinging left and right with furious, blind abandon.

Connor swayed with minimal effort, avoiding each blow by a fraction of an inch, never striking, never being struck. Then, when Ian took a moment to catch his breath, he launched a steady offensive of fast blows and tactical kicks, driving Ian back before each punishing blow. Ian tried to catch Connor, but he simply could not move quick enough. Whenever he rallied the energy for a counter-offensive, Connor transformed from a machine of melee into a bending reed, dancing away from Ian’s crushing blows with apparent ease. Then as soon as he had an opening, he resumed his relentless assault. Ian was large, he was strong, and he was skilled, but Connor was a warrior, and the difference showed.

Within five minutes, Ian had exhausted his tricks, and began to tire from his overpowered blows. Seizing a fleeting moment, Connor suddenly slipped behind Ian and delivered a smart, precise clap to the temples. Ian dropped before he knew what hit him. Connor dusted off his jacket and exited the ring without a word. The ring of spectators was silent for a moment, then burst into the typical post-fight frenzy of elation, complaints, and moneychanging.

Typically, the winner of the final bout was awarded a free healing on top of his winnings, but as Connor was unhurt, he transferred his healing to Ian. The big man awoke with a start and fixed Connor with a glare. If Connor still had his other eye, he might have winked, but instead, he merely raised an eyebrow and allowed himself the slightest grin. Then he left the building, followed by Ian and the girls shortly afterward.

“Good fight?” said Ian, offering his hand to Connor. Connor shrugged and ignored the proffered hand.

“Wait, you guys fought?” drawled Lilly. “Why didn’t you say something?”

“The announcer did,” said Ian.

“Oh! I guess I just spaced out. A little too much saké.” She giggled.

“Find anything?” Connor asked Aria. She rolled her eyes.

“Not much. A few rumors of government activity, confirmed the Mongrels aren’t behind the kidnapping. They might know who is, though. They’re a very widespread group and they’ve got an ear at most doors.”

“It sounds like it’s time to pay the mongrels a little visit,” said Ian.

•••

This session was a little shorter. Primarily, it served as a way for us to become more familiar with the combat system of FUDGE. There will still probably be some ironing out involved as we get the hang of it.

Not much action with Tom and Gideon’s characters this session, so they got a little bored, but such is the nature of the game. Not everybody can be involved at once. The fight between Josh and Joseph (Connor and Ian) was not actually planned, but came as a delicious surprise. It’s not surprising that Joseph lost, since Josh’s character is pretty much exclusively a warrior type, but Joseph also had a crummy night with the dice. Still, he managed to beat the previous champ, which is saying something. This also serves the role of making Connor look like a total bad-az.

•••

Radiance Info: Technology

Advanced technology is at the heart of Radiance’s principles, and they boast some might feats of engineering and machinery. They have a well-developed railroad system, the famous canals between the major lakes, along with many large and beautiful buildings.

Radiance is a steampunk game, and as such as an assortment of automobiles, airships, and other gadgets and goodies mixed in with the magic. The primary technology of the world is still steam power, including zeppelins, steamer ships, vehicles, etc.

Diesel technology is beginning to emerge as a powerful new force. However, it is still a somewhat fledgling industry, mostly confined to government vehicles such as warplanes and railroad engines, and cars and motorcycles for the wealthy.

There is a third, even rarer form of power, that of electricity. Electrical energy is fueled by a rare type of blue crystal found deep underground. Electrical power is mostly used for smaller purposes such as weaponry, although prototype and experimental vehicles are also being tested.

There is still room in this world for more old-fashioned systems, however. In rural areas and among the poor, beasts of burden are relatively common, and manpower is still a cost-effective alternative to machinery. Factories employ hundreds and thousands across Radiance. In addition, horses and drakes are bred by rich gentlemen for use in sport.

Of course, as a steampunk RPG, there has to be a variety of useful gadgets. It wouldn’t be steampunk without goggles, after all. Other useful tech includes compasses, altimeters, wireless morse headsets, compressed air cannons, mechanical encryption devices, magic enhancing or defeating instruments, and more. This is on top of the guns, swords, clockwork bows, alchemy and other weapons that make things so much fun.

I think we’ll have fun here.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Categories

%d bloggers like this: