The first thing they came up with was to somehow turn the Knights of Genetic Purity against the two bands of apes. There was talk of killing three birds in one bush, or something like that. The Knights are the mother of all factions in my campaign world, a continent spanning organization dedicated to the complete eradication of all mutants and the restoration of pure humans to their former position of unchallenged supremacy. The party captured two members of the Knights way back at the beginning of the campaign, and the two unfortunate bastards have been languishing in a dark hole in Skinny Butt, their only contact with anyone being the occasional visits from Chab the rattlesnake, one of the village elders and the self appointed "interrogator" (read as "torturer"). So the party takes their prized camcorder and their only tape and brings one of the captured Knights out into the swamp.
Warning: the following paragraph may be a little disturbing, so if you are faint of heart, please skip it and go watch a family movie like Silence of the Lambs instead.
This campaign has been a campaign full of firsts for me. First openly gay PC, first time running a session with 10 players, and... first time my players have shot a snuff film in game? WTF? They decided that they would stage the gruesome massacre of the captured Knight at the hands of a "warangutan" (really Bozko the shape-shifting plant assuming the general form of a great ape and covering his body with shaggy red moss). They filmed this Blair Witch Project style, from the point of view of the other Knight who "got away" after capturing the horrible death of his comrade on film. The party wanted to really get the Knights pissed off at the Warangutans, so they had Bozko actually rip the poor dude to shreds in front of the camera. Interestingly, of the six players participating, only one (my girlfriend, playing Beyonce Chai) expressed any reservations about this plan and she still drove them out into the swamp so that they "didn't do anything even stupider". The truly disturbing part is that Dataan the robot became aroused during the filming of this movie and there may or may not have been robot masturbation involved. The party arranged for the video to make its way into the hands of Chaplain Squaldorf, the true power behind the recent incursion of the Knights into the Willing Mate valley, and then they sat back to watch the fireworks. However, the PCs soon grew bored waiting for a response from the regional headquarter of the Knights up in Porrit Land, so they decided to take a stab at stopping the apes themselves.
Their next plan was to ally with the War Chimps and attempt to wipe out the Warangutans once and for all. However, when they flew an unmanned drone that they had just spent a week repairing from the parts of several nonfunctional drones they had secured many sessions earlier, they discovered that the War Chimps had posted a horrifying "keep out" message in the swamp; a roughly circular ring of cut trees marked their territory, and flayed corpses of swamp creatures and mutants alike adorned the tree trunks like bloody post-it notes. Zooming in on one body with the drone, the party saw that it was flayed from the neck down, and its eyelids had been removed. And thats when they realized that this poor mutant (a swamp trapper from Skinny Butt town) was still alive - it turned its bulging, dried out eyes at the drone as if it were silently begging to be put out of its considerable misery. Dataan flew the drone in low, planning on ramming the flayed mutant in the head to put it out of its misery... and he flew the drone right into the War Chimps trap. They had a ring of concealed blinds a ways in from the outer perimeter of stumps, and a War Chimp with a missile launcher blew the drone up with one well placed shot.
The PCs now decided that maybe they didn't want to ally with the War Chimps after all! Their next brilliant idea was to ally with the Warangutans and convince them to leave the complex and wipe out the War Chimps with the party's help. They journeyed to the Badder warrens and made their way to the now filled in tunnels leading to the Hangar level of the military complex. The two shapeshifting plants in the party burrowed through the dirt in root form, creating just enough of a pocket of air behind them to drag a pair of spiderbots down with them. Once Swampy (one of the shapeshifting plants) got in to the long cross tunnel that leads from the hangar level all the way under the swamp to the sublevels of the Ooh Oh Monks (yet another faction in the swamp), he soon heard a vehicle rumbling down the tunnel at him. He hid, and saw a jeep driven by a Warangutan pulling a covered troop transport, heading down the tunnel towards the Ooh Oh Monks. Dataan, controlling a spiderbot, sent it down the tunnel towards the hangar while Swampy set off after the jeep. Soon, a terrific explosion echoed down the tunnel, and the party surmised that the Warangutans were attempting to blast their way into the lowest levels of the old university complex that the Ooh Oh Monks inhabit. Dataan's spiderbot reached the blast doors to the hangar, and attempted to use the door's control panel to access the complex's computer system - when to the parties considerable dismay, it became apparent that some true computer wizard had overridden the codes that Dataan had left in place in the complex and the party no longer had access to the still active security networks. The door began to shut, and Dataan had his spiderbot scurry through and into a maintenance shaft in the wall (the facility is riddled with tiny shafts designed to let the spiderbots scurry around and do their job of maintaining and repairing the electrical, computer, ventilation and water systems of the base). Peering through a small opening in the wall, Dataan saw through the spiderbot two large Warangutans wielding rocket launchers come up to the door, accompanied by a Terminator looking robot - picture the shiny metal terminators that don't have any skin covering their terrifying metal bodies. The Warangutans covered the doorway with missile launchers while the Terminator opened it up - of course, they saw nothing.
Meanwhile, Swampy was making decent time heading down the tunnel toward the Ooh Oh Monks, a distance of several miles, with the second spider bot accompanying him. Soon, the party heard over their comlinks (stolen from the military complex a while back) the Warangutans back at the door to the hangar level warning the Warangutan party up ahead that there was something in the tunnel. Swampy began traveling much more carefully, in long extended vine form taking cover behind all the heaps of scrap metal that line the tunnel. The spiderbot went up ahead, under the control of Dataan the robot, who trusted in its small size to escape detection. The spiderbot came to a juncture, where the the jeep and troop transport were parked, guarded by a single Warangutan standing behind the twin heavy machine guns mounted on the back of the jeep. Dataan cautiously snuck the spiderbot past this point and came into a room that had evidently once held a large door which had since been blasted away. A squadron of Warangutans was exploring the chamber beyond, which was filled with what seemed to be massive boilers and other strange rusted out hunks of motionless machinery.
Swampy, alternating between his normal vision and gamma ray vision, continued on slowly and carefully. He spotted the tell-tale radiation leak from the fusion cell powering a plasma rifle up ahead, and realized that two Warangutans were concealed behind the cab of car that was leaning against the side of the tunnel ahead of him. Deciding that he could take on two of them with the help of the hypnotic fragrances he could emit, he painstakingly inched a viny protrusion of his body towards the apes and released a cloud of mind-controlling goodness into their hidey hole. He instantly realized that they were far too powerfully built to succumb to his tricks as they burst forth, plasma rifles blasting. Luckily for Swampy, they had not spotted him as he was concealed behind the everpresent stacks of scrap metal. Never known for his discretion, Swampy rolled the lone grenade that he was carrying directly between the two apes who frantically hurled themselves to the ground as it exploded. Before the smoke even cleared the apes were laying down covering fire as they called for back up. "We've been hit! Taking fire from unknown assailant! Alpha Squad leader, send back up!"
A squad of five Warangutans set out to assist the two fighting Swampy - only to be grenaded themselves by Bozko who had been waiting in the collapsed tunnel to the Badder warrens. Bozko dropped four grenades from more or less directly above the squad, and killed three of them on the spot. Now convinced that they were experiencing a serious assault, the Warangutan leaders called the exploratory party that was moving under the Ooh Oh Monks back. In the meantime, Dataan had stolen their jeep with his spiderbot, ramming it into a wall and breaking the neck of the Warangutan who was manning the machine gun in the process. Then, the spiderbot turned the machine gun down the corridor and opened fire on the exploratory party. With the enemy now apparently coming from all sides, and not even sure what was making the machine gun fire (as the spiderbot was completely concealed behind the gun), the Warangutans broke formation and ran.
Swampy had continued his fight, and when the two Warangutans he was engaged with started retreating to join up with the larger contingent of the exploratory party (who were now getting into a second jeep that was parked in the large room by the Ooh Oh Monks), Swampy couldn't just let them go and he popped out of cover and took another pot shot at them with his trusty shotgun. As he dropped back down, they let him have it and I rolled a natural 20 and killed him on the spot... When his player asked if he could roll a savings throw to survive since he was a shapeshifting plant and most of his body mass had never left cover to take the shot in the first place, I decided to be a merciful overlord that night and told him to roll a save vs. energy attacks. Of course, he still had to get a 15 or higher on a d20, so I figured he was probably toast anyway... then he goes and rolls a 15 on the dot. I ruled that Swampy was alive but unconscious, mostly blasted to smithereens, and clinging to life only as a small globular mass of unrecognizable plant matter. The Warangutans all retreated in their Jeep back to the hangar level and shut the blast door, not at all sure what had been attacking them from three sides. A spiderbot was sent to check on Swampy, as he had suddenly cut off communications. His quivering remains were retrieved, and the party beat a retreat back to Badder Town to plan their next move!
One important thing has been missed so far; the role of Julius Corple in all this. Corple, a brilliant roboticist and all around mad genius from the year 2135, had recently been released from centuries of confinement within a massive alien computer/brain. Exposed to the surface air, he contracted the FDF7 virus and soon grew a second brain and began exhibiting strange powers. He was last seen, after grabbing the body of Laura Hazelton (a footsoldier from 2135 who was dying of the virus), flying over the swamp in the direction of the military complex.
Many small clues in the last session led the players to speculate that Julius Corple had become the leader of the Warangutans and was directing them as well as the strange Terminator robot the party had seen. Are they right? Only time will tell....
I do intend to post the full tale of Julius Corple soon, he is a tragic figure and was directly responsible for the downfall of the military complex all those long years ago.