In order to acquire the Hammerheads' arcane core to power Hurley's battlewagon, our heroes split up to find out more information about the Hammerheads.
Leucis looked for the seediest pub in town, and he found himself at the Rusty Hook. Inside, he found plenty of disreputable patrons, including a group of friends singing "The Orcs March Down to Neverwinter." Leucis joined in their song, encouraging them to sing with more gusto, and then leading them through the call-and response parts. He bought the table a round, and then asked them what was going on in the city.
A half-orc in the group told Leucis about the next race, which would be held in a few days. Pretending to be a gambler looking for the best bets, Leucis asked the half-orc about his favorite racers. The half-orc mentioned that the Velociraptors were his original favorites, but lately the Raven had been very impressive. Leucis asked about the other racers, and he got a list of team names: Hammerheads, Gerbils, Dolphins, Octopi, Crickets, Boars…
Leucis asked for more information about the Hammerheads and learned the location of their base. He headed out to investigate.
Meanwhile, Xander's search for a goth club led him to Sanctuary, with Bitey chained to his belt and bobbing along behind him. Xander walked up to the bar and challenged any Hammerheads in attendance to a drinking contest. One nervous Hammerhead approached, and Xander had the bartender pour them both potent portions of a smoking black brew. Unbeknownst to the Hammerhead, Xander was drinking out of a Tankard of Sobriety. Soon the Hammerhead was roaring drunk, while Xander remained stone-cold sober. Worried that the Hammerhead would pass out before he could take his new drinking buddy to his headquarters, Xander swapped tankards with him for the last drink. With the drinks finished, the thoroughly smashed Hammerhead led Xander on a wobbly path to his headquarters.
Stick asked Hurley where the Hammerhead headquarters was located. Hurley told him, and he headed out.
Xander arrived with his drinking buddy, while Leucis and Stick hid nearby in the shadows. Xander's buddy, whose name turned out to be Little Jerry, talked to the person at the gate, Smelter. Xander introduced himself as Nighthawk, a fan of the Hammerheads, and explained that Little Jerry had promised he could hang out with them. Smelter gave Little Jerry a hard time about being late to guard duty.
Xander used Prestidigitation to fake the sounds of nearby city guards preparing to invade the Hammerheads. He talked the Hammerheads into going to warn their boss, Marvy, while Xander and his friends watched the gate. The Hammerheads wanted to leave another member, Regular Jerry, with Xander, but Xander convinced them that he knew Marvy and it would be fine to leave them alone at the gate, saying, "We used to drink together when we were six." The Hammerheads believed this completely plausible story and left to get their boss.
Leucis sent Francis to scout the compound. Francis discovered three main buildings beyond the gatehouse: a barracks, a large garage/workshop, and a smaller garage with no windows.
Stick flipped the gate switch from Closed to Open, and the gate opened. He also stole a key from the desk.
Leucis created a Minor Illusion of a police paddywagon waiting outside. At Leucis's suggestion, Xander created the sound of a police officer calling inside and telling the Hammerheads to come out. Four Hammerheads emerged from one of the compound buildings: Little Jerry, Regular Jerry, Smelter, and a fourth one (whom I assume was Marvy, but I don't know if that was ever confirmed). The fourth Hammerhead had a brief back-and-forth with the illusory voice about whether the Hammerheads had broken any laws before Leucis cast Puppet on the Hammerhead and had him lead an attack toward the illusory police, while the police voiced called a charge. Four more Hammerheads appeared and joined their friends in rushing outside.
Once they were through the gate, Leucis closed the gate behind them, then destroyed the gate mechanism with an Eldritch Blast. He next cast Darkness on the gate to interfere with the Hammerheads trying to get back inside. Stick, meanwhile, cast Pass Without a Trace on the group so that they could sneak into the compound.
Stick sneaked over to the smaller garage. Finding the door padlocked, he tried the key from the gatehouse in the lock, but it did not work. Leucis used his magical slingshot Hole Thrower to create a small hole in the door. Stick, with eagerness that showed how much he had been looking for and opportunity to do this, crawled into his Bag of Holding and had Leucis push the bag through the hole in the door and pull Stick out the other side.
Francis reported back from a scouting flight that there were more Hammerheads asleep in the barracks. The remaining building had a damaged, half-disassembled battlewagon inside.
Xander, hearing about the remaining Hammerheads, summoned his Eldritch Rapier in the form of a pointy sigil.
Stick explored the windowless garage, finding it stocked with tools and storage containers. Most of the central space was taken up by a hammerhead-shaped battlewagon. The vehicle was armed with two cannons, a toothy circular sander, and a grappling hook. When Stick couldn't figure out how to pop the hood to check for an arcane core, he climbed into the driver's seat and threw the various levers and pulled the various handles. Nothing happened, so he exited via the bag/hole trick.
Leucis entered the workshop, where he dug through some paperwork and found a key. He found a locked package in a cabinet and opened it with the key. Inside were two glowing blue spheres. He returned to the smaller garage, where Stick and Xander, in a moment of confusion, had both climbed into the Bag of Holding. Leucis picked up the bag, looked through the hole, and cast Misty Step, teleporting into the garage before pulling Stick and Xander out of the bag.
Xander installed one of the cores under the hood of the shark-shaped battlewagon. Stick started pulling levers again, and this time the grappling hook started flailing while the tooth-studded sander spun one way, then the other. Xander took over in the driver seat, and Stick and Leucis manned the turrets. Xander floored it, and the battlewagon busted through the garage door.
Leucis fired a warning shot, and the Hammerheads at the gate fled just before the battlewagon smashed a hole in the fence. Xander cast an illusory hand flipping off the Hammerhead leader as they made their getaway.
Hurley was surprised to see our heroes return in a stolen battlewagon, since all they needed was a core. Leucis tossed her the other core, pointing out that they did get a core, as well as a fully powered battlewagon. Hurley agreed to overlook the Grand Theft Wagon, which Leucis declared to be his favorite game series.
Hurley's battlewagon, which stood waiting for its new core, had six tailpipes, a muscle car body, a driver seat and a passenger seat, a hole in the roof for the grappling gunner to stand, rails around the roof for someone to be tied on, and ram's horns on the front.
Hurley explained that she had hoped they would all be in her car. She had even spoken to Captain Captain Bane and had masks made to match their personalities:
Stick, being sneaky, independent, and bitey (he dropped the wrench he had been gnawing), got a cat mask.
Leucis, being bombastic, theatrical, and charismatic, got a rooster mask.
Xander, being silent, mysterious, and secretive, prone to putting those secrets to use before disappearing, got an owl mask.
They all put on their new masks while Hurley put on her ram mask and decided to prepare for the race. She handed them each letterman jackets to wear over their magical harnesses which would bubble them in the case of an accident. Hurley explained that there were pylons along the length of the racetrack, which broadcast the race to the pubs and taverns of Goldcliff while also zapping any non-registered participants who tried to enter the course.
They decided on their roles for the race: Stick would be strapped to the roof to fight off anyone trying to jump on their wagon. Xander would use a magical wrench with four gems containing Repair spells to keep the wagon repaired. Leucis would start the race in the hammerhead car, using Mage Hand to fire the weapons, before casting Misty Step if and when necessary to join his companions in Hurley's wagon.
Our heroes next had a montage of moving one of the cannons from the sharkwagon to the ramwagon: they sawed off the cannon, swung it over with a crane, dropped it, laughed, ordered pizza, ate the pizza, and finished installing the cannon.
Leucis revealed that he had only ever piloted a watercraft in Waterdeep, so he would need driving lessons. This set off a montage of Xander teaching Leucis how to drive: tentative starts in an Olive Garden parking lot, repeated acceleration and deceleration as they made their way down the street while Leucis fought with the gears, pulling into a drive-thru and ordering a huge amount of food, paying and zooming away so that the food flew all over them, then eating the food off the seats floor, and dashboard.
The next day, they drove to a pre-appointed spot in the desert, where two huge crates lay. They drove one wagon into each of the crates, which closed up. Over the next few minutes, they heard and felt the crates get moved to a new location. A horn sounded, and Hurley told them to get ready.
A second horn sounded, and the crate's gates fell open with thuds.
A third horn sounded. The race had begun!
Will our heroes bring the blue sparks?
Will Leucis remember which pedals do what, and will he care?
Will Xander give her all she's got, cap'n, but he's not a miracle worker? (Wait, maybe technically he is)
Will Stick's tongue flap from his mouth like a dog sticking its head out a car window?
And most importantly… do these battlewagons even have seatbelts?
Find out next time on… the Zone of Adventure!