Saturday, 29 March 2014

Session 10: A Costly Success, and a Large Loot Haul

Where the PCs and the Cultists of Furter the Rememberator stage a well planned attack against the giant fleas of Bonechewer and buy a costly reward for the survivors


HOUSE RULES

We had agreed that new characters would have half the XP that the dead character had.  As a result of this session (sorry Syam) we added the caveat that if your new character died in the first session, then you did not have to divide xp in half again.

SESSION 10

As the session began, the PCs had just made a hasty retreat from the messy ossuary in the face of heavy corpse flea assault.  Brychan’s corpse was also evacuated and the two unconscious (Cybella and Pelegost) were moved to the lower living quarters of the Furter Cultists.

Vicar Malokai appeared and expressed his concern for the sacrificed remeberated dead, but also to inform the PCs that Patriarch Chax would see to their wounds in the laboratory.  Last session, both had made their saves vs death and subsequently had a stack of bones fall on them.  Both went to -7hp necessitating a permanent injury.  Both chose head injuries and surprisingly offered to take characteristic damage.

Passing through the jury rigged field-shrine, the PCs were led into the lab, the walls festooned with intricate brass and copper machinery featuring many cogs and tubes of bubbling fluid.  In the centre stood a copper operating table with restraints which was flanked by two tesla coils.  To the PCs relief these were not operational.

Cybella was first, one side of her face having been punctured with bone shards in multiple places.  Being a remeberator and not an MD Chax did what he could, sewing flesh back into place with a heavy needle and cord normally used for the assembly of remeberated dead.  Needless to say, the result wasn’t pretty and Cybella’s CHA has now been reduced from 10 to 9.

Cybella, the Wizard.
(Cybella wears a 1980's bright purple leather powersuit festooned with zippers, over a silk blouse.  We generated this on the ASE1 Fashion Table, it was only later that we realized we rolled on the guys chart.  I like the image, perhaps the tag on the jacket might be a torn stubthat says 'Princ...'.)

Next up was Pelegost, who’s player had described an injury to the eye socket resulting in a permanently bloodshot eye.  The DM suggested a shattered eye socket which would need a plate and the player agreed.  Chax poked around the eye and declared that a plate would be needed to hold all the pieces together.  A copper plate with a slit to see through was riveted in place, and Mike chose for Pelegost to suffer a -1 to INT.

Pelegost, default leader of the party, and Acolyte of Calina, Orbital God of the Twelve Annihilations. DMs imagining.
(Calina's symbol is a clockface (at five minutes to midnight?).  I have totally been trying to get him to wear a flavour flave clock, but for now he wears a circlet with a symbol on the forhead, banded mail, and is heavily armed.)

The patients were then shown into the shrine and the curtain pulled revealing a Golden statuette of Furter.  Chax cast cure light wounds and the PCs started to heal normally Again following medical attention.  The PCs were shown back to the sleeping quarters where they were preparing to spend the night when two cultists ushered in a stranger and asked the PCs if they would mind entertaining the newcomer.

Dressed like Buddy Holly and carrying a six string and a katana (bastard sword), the newcomer was looking for the grave of ‘the king’ as it was rumoured to be inscribed with words of great wisdom and truth.  Upon hearing of the situation in the graveyard he agreed it was the right thing to do to help the PCs with their mission.  He entertained the group with a couple of songs, and they retired for the night.

The next morning Malokai visted them, stating that now was the time to finish the fleas before they could build up their numbers again, and that the PCs should come up with another plan.  Despite the previous day’s losses, eight remberated dead, five skeletons, six cultists, and Malokai himself were available and that the PCs should include them in the plan.

The plan was thought through thoroughly but ultimately quite simple.  A foraging party would collect as much firewood as it could get for half a day.  This would be drooped down the shaft into the messy ossuary.  Kindling and pitch would also be added, followed by greenery once the fire caught.  The doors in the undercrypt would be spiked open just enough to provide airflow in, but prevent the fleas getting out.  These doors would be monitored by cultists not directly involved in the attack.  The party, and Malokai’s detachment would take positions surrounding the sinkhole, and destroy the fleas as they emerged fleeing the smoke.

The PCs and remeberated patrol collected firewood, but encountered six fleas whilst returning to the Mausoleum.  Surprise was on their side, and crossbow bolts and the war dogs made short work of the fleas.

Ensuring that Malokai and troops were in place, they lit the fire and took up their positions.  The followers of Furter had two thirds of the circumference and the PCs one third.  The PCs spread out in a single line leaving as little gap as possible reasoning that they wanted to contain the fleas to avoid getting flanked, a tactic which was to ultimately cost them dearly as it did not provide any defence in depth or protect the magic user.

The fleas arrived sporadically at first.  Then after a few rounds several were appearing each round.  The fleas were not interested in the dead, and therefore most went for the party which was not screened by the reanimated dead the Furter cultists were using.  The players were counting on using sleep to great advantage,and would have been correct to do so if Cybella had a chance to cast.  Around the third round eight fleas appeared, but wanting to target more Cybella waited.  For the next two rounds in a row her attempt at casting was thwarted as the fleas continued to win initiative and were able to successfully attack before she could cast.  Before long Cybella, Pelegost, and the newcomer were figting a number of fleas, with Maredud helping the newcomer, and Pelegost assisted by the dogs, and faithful Jon-O-Tan backing up Cybella.

Both Cybella and Pelegost took heavy hits, and the extra Furter cultist rushed in to provide cure light wounds on the beleaguered PCs.  Overly zealous, a cultist rolled a one, and tripped over a shovel which had been left during the original excavations around the pit.  Rolling a one again the next round, he tripped again an thus provided little support to Cybella, who had up to four fleas on her.

The stranger proved to be pretty good with his sword and was making short work of the fleas until one flea too many rolled a 20 and it was max damage and saving throw vs death which he sadly failed.  A flea leapt on his shoulder and skewered him through the eye with it’s proboscis ending that adventurer in his first session.

And this loss of a cool character in the first session is why we don't get too attached to our characters, DMs roll '20' too.  The player took it well in his stride and promptly made up a fighter with plate mail , shield and sword.  Thats' two in a row for Syam.  The highest 'killer DM' run in one of my games was many years ago where the same player lost a character three sessions in a row; can I beat that record?
Being right there, Maredud made his first kill, cleaving a flea in twain before the fleas that had been attacking the newcomer turned on him.  Somewhat isolated from the others, Maredud was struck a number of times in quick succession, and he also failed a save vs death sending him to the next world.

On the other side of the pit, the remebrated dead were doing well at protecting Malokai’s command team, but were paying for it in numbers.  Malokai was felling fleas with his mace, and spiritual hammer, seemingly destroying fleas with a gesture of his hand.

Eventually the plan prevailed and the numbers tapered off, with two characters having paid the ultimate price.

The two characterless players took over a cultist each, and the group went down into the hole to check for activity.  There was none, but they did notice that one of the walls seemed strangely flat.  Pelegost prodded and tapped it with a mace.  It gave and they smashed their way into an eggshell blue ceramic room with four aluminium caskets. 

Cybella, weary of traps ordered Jon-O-Tan to go in first.  Jon-O wasn’t very keen, so a morale roll was made, and he eventually accepted the instruction and went in.

Having assured themselves that there were no traps, they examined the first casket.  Believing ti to be free from traps they opened it, finding a mummified corpse, wearing the rotted remains of a military uniform and a holster containing what Cybella recognised as an ancient energy pistol.  Determining that this was treasure, no more precautions were taken and the other caskets were thrown open to reveal an argonium sabre in one, a copper suit of light armour with a fishbowl helmet in another, and a high ranked corpse in the last, festooned with bejewelled precious metal  insignia, medals and regalia.  This turned out to be a big hual for the two surviving PCs.

One of the cultist (Syams) looked the other way when offered a piece of the loot, but the other (Telfer) thought this was an insult to the dead and informed Vicar Malokai.  Malokai arrived, and referring to a scoll he carried stated that this was not a part of the records and therefore “not planned for rememberation” allowing the PCs to keep their loot in the spirit of the ‘you scratch my back and I’ll scratch yours’ arrangement he had made with the PCs.
Being late we ended there agreeing that the combat had dragged too long, and that it would be desirable to reduce the playing time of large combats.


 LOSSES: Maredud the Theif, and the new character, the Guitar Grifter.


GAINS:  Goal achieved, one rival faction destroyed.  Loot, Argonium Sabre (Longsword +1), Red copper armour suit with fishbowl helmet, lots of jewel encrusted precious metal military insignia, medals and regalia.

THE (DIS)HONOUR ROLL 
Here we list those brave adventurers who have been tested and found wanting (more hit points).
NAME                         CLASS/LEVEL   PLAYER   SESSION                   HOW
Dode Enemy-Breaker    D1                     Nick          2                              Fell into a pit trap.
Fighter guy                   F1        `            Telfer         3                              Throat torn out by Pretender.
Mike’s Wizard               MU1                 Mike          4                              
  • Shot through the back by ‘High Programmer’ with a high intensity laser while carrying 8 flasks of oil in backpack - whoosh!

Syam’s Elf                    E1                   Syam         4                              Face burned off by energy bolt 
Brychan                        F1                    Syam        9                              Fell down a shaft.
Guitar Guy                    Kensai1            Syam        10                            
  • Critted - head impaled through eye by giant flea proboscis.
Maredud                       T1                    Tf              10                             Overrun by giant fleas