Sunday, 20 April 2014

SESSION 11: TIME TO REEQUIP AND REINFORCE

A chance opportunity to hurt the ghouls, return to Lugosi for reinforcements and supplies, a northern barbarian warrior joins the party, and the Festival of Fangs begins.


CAST

Nick:  Cybella - Magic User 1; Jon-O-Tan - Troubleshooter2  
Syam:  Tankred from the Worthless  North  F1  “I work for Gold”.
Michael: Pelegost - Cleric 1  (Calina of the Twelve Annihilations), War dogs Alpha and Omega

RECAP

The session begins with the player characters in the grounds of the Obelisk of Forgotten Memory (adventure here) where they have forged an alliance with the Cult of Furter in order to achieve their goals.  They have been charged with the retrieval of items from a crypt in the mausoleum and in return for what is essentially grave robbing the PCs will assist the Cultists with their violent takeover of the grounds and estate of an ancient monument which has traditionally been cared for by the followers of three other orbital gods (Bonechewer, Benzonaught and Delphina). 

Having sided with the Furter Cultists and their rememberated dead (mechanico-galvanic animated corpse servants) against the giant fleas of Bonechewer and a pack of ghouls in the service of Bezonaught we begin.

The PCs have just finished a battle where they destroyed the nest of giant fleas that served Bonechewer and the two surviving PCs found their first major treaure, but at the price of two player characters dead.  The followers of Furter have retired to the Mausoleum they are using as a base to allow the PCs to loot the battle site.  The PCs had just found their first large treasure when the session ended.

A RANDOM ENCOUNTER ROLL PROVES A LUCKY CHANCE TO NARROW THE OPPOSITION


As they are returning to the mausoleum through the daytime mists, a pair of ghouls appear almost next to them, the ghouls who were out to see what all the fighting was are equally surprised.  With both parties catching their wits the ghouls get initiative and run.  A quick crossbow bolt wounds one, and a light spell from the cleric blinds it, but it keeps running, trying to follow the sound of it's companion. 

The players decide not to charge into the mist, and I give the ghoul 1-3 on d6 to run into something each roiund.  It does on the third round, and the characters seize the opportunity to knock one of them off.  The PCs run up, and swinging his bastard sword two handed Jon-O-Tan rolls 20 and cleaves the wretched beast. 

Pleased with their luck at turning six ghoul enemies into five at little risk they return to the mausoleum where the Cultists inter their dead friends. There a stranger has arrived.  Tankred, a hard looking man from the worthless north.  He wears heavy armour and carries a sword.  Some time is spent getting to know each other, an often tense conversation (a certain ‘character’ claims to be difficult to represent the PCs 8 charisma). 


Tankred, the platemail clad meat axe warrior from the Worthless North. Claims to work for treasure.  Mostly awesome, just don't ask him to read too much.

An offer is made to join the party which is sorely in need of some meat-axes right about now and this guy is all meat-axe.  As a sign of good faith from the two spellcasters Cybella and Pelegost, they make a gift of the argonium sabre* found last session to the new full member of the party. They retire to the crypt being used as quarters where they stay and eat, clean, heal and retire.

AN ORBITAL GODS FOUL DESECRATION OF A DEAD FRIEND


When they are the only ones in the room, a half familiar voice hisses from the corner.
“thought you could cheat me  did you, you all had a deal, do you dare to break it?”  A tense stand off is had with the cloaked figure of familiar stature.  The hood is thrown back revealing Brychan, their recently deceased party member and party to the deal with the ghouls, blackened around the mouth as the other ghouls have been and obviously now a ghoul himself.

The players chase it and it is brought down and destroyed.  They realise now the implications of double crossing the ghouls, and Benzonaught, which will worry them when they leave for town.

The next morning they talk with Vicar Malokai, and it is agreed that they will return to Lugosi for supplies, such as oil for use in their plan, and to use the opportunity of the Festival of Fangs to recruit reinforcements.  The players plan to trek to Southdeep, spend the night, and make Lugosi the next day, which is the first day of the festival, and just hope that Vernon can fit them in.

A COSMIC WIERDO & HAPPY/ANGRY HALFLING BIKER/MINERS (again).


An uneventful journey is had to Southdeep where they set up camp in one of the caves at the bottom, where it is free to stay the night, but you must move on in the morning. A random encounter is rolled, and I choose a big d140 table I mashed up of scifi and science fantasy tables from Swords and Stitchery to get an ancient metamorph looking for it’s lost lover. 

We were listening to Hawkwind so I decided to go a bit psychedelic.  On the other side of the fire standing in the breeze at the cavemouth was an androgynous figure in a toga waiting to be invited to the fire.  This turned out to be Quintarros, who was pleasant but vague, and had a strange otherworldly allure, and the PCs thought better of it when it asked if they would be interested in helping find it’s lost lover.

It is so ancient that it can only remember that it’s lover was “the one with the touch like a stampeding stallion and the lightest brush of a lilly at the end of summer, and because it left such a strong disturbance through the time hole in which it fell, it’s lover's life might now be in danger"**.

Quintarros asked if the PCs would join it to walk to Denethix, suggesting that “those who walk 10000 steps together are admitted to the third unicorn of the omnicron”  whereupon the players all suggested that the DM had had enough to drink. The PCs thinking that 'it' was a total space cadet declined to assist in the search, 'helpfully' suggesting that it might want to head to Denethix,

The next day the players left for Lugosi, and were approaching a wayside stop when they spied a large group of Halfling biker/miners the PCs previously met at the Subterraininn in Southdeep.  The halflings are headed to the festival on a rare few days off work, but have gotten drink on the way and are now fighting because half want to go back to Southdeep and half want to go to the festival.  


Drunk angry and dysfunctional Halfling Biker/Miners.  

Their mood only worsens when a reaction roll with the PCs goes badly, and one halfling, drunk, stroppy, and fancying his odds because they have a number advantage tries to provoke the PCs, and is promptly put on his ass by a punch from the new barbarian PC, demoralising the halflings who leave.  A random roll has the dysfunctional little buggers head back to Southdeep.


BACK TO BELLA'S FOR A FEED AND A REST


The PCs arrived at Lugosi and headed to Bella’s where Vernon was able to arrange a room for “eees good frien’s”, though due to demand the room available is a bit more cramped than their usual room.

Pistole Vernon after hours, barkeep and part owner of Bella's Bar and
Grill, and friend of the PCs
Seeing they are flush he joins them for a drink to celebrate and remember those not coming back.  The PCs ask about hiring henchmen and he suggests talking to Mary who can arrange for posters and a crier to advertise, and there is a catered meeting room out back that they can use for interviews, strictly 'mates rates' of course. He also tells them a little more about the festival.  It goes for three days. Activities take place all over the area for the first two days but the third is always centered around the crypt-topped hillock which dominates the roundabout and wagon stop at the all-domain in the centre of town.

*This player has only been able to return once so the front line has no weapon capable of hitting magic only.  I probably should put some new goodies in there.

**a quick look at the random encounters will tell you what this is, or you can highlight this.  Players, just don’t, those tables are still in use:
Space Phantom, trait as wraith with colour effects from the Festival of Fangs encounter table.
-end highlight.

Festival of Fangs Tables are here. Players don't.

LOSSES: None.

GAINS: Tankred F1.

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

Saturday, 19 April 2014

LAZERHAWK AND HEAVY METAL. OH YEAH. (Not safe for work)

I recently played this for my players during an break.  Heavy Metal movie and Lazerhawk, by the Orbital Gods it's good!
video

I found this on Vimeo (http://vimeo.com/52944225).  Too good not to share, just google Lazerhawk Heavy Metal.  A found resource shared as a fan.

DENEZINS OF DENETHIX: TWO FINGER TEDDY AND HIS TWO TONE BOYZ.

Two Finger Teddy and his Two Tone Boyz work the markets on the outskirts of the Bazzar Incomparable.  They do a good job of 'protecting' their area, are quite popular with the less well off locals, and are on the lookout for many residents that would normally be off the radar of the administratum of Denethix.

Two Finger Teddy (T5) aka "That Two Faced Mother Fu....r!"

They are relatively well known around their home neighborhood for their charasmatic demeanors, don't-fuck-with-us spunk, sense of honour and their 'word', and also in no small part for the well known street parties they hold where they employ musicians from the swamps of the deep south, who are known for a hypnotic rhythm-driven music called 'Skar'; parties which are known to attract a significant number of activists from the student quarter in addition to locals.



THE TWO TONE BOYZ
Left to rightBack Row: Baby Face A1, Sweet Eddy T3, Pelvis Easley T1, Buck Norrick F2, Mac Boy T3, Kicks Stewart T2
Front Row: Dopey T1, Pretty Boy T2 and Joe Ninety% T1


Baby face is known to be twisted and is kept on a short leash by his older brother Sweet Eddy, who is the treasurer.  The day to day protection is run by Pelvis, Buck Norrick, and Mac Boy.  It is said that Buck Norrick is so tough he doesn't need to carry weapons, and that Kicks Stewart once killed a man with a jumping turning hook kick to the head* Those looking for a quick buzz usually visit Dopey, who has a line on some legal but dodgy hafnium and pipe-weed.  Pretty Boy usually accompanies Teddy for both his diplomatic tact and willingness to smash someone's face in, and lastly, seemingly the odd one out, Joe 90% is a student at the Academy and also has a friend in the Scientists.

They run low level protection rackets, hook up deals, sell semi-licit materials, and sometimes come by stuff which has fallen off the back of a cart. They are all locals, and are focused on their 'hood and not expansionistic.

Normally they wear leather backed coats and stylish sturdy expensive shoes, and carry daggers, switchblades, or billy clubs (which they lovingly refer to as 'enforcers'). They have also been spotted with crowbars, crossbows and Teddy carries a revolver.

Teddy is reputed to have been burned while setting fire to an adversary as punishment, although the more perceptive will wonder how that explains the strange eye he now has.  It is a lessor known rumour that he is responsible for the death of at least one agent of the Council of Proper Apportionment.


*The dude in the photo totally reminds me of an old d&d friend and martial arts buddy, B. Stewart, who to this day has very sneaky hard-to-see-coming devastating head kicks.

Saturday, 5 April 2014

PLUG N PLAY CAMPAIGN FACTION: The SisterHive.

THE SISTERHIVE 

STEPHEN BAXTER INSPIRED DROP-IN-YOUR-CAMPAIGN FACTION FOR YOU FANTASY, SCIFANTASY OR SCIFI OLD SCHOOL CAMPAIGN.

This supplement concerns an evolutionary branch of humanity that has evolved since ancient times when it began as an all female religious order which retreated underground to survive a time of strife.

As thousands of years passed, a sisterhood cult and isolation led to rapid evolution of a society of all females of different castes.  There are the drones, the breeders and the organisers.

All sisters in a hive are bound by the strict code of sisterhood, which has had such strong effects on the population over the aeons as to promote rapid physical and social evolution. 

ASE:  Three 'Sisters', age 20.  Like this...
...Not like this, you perv!  These girls are real by the way, pin-up triplets all in the IAF from what I could tell in the brief time it took me to copy this image.  

Back to D&D now.

The drones are somewhat androgynous, with slight builds and large pretty eyes.  The do most of the work and live by the rules of sisterhood, and the mantra, “Sisters are better than daughters”[1].

The breeders are selected at late puberty and have obviously accentuated child bearing features.  They will give birth to one daughter approximately every four months.  The child will be born in a sack of gel, from which it draws sustenance additional to that which it receives from its mother.

All of them exhibit hive like behaviour.  This is influenced by cues such as body language, culture, smell and habit.  Although there is no greater hive mind as suc, the culture and behaviour has developed to the point where the emergent properties mimics such a state of affairs.

The organisers are of two subtypes.  The Matrons, who run the hive, and the Flowers. The Flowers spend time in the outside world to gather information and necessities, and importantly to find mates for the sisterhood.  Once the mate is ‘committed’ it’s time for a trip underneath to ‘meet’ the family. 

These mates must save vs pheromones or become emotionally attached to the survival of the hive as well as willing impregnators of the breeders.  A failure does not necessarily mean the mate has a bad experience; if he’s not obviously smitten, then the belief is that he will be next time.  These mates do not however live underneath amongst the sisters and their access to the hive is strictly controlled by the matrons and the flowers.

All of the sisters have a faint off-milk smell, somewhat more so for the breeders

For The Land of One Thousand Towers campaign these underhives can be located underneath any of the ruins that appear on the map, or heck, just put it right underneath Denethix if you want, who knows what Feretha built on top of.

For a Scifi setting, the sisters left earth thousands of years ago and have set up hives all over.  They are not really a 'threat', nor are they organised between hives.  Sometimes these hives are in planetoids or asteroids, riddled with the hive warren.  Unscrupulous merchants and ship owners often go into business with slavers to assault these and capture a large and ready slave resource.  The sisters will of course defend the hive.


For running the game:  Random Table additions, cut and paste these to the appropriate random tables for your campaign.

ENCOUNTERS
  • 2-4 Drones.  If they know characters are in vicinity of their hive this will be 2d20.  0hd.  1-4 hp.  They have been sent above to do/retrieve/communicate and will be keen to avoid unnecessary contact beyond what they need to do. They believe 'Sisters are better than daughters' and have a morale of 7 in isolation, and 10 against threats to the SisterHive, and 11 in the hive.  Reason for being outside the hive: D6  1-2 Retrieve a sister who as run away. 3-4 Purchase writing materials,  5-6 pass a message.
  • Flower1d2-1   (0=1) Flowers.  These women are attractive and good with conversations.  They are likely professionals of some variety.  They have subtle but effective pheromones which provide a one-step positive reaction adjustment.
  • Add Drone Sisters or a Flower to the type of slaves that a Slaver could have for sale.

RUMORS
  • “There are these people see, and they’re all like girls and they all look just about the same.  They’re seen every now or again, maybe they visit a merchant of something.  No no-one knows where they’re from but they don’t seem to do anyone no harm”.
  • “What?!  You want to go to the ruins of Crystal Palace?  Underneath those ruins there is a city, a hive of insect woman, you know.  Probably best left alone!”.
  • “Yess, a most ancient manuscript this.  A book of history from some lost and ancient civilisation.  It makes reference to a religious sisterhood who created an underground habitat and community underneath their home city during a period of great strife”. 
  • Mercs and Slavers have discovered a hive and are going to raid it for slaves. They are looking for additional muscle.






[1] I have totally converted the Sisterhood from Stephen Baxter’s Coalescent to use in my d&d game.  If you like the idea above I very much recommend that you buy it or get it from the library and read it  Coalescent Wiki.

Lugosi: The Festival of Fangs

The Festival of Fangs is referred to as a one liner in the Anomolous Subsurface Environment 1 description of the town of Lugosi.  The PCs started there, so naturally there has to be festival.

As the players lick their wounds from Session 10, the decide to head back to Lugosi to restock materials and hire more help before returning to finish the job at the Obelisk.  This happened to coincide with the Festival which has been counting down in-game for three weeks since the PCs heard of it. 

The festival runs for three days and is focused around the tomb topped hillock which serves as a roundabout in central Lugosi next to which lies the all-domain, essentially a free caravan park.

The festival gets it's name from old tales of the Vampire, which struck an agreement with the Baron's ancestors, a story which will be expanded in the play report where a random encounter sees the PCs witness a street puppet show telling the story.

I made some tables and determined to play out the festival with them and that the last five entries on the D30 table would be best kept for the third and final night of the festival, which this time falls on a full moon.


Gypsies arriving in Lugosi on their way to the All-domain.


LUGOSI:  FESTIVAL OF FANGS D12 RUMORS
  1. Some travellers say they have seen the old man screaming from that old tower again.  50% chance they hear this from Mary
  2. Lycanthrope problem, heck, this area hasn’t been crawlin’ with so many biters since the times in those legends about Torpo the Cannibal.
  3. Did you hear about all that stuff going on at the Obelisk down South?  Roll on the rumour table for Obelisk of Forgotten Memory.
  4. Sinister agents claiming to represent The Vampire have announced that an appearance will be made at the festival.  (False, there are no agents)
  5. Some rivals are trying to muscle in on Mary’s turf.  They have ties to the other adventuring group in town at the moment.  Roll on the d21-50 (D30) Table THE FESTIVAL OF FANGS – RANDOM ENCOUNTERS to determine who it is.
  6. Have you heard there are two groups of adventurers in town right now.  There both gearing up and both looking for help.  That sort of competition is good for guys like us, ya know...
  7. Eyewitnesses to a murder describe a huge man feeding on a victim.
  8.  The Baron grows frustrated with the Denethix bureaucracy turning it's gaze toward Lugosi.
  9. A whole caravan of those Starry Wisdom acolytes came through here.  Pulled up their caravan at the All-domain and did big business with some slavers before heading out west.
  10. Roll on the Denethix Treasure Rumors Table
  11. Roll on the Dungeon of Signs blog Denethix Treasure Rumors Table.
  12. Have you heard about the Fist?  They have 50% either a Victorious Win or a Crushing defeat in some battle far to the southwest.  They say the invaders were nomad led by militant Snakemen!  Never heard of Snakemen mate, ever!


D30 table entry #09:  Tax Collectors from Denethix are in town, hide your purses adventurers. The picture is by the French artist Bilal.


LUGOSI:  FESTIVAL OF FANGS D30 Encounters (To use in the ASE setting, roll D50 with the Town Encounters table from ASE being 1-20, and this being 21-50)

  1. Drunk would-be adventurer types looking for work.
  2. Gypsies, doin’ gypsie stuff, like selling dogs, and herbal cures
  3. Elven gypsies, doin’ gypsie stuff, like selling dogs, herbal cures, and asking if anyone has any human babies they would like to swap.
  4. Trader D12  1-2 Food, 3-4 clothes/textiles, 5 Tools, 6 Weapons, 7 Curios (roll on the Hobo treasure table Dungeon of Signs), 8 Finery/Drugs/etc.  9-12 roll on Gus' table of travelling merchants here:  Quality of work:  D6 1 poor, 2-3 average, 4-5 good, 6 excellent.
  5. The Veterinarian (met previously) who wants to bring people’s attention to the spread of the Black. Has d4+1 guards now.
  6. Performers D8  1-4 Musicians, 5-6 Dancers, 7-8 Puppet Show:  Punch and Judy style tale of a blood sucking being of great power who arrived in the land.  The Baron in the tale, who's lineage is of the star-nobles fought with the creature.  In the end they agreed that the vampire would only hunt on those nights of the festival that occurred on a full moon and another condition YOU make up on the spot.  It's been so long since this has occurred it is often considered to just be tall tales. .
  7. Religious Acolytes of Iithius, aspect of flowering plants and herbs (randomly determined on the ASE religion tables). 
  8. A tall, handsome and charming black-skinned Egyptian-featured man wants to meet magic users.  He has (cursed) items to trade.  He will claim no knowledge of the Cult of Starry Wisdom if asked.
  9. Representatives of The Council of Proper Apportionment.  They have rented an office and will expect the PCs to make an appointment for the purposes of assessing tax. 25% chance they also belong to a Denethix Thieves' Guild and are trying to muscle in on Mary's turf in Lugosi.
  10. Drunken revellers.  25% it is someone the PCs know. 10% demi humans or exotic or whatever:
  11. Locals.  There is a 20% chance they have heard what the PCs did for the Jeffersons and so will be well disposed.
  12. I heard about you from the Jeffersons, I know the beast’s secret, but we will need to find her in time...
  13. Dawn.  She’s happy to see them but disappointed they have come back to Lugosi empty handed.  
  14. A messenger being chased D8 1-2 by mercenaries, 3-4 by The Fist, 5-6 by the Baron’s men, 7-8 agents of the Council of Proper Apportionment, 9 Starry Wisdom Cultist, 10 The other (rival) adventuring group in town.
  15. Quitarros.  From a Swords and Stitchery table, this is an ancient metamorph who is looking for it’s lost lover.  Met by PCs by random roll in caves at Southdeep sinkhole floor.
  16. A Space Phantom (treat as a wraith) come through time following the cosmic trail left by the Lover of Quitarros. (Describe it’s presence as very frightening – it's only fair given it has level drain).  It might want to 'sniff' the PCs.  A large humanoid shape of utter darkness, a purple flashing makes it seeth with inter-planar pulsations in which if looked at for too long will let the viewer see deep into the heart of the cosmos.  Looking at it for more than three rounds requires a save vs petrification or the character will be 50% either transfixed, or recoil and flee in gibbering terror.
  17. The Lover of Quintarros.  A swords and sorcery space merc who had an affair with the ancient metamorph ‘Quintarros’ before falling through a dimensional hole to here.  He’s travelling with D8  1-2 Gypsies, 3-4 Traders, 5-6 Alone, 7-Other, 8-Another 'hero' npc made up on the spot as suits.
  18. Werebeast. D6 1-5 human, 6 beast.  Beast is hungry, as a human is hungry on 2 in 6.
  19. Rival Adventurers on the other side of the road/dancefloor/whatever.  1-4 Stare, 5-6 Heckle
  20. The Fist. 2-16   roll D6  1-3 Foot, 2-5 mounted, 6 recruiting.
  21. Baron’s ‘men’. 2-5  D6  1-3 Foot, 4-6 Mounted
  22. Sherrif’s ‘men’.  1-6
  23. A Doctor.  A tall striking woman who comes from far away.  She is well versed in philosophy and medicine, and is introducing some new medical techniques to the local doctors. Her dagger is her guardian and acts as a very powerful dancing sword. 
  24. The Farmers Girls from session, or Boys from session.  40%girls, 40%boys, 20% both
  25. Crier  40%advertising that the PC’s are recruiting help, 40% advertising rival group’s recruiting session, 20% something else.  These percentages can be adjusted by the PCs spending more gold.
  26. Gorpo, descendent/cousin of Torpo the Cannibal (or is he just a cheap pretender?) a cannibalistic blood drinking meat axe.  Is it a werewolf?  Is it a vampire?  No! It’s Gorpo.
  27. Three alien travellers wearing masks over masks.  A ‘Vampire’, a ‘Werewolf’, and a ‘Witch’. Underneath these masks they have horrid alien faces with leech-like mouths.  These are also masks, underneath which they are extremely beautiful and one is a powerful machine.
  28. 2-5 Secret Hipster faction revellers from Alpha Complex who have snuck out “for a groovy time man”.  They are all Troubleshooter class, levels D4-1.  Leader adds +1, they have good happy drugs to share.
  29. Coloured lights fly over and land in the field behind the caravan all-domain.  A short time later tall beguiling ‘relatives’ are greeted by the Baron, and they join his table at the festival. (I ran this one anyway).
  30. Oh go on, the town got it's name somewhere - A Vampire! Go to town.  The vampire is very hungry and It will only feed, one person (or two levels) each round for D6+1 rounds before fleeing.   It will not interact; tonight it is the epitome of a hungry supernatural beast. 
Entry #29  One of the Baron's strange 'distant relatives' who it appears arrived at the festival by flying machine.

The vampire, whatever 'it' is, is oathbound to the Baron's lineage not to feed outside of very predetermined times.  The beast has possibly been in a torpor like state for a very long time, and not even in the stories told to the oldest residents when they were the youngest of children, has the vampire of town mythology made an appearance.