Thursday, 7 September 2017

Session 151 - Two's Company

Session 151 - Two's Company

Campaign Date:
Monday, 8 September, 1600
Moon Phase: Third Quarter
Zodiac: Leo

New Backstory:- Chiffon fell out with a friend forever because she dissed his scarf. (Once ever, it turns out that someone you don't know here is your estranged buddy. "Wait, JOHN?!" Up to you whether you've forgiven each other by now.)
Enemies Defeated:
- Just a ton of rats (100 exp)
- 4 yellow-clawed ghouls (200 exp)
Total: 300 exp

Treasure and Equipment:
- Silver Locket (300 exp)
- 1gp, 700sp (750 exp)
Total: 1050 exp

Exploration:- 6 dungeon rooms explored (120 exp)- 1 random encounter (50 exp)
Total: 170 exp

Events:
- It is a sad day. Only Fraser and I have shown up to D&D. Lots of people sent their apologies, and yet I never considered we'd be cut down to a mere two. (50 exp)
- We wait an hour or two before calling it as a washout. (50 exp)
- But soft! What light through yonder bar counter breaks? It is the session, and James Ratman is the second player! Arise, fair Ratman1 We'll have a D&D session yet! (50 exp)
- With two players and a scarce few hours left, we jump straight in. Nix and Chiffon. Chiffon and Nix! They're in Helix so they head to the town square and get the crier to drum up some meatshields! (50 exp)
- Answering the call - a Torchbearer unceremoniously renamed Pleb, and Huz the Man-at-Arms affectionately named Huzzy Bear. (50 exp)
- They pay some cash at the inn for the presidential suite to bump up their HP and set off! Grim Charlie's wagon has never clattered to the Barrowmoor so fast! (50 exp)
- They sprint towards the entrance to the Barrowmaze and power-slide down the grimy rope into the depths. Nix wants to map, so directs their next cautious steps. (50 exp)
- But first she needs to take a piss, and Chiffon takes the opportunity to bust down a random other door! Or rather, he commands pleb to do so. (50 exp)
- Behind, there are a fuckload of rats. Chiffon, appalled, boots Pleb into the room and shuts the door until the hammering stops. (50 exp)
- Nix comes back from the toilet and wonders where Pleb went. Awkward silence. (50 exp)
- The group continue in Nix's original direction, they reach the room that they saw a whole bunch of rats behind last session. (50 exp)
- Chiffon creates a Make-Heat-Light glyph and Nix readies a Repel-Heat-Light glyph. It's flamethrower time! Huz pulls the door back and "Team Chix" bathes the inside of the room in flame. (50 exp)
- Picking their way through the fried rat corpses, they go through the now-burnt grave goods and burning tapestries to find a silver locket that resisted the fire purge. Score! (50 exp)
- They explore more mappable terrain and in a classic case of not-entirely-satisfying classic dungeon trap, Nix misses the disguised lid of a pit in front of an arch. She falls 20', bumping her HP badly when she hits the bottom. (50 exp)
- It's a fairly simple matter of rope and holding back the pit trap lid to get her out. Great trap AAA++++ would fall again. (50 exp)
- The sacred phrase "we tap the floor ahead of us with a pole" is uttered. Now That's What I Call Old School Roleplaying 2017. Immune to pit traps for 24 hours. (50 exp)
- They enter a room with a room with a squat demonic statue in it. It's missing an arm. Clear Zelda-style find-the-arm sidequest, says Nix. They also hear whispering behind a door. (50 exp)
- Nix and Chiffon question the whisperers through the closed door. They identify themselves as Mongroids made up of many animal bits. They don't want to be seen. Chiffon asks if they have any valuable fur parts and they react with fear and disgust. (50 exp)
- The mongroids are left alone, however, and continue down some stairs... (50 exp)
- Except these stairs meet in a little four-way nexus of stairs before going back up. It's a meta-trap, meant to discourage those who don't want to head down into a second level of a dungeon. (50 exp)
- They go straight on and find themselves facing, what else, doors. They sledgehammer down one and see four pale emaciated men with long yellow-dripping claws. (50 exp)
- Nix pays her magic shield for AC and blocks the door with her shield. Two of them run at her while the other two disappear into shadow... (50 exp)
- Chiffon worries that the other two are going to head around and flank the party, so Nix chucks in a torch and reveals that they're simply crawling across the ceiling. (50 exp)
- The torch light also reveals that one has a lovely ghoul pelt. Avarice crosses Chiffon's features. (50 exp)
- Nix is getting pummelled over there and she's had enough. She gets MAXIMUM ANGERY and charges into the room to rip shit up! (50 exp)
- I discover something unanticipated - since Pain poison decreases dice rolls and AC, and Barbarians reverse penalties from Pain while raging... Nix just gets more and more powerful! (50 exp)
- 7 poison tokens in and Nix is an impregnable superfortress of barbarian muscle. She tears the ghouls to bits, incidentally ruining the perfect ghoul pelt as she does so. (50 exp)
- Chiffon flees and the hulked out Nix bursts out of the room, sees another door, kicks it down, and as the rage wears off she finally passes out from the poison. Maybe the bas relief of a setting sun on the opposite wall had a calming effect. (50 exp)
- Chiffon searches the ghoul room now that Nix has passed out. He finds some bowls full of cash and a runic tablet! He reads the tablet and... gains a phobia! What's with these things? (50 exp)
- The phobia is of hospitals. Well then. Out of all the actually-bad-for-dnd-characters phobias on this table, it looks like the players keep lucking out! (50 exp)
- Chiffon and Huz lug Nix's body back to the entrance and out. Success! (50 exp)
Total: 1550 exp

Misc:
- Balls to the Wall bonus (50 exp)
- Best of Intentions 
bonus (50 exp)
- Breach and Clear bonus (50 exp)
- Brutal Kill bonus (50 exp)
- Diplomancy bonus (50 exp)- Henchman Abuse bonus (50 exp)
- Leave a Man Behind bonus (50 exp)
- Michael Bay bonus (50 exp)
- PETA bonus (50 exp)- Poison is OP bonus (50 exp)
- Pundemonium bonus (50 exp)
- Split the Party bonus (50 exp)
- Spooky bonus (50 exp)
- Tactical Fighting bonus (50 exp)
- Tomb Raider bonus (50 exp)
Total: 700 exp

Party Roles and Individual Exp:
- Remembrancer 
(James / Chiffon - 100 exp)
- Caller (James / Chiffon - 100 exp)
- Mapper (Fraser / Nix - 100 exp)
- Treasurer 
(James / Chiffon - 100 exp)
- Quartermaster 
(James / Chiffon - 100 exp)
- Guard (James / Chiffon - 100 exp)- Tracker (James / Chiffon - 100 exp)
- JÜGBRINGYR bonus (Fraser - 500 exp)

Rumours:
-
Had to go too fast for rumours!

Active Businesses:
- Bone Alone. Wild. 348sp. (Zena's Stake: 232sp, Carrie's Stake: 116sp)
- Spicy Mac's Spices. Risky. 4000sp.

Out of Action:
- Gimlass. Broken Collarbone. Healed by: 2nd November 1660.


Death Toll and Injuries:
- Pleb, kicked into a roomful of rats by Chiffon when nobody else was looking.


Exp Totals:
- Fraser / Nix Neckbiter, Level 6 Barbarian: 39697 (Level up at 64000)
--- Huz, Level 0 Hireling
- James / Chiffon, Level 2 Elf (Canny Childe): 5732 (Level up at 6000)
--- Pleb, Level 0 Torchbearer
*DECEASED*

Absent or Retired:- Kitty / POWERLAD!, Level 5 Muscle Wizard: 35457 (Level up at 36000)
- Charles / Zena, Level 5 Fighter: 30292 (Level up at 32000)
- Andy / Carrie Meleste, Level 5 Cleric: 16124 (Level up at 28000)
- Tom / Spicy Mac, Level 2 Halfling: 3457 (Level up at 4000)
- Eleanor / Mugg, Level 2 Fighter: 2357 (Level up at 4000)
- Kyle / Gimlass the Brave, Level 2 Dwarf: 2257 (Level up at 4400)
- Amar / Amar's Cleric, Level 1 Cleric: 1413 (Level up at 1750)

- Henry / Henry's Next Character: +2084 exp
- Ollie / Tremendo Picante, Level 2 Ratman: 2654 (Level up at 3000)

- James / Raaf van Held, Level 4 Fighter: 14838 (Level up at 16000)

- Eglė / Bob, Level 1 Dwarf: 434 (Level up at 2200)

- Ollie / Andromeda Spiderbite, 
Level 5 Muscle Wizard: 19872 (Level up at 36000)
Will / Cecil Fulbright, Level 5 Cleric (Termaxian): 15063 (Level up at 28000)
- Tom / Insanity Mammoth, Level 3 Barbarian: 5192 (Level up at 8000)
- James / William Fox-Shitt, Level 3 Cleric (Zeanist): 4571 (Level up at 7000)

Friday, 1 September 2017

Retrospective 15 - The Rise, Fall and Rise of the Moondin Arc

The player's time in Moondin rounded itself off neatly enough that everyone just sort of naturally started calling it "the Moondin Arc".
I don't hesitate to say that I didn't plan it this way, the vagaries of emergent narrative just spat out a pearl of self-contained story arc.

We had the rise of Rake to stewardship, his death, and the political free-for-all that followed.
We had Blue Jon whose final mission to summon Baba Yaga ended with his witchy apotheosis.
We had the brief political career and retirement of the sometimes-annoyingly-law-abiding Raaf Van Held.
And we had Rake's daughter, who proved that sometimes someone with great promise will still just die a stupid death.


My favourite part of the Moondin Arc was the politicking system I made up, which I'll post some time soonish I'm sure.
The main fun part was grilling players with "media questions" and watching them squirm and attempt to pivot when they realised they actually knew fuck all about the political situation in Moondin.
Good times! Now they know how Sean Spicer felt!

They basically started the post-Rake Steward era by trying to cement his rule.
The Necromancer-General who had apparently died in the Arena Disaster, Castigate Pox, turned out to be alive but severely weakened. Rake wore his hollow armour, and wielded the black greataxe that housed Castigate's soul.
It was pretty badass. Together, it legitimised "Castirake" as the Steward of Moondin.

The enormous black dragon that POWERLAD had Phantasmal Force'd into existence in an attempt to stop the terrorist Andromeda was being worshipped as a god in a classic case of unintended consequences.
The solution, of course, was to get him to summon it again, and to have Rake kill it in a display of showmanship that many believed.
It worked! Sorta. Lots of dice-rolling on my end to see how believed it was after the fact.


After his rise to power, one of my favourite running jokes was the insistence, in every official decree, that "WEED IS NOW LEGAL!"
And in fact weed turned out to be a really effective wizard drug. Blue Jon the weed-smoking wizard (in the great pothead tradition of Gandalf) was immune to both spell interruption AND illusions which made him very effective.

Blue Jon's player, Henry, revealed during this time that he was going to be leaving to live in China. Oh no!
He wanted to do something good with his last weeks in the country, and so the Blue Jon fetch quest to fetch the artifacts of Baba Yaga (reskinned frog idol relics) was born.
I streamlined things juuuust a little behind the scenes to make it possible within his three week time frame, and luckily for everyone they managed to complete it!
Baba Yaga is back, fused with Blue Jon to create "Baba Jon" who may or may not own a pizza shop.
This is going to have massive repurcussions for my campaign world going forward.


Rake died in a lake during this fetch quest. He followed a Kelpie (as in the water horse from Scottish myth that drowns you) into a lake, despite warnings from one of the players (who is, in fact, Scottish) that following it into the lake would drown him.
It did.
The power vacuum that opened up meant that I had to upgrade the political subsystem a bit with schmoozing influence from interest groups. Unfortunately two of the players stood on similar platforms and essentially split the vote. Such is politics!


After they left Moondin behind, they ended up at the Barrowmaze for some traditional megadungeon breach-and-clear.
After all the high-concept stuff, some classic dungeonbashing as a palette cleanser is right up my alley!




Mini-Reviews:

The Temple of Lies
I didn't run this because one of the players ran it while I was away, but by all accounts it was really good!

Challenge of the Frog Idol
Just an amazing free adventure. The lynchpin of a whole segment of the campaign, it would have been in use longer if only I hadn't allowed a little corner-cutting for the soon-departed Henry's benefit.

Barrowmaze
A nice, flat megadungeon in the classic style. I've made a bunch of supplemental stuff for it, like a hex map of the mounds and a time tracker (since I added a fast-travel from Helix to the Barrowmoor). My biggest gripe - no bookmarks in the pdf?! What the fuck!?
I love undead enemies because they're the only type of enemy I'm comfortable with giving a consistent suite of powers (instead of the LotFP ideal of unique baddies every time).
I'll post about my changes and stuff at a later date.