I ran Meal of Oshregaal (goblinpunch.blogspot.com/2015/05/the-meal-of-oshregaal.html) on the grid Sunday afternoon. There's always some Sunday attrition, so I ended up with five players, one of whom is in my home group and two friends from GaryCons past and the Hyperborea boards (incl.BigPerm, Josh, Lige). While it did end up a TPK, that happened only at the end of our four-hour slot, so I call that a success! My impression was that the players had a lot of fun and really liked both the mechanical and flavor aspects of the adventure. Arnold's set-up fits well with my descriptive abilities (I skew ewwwward).
I heartily recommend this to the AS&SH Referee. though. Very easy to drop into Hyperborea.
I set them up on a mission to extract Grandfather Oshregaal's scribe (Plum) and return her to her vat sisters. A shadowy gang of replacement PCs waited in the caverns. This party ended up splitting up early in the game, two of them being escorted by the imp to use the facilities, the others leaving replacement PCs with Grandfather and going to "rest up."
My players had not gone upstairs when I first ran this, so that was new to me. They avoided Grandfather's room and did not mess with Nathema's gift, but they did go in and talk to Grandfather's sister, who became one of my favorite NPCs of all time. Her dedication to her art provides a built-in depth that actually arises from single-mindedness. In her room, working on the chair, she really just didn't care about anything else and was perfectly content to let the PCs hang around as long as they kept quiet. She tried to convince two of them (CHA 14s) to volunteer as material and so reach apotheosis in art, but when they turned her down, she was content to be merely disappointed. Artists are used to failure.
I think, though, that it was too much for one player, who tried to take her head off when she went back to carving. He screwed his surprise roll, and then she really came into her own. Her first move (well, after the stinger) was to cast infantilize. Then, while her bed roused and dealt with the other PCs, she charmed the adorable baby berserker swinging its adorable baby two-handed scimitar at her. The fire-thief climbed (fell) out the window, and the bed knocked the fighter unconscious, and I drew the curtain of charity over what happened next in that room. Let's just say that art can still be OK even if the materials don't offer themselves willingly . . .
At any rate, there were some fun shenanigans with the peacocks, and one of the new characters ended up stranded in a peahen body after watching his new bird sisters devour it. I told him that he could try to leave it at any time but that there was no guarantee he could get back in. Unfortunately, this made the player too nervous to try possessing one of the mountain ape (ogre) butlers, which might have proved useful.
The other group, after killing the imp, did some exploration, drank some wine, grew some gills, distended their jaws, learned how to harden objects by whispering to them (I used two(!) mutation tables from +Scrap Princess and would ask the mutating player whether his favorite number was 30 or 100 and then roll on that table; this was a big hit), missed pretty much all the clues and treasure as they quote "top-down[ed] this m**********r," but found Plum and got her quite invested in her own escape, the poor dear. Good catch phrase for Plum: "Let me check my notes . . . no, I got nothing."
So the downstairs party (barbarian, necromancer) and the upstairs party (fire thief [still alive! spent some time as a shark; has gills], fighter, astral peahen) start to reconverge toward the feast hall because the downstairs (top-downing-this-m**********r) group decides (with some dissension) to not figure out what's going on with the folded hallway and instead try to fight their way out with Plum's crystal sword.
And then everything went wrong, big time.
First, the necromancer decided on some subterfuge, went back and got the cursed portrait painting and managed to convince Plum to hide in it while they tried to get the crazy old man to help them fight (after first trying to catch Plum by surprise and just let the old man grab her). She finally agrees.
The crazy old man mentions that he had been looking for the Grey Grim Blade, which the necromancer figures he had seen in the trophy room, so the two of them go back to get it.
The smashing. The burning. The Shadow Children. The Walrus Revenant. The end of that part of the party. (And eventually a horrible surprise for Plum!)
So the astral peahen, fire thief, fighter, and barbarian all try to attack the feast at one time. The barbarian actually manages to get surprise on and would Grandfather O, which pisses him off. He uses the mass command. The fire thief had had a drink from the fountain and so docilely sits (NB: At first they did not think the one-word command was "sit").
The barbarian forgot to stuff the gauze he had been keeping in his cheeks ("I don' want his mother to see him like this") in his ears before attacking, but made his save--and then was knocked out by Grandfather's fully operational claws. The peahen failed to possess Nathema and was captured. And the fighter was knocked out, too.
I did narrate for them the appearance of the eventual fusion creature that soon was terrorizing the nearby countryside.
All in all, success!
One thing I noticed: for con or one-off play, requiring someone to stay with Grandfather can be fun limiting. I was happy to let them make that a "shadow" PC as long as they stayed in the spirit of the place and accepted what it would mean to leave). In campaign play, no problems with that.
Also, it's very easy for a party to get separated in lots of ways here, so be prepared to deal with that. Since most of the players didn't know my style, I made a point of saying that while their characters could not act on areas where they were not present, as players they should feel free to lend their brains to all the aspects of the adventure that were testing player skill rather than character skill, and that worked well. (I think they would have figured out the hallway if the top-downing hadn't gathered such unstoppable momentum!)
Great adventure. Would run again!
(Edited because I forget that some words are "bad.")
Last edited by Handy Haversack (3/30/2017 8:21 pm)