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7/24/2015 11:08 am  #21

Re: The Mulish Inconsistencies

Thanks, joseph! That's really nice of you. We played a full day's session--about six hours of gaming, in your one page of adventure, so there's plenty there! They didn't even really explore the area all that much since they managed to get the villagers' help and then didn't take the bait on the bird-men (I love RPing bird-men; such jerks). A great deal of the actual play was an awesome Hegelian handshake between your hints and outlines and descriptions and my needing to make things up on the spot as the players went certain places and tried certain things. Since the Deep One connection at Stillwater was clear, the "Bretheren of the Deep" came easy. Thesis, antithesis, synthesiss! And the Ghost Turtle had to do something cool when propitiated. The players had a very pith-helmeted anthropologist's take on the village of Deep One worshipers, even when I pointed out that they did not see any women and only a few girls. As J said, "If that slave girl wanted to be rescued she should have been covered in gold, jewels, or magic items."

Anyway, the next bit:

The star craft of seamless black metal was only a few feet away from the huddled party. Lugotorix crept along to the right, toward the bright light. It poured from a transparent section of the thing's hull, and within he could see [since I didn't see the sentence about the window's being opaque from the outside!] the ship's master. As Bergthor had described, the creature was enormous, eight feet tall. Though shaped like a man, there was nothing human about it. Shaggy fur or hair spilled out of a silken one-piece garment. Its single eye seemed to stare into nothing or infinity as it brooded in the lights and strange devices of its stranded craft. The scout was transfixed for a moment but then, judging that the thing had not seen him in the darkness outside the craft, backed slowly away. He circled around the craft the other way and found an open ramp that led into the canted structure. Two hoses snaked out of the open ramp and through the stone wall, leading to the river. Placing his hand on each, he could feel water surging through them. One was hot to the touch, even through the strange leathery substance. The other was cold.

From the raft, an opening and avenue in the stone wall framed a grotesque and crude statue of the traveler, molded from stone and mud by the newly advanced man-frogs, a tribute to those new skills and impulses that even now drew them capering around chaotic fires of peat and driftwood among their crude cabins. The Pict saw that there was no cover for the party if they wanted to scale the ramp into the craft. Any of the man-frogs looking their way would seem their shapes against the lighted interior. He circled quiety back to the others and told them what he had seen. They discussed various ways of distracting the man-frogs, but since most of these involved Barry or Cogidubnos, Clerica Strada's warrior-servant, acting as isolated bait, they were rejected. Finally, the cleric insisted that his mission was favored by Thaumagorga and insisted that they rush the entryway and take the craft. Unable to think of a better plan, the others agreed.

And so they charged through the black Hyperborean night, around and into the craft that had descended from those same stars that leered over the scene: the man-frogs capering black shadows around their fires, filled with the new impulse to worship, the same mania of fear and devotion to those powers that crouch over Hyperborea like thieves at their dice that led the cleric to drive the party up the ramp and into the mysterious ship that sailed between worlds. A great croaking cry revealed that they had been seen, and over their shoulders they could see the man-frogs charging, pouring down the stone-defined avenue from their huts with leaps that destroyed any illusion of safety the invading party enjoyed.

They pelted up the ramp. Lugotorix and Cogidubnos paused to fire arrows into the leaping mass of man-frogs, and each found a mark and dropped one of the creatures, but the rest were undaunted, gulping and croaking in their rage. At the top of the ramp, the party found a narrow corridor that led to the craft's interior. They plunged down the corridor and emerged into a large central chamber. It walls were lined with what they guessed be portals, ten feet high. like closed eyelids of black and white metal. Lugotorix raced to the closest one while Bergthor, Barry, and Cogidubnos prepared to hold the bottleneck of the corridor's end against the onrushing man-frogs.


7/26/2015 1:34 am  #22

Re: The Mulish Inconsistencies

joseph wrote:

Handy, this is the best use of any "one page dungeon" ever and I'm stoked that you have taken the time to run it. You've taken the bare bones of an adventure and turned it into your own outstanding tale. Keep it going, can't wait to see how it turns out for your hapless adventurers!

I'm so running this with my players. All they want is weird fantasy and this is a very good exemple. I'll put this in my topic in the campaign section. Thanks for the idea and background!


7/28/2015 12:59 pm  #23

Re: The Mulish Inconsistencies

Arrows from the two fighting men and a hurled stone axe from the cleric all found pale writhing flesh as the mass of grotesque creatures swarmed up the ramp. Whether the party could have held the man-frogs at the corridor or would have been surrounded by the leaping things will never be known. In a fit of inspiration, Lugotorix figured out the mechanism of the portal. He called for the others and charged through, finding on the opposite side a panel that matched the one he had manipulated to open the door. Clerica Strada, Bergthor, Barry, and Cogidubnos raced through after him. At the wedge-shaped chamber's far end, the traveler was rising to his feet, casual and unconcerned as his stronghold was invaded. Bergthor and Barry never stopped but raced across the intervening distance, axe and spear flashing in the bright light. Behind them, Lugotorix reversed what he had done to the exterior panel, and the eye of the portal closed, blocking the leaping man-frogs, who began to beat against the door with their weapons.

The Pict had no idea whether the man-frogs knew how to operate the strange mechanics of the traveler. But he also knew he was needed in the fight. He grabbed Cogidubnos, who had stopped inside the portal and loosed an arrow at the traveler as the others charged. "Look!" Lugotorix told the other Pict. "If that starts to open, twist this this way. And keep doing it! Don't let them in!" With that the scout began to circle around the room, keeping low and hoping to avoid the notice of the traveler, who was now engaged with Barry and Bergthor.

Bergthor's surprise charge attack had rattled the traveler for a moment, but it seemed equilibrium had been restored to the strange creature, which now fought off the Viking and the villager with seeming unconcern. Almost casually, it batted aside Barry's spear and stabbed the youth through the shoulder so that blood ran down the shaft of his spear and it began to slip from his grasp. At the same time, the traveler drew from its belt a strangely jointed rod, like a small crossbow with no bow. He aimed this at Cogidubnos guarding the door and pulled the trigger. A cone of radiance leaped forth, surrounding the hapless Pict. When it winked out, he was a burned wreck, his skin sloughing off in great runny sheets, nails and bones blackened where they emerged from the mess that moments before had been a fierce and vital warrior. But Bergthor's eyes lit up at the idea of controlling such a weapon, and he redoubled his attack.

Pressed now on two sides, the traveler let its radium pistol drop to its hip and lashed out with its sword of black metal. Barry dropped to the ground, knocked unconscious by the hilt while the blade itself bit into Bergthor's mail, severing links of chain and gashing the leather and flesh beneath. The Viking did his best to fence with the giant creature. Clerica Strada, calling on his god, charged in and was tossed aside as easily as a human might bend back a thin branch from his path. The cleric lay stunned beneath one of the strange furnishings of the room. His charge, though, had allows Lugotorix to sneak behind the traveler, who somehow had not noticed his coming in the fierce battle. Blessing his luck, the scout chose his moment, leveled his blade, and stabbed at the travelers broad back. To his shock, as his blade was about to plunge into the thing's body, its point changed, grew, whitened, and the stabbing steel was preceded by the rending maw of the Ghost Turtle in miniature, biting through costume and alien flesh and otherworldly viscera to burst through the traveler's chest and spray the staggering Bergthor in gore.

Slowly the massive form of the creature from beyond the stars toppled to the floor. Lugotorix whooped in pride as Bergthor bent to the fallen body. The Viking held up the radium pistol.

"I'm going to take this," he said.


     Thread Starter

7/28/2015 6:03 pm  #24

Re: The Mulish Inconsistencies

...and then the role playing started.


7/28/2015 8:17 pm  #25

Re: The Mulish Inconsistencies

Mortificateur wrote:

I'm so running this with my players. All they want is weird fantasy and this is a very good exemple. I'll put this in my topic in the campaign section. Thanks for the idea and background!

Great, I'm looking forward to hearing how you use the material!

Handy, fun stuff! I'm digging your recaps!

ravengodgames.blogspot.com ~ cartography, writing, game design
Author, Forgotten Fane of the Coiled Goddess

7/28/2015 10:15 pm  #26

Re: The Mulish Inconsistencies

BigPerm wrote:

...and then the role playing started.

joseph wrote:

Handy, fun stuff! I'm digging your recaps!

Spoiler alert: Don't get too attached to Clerica Strada or intraparty unity!

     Thread Starter

11/09/2015 11:13 am  #27

Re: The Mulish Inconsistencies

Apparently, I just don't have the sticktoitiveness to keep up with a campaign journal, but a quick note in this thread just to let say that we just finished our third session of Ghost Ship of the Desert Dunes, and things are looking grim . . .

My players are down outside the Reintegration Facility. They dispatched the RBZs there but for some reason didn't use the last charge of the flamethrower to do it. They've lost two characters, most of their HP, and most of their spells. Even Vul Kovtu has used up his wand of magic missiles. I don't know what they're going to do. I guess the safest place to rest would be in the Reintegration Facility, Not sure how I'd have Thakos respond to that. One the one hand, he's too cowardly to attack head-on, I'd think. On the other hand, he probably knows that rested spellcasters are more dangerous. But he's also pretty much out of troops at this point so would have to risk himself . . .

Of course, if they go all the way outside and camp next to Ymir's Serpent, they're going to be there at midnight, which has horrible consequences of its own! And the poor donkeys--left hobbled right there out in the open next to the ship, which I have to assume won't turn down a few extra HD. I mean, it's not like the other ghost ships are going to make fun of it . . .

Good times!

     Thread Starter

11/10/2015 4:16 pm  #28

Re: The Mulish Inconsistencies

OK, back up a bit: Since I suck at maintaining a CJ. Suffice to say that things went bad in the Moon Bog. After several rounds of who's-tying-up-whom and let's-rest-by-the-big-dead-thing, Bergthor ended up killing Cleric Estrada so that the raygun could be used for shooting things and not destroyed for stupid religion. The Lugotorix and Barry the Moon-Bogger (Barry!) almost manage to haul the unconscious Bergthor out of the swamp when it turns out raygun isn't necessarily going to take out a giant radioactive boar all on its own. Copen is achieved once again. Though not for Bergthor.

8/29: We're hunting thew wagons! Eww--you do it. Solon and Eutropia are starting to happen.
Rejoined with the rest of the party, they accept an invite from the local to join the lizard-people bravos on a thew-wagon hunt. Exciting times are had, grease is used extensively, and it turns out the best way to beat zombies is to let the thew wagons beat zombies for you. Solon and Eutropia, the lone survivors of the first incarnation of this group, reach level 4. Solon still looks weird.

9/19: Greed wins! But werewolves are still dangerous. Well, Solon is. RIP, Hypokrates. Welcome, Iluq.
The Temple of Greed. This dungeon rewards players for being greedy. Mine nailed it. It took a little doing, some more creative greasing (becoming Solon's go-to spell), and a melted eyeball, but they got out with the loot. And probably would have escaped the werewolf waiting for them but Solon is pretty much a loose cannon with the sleep spells and raygunning. RIP, Lugotorix.

New characters include Kallias (Amazon berserker) and Pompom (monk). Kallias of the Melted Eyeball does not take off as a nickname. And Sophia, Amazon mountebank. Also, new player with Iluq, Esquimmeaux shaman of the sea otter. Surprisingly tough!

9/26: Wait a minute--wolverines are *nothing* like bouncy houses! I am in the pit. You are in the pit. In the pit, we are safe. Don't stop believing.
Ghost Ship of the Desert Dunes! A little creative handwaving to get the ship all the way around the "top" of the map from Copen to Calencia, but whatevs. A very suspicious crew takes Vul Kovtu of Khromarium up on his offer. They renegotiate in midcourse because that's how they roll. They also roll by getting their asses handed to them by guard wolves, falling on top of angry wolverines, and having to hide for twenty-four hours in an illusion of a 20X20' pit while ape-people make fun of the lame defenses humans put in the woods. Concentration is maintained. The replacement wolves are pushovers, the werewolf is dealt with by a berserker set on puree, and they spend a restful night in a filthy prison cell after re-locking-up the girl they had rescued. High fantasy!

10/17: Solon's charm wears thin on the butcher. Also, hot spider-on-bat action--with ants!
Ghost Ship of the Desert Dunes session 2. Green-glass amphora secured then back to Cape Calencia to try to modernize some of the seriously heteronormative crap going on around the butcher's place. Solon is strongly punched. The witches assure the party that they will deal with things their own way. Back to sea! They reach the Diamond Desert and disembark, surrounded by pack mules for safety. Giant trap door spiders are bad, but giant radioactive ants are worse. The raygun is now party leader.

11/7: Checking the ceiling fails to deal with this whole (berserk) radioactive Viking berserker zombie problem--or anything else. RIP, Sophia and Pompom.
Ghost Ship of the Desert Dunes session 2. Rayguns, colour sprays, ear wax, flamethrowers --whatever it takes to squash an ant. Sophia does not die when she falls 30' while trying to dig a hole (Solon was "keeping watch"). She *does* die when left alone in a cave with spiders. Flames are thrown. Eutropia is left alone in another cave but Kallias is there soon enough to deal with the slime problem. Flames are oddly not thrown at the second bunch of (berserk) radioactive Viking berserker zombies, and Pompom is eaten, which means--at least for now--that no one else was. The cave is large and hot. Stay tuned!

Last edited by Handy Haversack (11/10/2015 4:19 pm)

     Thread Starter

3/23/2016 2:34 pm  #29

Re: The Mulish Inconsistencies

Haven't done one of these updates in a bit of a while:

11/21: Smoking joints of nightmare sap proves once again to be the only way to finish off a dungeon. Now that we have this Amazon skyship, nothing bad can happen, right necromancer?
Ghost Ship of the Desert Dunes. Look, if you put smokeable magic items in the dungeon, my players are going to smoke them. And sometimes you have to go a little crazy to find out where the giant winged ape keeps his Amazon sky-ship! Piloting which makes them feel pretty invulnerable until a random ghul on a dune hits the necromancer with gelatinize bones. Bag of necromancer taken back to town.

12/5: You don't normally tell us what the air tastes like. This seems dangerous. Better go ahead and light the ranger on fire now.
Sleeping Place of the Feathered Swine. We can sit around all day discussing who lost whose arm and who followed the weird illusionist into the cave with all the vomit monsters, or we can go kill a sleeping pig! Actually, it was when the NPC committed suicide that everyone sort of nodded. At least I nailed the smell descriptions.

12/19: These ancient Hyperborean War Colossi sure make folks tetchy. Fortunately, the party leader is a raygun. RIP, Kallias and Pict Scout II.
Lone Colossus of the Akolouthos Sink. On the way to Khromarium to sell the sky-ship, the party is told by a friendly-seeming steppe ranger that showing up there, in that, will make them a target for every jumped-up Entowered in the city. He estimates they'd last about ten minutes. He offers to make discreet inquires if they just take out whatever is arcanely poisoning the area around an ancient Hyperborean sorcerous war machine. why not? On the way there, the new Jester is almost killed by razor-sharp songbirds, but that's a relative low point. Except for the drunken berserker and the Pict Scout being killed by some combination of shadows, a spell-wielding and very pissy ghost, and a really mean altar. All in all, job well done!

1/9: One arm and alive is better than two arms and dead. Though the dead disagree. And throw their kidneys. One-handed. Good thing this Amazon airship has a reverse.
The Fungus That Came to Blackeswell. On the advice of the steppe ranger, the party heads for the subterranean port town of Blackeswell, hoping an artificer there can forge a new arm for Solon and give them a good price for the sky-ship. On arrival, they find that some sort of fungus has taken over the whole town, including the corpses from the cemetery. After those corpses fling exploding kidney pods, the party decides that it is not the time to stand the artificer in good stead. And so they back out and head for Felchapel, where it all began! Well, at least for those who are still alive from those days.

1/30: Into the Odd! Toward the Peculiar! Directly at the Uncomfortable! Does this glove make you look dead? Also blabsinthe.
The Iron Coral. Figured I should run ItO at least once before running it at GaryCon! The dog does not survive.

2/6: For a simple B&E, a simple rule: When s*** comes up, we deal with it. Now, does anyone remember what the invisible map said?
House of the Medusa. Contact is made with the Kybernetes in Felchapel, who gives them a simple task: get into Eshrigel the Medusa's house and restore to flesh and rescue Lt. Reaverson. Being experienced criminals, the party practices blind juggling and bribes a sandestin with poetry to get a map. Recipe for a life of crime: invisibility, spider climb, alarming the toys, reading cursed books, and blowing the priest in half. If his legs had been visible, I'm sure they would have looked great on the ceiling. The jester saves the scout and most of his fingers from a doorknob. Solon ends up killing the medusa with flower power, and they have to slip Reaverson out of a giant snake's mouth and then out of a fight among all the former statues. No one trusts the grub naga. No one should.

2/20: What do I have to do to get your out of an Amazon sky-ship today? The dungeon comes standard on this model.
Inn of Lost Heroes--aborted. Many Gates of the Gann. The Kybernetes promises some help recruiting henchfolk and replacement party members. The new henchcleric meets them at an inn. An adventure begins. The party leaves. For some reason, they seem spooked. They take the Kybernetes at her word and get out of town while it's seen whether the Medusa's family is going to come after them. They head for Dunwich, in Gal, which has been raided by hyaena-people that carry away some people, especially the young. They track these to an ape-head-statue-guarded hole in the cliffs. Pretty standard stuff. And so begin exploring a dungeon. Three rooms in, a man-shaped monster made of bugs pisses off Solon and pays the price.

3/5: Handy wins GaryCon! Ross is cursed. Cursed Ross still better than no Ross at all. Major Awards for Manny, Handy, and Monkeydono. Minor Award for BigPerm. Spirit Award for Brooklyn.Bookworm! BigPerm's Award still Minor.

3/19: Monkey brains, eh? Better poke the ceiling until we find invisible treasure. Wait, that worked?
Many Gates of the Gann. A mountebank shows up and claims that old friend Halstan the Wayfarer (12/13-12/20) has been placed in Dunwich as the Kybernetes' factor there, disguised as a corundum and gem merchant. Exploration of the dungeon continues. Deciding that etchings of ape psyche must mean hidden, invisible, floating treasure, they poke the ceiling with a 10' pole . . . and find hidden, invisible floating treasure. I can't stop them! They probe around the edges of the place, have one big fight with hyaena-men and a couple with apes after attempts to blend in fail. Rest a couple of times. Talk to a bird-man that has escaped the hyaena-people and learn that they, in turn, are working for the zerpanatkes, bringing in humans for some reason. After using the decomposing medusa head to turn some apes to stone, they decide to retreat to Dunwich.


     Thread Starter

3/23/2016 7:17 pm  #30

Re: The Mulish Inconsistencies

Thanks for the update, Handy! Great stuff, as usual.

HYPERBOREA- A Role-Playing Game of Swords, Sorcery, and Weird Science-Fantasy

3/25/2016 12:32 pm  #31

Re: The Mulish Inconsistencies

Ghul wrote:

Thanks for the update, Handy! Great stuff, as usual.

All credit to the players. I'm mainly along for the ride!

The real fun will come when BigPerm runs Mystery at Port Greeley and I play his magician character . . . !

     Thread Starter

3/25/2016 8:59 pm  #32

Re: The Mulish Inconsistencies

Now that I want to hear about!

HYPERBOREA- A Role-Playing Game of Swords, Sorcery, and Weird Science-Fantasy

4/05/2016 5:28 pm  #33

Re: The Mulish Inconsistencies

Recap from 4/2. I figured I'd do a full one since most of the players couldn't be there. And then I got to feeling purple. But I did manage to finish it!

tl;dr: OK, Utropia, the giant is debilitated by agony, blind, on fire, greased, prone, and covered in icy spores from beyond the Black Gulf. All you have to do is hit it. Ready?

Solon Eurybia: Atlantean Magician 4 (rising to 5) (cornrowed bear-fur all over nody, distended unlocking jaw, missing arm)
Qandal Torrgollos: Common Berserker 1
Utropia "Legs": Kimmerian Ranger 4 (frost-bitten lips, facial scarring, bad at ape pantomime)
--Rhona Runtos: Common Henchcleric of Rel 1
Tulukaruk Yeil: Esquimmeaux Jester 2
Billy Ray Valentine: Common Legerdemainist (Mountebank) 1
Vorr: Common Necromancer 1
Zilly: Hyperborean Scout 1 (six fingers)

The party made it back from dungeon to Dunwich and there met with Hallstan the Wayfarer in his new guise as Olav the corundum merchant, though he truly represented the Kybernetes of Felchapel as she sought to extend her influence to this most isolated of the Gal Hills towns. They told Hallstan what they had learned. He told them not to be as sublte as possible so that their connection was not obvious but that he could act as a fence for most things they recovered and encouraged them to get to know the locals. All pledged this with wine, and one thing, as it does, led to another. Over breakfast ales the next day, it turned out that Billy Ray Valentine did so by tumbling a village elder's daughter (Looking good, Lous!) Tulukaruk ended up sleeping in the goat pen, but all thought this was innocent enough. Vorr the necromancer started a drunken brawl and ended up arrested and owing more in fines and damages (200 GP) than anyone could afford to pay. Utropia woke up with what she vaguely remembered someone with arms (so, not Solon) swearing was a totally accurate and documented treasure map. And Solon woke up missing his lotus diadem.

Once the breakfast ales were dealt with, Solon cast locate object and located his object on a young man sleeping it off in a hay loft. The sleeper's younger brother, Brin, was also present, forking hay aloft, and he begged Solon not to punish his brother, who apparently is the Bealtainn King and so has spent the entire year living without consequences and being fed and wined at the expense of everyone else in the village. Brin insisted his brother wasn't used to consequences anymore. The rest of the family, too, received help from the village and had to do little work, and Brin was able to spend the year studying with the druid, Malvek. Maybe sensing an opportunity, Solon let the matter drop.

With Brin's eventual introduction, they went and met the druid and intimated that he would do well to assist them since they would clearly feature majorly in any narratives told of Dunwich in the near future. The druid retorted that until they had proved they had some value to the town, they could bleed out in a hole or fill the wicker god for all he cared. But it turned out that he had a couple of tasks that might be solvable with the throwing-at-them of bodies. For Bealtainn, since they had met its king, Malvek still needed the blossoms of the russet lotus to prepare the king for his ascension at the festival. These could be harvested in a nearby bog. Also, a hill about ten miles away had been repeatedly struck by lightning several nights before. It was clear to Malvek that the god Cerrunnos had sent some of his generative sky power to Yoon-Deh, kindling his fires on her in anticipation of the coming of Bealtainn. But Malvek also feared the power unleashed would attract others who would seek to steal it. The party elected to investigate this, and Malvek gave them each ten staves that had been cut from the sacred oaks. These were to be planted around any area struck by lightning, and they would communicate the god power to the parent oaks.

So, oakenly laden, they set off. They reached the hill just before sundown (after Eutropia helped them avoid a wild aurochs by reminding Solon not to magic missile it) and scouted around the base before making a hidden camp. In full dark, they heard what sounded like hammering, metal on metal, as if from a forge, coming from the top of the hill. Also, they saw occasional flickerings of actinic blue light among the trees. They decided to move up and investigate.

Billy Ray Valentine, as the sneakiest and therefore most expendable member, was sent 20' ahead, which meant he was all alone when he stumbled into a lightning-blasted area. Actinic bolts leaped and flared, illuminating the surprised mountebank--and the eight animal skeletons that heaved out of the ground and attacked. Four of them converged on Billy Ray, and electricity leaped and flared from the shining bones as two of them struck the mountebank, knocking him to the ground before anyone could react. Solon levitated the unconscious mountebank to safety, and Utropia, and Qandal destroyed the two skeletons that were not driven into the surrounding darkness by Utropia's henchcleric. With the animal skeletons pacing through the surrounding woods, lurking in the shadows, the party thought to deploy the oaken wands Malvek had provided. They staked eight of them in overlapping diamonds around the lightning-blasted area. As the last one went in, current arced from the surrounding skeletons into oak branches, and the skeletons collapsed, destroyed.

They got Billy Ray back on his feet, lit torches, and advanced. They came to another lightning-scorched area and staked it with the oak wands before anyone entered it. Lightning coruscated from wand to wand, and disconnected bones shivered out of the scorched ground. Two animate skeletons also formed, a deer and a human. These were eventually dispatched once swords were dropped in favor of staves and bludgeons.

Now from the top of the hill, the sound of hammering ceased a voice so loud and deep that they could feel it vibrate in their bones called down, "Whatever worms crawl up this hill, you move toward your own doom! Turn back now, or bone, breath, and body shall forever separate!"

This was greeted with variations on, "Well, that's just, like, your opinion, man--sir."

At Solon's urging, they charged up the hill toward the voice. In his philosophy, s*** had come up and had to be dealt with. That s*** turned out to be a 16'-tall blue-skinned, white-bearded giant using a splintered oak as a club. The giant stood in the center of the naked crown of the hill, surrounded by the blackened, blasted stonescour of lightning scar. Behind him, a twisted, pygmy creature clad in shining blackish steel pounded a hammer over and over against a cold anvil. Seemingly in time with this forging beat, a half dozen sickly yellow maggoty sacks, wriggling and stretching beneath their sheath skins, were birthing from the charstone ground. With each hammer stroke they heaved another fraction of their bulk from the stone, and the dwarf's maddened laughter rang out with the hammer blows, and sparks from the hammer flashed over the stone, and the hill's stone crown seemed to arc and flare brighter than dim, fading Phobos as it crawled along the world's rim as if to escape the sights wrought beneath it.

Stunned by what they saw and by the sudden end of the tree cover and the scarred nakedness of the hilltop, the party hesitated a moment, Utropia reaching for her bow, Solon reaching to protect himself through mirror image while exhorting the others to attack. A moment too late, Utropia called for the party to retreat, and they turned back into the trees. But the giant had heaved up a fractured, charred stone and sent it hurtling through the treeline, where it crushed Utropia's henchcleric, spraying the others with faithful henchblood as they raced past. Another boulder crashed through the trees, sending splinters the size of spears after the party, but they dropped over a ridge and ran back down the hill, past their campsite and into the forest, the mocking laughter of the dwarf dweomercraefter still ringing in their ears, the pounding of metal on metal filling the dark valley.

The party decided to head immediately back to Malvek, reaching the oak grove near dawn. The druid seemed unimpressed by their desire that he send aid with them. Had they not taken on the task? Did they not seek to prove their worthiness and use? Was it not their task to risk and his to reward? When the party insisted that Malvek himself should come to aid them in the battle, he laughed, saying that his place was with those he guided. If his chosen instrument was too weak for the task it had been meant for, he would find a new instrument and new ways. There was grumbling. There was even muttering. Finally, there was a grudging acceptance of a job left unfinished. Malvek used what healing magic he had available to restore those who were wounded, for Utropia had never fully recovered from fighting the apes she had insulted to frenzy in the nearby dungeon. Then the party set off once again for the hill.

This time in full daylight they made their way up, careful to avoid any area marked by lightning char. They crept through the last of the trees and spied on the giant. He stood in the center of the hill's stone top, amid blackened rock and blasted gravel. The wriggling yellow forms now bulked half exposed from the rock, their skins still twisting and distending with the movement of what was within. The dwarf was not apparent, but the party guessed that it sheltered from the ruddy daylight within a massive leather sack rucked near the giant's feet. The party redistributed resources of Greek fire, and Solon gave Qandal his pouch of frozen spores, which he knew had come from beyond the Black Gulf and could be activated only through flame. Leaving Tulukaruk and Solon in place, the others scattered along the circumference of the tree line. Utropia's experience as an old artificer of ambushes stood them in good stead, and they had all reached their appointed positions when Tulukaruk and Solon gave the signal to attack.

Tulukaruk forged a phantasm of shadow, a beast that lurched out of the trees and onto the charred stone in umbraceous silence. It had something of a whale in how it flowed and fluked from the forest, and something of a wolf, but its bat wings beetled low over its lowering brow and came together, and from them flew two spheres of bone-white light as Solon used his illusion to conceal himself and the origin of the magic missiles. The giant, stung by these, roared out its rage over the blasted rocks and leaped to challenge the shadow. But now from the trees on all sides came the others, racing across, the ground, and the giant lost precious moments in its confusion before it kicked at the dwarf to rouse it and scooped up a shattered stone that could have served as the plinth of some massive statue. This he hurled at Utropia as she labored in her armor, slower than the others, but the stone sailed wide away, crashing into the trees and down the wooded slope.

Now the faster people had reached throwing range, and Billy Ray Valentine threw a flask of incandescent oil full on the giant's chest. The flame seared the creature's icy skin, and it howled in rage. Even closer, Qandal flung one of Solon's space spores at the flames. Exposed to the heat, the seed from the stars burst, and a cloud of russet spores erupted. But the giant, already flinging itself backward and away from the flames burning on its harness, managed to avoid inhaling the ultramondane menace, though it could not avoid another magic missile from Solon.

Now the burning giant saw that its closest tormentor was Qandal, and it lunged at the berserker even as he flung another of the spores at it. The spore struck the flames as they continued to drip down the massive body, and again it burst. Even as the giant struck at Qandal, it breathed in the russet cloud. And from every pore on its massive frame, russet mould erupted. Its eyes went white, and the giant bellowed with agony as an alien intelligence stirred into hive life beneath its skin.

Now chaos foamed and flowed across the hill's scarred crown as the giant staggered in its agony, stumbling from side to side and menacing the fighting and the fallen alike as it sought to kill even in its torment. Its dwarf slave, emerged from its sackcloth cocoon, tried to hell Eutropia as the ranger lumbered by, holding aloft her sword now wet with the giant's blood. She managed to avoid it and ran back toward the tree line where she had left her pack. Billy Ray retreated as well, having delivered a ball of darkness about the giant's head to cover his retreat. Solon ran in to haul Qandal to safety, and Tulukaruk came with him. The jester began to tumble and caper around the enraged and half-blinded dwarf, luring it away from the fallen berserker, Solon, Billy Ray, and from Utropia and whatever plan she intended to enact when she finally made it back to the tree line. As he tumbled, he aped the creature's swollen limbs and shrinking eyes, its slavish nature and knavish stature, and rage flared in the forge fire of the dwarf's swart heart and it chased Tulukaruk around the char-scarred ground as the jester tried to lead it between the staggering giant's legs and so bring down the beast at last.

Solon, having missed with an acid arrow, bandaged Qandal's wounds and hauled the broken berserker toward Billy Ray, who was pinging sling stones off the pain-maddened giant. Utropia at last reached and reached into her pack, and from it she drew forth a mannikin of copper found on a fallen thief in the House of the Medusa. This she smeared with the giant's blood, having already well peppered Qandal and achieved that rare reagent, a berserker's tears. Activated now, the golem raced toward its one purpose, attacking the one with the abilities of the other, and and it flew across the field to belabor the giant's ankles with its berserk and cuprum fists.

This new pain perhaps cleared the giant's senses for a frost-clear moment free of furze and fire. For now it bent low and swept low with the club it clutched still and caught the bold copper on its shiny chest and scattered it like coins across the stone. And the blow carried on and caught Tulukaruk in midcaper and dropped the jester, too, his body if not his act fallen flat upon the rocks. Solon, seeing no one now between him and his foes, dropped the dwarf into sleep with a focused gesture as the giant once more bellowed in blind pain. And seeing Utropia once more lumber forth on the field, Solon greased the stomping giant's giant feet and sent the massive, mould-wrapped form crashing to the ground.

Utropia arrived as the giant attempted to stagger to its feet again, and though it was debilitated by agony, blind, on fire, greased, prone, and covered in icy spores from beyond the Black Gulf, the panting ranger managed to miss it. Twice.

At last, though, the ranger sliced the mighty thews that supported the giant's knees, and it fell crashing on the cutting stones, where Utropia, holding her breath to avoid the billowing spore cloud, dispatched it.

Many hours later, the party once more reached Malvek's grove of oaks. Here they found the druid well disposed to them after their trials. He helped them by freeing Vorr from the Dunwich gaol and identifying the giant's treasure: an aurochs cloak (basically a cloak +1 with immunity to natural cold and, if you're a fighter, the ability to fight like an aurochs), a tathlum shot (sling stone made by ancient Kelts of cement and fomorian brains; +2; slays cyclops; X2 dmg. to fomorians; explodes on criticals); and three golden cones (petals = a day's rations or heart = potion of healing). Also recovered: several gems, 3,500 electrum, the dwarf (who was given to Malvek for sacrifice after Halstan interrogated it in Old Norse and figured that going after its treasure was insanely dangerous and also exactly what the dwarf wanted), and the unconscious bodies of their friends.

They also burned the mould-infected giant and the maggot things, which were the larval forms of more dwarves that the giant and his helper were raising from the lightning-charged ground. And they staked it out with oak to add to Yoon-Deh's power at the coming Bealtainn.

In the end, Solon made fifth level and is going be in town for a while swotting away so the others figured they'd leave him there and see about going to harvest those lotus blossoms because that sounds safe and it's not like I've been reading through The Golden Bough lately!


     Thread Starter

4/10/2016 7:24 pm  #34

Re: The Mulish Inconsistencies

Another fantastic read, Handy! I want to play in your game! I would bring justice to Hyperborea.

HYPERBOREA- A Role-Playing Game of Swords, Sorcery, and Weird Science-Fantasy

4/11/2016 7:27 am  #35

Re: The Mulish Inconsistencies

Ghul wrote:

Another fantastic read, Handy! I want to play in your game! I would bring justice to Hyperborea.

It's in short supply!

And any time you can get to NYC, we will roll some dice. This I vow!

     Thread Starter

6/03/2016 12:02 pm  #36

Re: The Mulish Inconsistencies

Man, I'm lazy. No recaps since 4/2! Let's see . . .

4/16: Charlie don't negotiate. Tonight the role of Charlie will be played by whichever of J's characters is talking to the NPCs. Come at me, bro. Come at me forever. And the psychedelic cannibal pemmican pinatas found a good home. (RIP, Tulakaruk)
A little swamp hexcrawl to fetch violet lotus pods for the Bealtainn celebration in Dunwich. Used Petty Gods to great effect. A Chaos Monk. A medusa head. Twenty-eight wild berserkers. And only the poor Jester died. We shall laugh no more.

Now hypnotism is party leader! Now Jim is party leader! Now grease is party leader! Now the confusion bomb is party leader! Welcome to Crazytown, population: a s***-ton of hyaena-men.
Back to the Many Gates of the Gann. Most of the session was a massive fight against hyaena-people because that's how my players roll. Hamster ball of destruction used to excellent effect. New link boy also good at using a winch. Balanced *right* on the edge of a TPK, and in the end no one died!

5/14: The hyaena-men use wight guilt as a weapon. Hallstan wants a magic painting that leads to a dungeon on another planet? Sounds better than this stupid conversation!
Mostly wrapping up from last time, though they heard rumors a pair of crazy twins, a Kimmerian archer, and a magician were looking for them, possibly out for revenge from the medusa's family, and also killed a couple of townsfolk who had become zombies. And then moved on.

5/30: Touch nothing in the gelatinous dome! Except, you know, the s*** pipes and vampires.Looking good, invisible Billy Ray!
And we have been to the Gelatinous Dome!

My players were superexcited to get there as soon as they heard about it and then completely paranoid about it once they were there, which, I think, is exactly how D&D is supposed to work!

They were following a lead from Hallstan the Wayfarer, Viking factor of the Kybernetes of Fellchapel in Brigands Bay. Hallstan was in Dunwich, in the Gal Hills, posing as a corundum merchant and fencing everything the party brought out of The Many Gates of the Gann. He told them of his obsession with other worlds and that while he might serve in Hyperborea, perhaps he could rule under other skies. Toward that end, he told them that the painting The False Chanterelle, which could open a portal to another world but whose magic could only be accessed if the painting was stolen, was supposed to be in the tower of Trigonon the Unhinged, which was currently rather unaccountably encased in a gelatinous dome and slumping slowly toward a river, where it might be lost forever. And so they set out!

Man, were they excited to get a players' map! Made me think I might steal a page from someone on G+ and print the whole Maze of the Blue Medusa Map painting all nice for them. Also would be cool to have a larger False Chanterelle file to print for them.

Anyway, they briefly flirted with the idea of using a forest fire to melt  the dome and then discarded it as impractical and slightly unhinged. While most of them were testing fire's effects on the dome, the legerdemainist flew up invisibly and began trying to investigate the bedroom even though six gelman wrestlers were practicing and possibly flirting in there. Eventually he used illusions to divide them and confuse them. One brave rope was melted through. The bust of Trigonon (which I decided was present when asked) was used as a surprisingly effective distraction. Apparently, ghosts are a cultural thing in the plane of ooze, too. The rest of the party managed to get up the ropes, and the wrestlers were dispatched.

We learned that gelman communication is usually done through shooting long streams of meaningful goo into one another. Though they can form vacuoles and push air through them to make sound if they have to.

We also learned that it doesn't matter what your working conditions are like, if you don't make with the information on where your boss keeps his magic paintings, you're pudding food as far as my players are concerned.

There was one excellent Robert Burns reference, if I do say so myself ("Great chieftain o'the pudding-race") from the chit-chat hungry black pudding.

They managed to convince the Gel King they were impressed with his formless authority and respected him enough that he let them leave his chamber alive, though he made it clear he thought at least one of them should have tunred him/herself inside-out in homage to ooze superiority.

They dispatched some really unlucky thieves trapped in the bathroom, secured the painting, and began crawling through the s*** pipes, where they discovered four Pale Bishop emissaries from the Pale King of Voivodja. Eventually, the two groups helped each other escape, and Pale Bishops gave Solon the Atlantean magician a token of their goodwill should he ever come to theie Red and Pleasant Land. (A poor tax was assessed on all those who could not afford to pay it.)

And they got out with the painting! And to make it work extra well, they decided to screw Hallstan and the Kybernetes and set off to some other town to find a moonlit room to use to enter the adventurer-worshiping world of the False Chanterelle.

Also, the cataphract caught a cold from his new magical scimitar.

Next stop: Blue Medusa.

Though the closest town to them is Carrowmore . . . 

Last edited by Handy Haversack (6/03/2016 12:03 pm)

     Thread Starter

9/29/2016 9:25 am  #37

Re: The Mulish Inconsistencies

Well, the summer has bee super frustrating. We've opposite vacation schedules, players moving to Taxachusetts (!!), competition from touch football, and some really not very helpful input from the damn dog.

Except for a one-off of Operation Unfathomable: Hyperborean Remix Version (like seen [sic] at GaryCon and Sticks and Stones!) in order to send one former player off to Colorado (Recap: "Kate and Rich explore the true meaning of friendship by killing Iain and then each other. Peter gets wiiiiiiings!"), we've only managed two sessions. BigPerm has taken over DMing to run us through first a quick one-session homebrew and now The Mystery of Port Greeley. I'm running his level 5 magician, Solon. Also rolled up a super dour level 1 Esquimmeaux cleric of Boreas (sample: "All madness is a gift. But laughter is the void given breath." Real downer).

8/13: DMBigPerm! Drest looks cool with his new axe, some monsterism. Now let's find that f**king druid and take his stuff. RIP Vorr.
Some crazy bastard is making giant mutant flies, and the peasants don't seem to see that this is an improvement on their normal state of affairs. We arrange to help everyone agree on a happy medium: death.

9/24: Utropia's gonna hang back and see how this whole remhorraz, gibbering mouther thing develops. More fish-head soup?
First Port Greeley session. We are dragooned into the mission, get to town. Utropia rings the "kill all PCs bell," but we manage a rescue. During island exploration, we focus on timing how close to death monsters should be before the ranger gets involved.

Should be back on schedule now, though BigPerm might be out next weekend, in which case I'll run something I'm thinking of for GaryCon.

     Thread Starter

2/03/2017 3:19 pm  #38

Re: The Mulish Inconsistencies

What can I say? I suck at consistency. But here are some one-liners. I actually took a break from DMing for a while, and BigPerm took over. Now we've switched back.

10/8/16: Somehow, Billy Ray peer-pressures Sophia and Drest to death. Using a trail of dead fish-people to lure an ooze into a trapped hallway leads to only partial redemption.*
Port Greeley episode 2!
We ended up trying to outsmart the super-tough bad buys by sleeping in their treasure chamber. It went poorly. The row-boat chase scene was pretty cool. We lost some 1st- and 2nd-level PCs but managed to escape so that that powers that be could eff with our business some more. Sweet.

11/5/16: That Hyperborean fighter sure looks a lot like that other Hyperborean fighter who just died. And I don't think Solon is coming here for the Drunken Debauchery.
We cycle through some more 1st-level dudes and manage to prove that *we* run bounty-hunter-chaos-panic-slaying business in this town! And the weird plant business. Oh, Rel, god of thieves, geases Solon to go find some Daemon Slayer sword and bring it to the Kybernetes in Felchapel, with whom we had thought we were quitsville. The pronunciation of "geas" gets a real workout.

12/3/16: One-off! GaryCon practice: Meal of Oshregaal: Why are all those trippy peahens mad at Peter? Why did Manny get eaten by that space whale? And when does the adventure start? Also: Never leave a man behind. Necromancers don't count.
Warming up the game I'm running at GC.

12/17/16: Look, if you want to be left alone, just don't fireball us. We're happy to leave! RIP, all the young dudes.
The Daemon Slayer sword is in the sarcophagus of a super-touchy lich who fireballs the whole party as were just trying to leave. The low-level people really don't make it in a big, bacony way. But we got the stupid sword. Oh, but Billy Ray Valentine lost his hand. Looking good, Billy Ray?

12/31/16: A second-level assassin and a full-body tattoo seem like appropriate New Year's gifts. Witches, man--I gotta bail.
Just a little light witch hunting as we break in some new recruits. Argyros the Coffin ("coffin" and "coughin'" also rhyme in Kimmerian) actually lives through an entire adventure. We also find a daemon-summoning scroll and debate the merits of having the daemon deliver the daemon-slayer sword to the Kybernetes right through her neck and then take both her soul and the sword as payment. The logistics of this pretty much prevent our continued punning on "geas."

1/14/17: Dost thou want to kill deliciously, Lt. Calley?
Along the road to Felchapel, which is also Along the Road of Tombs by Gus at Dungeon of Signs. After killing some apes banging on a tomb, the party bangs on a tomb for a while until dignity kicks in. Then they end up fighting creepy hounds whose howling can be heard miles off but not up close, where they are silenced. A night gaunt joins the fun, and Mato the Firebear, brand-new druid, casts entangle on himself to avoid an endless tickle torment in the Black Gulf.

At the Feasters Inn in the Red Massif, where there's allegedly a necromancer who could maybe help with the increasingly missing limbs among the party, Solon ('s brown recluse daemon familiar) overhears one of the waitstaff refer to him as delicious and begins the slaughtering of the entire bar. When he realizes they are all 0-level inn workers, he decides no witnesses can be left behind. Things get very Full Metal Jerkin.

Session ends in a Hyperborean standoff with the assembled creepy-hound and weird-monster-commanding inner circle of the group that claims to be a sect of contemplative gardeners.

1/28/17: "Wee, sleekit, tim'rous, cow'rin cannibal cultie / O wat a lighting bolt's in thy breastie?"
Burns Night Day (observed)! Somehow, all that whisky fires up Billy Ray, who manages to defeat pretty much the entire cult. Incredibly, the low-level PCs survive, and the Dust Family allies don't even screw anyone over. Super-scary magic items are liberally distributed to the party's weirdest members. Onto Felchapel! With sexy results?

Oh, and Solon and Billy Ray get their limbs back, with some mismatchery. Feeling good, Louis!


Last edited by Handy Haversack (2/03/2017 3:31 pm)

     Thread Starter

2/26/2017 4:19 pm  #39

Re: The Mulish Inconsistencies

The set-up: Party has decided to walk from the Red Massif (Along the Road of Tombs [https://dungeonofsigns.blogspot.com/2014/07/osr-superstar-round-3-submission.html]) to Felchapel in Brigands Bay (http://hyperborea.boardhost.com/viewtopic.php?pid=3799#p3799), where Solon the Magician has to deliver a daemon-slaying sword as the end of a geas hangover left over from a drinking bout with Rel, god of thieves.
It’s about 100 miles. It had been one of the few vaguely safe overland routes in Hyperborea, connecting eventually to Khromarium. The kind of route that a caravan with 40 or 50 guards would feel reasonably able to tackle. Until the cannibal cult at the Red Massif really got going. But since it had been three weeks since the party had taken them out, I figured that word was starting to get out that the road might be “safe” again.
I decides that along the way I want them to have the chance to interact with “The Ruinous Palace of the Metegorgos” from Evey Lockhart (as hyped by Christopher Mennel) and with some Arnold K isms: Slitherhoof and Gobblehorse (http://goblinpunch.blogspot.com/2017/02/slitherhoof-and-gobblehorse.html), high druids (https://goblinpunch.blogspot.com/2016/06/nature-is-horrible.html) (who are the same, I decided, as the druids at the end of “Ruinous Palace”), and, to add to the atmosphere, some Signs that He Is Drawing Nearer (http://goblinpunch.blogspot.com/2014/09/the-devil-in-north-woods.html). Also the Bear That Is Madness could make a cameo.
And then I decided to toss Arnold’s Hand of Dominion (http://goblinpunch.blogspot.com/2017/02/the-hand-of-dominion.html) in the mix too as the target of some of the rival adventuring parties on the encounter list. Other adventuring parties were from either Brigands Bay or Swampgate and were hired by various crime lords and merchants to see whether the route really was “safe” again.
But since the party’s main idea was to get to town and get rid of the sword so they could hang The False Chanterelle and get into the Maze of the Blue Medusa, I didn’t want to force them into any of this, just let them see what they might see.
(A bit of background: In a fairly loose, make-it-up-as-needed way, the party has been interacting with the Medusa sisters that form background lore to some Zak Smith joints. They killed the one detailed in Vornheim (https://www.lotfp.com/RPG/products/vornheim) on a rescue mission gone bad [for the Kybernetes of Felchapel, who has been their patron and antagonist off and on for most of the party’s existence]. Some aspect of her family hired the Crows from DCO to hunt the party, and the Kybernetes runs interference on that when she feels like it and threatens to withhold same when annoyed by the party. I decided that the Metegorgos is one of the sisters—but the crazy one that the rest of the family would prefer to ignore. Family can be such a burden.)
So: How to do it. I decided to let random encounters do most of the work and ended up with this:
Encounter die (4/day): d6
1. Encounter (roll on encounter table)
2. Evidence (roll on encounter table)
3. Evidence: Druid-carved “YOU ARE DAMNED” on a tree
4. Weather [1:12: Celestial Phenomena (http://hyperborea.boardhost.com/viewtopic.php?pid=801#p801)]
5. D6: 1-2: Animals/3-4: Ruins/5-6: Signs That He Is Drawing Nearer
6. Nothing
Encounter Table: 2d6
2: Ant, Giant (1-3: 1 scout; 4-6: 3-18, bringing dismembered [roll on encounter table])
3: Smilodon (1: Hunting elk/horse; 2: Fighting aurochs; 3: Mating [2]; 4: Watching young play)
4: Owl Bear (Gus L. from Dungeon of Signs-style) (1: 1, snuffling at half-petrified corpse of adventurer; 2: Blissed-out from eating high-level magician; bits of star-covered robes still in beak; 3: 1d4+1: Immature OBs playing in shredded spell book while proud parents look on; 4: Under attack by pack of “dogs” [actually High Druids])
5: “Zombie”: Solitary wandering corpse child of the Metegorgos
6: Adventuring Party (quick Hyperborean reskinning of http://goblinpunch.blogspot.com/2015/01/rival-adventuring-parties.html)
7: Kimmerian war party: Led by Sophos Horsewind, Shaman [5], horse totem (and horse-head headdress), *shadow rattle*; Demosthenes the Thunderer, Cataphract [4], *cataphract’s tether*; F1: 1d6; F0: 2d6. All mounted.
            --Seeking Slitherhoof and Gobblehorse to appease/kill the horse-spirit abominations and put to rest for another cycle
            --Know that S&G are abroad when the Metegorgos begins to stir because the cries of her children have grown too loud
            --Know that the Mother of Stone and Darkness is one of the 12 medusa sisters
            --Suspect fertile magic in her hall under the hill
8: Kimmerian war party led by Aspasia Limbbreaker, F[6]; Leontos the Storm, C[6], *lightning war*; Barbarian[1]: 1d6; Berserker[1]: 1d6. All but berserkers mounted.
           --Seek death to corrupt magic and outsiders
            --Know of the zombies of the Piteous Wood and basically know how they are made
            --Will escort or force party to Piteous Wood and wait for proof of death or attack if party refuses to serve
9: Slitherhoof and Gobblehourse [if killed, the Bear That Is Madness]
10: High Druids of the Piteous Wood [once, then Bear That Is Madness]
11: Wild Horses: 5d6 (1: Feeding; 2-3: Traveling; 4: All silent, bowing on front legs, facing south)
12: Mammoth (1:4: 1d6+6 worshiping at wild Xathoqqua shrine)
What happened:
The dice, they were pretty cold. There were several YOU ARE DAMNEDs carved on trees, a couple of Signs He Is Drawing Nearer. They found a horse skeleton with all the meat recently carved off and signs that giant ants had done so. At one point 24 horses passed by. Finally they encountered the first group of Kimmerians and managed to exchange information peacefully without *too* much cultural misunderstanding. The druid did try offering them the tomato plant he’s carrying around on top of his backpack with plans to use as some sort of _entangle_ bomb. The Kimmerians pointed out that they had their own food. The tomato plant was fine.
Then they saw signs of Slitherhoof and Gobblehorse a few times. And evidence of another adventuring party (which if they had looked around a little more, they would have found their way to the Hand of Dominion location). They also found a few booted footprints with some stone dust in them, staggering seemingly at random (a zombie child of the Metegorgos).
So they definitely had the sense that things were pretty fucked up. But their discussions constantly circled back to none of it having anything to do with them. Fair enough! They were following their primary “tactic”: If s*** comes up, we deal with it. Otherwise, unless one of these situations was covered in gems and magic, they were content to ignore it.
Of course, they’re also my players so were complaining about the general lack of stuff to kill.
Then they finally had an actual encounter with actual monsters: Slitherhoof and Gobblehorse! I think the body and cultural horror of these creatures came through pretty well. Showing them the printout from Goblin Punch afterward helped, too. In the actual fight, though, the party was never in all that much trouble, partly because the dice just completely abandoned me. But they never did try tracking them back to their lair after defeating them (and did not pursue the Nibbler when it ran away). I wish I had remembered to check morale for the party’s horses, which I meant to do at a stiff penalty for seeing these creatures.
And so they nursed their wounds and pressed on. One interesting thing: they had to use up three people’s water supplies to wash off horse stomach bile, meaning the next day they would have to devote at least one cleric spell to create water.
They were about 3/4 of a day’s march (so likely one more rest) from town when they suddenly argued themselves into finding the Piteous Wood and the Ruinous Palace! This took me completely by surprise. I figured they had decided just to keep heading for town, and then it was like their greed alarms were suddenly going off. I think one of them actually said, “I mean, her sister had some cool s***. We should at least check!”
And so they did some scouting and backtracked to approach the Piteous Wood.
And then things got awesome.
[NB: SPOILERS for “Ruinous Palace of the Metegorgos”] The assassin and scout did some invisible scouting, moving around several zombie “children” and seeing the Obsidian Wyrm sleeping at the cavern entrance. They notice but don’t wonder about the patch of sunlight just inside the door: stands out extra in the fading ruddy light of Hyperborea’s ancient and fading sun. They return to the others and a cold camp is made without encounters.
When the party set out the next day, they were low on magic already having still had some wounds to deal with and needing to create water for three of them. They encountered the zombie offspring in groups of 1 to 3 and dealt with them all pretty easily, though I pointed out that their arrow supplied were beginning to dwindle since there was pretty much always a chance to get a round of missile fire off before the zombies reached them. They came across the chained zombie, but no one spoke subterranean (Thracian) Kimmerian, so they could not understand the song. Instead, they debated whether to kill it, leave it, or free it and see if it led them to treasure. Eventually they got bored of talking about it and pressed on!
The encounter with 2 zombies in robes was the best. The scout (lvl. 1) was actually knocked out when he charged in and got isolated rather then letting the zombies come to the whole party. Then This Witness, the Mystic of Aurorus (http://hyperborea.boardhost.com/viewtopic.php?pid=9855#p9855 inspired by http://www.lastgaspgrimoire.com/religion-is-a-nest-of-serpents/) did the best thing possible ever and cast visualize death on one of the dead zombies and got a real-time vision of the last ten minutes of the life of the person it used to be. Which. Fucking which!
So. She and the other robed zombie were magicians, part of an adventuring party that years ago sought to raid the Metegorgos’s treasure. This Witness saw the Metegorgos and saw her kill most of the party quite easily by birthing needlefish and thirst orbs. Then the magicians fled down the hall and managed to do enough damage to the Metegorgos as she pursued them that she let her snakes activate and petrify them. Then This Witness got to see the birth of the zombie version.
Which pretty much hooked my players. There was no way they were abandoning the mission now. Because they’re awesome.
Casting that spell stunned This Witness for another 50 minutes(!), and no one else could heal the scout, so both were tossed on the horse, and the party pressed on. Fighting another group of zombies just at the clearing’s edge drew the attention of *all* the remaining zombies, many of which walked right into the entangle area the druid made (tomato plant still unused). After putting down the free ones, they stabbed all those they could reach with spears. (“Mother, I am trapped. As I am trapped by despair without your love.” STAB. “Mother, I—” STAB. Which left only about half a dozen trapped in plants and crying for their mother.
And then they noticed that the Obisidian Wyrm was no longer at the door. Which was explained when it attacked from behind while they debated what to do. They managed to f*** themselves up pretty good by getting crits against it and hitting it with a sonic blast that could shatter glass—and vent whatever volcanic gasses were being held in by that glass. And my complete inability to roll dice persisted, so if they weren’t going to damage themselves, there was little I could do about it.
So they pretty quickly had it hurt badly. It tried to fly for the cave entrance and they brought it down with magic missiles. The Obsidian Wyrm crashed into the hillside with an explosion that was almost but not quite loud enough to tell the Metegorgos that something was going on (she’s in the bedroom).
And that’s when they realized they had a scroll of animate dead at high enough level to get them their very own Obsidian Wyrm zombie pet/plaything. And then there was no way they could resist.
So Solon the Magician cast fly on Ulva the cleric of the great Kraken, who flew toward the corpse of the Wyrm.
Which is when the sunspot demon got involved. Ulva spotted the demon as it moved forward and tried flying off at an angle but was hit with a continual light in the eyes as she did. So then she’s blind and knows only two directions for certain: up and down, neither of which seems safe at all. The demon, not seeing any other targets, hit her with another continual light, this time in the feet, just for shits and giggles. Then Ulva realized she could hear the zombies crying for her mother and aimed for that sound. Billy Ray Valentine, the moutebank, was invisibly running forward and when he was in range, he hit the demon with a darkness spell, which actually just about killed it. In the meantime, it hit Ulva with *another* continual light, this time right in the crotch, before retreating into the cave, which BRV filled with illusory shadow.
They got Ulva back. The sunstroke demon was blasting holes in the illusory shadows with balls of continual light, which punched through it and hovered in the air over the battlefield like a handful of scattered suns. BRV created another illusion, of a shadow demon that charged toward the sunstroke demon. While the first continual light blast to hit it dispelled it, it provided cover for the rest of the party, which charged: two of them invisible and two mirror-imaged. A cone of cold from Solon’s wand dispatched the sunstroke demon.
And that’s where we freeze-framed.
Wall: Balls to it.

A.k.a: Murder by Crotch Light!

     Thread Starter

3/06/2017 8:40 am  #40

Re: The Mulish Inconsistencies

Looks like damned-good fun. Wish I were going to Garycon this year to get in on one of your games! Next year...!


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