2017-06-20

Decaying Lands 09: Return to the Wandering Isles

PCs Present & Played:

Barthelm Schade, Specialist 4 (James)
Caleb, Fighter 1 [farmer kit]
  Suzie, a stubborn but loyal mule
Claus Drexol, Magic-User 3 (Vegas)
Jewel, Really Good Dog 1 (Rudy)
Tenkos, Cleric 1 [plague doctor kit]
Viggo Marklund, Specialist 1 [bounty hunter kit]

This summary will contain some major SPOILERS for the The Trail of Stone and Sorrow if you're paying attention. Maybe giving a warning makes the spoiler stand out more, but I'd rather link to a great adventure than not.



The ratman Brian that helped Claus and Barthelm deal with the feathered swine fled west as soon as they were out of the cave, leaving the two friends to carry the gravely injured and useless wizard Felix Longworm back towards their seaside rendezvous. Luckily for them, they met up with Caleb, Tenkos, and Viggo who were on their way west from Bottenburg. And Jewel the dog! She's so fluffy! Dirty, but fluffy. Everyone decides to be friends because it's expedient for the ref and the new folks help Barthelm and Claus get Felix to Captain Skovgaard's ship in time.

Captain Skovgaard's job is to bring Claus, Barthelm, and their haul from the feathered swine back to the island of Wilhelm the Wily. They were also tasked with removing a gate key ring from the intestines of Brian the ratman. Barthelm lies and says that Brian died first because he was a useles rat thing guy. Skovgaard was skeptical that Brian died so easily but since they did have the ring she didn't press it. She did question bringing Suzie the donkey ("Mule!") on board. Caleb's immediate angry response provoked little more than a shrug from the captain and a request that Caleb take care of the poop.

Sidebar: The players of Barthelm, Claus, Heidi (dead) / Viggo, and Helga (dead) / Tenkos have been playing for this the entirety of the campaign so far. They started off with a one-shot of The Trail of Stone and Sorrow and decided, against all odds, to be heroes in a Lamentations of the Flame Princess game and save Polde the farmer. They've spent the whole campaign up to this point trying to track down the wizard Wilhelm the Wily because of a vague notion that he can help them.

Wilhelm the Wily lives in the Wandering Islands so it takes several weeks of game time to successfully arrive. During the downtime, I get to sit back as ref and let the players do some planning and learning about each other. It's magical. Of note:

- The bounty that Viggo is looking for Einrich Fassbinder, the father of the recently deceased Heidi! (and the player's former character). The party gave the details of her death and the fact that she had three brothers, cementing Viggo's choice to join up.
- Friendly farmer Caleb found that their new dog jJewel has a really fancy collar with some Cronov (pretend Russian) written on it that says "Jewel - ALPHA" and an old noble family's coat of arms. Claus, as played by the rest of the party since his player was late, discovered that Jewel is incredibly smart (for a dog) and delighted in testing her abilities, understanding, and generally fawned over her fancy collar and how great she is.
- Tenkos is a plague doctor from a neighboring country that was nearly annihilated by some kind of super plague. What's he doing in Teutonia (pretend Germany)? Don't know but he keeps a vial of blood that he says has the plague in it.
- Felix Longworm has recovered from near death but is now crapping his pants that Helmutt, one of the inhabitants of Wilhelm's island, will be pissed that Felix didn't recover his loaned spellbook from the cave the feathered swine was brooding in.
- Barthelm explained what happened with the feathered swine.

Barthelm also explained about the island: there's a formidable keep populated by a ton of burly folk who don't talk and seem to serve Wilhelm the Wily. They never met anyone named Wilhelm but there were three people they actually talked to: Lars ("call me Larry!"), William ("please don't call me Billy..."), and Helmutt.  Lars seemed to be the one calling the shots despite being friendly, deranged, and unstable. Their plan was to give the gate key ring to Caleb while the rest of the party delivered the spoils from the feathered swine and hope that Lars and company upheld their end of the bargain and helped Polde.

As a last minute addendum right in the nick of time, Barthelm tells Jewel not to exhibit any special smart dog stuff around Felix or especially anyone on Wilhelm the Wily's island.

Sidebar: I was equally disappointed and pleased that they thought of this. It probably would have been catastrophic but it definitely would have been interesting. I love when players do smart things though, so maybe pleased wins out.

The arrival at the island and entry into the keep was tense. As soon as the ship had docked some of the Voiceless servants came and aggressively removed Felix, taking him into the keep. He struggled, and the party could hear his screams and protests, but they chose not to intervene. Lars welcomed them into the entry floor of the central tower. They enter into a large mess hall with William sulking at a table but Helmutt nowhere to be seen. Lars was immediately taken with Jewel and motioned for her to come over. Playing up her "normal dog" angle she instead vomited up some hay on the floor. At this point Helmutt entered from a stairwell but was crawling around on all fours, panting with his tongue lolling out of the side of his mouth.

Sidebar: Polde is a farmer. His dog ended up in his body, turned to stone. Polde ended up in the body of a creature that turns you to stone and swaps souls with you if you make eye contact. Helmutt forced eye contact when the party was here last, to bring beast-Polde to Wilhelm the Wily.

At this point Rudy (Jewel's player) threw me a curveball. Really Good Dogs can speak canine, so Rudy has Jewel ask this man-dog Helmutt all sorts of good stuff. She revealed some of her story and learned (at a minimum) how to get a good belly rub.  I try to roll with things but I had not expected this angle at all and probably did not handle it well. I had been curious to see how a Really Good Dog worked out in play and this was the first time I got an inkling of some of the extra challenges. It is awesome and I love it.

Barthelm interrupted the doggy banter by handing over the bag of worm cysts from the feathered swine and demanding to know where Polde was. Claus was more nakedly curious about how Lars & co. got the dog into the body of Helmutt when the last time they saw Helmutt he was a statue. The rest of the party seemed on edge and confused, probably realizing that they were in a very dangerous situation.

Lars was overjoyed when he inspected the bag of awful worms and jokingly fake tossed one to Jewel to play catch. This is what I used to help describe the worms:

worm heart thing from The Strain
At this point Polde came down the stairs from above and ran over to embrace Barthelm and Claus, crying tears of joy. Lars and William had not only returned him to his proper body but they had been quite hospitable to him, especially after Polde helped Lars to train the man-dog Helmutt. Claus wasn't as concerned with Polde as he was with concerned with a need to understand the magical process that got Polde back to normal, which Lars explained with some handwaves about how easy it was. Maybe Claus would stay on the island to learn? Maybe everyone should stay for dinner!

Sidebar: Claus' player only showed up around now, but Claus had done plenty in the session before now. Vegas has done such a good job of giving Claus personality and motivations that everyone else was able to call out very "Claus-y" things for the magic-user to do.

Barthelm seemed like he wanted to get back on the boat as quickly as possible but Viggo interjected that they would love to stay. Afterwards the rationale was that they definitely not piss off such obviously powerful wizards by refusing their invitation. Dinner seemed normal until one of the Voiceless started choking and coughing before falling backwards off their bench. Lars jumped up with glee and ran over, calling out to the party to come and see. His experiment with one of the worm cysts was even more effective than he had imagined and he cavorted at how quickly the worms spread when ingested directly.

The party's night in the barn was not a restful one.

Session ended with everyone (including Polde!) back on Captain Skovgaard's ship to cross the sea back to the mainland and finally get Polde home.

2017-06-05

Decaying Lands 08: Heartless Intro Session

PCs Present & Played:

Caleb, Fighter 1 [farmer kit]
  Suzie, a stubborn but loyal mule
Tenkos, Cleric 1 [plague doctor kit]
Viggo Marklund, Specialist 1 [bounty hunter kit]

NPCs Encountered:


Farric Grosskopf, tracker
Frau Wetzel, nominal mayor of Bottenburg
Herr Grosskopf, father of Farric
Iris Kenefels, guide retired from lameness
Otto Ringesstadt, husband of Rute
Rich merchants
Rute Ringesstadt, leader of hunting party



This session is a bit of an interlude. Heidi and Helga's players both needed to roll up new characters and Caleb's player was new not only to the group but to RPGs in general so I wanted something smaller. There is one more player to add but they unfortunately couldn't make it that night.

These considerations unfortunately meant that whatever happened this session needed to be resolved by the end of the night so that these folks could meet up with the two survivors from the previous session. Because of that I felt like I had to push the players more than I normally would (i.e. almost never) and they didn't end up with enough time to fully explore all they would have liked. We did however end up with some really solid moments​ and one more player in the fold after after a great session so I shouldn't complain too much. I just felt dirty.

This play report will contain SPOILERS for Gift of the Silent God from S J Grodzicki's $1 Adventure Frameworks.



We started with some introductions and descriptions of the party and players to each other. My general rule is that the players can do whatever and go wherever they want. My one exception is that when we have new PCs is that they get integrated with a minimum of farting about with "but can we trust them?!" type business. They all decided that they were traveling together for safety because of the general lawlessness east of the Dwarfgrave Mountains. Good enough for me, lesgo.

Their first clue that something was wrong as they traveled west was a plume of heavy smoke rising above the village they were approaching, Bottenburg. As they approached, they saw a crowd of people in what amounted to the village square clustered around two large pyres. Caleb got closer and saw that the bodies were already quite rotten and bloated. The decomposition made him realize that the two had been left out for the evil to bubble out of their flesh and then burned to try to remove any last traces of bad luck that befell them. Despite the rot, he could see where claws and teeth had ripped up the bodies but the most striking wound was a huge hole in their chests, ribs burst open.

Meanwhile Tenkos and Viggo were off on the fringe of the crowd chatting with a grumpy man and his young son. Grosskopf was complaining about the superstitious townfolk and how they should be focusing on the missing hunting party. Apparently the town had been suffering from the depredations of a pack of deadly wolves for more than a month. An attack two weeks ago prompted the dispatch of a dozen of the town's best hunters and trappers to go out and deal with the threat but they should have been back by now. Grosskopf's son Farric was one of the main trackers to go out and he is anxious to find out what happened.

During the conversation we got something of a measure of the two adventurers. They both are hardened and seem to have "seen some shit;" this is in sharp contrast to their companion Caleb, a near giant of a man with natural strength venturing away from his farm for the first time. Grosskopf latched onto the capable presentation of Tenkos and Viggo, especially the plague doctor mask dangling from Tenkos' shoulder, and corralled them over to talk to Frau Wetzel, closest thing to a mayor the village has.

Frau Wetzel was engaged in a heated argument with two well-dressed merchants. The merchants had lost some of their own people along the roads near the village in the past few months and they were threatening to find an alternate route if Wetzel didn't take care of things. Wetzel latches onto the presence of three capable men and donkey~

"Her name is Suzie! And she's a mule, have some respect!"

Right, Caleb is quite protective of his companion. Anyway, the party manages to negotiate 100sp from the merchants to clear up whatever is plaguing Bottenburg and Frau Wetzel throws in some supplies and eternal gratitude if they can succeed. This translated into food and one "survivaly" item for each of the players. Tenkos and Viggo's players, having played in a variety of my games, immediately suggest two bear traps. They rounded out their gear with some snares and bait.

Frau Wetzezl suggested that they talk to the various family members to get some information. They started with Otto Ringesstadt, husband of Rute Ringesstadt, the leader of the expedition to kill the wolves. Otto was a mess. He seemed already like a sunken man, no confidence, and now that his wife was missing he was even more withdrawn. He sighed a lot and seemed to barely keep it together. He told the party about how broken his was had been after their children got picked for a culling during an extraordinarily brutal winter some years ago. Rute seemed to barely be hanging onto life until just the past few months when she found a new drive and passion for life again. When the wolf attacks got to be even more consistent she became determined to find and kill the creatures that had been preying on traveler and townsfolk alike and swiftly volunteered to lead the hunt.

Sidebar: Shout out to cecil howe for inspiring this bit with Let Us Not Die In The Dark Night Of This Cold Winter. I guess I laid it out pretty stark, with more detail than above, and now my players think I'm even more messed up than they already did. Which I guess is a bit, by now? That value isn't going to go down ever, I don't think.

The players asked whatever other questions they wanted of the various family members at large in the interest of time and went off into the woods in the general direction of the abandoned lodge that the expedition was to use as the base for their hunt. The took with them Iris Kenefels, a sister to one of the missing, as a guide to help them get there easily.

Ran with altered encounter tables from the adventure framework because of the less fantastic nature of the world that the players are running around in. Their first or second night Caleb heard something skulking off in the distance but it never came closer and they didn't investigate. The party did listen for wolf pack sounds but didn't notice anything out of the ordinary.

When they had nearly reached the farmhouse they found Arran, one of the missing townsfolk. He was frantic, trying to convince them to leave "or else the wolves will get you!" Arran claimed that the wolves had them penned into the walled farmhouse compound and that he had only ventured out because their food supplies were running low. The party remained unconvinced based on how insistent he was on them leaving and the fact that if the group could make it back to the town why couldn't the hunting party? After some pressuring he agreed to take them back with him to the farmhouse.

At the farmhouse it was plain to see that Arran was lying and Rute scolded him for doing so. Six of the original twelve members of the expedition were holed up in the small compound. Rute explained that they tracked the wolves to a cave but then they came out of nowhere in complete silence and started ripping people apart (think raptor scene with Muldoon from Jurassic Park). She blamed Farric, the son of the guy they originally talked to in town, for pushing down their guide Iris' sister and leaving her for the wolves while making his escape. Rute said that none of them could bear to return to town before finding Farric and getting revenge for his cowardice.

Caleb refused to leave his Suzie outside so he decided to sleep in the decaying barn with her and Iris. Iris and the mule had become close during the trip on account of Suzie carrying the lame tracker for the duration. Viggo and Tenkos opted for somewhat nicer accommodations in the farmhouse with the rest of the survivors. Of course, being paranoid adventurers (for good reason), the crew setup one bear trap in front of each building's door.

I lean on the dice a lot to help keep things surprising for everyone and this session was no exception. Farric's chance to show up popped during the middle of the night and everyone was awoken by the sounds of his frenzied screams as the bear trap near the barn door snapped shut around his leg. Rute led the rush out of the farmhouse and Caleb quickly jumped out next to the trapped trapper. Rute was howling about killing Farric but he countered that Rute and the other five had murdered everyone and ripped their hearts out. The only thing preventing Rute from killing him was Caleb's gigantic frame interposed between the two. Rute approached but Caleb popped her in the face and she lost it, screaming "Enough, kill the infidels!"

Caleb's hit rolls kept coming up crap but his damage rolls were monstrous; twice over the farmer could have finished off the crazed leader of their attackers. Tenkos likewise could have killed all five of the other attackers with a fancy firebomb but rolled a 1 on damage. Viggo got in and was doing some work but they weren't connecting enough with Rute or the rest of the attackers. Iris jumped into the fray too but again, only did 1 damage. Before too long Tenkos went down and things were looking pretty grim.

Sidebar: Before starting the session, I made an outline with all the names and people that I was going to need for the original twelve person hunting party. When we started the session with three PCs instead of four I thought that I had better cut down on some of the enemies because otherwise the intro session for new level 1 PCs would likely turn into a TPK, kind of defeating the purpose. When I actually ran it though I just read names and numbers from my outline though, so it stayed at six enemies. Oh well, no harm no foul.

The next shot at Rute got her low enough where she was thinking discretion was the better part of valor, however, and she booked it. This initiated a chase sequence! I think Caleb got up to Rute but again whiffed, leaving it all on Viggo. The bounty hunter caught up to her and nailed his attack roll with his 10' grappling hook, stopping her in her tracks. I think at this point there were only two other attackers left so the group bound the three survivors and went back to take care of Tenkos and Farric.

They paused long enough to search the grounds and heal up Tenkos. Since the adventure framework references treasure tables in Low Fantasy Gaming I went along with it and ended up doling out a pouch with a snowflake inside that never melts. Seems similar to the kind of curios in the 5E PHB but I'm curious to see what they might do with it.

They dragged Rute and the other two killers back to town and convinced Frau Wetzel of their guilt with the personal affects of the missing and consistent accounts from Iris and Farric. Viggo, Tenkos, and Caleb (and Suzie!) collected their reward and quickly headed out of town as the folk of Bottenburg set to tying a few nooses.


2017-05-19

Lamentations Campaign


Landing page for any posts having to do with my LotFP campaign Lamentations of a Decaying Land. Completely ripping this idea off of Peter Dell'Orto because that's how I got up to speed on his Felltower campaign and I love looking at his ever-expanding graveyard.

Current Party

PCs in boldNPCs in italics, levels are latest

Barthelm Schade, Specialist 4 (James)
Caleb, Fighter 2 [farmer kit]
  Suzie, a stubborn but loyal mule
Claus Drexol, Magic-User 4 (Vegas)
Jewel, Really Good Dog 2 (Rudy)
Tenkos, Cleric 1 [plague doctor kit]
Viggo Marklund, Specialist 1 [bounty hunter kit]

Session Summaries


Graveyard

PCs in bold, NPCs in italics

Buttercup, horse, shot by Barthelm while a wizard was trying to steal her
Heidi Fassbinder, Fighter 3, infested by worm tumours
Helga Frelse, Elf 2, fell to death in a rocky hole

Decaying Lands 07: Finishing the Feathered Swine

PCs Present & Played:

Barthelm Schade, Specialist 3 (James)
Claus Drexol, Magic-User 2 (Vegas)
Heidi Fassbinder, Fighter 3
Helga Frelse, Elf 2

PCs Present, Not Played:

Brian, Ratman 2

NPCs Encountered:

Aspeth Montesquieu, infested and down a leg
Felix Longworm, foreshadowingly named wizard missing his spellbook


This play report will contain all the SPOILERS for Sleeping Place of the Feathered Swine. Review incoming at some point.

The party's last session into the cave ended mid-delve with Heidi infected by awful worm tumors and Claus in serious danger as another burst out of the depression he was investigating in Room VIII. Claus figured he'd come back and have worms coursing through his flesh in short order.

Luck was on the players' side, however, and not only was Claus not surprised but Barthelm won them initiative! The party murdered the once-man in short order and collected themselves. None of us could remember if they'd gotten the blackfire bombs or not so I gave it to them because explosives are awesome and a great potential way for PCs to kill themselves.

After the excitement died down they posted up in the cave, set a bear trap at each exit, and set about trying to figure out if they could cure Heidi. When Heidi got infected her roll on Logan Knight's Body Horror table (which will disappear at some point) ended up on "genitalia" so no chance of amputation saving her. Their plan ended up with fetching Aspeth (NPC) to do experiments on her to better their odds of something working on Heidi without killing her. Aspeth had been guarding her unconcious friend Felix the Shitty Wizard (NPC) but left him once Barthelm convinced her they were going to try and save her. Felix was unconscious because he fell down the pit in Room IV and went to just enough negative HP to be out for hours but not dead. This fall would prove pivotal later on.

Claus took point, I think partly because Claus is a magic-user but also potentially because Claus' player had previously worked as an exterminator. Overlap? Maybe. Their first attempt was to try and find some fat or lard or something to rub over the flesh where parasitic worms were, the rationale being that some parasites suffocate to death when denied oxygen. They had a heck of a time finding a suitable material in their gear but eventually came up with something that was close enough. I thought the idea was good but since they don't die inside the swine's cysts I figure it only slowed them down a bit instead of killing the worms. I gave an extra exploration turn or two delay before the worms spread further in the body. If nothing else, I think it taught them that carrying items they can get creative with is important.

Digression: suffocating parasites with grease and fat is apparently a thing! I should write a post about parasites at some point.

The next strategy was to kill it with fire. Aspeth had cut her infected leg off and cauterized the wound but Claus wanted to take it a step further and apply the burning directly to the wound with the worms. At this point Heidi's infestation had spread a bit, so they gave up on proving ideas out on Aspeth and went straight for parallel applications. They emptied out the gunpowder from one of Heidi's apostles (shot bags) directly onto her worm infection and lit it up. I really liked this idea and this is how we played it out:


  1. Rolloff between the fire damage and the worms
    • Worms roll d4, torch is d4 and gunpowder is d6
  2. If the fire damage is greater than the worms' roll then that area of worms is dead
  3. If the worms' roll is higher then the infection stays but the PC still takes the fire damage
The more damage they can take the more likely they are to kill an infection. In retrospect, I should have maybe given the worms a d6 or something to make them a little harder to get rid of. Watch out if you play in a one-shot with me! In this instance the worms rolled well and although Heidi took some damage the worms didn't seem to suffer for it. They tried a torch on Aspeth, and she didn't get helped much either.

Resigned to her fate, Heidi pushed to explore the rest of the caves before her time was up. They went for the "rotting hair, sour skin" smelling branch (Room X) as opposed to the "acrid smelling, low vomiting sound" branch (Room IX) which maybe saved them a few more loses. They reset their bear traps to both be in front of Room IX and went towards the other end. Barthelm stayed behind a moment to end Aspeth's life, at her request, and hurried to catch up to the rest. This is what greeted them in the next room:

I'm pretty sure it's okay to post this since Logan put the whole adventure in the preview. Go buy the damn thing though.
The creature's mass slowly rose and fell in the deepest of slumbers. Barthelm failed his stealth roll but luckily the feathered swine did not awaken. He was carrying all three vials of sedative from Aspeth and attempted to inject them, one at a time. The base chance of success is 3-in-6, which he just made with a 3. I wasn't thinking they would dump all the sedative, but since they did I gave them an additional 1-in-6 for each one that was already in. The third dose, at 5-in-6, almost woke the creature up, but Barthelm got his 5.

The creature had 25 translucent, worm-filled cysts dangling from its flesh and Barthelm greedily harvested them all. I gave him three re-rolls, one for each dose of sedative, and he ended with one in reserve. Twenty-five worm-bearing cysts should be more than enough to satisfy the peculiar demands of Wilhelm the Wily, the wizard that they had bargained with for help. Claus wanted to try one last time to cure Heidi, however, and narrowly avoided getting infested with worms himself when he attempted to extract some of the liquid from one of the cysts. I don't recall if his winter gloves saved him or not, but it was a good precaution. After that no one wanted to mess with the cysts and the party headed out, collecting their bear traps along the way (because of course).

The only obstacle remaining on their exit was the hole that Felix fell down on the way in. A twenty foot drop is nothing to sneeze at, especially at low levels. The party reasoned to set up a safety line along the edge of the pit. Barthelm handily crossed, tied off the rope, and then James (Barthelm's player) stepped away from the table for a moment.

Everyone else crossed the pit pretty handily, even with the unconscious Felix. After everyone had crossed, I half-jokingly asked "What, no one's going back for the rope?"

Helga, emboldened by their success so far, said "Yeah of course, I'll go untie it!" She made it over, untied the rope, and started back aided by only her natural ability. The mechanic is written as roll under Dex, so she only had to roll under a 16.

The die comes up a 20.

Okay, well 20' down let's say 2d6 damage. Helga has 9, that's pretty good.

2d6 came up 12.  Twelve damage put Helga down to -3, and in LotFP that means you've got 1d10 minutes before you're dead with nothing able to save you. Barthelm's player came back, did not believe any of us that Helga fell to her death going back for the rope. "Why would you go back for the rope?!"

Heidi said some very poignant farewells as she prepared to descend into the pit with Helga. "You were always a light in the dark, you should not die alone in the dark." Barthelm gave her a torch, Claus gave her his pistol, and Heidi climbed down. She tied off her gear, signaled to bring up the rope, and watched her friends leave.

"I wish I could have been outside, I always loved the trees and walking in the forest with my father." (Heidi)
"That was deep." (someone)
"Yeah that hole was very deep." (Helga)

As they exited the cavern Claus and Barthelm weren't sure if they could hear the crack of Claus' pistol or if it was just their imagination. Down two party members and with the additional burden of an unconscious Felix it would be down to the wire for Barthelm and Claus to make it back in time to their rendezvous point . If they didn't return within five days there was no guarantee  a that theptain who would take them back to Wilhelm the Wily would still be there. Luckily nothing interrupted their journey and we ended the session.

ps: I thought I messed up with Claus and Barthelm having to carry Felix all the way back to the boat because he only should have been unconscious for 1d6 hours. However, for him to get back enough HP to be able to walk with them they would have had to do nothing but rest all day for a couple of days, making them miss their rendezvous anyway. So in the end, no harm no foul.

pps: This was Heidi's worm status at the end of the session. Every circle is a "forearm sized" chunk of tumultuous, writhing worm shapes seething beneath her flesh and boring through the bone and tissues beneath her skin.



HEIDI'S EPILOGUE

SPOILERS FOR MY PLAYERS. Don't read this if you want to maintain lack of knowledge about what Heidi did after going into the pit, even though I don't personally really care.

Heidi stayed with Helga until the last breath left her. Then she got up, Barthelm's torch in one hand, a candle in the other, pistol through her belt, and went exploring. Her aim was to see what else she could find in the cave, maybe give what remained of her life some final meaning.

She skirted the edge of the swine's cave and discovered a small alcove full of luminous mushrooms swaying like the sea and the sound of running water. She bathed in the water and relaxed, accepting her imminent death but now even more resolved to do something with the time left. Her dip in the stream calmed the worms below her flesh but only until she got out again.

The reverie was broken when Heidi moved to exit the calming side cave because she saw, tucked into the corner, the most hideous shit of armor imaginable. Blasphemous and utterly grotesque imagery adorned it's every inch down to the tiniest detail. Even more disturbing was that the body within the armor, while shrunken, did not seem rotten or dessicated in the slightest; instead, the flesh seemed supple still but drawn in and wide open eyes stared straight ahead at the doomed warrior.

Not wanting to delay beyond the briefest examination, Heidi continued to the corridor that the party had protected themselves with bear traps (Room IX). Inside she encountered too of the worm tumors vomiting impossible amounts of worm-filled gore into the mouth of a still-living member of Felix's party. Finding the battle she craved, Heidi draw her spear and approached.

The slavering man-things had a difficult time landing a blow on Heidi. Chainmail, a shield, and maybe even a Dex bonus made her quite resilient, giving her time to kill one of them before finally succumbing to their assault.

2017-03-26

Site Format

This thing looks terrible. It's going to look terrible for a bit, want to get at least Maze Rats and Troika! posts out before tinkering too much.

IntroCONso 3: Prep

I'm still coming down off the high that was IntrCONso, a minicon named for the glue of our gaming group James Introcaso. The inaugural IntrCONso marked the first game I ever ran and I've been adding onto it ever since. Due to a shortage of refs for this iteration and an incredible amount of enthusiasm for some recently purchased games I volunteered to run three sessions.

I don't know what the hell I was thinking.

In a short period of time I had acquired Blood in the Chocolate (BitC), Troika!, and Maze Rats and I was way too excited about running all of them to only commit to two sessions. BitC stands alone enough that I just needed to prep the adventure (which sort of ended up being true) but I had no idea what to do with Troika! or Maze Rats. I started collecting adventure locales and maps to get inspiration and dropping them into my Trello board for the con.

Aside: I know others have said it before, but Trello is a really nice tool for RPG prep.

Prepping Troika! and Maze Rats wouldn't have been as big of a deal if I didn't like running more open ended things. I figured to make it easier I would combine them into the same mini point / hex crawl area with the gimmick that the events of the Maze Rats game (played first) would have an effect on the setup of the Troika! game. Shortly thereafter, cecil howe kicked out a lovely beta for Hex Kit maybe two weeks before the con. Trimmed down my list of adventure locales and came up with this map:


"Came up with" should really be "spent incredibly too much time on" but here we are. The seed of the map crystalized around The Ytroth Larvae of Scarsea Cliffs (with the town renamed to "Wormroot") and a whole mess of PDFs from Gus L. I threw in The Cave of the Druid and The Hand of Dominion from Arnold K., Dyson Logos' Goblin Gully, and Tales of the Scarecrow just in case.

0102 - Hel's Crow's Final Rest
0205 - The Cave of the Druid (unmarked for players)
0305 - Goblin Gully (unmarked for everyone, it seems)
0404 - Tales of the Scarecrow
0406 - Brittlestone Parapets
0503 - Wormroot, town that hosts the worm delve every 50 years
0505 - Prison of the Hated Pretender
0603 - Shanty Town of Worm Explorers
0705 - The Hand of Dominion
0804 - Wormsign! (Ytroth Larvae)

With the map more or less set I got to work trying to convert everything to Maze Rats and Troika! stats. I got through Ytroth Larvae and halfway through Prison of the Hated Pretender. Close enough! I also decided that I wanted to try out Logan Knight's usage die rules for light that I'd pulled from Last Gasp Grimoire (bit down the page). It only really came up once but I'm interested to expand it a bit and see how it shakes out during more play. I liked it, at least.

Sort of prepped, tons of material, 2.5h late driving because I spent too much time at Kinko's. Next time I'm ordering ahead the night before.

Next post is going to be a play report from Maze Rats, the first game I ran.