session recap, 6/29/2014

Gutboy the Cleric (6), his henchpeople Trezgar the Elf (3) and Bunny the Thief (3), and his blink dog Rufus II
Pai Mei the Wu-Jen (4), and his henchmen "The Doctor" the Time Lord (2) and Father Conan O'Brien the Barbarian Cleric (2)
Rolf the Dwarf (3), and his henchmen Nvaran Azimuth the Thief (2) and Piston Honda the Sumo (2)
Kalimar the Ranger (3)

Gutboy, Rolf, and their newfound bosom companion Kalimar departed the great city of Denethix, seeking riches in the great dungeon buried beneath Mt. Rendon.  The offices of the tax collectors were being slowly rebuilt in the ruins of Chelmsfordshire - great blocks of granite had been dragged into position, and workmen and bureaucrats labored under the summer sun.

The trip to the dungeon was uneventful - no great ankhegs bursting from the ground or perytons swooping from the sky, seeking their still-beating hearts.  Maybe next time.  The 3rd level dungeon entrance remained abandoned, until they reached the cod-man lair.  They were greeted by their allies, and led to the northern guard post, where Chief Pyceen awaited them.

Pyceen: "It is time for you to kill Hinge-Headed!  This will happen now!"
Pai Mei: "We need to scout first.  And were-wolves.  You hate those, right?"
Pyceen: "Don't know these things!  You kill Hinge-Headed!  It is time to keep promises!"
Pai Mei:  "Well, you can send some of your men along to swim with us across the lake..."
Pyceen: "Ha!  No, no.  The fish are too big!  You will do it now, not us!"

The party agreed (once again) to slay the hated Hinge-Headed, and enter the flooded passages in search of a Hinge-Headed patrol to ambush.  They first stopped at the statue of a pregnant woman they often passed going to and from the Cod-Man lair - they had previously unscrewed the detachable face.  Kalimar was intrigued, and his curiosity led to the decision to hunt down some of the other statues that seemed to be at the end of every one of the wide corridors.

Some time later, they reached the end of a previously unexplored tunnel, with a statue of a man wearing an ancient schoolboy's uniform, sporting devil horns, and carrying a bass guitar.  Inspection revealed his face screwed off, and the bridge of the bass was hinged as well - pushing on it opened a small cavity containing tablature for the ancient song of power Back in Black.  Clearly this was intended for the Metal Axe, currently held by the party's long-absent partner Razoe.  The party took both face and tablature.

A wide archway off this tunnel led to a section where the water ran faster and frothed.  Pai Mei probed with his extensible aluminum pole, and discovered stairs leading 20' down under the surface of the water.  Having no way to safely navigate the depths, they headed north, towards another unexplored tunnel and statue.

At the end of this tunnel, they found a statue of a man in a poncho with a wide brimmed hat and a noose around his neck.  The face screwed off, and was promptly removed - and further investigation revealed the noose was a separate sculpture, not attached to the statue.  The thief Nvaran was ordered to examine it - as soon as he touched, it turned to dust - and then he grabbed wildly at his back as a hemp rope crawled up the back of his shirt and wrapped around his neck.  He struggled wildly, too wildly for Rolf to get close enough to cut the noose, so Piston Honda was ordered to beat the choking thief into unconsciousness.  Before too many blows were landed, Nvaran put his hands up and calmed himself.  "I can't breathe!" he said - "and I don't need to.  Weird.  Am I in Heaven?"

The party took this in stride, and headed to the underground lake to take a closer look.  Kalimar tossed a grappling hook to the top of the stairs, and they used the attached rope to climb up without worry from the waters pouring down from above.  They probed the edge of the lake, thinking they'd just send Nvaran to scout ahead underwater - but then they realized that they had no light to give Nvaran that would work submerged, and that the phosphorescent flashes off in the distance were probably underwater predators.

A bit more planning - time to go back to the cod-men and get the canoe they had left on their last expedition.  The cod-men dutifully dragged it out, and the party headed back to the stairs, where they had left the grappling hook and rope.  Luck was with them - a patrol of three Hinge-Headed and five Neanderthals was busy inspecting their rope, backs turned to them.  More luck - Gutboy quietly waded towards them ("Sorry I was late!") just in time to join the battle.

Trezgar unleashed his sleep incantations, sending the Neanderthals face first into the shallow water that flooded this level, and the rest of the party shot arrows and swung blades at the hinge-headed until they were dead.  Rolf decapitated one of the can-headed musclebound freaks, and lifted the hinge - within was not a head, but a hand, clutching a glowing green crystal.  Opening the other two head-cans revealed a blue crystal and purple crystal, respectively.  Rolf decapitated those two, packed away the crystals, and they headed back to the cod-men to deliver the grisly hand-head-can trophies.

Chief Pyceen was overjoyed that the part was actually, finally, keeping their promise to exterminate the Hinge-Headed who threatened the third level.  His men dragged in a 6' long cave fish, and began cutting parasite-laden chunks off and offered them to Gutboy.  He made a face, and said "Can't stop to eat, we've got to explore that lake.  Maybe later."

A brief foray was made into the side tunnel with the white water - it curved away, rather than towards the lake like they had expected.  They gave up on this, and later consultation with the cod-men revealed that it only led to the whirlpools near the dungeon entrance.

So, back to the lake - this time being surprised in the tunnels by four goblins breathing through reeds, who rose up from the water around them.  The little gray humanoids shook their spears menacingly, but didn't attack.

Goblin:  "Humans go now!  Our dungeon!"
Gutboy:  "But we want to help.  We'll kill the hinge-headed!"
Goblin (considering):  "Hmm.  Human kill hinge-headed.  Do it now!  Go!"
Gutboy:  "Aren't you going to help?"
Goblin:  "No!  Go!  Go!"

The semi-hostile goblins were in no mood to fight, and slunk off into the darkness.  The party did notice these were dressed in moldy rags, and had severe fungal infections on their skin - they weren't anywhere as near well-off as the silver-suited goblins of the deceased Grolikus the Hive-Mind.

Back up the stairs to the lake - the unbreathing thief Navran was chosen to paddle the canoe, and Pai Mei and Father Conan O'Brien join him.

Trip 1 - Piston Honda holds 200' of rope tied to the canoe's stern.  The canoe paddles along the wall as far as it can, discovering a yellow buoy floating in the water.  Party determines that they need to paddle around without rope holding them back.  A 13' long albino catfish circles the canoe on the way back but swims away as it reaches the stairs

Trip 2 - Canoe goes a bit farther, finds a rocky shore to the south, where the map had a symbol they thought was a windmill.  Pai Mei and Father Conan O'Brien disembark.  Rufus sees their torchlight from the stairs and blinks over.  Flounder-like bioluminescent dungeon sharks follow Nvaran the thief in his canoe back to the stairs, where they attack briefly before being swept down into the dungeon by the currents

Trip 3 - Kalimar and Doctor Who are ferried to the southern shore.  9' long bioluminescent squid trail the canoe.  Nvaran also gets out to help explore the southern shore.

The party on the southern shore followed the cave wall, and found an opening leading into a second cave, where three rock cairns were piled up (8' long, 4' wide, 3' high).  Wooden markers had been placed onto the cairns, with strange glyphs carved onto them.  They turned around to head back to shore, and saw a faint yellow light off to the east.  Walking back to the shore, some larger shape eclipsed the yellow light from view.  Rufus blinked back and forth to the stairs, relaying details to the reluctant Gutboy and Rolf.

The party then headed towards the yellow light.  It turns out it was a glowing yellow crystal skull, mounted into a niche in the southernmost of four large pillars.  The pillars curved inwards, and supported a great stone circle from bronze chains.  The circle was 12' wide, and suspended 10' above the floor.  The air within the stone circle shimmered.  A separate stone stairway led up to the circle.

To the south of the circle stood two rough shacks, nailed together from old planks.  A quick examination revealed old cots and crates labeled in unknown glyphs, containing what looked like moldy old rations.

Father Conan headed up to the circle and dropped some stones through the circle.  As expected, they disappeared.  He then stuck his head through - it too disappeared from view.  He stood back up, his head returned as he withdrew from the shimmering air, and reported seeing a land covered in purple vegetation, with an indescribable sky.

Kalimar knotted a rope and dropped it through the portal, and then climbed down.  Once through, he found himself standing upon a rocky hill, next to a nearly identical set of four pillars and stone ring - the only difference being that there was no niche or yellow skull.  The hill was surrounded by a purple jungle, with jagged peaks visible in the distance, and the remains of an ancient road a few miles away.  Hanging in the sky was a massive gas giant, with a wide vertical ring around it.  Above the opposite horizon was a tiny red sun.

Kalimar climbed back up the rope and reported his findings.  Rufus then blinked away to inform Rolf and Gutboy on the stairs, and they decided they should head over.  More blinking and messaging ensued, and Nvaran paddled his canoe one last fatal trip back.

100' from the stairs, seven serpents emerged from the water around the canoe.  Trezgar tried another sleep incantation, to no avail - Rolf fired his plasma rifle, missing - and Gutboy let loose with a burst from his machine gun, the recoil forcing the barrel up and causing bullets to ricochet off the ceiling high above.  The serpents descended on the helpless thief and tore him into five bite-sized chunks, holing the canoe in the process.  The sated serpents then sank beneath the surface of the lake.

With no way back, a certain amount of panic ensued.  Rufus was used as a go-between, and the stranded half of the party decided to tear open the rock cairns and see if something useful could be found.  The first cairn torn open revealed the woody corpse of a dried cactus-man, covered with horrific wounds.  The second cairn had a crate, containing a plain-looking sword with a red button on its hilt (claimed by Kalimar), a golden statuette of a cod-man lifting a barbell, and a goblin head preserved in a jar of formaldehyde.  The third cairn contained a blue human skeleton.  They also removed the yellow skull from the niche as a precaution, and briefly experimented with the green crystal skull they had been carrying (nothing but sparks when placed in the niche).

Out of options, the party decided to build a raft from the two rough shacks.  They easily disassembled the poorly built structures, and with Kalimar's wilderness experience were able to build a sturdy 10' by 20' raft, with a door as a rudder.  They paddled this with planks towards the head of the stairs - an easy task considering the current was dragging them there anyways.

As they neared the stairs, all but Kalimar were surprised by the splashing and flapping of a school of giant flying vampiric piranha.  One of the creatures bit into Conan and began taking its blood meal - Kalimar swung with his sword, depressing the red button as he hit the fish.  High voltage electricity surged down the blade, electrocuting both the fish and Conan, leaving the fish still feeding and Conan sprawled unconscious on the raft.

As the party recovered from the shock of battle, more fish flung themselves at Conan, and he was drained white within seconds.  Another fish landed itself upon Pai Mei's neck, bringing the wizard to his knees.  At this point, the raft had drifted within range of Rolf and Gutboy's weapons, and they, along with the survivors on the raft, were able to kill off the vicious fish.  Gutboy used his healing magic to restore vigor to Pai Mei, but poor Father Conan was beyond human help.

The party decided they'd had enough, and decided to return to Denethix with their loot.  Gutboy paused at the lair of the cod-men, and incautiously showed the golden statue of a cod-man lifting a barbell to Chief Pyceen.

Gutboy:  "Do you know anything about this?"
Pyceen:  "Yes!  That's mine!"
Gutboy:  "What? No, I mean do you know if it does something..."
Pyceen:  "It's mine.  I dropped it."
Gutboy:  "No you didn't.  We found it out by the lake."
Pyceen:  "It's sacred!  That is very sacred to our people!  Give it to me!"
Other cod-man:  "What is it"  "Oh, sacred, yeah, sacred."

Gutboy counted the cod-men surrounding them, did some mental math, and grudgingly handed Pyceen the statue.  Perhaps strains are beginning to form between the Mongos and the Cod-Men...

Once back at Denethix, Trezgar began the hard work of identifying the arcane properties of the remaining loot.  The galvanic sword was not magic in its own right, but had a small store of power - enough for five more electrical attacks.  Kalimar resolved to find a way to recharge his new toy.   Trezgar also investigated the yellow crystal skull - its magic was not readily identifiable, but was instead linked to the dungeon beneath Mt. Rendon.  The goblin head in a jar was a worthless and grisly non-magical specimen.

The colored crystals from the cans of the hinge-headed proved a different story.

Trezgar:  "Unbelievable!  The arcane matrices - the hyperstructures - they seek to look back into me!  The crystals are intelligent!"
Blue Crystal:  "Yes, fool!  You have stolen the minds of the Hinge-Headed, and you will pay!  Return us immediately!"
Gutboy:  "They talk?"
Blue:  "Oh, we talk.  We command!  Return us, or your torments shall be legendary!"
Rolf:  "Maybe ransom them"
Gutboy:  "Or smash them"
Purple:  "No!  We are worth valuable ransoms!  Our people will pay gladly!"
Blue:  "Smash the green one!"
Green:  "Hey!"

Gains:  Galvanic sword, three minds of the Hinge-Headed, goblin head in a jar, two more screw-off statue faces
Kills:  Three hinge-headed bodies, 5 Neanderthals, 6 giant flying vampiric piranha
Losses:  Nvaran Azimuth the Thief and his noose of not-breathing, Father Conan O'Brien, the golden statue of a cod-man lifting a barbell


Bottle City!

The new printing of Bottle City from Rob Kuntz & Black Blade Publishing showed up today:

I've looked at it for about 30 seconds.  Kind of funky layout, lots of commentary sections peppered throughout the book.  Lots of unkeyed rooms too.  I'll figure it all out after I go through it in more detail, I'm sure.  There's an early "errata" section where they note corrections to various things, including the map.

So there's some value being placed on this as a historical document over use (where the errata would be integrated, map corrected, etc).  Haven't gone through it in any serious way yet so I don't know how that might impact actually running it.  My players are a bit too low a level right now anyhow.


session recap, 5/18/2014

Gutboy the Cleric (6), his henchpeople Trezgar the Elf (3) and Bunny the Thief (3), and his blink dog Rufus II
Pai Mei the Wu-Jen (4), and his henchmen "The Doctor" the Time Lord (2) and Father Conan O'Brien the Barbarian Cleric (2)
Simon the Halfling (3), and his henchmen the Unnamed Mariner (2) and Roger the Halfling Guardian (2)

Too many henchmen failed abysmally at living during the last expedition to the Anomalous Subsurface Environment, so the recruiting began anew.  Fortunately, there are plenty of veterans of the Great Zombie War now looking for profitable and violent employment.  The interview process went something like this:

Various "Oriental Adventures" type classes from Dragon Magazine: "Never mind, we withdraw our application, we're too complicated too run"
Father Conan O'Brien: "Ever hear of a Barbarian Cleric?  You have now!  Look, sword!  Let's do some prayin' and killin'!"
Roger the Halfling Guardian: "Why, cousin Simon, I never thought to meet you here!  Of course I'll guard you as you crawl through a stinking hole of death! It's my job!"

Then, plans were made - silver bullets and weapons were acquired in abundance to deal with the Werewolf Frat Party, and a canoe was also purchased, for subterranean paddling.  And off to the dungeon, and through the still-friendly Lair of the Cod People.

Cod-Man: "What's that thing you're carrying?"
Pai Mei:  "It's a boat, so we can cross that lake"
Cod-Man:  "Why don't you just swim?"
Pai Mei (pointing at neck):  "No gills"
Cod-Man:  "HAHAHA!  Well, try not to DROWN in your BOAT! HAHAHA!"
Cod-Man #2:  "Good luck breathing, Mr. I-Need-Air!"

The cod-man chief exhorted them once again to murder the Hinge-Headed - empty promises were made, and the party headed back to the Tomb of Elvis.  They passed the last of the Toothmen, and gave him the promised mushroom pie - "THIS IS AWESOME!  I love you guys!  Seriously!" - and down they went to the tomb.

They reconnoitered the area, and found that the door that Pai Mei had wizard locked had a hole clawed through it - and beyond was an unconscious, presumably inebriated, presumably werewolfian, naked man.  Father Conan was sent in to slit his throat with a silver sword - and the werewolf gurgled his last.

The group then turned their attention to the Tomb of Elvis.  They arranged themselves carefully to deal maximum damage to the smoke chimps, and prodded the canopic jars with a 20' long pole.  The smoke chimps arose, and were slaughtered, controlled by Bunny through the use of the Sword of Unlife, and repelled by Gutboy's nihilistic non-faith.  Once the area was clear, Father Conan slid the lid off the sarcophagus, revealing a mummified corpse with a brittle pompadour atop its head, a gold amulet around its neck, and dog-headed golden staff clutched in its hands.  All three were absconded with, and the triumphant party headed back to town ("Oh, cod-men, yeah, we need a second canoe.  THEN we'll get those hinge-headed. You can totally trust us.")   The party briefly engaged with a 20' tall giant grub that reared up from the corn-fields around Chelmsfordshire, and slew it without breaking a sweat.

Once in town, Trezgar studied his ancient magics of identification, and probed the mysteries of the tomb-loot. The pompadour ripped from the mummy's head gave its wearer the power to charm an onlooker with a sneer and thrust of the hip.  Striking an opponent with the dog-headed staff would both damage with its magical puissance, and likely turn the victim into nothin' but a hound dog, barkin' all the time.  The amulet was just an expensive bit of jewelry, promptly sold off.

All thoughts of canoes were then discarded - Gutboy was hot to take control of the BAGGER 288 with the remote control device he had installed.  He first approach his patron Davrik Lerdingfast about assisting them:

Gutboy: "It's time to take control of the BAGGER 288, but we need a little assistance.  He who controls this will control... well... everything!  I believe agreed on one million gold for delivering it to you."
Davrik:  "Yes... I had and do agree... but I'm coming with you.  Meet me on the Street of Lesser Men tomorrow morning, west side of the city.  I'll have my men prepare the expedition immediately."

The morning arrived, and Davrik had not skimped on his preparations.  He had a dozen outriders mounted on horses, two iguanadons loaded with supplies and a half-dozen wranglers to lead them, and he himself sat behind the wheel of an ancient convertible Lincoln, with bull's horns mounted to the grill.  Another half-dozen manservants and butlers, and Professor Smithen from the Academy, were also in the retinue.

Gutboy: "Oh... hey.... can we borrow some horses?"
Davrik (disgusted):  "Seriously?  You don't have horses?  Very well, I'll send my man for some.  But really."

Another hour delay, and more horses were brought for the party.  The expedition rode west for several days, past Mt. Rendon and the megadungeon beneath, until they came close to the blast-zone where the globe-shaped alien ship had been destroyed.  Davrik directed:  "We'll head southwest through the woods until we hit the remains of the green moon.  We should be able to pick up the tracks of the machine there."  The car was left with a few riflemen to guard it, and a howdah erected atop one of the iguanadons for Davrik to ride in.

As the expedition headed closer to the blast zone, the vegetation began to take on a sickly green glow.  As they struck camp, Davrik headed off with half his outriders to do some hunting, while the party twiddled their thumbs with the servants.  As they waited for Davrik's return, five mutant deer burst into the camp, glowing bright green, and bearing razor-sharp antlers, fangs, and curved claws instead of hooves.  The party handily took down the deer that charged them, and then assisted the outriders with the remainder.

Davrik soon returned, bearing several mutant deer carcasses of his own.

Davrik (to manservant):  "You!  Skin these things!  We're going to eat well tonight!"
Gutboy:  "I don't think that's wise.  These are radioactive!  It's poisonous!"
Davrik (revealing amulet making rapid clicking noise beneath his shirt):  "Yeah I know, this amulet from the Scientists tells me the same!  Don't worry, it'll protect us!"
Gutboy:  "I don't think that's how it works.  That's poison.  But you could perhaps make trophies and give them to your enemies."
Davrik:  "Fine.   You there!  Cut the heads off these things and wrap them up!"

The reached the blast zone without further danger - although the squirrels chasing along in the trees were also glowing bright green with nasty little fangs.  The blast zone was a two-mile-wide crater of glowing green glass.  Across the crater they could see a quarter mile trail where the BAGGER 288 had cut its way through the forest, heading north.  Gutboy insisted on riding around the edge of the crater instead of crossing it - passing, as they did so, an intact fragment of the alien spaceship, with a closed hatch, which was resoundingly ignored - and followed the trail into the plains north of the forest.  The trail cut across the road again, and led to the smoking stump of a wizard's tower.  Clearly, the BAGGER 288 had not been idle.

A day later, they saw smoke in the distance, and the bulk of the BAGGER 288. Davrik pulled out his binoculars, glanced through, and handed them to Gutboy and the rest of the party.  Looking through, they saw the BAGGER 288, and horrifyingly, at least 100 skeletal-looking robots carrying lasers.  The BAGGER and robot army were approaching a windowless tower of black basalt, the concentrated laser fire barely scarring its surface.

Gutboy hatched a plan.  He put the remote control device in Rufus' mouth, tied his ring of invisibility to Rufus' tail, and then slid it over the end of the dog's wagging tail.  The invisible Rufus then blinked forward towards the BAGGER 288 and bit down on the remote control - but nothing happened.

Gutboy yelled at Smithen - "Why didn't that work?"  Smithen took a look through the binoculars - the antenna they had left on the exterior of the BAGGER 288 was gone.   Gutboy surmised that the antenna had been destroyed in the nuclear blast when the alien ship exploded.

Gutboy watched more through the binoculars as the BAGGER 288 closed on the tower.  Its giant cutting wheel easily sliced through the base of the black tower, and the edifice collapsed in a heap.  Black shadows oozed from the rubble and rushed along the ground towards the robots, but laser fire from the ground troops eliminated the shadow-things before they struck a single blow.  Gutboy then started in alarm, as he saw a score or so of the robots turn and begin marching towards him and the rest of the expedition.  "Time to go!" he shouted, and they turned south.  The robots quickly gave up pursuit, and the expedition, after a further week's travel, finally returned to Denethix.

Davrik:  "Well, that was an unmitigated disaster.  I could've been hunting on the Ceratopsian.  Absolute waste of time."
Gutboy:  "Well, you got those deer heads..."
Davrik:  "Fat lot of good!  Look at them!"

Davrik opened the trunk of his car, revealing a pile of rotting, glowing deer heads.  They were clearly unsalvageable and completely unsuitable for display.  He had his men dump the radioactive remains in the middle of the street, and angrily drove off, leaving a crowd of beggars fighting over the poisonous, meaty head-scraps.

Gains:  Was-Hound Staff, 2500 gp gold amulet, Wig of Lordship
Kills:  One werewolf, four canopic apes, one ankheg, five radioactive deer
Losses:  Shockingly, none


session recap, 4/26/2014

Pai Mei the Wu-Jen (4), and his henchpeople Barbara the Scientist (2), "The Doctor" the Time Lord (2), and "Crusty" Tim the Fighter (2)
Simon the Halfling (3), and his henchbeings BW-5891 the Robot (2) and an Unnamed Mariner (2)
A Dwarf (3), and his henchmen Nvaran Azimuth the Thief (2) and Piston Honda the Sumo (2)

[editor's note - a character sheet went home with a player. The dwarf's name is thus forgotten]

A dwarf, a halfling, and a wu-jen go into a bar.  What better place to find idiots willing to sacrifice life and limb for a half-share of the loot?  Only the drunk and desperate need apply.  The interview process went something like this:

Geisha to Simon:  "My eyes are up here, you little bastard!" (slap)
Geisha to Dwarf: "I don't even need a reason to slap you." (slap)
Pai Mei to Randolph Carter the Dreamer: "So, where are you from, and what do you bring to the table?"
Randolph Carter: "I have been trapped here in this land of slumber, unable to awaken. I bring the lucidity and clarity of dreams!"
Pai Mei: "NEXT"
Dwarf to one-footed thief:  "Pass."
One-footed thief: "Discrimination!"
Simon to Unnamed Mariner:  "And what can you do for us?"
Unnamed Mariner: "I bring the knowledge of the sea! Endless ways to apply that to dungeoneering, cap'n!"
Simon (eyeing the other pitiful dregs looking for work):  "Close enough. Hired!"
Pai Mei to guy in long overcoat and crazy-long scarf: "All right, what's your story?"
The Doctor: "You can call me the Doctor.  I'm trapped in this temporal zone, but not even the local tachyon atmosphere can entirely diminish my perceptions."
Pai Mei: "Hired!"
Nvaran Azimuth to Dwarf: "Sure, I can go underground, no problem - just get me out of the city! The Fist knows my face!"
Dwarf to Nvaran Azimuth the not-handicapped-thief: "Hired!"

Disappointed with the quality of henchmen, the party began a pub crawl looking for more. Pickings were slim, as press gangs had rounded up most everyone for the just-ended Great Zombie War.  They did discover a robot, a scientist busy scrubbing it's bearings, and an old man in plate mail.

Barbara the Scientist to Simon:  "You disgust me!"
BW-5891 the Robot to Simon: "I LOVE YOU!"
"Crusty" Tim the nonagenarian Fighter to Pai Mei: "I like the cut of your jib, sonny! I'll be dead soon anyway, let's go!"

The bizarre crew headed off to the dungeon, passing through the burned wreckage of Chelmsfordshire.  A city official tutted as them they passed, and remarked to one of the Unyielding Fist accompanying him, "We need to rebuild this place double-time.  Look, revenue just walking away!"

While camped overnight, a moaning was heard - three zombie Moktars, undoubtedly victims of the war, shambled into their camp.  The fight was brief, but "Crusty" Tim took a hit to the noggin and was knocked out cold.  Unwilling to enter the dungeon so weakened, the party headed back to Denethix to wait for "Crusty" Tim to recover from his wound.  Nvaran put a burlap bag over his head, and told the Dwarf to tell anyone who asked that he was just a slave.

A week passes - "Crusty" Tim is as ready as he'll ever be - and back to the dungeon they go, this time uneventfully.  Once inside, the party decides to revisit a chamber with a balcony overlooking a swirling pool of water - but are stopped on the way by a pair of charred corpses.  As the corpses take wounds, jets of flame shoot from the hot coals within their bodies. The burning corpses crush "Crusty" Tim's ancient bones and tear apart BW-5891's hydraulics before they are laid to rest.

With no medical assistance available ("Barbara - can you help Tim? You're a scientist!"  "No way, he's all sticky! Disgusting!"), Tim bleeds out.  The robot is too heavy to drag around, so Barbara attempted to remove its head, to be attached to another body at a later date.  Sadly, she didn't pay much attention in her robotics class, and the machine's lithium battery pack bursts into flames as the light in its eyes faded away.  The robot's last words were, "I... LOVE.... YOU...." to its beloved master.

There is no place for sentimentality in the dungeon, though, and the party continued on to the whirlpool room.  Pai Mei, expecting great things from Simon's unnamed Mariner, demanded to know what could cause such aquatic phenomena.  The Mariner thought for a bit, and exclaimed "Oh yeah, I've seen that before!  That's how toilets swirl around!"  This epiphany did not convince Pai Mei.

And deeper into the dungeon - past the Cod Men, who apparently blamed the Hinge-Headed for the looting of their temple, and demanded that the party go forth and slay the can-headed invaders.  The party smiled politely and agreed, but the Cod-Men were unwilling to send any of their own to aid this effort.  After their fishy allies were out of earshot, the party decided to head down to the 4th level in search of gold, instead.

Down they went, past Bathakrog the Last of the Toothmen, past the laser trap, and down to the 4th level.  They opened a secret door, discovering a large chamber with a walled central portion - the walls entirely covered with murals of crowds of people adoring a beloved king with a pompadour and a sneer.  Two bas reliefs at either end of the walled central portion depicted the king's face - the party pressed on all four eyes simultaneously, and the sneering faces slid upwards, revealing entrances into a secret tomb.

Within the tomb was a sarcophagus surrounded by eight canopic jars, with the lids carved into ape faces and covered with gold leaf.  Pai Mei sent Barbara in to investigate - she picked up a jar, and its lid flew off - as did the lids from the rest of the jars.  Clouds of smoke and ash flew out, coalescing into angry floating smoke-chimps.  Barbara dropped the jar and tried to flee, and the party took some pot-shots at one of the chimps - the arrows split its belly open, revealing red-hot charcoal intestines.  The chimp disemboweled itself and used its flaming intestines to lasso Barbara's neck and haul her back into the room, where the ash apes rended her limb from limb.

In a panic, the party fled back through the secret door and slid it closed.  The smoke chimps had no idea how to open it, and eventually the noise from the other side died down.  Piston Honda slid the door open, and saw that the chamber was deserted.  The party looked into the tomb again, and all the jars were closed except for the broken one, whose shards were covered with a pile of ash.  They cautiously pulled the sneering faces back down over the openings, and decided to investigate some of the other doors leading out of the outer chamber.

They heard the noises of a party coming from beyond a pair of large double doors (shouts of "Chug! Chug!" and voices drunkenly singing "Louie Louie") - Piston Honda peaked behind the doors, and reported that a half dozen werewolves or so were getting wasted.  They carefully closed that door, and investigated another.  Piston Honda peaked in, and saw four naked men among a pile of furs, refuse, and their own excrement.  One of them yanked open the door, saying "Well, don't you just look delicious."

Simon was not fooled by their innuendo, and suspected cannibalistic werewolfism rather than an invitation to hook up - he put his theory to the test with a silver bullet through the closest man.  "Dammit! They got silver!" the man shouted, as Piston Honda yanked the door closed.  Pai Mei then rattled off a powerful incantation to lock the door in place.  The werewolves behind screamed and battered at the door, but the party down the hall was too loud for them to be heard.

The group realized they only had 3 silver bullets left, and were woefully unprepared for a fight with werewolves.  They headed back up to the third level, investigated a subterranean lake on their map and realized they didn't have a boat either, and then gave up and returned to town, vowing to be better prepared with silver weapons and/or boats on their next visit.

Gains:  Absolutely none
Kills:  Three moktar zombies, two charred zombies
Losses:  BW-5891 the Robot, Barbara the Scientist, "Crusty" Time the Fighter


Happy Easter!

Happy Easter everyone!

Jesus replied, "The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified.  I tell you the truth, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds.  The man who loves his life will lose it, while the man who hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life.

John 12:23-25


session recap, 3/13/2014

Gutboy the Cleric (6), his henchpeople Trezgar the Elf (3) and Bunny the Thief (3), and his blink dog Rufus II
Pai Mei the Wu-Jen (4)

As Gutboy and his retinue considered the cave entrance, the bag man lowered himself into it.  They then heard a commotion from behind - Pai Mei was hurriedly descending to the bottom of Southdeep, shouting "Sorry I'm late, just got back from my Pilates class!"

A "clang" was heard from beneath cave/pit as the party debated who should go first.  Finally, Pai Mei agreed, ropes were lowered, and the descent was made.

The entrance to the cave was a 20' wide hole in the ground, and descended into an 80' wide space dug out of the dirt.  A tall heap of trash and refuse from the town above came to within 10' of the entrance - Pai Mei lowered himself onto the pile and clambered down to the bottom, the rest of the party following after.

The floor of the cave was, strangely enough, made of riveted steel, and had a trapdoor in it.  Two tunnels were dug into the dirt walls of the cave as well - one leading west, and another southeast.

They first opened the trapdoor, revealing a chamber with a conveyor belt running along its floor.  It was too dark to see the walls of the chamber.  The prospect of belts and conveying was deemed too dangerous, and the duo decided to head down the dirt tunnel to the southeast, bravely sending in the robot ZN547 ahead of them.

The narrow tunnel meandered some 800' through the dirt, and ended at the entrance to a steel tunnel, heading back roughly north.  The steel tunnel was lined with girders, holding back the earth, and the "floor" of the tunnel was a series of metal buckets stretching off into the distance, their openings pointing south towards the party.  Pai Mei deduced that this was the talings-disposal section of the BAGGER 288, and once again their wariness of automated conveyances led them to abandon this entrance to the great machine.

They returned to the main cavern, and then followed the west tunnel.  This tunnel spiraled downwards, opening into another dirt cavern, the floor littered with ancient bones and skulls, and the north wall occupied by massive vertical treads.  There was another small tunnel high up on the north wall, above one of the treads.

Once again, the party bravely sent the battle bot ZN547 into the tunnel above - as it clambered up, there was a disturbance in the bones.  A massive earthworm, 6' in diameter, reared up from beneath the bones and sped at top earthworm speed towards its prey.

Arrows flew, and Trezgar expended a sleep spell to no effect - and the earthworm descended upon the grad student Sally, gulping her down whole.  More arrows were shot into the beast, the battle-bot descended to impale the worm with its drill-hand, and Gutboy unloaded a full clip from his newly-purchased machine gun into the beast.  The violence finally overcame the worm, tearing it open vertically, and the bullet-ridden corpse of Sally slid out of its ruptured gullet.

With admirable practicality, Gutboy kicked Sally's body aside and began inventorying the contents of the worm's digestive tract.  He managed to extract 76 gold coins of ancient and unknown provenance, the faces and writing stamped upon them unfamiliar.

Their mercenary instincts sated, the party climbed up the giant treads and crawled down the narrow tunnel, getting much smaller earthworms tangled in their hair.  This tunnel opened up into a third dirt cavern after a short distance, the east wall being made of steel.  A metal stairway emerged from the dirt and ran up to a door in the steel wall.  ZN547 opened the door, and instantly the sound of heavy machine gun fire was heard, and the battle bot staggered back under a hail of bullets. Pai Mei shouted "A trap! Destroy it!" at the robot, and it obediently passed through the door - loud banging and crashing - and returned with a mangled machine gun on a tripod, a metal wire running from its trigger to the door's handle.  "THREAT ELIMINATED!" announced the damaged robot, as Pai Mei considered that he may have been too hasty in ordering the destruction of the trap.

The party began pouring into the BAGGER 288 (for surely this door must lead into its interior).  Inside they faced a massive turbine, 20' high, its ends disappearing into the darkness - and then, laser-fueled violence!  Four robots were waiting in ambush, and opened up with their laser-equipped arms, catching the party in a crossfire.  ZN547 and Bob the grad student were lacerated under the burning beams of light, and Larry the grad student's nerve broke - he ran back into the dirt cavern, screaming that the extra credit just wasn't worth this kind of risk.

While the party may have been outgunned and surprised, they were not without resources - Trezgar used his sleep magic to put two of the attacking robots out of commission, and Gutboy's paralyzing incantations locked up the third's positronic circuits.  A hail of arrows finished off the remaining robot, its hydraulic lines severed and reducing it to immobility.

Professor Smithen began yanking microchips from the felled robots, and Gutboy set himself to work ripping their laser-equipped arms off at the shoulder.  They then began exploring the turbine chamber, finding a ladder and trapdoor leading upwards.  Gutboy convinced Smithen to order his assistant Michael to climb the ladder and open the trapdoor -  he did so, and then quickly backed down the ladder, shouting "Robots! Robots!"

Pai Mei borrowed Gutboy's 20' extending pole (once Mongo's), put the deceased grad student Bob's pork pie hat on top, and stuck the pole up the hatch.  The pole jerked, and Pai Mei pulled back a shorter 15' pole - it had been sheared off.  Gutboy then put on his ring of invisibility and climbed the ladder to reconnoiter - he found that three welding robots were watching over the hatch, waiting for the party.

A plan was hatched - Gutboy climbed up again, invisibly, and then Pai Mei followed up the ladder.  Just as Pai Mei reached the top, Rufus blinked into the room, and both the dog and Gutboy assailed the wayward welding machines.  Pai Mei clambered into the room so that Trezgar could get a shot off with his boy - but one of the robots shoved its welding torch into Pai Mei's face, burning off his luxurious eyebrows.  No longer would he be considered the dandy of the Secret City of the Shoguns.

With the robots already badly damaged by the sneak attack, and Pai Mei's magic missiles decimating them, the battle was over quickly.  The party moved deeper into BAGGER 288, finding a broom closet, a locked room, and a lead door with radiation warning on it.  Then, surprisingly quickly, they stumbled into the control room of the Destroyer of Worlds - clearly the back exit was the best way in.  A hairless, sore-covered gorilla stood in the middle of the room, with cables hanging from the ceiling jammed into its flesh.

The gorilla's rolled back in its head, and it shouted "You!  You have come to awaken the Beast!  All is lost!"  Gutboy ignored the screaming gorilla and headed to one of the control stations, eager to plug in the USB stick that would activate the evil machine.  The gorilla wasn't down with that, and began slapping Gutboy furiously about the neck and face.  With his bag-men compatriots somewhere above, the wired gorilla was quickly dispatched.

Gutboy plugged in the USB stick, and the banks of long-dormant monitors began to light up.  A feminine voice announced "Initializing systems.  Reboot required." as the BAGGER 288's turbines began to turn.  Gutboy quickly ordered Professor Smithen to connect his override aparatus, and then the Professor and his assistant ran out of the room, dragging the antenna cable behind them, as they had to mount it outside the door to the BAGGER 288.  Gutboy and Pai Mei then did some quick mental math, and realized that staying inside the living machine, Destroyer of Worlds, Harbinger of the End, was probably suicidal, and ran after the Professor.

As they exited the machine, they noticed clumps of dirt falling from the ceiling of the caves - the tunnels were going to collapse.  They rushed through as fast as they could, the ceiling collapsing behind them.  As they reached the top of the BAGGER 288 and the hole leading up to Southdeep, they found that five bag men were waiting for them.  "It is them!  They have awoken it!" shouted the angry gorillas.

"No time!" should Gutboy back.  "We'll all die if we fight!"  The gorillas apparently agreed, and clambered up the pile of Southdeep's garbage and up out of the hole, followed by the party.  The people of Southdeep stared out their windows as the party wound their way up and out of the quaking pit.  Only when they reached the top did Gutboy shout "You have to run!" down at the inhabitants - just in time to see the pit collapse, burying the hapless villagers.

Having escaped being buried alive, the bag men then began beating their chests and charged Gutboy.  Trezgar still had a sleep incantation available, and most fell to the ground in deep slumber.  The one left awake was slain, and the remaining sleepers had their throats slit.  As they finished their business, a 50' wide saw blade erupted from the earth next to them - apparently they weren't as safe as they thought.  They ran from the blade as the rest of the BAGGER 288 began to dig itself up from the earth.  It trundled off to the west, towards the mile-wide alien spaceship, the flamethrows attached for some reason to its might digging blades and saws setting the forest ablaze.  Clearly the manufacturers of 21st century mining equipment had some important safety questions to answer.

The party made their way back to Denethix, and Gutboy and Pai Mei headed towards Davrik Lerdingfast's mansion.  The butler escorted them to the roof deck, where Davrik stood watching the progress of the BAGGER 288 through one of the many tripod-mounted telescopes that had been brought out for the occasion.

Gutboy looked through one of them, and witnessed the undead horde's futile attempts to stop the machine.  The lasers of the skybike-riding zombies were unable to penetrate the BAGGER 288's armor, and the shells from the ground artillery merely bounced off.  The great blades of the machine scythed mercilessly through the ranks of the dead, and finally the machine reached the glowing green spaceship.  Its giant blades cut through the ship's hull as if it was cardboard, and Gutboy barely had time to glance away as the ship exploded in a massive mushroom cloud.  When the explosion subsided, nothing was left but a vast empty crater - and the BAGGER 288, continuing to crawl off to the west.

Davrik:  "Quite a show!"
Gutboy:  "Yes, and I think I can offer you a deal.  How much would you pay to control that machine?"
Davrik:  "What?  Control it?  Ha, a hundred thousand gold, I suppose."
Gutboy:  "We're very serious, and that's not nearly enough."
Davrik (scowling):  "If you can bring that thing to heel, I can offer you a million and a half.  That's all I have liquid right now."
Gutboy:  "When we disable it, it will be yours.  You'll need to take care reactivating it - we won't reprogram it."
Davrik:  "Get it done, and we'll talk."

Gains:  76 gp, four laser-equipped robot arms
Kills:  Giant earthworm, four battle bots, three welding robots, five bag men, and the bag man oracle, and (indirectly) Ki-Ris, the Duvan'Ku spaceship, and most of the undead army
Losses:  ZN547, Madame Prepin's grad students, the entire village of Southdeep