A Requiem for Krogo, and other stuff

Alas, poor unconscious Krogo has been turned into morlock-chow.  Truly an abused henchman if ever there was one.  Netal does so make me proud.  This was building up for a few sessions - the morlocks are tired of the party's unfulfilled promises of people-flesh.  I think I'll implement a "people toll" for players heading down to the 2nd level.

One thing missing from the last session report was Netal's discovery of why he is surrounded by dying hobos.  He took his crow amulet (lifted from P.W.'s corpse way back when) to Frondgar the sage for identification.  After several attempt, he discovered its powers - it sucked one hit point per day from the weakest person nearby, and gave it to the wearer.  It also prevents all natural healing, except by the wearer.  He decided to keep this a secret from the rest of the party, so I omitted it from the session report (which is a cut'n'paste job from the email I send out to my players).

He gets an "A" for conniving, but I give him two more sessions before everyone decides Netal is a life-draining vampire monster.  It will be funny to watch those crows come to roost, though, so it's all good.

He barely made it out of the dungeon alive - he's a very new player, this is his first time playing the game.  So he's got some risk assessment skills to develop.

In other news, James Raggi is selling some copies of ASE1 at RopeCon over in Finland.  ASE1 gets a nice spot at the front of the table:  http://lotfp.blogspot.com/2011/07/ropecon-2011-or-old-school-north.html, which is awesome.  I love the look of his table - check out all those little yellow stripes in the corners of the books.  So old-school!

Skype + Fantasy Grounds continues to be a very viable way to play the game.  The feel is very much like having people at the house, so I'm quite pleased - I think I'll keep the experiment going for a while.

I am also now signed up for Google+, but am totally unimpressed by the interface.  Usually Google gets things so right, but wow, it's not very useable at all.  It keeps telling me my friend (Mongo's player, who sent me the invite) isn't signed up for Google+ and it is sending him emails instead.  It's also not entirely intuitive when posting messages to circles.  So I'm officially not loving it right now.


Session recap, 7/27/2011

Netal the Elf (1), his slave Krogo the Fighter, and his dogs Bitey and Moe

Alone, Netal awoke in the Tattered Heel Inn, and found that yet another hobo had died during the night, the corpse draped across Netal's legs.  This put Netal in a foul mood, and he set to disemboweling the irksome hobo.  The innkeeper barged into the common room as Netal spread the hobo's intestines across the floor, and was horrified at the mess.  "Is this a problem?"  "Oh, no, sir, it's just a hobo, don't worry about it.  Try not to be so messy though."

Netal set out to find adventure in the Big City - taking out his handy tourist map, he randomly picked the Inn of Alabaster Surprise and headed over, dripping with gore.  The concierge was unimpressed.

Concierge:  "The servant's entrance is around back"
Netal:  "What can I do here?"
Concierge:  "Oh, you're looking for work.  Well, the man-whores report out back.  We have only the finest, most respectable pimps overseeing our man-whores, I'm sure you'll enjoy working here.  Certain of our freakier clientele wouldn't mind an elf at all."
Netal:  "How much does that pay?"
Concierge:  "Oh, ten gold per day."
Netal:  "What?  Look, what can I get?"
Concierge:  "Oh, you actually mean you're a customer?  I recommend a bath.  You're covered with blood and smell absolutely rancid."

Insulted, Netal stormed off.  Looking at his trusty tourist map again, he randomly picked out the Academy of Elevated Thought as just the place to satisfy his thirst for adventure.  Arriving, he saw several buildings arranged around an open quad, with students and professors streaming in and out.  One of the professors took note of Netal, and came over, demanding to know his business.  "You're no student!  Look at you, you're armed to the teeth and covered in blood!  Off with you or I'm calling the Fist!"  Realizing he'd find no adventure covered in hobo-gore, Netal reluctantly headed back to the Inn of Alabaster Surprise.

Concierge:  "Again?  What are you looking for now?"
Netal:  "I want a bath."
Concierge:  "Ahh, now we're talking.  The finest perfumed baths are available, with the most beautiful attendants to service your needs.  Are you looking for male or female?"
Netal:  "Uhhh, female"
Concierge:  "Excellent, and how many?"
Netal:  "To do what?"
Concierge:  "Oh, only the most delightful acts.  Anything in particular you're looking for, sir?"
Netal:  "..."
Concierge:  "Ahh, a discrete man.  I appreciate that, sir.  I'll just put you down for the full service.  Let's see... Lucinda doesn't mind elves.  She'll clean you from head to toe, and everything in between.  That will be 150 gp"

Attendants took away Netal's armor and clothing to be washed while Lucinda led Netal to the baths.  He emerged clean of blood and gore, and no longer smelling of old cheese, and his armor had been scrubbed clean of hobo effluvia.

Feeling confident that he would no longer offend all he met, Netal headed back to the Academy of Elevated Thought.  Entering a few of the buildings, he overheard lectures on physics, mathematics, and the impact of halfling literature on modern society.  Disappointed that there were no classes being held on how to blow things up with chemicals, he once again consulted his map, and randomly picked the Bank Inviolable as his next destination.

The doors to the bank were massive, 25' high and 20' across.  Inside, customers formed neat lines to speak to the various tellers, while two gold-and-iron automatons stood guard at the doors.  Each automaton was 20' tall, and had machine guns and rockets launchers mounted on its arm-pods.  Netal stood in several lines, seeking to open an account.  Eventually he spoke with a bank officer, who informed him that, sadly, the Bank Inviolable did not offer interest to its customers, only the security that comes with having giant fighting robots guard your stuff.  The bank officer also had no idea where Netal could find gambling halls, and eventually told Netal to just "get out and quit wasting time."

Netal made a brief foray to the slave-pits to retrieve Krogo, and then headed to the Bazaar Incomparable to seek out shotguns.  The gun vendor he spoke to took one look at the elf and spat out "One o' them elves?  That done put the sleep-hoodoo on my sister and took advantage of her?  Get out of here or I'll shoot!"

Once again failing to procure a shotgun, and out of ideas for things to do in the city, Netal decided to head to the dungeon.  He stopped in Chelmsfordshire for the night, waking up to find a dead villager sprawled at his feet.  Nobody else was awake, so with Krogo's help Netal cut the villager's head off and quietly snuck out of the tavern's common room.  He washed up quickly at the town well, and then tried speaking to the many soldiers of the Unyielding Fist who had set up camp just outside the village.

Netal:  "So... what is the Unyielding Fist anyways?"
Soldier:  "What?  Are you serious?  We're the army!  The city guard!  The law!"
Netal:  "Oh... how do I join?  You need any help?"
Soldier (incredulous):  "Seriously?  A filthy elf?  Get out of here!"

Netal recovered from his hurt feelings and headed off into the wilderness before the decapitation was discovered, heading straight for the dungeon.  On the way there, a half-dozen stirges descended on Netal and Krogo, one beginning to suck Krogo's blood.  Netal quickly chanted the arcane words of his sleep spell, and the stirges fell to the forest floor, unconscious, where they were stomped into paste.

Once in the dungeon, Netal made his way to several unexplored corridors, searching each in turn.  Highlights included:

a. An entirely empty room, but the door had a morlock skin nailed to it
b. A room with a group of 2' long cave locusts.  The locusts were non-hostile
c. A room that had the face of a smiling, bearded man carved upon the wall.  The mouth was a recessed cavity, and the bottom of the cavity was coated with dried blood - a lot of dried blood.  Netal cut his hand and let a few drops fall into the cavity, but nothing happened.
d. A dining hall, lined with fluted columns and containing a rotting banquet table.  At the head of a table was a mirror that reflected unusual and/or horrible scenes.  It first showed Netal and Krogo standing completely still, wearing white robes decorated with a symbol that they could not bear to look at for long.  The mirror's frame was silver and inlaid with sapphires.  Netal tried prying the sapphires off, but after getting distracted found the sapphires were no longer in his pocket but back on the mirror.  Shocked and appalled by his inability to strip the mirror of valuables, he opted to take the mirror with him.

As the exploration continued, Netal rounded a corner and walked into a group of a half dozen goblins.  One of the goblins jammed a spear into Krogo's gut, felling him - Netal reacted by reading from his sleep scroll, sending the goblins into a slumber from which they would never awaken.  After slaughtering the little monsters, Netal poured the last of his orange healing slime down Krogo's throat, which stopped the slave's bleeding.

Netal dragged both Krogo and the mirror back towards the exit from the dungeon, but ran across a group of morlocks in the wide corridor that crossed the middle of the level.

Morlock (pointing at Krogo):  "Mongos back!  Mongos bring food!"
Netal:  "No! Not food!"
Morlock (brandishing spear):  "Mongos promise people, but never bring people!  We take food now!"
Netal:  "What will you give me?"
Morlock:  "Chief have silver.  We give silver for food."
Netal:  "No, I want gold"
Morlock:  "No gold!  You get nothing!"
Netal:  "Wait!  Help me get out of the dungeon and you can have him!"
Morlock:  "Deal!"

Two of the morlocks grabbed Krogo and dragged the unconscious pit-fighter off to their lair, while the others led Netal and his dogs back to the dungeon entrance.

Once outside, disaster struck again as Netal began descending the slopes of Mt. Rendon.  A group of a half-dozen men in red diapers and thigh-high red boots, brandishing rifles, appeared.  They shouted "Exterminate the brutal!" and began to charge.  Netal released Bitey to engage the men while he poured oil all over the brush and set a forest fire.  Hoping the smoke would distract his attackers, he ran off.  Bitey was able to kill two of the men, but the other three shot the dog down and chased after Netal.

Hearing the pursuit, Netal released Moe to slow them down.  He managed to gain another few hundred feet as the men had to stop to shoot the second dog, but it was clear they would catch up, as he was slowed down by his backpack and the heavy mirror.  He stripped off his tabard, decorated with the sigil of Nisus, and tossed it in one direction while he ran off in another.  This ruse appeared to work, as the men's voices receded into the distance, and Netal was able to safely make it back to Chelmsfordshire.

He was greeted at the Muddy Cup (Chelmsfordshire's sole tavern) by a distraught barkeeper.  "I can't believe it!  They murdered Willy, right here in my own tavern!  Cut his head off!  Who would do that?"  Netal mumbled something noncommittal, slept for the night, woke to find another villager dead at his feet, and slunk off back to Denethix.

Once in Denethix, Netal spent the night at the Tattered Heel again, waking to find yet another dead hobo.  The innkeeper approached Netal with a complaint.

Innkeeper:  "Look, you can't stay here anymore.  It's the hobos.  I don't know what you're doing, but every morning there's another dead hobo."
Netal:  "How much would it take for you to ignore the hobos?  How about 10 gp?"
Innkeeper:  "Are you crazy?  I'm going to have the Fist all over this place, with all these hobos dying!  Try 110 gp"
Netal (paying innkeeper):  "Fine.  But this is forever."
Innkeeper:  "Not a problem, sir.  Just don't go killing guests with money.  I don't care about the hobos, do what you want to them.  You have a nice day, sir!"

The innkeeper properly bribed, Netal went to the Bazaar Incomparable to sell his horrible mirror.  He approached several vendors, but each viewed the horrible scenes (occasionally those reflected were in the glistening stomach of some enormous beast, sometimes they would slit each other's throats, etc) and proclaimed that they could never find a buyer for such a horrible thing.

Nonplussed, Netal returned to the Bank Inviolable, and covered the mirror with a blanket.  He arranged to have the Bank store the mirror in their vaults for a small fee, and received a receipt in return.  Heading back to the Tattered Heel, he was shocked to see the mirror standing in the common room.

Innkeeper:  "That mirror just showed up!  And it's reflections are really weird.  I don't like it."
Netal:  "What the?  Here's 10 gp.  If the mirror shows up while I'm not around, just hide it somewhere or stick it in a closet."
Innkeeper:  "You really think someone would steal that thing?  Have you seen what it reflects?  You're damn straight I'll put it in a closet if I see it show up again."

Netal grabbed the troublesome mirror and sought out Frondgar, the elven sage on the Street of the Alien.  He paid the sage 100 gp and requested that the arcane properties of the mirror be identified.  Frondgar laid hands on the mirror, and entered a trance like state.  Upon awakening a few minutes later he had this to report:

Frondgar:  "I have sent my mind chasing the arcane trails to the source of the mirror's power, and discovered this.  The mirror shows scenes of an altered reality, twisted in strange ways."
Netal:  "Seriously?  Scenes of altered reality? That's what you've got to tell me?
Frondgar:  "Look, I know you already knew that.  From looking at it and all.  But I've confirmed it.  I've seen the webs of enchantment."
Netal:  "That's it?  Scenes of altered reality?"
Frondgar:  "Yes, I know you already knew.  Look, if you come back tomorrow I can see if I can find out more."

Returning the next day, and forking out another 100 gp, Frondgar cast his identify spell again, and pulled back from the mirror with a horrified scream.

Frondgar:  "I followed the magic, and it saw me!  The mirror has an intelligence!"
Netal:  "What do you mean, an intelligence?"
Frondgar:  "A mind, a will!  It thinks!  The mirror has goals, a purpose!"
Netal:  "Is the mirror evil?"
Frondgar:  "I do not know!  But it is powerful, very powerful!  This is very dangerous!"
Netal:  "You take it"
Frondgar:  "Yeah, I don't think so.  It's all yours."

Netal returned to the Tattered Heel's common room with his gruesome mirror, and so the session ended.

Next session is Wednesday, August 10th.


25% off ASE1 til July 29th

There's a 25% off sale at Lulu until July 29th, so here's your chance to pick up ASE1 for cheap if you haven't already.  Use coupon code TIME305 when you check out.


Cave Jellyfish

For no good reason, I was reading up on the lifecycle of the jellyfish.  Weird creatures, weird lifecycle.  I really like the notion of the "scyphistoma" - for some jellies, the immature polyps are stacks of jellyfish that can split off.  What a perfect creature for the dungeon.

While I've got a water level planned for level 3, I don't want to put too many traditional sea creatures in there.  Too predictable.  Instead, I'll have the cave jellies floating through the air, stinging and paralyzing and eating adventurers' faces.  The scyphistoma is what they'll likely encounter at first - and when they retreat after some nasty paralyzations, the whole thing just comes apart into a dozen jellies to chase them around.  Given the Labyrinth Lord rules, the scyphistoma is worth a massive amount of XP for something I'm putting on the second level, but I'm guessing the players never kill the thing before it breaks up into its component jellyfish.  If they do, hey, they can have the XP, they earned it.

Cave Jellyfish
No. Enc: 1d12 (1d12)
Alignment: Neutral
Movement: 3’ (1’)
  Fly: 60’ (20’)
Armor Class: 4
Hit Dice: 1
Attacks: 1
Damage: 1d3 + see below
Save: F1
Morale: 12
Hoard Class: None
XP: 13

The cave jellyfish is a glowing, translucent yellow creature that floats about in the air, supported by bladders of gas in its umbrella-shaped body.  This invertebrate attacks by lashing out with its venomous tentacles, and if a victim is hit and does save versus paralysis, he will be paralyzed for 1d8 rounds.

Despite their clumsy appearance, the cave jellyfish are capable of graceful maneuvering, and are able to move relatively quickly through the damp cavern air.

Cave Scyphistoma
No. Enc: 1 (1)
Alignment: Neutral
Movement: 0’ (0’)
Armor Class: 9
Hit Dice: 10
Attacks: 3
Damage: 1d3 + see below
Save: F0
Morale: 12
Hoard Class: None
XP: 2,400

These creatures are the larval stage of the cave jellyfish.  The scyphistoma is a glowing, translucent yellow polyp, five feet in diameter and eight feet tall.  The polyp is firmly attached to the cave or dungeon surface, and will attack anything nearby with its tentacles.  It may make up to three attacks per round, with a reach of 5’.  On a successful hit, the victim must save versus paralysis or be paralyzed for 1d8 rounds by the painful venomous sting of the tentacles.

Scyphistomas are normally quiescent, but will begin the next stage of their lifecycle if disturbed and unable to feed.  Should the creature come under attack, or victims manage to escape its grasp, it will began to split into multiple cave jellyfish, at a rate of one per round.  Each split will cause 5 points of damage to the cave scyphistoma, until it reaches zero (or below), at which nothing will be left of the parent scyphistoma but shredded flaps of bioluminescent matter.

Each cave jellyfish spawned will have 5 hit points.


Using Fantasy Grounds and Skype

For our last session, we placed using Fantasy Grounds II and Skype.  It was a fairly short session, as Gutboy had a bunch of problems getting his microphone working and it took a while to resolve it all.  Then we had a "training period" where we figured out how to roll dice and fill in character sheets.

Overall, it went fairly smoothly.  I have a few quibbles with Fantasy Grounds, mostly with the "masking" feature for maps.  If you accidentally unmask something, you have to wipe out everything you've unmasked and start all over again.  I'd also appreciate being able to draw arbitrary polygons instead of just free-form and rectangles.  These probably aren't issues for "battle map" style games like 4th edition, but for a megadungeon with lots of odd-shaped rooms it's a big deal.

So the two players virtually attending were a bit nervous, as always, about tackling the dungeon with reduced numbers, so they monkeyed around in Denethix instead.  The old landlord has been jettisoned (and apparently won't be converted to Morlock food, how sad - I was hoping for acts of brigandry and cannibalism), and Mr. Roper has taken his place.  Is this the first campaign to draw inspiration from "Three's Company" ?  I'll toss Mrs. Roper into the mix at some point, and see if I can stir up some intrigue in the apartment building.

I introduced a bit of the seedier side of Denethix - hafnium addiction.  That's one of the less notable narcotics.  Wait til they run into the Variegated Eye-Leech addicts...

There was a lot of focus on Mongo's book, so I was just making things up to amuse myself.  I had no idea what its evil powers were - I was thinking more along the lines of evil stat increases, but then the players decided to have the elven sage cast "identify" on it, and he identified a power.  So I blurted out "it grants desires."  Had to roll with it from there - so now Mongo can trade evil acts for fantastic prizes.  To quote Mongo's player:  "There's no way this can turn out bad."


Session recap, 7/13/2011

Gutboy Barrellhouse the Cleric (3), his dog Rufus, and his henchman Serlo the Elf
Mongo the Fighter (2), and his henchmen Leroy Brown the Cleric and Jimgar the Elf

Mongo and Gutboy awoke after spending the night at Mongo's two-bedroom apartment.  The two decided that they should become roomies, and find a cheaper apartment.  The upscale digs on the Street of Worthy Servitude were nice, but a bit too pricey for two down-on-their-luck adventurers.

The two tracked down their real-estate agent and headed to the Street of Students.  "Well, it's not as nice as the Street of Worthy Servitude.  The students are rowdy, and some of them are even abolitionists!"  Mongo and Gutboy had heard enough.  "Rowdy? Parties?  Let's check it out!"

Walking down to the Street of Students, they found that the street was teeming with shabbily dressed young radicals.  The young men had tattered blazers, many without ascots, and the young ladies' bustles barely extended past their behinds - the froghemoth bone ribs were clearly used and worn out.  Upon seeing topless feminist protesters decrying the confinement of their mammary glands by the male hegemony, the pair decided they had found the perfect neighborhood.

Their agent took them to a three-bedroom apartment, where they met their prospective landlord, Mr. Roper.  The apartment was filled with odors of stale beer, herb, and other unidentifiable substances.  The walls were spattered with gleaming metallic stains.

Gutboy: "What's that metal stuff on the wall?"
Roper:  "A bunch of haf-heads used to live here before I threw them out."
Gutboy:  "Haf-heads?"
Roper:  "Hafnium addicts."
Gutboy:  "What's hafnium?"
Roper:  "It's a metal.  The haf-heads suck on it.  Cheaper than the good lanthanides."
Gutboy:  "They chew on it?"
Roper:  "No, they dip it in a jelly and suck on it.  Their mouths fill up with sparks and they spit that metal all over the place.  Lousy haf-heads, they never pay their rent.  You guys don't use drugs, do you?"
Gutboy:  "No, of course not!"
Roper:  "Good, good."
Mongo:  "We need to have a party here"
Roper:  "Whoa!  What's that?  You're not thinking of having girls up, are you?"
Gutboy:  "Why not?"
Roper:  "You can't have girls!  It's not proper!  Unless you're gay.  Are you gay?  If you were gay, that would be OK."
Gutboy:  "No, we're not..."
Roper:  "Didn't think so.  I've got my suspicions about the guy downstairs too.  I think he just wants to live with those two women."
Gutboy:  "Do you want us to deal with him?"
Roper:  "Like how?"
Gutboy:  "We can kill him for you!"
Roper:  "No! Why would I want that?  I want rent, not murder!"
Gutboy:  "Where does he live?"
Roper:  "Never mind!  What kind of students are you, anyhow?"
Mongo (paging through evil book):  "Look, reading book!  Me student!"
Roper:  "You've convinced me with your scholarly demeanor.  How about you?"
Gutboy:  "I'm a priest.  You've heard of Nisus?"
Roper:  "No, can't say that I have.  That a little god?"
Gutboy:  "Yes!  Surely, you worship a god?"
Roper:  "Well, yeah, I worship all of them.  I hold a special place for Daog, though.  He's the god of pits, and when I was a wee lad, we lived in a pit.  Those were the days..."
Mongo:  "No dogs though right?  Put dog in stables!"
Gutboy:  "Wait a minute!  I need to have my dog!"
Roper:  "Well, since you're a priest... I'll let you keep the dog"

Money exchanged hands, the lease was signed, and Mongo and Gutboy were now roommates.  The two began hauling the futons and overstuffed wingback chair to the Street of Students, but on the way they encountered their old landlord.  He began noisily demanding the rent for the full term of the lease, but a few diplomatic words from Mongo ("Me not pay you ever. You get nothing") easily convinced the bigoted demi-human hater to release them from their obligations.

The new apartment was settled, there was some tidying-up of the worship-booth of Nisus, and the question of what to do next arose.  After a brief discussion, the duo decided to revisit Frondgar the Elven Sage, and see if he could use his mystical arts to determine the powers of Mongo's evil book.

Frondgar bid them enter his home, and had Mongo lay the book out on a table.  Flipping through the pages of the book, Mongo saw that where once there were letters, there were now crudely drawn pictures illustrating a man performing various vile deeds - disemboweling, murder, beheadings, wearing intestines like feather boas, cannibalism, and other gruesome acts.

Mongo handed Frondgar the 100 gp fee, and the sage placed his hands upon the book and entered a state of trance.  After a few moments, the elf began shaking violently, and his nose began bleeding profusely.  His eyes shot open wide, and the elf jumped back from the evil tome.

Frondgar: I have sent my mind through the interstices between dimensions to trace back the source of this book's vile energies.  I have stumbled upon the edges of the hell-dimensions, but have managed to determine one thing about this book - it it is here to fulfill Mongo's desires.
Gutboy:  You mean the identify spell?
Frondgar: You seek to reduce the efforts of probing beyond the veil and into the secret realms athwart reality those few mere words?
Gutboy:  But it was the identify spell, right?
Frondgar: You are taking the mystery out of it.

Mongo began paging through the book.  He saw pictures of a stick figure, clearly meant to represent Mongo, walking up to a sleeping priest and cutting his head off.  Other pages showed Mongo lining the walls of his new apartment with skulls, and of Mongo sitting upon a thrown of skulls, surrounded by corpses.

Gutboy:  Did you find out anything else?  Is it commanding Mongo to do things?
Frondgar:  I have told you what I have seen.  It fulfills desires!

Mongo paged through a bit more - he saw a picture of himself and Gutboy chewing on hafnium, with an arrow pointing to a second picture that showed Mongo in a splendid reclining chair surrounded by adoring women.  Further pages showed Mongo performing various rituals, meeting with a jet black stick-figure, and kneeling before a three-lobed eye.

Gutboy:  Wait, the book wants us to drugs?  Maybe we should get rid of this book
Mongo:  No!  I mean, maybe there something simpler?  Start small?

Turning more pages, Mongo came across a picture of him shoving a child into a mud puddle, and the next picture showed Mongo receiving a sandwich.

Mongo (wondering aloud):  Is child rich?  Poor?  What kind of sandwich?
Gutboy:  This book is eivl
Mongo:  Me save book for later

The pair decided to put off the matter of the evil picture-book til later, and head off for adventure.  They gathered up their henchmen and headed west towards Chelmsfordshire.

And here our session ended.  Next game night is Wed, July 27th.


ASE1 reviewed in Fight On! #12

Just got a copy of Fight On! #12, and Gabor Lux has published a very positive review of ASE1 in that issue.

So I recommend you drop what you're doing right now, and buy both Fight On! #12 and ASE1 if you haven't already!


Review: Treasures of a Slaver's Kingdom

Instead of actually working on level 2 (and thus, by definition, the sequel to ASE1) I've been playing Treasures of a Slaver's Kingdom.  It's an Encounter Critical adventure implemented as Interactive Fiction - like the old Infocom games I used to play when I was a kid.

Man that was a sweet, sweet game.  There are only a few commands to deal with (assail, parley, regard, seize, use), and the puzzles are fairly simple.  The gonzo-factor is over the top though, since it is Encounter Critical.

Things I really liked:

a. Functions as a play example for Encounter Critical.  Not the mechanics, but how monsters & society operates.  The Encounter Critical rules are really lightweight, so this game really helps illustrate some of the default setting.

b. Bee Queen encounter.  Wonderfully silly.

c. The secret identify of the Slaver King.  It was jaw-droppingly over-the-top.

I've only played through the one time, and while I solved almost everything, I did goof a few things.

1. I assailed Adam, so he didn't become a buddy.  Whoops.
2. I can't figure out how to get to the fifth encounter with the Delicate Doxy.  Maybe if I was nicer to Adam?  Or maybe there's something that can be done with the gold statue?

If anybody knows the secret to the fifth encounter, I'd love to hear it.

Game play lasted maybe 6 hours?  It's a pretty easy game, but well worth the time.