Looking for Blurbs, and Lulu Sale

First - the Lulu sale!  Lulu is having a sale until this Friday, the 27th. It's a mystery discount, where you go to Lulu.com and they have a coupon code JUST FOR YOU sitting on their home page. So don't miss the presumably incredible savings (or maybe Lulu hates you and you'll only get 1% off. Nah, just kidding, they love you)

Second - ASE23 is well underway, and it's time to think about blurbs for the back cover. I know of a few people who posted reviews or comments (specifically Bryce, Melan, James M, and Tavis), but I'm not really much for marketing so I haven't really kept track of who's said what.  So if you've posted something nice in the past about ASE1 and want the signature honor of having your name used to pimp my book, leave a link to your post in the comments.


Evolving Paradigm

Another "special" room. Gill-men have been discussed previously - but let me introduce their evolutionary opposites, the Hyper-men.  Alone, they are weak and pitiful, but in a group they can lay down some serious damage.

38. Evolving Paradigm
In the center of this room is a protonium-metal pedestal, on top of which is attached an uncomfortable-looking stainless steel chair. The arms of the chair are covered with black plastic beads.

An aged plastic console with two knife switches protrudes from the pedestal. One is labeled “Devolve,” and the other “Evolve.”

If a switch is pulled while a creature sits in the chair, they will either evolve or devolve, visibly transforming to their new state. Pulling both switches simultaneously will cause the poor creature to oscillate back and forth between evolutionary states. While either (or both) of the switches are pulled, an impenetrable, glowing field of rainbow hues dances around the chair, and the chair’s occupant will be held immobile.

Devolved characters may go through the “evolve” process to return to normal, and evolved may devolve. If quoted text is present, a mechanical voice recites that text and no transformation occurs.
Elf, Dwarf, HalflingGoblin“Hybridization prevents further analysis”
Goblin“Further regession impossible”Hive Mind (unless a devolved elf / dwarf / halfling, in which case the subject will return to his normal state)
Gill-man“Further regression impossible”Human
Hyper-ManHuman“Maximum evolution achieved”
MoktarHousecat“Maximum evolution achieved”
Insect-Man“Insufficient mammalian DNA”“Insufficient mammalian DNA”

The options listed above are not comprehensive, and it is left to the referee’s discretion on how to deal with other species and states of evolution.

Monsters transformed into higher or lower states will not experience a change in personality, and will likely be quite upset about their transformation.

No. Enc: 1d4 (5d4)
Alignment: Neutral
Movement: 0’
  Fly: 30’ (10’)
Armor Class: 5
Hit Dice: 3
Attacks: Weapon, or mental blast
Damage: By weapon, or 1d4
Save: F3
Morale: 8
Hoard Class: XVI
XP: 95

Hyper-men represent the evolutionary endpoint of mankind: narrow frowning faces, oversized foreheads and skulls to accommodate their advanced brains, and tiny infant-like bodies dangling below their bald heads.

Hyper-men would be physically helpless if not for their incredible mental prowess. They use their psychic abilities to float in mid-air, and are able to slowly move about in any direction. They do not speak with their mouths – rather, they broadcast their thoughts directly into the minds of anyone standing within 30’. They are unable to read thoughts, however – only broadcast them.

Hyper-men only have 1 hp, but they maintain a constant field of mental energy to deflect blows and reduce damage. It is this field that is represented by the bulk of their hit points and their armor class. The field regenerates at a rate of 1 hp per round when damaged.

In combat, hyper-men may use their minds to manipulate weapons as if they had hands – these weapons must be kept within 3’ of their bodies to be used effectively however. They may also choose to use a mental blast, causing 1d4 points of damage to all non-hyper-men within a 10’ radius if the victims fail a save vs. magic.


Bloat Zombie

Just going for gross-out factor with this one. I'm putting in a shambling horde of them, so they're nowhere near as amped up as the Sons of Kyuss, their major inspiration. That and Pirates of the Caribbean.

Bloat Zombie
No. Enc: 1d6 (2d6)
Alignment: Chaotic
Movement: 120’ (40’)
  Swim: 60’ (20’)
Armor Class: 7
Hit Dice: 3
Attacks: 1
Damage: 1d8 + sea-worms
Save: F3
Morale: 12
Hoard Class: None
XP: 65

Bloat zombies are the reanimated corpses of drowning victims. Their waterlogged bodies are grotesquely swollen, and covered with multi-legged marine worms.

A bloat zombie attacks by striking with its rotting fists. If the target fails a save vs paralyzation, dozens of marine worms will be flung onto the target as well.

The worms will attempt to infest the body by crawling into its orifices. If the victim spends the entirety of the next combat round removing the worms, there is no ill effect.  For each round the worms are neglected, there is a 50% chance that they will successfully invade the target’s body. Worm infestation causes the host’s constitution to drop by 1d4 per day until it reaches 0 (at which point the victim immediately becomes a bloat zombie). A cure disease spell will kill the worms and restore the victim’s constitution.

An adventurer slain by a bloat zombie will rise as a bloat zombie himself within 2d4 days.


Extra-Dungeon Activities

This last session didn't come together, so we won't be playing again til next Thursday.  There are loose ends that have been neglected for too long, so I'm putting some though into them.

Here's where the group stands:

a. Their neighbors Janet and Chrissie disappeared.  Janet has stolen Mongo's evil book and left threatening messages
b. Their landlords, the Ropers, have disappeared
c. Their neighbor Jack was murdered.  Only his brain was left on the floor, the body is missing.
d. Threatening messages were left asking "Where's Krogo" and "Where's Roger", the two slaves that Netal owned.  Krogo, Roger, and now Netal have all died in the dungeon
e. While they were away, barefoot people were breaking into their apartment and chanting

So what's up with all that?  This is what's up...

Jack has plants on his mind.  He was carved up by the Society of the Luminous Spark, his brain replaced on the spot with a Serrated Mind Succulent seedling.

A Serrated Mind Succulent is a plant has sharp-edged leaves, coated with a virulent toxin, and it will slash with these leaves at anyone who gets close.  The toxin may be diluted to form an addictive drug.  The plants also whisper a word repeatedly, but it requires getting close, or using an ear-horn, to hear the word - anyone speaking the word to an addict under the effects of that plant's toxin will obey the speaker unquestioningly.  The plants can be taught a new control word by repeatedly whispering it to them.

A person's brain can also be replaced with the seedlings of this plant, and they will obey simple instructions, and be able to hold short meaningless conversations. It will be obvious there is something wrong with the de-brained individual, however (apart from the damage caused by cutting the skull open).

Dr. X, high-ranking member of the Society, has been having his minions de-braining the enemies of the Society and replacing their minds with this plant.  He has dozens of disposable assassins at this point, ready to strike at the slavers.

So that's one thread.  Netal is dead, so there's no particular motivation for the players to pursue it other than curiosity.  I'll have de-brained Jack find the party on the way out of the city, who will then follow them around until they kill him in some undoubtedly hilarious way.  If they take it from there, I'll wing it, otherwise that thread dies off.

When they return from the dungeon next session, it will be to a city plastered with wanted posters - for information about Mongo.  It has an address - a seedy inn on the Street of Lesser Men.  Should the party go there, they will run into their former landlords, Mr. and Mrs. Roper, who have been transformed into murderous cyborgs.  I'll leave some clues about the location of Janet & the book.  Mongo's player has an axe to grind with Janet, so to speak, so I expect they'll chase this one down.


Happy Easter!

Happy Easter everyone!

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. John 3:16-17



Lying Wires

It will be interesting to see how this trap plays out.  If some poor chump (probably a henchman, knowing my players) gets caught in the wires, the rest of the party are likely to get the victim killed while they run off on some fool's errand.
90. Lying Wires
Dangling from the ceiling between the two doors on the eastern wall is a thick cluster of wires, 2’ in diameter.  The wires hang to within a few inches of the surface of the water in this room.

If the doors are approached, the wires will stab into the nearest character unless a save vs. magic is made, causing 1d4 points of damage and taking control of the character’s body.  The victim’s body will stand rigidly straight as it intones in a hollow voice, “If you attempt to remove the wires, this fleshy creature will perish.  Perform a task for me, and I shall release the organism.”

Roll on the table below for the task to be performed. The tasks are pointless busy-work, and the entity communicating through the wires will not release the body under any circumstances.  It will instead demand that yet another task be completed.

The wires may be pulled from a victim without causing any harm. The true danger is in leaving a victim behind – wandering monsters and/or dehydration will likely kill the character, as the wires will not defend a controlled body in any way, or otherwise try to keep it healthy.

Pointless Tasks
Roll 1d8 to determine the pointless task the wire-controlled body demands.
1.    Fetch me the mind of a hinge-headed. They shall know me, and I shall know them!
2.    Eliminate the goblins who infest this level. They have annoyed me for the last time!
3.    Retrieve one ounce of unprocessed nuclear fuel. You know this as “sick rock.”
4.    Return with an artifact from the Gray Void. I must know the nature of this dimension.
5.    Deliver this message to Trimexis of the Deep Tower: “Eight times eight is the number you shall aspire to.”
6.    Carve my likeness in the Hall of the Underlords. All who gaze upon me shall know despair!
7.    Fashion a suit of armor from the scales of the water serpent, and present it to me here.
8.    The gill-men have offended me one time too many.  Bring me a dozen of their heads, and your companion shall be returned unto you.