session recap, 7/25/2012

Mongo the Fighter (4) and his henchladies "Bunny" the Thief (1) and Nancy "the Wrathful" the Fighter (1)
Razoe the Fantra Paladin (3), his compsognathus Deano, and a baby grunkie
George P. Burdell the Cleric (2) and his henchmen, Slick Eddie the Thief (1) and Seegar the Elf (1), and his dog
Gutboy the Cleric (4), his henchman Trezgar the Elf (1) and his dog Rufus II

As happens with most sessions, this one begins with some shopping.  Down at the Bazaar Incomparable, Razoe accosts one of the animal vendors about purchasing a dinosaur.  He is informed that the order of the Fantra would look askance at any unsanctioned attempt to purchase a riding dinosaur - he must wait for the proper time. He does purchase a turkey-sized compsognathus, and a trained baby grunkie to ride upon it.

As the shopping concluded, a short man with a beard (but not a dwarf) walked up to George and Razoe.  "Hey - I was standing in this temple, and this god shows up - he says, go talk to the fellows hanging out with the carrot-man at the bazaar, and tell him to come meet me.  It's the temple made out of gears.  So you been told, and I'm outta here, I don't need this hassle."

The pair headed towards the temple, with Mongo trailing behind.  Inside, the image of Kiod, the god of robots, appears on the God's Eye.

Kiod:  "Kneel before Kiod!"
Razoe: "Hey, how's it going?"
Kiod, grumbling:  "It is customary to kneel before the gods."
(Razoe, George, and Mongo kneel)
Kiod: "Good.  This priest Gutboy has paid far too much attention to Nisus.  I have blocked her transmissions, but there is still chatter about that ridiculous sacrifice.  You must procure for me a grander sacrifice.  Find a glorious robot, and bring it to the Winter Festival in four week's time for sacrifice.  I, Kiod, command this!"
George: "We will do this, but your servants could use something to help with this task!"
Kiod: "You dare request favors of me? Very well, priests, you shall be granted with powers beyond your comprehension. Use them to fulfill my commands!"
George: "Would Janet do?"
Kiod: "Janet?  Ahh, I see in your mind, you believe she is a cyborg.  It would be unorthodox, but yes, a cyborg Janet is acceptably glorious."

The God's Eye flickered with rainbow colors, and Razoe's head became filled with the knowledge of the commune spell. George's mind was likewise filled with knowledge of the obscure plague of robots spell.

The party left the temple, and ran into Gutboy as they were heading to the Grand Temple to book some time at the Winter Festival.  While Razoe and George were putting down the 20% deposit, Gutboy heard whispering from behind a curtain - "Gutboy! Come here!"

Peeking behind, Gutboy saw a small room with a God's Eye on the floor, leaning against a wall. Sparking cables ran from the Eye into the wall.  As he watched, Nisus's form (hundreds of crawling bugs) appeared on the Eye.

Nisus: "That vain fool Kiod has been interfering with my communications. But I have intercepted his thoughts, and I know of the sacrifice he desires.  I command you, when the sacrifice is obtained, fill the body of the robot with insects and vermin, and all shall know whose sacrifice is being made at the Festival."
Gutboy: "Can you explain?"
Nisus: "What? You dare question me?"
Gutboy: "Come on, you know me - I need it written out"
Nisus: "This is true. When the robot's body is filled with bugs, and the priests pull it apart at the Festival during the sacrifice, the bugs will spill out, and all will know that it is I who have been honored, and not Kiod."
Gutboy: "Oh.  Can I get some help, too?"
Nisus: "Yes, that buffoon Kiod has invested his power into those priests.  You too shall know power beyond your means."

Gutboy found himself with knowledge of the dispel magic spell, as the Eye shimmered with rainbow hues.

The party conferred, and a plan was hatched - they would send Bunny into the Regal Beagle, where Mr. Roper was headquartered, with word that Mongo would be at the Winter Festival. Janet would be sure to show up to the festival to exact her revenge, and they would sacrifice her without having to go through the steps of capturing and detaining a robot.  This plan didn't require immediate action, so they headed off to the dungeon to find some loot.

Off to the dungeon they went - at the wide cavern on the first level, they saw that a rival adventuring party had managed to tie a rope across the chasm, and must have headed down the stairs on the other side to the second level.  There was a short argument about whether to cross, that ended when Razoe slashed the rope.  The question was settled - they'd be dropping a line straight down to the third level.

The long, arduous process of lowering men, women, and beasts to the watery cave below somehow didn't attract any unwanted attention, and the party made their way through the wide tunnels, seeking the route to Miami.  Following Sancho the Skeleton's directions, they made their way through a few fungus-filled rooms, where they carefully skirted around the molds, and made their way to a pair of staircases leading up to an underground lake, whose waters spilled down and were responsible for flooding the rest of the level.  There were no boats, and no ledges around the edge of the cavern that contained the lake, so the group moved on.

Heading north, they came across an archway - beyond was a staircase heading up, and a scaled humanoid whose jaws were stuffed with oversized teeth. The creature announced, "Halt, strangers. Only an upright man may pass."  When questioned further, he would only state that he was "Bathakrog, last of the Tooth-Men.  Our empire is no more.  I alone remain."

The gloomy tooth-man didn't elaborate further, so the party walked past him, and found an arrow-shaped room whose blunted tip ended in a stone wall. The sides of the room were covered with black hemispheres, 2" wide, spaced 2" apart.  At head level, the spheres shone red beams of light at eachother across the room.

Mongo experimented with breaking the beams using his pole, but nothing happened.  Razoe then sent the grunkie in, riding atop Deano the compsognathus.  As his pets reached the far end of the room, the black spheres suddenly blazed with light, firing high-power lasers across the room, cutting the dinosaur and grunkie into bloody cubes of meat.

Mongo suddenly remembered the tooth-man's advice - "only an upright man may pass" - and strode to the far end of the room, standing tall, his head breaking the beams of light.  He arrived safely at the other side, and discovered a loose block of stone - pressing it caused the stone wall to slide away, revealing a room beyond.  He shone his flashlight in, illuminating a spherical green figure with a wide mouth.

The green monster proclaimed, "I am Carumnox, guardian of the stairs!  All must pay!  The stairs are mine, and all must pay, with coin or with blood!"

The party crowded into the room, and Razoe and George paid his price - 50 gp each. The creature took their coins, and poured them down its throat.  While it harangued the rest of the party for cash, Razoe and George opened the door on the other side of the room, and began climbing down the stairs.  They led 200' down, presumably to the fourth level - the room at the bottom held nothing but a skeleton, the backside of a secret door, and the words "Why me?" scratched onto the wall next to the door.

The players still at the top argued about whether to pay, as Carumnox grew impatient - and then the return of Razoe and George precipitated action.  Carumnox shouted "Coming back, you pay as well!" at the pair, and Mongo drew his sword.  Infuriated by his impudence, Carumnox's jaw unhinged, and the spherical humanoid leapt at Mongo, intending to swallow him whole - missing by a scant few inches.  Mongo swung wildly, barely scratching Carumnox, while George's henchman Slick Eddie snuck up behind. The thief stabbed Carumnox in the back, slicing through his spinal cord, and the monster collapsed.

The adventurers poured oil on the monster and set it aflame, fearing that it was a troll with regenerative powers.  After it had roasted for a bit, Razoe gutted the thing, looking for the money they had paid it.  He found only coin-shaped charred meat-nuggets - the creature's digestive system had converted the treasure into food.

Intrigued by the fourth level, the party headed down for a look. They opened the secret door at the bottom of the stairs, revealing a room full of stinking hides and gnawed bones.  A single naked man stood in the middle of the room, with a look of surprise on his face.

Gutboy immediately cast his hold person spell upon the man, and they bound him firmly with rope.  When the paralysis wore off, the man began squirming and howling, his features changing into that of a furred beast - George began hammering on the bound man with his silver-plated mace, and the lycanthrope was quickly silenced.

Elated at having found an entrance to the fourth level, the party declared victory and headed back up to the surface.  As they climbed up to the first level, they heard shouting from the far side of the cavern, and saw torchlight - an angered adventuring party was asking them if they had cut the rope.

Razoe: "No, it wasn't us - it was Slezgar"
Adventurer:  "That guy? I hate that guy!  He's dead meat! Can you toss us a rope?"
Razoe:  "Sure, who are you?"
Adventurer: "I am Boris - we are the Badenovs."
George: "Where's Fearless Leader?"
Boris the Adventurer:  "Sadly, he has died down below, fighting the clowns.  Man, I hate their stupid 'show'."

Having bonded over their mutual hatred of Slezgar and the clowns, Mongo tied a rope to an iron spike and tossed it across the chasm.  Boris tied it on the other side, and the eight survivors of the Badenov expedition crawled across the rope.  The Badenovs suggested ambushing Slezgar, and the two parties headed to the entrance to the dungeon to get into position and wait for the hated Excellent Elven Edventurers.

Gains:  Stairs to the fourth level
Kills:  Carumnox, werewolf
Losses:  Deano the compsognathus, baby grunkie



This creature will not be popular with my players. I like it because tossing henchman at it does NOT solve the problem, and it gives the players two ways to interact with the hinge-headed: either hunting it down on their behalf, or luring it deeper into the hinge-headed lair and using it as a distraction.

No. Enc: 1d3 (1d3)
Alignment: Neutral
Movement: 90' (30')
Armor Class: See below
Hit Dice: 5
Attacks: 1
Damage: See below
Save: F5
Morale: 8
Hoard Class: None
XP: 500

The lucrephage is an extradimensional creature that subsists entirely on precious metals and jewelry. It absorbs these materials into its being, slowly becoming more tangible as it feeds.

The lucrephage can sense treasure within 30’, and is able to draw the valuables into itself telekinetically. Treasure will fly from wherever its contained – locks will unlock, sacks will tear apart, and chests will open. Only magic such as wizard lock can prevent a container from opening. As the treasure is drawn into its body, the creature becomes visible, taking on the gleaming hues of the valuables it has absorbed.

The creature will devour 250 gp of treasure per round, starting with the most valuable gems or jewelry. If a piece of treasure is worth more than 250 gp, just that single piece will be consumed, and its full value absorbed.

The visibility, vulnerability, and threat posed by the lucrephage depend on how much treasure it has consumed. Keep track of the treasure consumed, and consult the table below for the specifics.

Lucrephage Abilities
Treasure ConsumedVisiblityACDamageDamage Resistance
0 gpInvisible, surprise on 1-4 on a d641d3Immune to normal weapons
250 gpGlimmering outline51d4Takes maximum of 1 point of damage from single attack
500 gpMist of precious metals61d6Takes maximum of 2 points of damage
750 gpIndividual limbs partially outlined by thin sheets of precious metals41d8Takes maximum of 4 points of damage
1000 gpCreature covered by shell of gold and/or sparkling sheets of gem-material, with many large holes21d10Takes maximum of 8 points of damage
1250 gpNearly completely covered in gold, silver, and thin gem-sheets02d6Takes maximum of 12 points of damage
1500 gpCreature completely visible, and covered with a thin layer of treasure. It has a squat cone-shaped body atop six clawed legs. A tentacle terminating in a club-like four-fingered fist extends from the top of the beast’s body-22d8Takes full damage

Lucrephages always take full damage from magic and protonium-metal weapons, regardless of how much treasure they have absorbed. They take no damage from fire, cold, or electrical attacks.

Strikes from gold and silver weapons will heal the lucrephage of 1d4 points of damage, and the weapons’ precious metals will be absorbed into the creature. Gold and silver bullets only heal 1 point of damage, and only increase the absorbed treasure value by 1 gp or sp, respectively.

When slain, the lucrephage’s body will collapse into a dust made up of the remains of its meals. The gem dust is worthless, but 10% of the value of consumed precious metals may be recovered.

Lucrephages particularly enjoy feeding on the minds of the hinge-headed. A hinge-headed’s mind crystal provides 250 gp of treasure value to the lucrephage.

Crystal skulls are also quite delicious – these will provide 500 gp of value to the voracious lucrephage.


Stone of Retaliation

Had to come up with a prize for solving a puzzle in the 3rd level - here's my magic item of the day.  I like this one, because it encourages players to charge suicidally into combat once they've used identify to figure out what it does.

Stone of Retaliation
This artifact appears to be a twenty-sided die carved of softly glowing pink crystal. If a comrade is slain, and the possessor of this stone hurls it at the corpse within the next three rounds, it will both bring his comrade back to life and cause his killer to die instead. The stone may only be used once, and will explode in a burst of bright pink light as its power is expended.

Undead, constructs, robots, and others technically not “alive” will also be destroyed by the stone.


More Carrot than Man

I have no respect for player characters' physical integrity.

Netal was the first to feel the sting. His constant trips to the good Doctor Giggles left him with giant clown feet and clown lungs, and he would whistle circus music with every breath.

Now Mongo has been... transformed.  He has gained all the supernatural powers of a carrot.  When buried in dirt up to the neck, he has the power of vegetable regeneration.  Yes, mixed in with the awesome powers and the horrifying poisons is a small dose of stupid humor, and Mongo has succumbed.  His player is quite enthusiastic about this newfound ability though, and already trying to game the system with it.

There are a lot of encounters in the dungeon that will profoundly change a character.  If you're bringing a lot of involved backstory into the Anomalous Subsurface Environment, good luck trying to figure out how that meshes with the fact you've devolved into a goblin or had your head replaced with a giant fly's.  Forget the backstory, your story is being written in the here-and-now.

The guys also came across another bit of late-night "what on earth do I do here" encounter - the loincloth treasure.  It cut the tension, which is necessary on occasion.  Laugh it up while you can, gentlemen...

Anyhow the writing continues.  I think I'm going to toss in a few more classes - the Scientist and the Robot.  That means coming up with cybernetic prosthetic rules, because what's the point in being a Scientist if you can't attach lasers to your body?

There's a ton of connection points to lower levels from the 2nd and 3rd, and the fellows are feeling a bit confident - so I've got to start putting together the lower level maps.  Time to finish up with all this writing & publishing and start cranking out the deeper material.


session recap, 6/28/2012


Mongo the Fighter (4) and his henchladies "Bunny" the Thief (1) and Nancy "the Wrathful" the Fighter (1)
Razoe the Fantra Paladin (3) and yet another dog

At the end of the last session, the entire crew had recruited Sancho the Skeleton to join them, albeit temporarily, and had been milling about in a room full of delicious-smelling foodstuffs, with a six-armed robot suspended above the table.

Mongo heard a noise, and turned around quickly - Gutboy, George, and their retainers were gone.  He heard some splashing footsteps receding in the distance, and interestingly enough, splashing footsteps approaching. Into the room marched Razoe, leading a dog that he had not yet bothered to name.

Sancho was still hanging out, despite Gutboy's departure ("Ehh, more interesting than hanging out in the tomb again"), so they wandered off in search of a passage deeper.  Or to treasure.  The goal was unclear, there were vague discussions about the route to Miami, but at least they were moving.

First they stopped at a broken elevator that Sancho had mentioned - this would be surely be a quick route down, if it had been repaired.  Sadly, that was not the case.  They peered through the bronze bulkhead door into the elevator - all that was left was paper-thin sheets of rust.  The buttons were promising, reading "3", "5", and "6", but the thing looked like a death trap.  Mongo dropped an iron spike down the shaft - it was several seconds before he heard a faint "plink" echo back up.  There were no cables running down the elevator - looking up through holes in the ceiling, they saw some machinery connected to the top, the wound steel cables an almost solid block of rust - but without a very, very long rope, they weren't heading down any time soon.

They proceeded to the "wide halls" that Sancho had mentioned. At the entrance to the 30' wide, 30' tall hall was a 12' tall statue of a muscle-man in a loincloth. Moss was growing on the statue's head, completely covering it.  Mongo prodded it with his pole (ha, ha, ha), but it did not move.  He approached carefully - and his mind became full of an overwhelming urge to grab the moss and drape it over his head.

Shaking the bizarre thoughts off, he quickly backed away - and pulled out his flamethrower.  He hosed the moss down with fiery oil, and it was soon reduced to ashes.  Searching the statue, they discovered two things:

1. The face had a seam around it.  Bunny climbed up the statue, and spun the face - it unscrewed from the rest of the statue.  The face was then stowed in Razoe's backpack

2. Under the stone loincloth was a leather pouch, containing two large round pearls

They followed the wide water-filled corridors further into the dungeon, heading east when they could, and paused to investigate a door.  Behind the door was a room with a large stainless steel tank, hoses reaching down to just above the water level.  Mongo extended his pole and probed around the floor, triggering a trap - the hoses began spraying something, and the water in the room quickly turned to ice.  They quickly slammed the door, and frost formed on its outer surface.

When they tried opening it again, they found it stuck - the frozen water inside was jamming it shut.  They soon heard something else - something was chipping at the ice.

Mongo: (knock, knock)
Voice: "Who is this?  Answer, or die!"
Mongo: "This is Mongo. Who are you?"
Voice: "I am Grolikus!  Remain where you are, or I shall destroy you!"
Mongo: "Sancho, do you know who this is?"
Sancho: "Grolikus, eh? Pretty sure he's a goblin. Those guys wander into my tomb sometimes."
Grolikus: "Sancho? You have plagued me long enough!"
Mongo: "If we open this door, can you kill them, Sancho?"
Sancho: "Well yeah, but you wouldn't like it."
Mongo: "I wouldn't mind."
Sancho: "You wouldn't stick around"
Mongo: "Well, what if we left you here to kill them?"
Sancho: "Seriously?  No."
Grolikus: "Remain where you are!  We are almost done!"
Mongo: "How many of you are there?"
Grolikus: "Many! Enough questions!"
Mongo: "Maybe we could help you. What do you want?"
Grolikus: "What? Yes, you will serve Grolikus.  You will fight my enemies.  Start with the Hinge-Headed, you shall bring me their minds."
Mongo: "To eat?"
Grolikus: "What? No, how would you do that? Where are you from?"
Mongo: "The surface"
Grolikus: "Ahh. You truly are from the surface. The seals have been broken.  Soon, we shall rule all!"
Mongo: "Right. So how many brains do you want?"
Grolikus: "However many you can get. At least one.  Now remain where you are!"

Mongo and Razoe conferred, and decided to high-tail it out of there before the goblins escaped from the room. They headed north, peered through an archway, seeing another watery chamber full of rusty folding chairs and bodies bobbing in the water, and then ducked into a room opposite the archway.

In the center of this room stood a flat-topped hexagonal pillar, 4' high, with a hexagonal opening atop it. There was no time to investigate though - they headed through a side door, and ducked into a closet, in which three ancient suits of silvery material with cracked plastic boots, gloves, and helmets hung.  They hid for a bit, then emerged.

Still nervous about goblins, they continued heading north, and reached a point where two of the 30' wide corridors intersected each other.  In the middle of the intersection was a peculiar sight - four 2' wide holes in the water, 10' apart, arranged in a rough rectangle.

Mongo cautiously approached the holes, and felt the swish of air in front of him - the holes quickly filled with water, and new holes splashed down closer to him.  They were the legs of an invisible beast!

Battle ensued - the beast grabbed up Mongo in its invisible claws, and held him high in the air.  Mongo swung futilely at its claws, while Razoe, the henchladies, and Sancho took shots at the thing.  Sancho's aim was dead-on, the bullets from his strange revolver leaving trails of bluish ectoplasm as they ripped into the beast.  Their combined efforts soon finished the monster, and it dropped Mongo into the water as it died.  Sadly, Razoe had to let go of his dog's leash during the fight, and it fled into the darkness, away from the terrifying undead Sancho.

The beast's corpse slowly became visible, revealing a football-shaped mass of tentacles with four elephantine legs, two armored claws, and a gaping maw atop its body.  Razoe lost no time in gutting it, looking for treasure in its belly.  He was rewarded with:

1. The half-digested corpse of a medusa. Thankfully, the face was too digested to turn him to stone
2. Many coins - silver and platinum
3. A silvery-green robe

The party decided that they had gone far enough - Mongo was badly wounded. So they headed back towards the water cavern from which dangled their rope, the only way back to the surface they knew.  Along the way they passed the room that Grolikus had been in - the door was now open, the ice behind it chipped away to allow it to open.  They searched the room, but saw no way that goblins could have entered.  How they got there after the trap was triggered was a mystery.

They passed through Sancho's tomb - "And now I am drawn back to my throne.  Fare thee well.  I must remain here now."

They then passed through the room with the many foods on the table.  Razoe paused to grab a bacon cheeseburger with grilled cheese sandwiches used for the buns, and prepared to leave.  The robot above the table spoke - "I understand you want to take some home with you, but do be aware that any effects beyond sheer deliciousness will be inoperable away from my particular magnetic influences."

A debate ensued, and Mongo, Bunny, and Nancy formed a pact.  They would all try one of the foods.

Bunny went first, choosing the grilled cheese bacon cheeseburger.  The robot said "You have chosen the most awesome sandwich available. Enjoyment is inevitable."  She gained +5 hp on the spot.

Mongo grabbed an identical sandwich and bit into it - but nothing happened.  The robot chided him, saying "Please try a different food. My culinary delights are best enjoyed as a surprise!"  Grumbling, he decided on a piece of carrot cake.  His skin became somewhat rough and orange, as the robot informed him "It is amazing that something so sweet can be made from a root buried in dirt. Perhaps if you were buried you would be as sweet?"

Finally, Nancy the Wrathful chewed on a piece of pepperoni pizza.  The robot intoned, "It all goes straight to your thighs. Immediately, thanks to the hormones I've added."  Nancy grunted in pain as she immediately bloated out, gaining 21 pounds instantly.  She took a dagger and sawed off the straps on her armor, and began turning red with fury.  Wearing nothing but her far-too-tight underwear, she leaped up onto the table, jiggling in places she normally wouldn't, and began hammering away at the robot with her sword. "Buuuut I coooook deeeliiiishuuuuusssss fooooooooo...." it said as it was smashed into pieces.  Nothing was left but wires and a few dangling bits of metal when she was done.

Now that the experimentation with the food robot had been brought to a rather permanent close, the party headed out of the dungeon and back to Chelmsfordshire.  A rather long debate led to a quick experiment, and Mongo allowed Razoe to bury him up to his neck in dirt. The soothing soil was delightful, and Mongo felt his wounds heal almost instantly.  He had gained the rather inconvenient power of regenerating-while-buried.  He made a mental note to experiment with layering his armor with soil, to see if the effect could be made a little more practical.

The duo decided they would risk heading back to Denethix, as Mongo's new orange countenance would be an impenetrable disguise, and they need not fear Mr. Roper, Janet, and "the book" finding him.  They sought out Frondgar the elven sage, and had him use his mystical insights to identify the silvery-green robe.  It was an ancient garment known as a robe of climate control, capable of providing comfort in hot and cold weather, and some minor protection from fire- and cold-based damage.

With a haul of coins, jewels, and super-science, and a new super-power, the mission was a total success for everyone except Slightly Chubby Nancy the Wrathful.

Gains: 2 pearls (200 gp each), screw-off stone muscle-man face, 1528 sp, 63 pp, robe of climate control, 5 hp, 21 pounds
Kills: Invisible beast
Losses: Unnamed dog, Nancy's dignity