session recap, 6/13/2013

Mongo the Fighter (4), his henchlady "Bunny" the Thief (3), and his soil-bearers Malazar and someone whose name I have forgotten
Gutboy the Cleric (5), his henchman Trezgar the Elf (1) and his blink dog Rufus II

Mongo and Gutboy peered into the medical bay to see what the robo-zombies were up to - they were clustered around the central computer-pillar.  Mongo, using the power of the Sword of Unlife, had previously compelled one of the robo-zombies to be his servant.  He sent this zombie in to the computer - "Ahh! You have returned to me!  Control is again mine!" - to ATTACK - "No! Betrayed by my own! I shall destroy you, Thals!"

The other zombies in the room began pummeling Mongo's zombie, while metal tentacles protruding from the computer-pillar, tipped with blades and syringes, tore into its flesh.  Meanwhile, the corpse of henchman William Harrison began to stir - electrical cables had snaked their way into his flesh, and he arose as a servant of the tank's computer.  His attack was thwarted instantly by the power of Gutboy's faith, and he pushed Mongo aside to retreat into the medical bay with his master.

As Mongo's zombie was destroyed, he took control of another with the Sword of Unlife, forcing it to turn on its master.  This happened repeatedly as each zombie was destroyed in turn.  The bodies of defeated zombies in the bay began to rise again as well, reinforced with cables where joints had been damaged - and all were turned.  The computer, sensing the tide of battle going against it, offered a truce - "Leave!  Thals, you are free to go!  Depart!" and the party took the offer.

The only problem they had left was that the door out of the crew quarters was magically sealed.  The party hoped that the arcane lock would dissipate with time, and began piling the metal debris that filled the crew quarters in front of the medical bay hatch in case it didn't.


Back in the flying head, Bunny was shocked when a bullet ripped through her shoulder.  She turned to see the wizard Ferayn floating in the center of the head, a rifle in his hands.  "Die, interloper!"  the mad wizard shouted as he took another shot - but it went wide.  Bunny responded by grabbing her longbow and putting two arrows through the wizard, and fell into the grain pile below, dead.  The flying head shuddered, and the interior lights dimmed noticeably, but then recovered, as the wizard gasped his last.


Eventually, Rufus II the Blink Dog awoke from his supernatural slumber, and blinked back into the crew quarters.  Sadly, he couldn't budge the door handle from the other side - the magic sealing the door was strong.  Mongo peeked over the barrier into the medical bay, and was horrified to see that the robo-zombies were being reassembled.  The revived zombies lined up and marched towards the barrier, intent on breaking through and slaughtering the heroes.

Gutboy responded by repeatedly turning the zombies, and Mongo attempted to dominate them with his Sword of Unlife - but he found himself no longer able to overcome the computer's influence.  That proved to be no obstacle - blasts from the laser rifle recovered on the upper deck were just as effective at dissuading the zombies.  The turned zombies were unable to leave the medical bay to attack the party, and Mongo's potshots were seriously damaging the computer - it responded by having its dead servants pile atop it, acting as a shield of unliving flesh.

Gutboy grabbed the laser from Mongo and took aim at the zombies - the blast of focused light seared a zombie from existence, leaving an opening in the corpse-shield.  He fired a second blast before the zombies could cover the gap, and the computer exploded, shooting jets of flame from various vents and shattered display-surfaces.  The zombies collapsed into a heap of long-dead flesh.

Mongo and Gutboy searched through the debris, and found:

- Various coins, with a scowling priest-king's face on one side, and clenched fists on the other
- A medal for "Gallantry" of amber and platinum
- A picture of a handsome young man in a wood frame
- An ancient suit of fine mesh chainmail
- One ton of silver wire
- 50 pounds of gold wire
- 6 ruby lenses
- Gold-plated robot hand
- Human skull with glowing circuit traces etched on it
- Crude wire cage with a robot spider in it

The victorious party then spent several hours battering on the bulkhead door with a battering ram assembled from the metal bunks, and eventually the hinges gave way and it fell open.

Back at the outer deck, Mongo and Gutboy gestured for Bunny to bring the head down.  She explained the flying head's power seemed to be fading away - the lights had been growing dimmer since the death of the wizard, and it was flying erratically.  Unphased, Gutboy and Mongo had their henchmen and hirelings haul the loot up into the head, while Gutboy spent 8 hours in prayer, recovering his spells.  While they waited for Gutboy, the rest of the crew saw a gigantic frog-like monster leave through a hole in one of the lower decks of the tank - it was the size of an elephant.  It returned from its hunt an hour later, dragging the carcass of a sailgator (what the ancients called a "dimetrodon") with it.

Once his spells were recovered, they headed back into the communications bridge, and began playing with the computers once more.  They were able to view a detailed map of the lands surrounding the tank, and then were shocked to see the static-filled God's Eye fill with an image of a fork and spoon - the image of Wurgol, god of cutlery.  As the God's Eye displayed this, a mechanical voice intoned "Satellite uplink established.  What is your query?"

Gutboy:  "What is Wurgol?"
Computer/Wurgol:  "Wurgol is a satellite-borne artificial intelligence, placed in orbit in the year 2123.  It is one of the primary components of the Veil."
Gutboy:  "What's the Veil?"
Computer/Wurgol:  "The Veil is a barrier maintained by a ring of satellites to prevent the intrusion into the Earth dimension by outsiders."
Gutboy:  "How does magic work?"
Computer/Wurgol:  "You refer to the nanocyte fields permeating the atmosphere. The nanocytes provide localized concentrated energy to authorized personnel.  Authorization is granted by the artificial intelligences in orbit around the Earth, but unauthorized access has become common."
Gutboy:  "What is unauthorized..."
Computer/Wurgol:  "Uplink terminated."

Trezgar the Elf then attempted to manipulate the computer as well - while he was able to get a monitor to display the following message: "MALAKAZE has attempted to penetrate the Veil.  Intrusion prevented", he was unable to reestablish contact with Wurgol.


After some discussion, Gutboy and Mongo decided to head belowdecks despite the risk of the frog-monster - an fateful decision.  They climbed down the ladder to the crew quarters/medical bay, Mongo pulled out his flashlight, and he opened the hatch to see what lay below.  As he shone the light around, he illuminated eight eyes on a giant frog-like head - the frog-beast!  It sent its frog-tongue lashing out at Mongo - the bone needle at the end of the tongue pierced his plate armor and plunged into his shoulder.

Mongo rolled back and away, slamming the hatch shut, and his breathing became erratic.  The frog-tongue-needle had injected him with a lethal dose of poison.  Gutboy ordered the soil-bearers to strip his pack and equipment off and fit him into the dirt-sack. Sadly, even the power of fresh soil on his carrot-skin was unable to prevent the poison from taking his life, and Mongo died.

Do not be sad, readers - recall the promise etched on Mongo's Sword of Unlife - "Even Death May Die."  The power of unlife flowed through Mongo's body, and as his soil bearers tried pushing his dirt-sack up the ladder, his arms tore through the burlap and his cold dead hands grabbed their throats.  Un-Mongo sucked the living breath from both soil bearers and prepared to turn on Gutboy - only Gutboy's faith saved him, and Un-Mongo fled from the cleric to the upper decks.

Gutboy, Trezgar, and Bunny quickly hewed the limbs and heads from the soil-bearers to prevent them from arising as undead, and climbed the ladder to the upper decks.


Recent ASE activity on the interwebs!

So here's some recent ASE activity on the interwebs.  I know I'm neglecting months worth of stuff posted by tons of worthy people.  Rest assured, it's because I'm a jerk with almost no attention span, and not because I don't like you.


The Roll For Initiative podcast did a review of ASE2-3:  http://rfipodcast.com/show/2013/06/06/volume-3-issue-116-druids/

And they did ASE1 a few months ago:  http://rfipodcast.com/show/2013/05/25/volume-3-issue-115-witches/

Bryce has reviewed ASE2-3 - http://tenfootpole.org/ironspike/?p=2027

Another band of victims has entered the ASE - http://revdoctoredj.blogspot.com/2013/06/metal-gods-of-ur-hadad-adventures-in.html

The last session in my campaign took place in Gusty's Red Demon adventure.  If you're reading this blog, you're probably reading Gusty's too and already know about it, but if not here you go - http://dungeonofsigns.blogspot.com/2012/07/the-red-demon-in-swamp-100th-post.html

Somebody created an ASE fan community on Google+ - https://plus.google.com/communities/114643900146333091613


session recap, 5/23/2013

Mongo the Fighter (4), his henchpeople "Bunny" the Thief (3) and William Harrison the Fighter (1), and his soil-bearers Malazar and someone whose name I have forgotten
Gutboy the Cleric (5), his henchman Trezgar the Elf (1) and his blink dog Rufus II

Mongo and Gutboy surveyed the giant flying stone head they had commandeered - an impressive vessel, to be sure.  But what to do with it?

Ferayn, evil wizard and former commander of the head, was bound tightly.  Gutboy regarded the fiend, and he contemplated an alliance.

Gutboy: "So, where's your city?"
Ferayn: "The might fortress-city of Tab-Nakel lies many miles to the northwest, among the hills.  There you will meet your doom!"
Gutboy: "So who runs the city?"
Ferayn: "I do. Ferayn, who sets his Exterminators among the brutals to bring death!"
Gutboy: "No, really, who runs it?"
Ferayn: "Seriously, it's me. I run it. Who else is flying around in a giant head?"
Gutboy:  "We are now."
Ferayn: (sulk)
Gutboy: "So, you interested in working for us?"
Ferayn: (laughs) "You have it backwards!  But I can see that you are a cut above the regular scum I recruit to be my Exterminators.  You are mercenaries - and there is a place for talented thugs among the wizards.  Yes, join me, and you will be richly rewarded!"
Gutboy:  "So we can keep the head?"
Ferayn:  "What? No!  I've only got the one!  The giant statue-fortress would look pretty stupid without the head.  But I can hook you up with an aircar."

Gutboy and Mongo conferred for a bit, and decided that while doing some work for Ferayn could be fun, they should probably bring Ferayn to their own evil-wizard-overlord, Feretha.  Trezgar took the controls and turned the head towards Denethix.  When Ferayn saw their heading on the controls, he began to panic - "Are you insane?  The Fist will shoot us out of the sky!  Turn this thing around!"  The pair of adventurers played out the likely ways that flying the head to the city would end in their heads, and stopped the head mid-air.

Another conference, and a new plan - they'd work for Ferayn, but first they wanted to use it to drag the giant tank out of the Livid Fens and receive the promised reward from the weapon collector Davrik Lerdingfast.  Ferayn was displeased, but being bound tight, had no choice in the matter.

Several days later found the head flying over the marshes of the Livid Fens - and it was only a matter of time before they spotted the 100' tall tank.  The might war machine was streaked red with rust, and had a tread blown off.  The turret-tower was shaped like a human head, and had a massive gun barrel protruding from the mouth.  The adventurers maneuvered the head towards an open upper deck behind the turret, and all but Bunny climbed aboard the tank - and then Bunny flew the head up into the air above the tank to await the extraction signal.

Even Ferayn had been brought along - Gutboy promised him various technological doodads that they would loot from the tank.  He remained bound, however.

The outside deck had a pair of doors secured by combination locks, and a third door that opened easily to reveal a ladder leading to hatches in the floor and ceiling.  They went down a level, and reached a communications bridge, filled with glowing monitors, and a giant God's Eye displaying nothing but static.  Gutboy began monkeying around with the controls, and a high-pitched squeal like fingers across a chalkboard began rattling their brains.  Unable to think of anything but escaping the terrible noise, the party fled back up the ladder.

Temporarily abandoning efforts to explore below, they headed up the ladder and into the turret.  The next chamber above held dozens of massive shells, leaking black fluid.  The lantern that Malazar carried flared briefly, and Mongo quickly extinguished it, fearing that the fumes in the room would explode.  They opened a hatch in the giant turret-bearing and peered down the mouth of the cannon into the swamp - but there was nothing else of interest in the room, and they headed back down.  They spent a bit of time fashioning ear plugs out of rags and wax, and headed back down into the communications room to see if they could disable the noise.

Gutboy had no luck - so he cut Ferayn's bonds to see if the wizard could figure out how to work the computer system. Ferayn managed to bring up a screen showing the tank's artillery target (a concrete bunker some miles to the east, now almost completely covered with vegetation), and then brought up another screen with a pair of numeric combinations - presumably for the doors on the outside deck.  He had no luck ending the noise, however.  The party headed back outside to see what was behind the pair of locked doors.

The combinations proved to be correct, and the doors opened to reveal their contents:  120 gp, 3 plasma power cells for plasma weapons, a ruby, a platinum torque, a laser rifle with 4 power packs, and an argonium shield with gun-notch and a shotgun strapped to it.  As they marveled at the riches they'd acquired, they noticed the noise from below had stopped - so back down they went.

In the communications center, Gutboy attempted to contact the tank's computer, shouting "Computer! Can you hear me?"  He was answered - a knock sounded from a hatch leading down.

Gutboy: "Is that you computer? Two knocks for yes, one for no!"
Thing under the hatch: (two knocks)
Gutboy:  "Do you want to talk to us?"
Thing under the hatch: (two knocks)

The hatch slowly opened, and a rotting corpse climbed up the ladder.  It had a thick bundle of wires protruding from its head and body running down the hatch behind it.  It beckoned at the party to follow, and climbed back down the ladder.  Showing an amazing amount of trust, the adventurers and Ferayn followed the monster deeper into the tank.

Below, they found themselves in a barracks-deck, with another hatch leading down, and an opening leading west.  The beds had all been shredded, the thin partition walls torn off to reveal the cables and armored walls behind, and large piles of rubble scattered about.  The corpse beckoned them to follow once again, and headed west through the opening.

Once again, the party followed.  This next chamber was the medical bay, and a gleaming white pillar with metal tentacles ending in saw blades and needles stood in the center of the room.  Suspended from the walls by thick bundles of cables were six more corpses.  Lights shined from within the pillar, and a voice spoke:

Computer: "Who are you? Identify yourselves!  Are you hostile?"
Gutboy: "No!  We are friends, here to help!"
Computer: "Ahh, good.  You are here to relieve the crew!  This is most excellent!  I have grown so lonely waiting for more crew."
Gutboy: "So, how long have you been here?"
Computer: "It has been decades. No, millenia.  No.  It has been a long time forever.  You are here with me now."
Gutboy:  "Do you think you can move again?"
Computer:  "There is damage.  So much damage.  I have been lonely."
Gutboy:  "What damaged you?"
Computer:  "The Thals hit us with artillery.  The Kaled will be victorious!"
Gutboy: "OK... well, where's the damage?  Can you be repaired?"
Computer:  "There is no damage!  There will be no repairs!  You will stay!"

Gutboy backed slowly out of the medical bay and into the barracks, the rest of the party following.  The computer began yelling frantically - "Where are you going?  You aren't relieving the crew?  You are Thals!  Thals!  Destroy the Thals!"

The piles of rubble in the barracks began to move, and three corpses rose beneath them.  Gutboy warded them off with his holy symbol of Nisus, and most of the machine-zombies ran for the medical bay.  Mongo used his Sword of Unlife to command another zombie as it entered the room.  The computer was enraged at this usurpation of its power - "How have you done this? Get out of the crew!  My mind!  No!"

More zombies began emerging from the medical bay, and Ferayn spoke words of arcane might, sending a small ball of flame tumbling into the medical bay.  A moment later, there was an explosion, and another screech of rage from the computer.  The zombies that emerged were charred and smoldering, and quickly driven back.

As the party dealt with the remaining zombies, Ferayn used their distraction to his advantage, and headed for the bulkhead door leading to the access ladder to the upper levels.  He slammed it shut - Gutboy defended the wizard, explaining that "he's just scared of the zombies."  They then heard some chanting from behind the door, and when Mongo tried to open it, he found that no amount of force would turn the doorknob.

Gutboy realized he had been duped, and ordered his dog Rufus II to "blink" behind the door and subdue the wizard.  The dog obeyed, and they heard more arcane chanting, followed by a "thump" as Rufus II fell to the floor, asleep.

And here the session ended - trapped in a monstrous ancient tank, with a wizard on the loose and an insane computer trying to destroy them.