Saturday, August 5, 2017

Family Game Knights - Discovering Ugly Bottom


Exploring the Chained Coffin


Welcome to Family Game Knights, our regular tour through of the Shudder Mountains and  The Chained Coffin box set.  

For those uninitiated with the Chained Coffin, creative lead +Michael Curtis and the rest of the Goodman Games crew have created a wonderful and vibrant fantasy campaign setting based on Appalachian myth and legend.  During this journey, we'll be dipping into all of the adventures written specifically for the Shudder Mountains, as well as tossing in a few other favorites as well, thus turning this into a fantastic, ongoing campaign!  Special thanks to the DCCRPG G+ community for so many wonderful adventure suggestions.  

Here are our previously yarns:


The Adventuring Party


  • Jen
    • Wize Wizard McBride - Cleric
  • Evie
    • Jeffff - Warrior (she plans to add another "f" after each gained level)
  • Carrie
    • P. Specs - Thief
    • Andy
      • Waldon, Friend of the Frawgs - Thief
    • Jeremy
      • Sir Huey, Keeper of the Sacred Door - Warrior
    • Emily
      • Farwyn - Elf


    Discovering Ugly Bottom


    Initially I was going to run The Emerald Enchanter by +Joseph Goodman, and that is still my plan for our next module.  I spent an hour or so reading up on the adventure earlier this week, and was excited to introduce this "classic" Dungeon Crawl Classics module into our game.  But then I remembered that The Emerald Enchanter sort of needs a village or town to serve as the adventure hook.  Unfortunately the player characters in our campaign alienated the village of Hirot, and sided with the Frawgs during Attack of the Frawgs.  

    To tackle this next adventure, the party would have to find civilization.  Therefore I thought I'd introduce some hex-crawl elements to the adventure, and I pulled out the Shudder Mountains area map.  Where the party next would be completely up to them, and if it turned out that they didn't find a village, I'd just prep something else for the next  session.

    Fortunately for the player characters, they did come across civilization... sort of.  While heading north away from the swamp, they discovered a bashed up cart with two completely flattened creatures: a human and a donkey.  The cart was full of potato sacks, each one stamped with the phrase "property of Basil the Slow."  Off in the distance, a lone donkey was standing amidst the trees.

    Let me stop for a moment to discuss how I designed the rest of the session.  There were three primary sources of inspiration for this week's sandbox experience:


    • A drawing of FootHand the Alien by Cooper (are you getting the hint that there are a lot of aliens in the Shudder Mountains?)
    • Vornheim, The Complete City Kit by Zak S., a sourcebook for Lamentations of the Flame Princess that is chock full of random tables.
    • Shrek

    It didn't take long for the party to meet FootHand the Alien.  Sir Huey and Jeffff walked over to the donkey, and suddenly a bright light appeared above their heads.  FootHand the alien jumped down, threatening the party with certain death!  Walden used a grappling hook to jump up into the alien's hovering flying saucer, and dodged alien-dog attacks while stealing a "magic" wand from a control panel.  P. Specs tried to sooth the alien by offering him a flask of light beer, but apparently FootHand preferred IPA's.  Finally, the Wize Wizard McBride traded his precious beaver cape for a truce.  The alien flew away in his flying saucer just as Walden jumped down.

    Turning back to the donkey, Jeffff offered a greeting.  Surprisingly, the donkey responded!  He said his name was Basil the Slow and that he, his brother Beau, and his hired hand were beset upon by a stomping alien while out selling potatoes.  Basil asked the party if they would help him repair his wagon (a task that nearly killed Walden), and the entire group headed north for the village of Ugly Bottom...

    ... seriously, there is a lot of weird crap in this adventure that I was making up on the fly, but the name Ugly Bottom is straight out of The Chained Coffin boxed set.

    Once the team got to Ugly Bottom, I dialed up the crazy randomness of the Vornheim charts to generate a bizarre town.  I injected some of my own gonzo as well.  

    The party met Basil's very human wife Elaine.  Or was her name Eileen, or Elana, or Ellen?  Apparently Basil's wife's name was not set in stone and seemed to change periodically.  Basil (and his brother Beau) told the characters his tale of woe, and how he accidentally ate a cake in the woods that turned him into a donkey.  

    The party visited The Scorned Cousin, a tavern and inn that served as Ugly Bottom's community center.  A ferret named Tatiana owned the establishment, and all of her servers were young lads who called themselves the Wenchmen.  On the wall of The Scorned Cousin was a large bulletin board, noting all the potential missions that required adventurers.  One of the requests for service involved stopping the Emerald Enchanter from stealing local citizens of Ugly Bottom for his horrific experiments.  

    The bulletin board posting for this quest was actually a copy of the real adventure cover.  

    The most popular game in The Scorned Cousin was something called Truth or Challenge.  Raising your glass in the air served as your invitation to play, and the best ToC player in Ugly Bottom was the evil hexcaster Biff.  P. Specs accidentally started a game with Biff, and ended up being forced to share his real name (Potato) to Biff.

    Tatiana warned the party that this would go badly for P. Specs, as Biff could use the name to control the thief at will.  The session took a weird turn, as the party searched for ways to help free P. Specs of Biff's future enchantments.  They discovered the existence of a creature known as the Namingway (ripped from Final Fantasy IV) that visited Ugly Bottom on Thursdays.  Supposedly the Namingway could change your true name... for a price.

    The party also learned that Biff himself was under an enchantment, and could not fall asleep within the village limits, in which case he would die a most horrible death.  Choosing this method to dispatch Biff, the party returned to The Scorned Cousin and initiated a second game of Truth or Challenge.  When Biff arrived, the Wize Wizard McBride cast Word of Command on Biff, forcing him to fall asleep.  He then melted into the floor.

    In a sudden surprise, Sir Huey challenged Tatiana the Ferret Bartender to Truth or Challenge, and demanded to learn how to create a spacecraft...

    ... because this is a talent that all Ferret Bartenders know.

    I gave in.

    Tatiana gave Sir Huey a book (the Idiot's Guide to Building a Spacecraft) and claimed that all of the components to design such a vessel could be located within the Shudder Mountains... artifacts left behind by ancient astronauts.  When the party asked about other regions in the world, Tatiana warned them not to travel south out of the mountains, for the God Emperor Razoul controlled those lands.  

    To further this new quest to build a spaceship, the party would need scientists.  Tatiana revealed that the source of many of the weird local enchantments, the Emerald Enchanter, was also a scientist, and perhaps he could reveal some clues for spacecraft design.

    The party then went shopping so that they would be prepared for the next portion of their quest...

    So what did we all learn from this?

    1. The next adventure will definitely take place using The Emerald Enchanter module.
    2. This campaign takes place in the very same world as my Great Sunken City Omnibus Tour campaign.  Razoul was +Marc Plourde's player character, a psionicist who turned into the God Emperor of Slither's End at the end of The Gathering of the Marked.  Marc then retired his character.  When we advanced the story by several centuries after Lair of the Mist Men in preparation for Peril on the Purple Planet, I revealed that the God Mayor grew in power and took over much of the world.  Apparently his power does not reach the Shudder Mountains to the north.
    3. Somehow I need to inject a quest to design a starship into The Chained Coffin box set.  Maybe I'll just start featuring a bunch of scientist-wizards, and the party can keep collecting them, and I can pull from Crawljammer or Metamorphosis Alpha?  I'm open to suggestions!
    4. Somewhere in the stars there is a planet full of alien Ferrets.

    A Fine Selection of Quotes from the Table



    "Check this cape out bro!" - the Wize Wizard McBride offers his fancy beaver cape to HandFoot the Alien, in exchange for a truce.


    Campaign Crematorium


    • None this game

    Saturday, July 8, 2017

    Family Game Knights - Attack of the Frawgs, Part 2


    Exploring the Chained Coffin


    Welcome to Family Game Knights, our regular tour through of the Shudder Mountains and  The Chained Coffin box set.  

    For those uninitiated with the Chained Coffin, creative lead +Michael Curtis and the rest of the Goodman Games crew have created a wonderful and vibrant fantasy campaign setting based on Appalachian myth and legend.  During this journey, we'll be dipping into all of the adventures written specifically for the Shudder Mountains, as well as tossing in a few other favorites as well, thus turning this into a fantastic, ongoing campaign!  Special thanks to the DCCRPG G+ community for so many wonderful adventure suggestions.  

    Here are our previously yarns:


    The Adventuring Party


    • Jen
      • Wize Wizard McBride - Cleric
    • Evie
      • Jeffff - Warrior (she plans to add another "f" after each gained level)
    • Carrie
      • P. Specs - Thief
      • Andy
        • Waldon, Friend of the Frawgs - Thief
      • Jeremy
        • Sir Huey, Keeper of the Sacred Door - Warrior
      • Emily
        • Farwyn - Elf


      Attack of the Frawgs, Part Two


      [Judge's Note:  For our second session of +Stephen Newton's Attack of the Frawgs, I made a modification to the background story on the fly.  The original adventure refers to a froggie deity known as Truloq as being the dark god of the Frawgs, but I changed this a bit.  I wanted to inject some Patron coolness into the game, so I made the entity Bobugbubilz from the DCC rulebook.  Easy swap!]

      At the conclusion of our last event, the party was about halfway through their quest to uncover the dark, amphibian evils plaguing Dead Goblin Lake.  Making their way counterclockwise around the lake, their next encounter occurred right at the edge of the water.  A pair of giant crabs were having a quick lunch of dead, waterlogged human.  

      Tasty!  

      The party peppered the giant crabs with arrows, quickly killing them.  Easy enough.  I should also mention that the crabs exploded when they were killed.  

      Caution!  

      The Wize Wizard McBride was pretty interested in what was on the corpse so she sent her own corpse (as in, Brock the Tomb Ghoul) to play fetch.  But as soon as Brock entered the water, five more crabs appeared, and started devouring the poor ghoul.  The rest of the party resumed their archery practice, but the Wize Wizard McBride didn't want to lose his undead friend.  The Cleric charged into the water to help Brock, but the two just ended up getting pinched.  If the crab snips weren't bad enough, the fact that each of the crabs exploded upon death didn't help.  

      The Wize Wizard McBride was able to survive the encounter.  Brock didn't.  All the Cleric was able to salvage of his friend was the head and torso.  The crabs had eaten the rest.  The rest of the party defeated the crabs while the Wize Wizard McBride debated summoning Cthulhu to aid in restoring Brock.  

      [Judge's Note:  Fans of the original Attack of the Frawgs won't remember exploding crabs.  The original adventure was written as a 0-level funnel, and at this point in our campaign we have a few 2nd level characters while the rest are 1st level.  So I added a few challenges.  For the Giant Crabs I gave them an AC boost to 14 (instead of 12), and added 5 more lurking beneath the water (for a total of 7.)  Also, when a crab died, I'd inflict 1d3 damage upon all characters locked up in melee with the defeated crustacean.  This minor modification sure kept a lot of the party at bay, desperate to avoid hand-to-hand combat.  Fun!]

      Sadly, the dead corpse didn't seem to have enough swag to make the entire battle worth fighting.  A sling, a beaver pelt, and a dagger...

      ... wait... a dagger!?!  That's exactly what Waldon was missing, after losing his!  So maybe the battle was worth it?

      Continuing to the northern edge of the lake, the party came upon some infected, mucous covered waters with a dead body floating in the middle.  Waldon grabbed some rope and fished for the corpse of what they would discover to be a frog-humanoid ...

      ... a FRAWG!

      The Frawg was easily the size of a human, and in its satchel was a fishbone artifact, similar to the one they found in the brewery earlier in the day.  While searching around the scummy waters, the party was attacked by a living Frawg scout, but it was dispatched quickly.  

      So many Frawgz!

      It was about this time that Waldon decided to play with the fish bone.  Doing so, he made contact with an entity from the "other side."  

      "Ribbit," the entity said.
      "Ribbit, ribbit," Waldon replied.

      With that exchange the two became connected somehow, and Waldon agreed to aid the entity and swear allegiance and fealty to Bobugbubilz, the amphibi-demon.  As a gift, Bobugbulbilz gave Waldon the power to invoke some frog magic, specifically a spell that would let him take on frog traits.  

      Eventually the team came to a dead end along the lake path... a waterfall.  Using his stealthy skills, Waldon crept behind the water, and found more Frawgs.  But instead of making a sneak attack or getting the rest of the party and charging in for froggy blood, Waldon made the decision to call upon his new patron magic... and gain some frog legs.  

      As soon as the Frawg noticed Waldon's amphibian traits, he felt a kinship and the two started to chat.  Turns out that the Frawgs really just wanted to be left alone to transform Dead Goblin Lake into a scummy, mucous-covered, infection-laden breeding pool for more of Frawg-kind.  That's it.  They didn't want the humans there, but that's only because humans are so terrible, and don't take care of nature.  The Frawg introduced Waldon to the rest of the family: the Frawg Queen and a few of their siblings.  

      That's when the Frawg made a deal with Waldon: chase off the adventurers trying to kill the Frawgs, and they would give him a Periapt of Bobugbubilz and make him a "Friend of the Frawgs."  

      Deal!  

      So Waldon went outside and made a big production of scaring off the rest of his adventuring party (who was already in on the deal.)  When he returned to the Frawgs, he was given the periapt, the title of "Friend of the Frawgs," and a Frawg egg to raise on his own.  

      [Judge's Note:  We need to get Andy a frog puppet.]

      The humans who had originally asked the party for help were pretty upset that their lost friends were already dead, and that the amphibious monsters were not able to be defeated. Sadly, they all picked up and left for another part of the Shudder Mountains to call home.  

      Success?

      [Judge's Note:  I'm thrilled that the party found an alternate means to complete an adventure, rather than just combat.  That last scene with the Frawgs could've been a pretty cool battle, but instead the party (well, Waldon at least) gained a new source of allies, and possibly an interesting companion in the Frawg egg.]

      So, with Attack of the Frawgs wrapped up, we have some important questions to answer!


      • What will hatch out of Waldon's new egg?
      • Will the Wize Wizard McBride be able to restore unlife to poor Brock the Tomb Ghoul?
      • Will Jeffff earn another "f" on his name soon?
      • And most importantly, what should be our next adventure!?!


      A Fine Selection of Quotes from the Table



      "We should be eating the crabs, the crabs shouldn't be eating us." - Emily had a point.

      "Hey Siri, can Ghouls die?" - Carrie wanted to help her grieving mother out.

      "You defilers of the pond!  I will smite you with the power of Bobugbubilz." - Waldon chases off the PC's.  

      Campaign Crematorium


      • Brock the Tomb Ghoul, destroyed by Giant Exploding Crabs.  What a sad moment during the game! 

      Sunday, July 2, 2017

      DCCRPG - Lair of the Mist Men, Part Two


      A Long and Sunken Road


      We did it!  

      It took eleven players fifteen sessions over sixteen months, but last night we completed our journey through the four adventures contained within +Jon Marr's Sunken City Omnibus:  

      Before I dig into our play report, let's take a look at some of my comments from way back in February, 2016 after we had just completed our very first Great SCOT adventure.  

      "Like many other DCC fans, my rate of adventure acquisition exceeds my rate of adventure completion:  RoAA>RoAC.  To make this more challenging, during the DCC 4th Printing Kickstarter I went hog-wild and pitched in to grab a whole mess of new modules."

      This certainly remains true through this day, although I've done a pretty good job of carving my way through all of these wonderful adventure modules.  Along with the monthly Great Sunken City Omnibus Tour, I've also got the Family Game Knights cutting through a complete Shudder Mountains campaign.  Then I've got the one-shots with the Norwin Game Knights, the DCC Road Crew Events at Phantom of the Attic, Gary Con, and Gen Con.   

      But even with all this gaming, my RoAA still far exceeds my RoAC!  I totally blame the stunning quality of all the Goodman Games and third party publisher adventures on the market.  

      "Technically the first three adventures are designed as 0-level funnels, but given the flexible nature of DCCRPG, it won't take much to make them playable for 1st and later 2nd level characters.  This will probably take between 8 to 10 total sessions to complete."

      Perils of the Sunken City was our initial 0-level funnel, and took us two sessions.  Then we hit the Ooze Pits of Jonas Gralk, transforming our campaign into an open, castle real-estate infused, seven session sandbox.  By A Gathering of the Marked we needed some fresh meat, so I ran the adventure as another 0-level funnel to refresh our characters stockpile.

      Admittedly, I was a bit hesitant.  Between Ssof, Nicodemus, Watson, Imric, and Razoul, I feared that the new characters wouldn't be able to fit well into the story, and would just be bland additions.

      How wrong I was!

      From A Gathering of the Marked we got Lil Hammy the Pig Paladin, the ever-smelling Gastronomix, "Screaming" Otto, a worm infused Wayne, and the majestic Floyd Pink.  All these characters were just as memorable and awesome as the original members of THE Free Company.

      I was also wrong on my estimate for number of adventures we'd take, but I don't think I was too crazy in my expectations.  We probably ran four sessions heavy on The Ooze Pits of Jonas Gralk just because we were having so much fun.  In addition, I inserted an adventure titled Return to Slither's End to allow the players some time to role-play their down time at home base.

      "Unlike other campaigns that I've run, for the Great SCOT I'm not asking for any real commitment from the players." 

      This was the part that I struggled with the most when kicking off the Great SCOT.  With a long and protracted monthly campaign, it only makes sense that some players could lose interest and want to move on to other things.  Or maybe they just have time for a few sessions.  But up to this point I was so used to regular campaigns including a set number of players, and those players staying in the game for the entirety of the campaign's lifecycle...

      ... or so I thought.

      Designing a campaign with an accepted mechanism for player churn actually made it easier for those moments when someone decided to take a break.  Not that there was that much churn.  Four of our original six players (Marc, Andy, Craig, and Alex) made it all the way through the campaign from start to finish, only missing a game here or there.  Paul joined the group early within the Ooze Pits.  It was the sixth seat that ended up rotating the most, eventually getting filled for the last third of the campaign by a tremendous gamer from way down south in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil: Jonata.  

      Thank you guys for a truly wonderful experience.  I've never felt so free creatively in a role-playing game campaign, and you have all made me a better game master.  I've learned that the tiniest, magic pig statue can still become the greatest paladin in the land.  I've learned that I should always be prepared for real-estate to rear it's ugly head, especially if the PC's dethrone a bandit lord.  I've learned that the best magic missiles are actually screaming eagles...

      ... seriously, how awesome is it that everyone screeches whenever Craig says that he's casting Magic Missile?

      Together I think we've all earned master's degrees from the Alex Perucchini School of Chaotic Gaming Excellence!

      What's next for The Free Company?

      Last night I made an offer to the group for a second campaign, with an opening plot that blends the best elements of the video game Chrono Trigger and the movie Highlander 2: The Quickening. 

      So if you've enjoyed reading our tales thus far, you need to emotionally prepare yourself for Act 2, as THE Free Company is Banished to the Purple Planet!

      Follow this psychic portal to get your very own copy of +Harley Stroh's incredible Peril on the Purple Planet boxed set!


      The Great SCOT Continues


      The Free Company, our adventuring party happily enjoying the Great Sunken City Omnibus Tour, completed Perils of the Sunken City and last month moved onto the The Ooze Pits of Jonas Gralk.  If you're interesting in starting this story from the beginning, here are the previous tales:

      This is an open door campaign, so we can always have new players join our group.  Here are our only rules from game to game:
      • Schedule five players for each event
      • Hold a sixth seat free for last minute additions
      • Players who complete an adventure have "dibs" on joining the next adventure
      • Players can bow out, and rejoin later with living or new characters so long as there is a open spot at the virtual table

      As always, Die Rodney!

      The Free Company Roster 



      Lair of the Mist Men, Part Two


      After a night of tax collecting and heavy drinking, Nicodemus wakes up and realizes that the rest of The Free Company is gone.  So he crawls out of bed, and takes a stroll into the middle of Slither's End.  He's soon greeted by Watson, who informs the thief that the rest of the party is back at the sacred rock of Korik's Heart, and they need a thief.  The two head south, to connect with the rest of the party.

      Along the way they pass Mingus, who originally led The Free Company to Korik's Heart.  For a moment Nicodemus thinks he can hear the voice of Cedric, but then it's gone.  Strange.

      Once at Korik's Heart, Nicodemus and Watson find a sign staked into the ground near the path. 

      "Mist Men this way, come and get 'em." 

      From the handwriting and the smell of fresh pork, it is obvious that Lil Hammy was the scribe.

      So the thief and wizard climb up the trail, discovering along the way the bodies of the Mist Men killed by their fellow adventurers.  Eventually they get to an open and activated portal leading into Korik's Heart, so the two dive in head first.  After a few hops, they are in the experimentation room with Floyd Pink, Lil Hammy, Imric, and Screaming Otto.  Also in the room are newcomers to The Free Company: Saynan, Rikard, and Ralph.

      Saynan is not in the best state, as he has a chicken head growing out of his shoulder and is much older than he was just a few moments earlier.  A test subject of the Mist Men, Saynan was once a young local villager.  But a few moments earlier, the Mist Men infused Saynan with the essence of both a live chicken and an old man.  

      "This is bock... bock... bock... bock... bullshit!" squawked Saynan.  

      But Lil Hammy thinks he can do something to help the poor villager.  The Paladin approaches the man, and calls upon the mighty power of the Blue Fairy, the blessed deity that granted life to what was once just a pig statue.  After a few prayers, Saynan starts to get younger and the chicken head retracts.

      Rejoice!

      But a moment later Saynan begins to moan and wail.  The pain is unbearable.  The rest of the party then looks on in horror as Saynan enters a birthing position and naturally delivers a really old chicken through some kind of horrific magical means.  

      With a look of relief, Saynan stands back up.  "I'm not gonna lie... that beak hurt like hell." 

      The Free Company grabs the chicken, and takes the green portal to the south into another chamber.  This next chamber appears to be mostly storage.  There is some strange swag in several boxes, but the most bizarre, perhaps, is a giant mahogany foot the size of a cow.  Unfortunately this wasn't something that the team could carry with them for trade.  

      Another of the crates stores a bizarre book filled with occult rituals in an unknown language. Saynan, declaring himself a Wizard, grabs the book and begins to read.  A purple portal opens beneath Saynan's feet, and another above his head.  With a whoosh the once chicken-infested villager is sucked into the portal!  Rikard tries to help the man by fishing him out with a grappling hook, but he too is swallowed up.  The party considers both to be dead.

      Two green doors exit the store room, but there is also a red door.  Imric tries to engage the red door, but instead of an inviting green and bright portal, a black-light gateway appears.  Nicodemus takes a look at the door, and puts his arm in.  When it feels okay, he starts to put the rest of his arm in, but suddenly feels a tingle.  The thief retracts his body, only to find that his arm is missing!  But strangely he still feels the limb.  He feels it moving around on a hot and sandy surface.  He feels some strong, scaly hands touch the skin.  Nicodemus then feels the arm getting tossed into a leather sack.  

      The party bickers for a few moments on whether or not they are all going to go in after the arm, but they decide it's a lost cause.  

      The Free Company leaves the store room by way of the southern gate, ending up in a great room dominated by a glowing, starry orb.  The orb fills most of the room, but there are two portals exiting, one to the north and another to the south.  Floyd Pink and Nicodemus try moving along the edge of the room towards the southern portal, but the giant orb then moves towards them both.  The sphere makes contact with Nicodemus, sucking him in.

      Seriously, it ain't Nicodemus' day.

      With Floyd Pink successfully making his way to the southern portal, it's on the rest of the team to fish Nicodemus out of the sphere, which they do by chucking him a crowbar tied off to a rope.  The rest of the team then moves south, with Ralph serving as the sphere's next victim.  

      Something happens to Ralph while in the sphere, though.  The time inside the starry globe seems to warp his mind, and when he's rescued, he no longer refers to himself as "Ralph," but instead "StarRider." 

      He'll fit right in.  

      Moving through the southern portal, the party finds themselves in a very small chamber, with a serious distinction: one of the portals exiting this chamber is actually broken, revealing a stone corridor on the other side of a great crack.  Nicodemus and Floyd Pink carefully travel down the tunnel until they come to a humming and well lit chamber.  A large, purple, triangular power source of some kind dominates one side of the chamber.  A long cable runs from this power source all the way to a great, triangular portal.  Six humanoids, each wearing an armored uniform with a triangle carved into the mail, perform actions around the devices.  

      Nicodemus looks at the portal, and sees a beautiful vista on the opposite side.  He carefully sneaks up to the cable, and starts to cut through.  This immediately screw up the connection with the portal device, and various images start to intermittently flash on the screen, with an old, television-like "snow" appearing every few moments as well.  

      One of the vistas is a nightmarish hellscape, where a demon is fondling a detached arm giving the beast the finger!

      Before Nicodemus can react, however, the Triangle Men teleport from the southern end of the chamber, appearing right in front of The Free Company.  

      The ensuing battle is quick but fierce.  The Triangle Men are expert duelists, each wielding a pair of light long-swords.  Watson summons some eagle-missiles blasting one apart, while the party's warriors and Nutbiter engage in melee.  Screaming Otto, tough as he is, has a terrible time dueling with the Triangle Men, and they tear him down nearly killing the warrior!  

      While Lil Hammy heals his fellow teammate, StarRider color spray's several of the Triangle Men, blinding two and knocking one unconscious.  The Triangle Men, not being stupid, retreat through teleportation.  

      With the battle over, Nicodemus returns to the cable, but sees that it has been strangely restored.  The thief looks over, and sees the red robed leader of the Triangle Men offering a sign of truce.  Calling himself the "Seeker," the red robed humanoid states that he and his team are no match for The Free Company.  They agree to leave everyone in peace so long as they are allowed to travel back through the portal.  They state that once the cable is severed, it will disable all of the portals in the structure, leaving just an exit into Korik's Heart and back to the world.

      When Nicodemus mentions that he saw his disembodied arm in the portal view screen, the Seeker offers to give him a punch card that would allow the thief to program the portal to take him to that locale.  Nicodemus agrees, as does the rest of the party.  The Seeker creates the portal, and then he and his remaining Triangle Men flee back to their own world.

      Nicodemus puts the punch card into the portal, revealing the same nightmare he saw earlier.  Somehow his arm had ended up in Hell itself!  Looking out onto the blasted, red wastes, Nicodemus squints and sees that a terrible hyena-lizard demon is preparing to devour the arm, placing it atop a pile of other spoils.  Floyd Pink comes up with a great idea.

      The warrior walks Nicodemus through the necessary steps, and the thief then concentrates on his arm.  Finger by finger, the arm sneaks away from the pile and the demon, and towards the portal.  Eventually the demon sees what was going on and he runs after the arm.  But he is too late!  Just before the demon makes it to the arm and the portal, Nicodemus reaches through and grabs his arm back.  With a juicy slurp, it reattaches itself to the thief.  

      The party then destroys the cable to the power source, forever disabling the triangle gateway!

      The Free Company spends a few moments collecting dropped gear from the Triangle Men before heading out through the crack.  But the world they step into doesn't seem to be the one they left behind.  

      Instead of a wild, swampy vista surrounding Korik's Heart, there is a large town full of odd, steam-powered machines.  The party descends down the trail, and finds a small, farm boy who screams in fear for his father.  The father, noticing the visitors calls for the guard, who approach The Free Company in a six-wheeled, horseless carriage.  

      The guards, all adorned with skull-armor, cautiously inform the party that they are in the village of Elocktadia.  

      "Where is the Sunken City?" Floyd Pink asks.

      "He raised it, long, long ago," the lead guard announced.  

      The guard invites the party into the wagon, taking them back through town and towards a much larger city to the north.  After an hour's drive, The Free Company is taken into a small circular building at the edge of the much larger town.  They are given food and drink, and cots and couches to rest upon.  But as soon as they start to partake in the delicacies, a strong gas fills the room.  Floyd and Watson are able to resist the gas, and stay awake to see a great glass panel open on one side of the room.

      A robed figure with a silver mask greets the party.  He makes mention of knowing the party members, especially Watson.  Watson demands the name of the man, and the figure removes his mask.  A bone white skull gazes upon the members of The Free Company.

      It is Cedric!  

      Cedric welcomes the party to their new world... a world dominated by the God Emperor Razoul.  In this new world, Cedric is a grand Knight and right hand of the God Emperor himself.  

      How did this happen?

      Where is the rest of The Free Company?

      What will the God Emperor do with his former companions?

      All shall be revealed in Banished to the Purple Planet!
           

        Quotes



        "So we're starting to have a bit of a menagerie with Nutbiter and the piggie over there." - Nicodemus takes a look around, seeing how The Free Company's standards had dropped over the last few months.

        Judge James - "There's a live, old chicken lying on the ground."
        Paul - "Looks like another zero level to me."

        "Hey Nicodemus... do you need a hand?" - Floyd to Nicodemus, after the thief lost his arm in the red door.

        "You may have to feel your arm being eaten by somebody." - Marc to Alex.  What a terrifying prospect!

        "If you find an arm, it's mine!" - Nicodemus looking through some treasure.  

        Marc - "Someone get that man some bacon."
        Andy - "I hate you all so much right now."

        "This happened when you broke the HBO!" - Jonata, after the Triangle Men attack following Nicodemus' attempt at destroying the triangle portal's connection with it's power source.  

        The Seeker - "I, in good faith, will put down my weapon."
        Alex - "I, in good faith, will not."


        In Memoriam 

        • Saynan - Sucked through a purple-lit portal 
        • Rikard - Sucked through a purple-lit portal 

        Saturday, July 1, 2017

        The Mousehouse Meet


        There were three things I wanted to accomplish at this month's Norwin Game Knights event:

        1. Run a Dungeon Crawl Classics Road Crew adventure for two new players who expressed interest at our last event (along with a few others.)  
        2. Try out DCC Lankhmar's Fleeting Luck mechanic for the first time.
        3. Use my brand new and freshly painted Reaper Mouseling Miniatures.

        To pull off all three of these in one sitting?  That would be epic!  


        So I grabbed The Madhouse Meet, a 1st level DCC Lankhmar adventure by +Michael Curtis first featured in Goodman Games' Free RPG 2016 promotion.  I flipped through the module, and took a few notes.  I could easily transfer the adventure to the Mouse Guard universe as a way to playtest Dead Mice, my new DCC Mouse Guard conversion!



        The great thing about The Madhouse Meet is that it's super adaptable to any fantasy setting.  There were only a few changes that I needed to make in order to set the Lankhmar-based adventure the Mouse Territories:
        • I set the adventure in the city of Barkstone, around the same time as the War of the Axe (Fall 1152.)
        • I created pre-gen 1st level guardmice using Dead Mice rules.  
          • Timmons the Thief, played by Sue
          • Matthias the Cleric, played by Bella
          • Trixter the Wizard, played by Michael
          • Owyn the Ranger, played by Andy
          • Quarless the Warrior, played by Ed
        • For backstory, I made all the PC's Tenderpaws, working alongside senior guardmouse Miles of Lockhaven.  Miles had brought the PC's to Barkstone to investigate rumors of an ominous and dark order of mice known as "The Axe."  
        • Miles stated to the PC's that he would have to make contact with an associate named "Kenzie," and instructed the PC's to wait for him in a local tavern.  
        • While waiting for Miles to return, the PC's fall unconscious and wake up in the dungeon of The Madhouse Meet.  

        It was at this point that I had to make a few additional modifications, to both the adventure and the Mouse Guard universe:
        • I brought in a troupe of evil rats, led by a Rat-Mage named Tullius.  Rats aren't really in the Mouse Guard comics, so this was something new to the setting.
        • Tullius had promised to aid Shadow, leader of The Axe, in return for mice who wouldn't be missed: Mouse Guard tenderpaws.  Since the life of a tenderpaw can be quick and dangerous, it isn't uncommon for them to fall to the risks of their missions.
        • Tullius' reason for gathering the mice was to feed their energy to a Patron Fairy that he recently discovered, in return for powerful magic.  Each captured mouse was to be force-fed sugary food and drink (in order to make them sweeter for the fell fairy), and branded with a mark that would make them more submissive to Fairy Magic in general.
        • All the "guards" in the adventure were rats working for Tullius.  I used Mordheim Skaven for the rats.
        • Little did the PC's know that Miles was a traitor!  He had been paid to provide the PC's to Tullius.
        • For this particular adventure, I had to carve out a few parts of the adventure since we only had a couple hours to play.  But all-in-all it worked out.



          Thanks to the Purple Sorcerer Demon generator, I was able to craft a Fairy quickly...

          ... did I mention that Fairy's in my Mouse Guard inspired Dead Mice universe are just teeny-tiny demons?  No?  Well they are.  
          • Bowie the Fairy (yes, like David Bowie):  Init +1; Atk Sword +5 melee (1d8 dmg) and Claw +5 melee (1d6 dmg); AC 14; HD 3d12 (16 hp); MV 30' on foot, 40' fly; SP Branded Mice must make a DC 12 Will Save once coming into Bowie's presence, or they cannot attack him.  They may make a new save each round to shake off this effect.  SV Fort +3, Ref +1, Will +3; AL C 
            • Demon Traits
              • Communication: Speech (Fairy, Common)
              • Abilities: Infravision
              • Immunities:  Half Damage from non-magical weapons
              • Projection:  Cannot travel planes of own volition
              • Critical Threat Range: 20

          I used a KenzerCo Fairy Meat miniatures for Bowie, painted way back in 2003, just before I gave up miniature painting for having children.  

          I was pretty pleased to get the chance to showcase some of my old miniatures alongside my new ones.  I know that a lot of folks prefer to play DCC with a theater of the mind style during combat, and that's typically how I play.  But every once in a while, I like to show off the figures of my collection, and this was a great opportunity to do so.  

          Also, I need to share that the Fleeting Luck mechanic is AWESOME!