Monday, June 30, 2014

Avernus Availed - An Accursed Bedtime Story - Character Design

Designing the Avernus Family

I was on vacation last week, so the girls, wife, and I started in earnest creating the details for our upcoming Savage Worlds: Accursed campaign.  We discussed character concepts, roles, and builds around a backyard campfire and by week's end were picking edges and hindrances while on a short trip to Penn State.  For continued "research" we watched  movies like Van Helsing, The Addams Family, and The Mummy.  The wife and I also spent the tail-end of our vacation catching up on the sixth season of True Blood, but not until the kids were out cold.  Discovering all of the new character options available in the Accursed was amazing!  There definitely was something for everyone...


Avarice Avernus, Mother

  • Mummy Matriarch & Duelist 
  • Agility: d8,  Smarts: d6,  Spirit: d4,  Strength: d6,  Vigor: d6
  • Edges:  Ambidextrous, Two Fisted, Multi-Purpose Sarcophagus 
  • Hindrances:  Code of Honor (Extremely Ladylike), Arrogant, Greedy (Minor), Phobia of Cats (Minor)
  • Skills:  Athletics d4, Fighting d10, Guts, d6, Knowledge: Business d6, Notice d4, Persuasion d4, Repair d6
  • Signature Gear:  Longsword & Heavy Rapier, Bottle of Avernus Wine
My wife (Jen) wanted Avarice to be very fashionable and ladylike, with an almost Victorian set of manners and customs.  To be fair, it wasn't her choice to take on the Witchmark of the Mummy, but the girls though that if she was the "Mommy" of the group… well… it would just make more sense.  Jen wanted to be the party's leader and matriarch, skilled in persuasion and social interaction, which doesn't exactly fit the Mummy Witchmark.  So it's my guess that Jen will play Avarice as a commanding figure, who has lost most of her social graces now that she's a rotting pile of bandages beneath a sarcophagus' shell.  As to her role in the group, I'm not exactly sure where this is going.  She wanted to be a skilled duelist, and I figure that the Repair skill and Multi-Purpose Sarcophagus might make her sort of an undead MacGyver!  

Annaria Avernus, Elder Daughter

  • Dhampir Scout & Musketeer
  • Agility: d8,  Smarts: d6,  Spirit: d6,  Strength: d8,  Vigor: d6
  • Edges:  Graceful Leap, Musketeer
  • Hindrances:  Unwitting Tool, Clueless, Screamer, Pacifist (Minor)
  • Skills:  Athletics d8, Fighting d6, Guts d6, Notice d8, Shooting d8, Subterfuge d6, Survival d4, Tracking d4
  • Signature Gear: Musket, Crossbow, Hand Axe, Leather Armor
Evie is my younger daughter, so she was thrilled to play the older daughter of the Avernus family.  Together we figured out that her character was a pawn of the Blood Witch and her minions, and that they still had their hooks in her undead hide.  She wanted a very graceful and lithe character, skilled in athletics and acrobatics, so Graceful Leap was a must!  I found it amusing that Evie's last character, a Swift Jack who Entertains in Numenera was essentially a crossbow wielding rogue named "Anna."  Evie insisted that a Musket was different, and that Anna didn't drink blood but Annaria sure does.  We found the Screamer hindrance in the Savage Worlds Horror Companion, and Musketeer is straight out of 50 Fathoms, although we tinkered with it a bit so that it just drops 1 action off of the reload time with a firearm.   

Adelaide Avernus, Younger Daughter

  • Shade White Witch
  • Agility: d6,  Smarts: d6,  Spirit: d10,  Strength: d4,  Vigor: d4
  • Edges:  Arcane Background: Witchcraft, Power Points, Extra Power
  • Hindrances:  Curious, Small, Stubborn, Big Mouth
  • Skills:  Fighting d4, Guts d8, Healing d6, Shooting d6, Subterfuge d8, Taunt d6, Witchcraft d10
  • Powers:  Illusion, Boost/Lower Trait, Stun
  • Signature Gear: Brace of Flintlock Pistols, Heavy Cloak 
Adelaide is rather small and weak now, but like an old school, AD&D 2nd Edition Mage, it is our hope that she will become incredibly powerful later on.  Skill-wise I was the most happy with Adelaide's skill suite, with her above-average Guts balancing her Curious hindrance, while her Witchcraft might be able to back up that enormous mouth.  Carrie and I had to at least invest a few skill points into her characters' Taunt as well.  Her powers allow her to direct the battlefield with hexes as a controller as well as augment her fellow party members with some welcome aid.  Feeling a bit left out that her sister had "a gun", Carrie went for a pair of pistols… just in case!  



As is a tradition now with our games, the girls spent most of Friday working on their characters' Lego mini-figures.  We were big fans of the Monster Fighters series, and were happy to have collected most of them, so this time around it was a pretty easy task!  These will go perfectly with our new mapping system!  Rather than a traditional, top-down approach to mapping out dungeons, in the spirit of "Castlevania" and other side-scrolling games (the girls would say Terraria), we are going to do all of our mapping from the side perspective.  Should be different!  

Rudolpho

There was one additional member of "the family" that came into existence yesterday during our trip to Penn State.  While at a local specialty stuffed-animal store I found a very fitting puppet who I will be playing as an NPC during the game.  His name is Rudolpho, and his link to the characters, their family, and the campaign will be cryptic at first and hopefully revealed over the course of the Avernus family's quests.  This will allow me as a GM for kids to throw in helpful hints and tips during the game, a bit like Navi from The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time…

… although Rudolpho (hint, he's a cross between Remy and Ted) has very little in common with the beautiful and graceful Navi… 







Friday, June 27, 2014

Intercontinental Numenera One-Shot - The Crawling Lake

The Crawling Lake


Characters


  • Corvyn, a Strong-Willed Nano who Crafts Illusions, played by Christian
  • Caldros, an Honorable Glaive who Metes Out Justice, played by Andy


Summary

Corvyn and Caldros entered the Westwood of Navarene in the service of the Emol family of Naavis.  The sellswords were planning an excursion into the Beyond, but required a bit more experience and mastery with the numenera first, and were hoping to acquire an artifact or two before crossing the Black Riage.  Luckily for the pair, the Emols, a logging clan operating in the deep and deadly Westwood forest, lost a precious piece of equipment in the woods called a "Behemoth", and they needed someone to help discover it's whereabouts.  Behemoths were large machines that could be operated remotely by one skilled in the numenera, and fell trees completely on their own.  Although little more than an automaton-lumberjack to the Emol family, these amazing pieces of equipment that were the size of boulders must have served another purpose in a prior world.  The last place the Behemoth was seen was near the Crystal Pool, a place of myth and mystery where local legend told of a Dead God known only as The Minotaur residing in the waters.  

Corvyn and Caldros weren't afraid of Dead Gods.  

Several hours into their trek the pair came across a rather disgusting scene.  A squad of four woodsmen were lying on the ground being devoured by a Zabrin.  Native to the Westwood, Zabrin were large, five foot wide beetles that had tentacles instead of legs and a sharp, piercing mouthpart that would enter a victim and digest them before sucking the juices back up.  The Zabrin obviously killed three of humans, but one looked to be alive and twitching still.  Corvyn had seen several "bears" in the woods during the first leg of their march, and so he summoned forth the image of one of these monstrous creatures while using a cypher to remain safely hidden from the tentacled beetle.  Upon seeing the massive form, the Zabrin quickly shuffled away from it's meal, not even attempting to put up a fight.  Caldros approached the woodsmen and noticed that they were adorned in the colors of the Emol's rivals, the Vadris family.  The group's scout was still alive, but severely injured so the glaive immediately went to work patching her wounds.  Her name was Dineria, and while she appreciated Caldros' splint for her broken leg, she was not happy when Corvyn suggested that she walk herself out of the forest.  She insisted that the two accompany her out of the forest, and that they would be greatly rewarded if they did so.  Caldros had admitted to Dineria that they were working for the Emol family, and being quite adept at seeing through lies and trickery figured that the woman had an interest in seeing this mission fail.  Still, the glaive told the woman that she could accompany them to the pool or stay behind.  She chose to follow along, complaining the entire way.

Once at the Crystal Pool, Caldros and Corvyn looked upon an amazing scene.  The lake was nearly five-hundred feet across, and at it's center was a fifty foot wide, four pointed structure that rose forty feet out of the water and was made of a dull grey metal.  The structure appeared to be hovering above the water, and there were circles of vibration in the waters surrounding its base.  On one side of the structure, close to shore, was the dissolving form of a large machine, which the party deduced to be the Behemoth.  Like a sugar cube in hot tea the machine was submerged in the water and was slowly coming apart.  On the northern shore was a village of spider-people known as Culova.  Warned of these creatures before they left, the Culova were indigenous to the Westwood and were a constant threat to lumber operations.  Afraid to go into the water, the party looked for other options to get onto the structure.  The trees surrounding the pool were massive, and their canopy's touched about a hundred feet above the structure, with each tree's boughs creating a vine-like network giving the forest multiple "levels".  It was in these other levels that the Culova commonly made their homes and villages.  Dineria kept asking a lot of questions rather loudly, and it seemed obvious that she wanted to get the Culova's attention so that the mercenaries would have to disengage from the scene and flee.  So Caldros tied Dineria up, gagged her, and placed her at the side of a nearby trail so that if she made any noise the Culova would find her.  

Finding one of the nearby trees suitable, Caldros was the first to climb, using metal spikes to make the ascent easier for Corvyn as he followed.  But Corvyn's ascent was not so easy.  Nearly to the level where the branches of all nearby trees tied together, Corvyn found the spikes that Caldros placed were starting to loosen and fall as the massive tree swayed with a great breeze.  One of the spikes fell right near a patrolling Culova, and when it came closer to investigate Dineria started to scream.  The Vadris family scout chewed through her gag and told the Culova that the two sellswords were directly above it.  Caldros tried to cover Corvyn's climb, firing a heavy quarrel at the spider-guard, striking it in the abdomen.  But this did not kill the guard, who blew a horn and started climbing.  Soon, five other spiders were in pursuit and the two mercenaries had to move quickly across the branches in the direction of the pool's center.  When directly above the metallic structure, there were two Culova who were nearly on top of the party.  Caldros used a matter disrupting cypher to damage the spiders and destroy the branches below their feet, letting the two guards fall into the water.  Expecting the Culova to dissolve, the party was surprised that they merely swam out of the pool a bit agitated.  Upon closer inspection, however, the spiders lost all of their metallic gear, as their spearheads and arrow heads, buckles and clasps all dissolved when they touched the water.  Not waiting to ask questions, Corvyn finished lashing the rope to the branches and the two climbed down to the structure below.  

On top of the structure Corvyn and Caldros found a small puddle of water and a few skeletal remains.  Apparently someone else made it to the top of this building but never left.  At least he left a shatter wand artifact behind, which Corvyn happily scooped up.  It didn't take long for the two to be agitated standing on the building, as it vibrated and shook so rapidly that it was starting to hurt their knees.  Adjacent to the northern face of the structure a wooden dock or platform was sticking up out of the water, so the duo slid down the metallic surface and landed on the wooden planks.  There was still no obvious door in sight, but peering underneath the structure the party could tell that while the building seemed to hover from a distance, up close there was a tiny point at the center that actually touched the water creating the ripples of vibration.  Corvyn looked at the flat surface of the structure, hoping to find some kind of entrance.  Carefully applying three fingers to the metal, a single black portal appeared.  Although they could not see inside, a stale air blew out from inside the chamber.  Using his motion sensor, Caldros noted that there were eight moving shapes within, four on either side moving up and down.  Figuring that the odds were low that there were eight bouncing monsters, the two simply entered the room.

At the center of the chamber was the Minotaur: a single dome with a pair of hornlike protrusions ending in wires attached to the walls.  Two display screens mounted next to each other on the dome showed a strange language flashing while a single terminal was located in the center of the mass.  Eight massive pistons were located in the room as well, constantly moving with the assistance of a gross, green lubricant.  Looking behind the domed "Minotaur God" was a closed and secured eight foot long container.  Unable to open it from the side, Corvyn moved to the terminal and started playing with the controls.  It quickly became apparent to the nano that this entire discovery was set to minimize the size and mass of metallic objects.  It used the waters surrounding it to facilitate the transmutation, and inside the container were thousands of miniature oddities, one being the shrunken Behemoth.  Not only could the building shrink metal, it could also be set to shrink other types of material, such as non-metallic minerals or organics.  

Needing a way to escape the building, flee from the Culova, and get back to Naavis, Corvyn and Caldros enacted an ingenious plan.  First, they searched the miniature metal oddities until they found a shrunken rowboat.  Corvyn set the structure to minimize organic material, which would keep the Culova at bay.  He then reversed the process for the rowboat, which was reconstructed just in front of the portal.  The dock was now gone, as it was organic in nature, and after grabbing the miniature Behemoth, Caldros jumped into the boat, followed shortly after by Corvyn.  The two had grabbed pieces of the building's interior to act as metal paddles, and they headed down river away from the arachnid threat.  The Emol family wouldn't be happy that their priceless artifact was now the size of a toy, but perhaps the Minotaur discovery could be of use to the clan.  



Thursday, June 26, 2014

Avernus Availed - An Accursed Bedtime Story


To My Horror, I Return Home


I've always had a soft-spot in my "gamer's-heart" for Gothic Horror.  When I was a new roleplaying gamer in the early 90's my first official Dungeons & Dragons campaign setting that I purchased was Ravenloft, and the mists have always felt like home.  Whenever our gaming group played in one of my many home-brewed high fantasy settings we would have a terrific time, but when I brought out those red boxes with creepy lettering something dark, sinister, and magical occurred.  Just telling the players that we were "entering Ravenloft" would invoke an entirely different mood.  Candles were lit.  Incense was burned.  Red silk scarves from our mothers' closets were draped around lamps.  Our best role-playing happened during those encounters with monsters that couldn't easily be defeated through shear might and fireballs.    


Since I am raising two "gamers-in-training", I feel it necessary to take my daughters (and drag my wife) on a sight-seeing tour of Gothic Horror before they got the impression that all vampires sparkled and werewolves refused to wear shirts.  We just came to a logical end point for our Disney-themed Numenera: Disenchanted Tales campaign, and while we may very well return to the Three Princesses of Nihliesh and their quest through the Ninth World, everyone seemed ready to try something different for a little while.  Actually I was looking to get back into traditional fantasy, but knowing my daughters and their unusual tastes, we wouldn't last long with a "vanilla" campaign setting.  So I started considering a return to Ravenloft, with a Tim Burton/Adams Family twist.  

I've been a big fan of Pinnacle Entertainment Group's Savage Worlds system for a couple years know, and both my girls and wife have played a few "fast, furious, and fun" adventures.  It was a natural choice of systems for what I wanted to do, and I resigned myself to the Ravenloft conversions when a certain gentleman on Google+ (Mr. Joseph Hepler) made the suggestion to try Accursed.  If you aren't familiar with this Savage Worlds setting, imagine the classic Gothic Horror tropes of Ravenloft married with the action-adventure spirit of The Mummy or Van Helsing.  But where in Ravenloft you are a typical adventuring party braving the horrors of the supernatural, in Accursed you ARE the supernatural!  The characters are "Witchmarked," taking on the curse and powers of a mummy, werewolf, golem, or other monstrous type, and using them to reverse the blight on the land.  

Inspirations

After playing our first game of Gloom with my cousin Rachel and her fiancĂ© Carmel two weeks ago, I've had the idea stuck in my head of starting off a campaign where the players build an entire family and then generate characters from the family-members.  Role-playing a clan similar to the Adams Family or the Munsters could be a lot of fun.  For my daughters, the idea of the supernatural, especially the undead, is not that scary at all despite being a common theme of horror.  We are a house full of Tim Burton fans, and I figured that if I could run a campaign in the theme of The Corpse Bride, Beetlejuice, or the Nightmare Before Christmas I'd have a "home-run!"  It's also the Steam Summer Sale right now, and coincidentally the games that I purchased had a bit of a horror theme to them.  Carrie is currently engrossed in Don't Starve and I finally bit the bullet and shelled out $6 for both The Witcher and The Witcher 2.  As an aside, if you haven't played The Witcher, you are missing out… just an incredible game that I cannot believe I overlooked for so many years!

Watching Tim Burton's "The Corpse Bride" for a little inspiration

Evie posing with her Monster High Doll as we brainstormed our family tree

Carrie puts on her best scary face!


With all of this in mind, I sat down with my wife and two daughters at the dinner table earlier this evening and we generated our "family". 

Meet the Avernus Family

(Hats off to my wife Jennifer for coming up with most of this)

The clan Avernus was a well-to-do and respected family for over a century in the town of Augsing, Valkenholm, as they owned and operated several nearby vinyards.  In the decades before the Bane War, Avernus Libations truly came into it's own under the watchful eye of Alistair Avernus, shrewd businessman and heir to the Avernus estate.  Alistair was a jovial and caring man, and was happily married to the very fashionable Avarice Nihlity with whom they had two darling children: Annaria and Adelaide.  Avarice was obsessed with appearances, both her own and those of others, and due to her husband's long business trips to and from Caer Kainen, she talked her husband into allowing her to open a millinery shop, where she could craft only the finest hats for the other local ladies of Augsing.  Annaria, who was 18 at the start of the Bane War, was an accomplished dancer and acrobat.  Adelaide, 11, was a bookworm who loved stories of the fey and the Summerlands.  Aside from their wine and hat making, the Avernus family also raised Gradniki Wolfhounds, a breed discovered when Avarice and her husband toured Steppengrad before they had their children.  

When the Bane War began, Alistair was returning home from Caer Kainen, where he was meeting with business contacts.  When the stories of the invading Witch-led hordes reached Augsing Avarice was especially horrified as both of her daughters had accompanied their father on this most recent trip.  When the weeks turned to months, Avarice couldn't wait any longer.  She set out to find her husband and daughters and bring them home.  Little did she know that her family was beset upon by agents of the Witch Armies.  Annaria was taken off to the Dark Queen's forces and transformed into a Shade and Adelaide was grabbed by Banes from the Blood Witch and turned into a dhampir.  

It would be decades before Avarice would know of her children's' fate, when they would all meet in the dilapidated Avernus home on the outskirts of Augsing.  Coincidentally Annaria and Adelaide both returned home on the same day. Both daughters showed their mother their Witchmarks but were horrified when Avarice finally showed her face and her own Witchmark.  During her quest to find her husband and children the family's matriarch was beset upon by forces of the Djinn.  A skilled fencer, accompanied by nearly an entire pack of the family Gradniki Wolfhounds, Avarice managed to kill the Accursed that had cornered her in one of Morden's southern cities.  Unfortunately, it was a Mummy, and the curse was transferred to Avarice, who spent her own time in service to the Witch Armies clad in her own Sarcophagus-armor.  The whereabouts of Alistair Avernus are still unknown, as neither daughter saw him killed or captured.

Uncle Nester Nihlity, now 75, was not particularly thrilled to see his younger sister return to "his" after he thought he had inherited the beautiful structure so many years before.  Avarice and her daughters planned on using their family estate as a base of operations for their upcoming quests. Alistair Avernus was still out there, somewhere, and the Witches knew about him.  The Accursed Avernus family would have no problem at all using their battle-tested powers and abilities to find answers, and slay a few Banes along the way.  


Adelaide Avernus (Shade) and Annaria Avernus (Dhampir)



Monday, June 23, 2014

Numenera - The Devil's Spine - Session 3

Characters


Oswin, an Intelligent Nano who Fuses Flesh with Steel, played by Jen
Lynq, a Rugged Glaive who Explores Dark Places, played by Nate
Torrent, a Clever Jack who Rides the Lightning, played by Tom
Silus, a Stealthy Jack who Exists Partially Out of Phase, played by Sarah

*SPOILER ALERT* - If you haven't played The Devil's Spine yet, but plan to as a PC, please DO NOT READ this blog!

Summary

As the Catena started to move our brave and intrepid band of numenera hunters decided that they deserved a short respite.  Oswin and Torrent crashed in the chairs of the first car while Lynq napped in the second and Silus explored the third.  For being a millennia-old monorail, the Catena was in remarkably good condition.  A short while into their trip, while Silus was checking the middle car for loot and spoils, she heard the sound of heavy thumps hitting the roof.  At least three or four heavy "things" struck the top of the car, and they were walking around.  Noticing that there was an unsecured hatch on the roof, Silus jumped up to lock the portal, but whatever was on the other side was already starting to turn the wheel.  Thinking on her feet the stealthy jack attached her grappling hook to the wheel and then hopped down lashing the other end to a nearby couch.  The "thing" quickly lost interest and along with the others moved forward on the roof of the Catena.  Hoping to get the attention of the rest of the team, Silus found an intercom and tried to get the ancient piece device to work, but only succeeded in activating the external speakers.  For the rest of the party, everything was just peachy!

Lynq in particular was having a great time sleeping, sprawled out on one of the couches in the second car.  The glaive didn't hear the "things" walking across the roof, and didn't hear them stop at open the hatch.  It wasn't until the rush of air from outside the Catena hit his face that Lynq realized something was trying to enter the second car.  Standing up quickly, with sword and shield in hand, Lynq watched in horror as a large green blob poured through the hatch and quickly formed into a green and translucent three-hundred pound, headless ape-like monstrosity.  At first the creature didn't seem too threatening, just using it's weird tentacled arms to feel around the interior of the Catena, but Lynq wasn't taking any chances.  Without hesitation the rugged glaive stabbed the green form with his radiance blade.  In response the creature opened an orifice in it's body and sprayed Lynq with a caustic goo.  Lynq continued to swing his sword and bash with his shield while getting repeatedly spat upon by the creature.  Unable to repel the beast, the glaive was preparing for one more acidic spray when the green form exploded in a blast of electricity.  Torrent and Oswin heard the battle, and the clever lightning-riding jack went for a ride right through the monster, causing it to shatter into millions of little drops of lime-green Jello.

Oswin linked in to the Catena's controls and shouted back to the rest of the team that they weren't out of trouble just yet.  There were three other creatures on the craft, and at least one of them was starting to damage the coupling between the fourth and fifth car, which would undoubtedly affect the entire Catena.  While Torrent, Lynq, and Silus all moved into the control car and secured the roof access door.  Oswin was planning to detach the four remaining cars, hoping to send the rest of the creatures on their way.  Once the team was certain that they could continue in their travels without the other four cars, Oswin completed the procedures and everyone breathed a sigh of relief…

… and then two of the green monstrosities shattered the glass of the control car and attacked the party in a wickedly clever pincer attack.

Lynq swung away at the first creature, hacking off pieces of floppy gelatinous flesh, but also releasing a spray of gas into the room.  Everyone tried to cover their mouthes when this happened, but Torrent, as usual, had a bit of bad luck and managed to suck down at least one breath of the pungent mist.  Using his energy lance, Torrent returned the favor to the gassy beast, and with aid from Oswin's laser hand the first monster fell.  Silus stared down the second beast, and pulled out the Death by Angles artifact.  Aiming the beam device so that it would reflect off of four surfaces, the stealthy jack pulled the trigger.  First the beam hit a nearby wall, and then the portal, and then the control car's glass, and finally it struck Lynq's shield.  But the time it deflected to the green creature, the blast was so powerful that it completely incinerated the thing in a single hit.

When the Catena ended it's trip, the party found themselves in another station, however this one was in considerable disrepair.  The numenera hunters got out of the craft and headed into the rolling hills and sharp peaks of the Black Riage.  Beginning their trek along the path that Devola had set out for them, the band walked for a day and a half but stopped just before cresting a hill.  On the other side the team could hear horrific screaming and wailing.  Silus was the first to move forward and scout the path, but when she returned her description was terrifying.  Six screaming giants, fifty to a hundred feet tall were standing in a lake.  Lynq, Oswin, and Torrent looked at each other completely puzzled on how to handle the situation.  Considering going around the giants without combat, Oswin decided to get a look herself so that she could map out an alternate route.  Slowly hovering the nano stopped as soon as she too saw the strange sight.  There were indeed six screaming "forms", but they were obviously statues, eighty or more feet in height, of misshapen humans in absolute agony.  Whatever created the statues knew much of human physiology, but not how it fit together.  It was clear though that the sound of screams was coming from the statues themselves.

Hoping that the statues were in fact just a monument, the party moved down to the lake and found a small shack with a row boat pulled up alongside.  Pushing the boat into the water, the characters set out to cross the tiny lake and continue their path on the other side.  Lynq was fascinated by the waters and the statues, and took a look into the pool, incredibly interested in the fact that there were no living creatures swimming around.  Getting too close, however, Lynq found himself falling into the lake!  The water was somewhat toxic, and irritated his skin, but it wasn't too intolerable for the hardy glaive.  But the statues still called to Lynq, and he had a strong desire to swim over and make contact!  Lynq reached the nearest one, a large monstrous form, and touched it with his hands.  When the glaive returned to the rowboat, he felt a bit stronger than before… and his skin seemed to have changed color a bit, to a permanent light-green.

The party continued their trek on the other side of the lake.  After another full day of travel, the party descended into a long canyon, at the bottom of which was a ruined structure blocking the path.  Hidden at the base of the structure were three human forms, and on the other side the canyon led to a large and open plain.  The humans weren't making any sound, but they were motioning for the party to get down and hide.  Torrent moved forward to make contact with the trio.  Theobald was a treasure-hunting guide and, Askalar and Ederana claimed to be numenera hunters themselves.  They told the characters that they had a rather accurate numenera sensing device that pointed to something fantastic out in the Field of Towers ahead, but a horrible monstrosity known as a cragworm was aware of their presence and was now on the hunt.  Torrent and Oswin questioned the motives of the humans, and while Askalar and Theobald seemed to be telling the truth, the party's nano was able to probe the mind of Ederana and discovered that she was actually on a quest to face off with the Insidious Choir herself, and had two doses of a particularly nasty catholicon that could be used to battle the viral invaders.  But it wasn't time to push for more answers from the woman… there was a cragworm to deal with.

Our adventurous troupe of numenera hunters isn't afraid of any kind of worm!  Deciding that a frontal assault was the best option in this situation, Torrent arranged the rest of the party in a firing squad ready to unload everything they had all at once on the worm.  Oswin started by sending out a hunter/seeker to find the creature, and was successful!  She sent the poisoned homing dart right at the beastie, and struck home.  Now that the cragworm was alerted, the rest of the team opened fire.  Lynq and Theobald used their bows, Silus her crossbow, and Torrent and Askalar broke out some artifacts to take down the beast.  Unfortunately for the party, the creature was much harder to kill than they previously expected.  But Theobald had something that could kill the creature in one hit.  The treasure-hunter turned to Torrent and started to show him an immensely powerful cypher that could kill a cragworm instantly.  But just before he showed it to the jack, the cragworm descended on the guide and clamped down with its mouth.  The rest of the team watched horrified as Torrent held on to Theobald's feet and was carried off as well.  The clever jack tried to swing himself over to the worm's body, so that he could use his blade to slice the monstrous form open, but missed.  Torrent fell to earth, hitting hard, just as the worm tail slapped Oswin.

Silus was still hitting the beast, launching volley after volley from her crank-crossbow in a methodical fashion, each bolt doing a little more damage.  Lynq saw that Ederana was watching him as he drew his bow, winked, and launched an especially devastating arrow at the creature, sinking home in the cragworm's mouth.  The worm responded by hosing the glaive with sticky goo and then grabbing him so that he could swallow his new prey.  Oswin wasn't going to let her dear friend Lynq die, however.  With a single blast from her laser-hand, the mechanical girl sliced the head of the worm away from the rest of it's body.  The noggin-encased glaive hit the ground and rolled to a stop.  As the party looked at each other, realizing that they had just pulled off a rather impressive victory, they managed a team high-five, and prepared for the next leg of their journey.

Torrent's Days With the Defender:  5

Quotes


“Get that radiance blade and hack that thing in half, man!" - Sarah shouting at Nate, demanding that Lynq spring into combat.

"We're gonna be stuck in a jungle full of those gooey guys!" - Oswin feared that the Catena would break down and the party would be stranded in a less than desirable place.  

"I don't know how to tell you this, but there are some androgynous masculine beings like the statue of David but melted."  - Sarah's best explanation, word for word, for the Screaming Statues.

"I'm okay with not messing with it [the Cragworm], but I'll support you in your choices." - Oswin to the rest of the party when they were discussing a plan of attack.  

Sunday, June 22, 2014

#GetOutAndGame - Numenera - The Meal of Boregal


Five Guys Cyphers and Foci's, The Meal of Boregal


It all started with a discussion on how to expand our #GetOutAndGame events.  While my initial post focused on combining gaming with going outdoors and getting some exercise, I also discussed having an event at a local restaurant.  So a couple weeks ago my wife and I gathered a bunch of fellow Norwin Game Knights and headed over to the North Huntingdon Panera to play The Resistance.  We had an incredible time!  When Andy, a fellow Cypher-fan and member of the Norwin Game Knights, mentioned that he knew a manager at the Five Guys Burgers and Fries located in the same complex as the Panera, I knew that we had an opportunity to do something big… maybe even with a role-playing game!  




Our Characters

  • Vectoria, a Vengeful Glaive who Bears a Halo of Fire, played by Carrie W.
  • Rygax, a Mlox Jack who Separates Mind from Body, played by Andy L.
  • Elmy, a Strong-Willed Nano who Wields Power With Precision, played by Emily B. 

Adventure Summary


We continue out story of Vectoria and Rygax, Numenera hunters who just recently solved the crisis at Druissi.  Along with the assistance of Benzoate, Deathstroke, and Domina, the team fixed the damaged power system of the crashed visitant vessel that was the source of the small town's heating and cooling systems, and even managed to recover some valuable cyphers and artifacts.  Believing that the ship may have only crashed in the last millennia or so, Rygax hoped that the visitants who brought the vessel to the Ninth World may still exist.  Along with Vectoria, the two headed north to the Wandering Walk, with the plan to eventually travel west across the Black Riage and into the Steadfast in search of information about the crashed ship could be gained from the Aeon Priests of Qi.  

Without mounts it would be a long and torturous trek, but luckily for Vectoria and Rygax one of their first encounters on the Wandering Walk were the legendary Mouth Cairns.  These jawbone surrounded circles were places of solace and protection along the Wander, and legend had it that anyone who would harm a fellow pilgrim on the walk would be subjected to the horrors of Slaytongue, a mythic curse.  The word around the camp that evening, however, was that there were attacks and murders in the cairns recently.  While talking with the other travelers, Vectoria and Rygax met Elmy, a sharp-talking Nano who had a powerful ability to manipulate ambient nano-machines with incredible ease.  With no real goal of her own, just "out for a walk" really, Elmy agreed to accompany the Glaive and Jack back to the Steadfast.  

The next morning the party was greeted by the sound of hundreds of hooves in the distance.  At first believing it to be a herd of beasts, the sound was actually coming from a single scutimorph, a long centipede being ridden by two human figures: a young boy and girl.  Both were in their late teens, the boy nursing an injured shoulder and the girl in obvious mental pain.  The boy, Patel, begged the party to take his sister, Seria, west to the town of Cylion Basin so that she could receive healing.  Rygax and Elmy looked at each other quizzically when Patel said this, considering that he was the one that was injured physically.  The boy insisted that he would be fine and that he needed to return to the False Woods to help his family fight the floating disks, pallones, that were terrorizing the inhabitants of their village.  Seria had the obvious ability to control animals with her mind, and Patel feared that whatever was affecting the natural creatures of the Beyond causing them to go mad would eventually destroy his sister's mind as well. The Numenera hunters agreed to Patel's request, and after Seria let her scutimorph loose, no longer able to control the creature, the team left the Mouth Cairn and started west.  

While traveling the Wandering Walk en route to Cylion Basin, the party saw that their trail ahead was blocked by what appeared to be pole arm wielding bandits.  Rygax couldn't tell if the bandits were human, abhuman, mutant, or visitant, and really could only make out that they were carrying spears and halberds.  Hoping to sneak past the raiders without a fight, Rygax used his skills in camouflage and covered the rest of the party with dirt, mud, sticks, and grass as they moved off of the trail and into the tall weeds.  The party was nearly past the "raiders" when they realized two horrible truths.  First, the bandits were not bandits at all, but in fact a Zaelem, a horrible slug like creature that ate humans and abhumans and then through digestion had the weapons, gear, and armor of their "food" pushed out through its back as a sort of shell.  Second, Elmy must have brushed off her camo, because the creature got quite a good look at the nano and started to charge.  Noticing the impending attack, Rygax ran towards the beast, hoping to distract it long enough for Elmy to lob a sleep gas detonation at the slug.  Elmy's aim was so accurate in fact, that the bomb rolled right into the Zaelem's mouth and it collapsed in a large heap… right on top of Rygax.

Maybe Five Guys' fries would be salty enough to slay the Zaelem?!?


Pinned beneath the Zaelem, Rygax was suffocating quickly.  Elmy and Vectoria started shouting at each other, bickering on how to get the massive creature off of their Jack.  They weren't strong enough to move it, and didn't have any sort of gear or cyphers to assist, so Vectoria just did what she did best: cause damage.  A single crossbow bolt to the Zaelem had it wake up immediately, roaring and ready for action.  Rygax rolled away and jumped on top of the beast, yanking out one of the spears that was embedded in it's body, creating a soft spot in the shell that the rest of the group could use to further damage the slug.  Elmy first slashed at the creature with her rapier, but when she realized that the Zaelem was particularly nasty in close-quarters combat, backed away and relied on her command of nanites to defend herself.  Rygax continued his raid on the slug's back by grabbing a random cypher and then detonating it immediately, causing a gravity attack that pinned the monster to the ground allowing Vectoria and Elmy to hit be beast with ranged attacks quite easily.  Once defeated the troupe scavenged the Zaelem's "shell" for a few more cyphers and continued on their way.  

3 normal-sized orders of fries would count as a Discovery in the Ninth World

Cylion Basin was a place of refuge, with colorful pools of liquid that aided the healing process lining the main street of the town.  The Numenera hunters searched for someone in the town that could do as Patel asked, and provide healing to Seria who was still struggling with agonizing headaches.  The townsfolk pointed the party to a healer named Darvin, whose eccentric shop at the edge of town contained all sorts of curatives and elixirs to set a troubled mind at ease.  Darvin, however, was not so easily prepared for Seria's ailment.  She explained to the party that the components necessary to heal the psychic's pain were currently unavailable.  A small pack of broken hounds had taken up residence in the nearby synth garden where the herbs and strange constructs grew.  Well these little beasties were no match for a devastating force that to date had done battle with the worst of what the Beyond had to offer.  Setting up a firing squad at the edge of the garden, Rygax lobbed a web detonation right in the middle of the hounds while they slept.  The remaining creatures tried to flee, but Rygax's bow and Vectoria's crossbow made for short work.  One final hound almost made it out of range, until Elmy commanded the very drit around it to consume the creature in one horrible bite.  


Quotes


"It is Elmy-approved!" - Emily's first encounter with a Scutimorph

"Bro, you might wanna get that looked at." - Elmy was pretty concerned with Patel's nasty, disgusting pallone wound.  

"I throw the fries from last night's dinner." - Andy looking for something salty to toss at the Zaelem.

"Hey look… I'm big… AND juicy!" - Rygax shouts at the Zaelem to draw it away from the rest of the party.  


Thanks!


I have to give a huge shout-out to the fantastic folks at Five Guys Burgers and Fries in North Huntingdon, Pennsylvania!  Our food was fantastic (as always) and they had no problem with us hanging out for a few hours after eating our food.  We were even invited back!  It's awesome to play in the comfort of your own living room, dining room, or basement, but there is something special about rolling dice in the community.  I can't recommend it enough!  If you have any stories of your own #GetOutAndGame style excursions, please share below!!!



Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Savage Worlds - Weird Wars Rome - Caesar Ascending - Session 3

August 52 BC, Alesia, Gaul

Adventure Summary:

Following their vicious battle with the Lady of the Fang's wolves, Paulus' unit was in serious need of healing.  Using all of her remaining strength, Aurelia managed to say a few prayers to Mithras so that both she and Paulus would be able to function despite their very serious wounds.  It was night on top of Mt. Rea, and the five members of the Twilight Legion needed a way to get off of the great hill and return to the rest of Caesar's forces.  Paulus led the team back down the mountain trail towards Ateria, but when the sound of wolves howls echoed through the hills in front of the unit, the decanus decided to break away from the main trail and head north down path less traveled.  At the base of the mountain was rocky valley, and even though it was difficult, the team was still able to get a few of their horses through, especially Xarax who was not about to leave his prize animal behind.

Once free of the mountains, and en route to the Roman fortifications, the party saw a horrific sight ahead.  Under the moonlight the legionary unit saw the utter defeat of Caesar's forces at the front lines.  The cavalry forces of Vercingetorix smashed directly into the Romans along a 3 mile front, supported by infantry units.  But it would be the northern flank that would be the site of the most horrific combat, as 1,000 wolf men and 250 wolves of war chewed through ten thousand Roman infantry alone.  Caesar's legion managed to fight through the lupine army, and make it back to one of the northern fortifications in order to lick it's wounds, but to Paulus and his forces, the battle looked lost. 

By the time Paulus and his unit reached the northern Roman encampment they had to make their way through hundreds of wounded legionaries and auxilia.  Hoping to make contact with another member of the Twilight Legion, the team linked up with Centurion Lentilus, a direct report to Caesar and a member of the Cult of Mithras himself.  Lentilus appreciated Paulus' report on the werewolves, and showed the party that he had been working with several Greek scholars on how to penetrate the hide of the foul beasts.  When Paulus' team suggested "fire", Lentilus had the theory successfully tested.  Fire would defend the walls of the encampment to be sure, but there would not be enough to turn the tide of battle back in the Romans' favor.  More intelligence was necessary to truly combat the supernatural horrors of the Gauls. 


Decanus Paulus took command of his unit yet again and set out in the middle of the night for the Gallic encampments.  Under cover of darkness the members of the Twilight Legion crept up a small river towards one of Gaul's forces guarding the rear of Vercingetorix's army.  Paulus had the rest of his unit stay back to create a distraction, and single-handedly snuck into the encampment, found a drunken Gallic sergeant, and returned him back to the river, while Matityahu created a distraction by sending several horses in the opposite direction.  Once back at the Roman encampment the Gallic sergeant was interrogated.  Aurelia and Paulus played "good legionary/bad legionary" with the prisoner, and were able to learn that the source of the Lady of the Fang's power was most likely the temple of standing stones itself, where the unit of Twilight Legionaries had first battled the werewolves.  If the druid's shrine could be destroyed, it could completely stop the wolves, and therefore end Vercingetorix's advantage.  When Paulus reported this back to Lentilus, the Centurion gave the decanus a promotion and his own century.  It was time to take the fight to the Lady of the Fang!


Quotes:


"Frank would split the party right here." - Craig citing the obvious

Craig:  "Can we scare the horses?"
Brian:  "That'd be easy to do… I can just spear them."

"I'm about ready to call M.A.D. over here!" - Aurelia referring to Manicus.   


Cast of Characters:



Paulus Treblanus Epolonius - Decanus, Seasoned
- Agility: d6,  Smarts: d8,  Spirit: d8,  Strength: d8,  Vigor: d6
- Edges:  Rank, Shield Wall, Command, Arcane Background: Cult of Mithras
- Hindrances:  Code of Honor, Loyal, Vow: Twilight Legion
- Skills:  Fighting d8, Throwing d6, Knowledge: Battle d6, Intimidate d6, Faith d6, Survival d4, Stealth d6
- Powers:  Smite, Healing

Manicus Atilus Damaticus- Roman Legionary, Seasoned
- Agility: d6,  Smarts: d6,  Spirit: d6,  Strength: d8,  Vigor: d10
- Edges:  Brawny, Shield Wall, Berserk, Counterattack
- Hindrances:  Touched, Shirker, Death Wish
- Skills:  Fighting d12, Throwing d8, Notice d4, Swimming d4, Climbing d6, Riding d4

Aurelia - Priestess of Mithras, Seasoned
- Agility: d8,  Smarts: d8,  Spirit: d10,  Strength: d4,  Vigor: d6
- Edges:  Arcane Background: Cult of Mithras, Power Points, New Power
- Hindrances: Small, Big Mouth, Loyal (Paulus)
- Skills:  Fighting d6, Shooting d8, Healing d6, Persuasion d8, Riding d6, Faith d10, Language (Gallic) d4
- Powers:  Healing, Fear, Stun, Boost/Lower Trait

Xarax - Auxilia Horse Thief, Seasoned
- Agility: d10,  Smarts: d8,  Spirit: d4,  Strength: d6,  Vigor: d6
- Edges:  Fleet-Footed, Marksman, Thief
- Hindrances:  Foreigner, Wanted, Delusional
- Skills:  Climbing d6, Notice d6, Riding d8, Shooting d10, Stealth d8, Tracking d6, Lockpicking d6, Fighting d4


Matityahu ben Sim'on - Ex-Gladiator, Seasoned
- Agility: d10,  Smarts: d4,  Spirit: d6,  Strength: d10,  Vigor: d6
- Edges:  Brave, First Strike, Quick, Extraction
- Hindrances:  Foreigner, Enemy (Apophis the Gladiator), Illiterate
- Skills:  Climbing d6, Fighting d10, Intimidation d6, Riding d6, Streetwise d4, Swimming d4, Throwing d10, Language (Aramaic) d4

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Numenera: Disenchanted Tales - Session 17

The Princesses and the Frog, Part 3

  • Kronk, a Foolish Glaive who Performs Feats of Strength, played by Carmel
  • Vanellope, an Impulsive Nano who Exists Partially Out of Phase, played by Rachel
  • Elsa, a Graceful Nano who Wears a Sheen of Ice, played by Carrie
  • Merida, a Rugged Glaive who Carries a Quiver, played by Jen
  • Anna, a Swift Jack who Entertains, played by Evie

From left to right, my cousin Rachel, Rachel's fiancĂ© Carmel, my wife Jen, my eldest daughter Carrie, and my younger daughter Evie

Summary


A billion years beyond "once upon a time" the Three Princesses of Nihliesh met up with two travelers from the Steadfast, Kronk and Vanellope, just before entering the Temple of the Frog to confront Kermite's father, the Frog King.  Kermite had been waiting a very long time for this encounter, and it was the amphibian abhuman's dream to finally return home to the Temple, which was also his mother.  Luckily for the Princesses, their two new friends had some very unique skills.  Vanellope had the amazing ability to "glitch", allowing her to move quickly and erratically, leap long distances with ease, and make her allies equally hard to strike.  Kronk knew how to cook.  The first obstacle at the base of the Temple was the strange and unusual doorway.  A massive stone portal, there was a large frog easily five feet high that was attached to the front of the door, with it's head and arms sticking out, while it's feet were at the bottom.  

The frog was a part of the door, and seemed to be waiting for something.  With no other way to open the door, no levers, handles, or triggers, Kronk quickly started to cook up a "fly pie".  With insects gathered by the rest of the party near the swamp, Kronk took the raw materials that he kept in his satchel and crafted a very fine puff pastry with layers upon layers of baked bugs.  When the pie was offered to the frog-door hybrid, it opened it's mouth, first a little and then more.  In the blink of an eye the frog fired it's tongue and grabbed Kronk's hand, trying to pull not only the pie but also the glaive's arm into it's gullet.  Luckily for the team of Numenera hunters, Kronk was incredibly strong, and easily pulled his limb from the door's mouth.  Satisfied with it's meal, the frog dissolved back into the door and all that was left was a simple stone structure.  

Using her glitching abilities, Vanellope started to merge with the door herself.  Within moments she was on the other side of the portal, but it was incredibly dark.  Engaging her cat's eye cypher so that she could see in the dark, Vanellope pulled a nearby lever allowing the rest of her team to enter the temple.  The team encountered a long hallway, and at the end was a large chamber.  At the chamber's center was another frog, but this one was extraordinarily large.  Standing nearly ten feet high, with wires coming out of it's form and attaching to the nearby walls, the party was not sure if it was a construct or some kind of creature in stasis.  It was the heart of the temple, the Frog Queen!  Mucous ran down the Frog Queen's form into a pool at it's feet, and thousands of little tadpoles splashed about in the artificial pond.  Surrounding the pool were weird mounds implanted within the dirty floor, each with a single sprout jutting out above the surface.  Not knowing what these could be, the party chose to move forward and investigate.  Shockingly the sprouts were not plants, but buried golthiar, plant-wardens made of wood, grassy fibers, and a single long eyestalk.  Their limbs ended in sharp spikes and blunt shields.  Nine of the guardians erupted from the ground, and began attacking the intruders.  




Kronk bravely ran into the room, and then quickly climbed out of combat and up onto one of the wires attaching the Frog Queen to the wall.  The golthiar then charged Anna, and the largest stabbed Anna and kept pushing her forward, using the long piercing appendage to skewer Elsa as well.  Vanellope decided to act on impulse and far stepped straight into the room, quickly finding herself surrounded by the plant guardians.  Merida, seeing her teammates having a difficult time in combat figured unwisely that the best course of action would be to shoot the Frog Queen.  Being an incredible shot, the archer's arrow penetrated the skull of the Frog Queen "killing" it instantly.  Immediately the rest of the party started to scream at Merida, as this attack not only infuriated the golthiar, it also completely invalidated all of the work the party had done to get to this point.  Thinking on his feet for once in his life, Kronk came up with a crazy idea.  One of his oddities was a living human nose on the end of a small glass stick.  Kronk pulled the nose off of the stick and attached it to the back of the arrow sticking out of the Frog Queen's nose.  This did… something… and he thought he was on the right track.  




Meanwhile the rest of the team was still fighting golthiar.  Vanellope used a cellular disruption detonation device to injure five of the monsters, making them easy pickings for Merida's bow.  Elsa split her time between attacking golthiar with icy blasts and helping Kronk by affixing the nose to the Frog Queen's visage through frost.  Anna chased down one of the golthiar with her crossbow, killing it with a rapid succession of quarrels only to be surprised by one of the guardians that the party had already written off as dead.  This creature impaled Anna and then died, with it's arm still sticking out of the jack's shoulder.  Kronk kept three of the golthiar from ascending the Frog Queen's form by sitting atop the great creature's back and swinging his maul.  While having such a good vantage point the glaive saw something interesting: an access panel!  Calling down to Vanellope, who had just emerged from the tadpole pool after a particularly brutal assault by a trio of plant guardians, Kronk directed his teammate to climb up to the panel.  Once past the outer door, Vanellope found herself in a control room where a massive view screen showed a comparison of the Frog Queen's DNA compared to that of the living-dead nose that Kronk had stuck to it's face.  Vanellope hit a bunch of buttons, engaging some kind of gene-splicing, and the rest of the team watched in horror as the Frog Queen began to grow the features of a bearded human male!




The man/Frog-Queen hybrid was screaming in pain and terror, but at least it was alive!  The team backed away as the monstrous fusion as it smashed the remaining golthiar.  Thinking on her feet, Elsa ran out and grabbed Kermite, dragging him back into the room to soothe his "mother".  Although at first horrified as the Frog Queen had grown a head of hair, a beard, and human hands, Kermite finally found himself in his mother's arms and that act of love healed the long dormant creature's pain.  



This action was not acceptable to the Frog King however.  Emerging from a chamber to the north, the Frog King was an equally massive nightmare with two eyes, each eighteen inches across, that were both capable of floating away from the king's head.  



Not even wanting to deal with the horrors that the Frog King could bestow, Merida stepped right up to the floating frog-eyeballs and in a firm voice started scolding the monster into submission.  Fearing for it's life, the Frog King backed off, and offered to give the party an artifact to leave the temple.  When the party accepted, the king allowed Kermite to hack off one of it's floating eyes and hand it over to Merida.  The princesses had no idea what the Eye of the Frog King could do, but they were happy to take it with them.  By this time Kronk had been cooking up some fresh potato chips on a makeshift fire pit, but he had used water from an Evolution Pool attached to the main chamber.  Figuring that consumption of the chips could alter or mutate the diner, the rest of the team passed on this meal.  The Frog King, Queen, and Prince had been reunited, and peace was returned to the Caecillian Jungle.  



Quotes


"Do you want to build a frog maaaaan…" - Evie singing before the game.

"Gan I give it a fly puff?" - Carmel began the game role-playing Kronk effectively.

"You're a jerk, Kronk!" - Vanellope didn't like how her fellow party-member just left the battle.

"So its like a 'sister kabob'?" - Rachel comments on the golthiar stabbing Anna through the belly, and then stabbing Elsa with the same spearing strike.

"The door ate a fly-puff…" - Carmel's proof that anything is possible in Numenera, and maybe Merida shouldn't have shot the Frog Queen

"I thought it was fake!" - Jen refused to take blame for almost ruining the adventure.

"Do we need to do 'snot to mouth'?" - Jen was reaching for ways to save the mission.

"Take this as an opportunity to have a pet!" - Carrie to Evie after Anna got impaled by a near dead golthiar and the creature was stuck to her back.  

"Be soothed foul beast!" - Merida soothes the foul beast.

"We gave your mom a nose-job." - Merida soothes Kermite.  

Monday, June 9, 2014

Numenera: Disenchanted Tales - Session 16


The Princesses and the Frog, Part 2


Elsa, a Graceful Nano who Wears a Sheen of Ice
Anna, a Swift Jack who Entertains
Merida, a Rugged Glaive who Carries a Quiver

Summary

A billion years beyond "once upon a time" the Three Princesses of Nihliesh were thrown to the shore of the Swamp of Everlasting Stench when a gargantuan creation arose from the stinky waters below.  The beast was massive, easily twenty feet tall with a gigantic mouth, a pair of short, muscular legs, and two long arms that each ended with a sharp, scythe-like claw.  When Merida looked back she realized that the horrific creation was a legendary beast known as a Wumpus!

Daddy's drawing of a Wumpus, a Level 5 Creature, Level 4 vs. Intellect Actions


Hoping that the creature was somewhat peaceful, and possibly intelligent, Anna the Entertainer approached it and politely made an introduction.  Viciously the Wumpus lashed out with it's claw and grabbed the party's jack, cutting through armor and sinking into flesh.  Before Elsa and Merida could react, the Wumpus started to run off with Anna in it's grip.  The Wumpus reached a massive tree and began to climb when Merida climbed up after it, hoping that her soothing voice and skill with animal would calm the creature, and cause it to let Anna go.  She partially succeeded, and Merida was happy when the Wumpus dropped Anna.  Elsa used her powers over ice to create a small slide for younger sister to break her fall, and Merida let out a huge sigh of relief just before finding herself snared by the Wumpus!

Merida snared by the Wumpus.  Note our excellent use of miniatures

Merida did not know how to get free form the beast.  She was not strong enough to resist it's grasp, and she feared that she was about to end up as a snack for a hungry Wumpus!  Anna still believed that peace and serenity was the way to success, and so she grabbed her flute and started to play a beautiful lullaby for the mutated monster.  The Wumpus was high in the tree at this point, but could hear Anna's soft tune and slowly drifted into a slumber still holding the party's brave glaive.  The Wumpus dropped Merida, who scrambled down the tree and across the ground.  Grabbing her fellow princesses and getting the attention of Kermite, who had been waiting at the edge of the swamp, Merida quickly, yet quietly, led the party away from the murky waters and deeper into the Caecillian Jungle.  Quotes

- Daddy: "It's carrying you off into a tree like…" 

- Carrie: "Godzilla!"
Apparantly King Kong isn't required viewing in grade school anymore.

"So I'm gonna have to be the Wumpus whisperer?" - Mommy