Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Numenera - The Devil's Spine - Session 2


The Devil's Spine Campaign Log


Welcome to our group's campaign log for The Devil's Spine, a mega-adventure by +Monte Cook for the Numenera campaign setting.  

Originally this was going to be a pure and simple campaign log.  Nothing more, nothing less.  Just a record for me and my friends to keep track of what was going on in the game.  But I've decided that, as we progress through the adventure, I'd do some commentary and/or reviews on different parts of the adventure.  So... SPOILERS!

The Path to Devola


This week I thought I'd discuss The Path to Devola, a part of the adventure on pages 13 through 15.  After the PC's have their encounter with the Nagaina egg pit and the Lily, they have the opportunity to go off galavanting in the tunnels and caves beneath Uxphon.  Rather than map out all of these areas, Monte gives the GM a "Progress Chart" that features randomly generated aspects of these ancient pathways.  

To traverse the tunnels the GM rolls on d100 chart, with results listed from 01-151+.  Some of the results are more simple passages, Strange Features, Creatures, and other events.  Getting to Devola's lair requires the 151+, which could be impossible if not for the additional 10 points added for each hour of travel.  With an average roll between 40-60%, getting to the Matron Devola may mean 8-10 encounters.  

For GM's who like to improvise, this may be too many, especially if you are trying to get through this sequence in around an hour to ninety minutes.  My suggestion would be to add "20" points to each roll, and not 10.  This would bring the Matron around sooner.  Of course results may vary!

Our group rolled four total events: three Strange Features and one Collapse.  

The first Strange Feature was supposed to be glass with a flickering light.  I made this into a miniature star system that was situated between two enormous panes of quarter-inch thick glass.  Shattering the glass would destroy the star system, potentially destroying a marvelous civilization.  Idea stolen from Men in Black of course.  

The second Strange Feature was a working, but mysterious machine.  Summoning my inner Love and Sex in the Ninth World, I made this into an insect mating power generator.  The machine was filled with metallic flies that were in a constant state of arousal.  As they copulated, the heat of the metal created fire.  Thirty tiny gemstone oddities perpetuated the arousal and the copulation.  So when the PC's started removing the gemstones, they themselves felt... frisky.  Nothing that forced them to do anything (and I would certainly not suggest that for your table), but enough to give a clue as to what was happening in the engine.  At last I thought it would.  The PC's opened the door to the machine, and the flies started to swarm everyone carrying a gemstone oddity.  I treated each swarm as follows:

  •  Level 3, 9 Health, but unaffected by weapons.
  • On the first round the PC's swarmed by the metal flies need to make a Difficulty 4 Might Defense Roll or take 4 points of Might Damage.  On the second round the flies start to ignite as they engage in their "activities", and the damage the PC's take (still 4) is not blocked by armor.

The third Strange Feature was another functioning machine, so I made this into a pair of gears attacked to a large stone.  The PC's searched it for cyphers, and found a nice and healthy dollop of friction reducing gel.  It was just that kind of night.  

Eventually the night was getting late and I had to rush to the end of the spelunking, but I enjoyed the scenes created by the chart.  If you are not an improvisational GM I'd suggest rolling up ten of these events ahead of time, and maybe doing some planning.  When you tell a Numenera player that they've found something "weird" typically they are going to want to play with it.  So give them something to play with!


Characters


  • Belmodan, a Resourceful Seeker who Wields a Whip, played by +andrew lyon 
  • Keane, a Rebellious Glaive who Likes to Break Things, played by +Craig McCullough 
  • Nero, a Mad Nano who Travels Through Time, played by +David Howard 
  • PL4T0, an Artificially Intelligent Jack who Resides in Silicon, played by +Marc Plourde
  • Ruun, an Exiled Glaive who Gazes into the Abyss, played by +William Keller 

Previously on The Devil's Spine


Session 2: Giving the Pinky


Day 1

The would-be burglars stood at the bottom of a purple-egg filled pit.  In front of them was a blue-goo covered talking statue, and above was a lady demanding that they stay put.  Three of the numenera hunters were now hosts to insectoid parasites on their backs.  Brief interaction with the statue (known as "The Lily") led to some knowledge about the eggs and the parasites:


  • The Lily referred to the entire scene as just a sequence of "Life."
  • The "Defenders" on the backs of the PC's would eventually turn them into guardians of the Life.
  • The only one who may know a way to remove the Defenders would be the Matron, who lived deeper within the tunnels and passages below Uxphon.

Not wanting to wait around for the noble woman above, PL4T0 led the team into the tunnels on a journey beneath Uxphon.  Along the way they discovered a miniature star system imbedded between two panes of glass, and a steam engine filled (and powered) with copulating metallic flies, a set of ancient gears atop a long dead machine.  

When they reached a stone dog-dragon, covered in a similar goo to the Lily, the team asked it to show them the way to the Matron.  The dog-dragon became their guide.  

The Matron, named Devola, turned out to be a seventy foot long, wormlike, demi-godlike entity.  She explained that her kind was called the Nagaina, and that she was a scientist of sorts.  The team inquired about the removal of the "Defenders" from their backs, but Devola did not seem interested.  

[If I remember correctly, Andy's character stated that he wanted the Defender cut off because it didn't belong.  I had Devola ask Andy's character Belmodan if he had eaten breakfast in the morning.  Belmodan said that he had eggs.  So Devola asked if the eggs "belonged" in Belmodan's belly.  Devola just wanted to point out that the PC's were a part of another organism's life cycle.  I love role-playing Devola!]  

The party tried threatening Devola, but she quickly responded that she could crush them all very quickly if they tried anything silly.  

Eventually the characters asked if they could do anything in return for removing the Defenders.  So the Matron gave them a task.  If they could thwart the plans of the Insidious Choir, a collective viral intelligence located in the Black Riage, she would remove the Defenders.  Of course [since this is a 96 page adventure] the surgery would require two items that Devola did not have in her possession: the Impossible Blade and a substance known as Gharolan.  

Since they didn't have any choice, the characters agreed to Devola's mission, and were led to a path that would take them to the Catena: a long dormant, subterranean rail system.



Quotes


David - "I'm gonna give him the Ninth World version of 'the finger!'" 
Jim - [Raises pinky finger, shows it to the camera]
Andy - "That's canon now!" 

"Is that an oddity in your pocket, or are you just happy to see me?" - Craig referring to the arousal gems.

"There has to be some way to get these off.  I've met Monte." - Craig figured that the Nagaina spines weren't permanent, otherwise there wouldn't be the need for all that adventure.