Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Numenera - The Devil's Spine - Session 5


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!


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 5:  Graduates of the Perucchini School of Gaming Excellence


[GM's Note:  I apologize ahead of time for the tone of this adventure recap.  Last night's game was extremely bizarre, and the lines between PC and player were blended, broken, and then completely dissolved.  Sorry about that.]

Days 4-5

Our adventure last night began with the players (yes, the players, not the PC's) talking too much.  Granted, I was part of this at first, but when I got silent the rest of the team didn't get the hint.  So I waited.  Then I waited a little longer.  

Chat.  Chat.  Chat.  Still they kept talking.

So you know what I did?  Remember that mutated cragworm from the last session?  I decided to throw it right at the players.  Roll for initiative you verbose bastards.  The mutant cragworm didn't have all day, so it charged right up the valley, crushed the party's NPC, and started chomping away on poor, hovering PL4T0.  I think Marc thought his character was too cute to get attacked.  

Wrong.  

And I made that Mutated Cragworm super badass.  Sure it was a level 6 creature to begin with, but I decided to push the envelope.  If you're familiar with The Devil's Spine, the mutated cragworm is a level 6 creature that does 8 damage on a bite.  Not bad, Monte, but we can take it a step further.

How 'bout we make that mutant worm puke its own, acidic intestines onto targets?  Then the next round it has to slurp them up like spaghetti noodles.  Just like the most hardcore of all sea creatures: the sea cucumber.  Here's how that would work:

[Mutated Cragworm Variant:  acidic intestine puking, target must make a level 6 speed defense roll or get covered in tangy guts, dropping one level down the damage track.  The cragworm can only make this attack every other round, and must slurp those guts back up before using them again.  On a round when the guts are exposed, however, they can be targeted and attackers can bypass the cragworm's armor.]

That sure made the encounter more interesting!  

Obviously the PC's were successful, and my players got the hint to pay more attention to the game.  Tisk, tisk, right?  

After digging through the guts of the mutated cragworm, which ended up being a lot more dangerous than anyone thought... because acid guts... I caved and let the players have a metal pancreas that they could drink from like a slimy Capri Sun to gain some might points.  Can't remember how that cypher works exactly, only that I made it up on the fly.  But more games should have a mutant cragworm pancreas beverage.  

The characters then set out to cross the desert, making their way towards the Tower of the Insidious Choir.  But there were these spirals of broken, pulverized glass, all throughout the desert sands.  Big, shiny patches of glass.  This wasn't in the original adventure, but let's be honest: half of the crap I come up with ain't "rules as written."  Or would that be "adventure as written?"  Crap... let's just keep going.  

So I came up with this sick idea that the PC's would start having their shoes damaged, and that they would need to either wear new shoes (which no one had, because seriously, what players are going to buy extra shoes), or figure out another way around the glass.  

[GM's Note:  This should've been a group GM Intrusion.  I was being kind of a dick, and I admit it.  So if you were one of my players last night, feel free to take an extra 1 XP.  That's right, I'm serious.  Go ahead... write it down.  Oh, and if you weren't one of my players, take an XP as well.  Just tell your GM that I said it was cool.]

After making their way to a mini tower PL4T0 used his hovering ability to go back to the cragworm and start carving up it's hide to make shoes.  Marc (PL4T0's player) even went out of his way to take "Cobbler" as a his flex skill for the day.  I gotta believe that this was a Numenera first!  How many GM's have had players become "part-time" shoe makers during an epic science fantasy adventure?  

Zero.  We were first.  We own that honor.  

And PL4T0 didn't just create regular shoes, he made some crazy-high roll.  I think it was a twenty.  So I ruled that he created the 9th World equivalent of some Manolo Blahnik's for the entire team.  Each and every one of the PC's had mutated cragworm high-heels on.  Even came up with some rules for them:

[Mutated Cragworm Manolo Blahniks:  Level 4 Artifact.  Can walk over glass without taking damage.  +1 damage to any unarmed attack involving kicking.  Depletion N/A]

As David would say, that party sure looked "fierce" crossing the rest of the desert.  It was like an opening montage during an episode of Sex in the City.  

Anyway, as the party approached the Tower of the Insidious Choir, they noticed some greenish viral dudes hanging out outside.  Maybe they were guards?  Ruun didn't care.  Ruun charged into combat, followed closely behind by the rest of the team.  

The next battle wasn't that interesting.  The PC's were clearly the odds-on favorites for this kind of fight.  I mean, it was six level 3 baddies versus a bunch of Tier 2 PC's.  The virus-laden humanoids didn't have much going for them.  But it was during this battle that I took some serious creative license with the game narrative.  

I keep careful track of who I've given GM intrusions to during the game, and I was noticing that Andy was still "un-intrusioned."  I could change that, and David helped.  When rolling for his nano's onslaught attack, David's hot hand in the dice game tossed out a natural 20.  

Boo yah!  

Nero is a Mad Nano who Travel's Through Time and I love using temporal anomalies to cause some commotion.  Since Belmodan was situated very closely to Nero, I asked Andy if he wanted his seeker to take the GM Intrusion.  Andy said "sure."

And that's when I had Nero accidentally transport Belmodan ten million years into the past!  

When Belmodan came to, there was still a giant tower in front of him, but on the outside there was an acronym:  NFH.  Upon further investigation, the seeker discovered that this was the corporate headquarters for "Nero's Flish Hut."  

Let's rewind a gaming session.  Last time we played, when Nero wanted to find some food, I stated that his player used time travel to go back in time, start up a flish (flying fish) restaurant chain, and then when he came back to the present, he brought some flish with him.  Well apparently this whole "fried flish with all the fixin's" concept worked out for Nero.  I even ruled that Nero stayed in the past for about five years before finally coming back to the future.  Made David drop his Might permanently by 1 point but increase his Intellect by 1 point to represent five years of aging.  

While in the past, Belmodan had to find ways to communicate with the future PC's.  He had his picture taken as the one millionth customer of the NFH HQ's cafeteria, and the PC's in the future found an oddity with Belmodan smiling weakly in the prior age.  Belmodan then stole a mechanical arm off of the statue of "Uncle Nero" (to become a Level 3 Artifact), and that's when past Nero got the call from security to come deal with the problem.  

Nero in the past, realizing that he needed to get Belmodan back to the future, gave his seeker friend a tour of the corporate HQ, as well as a sack of fried flish, before sending him on his way.  

Once everyone was in the same time again, we ended the session.

So those of you running The Devil's Spine for your own home games, just remember:  the Tower of the Insidious Choir isn't some crazy, numenera discovery in the wilds of the Black Riage.  It's just the ruined corporate headquarters of Nero's Flish Hut...

... and it's flinger lickin' good!


Quotes


"The Insidious Choir sings 'The Rhythm.'" - Marc was just begging for Jim to sing some Miami Sound Machine.  

"Alex has taught us well." - Craig, commenting on killing NPC's for their swag.  His application to the Perucchini School of Gaming Excellence must've been accepted.  

"GET SOME!" - Tiny PL4T0 with a dart thrower attacking the Mutated Crag Worm.

"Are you okay with that?  If I harvest the guide?" - Ruun wanted to get the rest of the party's approval before going completely cannibal.   

"I'm gonna fashion a mullet out of his scalp." - Marc was all talk.  He never ended up getting his mullet on.  

"Now we gotta learn how to walk in heels the next three days." - Andy commenting on PL4T0's fashioning of Manolo Blahnik shoes.  

"All I know... is we're gonna look FIERCE crossing that desert." - David was right.