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:
- Perils of the Sunken City
- The Ooze Pits of Jonas Gralk
- A Gathering of the Marked
- Lair of the Mist Men
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:
- Perils of the Sunken City, Part One
- Perils of the Sunken City, Part Two
- The Ooze Pits of Jonas Gralk, Part One
- The Ooze Pits of Jonas Gralk, Part Two
- The Ooze Pits of Jonas Gralk, Part Three
- The Ooze Pits of Jonas Gralk, Part Four
- The Ooze Pits of Jonas Gralk, Part Five
- The Ooze Pits of Jonas Gralk, Part Six
- The Ooze Pits of Jonas Gralk, Part Seven
- A Gathering of the Marked, Part One
- A Gathering of the Marked, Part Two
- A Gathering of the Marked, Part Three
- Return to Slither's End
- Lair of the Mist Men, Part One
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.
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!
"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."
- Saynan - Sucked through a purple-lit portal
- Rikard - Sucked through a purple-lit portal