Sunday, September 16, 2018

Banished to the Purple Planet - Part Nine

Under a Weirdling Sun

Peril on the Purple Planet is an epic DCCRPG box set devised by +Harley Stroh. The adventure is a hex crawl, so player characters get to explore a completely open and lush world. Characters must discover artifacts, make alliances, battle terrifying worms, and sustain the deadly sun's rays if they are to ever make their way back home.

Care to hear about this week's banishment? Read on!

Previous Tales of the Banished

The Banished

  • Marc
    • Nutbiter, Manimal 
    • Andy
      • Ssof Rehtaf, Cleric
      • Alex
        • Nicodemus, Thief
      • Jonata
        • Otto, Warrior

      Banished to the Purple Planet - Part Nine - The Rock Awakens, Part Three

      Day 9

      Time to wrap up our campaign's final session of The Rock Awakens, by Terry Olson! 

      • Our session began with Screaming Otto rejoining the party investigating the ancient and abandoned city. Nutbiter the Manimal, Ssof the Cleric of Aristemis, and Nicodemus the Thief had already spent much of the day questing about town.
      • The party was inside of a triangular building on the northern edge of town. The first circular room contained the control panel for the laser drones hovering outside of the building. Two stairwells led down from the room.
      • The party chose to travel down the eastern stairwell. Nutbiter led the way, and they found themselves in a storage room. The manimal searched the room a bit, recovering a few weird metal plates covered in diagrams. 
      • Ssof arrived on the scene just as a silent sphere appeared behind Nutbiter. Apparently, the guardian drone wasn't keen on the manimal pilfering from the structure. The drone blasted Nutbiter before the party was able to charge in and engage in combat. Screaming Otto lopped off one of the drone's weapons, and the party finished it off before it could fire again. 
      • Nutbiter searched the top of the drone, hoping to dig out some treasure. Unfortunately he set off a trap, getting further blasted. At least there was a greenstone shard powering the device. 
      • The part then traveled to the west into another nearby chamber. Inside they found a bizarre stone door in the floor. Laying next to the stone door was a dead Kith, an obvious victim to the prior room's drone. Nicodemus searched the Kith, and found him clutching a Bronze Skull Mace of Heavy Doom.
      • Bronze Skull Mace of Heavy Doom
        • Two Handed Weapon
        • Requires a Strength of 14 to wield
        • Attack rolls made at -1d
        • 1d16 damage
        • Vibrating head, with the bronze outer casing concealing a bizarre, otherworldly metal on the inside. 
      • The party made their way to the final chamber of the structure. Inside, they saw an eight-foot tall alien figure, covered in interstellar images and scenes, resting inside of a stasis field. The circular room was adorned in weird symbols and shapes. The stasis field had a button at its base. The party toggled the button, and the void creature was free!
      • The void creature was also really, really pissed off. Immediately it howled at the party, causing them much distress. It them transformed its hands into pointy speartips, and started a stabbing rampage. Poor Otto got a stabby-hand to his groin! 
      • The party seemed fairly unsuccessful in direct combat with the void creature. But Nutbiter hatched a plan to encase the creature in the stasis field again. Pushing it back into the field's range, Ssof pressed the button again, pinning the legs and lower torso of the creature within the energy barrier.
      • The creature's continued screaming incapacitated Otto (how ironic), and the entire structure started to shake violently. The party grabbed their warrior, and fled the building.
      • As they ran outside, Ssof healed Otto, and the group ran as far as they could from the triangular building. They needed to get outside of the city itself, as it appeared that the entire complex was rising into the sky. The city had been situated atop a great, stone, tentacled flying creature. 
      • The party jumped away from the city in one final leap just before the entire structure rose up and flew towards the Ancestor Peaks.
      • Fortunately, in the crater left behind, the party found 19 greenstone shards amongst the rubble.  


      "I don't think you intended it, but when you named the genie Brandon, all I can think is 'Brendan LeSalle'." - Marc. 

      "... and how many hit points would a dead Cleric give you? None!" - Andy defends his character's choice to hide in the lamp during the last battle. 

      "I'm back man!" - Screaming Otto back in combat.

      "Terry Olson is a d***. I'm not buying any more of his s***!" - Alex felt this adventure may have been a bit challenging. He expressed it with this phrase. (Please note, Mr. Olson, that this was stated entirely in jest, and with full knowledge that I was writing down quotes.) 

      "I know what she do with the dice!" - Jonata to Evie, rolling the last attack roll against Screaming Otto. 

      In Memoriam 

      • None this game

      Saturday, September 15, 2018

      Mutant Friday Special - Session 1

      (Photo by Shannon, featuring her dear plastic fish friend "Stephen")

      A hot, mutated mess!

      Over the next few months I'll be running a heck of a lot of Mutant Crawl Classics at some local conventions in eastern PA. Most notably PAX Unplugged and Save Against Fear. To fully prepare myself for these events, I wanted to run some playtests with local friends and family over the course of the next several weeks. Last night I tried the first of these playtests, and holy crap we had some challenges!

      First and foremost, just prior to the start of the game, I had a weird allergic reaction. Not sure if something bit my lip, or if I was having a late food allergy reaction to the tempeh I had eaten, but the left side of my upper lip started swelling up. I also felt a bit of tightness in my mouth and throat, and I kinda freaked out. So I took a pair of Benedryl, and soldiered on. 

      Unfortunately, the two beers I had earlier in the night, coupled with the anti-histamine, really weighed on my stamina. About an hour into the game and I was getting sleepy. Two hours in I was really dragging. I was really struggling. 

      To make matters worse, my players (most notably my wife Jen) really derailed the adventure. Typically I can rebound from whenever players throw me curveballs, but last night my exhaustion got the better of me. Still, by the end of the game we had a good enough time to schedule next week's event, and hopefully I'll be steering clear of rogue insects and fermented soy beans.

      Max mutants

      Another interesting tidbit about last night's game was the near complete lack of pure strain human PC's. Take a look at our players and their 0-level characters:

      • Rachel
        • Barbara - Pure Strain Human
        • Spoompls - Mutant
        • Dankenstein - Plantient
      • Shannon
        • Randel - Mutant
        • Violet - Plantient
        • Tivian - Manimal
      • Jen
        • Yor Bestfrend - Manimal
        • Keila Kween - Mutant
        • Fajt Bastud - Mutant
      • Carrie
        • Coco - Mutant
        • Griffin - Manimal
        • Perry - Plantient
      • Evie
        • Heckboy - Mutant
        • Too-Xtruh - Mutant
        • AMP - Mutant

      Check that count: 15 PC's, 8 mutants, 3 manimals, 3 plantients, and just 1 pure-strain human. What the heck? 

      Adventure Summary

      For this session, I tried running The Museum at the End of Time by MCCRPG creator Judge Jim Wampler. This would mark the third time I had run the adventure, but first time that I twisted the setting to fit another version of Terra AD. In the adventure as written, the story takes place with PC's setting out across a great glowing desert in search of technology of the ancient ones. In my setting (which we should just call Mutant Paranoia Alpha for "reasons" that shall be disclosed later) the adventure begins in the small, jungle village of Portoa, part of the Clan of Cog and ruled by Chief Quelish. 

      The PC's were prepared to set out on their Rite of Passage, given to them by Chief Quelish. Their mission would be to travel out from the village, across the Snake River and into the Glowing Jungle. After passing beneath the sky road (a great stone road elevated above the ground by big pillars), they would possibly find some great structures created by the ancient ones, and more importantly, artifacts that would help defend Portoa from the rival village Shen. 

      The party crossed the river, and started moving through the jungle. Within an hour, they heard a yodeling. To help find the source, Spoompls sent out her psychic rat friend to look for the source. Sure enough, a half dozen shroom-head zombies waited for the party on the other side of some bushes. Shroom-head zombies were corpses of poor pure strain humans and mutants who had become infested by semi-sentient mushroom spore. The bodies were dead, but driven like vehicles by the mushroom colonies. The team could've quietly circumvented the shroom-head zombies, but instead Heckboy started blowing his conch trumpet. This sent the undead into a rage.

      The zombies were far stronger than the village initiates expected. Untested in combat, mutant after mutant missed on their attack rolls against the undead. It wasn't until Too-Xtruhh offered a piece of shiny material to the zombies, that the fighting ceased. Once distracted, the team slinked away, continuing their trek through the jungle.

      Next on their journey, the party found a weird green structure with a hole at its base. The hole lead to an enormous chamber hidden below the ground. This seemed like an obvious source of glory and riches. Perhaps within this chamber, fabulous artifacts of the ancient ones awaited, ripe to rival even those that could be found in the Citiadel far, far away.


      Yor was able to convince the party that there wasn't anything good here, and that they didn't have enough rope to climb down (even though they did), and the team skipped the hole. 

      I should note that this was the start of The Museum at the End of Time. Typically I could figure out a way to better pique the interest of the players to continue down the intended path. But the Benedryl/Beer combo was really killing me at this point, and my lip was still swollen. I was definitely off my game something fierce! 

      The party continued traveling until they hit a wall. A giant cliff that stretched high into the sky, past the clouds, and as far as the eye could see to the left and right. Spoompls sent out her rat, which discovered that within the cracks of the wall were a series of hidden pipes and tubes. Tinkering with the wall, a hovering viewscreen appeared.

      Calling itself LARS, the hovering screen seemed disinterested in revealing any information to any of the characters at first. LARS stated that it was there to serve the "colonists". It stated that the PC's were "pets" and not colonists. But Too-Xtruhh's mutations were quite mild, and the near-human was able to convince the bot that he was a colonist. LARS revealed the following pieces of interesting information:

      • LARS stood for "Light Assistant Robotic Servant"
      • LARS was created to assist colonists
      • The world that the PC's lived on was referred to as "Habitat 3". 
      • The four directions (north, south, east, and west) were referred to as Clock, Counter, Shield, and Bell).
      • Portoa village was Counter to the party's current facing. Shen was Bellward. The great Citadel was Counterbellward.

      Eventually the party tried tinkering with the mechanisms of LARS and broke the bot. They continuously tinkered with it until it exploded killing a third of the party. Oops.

      Around this time I was super sleepy and I tried calling it a night. I told the group that they had missed the main part of the adventure, and I was about to go into a coma. But I was prompted to keep going, so I revealed that the big green hole was the main part of the adventure. So the party backtracked. Not the most organic way to railroad the players, but oh well, I was so, so sleepy!

      As to the actual adventure portion of The Museum at the End of Time, the party managed to climb down into the chamber. The climb cost Fajt Bastud his life, when he tried to act super cool to a fossilized dinosaur that he encountered during the descent. The chamber had five sets of doors, the two fossils, a lot of interesting scenes on the walls, and a dead, mummified corpse on the ground. The corpse yielded a pair of artifacts, one of which was destroyed (a gun) during investigation. The party recovered the comm badge though.

      At this point, I let the PC's level up for our next session. 


      "My person's not a yogurt, its a tiger-worm." - Shannon 

      "Barbara from finance knows what she's doing." - Rachel

      Character Crematorium

      • Heckboy
      • Too-Xtruh
      • Perry
      • Keila Kween
      • Fajt Bastud
      • Tivian
      • Barbara

      Sunday, September 9, 2018

      Road Crew Event - Shadow Under Devil's Reef, Part 1

      Damn, I love this module!

      Back at Gary Con, my wife Jennifer and I had the opportunity to play Jon Hook's Shadow Under Devil's Reef with the incredible Judge Jeff Goad. The other worldly creepiness of this adventure was so, so good, and I knew that I wanted to run it for my own group at some point. While I never felt rushed during Judge Jeff's four hour event, I knew that there was a lot more to the adventure that you couldn't explore in a short convention setting. Fortunately I had a group that was looking for yet another challenge: our monthly DCC Road Crew Group!

      I remember how nervous I was back in June about moving back to the Philly area. Would I be able to continue running Road Crew events, or would I only be able to play online games? How lucky we are to have found the Games Keep, and such terrific players! Our open table now includes seven players, and we're four sessions into something that has transformed from a one-shot into a full-fledged campaign.

      Cast of Characters

      • Larkin, Elf, played by Shannon
        • Glassblower by trade, whose magic is derived through careful use of lenses, crystals, and light. 
        • Native of the Eastern Forest.
        • Owns a prized hen.
        • Seeks the Great Pumpkin as a patron
      • Turd Fergeson, played by Ryan
        • Faithful servant of Amon-Tor, goddess of mysteries.
        • Originally from Earth. 
        • Has possession of an endless suite of one-liners to fit every occasion.
      • Marco, Thief, played by Cody
        • Born and raised in Black Sand Port.
        • Tried to join the Thieves Guild, but was too rebellious. 
        • Learned several alien alphabets from his former Guildmaster's secret library. 
      • Steve James, Wizard, played by Will
        • Earth native who left home, joined the French Foreign Legion, fell into the DCC Planet, and became a great wizard.
        • Father of Steve James II (evil Cult Wizard, RIP) and grandfather of Steve James III (lost teen who wanted to discover his family, RIP)
        • Specializes in all-fish magic (Ichthyomancer).
      • Tonya, Warrior, played by Robert
        • Badass figure skater from Earth. 
        • Wields a big-ass sword, and not afraid to cut you with it. 
      • Lars, Dwarf, played by Rob
        • Human from Earth who was transformed into a Dwarf after traveling to the DCC Planet.
        • Seeks entrance into the CCPR (Card Carrying Punk Rockers) but needs to complete three acts of legendary vandalism.
      • Bueno, Cleric, played by Evie
        • Gender-shifting villager from Reed who was a simple hireling trying to save some of their friends from the Crimson Flame before gaining Clerical powers. 
        • Twisted worshipper of the froglike Bobugbubulz.
        • Extremely chaotic.

      Adventure Overview

      The party left the village of Reed for the biggest little city on the eastern coast: Black Sand Port. After spending a few weeks resting up at Steve James' favorite inn and tavern, the Sleeping Salmon, the team awoke to terrible news. The Golden Sun, a diplomatic vessel from far away Fu-Lamia, had run aground on the cursed Devil's Reef just off of Devil's Horn Island. The ship had been carrying Princess Kaeko, daughter of Lord Takkeh-Luum, and betrothed to a member of Black Sand Port's most wealthy Merchant Lords. With storms on the horizon, no sane search party could leave until the following morning.

      Fortunately for the princess, our brave adventurers are not a sane search party!

      Steve James had a friend (the Shrimpmistress) with a ship (the Jumbo Shrimp) who could take the party to Devil's Horn Island. Marco forged a document from the city's Burgomaster granting passage, which was easily accepted by Captain Shrimpmistress. 

      The party "knew" some interesting rumors about the Devil's Horn and Fu-Lamia:

      • Sirens live on the island, and the sirens try to cause ships to crash upon the Devil's Reef.
      • Fu-Lamian soldiers wield soul stealing magic curved swords.
      • Devil's Horn island is completely inhospitable and craggy, and nothing lives there (hmm... doesn't mesh with the Sirens, right?)
      • Lord Takkeh-Luum is a vampire who has lived over a thousand years. 
      • Fu-Lamians eat the children of their enemies. 

      After outfitting themselves for the excursion, Lars and Steve James needed just a few more items (most notably chum) before leaving port. The pair encountered a couple of tough sailors who questioned why they would be leaving with dangerous weather on the horizon. Steve James tried blasting the two with a sleep spell, but misfired and went into a coma. But Lars was able to produce the forged documents, which got the two out of hot water.

      Once everything was prepared, the party set out to sea on the Shrimpmistress's catamaran. After several hours they came across Devil's Horn Island. Circling the rocky landmass, the adventurers found the wreck of the Golden Sun just off the northern coastline of the isle. As they approached they found five survivors floating in the water. Despite sharks in the water, the party saved three of the five Fu-Lamians. One was eaten by sharks, and another was killed when Tonya accidentally hit him too hard with a wooden life-preserver. 

      The party brought the Jumbo Shrimp up alongside the wreck of the Golden Dawn. Everyone except Lars and Tonya boarded the foreign craft. Marco was first aboard, and the thief started searching the forward deck. At the tip of the bow was a great, wooden, six-armed, statue of a demon-woman. Rather than looking out to the waves, the statue looked upon the deck of the ship. When Marco went to pilfer some of the goods from the dead Fu-Lamians on the deck, the statue leveled one of its arms at Marco. The thief stopped, and the rest of the party started searching the vessel.

      There was a lot of great gear on the ship. Gold, treasure, gear, weapons, and lots, lots more. But every time someone went near any of the stuff with intent on taking it, the statue moved in a threatening way. Eventually Marco touched one of the ornate boxes on the ship, and the statue had enough. It resurrected all of the dead Fu-Lamians, turning them into raging, red demon-things. The party had no chance of facing off with twelve of the nasties, so they fled the ship. Marco managed to take a few pieces of treasure, including the enchanted Demon's Claw (a magic +2 Scimitar). But other than that, the party seemed empty handed.

      Until Larkin introduced her new friend Wani.

      Wani was a Psi-Spider, a telepathic creature that was bound to Princess Kaeko. Larkin discovered Wani hiding in the princess's quarters. It revealed that the princess was not on board the craft, and that she had been taken to the island. It offered to help the party, but it first it needed to feed. Marco introduced the Psi-Spider to one of the Fu-Lamians, and the creature sucked some of the poor screaming soul's intelligence away for lunch.

      Eventually the party made landfall on the western edge of Devil's Horn Island. They set out through the dead coral forest, but not before feeling some alien intelligence reach out to them. The weird message first affected the cleric Turn, whose eyes started to bulge out in a bizarre fish-like fashion. As the party explored the island, the message would also affect Tonya, Steve James, and Marco. 

      Speaking of fish-eyed weirdness, during their trek across Devil's Horn Island the team came across four disgusting fish-men. Covered in scales, spines, and other bizarre aquatic features, the four were on the hunt for "something" or "someone". Quickly, Marco and Tonya hatched a plot to ambush the fish-men. Marco snuck in and backstabbed one of the fishmen, while Tonya charged in brandishing her greatsword, swung at the air, and ran right out of the fight. Fortunately for the party's thief, the rest of the group waded into combat slaying the rest of the fish-men. By the time Tonya turned around, none of the beasties remained.

      The next encounter on the island was a great onyx door attached to a massive coral tree. There was no handle or obvious knob on the door, just a pair of large, star shaped dials. Larkin consulted Wani, asking of the door led to the Princess. The Psi-Spider concurred that her bond with the princess was strong, and that she could sense her mistress on the other side of the door. Based on forbidden knowledge gained while studying at the thieves guild, Marco knew the runes on the dials: they depicted the stars "Celaeno" and "Polaris." But when Marco uttered the words, he was overtaken by alien knowledge, and had to struggle to keep hold of his mind. 

      Thinking that they would need star shaped keys, the party left the door, and continued searching the island.

      On the western edge of the island the party discovered a great, thirty-food tall onyx pillar. After a lot of fooling around with the pillar (and the ruby atop the pillar), the party made some very important observations:

      • Touching the weird structure caused a loss of intelligence and stamina, but delivered insight on how to use the alien machines on the island, including the onyx door.
      • It was next to impossible to steal the giant ruby, and attempting to do so would invoke lightning bolts. One of which nearly killed Steve James.
      • No matter how hard you try to ram the obelisk, even if you are a really tough ex-figure skater named Tonya, you can't knock it over. 

      With the understanding of how to open the door in the coral tree, the party decided to leave the pillar alone, and rest before their next task. 


      Crap I forgot to take any!

      Open Story Points

      • What is on the other side of the great, onyx door? 
      • What kind of alien intelligence caused the party members to grow bulging, fishy eyes, and what is its ultimate goal?
      • Does Steve James actually want to become a fish? Because with all this alien stuff and his own spell corruption, the party's ichthyomancer is headed down that path. 

      Character Crematorium 
      • None this game!

      What's Next?

      That's easy: Shadow Under Devil's Reef Part Deux!