Descent into the Fetid Depths

Session Summary for 1/4/2009 Elves & Espers campaign

This session we had a new addition to our gaming group: Andrew, Elyssa’s step-brother, and his girlfriend Sarah (who had never gamed before, but agreed to come along and watch).  Andrew took over playing Tank McSplatter, and Doug switched to a new character he’d come up with since we last played.

Last session our intrepid band of adventurers (Idariel 7, Elven Technomancer; Stan McStan, Dwarven Robomancer; Tank McSplatter, Hobbit Trooper; Bon Go, Human Enforcer; Josepi Vincenti, Human Roguechemist) managed to get paid for clearing the Pigsies out of Batwings & Things despite the subsequent destruction of the entire shop by a group of mercenaries apparently hired to burn the place, possibly to destroy any evidence of trafficking in Zombot dust, by the simple expedient of not mentioning the shop’s destruction when they went to pick up their pay.

This session they decided to take the contract from Barbis Boltbiter, their Adventure Broker, to investigate a possible sighting of Zombots in Poisonville, the sewage-disposal and heavy industrial chemical plant section of town…which is right down on the roof of the arcology below the spire, to keep it out of the way.  They figure that there’s no way the Zombot Dust they found (when it turned the dead Pigsies into Zombots) could be unrelated to possible Zombot activity elsewhere.  Also, the pay (4000 creds for a simple look-see) is nothing to sneeze at, despite the potentially highly unpleasant nature of the surroundings.

Determining that the best (free) way to get down to Poisonville was to take the elevator, they were winched over the side of the disk on an open platform cranked by an Ogre-M.A.G.E (Magically Augumented Genetically Engineered) and lowered into the greenish stinking fog that hung over Poisonville.  Arriving at the bottom after about twenty minutes of swaying and lurching, they found themselves standing in a landscape dominated by industrial-sized pipes, covered in blotchy rust and slime, surrounded by foul fetid greenish fog that made their eyes sting and noses water (Josepi had particular problems, having failed a Vigor roll, and fashioned a makeshift mask out of a handkerchief).  Shapeless things humped and slithered along in the shadows, and a ratipede (a mutant rat with a hundred legs) scuttled across the street as bold as you please in front of them.   The street was dotted with puddles of rainblow (sic) colored ooze.  The contract they had listed as their contact a Dwarf named Carvin Spiker, a supervisor at the SludgeWorks.  They found the plant, where gigantic transparent tubes blorped and gurgled disgusting brown and black sludge, and decided that Idariel and Josepi would go talk to Carvin while the rest of them hung around outside, so as not to spook him with an army of heavily-armed goons.

They climbed the rickety, rusting stairs and entered the plant through a submarine-style hatch; there they found a catwalk high above the tanks and pipes of the works, and a tiny office with windows that might once have been transparent back when the sun was yellow.  But maybe not even then.  In the office, piled high with the bureaucratic detritus of ages, punctuated by the occasional out-of-date Miss Galaxy calendar or “sexy” dwarf pin-up, behind the desk they found an amorphous blob of flesh.  Could this actually be the Dwarf they were looking for?  It opened one rheumy eye and croaked, “Yah?”

They explained they were there to investigate the Zombot sighting, and after some grumbling, Carvin told them that while he filed the report, it was an employee who had actually spotted the Zombot…They asked to speak with him, and Carvin called over Tw-0N (key->green), or as he called him “Twonky”… an ancient robot, from a time back before aesthetics had been invented.  Twonky (Doug’s new character) was a fairly featureless grey, boxy humanoid, with various hazard stickers affixed to him, his call-letters stamped on his back, glowing faintly with magical radiation.  Idariel asked if they could borrow him for a while, and Carvin indicated that he would appreciate if they not only borrowed him, but managed to lose him.  The plant had been trying to decommission him for ages, but been thwarted by red-tape: Twonky had unfortunately at one point, back when Gax had just begun losing its grip, been mis-classified as human and the robot bureaucracy had been unable to correct the mistake since classifying a human being as a robot would have violated the First Law.

Twonky led the entire party towards Sludge Vat #7, where he had seen the potential Zombot.  The Zombot had been in the form of a Ratipede, but it shambled rather than scuttled, and had metal jaws and (organic) eyes protruding on metallic eye-stalks, so Twonky had steered clear and simply reported it as per plant procedures.  Climbing and descending metal ladders and crossing swaying catwalks over glowing green radioactive goo, they headed towards Vat #7.  At one point, they found themselves in the middle of a swarm of giant, glowing albino moths with ectoplasmic wings, that settled on their clothing and hair.  Idariel (with an amazingly good Arcane Knowledge roll) managed to identify them as a giant, mutant version of a rare thaumivorous (magic-eating) moth.  After a brief panic that the moths were after their goods, they decided that they were just feeding on the magical soot that was coating them from the fog that permeated Poisonville.  Idariel decided to gather a bunch of the moths in a handy sack, for further study, and after accomplishing this, they made the rest of the way to Vat #7 without incident.

There, they found places in the metallic wall where something had chewed new rat holes, annoying Twonky, who had cleaned the area just a few weeks ago.  Stan snapped together a mini robot with a camera, and sent it down the hole to take a look, telling it to sound an alarm and run away if anything started chewing on it.  It didn’t take long before they heard the whoop-whoop of the robot’s alarm, and it came scuttling back, trailing one damaged leg.  Idariel began scanning the hole with his Pentacorder, looking for what did it, while Stan replayed the robot’s memory; they both came to the same conclusion: the robot had been attacked by a Zombot Ratipede that was even now shambling through the tunnels in the wall towards them to feast on their flesh.  The video from the robot was technically all they needed to fulfill their contract (and this group was nothing if not technical about fulfilling their contracts), but they decided to fight the Zombot anyway, if only so it wouldn’t be following them.

As soon as the Zombot Ratipede poked its nose (and eyestalks) out of the hole, Tank opened fire with his Multi-Gun, and blew big gobbets of flesh off it, revealing the glistening tubes and wires that animated it.  It twitched and lay still.  Stan, as an expert on robots, recalled that Zombots would regenerate after “death” unless they were burned.  At this point, Idariel 7 had a brilliant idea.  They would unleash the thaumivorous moths on the corpse, and see if that would prevent it from regenerating.  Stan and Josepi were dubious that it wouldn’t just result in Zombot moths that would destroy the entire arcology, but Idariel was insistent that since the Zombot dust could only infect you through a wound and the moths weren’t wounded, there was nothing to worry about.  Besides, the party was overdue for unleashing a setting-destroying horror.

To everybody’s surprise but Idariel’s, the plan worked, and the Zombot Ratipede failed to revive.  Further scans of the area revealed no more Zombots (itself somewhat puzzling), but evidence that the other Ratipedes had been giving the infected one wide berth, and the party decided that some combination of the lack of any life-forms to infect besides the wary and swift Ratipedes and the presence of the thaumivorous moths in and about the area had contained the Zombot infestation.  At this point, Idariel realized that this might be the big score he had been looking for… the ticket back to getting the 100,000 creds he needed to reinstate his license.

They took the Zombot corpse with them, contained in a metal box along with some of the moths (with holes in the lid, of course), and hurried back to Carvin’s office to use the phone, both to tell Barbis about the Zombot they had found and potentially negotiate with him over the discovery of the mutant moths.  The conversation didn’t begin well, with Barbis having just found out from the very unhappy Grismerelda that the shop had burned to the ground–Idariel attempted to persuade him that it wasn’t any of their doing (true enough) even though they hadn’t somehow seen fit to mention the incident to Grismerelda when collecting their pay.  The conversation wasn’t going well, even with Idariel coming clean over exactly what had happened at the shop, including the Pigsie that reanimated as a Zombot, until he happened to mention his potentially lucrative discovery and willingness to cut Barbis in on the action.  “Cha-ching!”   They agreed to meet and talk in person, rather than over an unsecured line in somebody else’s office. Meanwhile, the rest of the party was engaging Carvin in conversation, attempting to keep him completely distracted once they realized that Idariel was discussing this potentially immensely valuable find in the presence of a third party, one moreover with interests and responsibilities to his employer that ran counter to the party’s scheme to make themselves rich with something found in that employer’s factory….this seemed to be successful, particularly once they got Carvin–secretly something of a civic booster–started on the topic of how Poisonville’s reputation for pollution and ill-health was really undeserved, why, look at him, he’d been working at the plant for hundreds of years now and he was still a fine figure of a Dwarf, if he said so himself…

And there we broke for the evening.

Pigsies! Why did it have to be Pigsies?!

Session Summary for 11/30/08: Elves & Espers

It’s been a long time since we’ve had a recap around these parts. Let’s fix that.

Sunday night’s session picked up from a previous adventure (undocumented, because Ye Olde Recapper wasn’t present). That session was the first in the Elves & Espers campaign, in which the previously introduced characters banded together and picked up their level-1 quest: Clear out the vermin in the basement. This session opened with our brave exterminators, plan in hand, setting out to accomplish that goal.

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Welcome to The Haunted Realm…Hope You Survive the Experience!

Sunday we kicked off my new Savage Worlds Sandbox setting with a bang, or at least a whole passle of players: Wendy, Dan, Paul, Elyssa, Russell, Mac, Walter, and Mike M.  Russell and I spent a bunch of the afternoon making a variety of pregens for the people who didn’t already have characters (everybody but Wendy and Dan) to pick from.  After they grabbed a character that sounded appealing and assigned a name and gender, we got started.

The roster ended up being:

  • Loric, the Physician/Mage – male – Wendy
  • Thorvald, the Demonologist – male – Dan
  • Aerys, the Duelist – male – Paul
  • Qwirk, the Brute – male – Elyssa
  • Tyrok, the Dwarven Architect and Priest of Fess – male – Russell
  • Dorakyra, the Priestess of Kyr – female – Mac
  • Angelina, the Tomb Raider – female – Walter
  • Ranth, the Scout – female – Mike M

Because it was the first game, and there were so many players, including ones who only show up once in a great while, I gave them a mission to start out instead of going for the full-on sandbox.  That is, I gave Dorakyra and Tyrok a mission, and left it to them to recruit the others.

Dorakyra has been charged by the senior priestesses of her Goddess, Kyr, the Collector of the Dead, to travel to the village of Brightfalls, approximately one day’s journey to the north of Losian and find the church that records indicate should be there, clear it, and consecrate it to the Gods.  Tyrok was assigned to go with her and aid her.  The pair had been given 500 gold to get supplies and perhaps aid in recruiting (not a lot of money in the economy of the Haunted Realm, since as yet almost all necessities need to be imported from the New Kingdoms).

After some by-play where Dorakyra bet Tyrok that she could find three women to go with them before he could find three men (the stakes were she would let him braid dwarven ornaments in her queue vs. he would let her tattoo “My Heart Belongs to Kyr, But My Soul Belongs to Fess” in henna on his chest), they managed to recruit the rest of the part.  Tyrok weaseled out of the bet by getting the women he found (Ranth and Angelina) to stay out of sight until he managed to convince Dorakyra (who had only found men, in the form of Qwirk, Loric, and Thorvald) to call the bet a draw.  After the parameters of the task were described to them and remuneration discussed, they all agreed to go, though Tyrok once again had to fib…this time telling Loric, who was a bit cautious and reluctant to venture into the wilderness, that the church at Brightfalls was a famous repository of death records that would certainly aid him in his research into the Soul Plague.

The party decided that they would set out at mid-day, so they’d camp well away from Brightfalls and whatever was currently inhabiting it, and arrive the next day with plenty of sunlight left.  They began hiking to the north, passing the newly established farms and tiny villages around Losian, and gradually leaving civilization–or what passed for it–behind.

Shortly before dusk, they were set upon by a pack of skeletons that had been lurking behind some trees near the path that’s what’s left of the road to Brightfalls.  To keep things simple, and because it was most of the players’ first introduction to combat in Savage Worlds, there were only 4 Skeletons, and they were all Extras.  They made relativel short work of the skeletons, with only Angelina taking a hit hard enough to cause a Wound, which she spent managed to Soak.

After spending time interring the remains of the skeletons and performing the proper rights of Kyra over them, the party decided to camp there, rather than continue in the deepening gloom.  They set watches for the night, but aside from something large moving past the camp, the night passed uneventfully.

And there we broke for the night.

Who We Are

Just in case we get some new readers from joining the RPG Bloggers Network, I thought a short introduction would be in order:

Joshua – me, host and primary author of this blog.  More-often-than-not GM of our group.  Started gaming with the D&D White box back in mumblety-four and been playing, mostly as GM, ever since.  A soft touch as a GM, I rarely kill characters outright unless they’ve really asked for it or we’re playing something that demands a high body count.  I have a weakness for making up new settings or trying new systems.  My longest running setting is the Land of Neng, which I co-created with Russell.

Russell – one of my oldest friends (we went to college together), and guest GM when he’s in town; he lives in Southern California now, but his current circumstances place him near enough to visit about every other week for half the year.  For the past few years, mostly GMs D&D 3.5 because it’s easier to find experienced players in his area that way; 4e looks to be changing that…  Also likes to make up settings and systems.  His Neng characters are Carlys eil Theastorr and Salaomer ein Ringoral.

Elyssa – my wife, and a newbie to RPGs.  She mostly prefers SF and modern-day to fantasy, and mostly likes playing kick-ass combat types.  Never GMs, and would probably look at me as if I’d gone crazy if I suggested it.  Does not yet have a Neng character.

Wendy – hardcore.  She LARPs, and is the Baroness of the local SCA realm.  Won’t GM, after a disastrous incident that she refuses to speak of to this very day. (Ok, she will if you ask, but my way sounds cooler.) Most easily teased at the table, so she takes a lot of grief over various things her characters have done over the years, only 80% of which is deserved.  Has had some World of Darkness stuff published.  Her primary Neng character is Merath eil Yahar, Justiciar of the Rose Kingdom.

Doug – rules monkey.  His super-power is discovering and exploiting the weak points of any gaming system: RPG, board game, or video game.  He’s the Karnak of RPG rules, and my homebrew still hasn’t fully recovered from how hard his first character broke it.  For any complicated game, people in our group hand him their character sheets and say “here, crock this.”  Occasionally GMs, generally one-or-two shots like his Steampunk StarWars adventure; unfortunately these tend to be when I’m out of town.  Likes to put on funny accents for his characters.  His primary Neng character is Jacob ein Senekal, Champion of the Rose Kingdom.

Paul – role-player.  His characters usually have some obvious personality hook, which he plays to the hilt.  The most notable example is probably his sorcerous cat-man Bastriel from my Rose Tower campaign, who can be summed up as “Cat” from Red Dwarf, but his characters can always be relied upon to follow their drives rather than the tactical/strategic optimum for the players’ goals.  This is handy when you’re GMing him.  GMs himself very rarely, a couple sessions of Exalted here, an Ars Magica campaign that never got off the ground there, mostly from time constraints. His Neng character Bastriel is currently Castellan of the Rose Tower.

Mike – wargamer.  Happiest with miniatures, maps, counters, and fiddly military details.  Makes his own cardboard tank models and such. Has published some of his own mini historical wargames, and had an adventure for 12 to Midnight published.  Cannot make up a name on the fly to save his life (he brings a chart for that).  Generally plays Lawful Good characters, no matter what the system or setting is; if he ever has a character who sells out the party to the forces of evil, the other players’ heads would explode.  Then they would assume that Doug had somehow mind-controlled him.  Can only play every other week, so a lot of the campaigns are deliberately organized so as to be “with Mike” campaigns or “without Mike” campaigns.  His primary Neng character is a priest of Baal named Eliezer.

Brian – story guy.  The only one likely to write a back-story for one of his characters, and the only one likely to write a post or recap here besides me.  GMs once-in-a-while, generally Star Frontiers or a WWII era pulp adventure using my homebrew system.  Unfortunately scheduling makes him even less likely to be able to show up than Mike.  His primary Neng character is Nathan of Port Autumn, a storyteller.

Dan – another hardcore RPG, LARPer, SCAer.  Moved here from Connecticut just to game with us.  Oh, sure, he’ll say it was because of his job, but we know the truth… Currently I alternate GMing with him. He runs a Warhammer 40K Inquisition setting using modified Star Frontiers rules (at least, I think that’s what they are), while I run… whatever.  His (brand new) Neng character is Kirak, a member of The Pack, a race of wolfmen.

Emeritus Members

Rob – former primary GM, famous for starting campaigns that never got beyond the first session.  His character in Neng was Esau, the Andorran archer. update: Rob points out that he did so run campaigns that went on for more than one session, and that’s certainly true.  That’s just not what his former players tease him about.  I have a lot of sympathy, because I get the same guff from them if I try a setting and it just doesn’t gel; that’s why I’ve deliberately moved towards running more one-shot or single adventure games, and only promoting them to campaigns if everything goes smoothly and the players are enthusiastic about having more of it.

Rachel – bequeathed with the Peripatetic Pants of Pity for the number of times her character lost his/her clothes in various adventures none of which were my fault at all, I swear. Anyway, I eventually had it that whenever her character (and later, other characters) lost their clothes, the Peripatetic Pants of Pity would magically appear so they could cover themselves.  Rachel was probably the funniest gamer I’ve ever played with, and the only one that I can recall where I literally fell off my chair laughing; I may relate that story some time if it’s not already covered in the recaps.  I have to check.  She moved to Canada, curse her.  She’s probably primarily responsible for the game group’s habit of adopting horrible accents.

Scott – generally had the strangest characters.  Probably the most memorable is Zobar the Zobarian, who is the one who inadvertently poisoned the children of the idyllic valley with poisoned apples in his feud with the Dire Pig and who eventually gained Cosmic Knowledge and became a babbling, cringing idiot.  He moved to Canada with his wife, Rachel.

Gaming Summary, May 22, 2005

The first part of the evening was spent disucssing the set-up for Paul's upcoming Ars Magica campaign, and I think everyone is pretty excited about it (at least, I am). The rest of the evening was a NuNeng episode in which, it appears, not all that much happened, although it seemed like more at the time. Must have been all the bickering.

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The Unicorn Tapestry: Gaming Summary, May 1, 2005

Last night was the fullest house I've ever seen at Josh's, and possibly the fullest on record. Every current member was present, and we even had a guest! You might imagine that most of the evening was lost in idle chatter with no role-playing at all, but you'd be WRONG. Even deprived of the dining-room table, seated on the far-too-comfy couches, there was role-playing, in-character banter, and even advancement of the plot. Hang on, kids, this one could get rough.

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