Sunday, September 13, 2015

Murderhoboes Session 2: Sh*t Goes Bonkers

We had session 2 of the campaign today, with one new player trying out role-playing games for the first time ever - which is a profoundly rewarding experience for me, introducing the act of role-playing to someone new and seeing their face light up as they start to really have fun with.  Unfortunately, while my girlfriend Gina had been considering playing, she got the call to go into work today and thus had to bow out.  So our cast list today is as follows:

Dramatis Personae:
Johann Borscht, aka The Bringer of Meat, aka The Breaker of Snakes, Dwarf Fighter 2
Legolas "Mohawk" Jones, Elf Magic-User 2
Manfrey the Magnificent, Human Magic-User 2 (Deceased, this session)
Yngwie Magnusson, Dwarf Thief 1 (Manfrey's replacement)
Icarus Dicarus, Elf Magic-User 1 (a 2'6" Christmas Elf, rather than a Tolkienesque Elf)

(Alf the Elf's player could not make this session, due to attending a wedding)

And the Hired Help:

Burdo, Human Man-at-Arms 0, employed by Manfrey
Murg, Human (masquerading as Dwarf) Man-at-Arms 0, employed by Mohawk (Deceased, this session)
Willow, Gymore and Durig, Torchbearers, employed by Mohawk
Margard, Human Man at-Arms 0, employed by Mohawk
Cormar, Human Man-at-Arms 0, employed by Mohawk
Asheron, War-Dog, employed by Mohawk

Three weeks after their adventure with the Yip-Yips, Johann and his comrades have lived high on the hog off of their spoils - enough gold for each of them to walk away with 200 GP, as well as four vials - one of Holy Water, one of Alchemist's Fire, one a Potion of Cure Light Wounds, and the last an Oil of Magic Weapon.  Johann was reciting the tale of their adventures to a new drinking buddy, the Elf Icarus Dicarus (who looks like a 2-foot tall Vin Diesel wearing a hood with a jingle-bell on it), when he heard a commotion outside, in which the yipping barks of a Yip-Yip could be heard.

Stepping outside, Johann saw three toughs kicking a Yip-Yip around like a soccer ball.  Intervening, Johann soon learned that this was Yap-Snout, one of the greatest champions of the Yip-Yips, or as he introduced himself, "Destroyer of Tennis Balls, Sniffer of Many Butts." Yap-Snout explained that he'd come to beg for Johann's aid - that the Sagoths of the Tribe of Go-Yat, along with their "pet" Devil Apes, have laid siege to the Yip-Yip cave in retaliation for the slaughter of the bandits three weeks earlier.  Most of the Yip-Yips made it to safety in the narrow escape tunnels they'd dug under their cave - but not all.

Rounding up as much of the gang as possible, Johann allowed Yap-Snout to lead them back to the caves.  Just out front of the cave, four brutish Sagoths were sitting around a fire, laughing as they roasted a Yip-Yip on a spit.  Johann lobbed an Alchemist's Fire (produced by Manfrey during his downtime) into the center of their fire, creating an explosion and sending the Sagoths into a panic.  Icarus followed this up with a casting of Sleep - knocking the Sagoths unconscious.  The spell had a secondary effect - due to the thaumaturgic energies permeating the region, Icarus experienced a magical mutation, sprouting horns from his head.

Quickly slitting the throats of the Sagoths, the adventurers cautiously entered the cave, soon encountering one of the Devil Apes of the Sagoths - enormous, eight-foot tall gorillas, hairless save for a mohawk-like crest, with milk-white skin, beady red eyes, and four powerful arms.  One of these beasts was squatting in the cave, its face and hands bloody, casually eating a Yip-Yip carcass, tiny bones crunching between huge yellow molars.  The beast soon smelled the adventurers, and turned to face them - getting an Alchemist's Fire thrown in its face by Manfrey.  Coated with burning, jellied chemicals, the Devil Ape charged, grabbing Manfrey in its four enormous hands and tearing him into pieces - before dying of its burns and collapsing atop the four fragments of the once-Magnificent Manfrey.

Advancing even more cautiously now that one of their number was dead, they soon found the last stand of the Yip-Yips - behind a complicated, locked door of thick bronze, being pounded on by a pair of Devil Apes.  Another squad of four Sagoths watched with hungry interest, and a Sagoth sub-chief, distinguished by his stone axe (as opposed to the simple clubs of his underlings), egging on the two Apes.

Legolas "Mohawk" Jones fired off a Hold Portal spell to prevent the Devil Apes from hammering down the bronze door - and promptly mutated, hir once-androgynously appealing Elf face transforming into that of a goat, though s/he kept hir pink mohawk and ability to speak.  Then Johann threw another two Alchemist's Fires at the Apes, frying one in a crispy instant and enraging the other.  Johann then slammed the door to the room, positioning himself (and Murg, the other axe-swinger in the party), to attack anything that came through it.

The door flew off its hinges as the Devil Ape slammed into it; Johann got a face full of splinters, and Murg died with a face full of door.  Johann buried his axe in the giant ape's forehead, and Icarus bashed Legolas' crowbar (slathered with Oil of Magic Weapon) into the beast's chin.  Roaring, the Devil Ape shuddered and died in the doorway.

Seeing the two Devil Apes slain so swiftly, the Sagoths immediately surrendered.  Icarus was able to communicate with them, and ordered them to return to their own cave, round up Chief Go-Yat, They scrambled off, and the adventurers set up an ambush after checking on the Yip-Yips and offering them the meat of the slain Devil Apes as a gift.

basically what Chief Go-Yat looked like

Chief Go-Yat, an enormous brute whose thick red hair was streaked with gray and half of whose face was a mass of scar tissue, soon showed off, striding into the cave like he owned the place, completely assured of his victory.  He quickly tripped over Icarus' silk rope, strung across the doorway, and when he fell, Johann lopped off his head in a single swing - and claimed Go-Yat's massive axe, its blade crudely hammered out of meteoric iron, for himself.  Stepping outside and raising the captured axe to the assembled throng of Sagoths, he accepted kingship over them.

Johann then brought the Sagoths and the Yip-Yips together, brokered peace between them, and demanded that they work together for their mutual beneficence.

Having resolved that, Icarus mentioned that he'd heard that there was a magical spring that fed the swamps at the far end of the canyon; that this water contained healing properties.  The adventurers decided to set off in search of the healing spring, bringing One-Eye - the last surviving Devil Ape, now sworn to guard Johann - with them.

Tramping through the swamp, they were accosted by a trio of undead Ghouls that appeared out of the mists; Johann was paralyzed by a ghoul's filthy claws, while Legolas threw Holy Water in the face of one of the ghouls, burning it like powerful acid.  One-Eye tore the remaining two Ghouls apart, and after a minute or so, Johann regained the use of his limbs.
like this, but with screaming human faces.
Finding a spring that seemed powerful enough to feed the entire swamp, they also found a monstrous creature drinking from it - a flea, the size of a large dog and with three human faces instead of a single flea head.  Johann attacked it with the meteoric axe he'd taken from Go-Yat, hacking the thing to bits before drinking deeply of the spring - only to learn it was not, in fact, a magical healing spring.  Disappointed, they went home to recoup and rest, taking with them a bag of miscellaneous coinage and gems they'd taken from Go-Yat's chambers, along with a quartet of elephant tusks they could sell.

goddamn right Meinrad
dresses like Galactus.
While drinking and planning their next move in the Chunderdome (and with Legolas "Baphomohawk" Jones seducing the barmaid with hir new goatish tongue), Johann encountered an old friend - the light-fingered dwarven thief Yngwie Magnusson (Manfrey's player's new character).  While catching up, they're astonished to see a ten foot tall man in outlandish purple and blue clothing stride into the bar.

"I seek adventurers of stout heart and strong constitution to perform a task," the figure rumbled, "Who has the courage to serve Meinrad, the Star-Gazer?"

Recalling that Meinrad was a local wizard whose floating tower hovered a quarter-mile north of Devil's Canyon, Johann and Yngwie immediately volunteered, asking what the task was.

"One of my graduate students summoned up that which he could not put down.  The entity now infests my basement.  I find it a nuisance, though currently my work demands too much of my attention to deal with the entity personally.  It has killed three other graduate students I sent down after it.  I believe it consumes blood."

Meinrad the Star-Gazer tossed a small pouch to Yngwie.  "Here are some star-sapphires, valued at approximately 300 Imperial gold.  You will receive its twin when the entity is banished.  You may wish to seek arcane weaponry before pursuing the creature; I believe the junk shop of Old Man Walter may offer you assistance.  I care not.  When you are ready, use this" - he tossed a looped chain ring onto the table - "to teleport to my tower." Turning, the Astrologer left the bar.

Seeking out Old Man Walter, they found a thick-bearded man in overalls manning a small shop whose shelves were overflowing with unidentifiable items.  Asking about weapons, Old Man Walter chuckled into his beard and began rummaging around.

"Well, let's see, just got this 'ere Ultraviolet Emitter in this morning!" he cackled, holding up a long, silvery tube attached to what looked like a crossbow stock.  Setting up a target out of Johann's bag of hamburger, he demonstrated the device; a squiggly purple beam that cooked the hamburger-target to a sizzling perfection.  The group decided to pass on the Ultraviolet Emitter after hearing Walter's asking price, and asked what else he had.

"Maybe y'all good folks would be more innerested in this 'ere, ehm, ah, X-Ray Pulse Rifle ah jiggered t'gether," he said, pulling out a chunkier device of crome and tinted glass.  Firing at another target, the bolts of energy from the device reversed the colors in the room (like a photographic negative) for split seconds before exploding the target.

Baphomohawk Jones bought that, while Icarus asked about smaller weapons, befitting his reduced stature.  At that, Walter brought out "a little somethin'-somethin' fer the ladies...a laser pistol, fits right in yer purse!" which, with a grumble of sexism, Icarus purchased.

Asking about anything else Walter had, Johann's eyes lit up as the old man wheeled out an artillery piece, all gleaming chrome, copper coils and tubes of cloudy purple glass, which Walter explained to be a "Cosmic Ray Cannon, ruin th' day of anyone within, oh, ah' figger in 'bout a good 20 miles o' that there barrel when this baby goes off."  Unable to meet Walter's asking price for the Cosmic Ray Cannon, Johann placed a hold on the device, resolving to come back when he had the money.

Happy with their purchases, and with new hirelings in Baphomohawk's tow (three torchbearers, and two drunken clubsmen; they decided to leave Johann's Devil Ape bodyguard behind), they tugged the teleport-chain, and after a moment of vertigo, found themselves in the Floating Tower of Meinrad the Star-Gazer.

Organizing themselves into a semblance of marching order (torchbearer, both clubsmen, Icarus and Baphomohawk with guns at the ready, Johann with the meteor axe, then the final two torchbearers), Yngwie decided to scout ahead, given his ability to move silently and see in darkness.

As he advanced down a hallway, Yngwie became aware that he wasn't hearing anything any more - not the echoing of his footsteps in the stone hallways, not the sound of his own breathing, not even the beating of his own heart.  Turning to look over his shoulder, he saw a dark shape with a long, beaked head and a serrated, crocodilian tail lower itself from the ceiling, silhouetted against the faint glow of the torches far behind him.  Darting around a corner, Yngwie could soon hear his footsteps and heart pounding again, and scrabbled up the masonry to cling to a nearby support column, up near the ceiling.  He drew his bastard sword carefully, ready to drop on the thing when it rounded the corner.

Meanwhile, Icarus, straining to see past the torch's glow, realizes he can't hear the footsteps of the torchbearer in front of him.  Shading his eyes, he realizes he can see the faint glint of the torchlight reflect off razored scales ahead of them in the darkness.

Pointing this out to Johann and Baphomohawk, the two spellcasters ready their shiny new rayguns, pulling the triggers in unison.  A beam of crackling neon orange energy and bolts of color-negating X-Radiation spat - and both shots went wide, the laser beam missing the creature's midsection by several feet, and the X-Ray blasts went over its hunched shoulders, the energy splashing harmlessly against the far wall and dissipating.

like this, but with a six-legged crocodile body
The light of the rays illuminated the creature, however, and allowed them to see what they were up against:

Mansized though hunched, the creature resembled a bipedal crocodile with a pair of long legs ending in webbed claws, a heavy, saw-edged tail, two arms ending in flexing, clawed fingers, and an intermediate set of limbs that looked like they could serve as either arms or legs.  The creature's head, however, was the worst - like a mosquito made huge, its jet-black compound eyes showed no emotion but seemed to glare at them, its palps and antennae twitching in anticipation, its needle-like proboscis dripping with the same viscous, oily substance that coated its entire body.  It turned to face the party.

And that's where we ended the session.  Cliffhanger, motherfuckers!

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