Campaign of the Month: May 2014
Ladies in Hades and the Dyval Wears Prada
Wow! What an incredible session we had today! It was kind of impromptu to throw it together for a Monday afternoon but folks were able to make it down from Manchester AND New Jersey to roll some dice. It was an absolute blast. We started off a little early for Dan’s arrival so Zander and James did a chrono-trigger and went back in time to revisit the Russian Gypsy village and investigate the disturbances and links to the supernatural. They met with the village shaman / medicine woman and spoke to a few townsfolk but didn’t get much in the way of information until night fell and the full moon waxed hotly in the dark sky. They had sat around the campfire, talking to the locals, and playing guitar with the gypsies — eating the venison that James had caught bare-handed.
They heard the baying and howling long before they could see the creatures from whom they emanated and this didn’t deter them from poking their heads about inquisitively. In one of the covered gypsy conestoga-type wagons they could hear whimpering and mewling — clearly someone was in pain. They patiently waited until the mewling turned into sobs and wailing and the howls of the wolves got as close as they dared. Under the full moon, James built-up the fire and stoked it to be a giant roaring bonfire and then he and Zander knocked on the wagon door and were promptly ignored. The wailing got louder.
They knocked again, more insistently this time, and were treated to a Gypsy man yelling that they should go away. They were told there was nothing they could do to save her. James and Zander, curiosity piqued, made their way into the small wagon and were treated to a rare sight. A fourteen year-old girl was strapped to a small cot, tied down by her wrists and ankles, as she writhed in apparent agony. Small spots of blood pooled at her eyes, ears, mouth, nose, and even out of her nipples. She was arching her back like a drunk limbo-dancer in a back handspring. The howls sounded increasingly louder as James began to meditate and psychically diagnose her ailment and condition. The man explained that she was his wife and that “they” would come for her. The devout and the faithful worshiped the gods and accepted their fates.
The howling of the wolves got so loud and scary that it actually felt like it was vibrating the wagon with reverberations. James could not determine anything further than the fact that the girl suffered from some kind of blood-borne pathogen. She wasn’t possessed. She wasn’t in need of an exorcism. She was suffering from some kind of very quickly-moving virus.
The proximity to the howls along with the young woman’s crescendo prompted James to move outside and stand on the steps to the wagon entrance / doorway. He could see the large shapes now loping about just out of range of the light of the campfire. He prepped himself for battle and readied his weapons. Zander began to boil a pot of water. The D-Shifter, intent on helping the young woman, thought to make a potent tea and brew the crushed petals and leaves from the “Rose” that the Order had given him. However, he never got the chance. Outside a massive form of a humanoid-wolf rose up and towered over James of the Arena. It growled in a guttural voice, “step aside, my business is not with you. I have a contract with the child.” To which James chirped, “Uh no you don’t. Let’s talk about this first. What’s going on here?” The giant werewolf god replied, “I have no desire to harm you. I am taking what is owed to us. The terms and consequences have already been agreed upon.” James obstinately refused to move and tried to block the thing’s path with an illusion that made him grow to be 20ft tall. Whoa!
The werewolf god snarled but sidestepped James to tear a swath out of the wagon with a gigantic claw. The beast bounded into the gypsy domicile through its new-found portal and scooped up the young woman. That’s when the husband wailed, “There’s nothing you can do to save her! She is going to die if we don’t let them take her!” At this point her screams were drowning out all other interactions and blood was not just oozing out of her body but it was practically spraying outward in all directions, all over the place, and even seeping out of her pores. The werewolf god growled furiously, “You fools! I can save her.” He scooped her body up and bounded out of the wagon through a brand-new opening created by his 16ft tall giant-sized furry humanoid monstrous body. James and Zander were forced to call it a night but they wanted answers. Now they were forced to bed down by the fire and try to get some shut-eye in the wake of…an abduction? They had no clue what they had just witnessed but the monster was very ferocious and very intimidating.
Zander took the first watch and it transpired without incident. James took the next watch and perceptively recognized the furtive sounds of someone…or a few somethings…prowling. It sounded like the wolves were back but this time they were doing something odd. They prowled around a different wagon and were trying to be quiet and secretive and sneaky. James woke up Zander and they readied themselves for combat once again. .
When they saw the wolves break into one of the wagons a woman screamed but the shriek was cut off only a moment later. Zander sped over there in a blaze of light and witnessed one werewolf covering the woman’s mouth with his hand and 3 other werewolves examining a young boy. One of the wolves sniffed him thoroughly before dragging one long jagged nail-claw across his chest and grunting. The others immediately turned to leave but not before James busted down the door and Zander in his light-form emited the power of a 300 Watt HIGH-PRESSURE SODIUM METAL-HALIDE BULB and blind the fuck out of everyone in the vicinity. Awesome! Zander then changed forms to heay Mega-Damage but was night-blinded by his previous form.
James sliced Zander on a failed strike with natural 1 and due to blindness Zander yelled to James, “Careful James!! It looks like they have swords!” We all got a good chuckle out of that until Chris rolled ANOTHER NATURAL ONE and each percentile chance was just too high for him not to accidentally hit Zander in the close-quarters. The principled greek godling then reaffirmed “You’re right Zander, watch your step!”
At about that time Dan strolled in and we put the chrono-trigger on hold to resume the main storyline / plot. Wow!
You guys came out of the Russian Faerie Circus Carnival of Death and Debauchery and wasted no time going STRAIGHT to Lake Khozgov and Rasputin’s castle. You were left relatively alone until you started poking around. The servants there are pretty lazy and almost apathetic about their duties. I almost forgot to mention Zander did a cosmological and astrological reading of the stars and confirmed that your earlier theories about a cataclysmic event occurring are, in fact, going to occur in approximately two years. He was able to do this using a different perspective on the quadrant of the sky over Russia and referencing his earlier findings. I believe it was with an OUGHT-ONE roll…if i’m not mistaken.
HDSS ran upstairs and encountered Thursday and Bugsy participating in a voodoo doll / acupuncture torture chamber BDSM experiment.
Zander detoured into the basement to see Uncle Lester the Child Molester and his twisted Frankenstein laboratory where he revives and zombifies dead children. Geeewww!!! No one went into the kitchen to speak to Mortician and…I think that’s about it. The butler led you guys to the study where you got to speak to Rasputin (tall, dark, semi-spanish looking like Gomez, and handsome) for the first time and he was deep in thought and mumbling / talking to himself. Here’s the transcript that I promised you guys so you didn’t have to write it all down. Also of note, ZANDER PLAYED CHESS AGAINST RASPUTIN AND WON!!!! (on a real-live chess board) Then Rasputin presided over another game of MAGIC THE GATHERING. All in all it was a very interesting build-up to the MINIBOSS!!!!
It was later discovered that Rasputin was thoroughly insane. After he flooded the entire area with P.P.E. everyone was able to suppress the insanities BRIEFLY but we’ll have to revisit that at the next game session. I glossed over it to make things move along but Zander almost tried to mimic the creation of a Ley Line before we read the exact nuances of the spell. Haha!
A phenomenal time was had by all. You fought the mini-boss Rasputin to an almost stand-still and his two sons / henchman Jimmy J Halpern and Buddy Biff McElroy — no slouches. HDSS single-handedly became the group’s swiss-army Trent in a pinch with a few key negate magics and dispel magic barriers. The combat took about 5 hours and it was down and dirty and really heated. I can’t believe Zander is the only one who died. But, when anti-magic cloud came out on the second round things started to really go down hill. A perfectly timed EXPEL DEMONS from HDSS rid the room of the lesser, annoying combatants who had kind of whittled you guys down but James, the god of the Arena…the GOD OF LAST CHANCES…THE GOD OF THE UNDERDOG somehow flung a fucking AXE end-over-end…ASS OVER TEAKETTLE…and nailed Rasputin on a motherfucking LARK and failed a critical save which allowed his soul to be drunk by the godslayer rune weapon.
Let’s see? HDSS carpeted Rasputin to himself. Then Rasputin responded in kind and carpeted HDSS. HDSS dispelled the carpet on himself. Jimmy J flung chaos energy at the supernaturally good James and began whittling him away until James CHARGED the fragile superhero and attempted his signature “neck-stab” move…which failed upon hitting an armor of ithan. On the next action James also found himself in a carpet of adhesion but that didn’t stop him from attempting to biomanipulate-paralyze people on every turn. Zander floating around and broke the glass ceiling and got a lightning rod from the roof and stabbed it into the Colossus-like Biff — a superhero mutant giant who could turn entirely into metal.
At some point James went super-sayan and magical adrenal rush tripled his MDC. Things started to go downhill when Rasputin attempted to leave — thinking the fight beneath him and wanting to allow his boys to handle it — but HDSSkept him antagonized and targeted with spells and attacks to keep him there. On the second melee round Rasputin busted out the dreaded Anti-Magic Cloud and completely changed the game. All of a sudden battle-fury stopped working…but so did the paralyze: lesser on HDSS’s sword arm. This clearly worked in Rasputin’s favor since his two henchmen were super-heroes…not magic users.
In desperation, HDSS whipped out the varja and used the last spell left in it — Teleport Superior — in an attempt to remove rasputin from his own AMCloud. We had previously ruled that, for some reason I don’t remember, the Varja could cast spells that it already held when inside an anti-magic cloud. Oh wait…maybe Pall Mall made his AMC saving throw? I forgot. Either way, Rasputin saved versus the Teleport and the group found themselves sitting on the outskirts of a 1300ft AMC. They quickly regrouped, talked themselves up, and ran back in for a second helping — this time with a flash freeze grenade at the ready (knowing full well that the TW device wouldn’t work in an AMC). The rest, as they say, is history. Eventually Biff succumbed to a bio-manipulate paralyze and Jimmy Jay fell to straight damage from James and the throat-stabbing. It didn’t take much. Rasputin died on a soul-drink and a shitty save. You guys came out on top. Congratulations. You earned every last bit of experience you got tonight. And Zander lived in a fucking coma and was subsequently revived by one of his own ultra-rare rose-petals from the Order of the White Rose.
What follows is my GM Notes:
Russia shares a border with Mongolia near the present day Khovsgol Lake. The Russian Roving Faerie Circus Carnival lets the group out near this lake in the middle of nowhere. The terrain is rocky, mountainous, and difficult to traverse. The weather is chilly but not as cold as it was traveling through Russia. On the shores of the lake the air is somewhat temperate but the breeze in the morning can shiver to the bones. In the middle of the air, out over the lake, suspended and hovering there is an enormous, gaping tear in reality. A swirling vortex of dimensional energy is roiling and writhing and swirling like a kaleidoscopic cotton-candy cone. Like electric-blue spokes on a circus bicycle ley lines feed into this ley line ULTRA nexus from everywhere…stretching as far as the eye can see in EVERY DIRECTION. Anyone who has the ability to sense the opening and closing of dimensional anomalies is OVERLOADED with the sensations.
In the surrounding area there is mayhem. Skirmishes erupting everywhere, battles being fought, lost, and won…just starting…ending…DYING…demons mercifully expunged and allowed to return home to reincarnate in a flash of light, a blaze of glory, or a wisp of smoke. Groups of 2 and 3 fighting, combating each other in little pockets around the lake. Larger groups of 6-10 dot the landscape. And even massive pitched battles with hundreds of nameless faceless supernatural evil spilling FUCKLOADS of demonic black blood! Explosions and screams both monstrously inhuman and human alike can be heard everywhere. There is commotion from every direction an angle. It’s utter chaos — like the scene at the St. Louis gate or the Windsor gate. It’s difficult to tell who is winning and losing because both sides take heavy casualties but the bodies INSTANTLY disappear when they are slain. Deevils appear to be embroiled in battles with Deevils, Deevils with Chaos Demons, and even Deevils with Demons! Demons appear to be the least concentrated group and they have holed up and fortified a beachhead where they are regrouping. Chaos Demons are running amok everywhere and the stray super-hero / villain can be seen fighting haphazardly in the pandemonium. After a prolonged reconnaissance there appears to be many more Chaos Demons than any other faction. In fact they appear to be overrunning the other factions with sheer numbers.
A giant cathedral-like castle fortress overlooks the lake the the entire scene of mayhem and destruction. Rasputin’s Fortress is beautifully crafted of Russian Spires and parapets like St. Basil’s cathedral. http://wallpaper-million.com/Wallpapers/f/3D%20and%20CG/CG-Russian-castle-wallpaper_7904.jpg or http://www.8thingstodo.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/04/St.-Basils-Cathedral-Moscow.jpg
Inside, the castle is gigantic and mostly empty. There are a few odd demons and the occasional D-bee functioning as servants or household staff but, for the most part, the massive structure is quiet and empty. At some point a lazy, ugly butler-type servant will approach the PCs half-heartedly and query as to the party’s intentions. They will be offered an “audience” with the ancient godling in his study. If they accept they will be ushered there straight-away and without detour with only the occasional odd look from a resident as if seeing something out of place. The group will be left to their own devices if they turn down the meeting with Rasputin and they’ll have the opportunity to explore the castle. Through labyrinthine twists and turns they can happen upon any of the other CRAZY AND FUCKED UP THINGS I’VE POPULATED THIS INSANE ASYLUM WITH THAT PEOPLE WOULD NEVER IN THEIR WILDEST IMAGINATION EXPECT IN 50 YEARS OF BEING A PLAYER…
In the basement Uncle Lester-Chester the Child Molester is working in his laboratory on some crazy cockamamie experiment. He appears to have strung up and wired the bodies of dead children to a tesla coil lightning rod / electric chair for electrocution. He is quite mad. He claims to be able to breathe life into dead things so that he may molest and eventually kill them again. Eeeew!
In the attic a young girl named Thursday has tied up her brother Bugsy and is attempting to practice her acupuncture needle therapy. She inserts these long needles into Bugsy’s legs and arms and chest and even his face and neck and he just seems to sit there, smiling and relatively inert…and eating an ice cream cone. If asked he appears to be blissfully ignorant of his sister’s ministrations and the potentially fatal consequences they may have. Thursday shows the group a voodoo doll she was given from a very kind woman who stopped to visit here not long ago. The woman claimed to have collected the voodoo doll in New Orleans and that it was imbued with Voodoo Magic from the Voodoo Glow Skulls. If the group asks about the woman Thursday will describe her as tall, athletic, beautiful, and…very polite.
In the kitchen Morticia can be seen as a pale, buxom, raven-haired beauty. She has the mesmerizing gaze of a vampire and she is clad only in an open-backed apron…leaving very little to the imagination. She is hard at work cooking up a delicious meal for her family. Conveniently macabre there is blood splattered all over the floor, the walls, the cupboard, the pantry, and even the refrigerator (an old-style looking fridge that doesn’t appear to run on electricity). She has blood smeared across her lips and on her cheeks though her mannerisms are those of a Food Network cooking hostess like Rachel Ray or Giada. She will graciously invite all of the party to sit at the table and to make themselves at home while she prepares the meal. The appetizers, she promises, will be ready shortly. She has a little help in the kitchen — a grave ghoul and some kind of animated skeleton that is prone to dropping things.
In all cases, if the group takes any aggressive or hostile actions against any member of the household or the staff they will be attacked furiously by all active and available members of the family and the remaining servants. Basically everyone except Rasputin.
Meanwhile, in the study, an archaic looking library chamber filled with EMPTY bookshelves. Rasputin is sitting at a table, staring quite madly at a chess board that appears to be in media res, and muttering to himself while absently moving pieces in random locations. The room is lit up by floating skull sconces that line the walls and little creatures dart to and fro that look like animated hands like Thing from the Addam’s Family. In this light, Rasputin looks tall, dark, and dashingly handsome like Gomez. When approached or confronted he will finally look up from his concentration and acknowledge the group for the first time. Until then, however, they will be flatly ignored.
Rasputin appears to be in his mid ’40s but he has a youthful glow to his visage. He mutters to himself, has a nervous twitch, and always appears to be distracted as if seeing something else that is far away on another plane. He gets a glazed-over distant look in his eyes and zones out..often.
He says things like, “Yes, but WHY are the ley lines important? I’ve looked over every inch of this map and I don’t see where they go. What is there purpose? Do they travel out into space?”
“My lord Primus the Agent has visited me and he is a fool. Each of us does your work but we are fragmented…forced to work independently and some times at odds. I am a splinter cell. And I no longer wish to be.”
“But why are the Deevils attacking ME? They are supposed to be fighting the Demons! They can’t ruin my plans no matter how hard they try. No matter how well they think things are going in South America.”
“It is as Mummuu predicted, isn’t it? Yes, I thought so. It is time for us to leave this place. Our work here is done and the Thundercloud awaits. That is where I am needed. Rynncryth will never know what hit him and Drellcryth is on the ropes…right where we want him.”
Clearly this man sees and hears things that are not there. He can even be overheard whispering, “I can’t have a plan? Check. What do you mean I can’t have a plan? How dare I? How dare you! Check. This can still be Chaos if there is a plan. Oh no? Hmm…I see your point. Check…and I believe that’s mate. No. Well of course I do. Damn you! Let’s go again, shall we?”
Rasputin will tell the group that he has already parted with the greatest rune artifact. He explains that it wasn’t all it was cracked up to be and that it was basically useless. A nice woman stopped by looking rather professional and knowing an awful lot about Rasputin. She generously traded him this fabulous-looking black silk robe with gold runes embossed on the hem — it moved and flowed like liquid inky black darkness and settled in pools at his feet when he moved. Rasputin was thoroughly taken by the robe…and entranced.
Of course, he hasn’t given away the REAL Rune Artifact. The players may implicate the Pandemonium “Charade” as the woman seeking the artifact and they will be told that she left only a few days ago muttering bitterly about how freaking huge the Russian continent is. Rasputin lied to her even now as he’s telling half-truths to the players. He still has the real Rune Artifact but he DOES believe that it is useless! He can’t seem to get it to work or open up or create a portal…or even to talk to him. What it DOES do is slice things in half like a motherfucker! However, if the group presses him about this he will continue to lie. If they get aggressive he will respond by calling his henchman, the super-villains. If they are verbally combative or attempting to be manipulative he’ll invite them for a game of chess. As a last ditche effort he’ll invite a member of the group to play an ancient card game he discovered in North America from back in the late 20th century. He hands the player a deck of Magic cards and says that they’ll play a duel of the Planeswalkers. The winner gets to walk out of here with his life…and the real ancient Rune Artifact. The loser is escorted off the premises unceremoniously and can never again enter…upon pain of death. He agrees to his own terms and appears to be honorable.
The artifact is hidden in a secret compartment behind the false-front of an empty bookcase. It is warded with invisible wards / runes and is also TRAPPED with a deadly P.P.E. Dweomer Magic.
Edited by Zander to correct a few minor-but-major order of events in the werewolf village.
Edited by GM to correct a few MORE minor errors and layout-changes.