Monday, May 21, 2018

The Creepy Crawl Chronicles - Session 25

Just drink your tea and don’t say anything about her surgery scars.
Attendants:
Greed – Lvl 5 Homanculus
Rael – Lvl 6 Thief/Werewolf
Ritzy – Lvl 5 Homanculus
Arongoth of Hogendaus – Lvl 4 Cleric

Henching:
Vlad Draculastein – Lvl 4 Dampyr

Monsters Mashed:
1 Ghoul – Cut down with Greed’s awesome sword of undead slaying before its scabrous brethren nearly TPK’d you all.
               47 EXP/4.5 players = 10 EXP apiece

Arongoth attained the second mandrake root and ate it. Is now an ambulatory plant with green, mottled, potato like skin and other unknown effects.

Party nearly TPK’d by ghouls (frikkin’ ghouls) and rescued by Alexi Von Himmel and his wonder dog Rex before being eaten.


Have struck a deal with Deiter Von Himmel to obtain some troll blood in exchange for reduced rates for homanculous upgrades.
That's Doctor Von Himmel, I didn't get my degree just to be called Baron.

 Commentary:

This is the session where the weirdness of the campaign began to gain some real momentum. 

The party sought out the other mandrake root that they knew about from Bark Eatin' Ted's woodsy wisdom, and found it in a patch of greenishghoul, which is a sickly whitish green plant known for attracting the undead. (I got that herb list for Rael's wolwelf cure from Abulafia btw. Best use of a random table I've ever done.) Which it had, in the form of a pack of frikkin' ghouls. 

Well, ghouls are pretty nasty, even for a bunch of 4th. to 5th. level characters, so the party came really close to getting TPK'd. Claw/claw/bite plus paralysis and a lot of blown saving throw rolls often makes for a bad time. Frikkin' ghouls... 

But lo! Galumphing through the woods astride his faithful reindeer Snowflake was Alexi Von Himmel, adventurer, nobleman, and gentleman hunter, with his amazing hunting hound Rex (a german shepherd with a human arm grafted to his back armed with a flintlock pistol, a gift from his elder brother). Between Alexi's hurtling hand axes and his dog being a crack shot, the ghouls were sent packing and the party was saved. 

One tangential historical note, Alexi was a character my brother created and played in a kinda gothic 2nd. Edition D&D game back when we were sharing an apartment in Cleveland while going to school at the Cleveland Institute of Art. I'd say back in 1993-1994, if I'm doing my math right. He was cossack inspired, and we were using the A Mighty Fortress campaign sourcebook. 

We'd decided between us that the Von Himmels were an Addams Family style clan of aristocratic oddballs and misfits. In a lot of ways that old campaign was the buried corpse that the deep roots of the flowerbed of bizarre that was the Creepy Crawl campaign drew it's nourishment from. I brought the Von Himmel family back in a big way for this game, and the rescue from Alexi was my golden opportunity to slot them into the campaign.

Von Himmel invited the party back to his family estate, an imposing castle in the next valley over from Ghoulardia Pass. There they were introduced to his elder brother, Dieter Von Himmel, the greatest mad scientist in all the land, and Deiter's lovely wife Hyacinth, a velociraptor in a dress with a barely noticable surgery scar running across her cranium under her blonde wig. (A result of a tragic trip abroad that the Von Himmels decline to discuss. The poor dear gets so upset and starts lacerating the throw pillows... and the servants...)

Over tea, I got to introduce one of the campaign's best patrons, and also gave the homanculus characters something to strive for. When they found out that Dr. Von Himmel could do any kinda modifications their artificial little hearts desired, if the price was right, right then and there they knew what their goal in life was gonna be: earning enough bling to pimp out their chassis.

I tried dangling the troll blood discount thing in front of them to get them to go back to the cave where they'd gotten the mountainroot morels, but they didn't bite on that. Their adventures were soon to take them further afield. 

Finally, Arongoth got himself back up to 5th. level after eating the second mandrake root, but it had started to... change him. 

It never came up in play, but in addition to his plant like complexion, he was also capable of regrowing severed limbs. (Although the process would be rather... fraught, in many disturbing and inconvenient ways...) 

And he wasn't done yet. This... change made him wonder what would happen were he to acquire more mandrake and consume it without needing to replenish his levels.

Like I said, here's where it really starts to get really, really weird, and I'm lovin' it. 



Tune in on Wednesday, group, as we proceed.

Saturday, May 19, 2018

A Thousand And One Tales Yet To Be Told

So over the past month I've been working on the first of a series of books about my Thousand Year Sandglass campaign. It's progressing nicely, and I just recently got the written part of it mostly roughed out.

The base rule set is Labyrinth Lord. It's got four new classes, sections about monsters and treasure, a whole chapter dedicated to randomly generating adventure and intrigue in the grand old city of Kalabad, and eight fully mapped and keyed scenarios of varying sizes for a teller of tales to drop into their own game.

It's essentially a toolkit for building an Arabian Nights themed sandbox, and following books will provide more features and scenarios to expand on this unique world. 

Now I've just got the interior illustrations, the cover, a few more textual extras, and a whole big heap of proofreading and editing to do.

So this post is mostly a progress report and a little bit of a waving the flag to get folks interested. It also makes it harder for me to procrastinate if I announce it publicly, so if you hear the faint sound of a whip cracking fear not, that's me on either end of it.

Were I to put on my fortune teller's turban and make a prediction, I would say it'll drop sometime in June. July at the latest.

So watch this space, O gentle readers, and try not to get any sand in your eyes.

Friday, May 18, 2018

The Creepy Crawl Chronicles - Session 24

Attendants:
Vlad Draculastein – Lvl 4 Dampyr
Greed – Lvl 5 Homanculus
Rael – Lvl 6 Thief/Werewolf
Ritzy – Lvl 5 Homanculus
Arongoth of Hogendaus – Lvl 3 Cleric

Henching 4 Evah:
Richard Darkmagic – Lvl 5 Magic User

Casualties:
Richard Darkmagic – Face exploded by mandrake scream. Requescat en pace.
Silver lining: Arongoth has eaten the mandrake root, and has now attained 4th level

Commentary:

Gather 'round, boils and ghouls, and let me tell you a tale of a mandrake harvesting gone awry. 

So the plan the group cooked up was for Vlad to cast Levitate to get up to the high cliff where their prize awaited while Arongoth cast Silence 15' Radius on him to ward off the sonic doom it contained.

So they do, and up Vlad floats, about 50' up the cliff face, while the party all stands around below watching him. 

Vlad pulls the root in question out of the dirt on the high cliff ledge and it starts screaming, but it's fine 'cos in the 15' sphere of silence nobody can hear it. 

Except the thing is shaking and vibrating like crazy in Vlad's hand. So I make him roll a Dex check, which he fails. So he loses his grip and drops the silently screaming mandrake. 

Well, the party stares up in horror for a second while it falls in cinematic slow motion, then they scatter, running for their lives as the terrible tuber drops out of the 15' spell radius and here comes the scream

I make everybody roll saves vs. Death, I think, and mercifully they all make it except for poor, henchy Richard Darkmagic, who takes full damage, which puts him past 0 HP so I roll on these dreadful dismemberment tables that I'd gotten from Paul a while ago to use with a critical hits system he pioneered that I've adopted. (Ironically to make the game less lethal. Heh.)

The same tables that Paul used in his Restenford campaign, that had a non-trivial percentage of the party limping around with missing limbs and delving dungeons looking for ways to re-grow them or build magical prosthetics. 

Based on my records and looking at the charts again, that means a 94-96 was rolled on the d100 for Location, which is Face, followed by a 6 on the d6 Severity, which equates to Severed, which all adds up to X = Instant death. 

And that's how the very late Richard Darkmagic wound up getting his face exploded by a screaming mandrake. 

That'll happen...

Tune in next week for more screemy shenanigans.

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

The Creepy Crawl Chronicles - Session 23

His bark eatin' has really gotten out of control...
Attendants:
Vlad Draculastein – Lvl 4 Dampyr
Greed – Lvl 5 Homanculus
Rael – Lvl 6 Thief/Werewolf
Ritzy – Lvl 5 Homanculus
Arongoth of Hogendaus – Lvl 3 Cleric

Henching 4 Evah:
Richard Darkmagic – Lvl 5 Magic User

Monsters Mashed – 6 Stirges – All but one Sleep spelled and fell to their death. One kerploded with magic missiles
96 EXP/5.5 Players = 17 EXP apiece

The conditions of Rael’s condition:

Wolf Form: AC 6, Mov 150(50), Bite 2d4, +2 to save vs. Breath Wpn, 60' Darkvision.
+30 to Move Silently. May bite as backstab. Cannot use Climb ability. Make Save vs. Petrify/Paralyze to change 1/day and back.

Commentary:

So, after brewing up the worwelf cure as perscribed in their research in Doctor Von Rattschmid's library, Rael held her cold, wet nose, swallowed a silver piece, and then downed the nasty concoction. Then she rolled a save vs. Poison...

And made it. When her character was done gagging, I explained to her player that now she could control her wolfly transformations, more or less. She could only shift from person to wolf and back once per day, and if she blew either save vs. Paralysis she'd be stuck in whatever form she was in until the next day.  

In a normal campaign I'd probably be more inclined to play up the curse part of lycanthropy, what with the random transformations and the gnawing on comrades and whatnot, but in a schlock horror movie styled game like I was runnin', it seemed more apropos to just have it be part of the party's skill set. And thus the enweirdening of the party began...

So having solved Rael's problem, the group turned their attentions to helping Arongoth get over having almost half of his levels drained by the vampire Lobovich. 

They sought out the herbal advice of Bark Eatin' Ted, the mad druid of Ghoulardia Pass. Ted manifested as a face on the side of a tree, and they had a splintery conversation about what could be done. B.E. Ted suggested they rustle up some mandrake roots, which were known to be a restorative. In short, if Arongoth dug up a mandrake and ate it, he could get a level back. 

Of course, picking mandrakes is supremely dangerous, what with the killer scream they emit when pulled from the ground. S.O.P. was to get a dog and tie it to the root, toss a ball or a stick or something, and then run for the hills as the dog pulled the mandrake loose and got sent to heaven.  Since Rael wasn't too keen on volunteering for that gig they had to come up with something else.

Ted hipped them to the locations of a couple of the deadly tubers in the woods around Ghoulardia Pass, so they thanked the plank and headed off to do some more herb harvesting. 

The first mandrake they found was growing on a high ledge on a cliff that was also home to a nasty colony of stirges. They bested the little bloodsuckers with a Sleep spell, and then prepared their clever plan to get up there and pick that mandrake. 

Tune in Friday, to find out how they planned to do it, and how it all went horribly, horribly pear shaped. Heh heh heh...

Monday, May 14, 2018

The Creepy Crawl Chronicles - Session 22

Attendants:
Vlad Draculastein – Lvl 4 Dampyr
Greed – Lvl 5 Homanculus
Rael – Lvl 6 Thief/Werewolf
Ritzy – Lvl 5 Homanculus
Arongoth of Hogendaus – Lvl 3 Cleric

Henching 4 Evah:
Richard Darkmagic – Lvl 5 Magic User
Ivan Fedyeka – Lvl 2 Ranger Hireling

Monsters Mashed –
4 Dire Wolves – 560 EXP. / 6 players = 93 EXP apiece

1 Gallon (plus) of Dire Wolf blood successfully obtained.

Commentary:

Today's session was a quest for soup stock. Having obtained all the various poisonous and otherwise obnoxious herbal ingredients for Rael's wierwalf cure, as well as a nice copper pot to cook it all up in, they needed some dire wolf juice to really meld the flavors. 

So they hired Ivan, an NPC ranger, to help them track down a pack of the big beasties and went tromping about the pine forests around Ghoulardia Pass lookin' for trouble. Since that particular neck of the woods is crawling with wolves, dire and otherwise, they scored the necessary bucket of blood and headed back to the hunting lodge and got cookin'. 

I think they had the wine covered from an earlier looting haul, and contrary to his general MO of making shambling undead minions out of every corpse he could lay his hands on, and despite his reduced level from the battle with Lobovich, Arongoth could Purify and Bless enough water for the recipe's requirements. Or maybe they just left the holy water out. Or maybe they substituted a bottle of cheap vodka and some tomato juice. My records on this are vague, and my memory even vaguer.

Tune in Wednesday to find out how the medicine went down.  

P.S.: Of course the song is stuck in your head, it's stuck in mine right now. Here's the video, 'cos I love my readers (if there are actually any of you out there) and don't want to force you to have to search YouTube yourselves. 

You're welcome. 
Doo doo doodoo doo doodoo doo doodoo doo doodoodoo doooo.

Friday, May 11, 2018

The Creepy Crawl Chronicles - Session 21

Attendants:
Vlad Draculastein – Lvl 4 Dampyr
Greed – Lvl 5 Homanculus
Rael – Lvl 6 Thief/Werewolf
Ritzy – Lvl 5 Homanculus
Arongoth of Hogendaus – Lvl 3 Cleric

Henching 4 Evah:
Richard Darkmagic – Lvl 5 Magic User

Casualties:
Top battlement of Cardille Keep:
Loot Acquired –
Fancy gold stringed, semi-precious stone inlaid balalaika – 700 gp
               700 EXP
Monsters Mashed –
8 Giant bats – Stabbed, shot, and then awesomely exploded via Fireball
               160 EXP

Experience award total:
               860/5.5 Players = 156 Exp apiece

Commentary:

 As you'll note from the note in the attendance card, the player who ran Richard Darkmagic was unable to continue playing with us due to an uptick in his work schedule, so his magic user was converted to a permanent henchman. 

Well, permanent might not be the best word, as you'll soon see...

Anyway, our friendish fiends continued their looters tour of Cardille Keep, making their way up to the upper floors. 

One of the rooms was a conservatory where the skeletons of several elegant ladies, as could be determined from the moldering silken finery the bones were bedecked in, sat on dust covered couches. There they found the fancy balalaika, which Rael the Werethief claimed for keeps. (I love it when players take a personal interest in treasure they find rather than just marking down the gp value and cashing it in at ye olde fantasy cheque cashing and payedaye loanes establishmente.)

From there they made their way up to the top of the tower, where they were attacked by Lobovich's squad of giant bats. (There are just some features that come standard in a vampire's castle, although I guess the old boy sprang for the deluxe option here.) The party fought them off, punctuating a death sentence on the leathery beasts with a Big Red d30 fueled Fireball! BOOM!

Leaving the top of the keep in flames, and resolving to come back and check out that iron cauldron hanging from chains in the topmost battlement after the fire had died down, our party of pyros quit their castle casing for other pursuits. 

Stay tuned, group. It just gets more oofty mcgoofty from here. 


Wednesday, May 9, 2018

The Creepy Crawl Chronicles - Session 20

Attendants:
Vlad Draculastein – Lvl 4 Dampyr
Greed – Lvl 5 Homanculus
Rael – Lvl 6 Thief/Werewolf
Ritzy – Lvl 5 Homanculus
Arongoth of Hogendaus – Lvl 3 Cleric

Henching:
Richard Darkmagic – Lvl 5 Magic User

Monsters Mashed – 10 Doom Guards – Kerploded with magic swords and magic missiles, backstabbed in the neck, bludgeoned or arrowed and quarreled into rusty bits, bone shards, and dirt.
               350 EXP/5.5 players = 63 EXP apiece

Commentary:

In this session the party made their way up from the dungeon levels of Cardille Keep and found their way into the great feasting hall, where a troupe of Doom Guards (super old super dead guys packed into super antique rusty platemail with a bunch of grave earth as filler) stood guard. Then they didn't, after our gruesome group laid an old school whuppin' on their creaky kiesters. 

Not much more to say about this one, just one of those all fightin' kinds of sessions. We only had an hour to play over lunch, so often that's how things would go down. After four years I can't really recall much of interest. Dice were rolled, fun was had, lunch was eaten, and we all went back to our desks both satisfied and hungry to take it up where we left off next time we sat down to game.

Stay tuned for the next installment, where things will heat up a little.