April 4, 2015

Ancients & Aliens: Sessions 5-14 - A recap

It's been quite a while since I've done a session recap.  Maybe it's best if I go over a few highlights from previous sessions.

Sura the Orionixie once fumbled an attack roll so badly that when she reached for an arrow she pulled an angry lobster out of her quiver instead.  I blame the chart (even though I made it).

The group discovered that bugbears in this setting are horrible giant mantis/bear centaurs.  Jakob the Ratling rode one of them bareback (bearback?) during the fight.

Ony the Mutant Jedite emerged from his cocoon much changed, but mentally intact.  Long gangly limbs and an oversized hairless veiny cranium help Ony stand out from the crowd.  He rolled up all new mutations as well.  The two most noteworthy are the ability to generate electric shocks at will and telekinesis that has a higher strength score than his own body.

The Watchkeepers have been disbanded and the wilds around Niru are now patrolled by 100 troops on loan from Sippar.

I rolled up a random wilderness encounter once that turned out to be a Black Dragon.  Since the PCs were all level 1 and 2, I decided that the dragon was busy killing and eating some other poor schmucks so that the party could go and hide/survive.  Instead, Sura decided to rush at the dragon with a wand of paralyzation while it's back was turned.  The dragon pulled it's head out of Swamp Tower, turned and prepared to blast Sura with acid just as the wand went off.  This single saving throw stood between glory and a TPK.  Dragon rolled a 2.  It still haunts me.  Poor thing watched helplessly while these low level adventurers hacked it to death.  The party is now known throughout the lands as "The Dragonslayers".  They continue to struggle living up to their own reputation.

We spent quite a few sessions exploring both the Caves of Chaos and Under Xylarthen's Tower.  I've had a lot of fun running both of those.  I shouldn't really speak for the players, but I think the general consensus is that the caves are too risky, and that Xylarthen's didn't have enough loot.  I don't fully agree (especially since there IS a dragon horde in Xylarthen's), but I think that was their impression after 2 caves and the first 2+ levels of Xylarthen's were explored.  The group decided to move on to other things.

I ran the party through The Gnomes of Levnec, which was awesome.  The mystery was interesting, one and a half sessions were spent just wandering around the town and doing detective work (my players are thorough).  After that the party wandered through the woods for a while, the random encounters there are pretty sweet.  They eventually met and befriended the gnomes.  We got 12 hours of session time out of that material.  The party also met the crazy wizard and found the temple of the stupid cultists, but chose not to press their luck with such fights.  There is probably a couple more 4 hour sessions worth of adventure in Levnec if the party ever decides to go back.

One of the magi in Niru offered to pay the party to go collect some cysts.  I ran them through Sleeping Place of the Feathered Swine and it was awesome too.  I think the players were uncomfortable with this adventure.  They were rightly worried about their characters getting infected by worm juice and having to be killed or get limbs amputated.  Since the characters were all level 3 and 4 I went ahead and beefed up all the creatures in this adventure even though every hit held a chance for infection.  I'm just that sort of bastard.  Some of my favorite moments from the adventure: *One of the guys cleaned the sticky remains out of the magical black nipple armor and put it on. *Before removing the first cyst, the whole party almost forgot to sedate the Feathered Swine.  Sura remembered at the zero moment just as Ony was raising the knife.  *As the party fought the very last Worm Tumor creature a cheer went up when the Halflingon rolled a critical hit.  None of the party had been infected yet and now this last foe was probably going to die.  I use the Arduin crit chart and it's not very forgiving.  Wheelz rolled a 00 on the chart,  100 Head Entire head pulped and splattered over wide area, irrevocable death Total. So I had everyone in the vicinity roll a save vs. paralyzation to avoid getting hit by the splatter, those who failed rolled a save vs death to avoid the infection.  2 of the henchmen got infected.  We rolled on my hit location chart to see where those 2 were splashed with the worm juice.  One guy had to have his right arm amputated pretty much immediately.  Dungeon surgery at it's best.  Then the PCs huddled up in the corner to discuss what to do with Nikozheb the Thief who had been splashed in the chest.  Nikozheb knew that all the whispering did not bode well for him, so he decided to sneak out of the cave while no one was watching.  They don't know where he is now because guess what... Nikozheb was the party tracker too.  So now the infection has spread beyond the cave.  Good times.

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