Saturday, January 12, 2013

Black City Game 19: Danger Will Robinson

The Black City is a ruined, alien city in the frozen north, on the shore of the island of Thule.  It was rediscovered a few years ago by Viking Northmen, who've built a small outpost, Trade Town, on the coast near the city.  Each year, more Northmen adventurers arrive in Trade Town to test their skills exploring the city and the ruined dungeons below it.

"Danger Will Robinson".  This game session was all about building the robot and taking it out for a cruise.  I want to see some mecha-versus-giant monster action.  Weeks and weeks ago, the party had collected the pieces of a large metal automaton in the Mist Dungeon, and then promptly hidden them in a secret room not far from there.  This was the session where they finally assembled the robot and rolled it into action.

But first, there's some ground to cover .  Last game ended with Mustafa dying of gremlin poison; taking advantage of the LOTFP spell repertoire, the clerics chose to take him back to a secure room, rest and pray for Delay Poison and Bless to improve the odds when the fighter had to make a roll to either recover or die (the poison incapacitated the character for 12 hours before killing them). The combination of spells was enough to save the fighter.

Returning to finish exploring the natural hewn frost gremlin lair the following day, the party found "the ichor pool", a nasty pool of icy water in a rime-covered cave where blue ichor dripped off a stalactite and swirled in the water.   The ceiling was solid ice and translucent, and they could see a large block-like item stuck in the ice… dripping.  The tunnel to the ichor pool climbed, and the dwarf guessed this was below the glacier on the surface (architecture).

There were lurid cave paintings in a previous room before the ichor pool, showing frost gremlins throwing cages with rats into the ichor pool and gremlins coming out the other side.  A severed head watched and lolled in the background.  The kids immediately remembered the dungeon graffiti about the severed Jotun head, and are now convinced that's the thing in the ceiling.  (I mentioned the Jotun Head graffiti and the uncanny memory of youth last game report).

It felt like we spent… a long time with the players debating whether to chisel the Jotun's Head out of the ice, and what would they do it, and what it could be worth if they dragged it back to town; should someone dunk themselves in the pool, or drink the blue goo; and what could they find in the dungeon to use as a test subject? In fact, sometime later, they were ambushed  by stealthy berserkers, big muscular bruisers who moved with utter silence, and when Domincus used a Sleep spell on them, the party trussed a survivor and forced some of the blue ichor down his throat.  The berserker convulsed and twitched and frothed, mutating into a huge lizard-like monstrosity.  Brutok planted his axe in the monster's skull before it broke free.

"No one drinks the blue ichor, is that clear?"

More and more humans were being encountered in the deeper areas of the Transit Tunnels, and the players worried their secret hiding room for the robot would not stay hidden; with that in mind, they decided it was time to assemble the robot and see what it could do.  Alas, it did not go berserk and attack them when it was turned back on; there was a chance of it.

One of the boys remembered the robot commands from the "new employee training video" (an alien hologram they watched back in the Mist Dungeon) so that character knew how to activate the robot with a passkey gem and get it to follow.  In this way they rumbled along to the distant Ice Cave dungeon, giant robot in tow.

A long passage lead into the heart of the Ice Cave dungeon, small candles burning along the way; the wicks were stuck in stone bowls filled with animal fat.  Primitive drawings on the walls displayed pictures of teeth, teeth, lots and lots more teeth.  Eventually, the hallway became rime-covered and icy, stalactites hanging down, and soon the way was completely blocked by ice.  The halfling Brick snuck ahead, weaving around the icy stalactites blocking the hall to peer into the chamber beyond.  Just past the columns of ice blocking the way forward, he saw piles and piles of treasure through the misty air - silver coins, copper coins, gems, jewels, and even rarer items.

Since it was all too good to be true, Brick worked his way back to the party and they retreated way down the hallway to where the robot was sitting, inactive.  (The robot had some kind of battery power indicated by an energy meter, so they would have it shut down and wait for them someplace behind).

Heading down a south passage, Timur the elf made friends with a "robot dog" in one room, Brick survived a pit viper attack in another, and the group discovered the large chamber that served as the lair of Zoltan the Welder and his dark elf slaves, a suitable cliffhanger.

Whew, now I'm caught up on game reports again. With a dearth of recent deaths, the roster has stayed like this:

Cast of Characters
Agnar Beigarth, a Northman fighter (L2)
Mustafa of Arabia, a scimitar wielding desert warrior (L3)
Brutok the Strong, a dwarf (L2)
Borghild, a Norse cleric of Odin (L3)
Timur, Russian Elf (L1)
Vitaly, Russian Elf (L1)
Dominicus, Byzantine magic user (L1)

Retainers with the party:
Tribunas, Byzantine magic user (L1)
Brick Bunnybreaker (halfling L1)
Bottvild (cleric L2)
Visin Thorsteinson (fighter L3)
Hunlaf the Saxon (specialist L2)