Friday, December 27, 2013

Black City Game 29 - Rub a Dub Dub Two Elves and a Tub

We missed a few weeks of gaming (for reasons) but got the group together last week for one more game before the holidays.  Now I'm hoping for another quorum this weekend, last game of 2013.

When last we were here for a recap, the party had been exploring the sprawling caverns beneath the Black City.  They had performed multiple forays into a free standing building they were calling "the Dome" - a 200' oval structure sitting in the middle of a fungal forest.  Each time they left the dome and returned, a new detachment of plastic-man guardians, alien-like humanoids I call "plasticals", were back on guard duty within the entrance.  We ended the previous game session after the party had breached the Dome's entrance once again and defeated the new set of guards.  This week's session resumed exploration from that point.

East of the entrance chamber was a round tunnel ending in a locked blue door.  The Black City uses a color-coded locking system for many of the powered doors, and the party no longer owns a blue gemstone pass key.  That was a dead end.

To the north of the entrance was a room lit by flickering electricity coursing through a crystalline structure.  The knotted, ropy pillar of clear crystal extended from beneath the floor up through the ceiling of the dome, and the lightning flashed into it from below at irregular intervals.  The crystal column was 10-15' diameter.

A 3' long spider, made of glass, scuttled down the pillar from outside the dome, coming to rest down near the roots of the pillar.  It formed a ball and then merged with the crystal.  All the thousand nodules and lumps that made up the giant crystal column were all glass spiders, detaching and reabsorbing into the mass of crystal.  The players treaded very lightly around that particular room hoping to avoid attention!

One of the doors out of the glass spider room led to the pool caverns near the lair of the Crabstrosity, the villain of last week's game.  The party displayed no interest in exploring anything near the Crabstrosity.

When the opposite door out of the crystal room was opened, the front rank was hit by a wave of oppressive heat.  Beyond was a large dim room, hot like a sauna, and filled with a few heavily shielded tubs and a moveable section of floor.  Some stationary figures near the walls jerked alive and stumbled towards the party, moving ponderously in bulky, oversized armor - heat and radiation shielding.  This was an interesting fight because the armored aliens were tough to hit, and as the fight turned into an attrition battle, the party had to deal with fatigue due to the heat, making it even harder to hit the aliens due to exertion.  They prevailed due to their numbers, but I liked this angle of attack (high armor class creating an attrition battle, and the extreme heat punishing the party for an extended battle).

They ended up guzzling a lot of water rations to rehydrate, and discovered sealed tubs and a capstan-like winch for retracting the floor.   While everyone else retreated outside of the room, the two elves got suited up in the alien heat-shielded armor (the aliens are elf-sized) and the elves began tinkering.  Over the course of a bit of pulling and prodding, they discovered a lead-shielded bin of crystals, glowing white hot and casting off incandescent heat; the winch opened the floor to what a played called "a nuclear reactor" and lowered a heavy duty basket on a chain out of the ceiling - I guess someone could take a ride down into the nuclear reactor.  There were also some blank, non-charged crystals (which they looted).  The elves ended up leaving all the "hot" stuff, ditching the radiation suits, and joining the rest of the party out in the cooler air of the spider column room.

I like big boss style monsters.  In the north of the Dome was a room with these amazing, orb-like balls stuck to the walls in a gooey matrix.  They looked valuable - very valuable.  Hunlaf the Saxon went to work chiseling one off the wall, but the giant crystalline spider queen lurking up near the ceiling swung down overhead and started stabbing at his bodyguards with bladed forelegs.  The same bluish electricity that sparked through the spider column pulsed through the queen, and this monster was able to project it into an electrical field.  Guys were getting fried just by attacking the  giant hanging terror.

Mustafa, their most impervious fighter, took the monster head on and got bitten, stabbed, and paralyzed by spider venom.  Most of the smart people started retreating at that point, and plinked it with arrows (or magic missiles, if applicable).   A few of the tough guys stayed below, jabbing up with spears or otherwise trying to smack it from the ground, like a gigantic piñata.  It was pretty tense, because multiple people were close to dying from the electric field damage, but then they killed it and had to worry about a gigantic alien spider dislodging from the ceiling and crashing down on them.

In the end, the only death was one of the lower level retainers, who died underneath the crushing weight of the spider when it fell out of its perch.

The party rolled the giant spider off of the survivors, dragged the paralyzed Mustafa out from under, and Hunlaf finished looting the amazing grapefruit sized orbs from the walls of the room.  They looked to be worth about 1,000sp each, and they ended up finding nearly a dozen of the spheres - quite a pay day.

The trip out of the dome was harrowing, as a number of smaller glass spiders detached from the central column and chased them out of the structure, circling back to pour out of the hole at the top of the dome and come down across the roof towards the party from outside.  They made a stand near the dome entrance, and one of the wizards used a Phantasmal Force of a dragon to scare most of the glass spiders to death.  Badly injured and out of magic, the party didn't relish a journey through the fungal forest, with its teeming swarms of carnivorous giant insects.  They went back into the dome to find a sealed room they could use for short term rest.

Someone remembered Odin, the alien supercomputer that acts as their patron, had given them a bunch of Odin memory crystals that would allow the Asgardian deity to seize control of new sections of the undercity.  The elves started looking around the entrance chamber for one of the telltale compartments that housed a memory crystal.  Success!  They replaced the original crystal with Odin's, and a glowing hologram of the All-Father began to materialize in front of them, laughing maniacally as his power grew and grew along with his expanding computing power (in game terms, he gets more psionics as the players add more of the city to his collective).

Odin assured the players he'd be able to override and lock the doors, ensuring no patrols or detachments would intrude on them while they rested.  It was just a little hard to sleep underneath the glow of the power-mad hologram chortling with glee.

I had a Christmas themed Black City event all lined up, something I'm calling "The Fractious Night".  Alas, last weekend's game went too long and we didn't get to experience the Fractious Night last week.  But it's still a holiday week and there's time before New Year's eve for us to finish out 2013 with a blast.  As we ended last session, Odin stopped scanning the banks of data in the alien work stations and tilted his head as if listening to a far off voice.  "All grows still and silent in the fungal forests of the sprawling caverns outside.  A great evil stirs.  The Fractious Night approaches".