Sunday, April 3, 2016

Dwimmermount Game 18 - Flight of the Drevelator

The further adventures of our adventuring party, The Investors:

Marthanes the Summoner, (level 4 mage)
Tancrede, a level 4 cleric of Typhon (henchman)
Wulfengard,a level 4 dwarf fighter
Sloth the Mook, level 1 fighter (henchman)
Drev, a level 4 Squindian bard
Bud, a level 3 dwarven cleric
Bart, a level 4 fighter
Mumford, a level 3 fighter
Malthena, a level 3 thief (henchman)
Arethusa, Mage 3 (henchman)
Utor, level 3 Elven Enchanter


The last game ended on a major discovery.  By way of recap:  our stalwart heroes used Drev's flying carpet to ascend up the elevator shaft in Dwimmermount; in this way, they were exploring a secret area they knew no other adventuring party could reach - a totally new space.  Unfortunately, this Level 0, the Divinitarium, is really, really dangerous to an underpowered group that doesn't have access to Cure Disease.  Most of the monsters are slimes, oozes, and fungi with hideous infection attacks.  We stopped last game session when the players discovered a wonder beyond imagining - a full sized interplanetary space ship, the Astral Vessel, parked in a massive hangar.  It blew their minds to think the setting would let them go to other planets.  "We will invade Aeron and conquer the Eld!".  However, a half dozen or more slimy zombies slurped to their feet halfway across the dimly lit hangar, blocking the way.

We started this game with the players, standing across from the zombies, developing their battle plans.

They Astral Vessel was too awesome not to try and seize; how dangerous could a bunch of slimy zombies be?  The fighters started peppering the slow moving zombies with arrows, while Drev shot forward on the flying carpet, with Utor and Arethusa on board.  The two mages had Burning Hands spells and they figured they'd do a couple of back and forth fly-bys, raining fire down on the slime zombies.  The combination of magic items and spells as technology is giving the players access to 'modern' battle tactics.  Queue the Ride of the Valkyries theme.

Unfortunately, no one looked up at the vaulted hangar ceiling to realize it was covered in patches of Olive Slime, which started dropping like bombs.  Incoming!  Drev tried to weave, but a pocket of slime landed on Utor.  "I am very sorry, Mr Utor", said Drev's player in his Squindian accent, "but I will not be having any slime covered elves standing on my special carpet".  And Drev gave Utor a sharp kick in the rear, launching him into the air.  Drev used to be a Squindian pirate, so he flashes his Chaotic tendencies from time to time.

Poor Utor.  He found himself on the ground, disoriented from the fall, going numb from the Olive Slime creeping over his flesh, with several Olive Slime Zombies craning their way towards him, blindly groping for him.  He took out his Wand of Fear, aimed it back at his own face, and let loose with a charge, blasting himself at point blank. When I asked him why he'd do such a crazy thing, he said, "I'm going to scare that slime right off my body!  I think it's going to jump right off in fear!"  What really happened is that Utor ran off into a dark corner of the hangar in a total panic, at least until the Olive Slime permeated enough of his nervous system to take control.  Somewhere in the darkness, a new elf-sized Olive Slime Zombie shuffled to its feet and started walking towards the players…  brains...

Drev looped his carpet back to the players, avoiding the falling slime attacks from the ceiling, and the players agreed this was more than they could handle, and retreated from the hangar.  "We need Fireballs and Cure Disease and then we'll be back to claim our space ship."  Utor's player took the abandonment of his character in stride.  "I'll play Arethusa (a henchman) until I get the chance to make a monk character.  I want to do kung fu."

The players had enough with The Divinitarium, creatively dodging various wandering monsters to get off the level and make their way back to town.  Bart was still shuffling along in the background with his serious head injuries from last session, Utor was dead, and they had sacks of juicy history books to read back in town.

We allowed a few weeks to pass in town so the players could fully recover, level where warranted, and read the books.  Marthanes also lent the books to his allies, the Seekers (this would come up as a full-blown issue in one of the upcoming games, game 20).  Because "The Secret History of Dwimmermount" requires a lot of exposition, I don't give it out mid-game; I send a document out after the session, incrementally adding the new knowledge.  This way, the 2-3 players that really care about it (and don't mind reading) can absorb it at their leisure, and it keeps the game moving in session.  The players have a 'knowledge tracker' so they can see how they're doing versus the "big questions" and where their knowledge has gaps yet to be found.  Like I said in my review of the campaign book, this really is a nice quest \ scavenger hunt mechanic for the dungeon, and it's created forward progress and interesting player choices.

In "campaign time" it's now early winter, and flakes are falling outside Muntburg as the mountains fill up with snow.  The players trudged back to Dwimmermount, bundled against the cold, and decided they would now head down the elevator shaft and try out level 4 (the Halls of Lesser Secrets).  They've dubbed Drev's magic carpet the Drevelator, as in, "we'll take the Drevelator down to level 4."

Level 4 was partially cleared by the Seekers, so the players knew about some of the entry rooms, and the presence of Minotaurs somewhere on the level.  They managed to get the actual elevator working fairly early on, so they wouldn't be reliant on multiple trips on the Drevelator (which can only ferry 3 at a time).  However, the Seekers failed to warn their "allies" about various teleportation traps in the major intersections, and the player group was quickly scattered across level 4!  Bart and Wulf ended up fighting an Ochre Jelly on their own, but Marthanes sent Tancrede through as an experiment, and the pair quickly figured out a method to get everyone together again at a single rally point - although they had no idea where the rally point was located on the level.  They would need to map, explore, and try to piece it together until they found landmarks.

Glossing over exploration, the interesting bits of level 4 emerged when the party encountered some wererats, and broached a parlay in lieu of combat.  After being brought to the wererat leader and exchanging some knowledge about the outside world (in return for information about the inside of Dwimmermount), here was the deal that was brokered:  the wererat leader is interested in escaping to the capital city, Adamas, and becoming a player in the crime underworld there.  If the players promise to  help the wererats get to Adamas, the wererats will help map the level, and point out some of the choice treasure locations.  The players just need to go kill the Minotaur King first.

If you think this deal sounds too favorable for the wererats, you're right, but the kids were happy to expedite their fight with the minotaurs, and the thought of having crime lord allies in the city is too cool to pass up at their age.  They're thinking long term.  The alliance was formed.

The wererats led the players to a hallway that would take them into Minotaur territory, and ultimately the throne of the king.  They assaulted the minotaur king (and a group of guards that looked shockingly similar to the king, almost like clones…)  The fight ended up being anti-climactic - minotaurs are just dumb brutes, an attrition battle.  Drev's mobile fighting platform floated above the battle, providing a safe vantage for a few of the shooters, while the fighters waded in (along with Tancrede).  "You have one job, Tancrede", chided one of the fighters, "stay back and heal the people that need it.  Why are you always clogging the front lines?  One job."  Bud, the other cleric, is actually a better fighter than Tancrede, but Tancrede always beats him to the front line.

The other noticeable development in player strategy has been Marthanes, and his discovery that "It's just awesome being me".  Marthanes has a helm (circlet) of teleportation, which lets him blink around, once per turn.  There's basically a 1% chance he goes and never comes back, lost in the ether.  When he first got the helm that 1% chance was a mental barrier, and he swore to only use the helm for emergencies, but now it seems he's willing to assume the risk and teleport around just to show off.  When the king jumped into the fray, Marthanes teleported behind all the minotaurs to sit on the throne and gloat.  His typical prattle to the other players goes something like this, "Just another perk of being Marthanes, world's greatest summoner.  Forgot something in town?  I can go back and get it for you, instantly.  Because I'm awesome".

After slaying the Minotaur king and his clones, the players looted the throne room, regrouped with their new wererat allies, and made their way out of the dungeon.  We'll pick up with more mad-cap antics of The Investors next week, when they demonstrate how a clone chamber and an alteration bed can be used to manufacture your very own Smurfette.