Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Black City Game 28 - Don't Bathe in the Crab Pool

We reached a quorum of regulars this past weekend and got in another Black City game.  The players are in the vast fungal caverns of the second level; they had just entered a domed structure, negotiated past an acid bath trap, and finished a tough fight against a handful of rubbery alien servitors (the plasticals).  Some of the servitors were able to shoot electricity out of their arms, and one of the NPC clerics (Bottvild) was slain by an electro blast.

After the session recap, the players looted Bottvild's remains, her sister Borghild sliced off her head (so she doesn't return as a gjenganger) and they discussed the next place to explore.  They didn't experiment much with the control room at this point, other than to study the holographic "sand table" which showed a map of the caverns, with various points of interest highlighted.  Hopefully they took some notes.

Timur the Elf had blasted a new tunnel with the disintegration ray, and Brutok used his dwarven mining experience to determine the diagonal tunnel breached a further chamber, and he could sense water and air currents.  The 30' round tunnel opened about 5' above the surface of a large deep pool of circulating, murky water.  The water swirled slightly, as if fed from below by a rising underwater current.  There was no place else to go without dropping into the deep water and swimming, but craning their necks to the north, the party could see a beach area just at the range of vision.  If they continued regular exploration, there might be another room within the dome that leads to the water cave.

Time out from the game.  Someone is knocking at the door.  It's the son of one of the dads, a neighbor.  We can just barely hear him whisper to his dad, "Dad, someone flushed a whole bunch of toilet paper, and now poop is coming out of the shower.  That's bad, right?"  I'm sure any of the parents (with boys) can relate.

So Adam had to leave the game for a bit.

Returning to the control room, they went down a side passage and found a room with a catwalk overlooking a slow moving sluice of bluish fluid.  Some lights flashed on the wall alongside the catwalk.  Brutok went out to investigate, stumbled back from the wall, and fell backward into the blue goop.  His body went rigid and he begin to drift with the flow of the goop.  (Unbeknownst to the others, the wall had briefly shown a frightening 3-d hologram of a leaping nightmare monster, startling Brutok and causing him to stumble off of the walkway.  Then the blue stuff paralyzed him).

Mustafa jogged out there to fish Brutok out of the goop, while the other characters watched from the safety of the doorway.  They had looped a rope around Mustafa in case he stumbled as well.  He was also startled by the leaping hologram monster, but the other guys kept him from tumbling into the goop, and he was able to fish out the dwarf when he realized the monster was just a mirage.  As they carried Brutok out of the room, it was clear that any exposed flesh touching the blue goop went tingly and numb.  Brutok was covered with the stuff!  It also seemed to be acidic, eating holes in his clothing and raising welts on his flesh.  (It's actually an enzymatic solution that was breaking down proteins, but who's checking?)  The main thing is that Brutok was about to lose his pimp fur cloak and tricked out fur boots.  One of the guys suggested taking him to the pool of water and dunking him a few times to rinse all the blue stuff off.  Off they went.

The last time they visited the pool and leaned out over the murky water with their lantern, I rolled to see if the lurking "Crabstrosity" that lived in the pool noticed them.  Apparently, dipping a nice plump tasty dwarf all the way down into the underwater Crabstrosity lair and jigging it up and down at the end of a rope is enough enticement to lure the monster out of the depths.  (Anyone who's done crabbing in a bay knows the party performed the perfect technique).

"Oh great Cthulhu, please accept our humble sacrifice and grant us great powers…"  That was Adam, who had just returned from his household poop emergency (a plumber was on the way) in time to see the party desperately battling the tentacles of the giant crab monster.  The thing had already sliced Brutok to ribbons with its claws, and was attacking the guys on the ledge with the tentacles and threatening to drag them into the soup too.  The players were furiously trying to chop the tentacles and keep their front line from getting pulled down (and the front liners were pulling on the rope tied around the dwarf).

I can't make this stuff up - dunking the dwarf up and down into the Crabstrosity pool and then trying to fish him out before he was eaten alive was one of the funniest things in recent memory.  Unless you're the dwarf (in which case you have choice words for your compatriots).  Timur the Russian Elf eventually blasted the tentacles with Magic Missiles, and the party safely retreated deeper into the tunnel.

First aid and Cure Light Wounds were applied to the mauled dwarf, who hovered near death's door (-1 hit points).   He's had a number of recent "near death" experiences, provoking the Odin cleric to quip, "Clearly you're too short for Valhalla.  They keep throwing you back to grow some more".

The players figured it was a good time to retreat, and they were near enough the surface elevator that they bushwhacked through the fungal forest and returned to the upper ruins. They spent a bunch of time advancing the calendar on the surface; Halam (a level 1 NPC cleric retainer from their ship's crew) was promoted to the active roster and became a henchman; Zakhar and the Byzantines completed their mission to copy a Disintegration scroll off of one of the dungeon walls; a trip was made to the Tower of Astronomy, where "Odin" had finished crafting a suit of man-sized adamant armor in payment for prior services.  Odin gave them a vague quest about extending his influence to the caverns, and then cast them out of Asgard (in other words, they were instantaneously teleported off the orbital space station and down to the ruined city).

So it was a week or so later in game time when they made a second foray into the caverns, fully healed with XP awards (Ben Underfoot leveled up), and returned to the giant dome in the forest.  The "stone walker" guardian wasn't replaced, and this time they knew the procedure to get through the acid bath air lock trap without injury.  Unfortunately, there was a new detachment of Plasticals operating the control stations in the first room.

This time, the squad of Plasticals was led by a brainy one (a Mark IV in my notes) - a construct capable of dominating humanoid brains with amazing psychic powers.  They had fought one of these before, and it put the whammy on half the party, so the guys prioritized missile fire at the brainy alien.  Its head was blown into green goop like the Martian heads in Mars Attacks, after Timur unleashed the Magic Missiles its way.

The party handled the rest of the fight really well.  The fighters crashed into the meaty guards, and Agnar leaped off a catwalk onto one of the blasty aliens below, impaling it with his spear in a style worthy of a viking hero (one of the guys said he "air assassinated" the alien).  Vitaly the Elf (9 hit points!) made a suicide charge into one of the blasty aliens, and should surely be dead, but he's wearing alien-sculpted adamant plate (the ancients were elf-sized), and Vitaly learned, fortuitously, that adamant provides electrical resistance.  He managed to live.

That was it for game night - we had toilet emergencies, blue goo jokes, and the party almost fed their helpless, paralyzed dwarf to a voracious crab monster.   All in a night's work.

Current Player Characters:
Mustafa of Arabia, a scimitar wielding desert warrior (L4)
Brutok Bearslayer, a dwarf (L4)
Borghild, a Norse cleric of Odin (L4)
Timur, Russian Elf (L3)
Vitaly the Lucky, Russian Elf (L3)
Ben Underfoot, Halfling Scout (L3)

Retainers or NPCs with the party:
Agnar Beigarth, a Northman fighter (L4)
Tribunas, Byzantine magic user (L3)
Visin Thorsteinson, Norse Fighter (L3)
Hunlaf the Saxon, Thief (L2)
Halam (Cleric of Frey L1)


  1. Another great writeup! I am having trouble visualizing where the chamber is that they blasted to and found the river of blue goo. Where on the map is that? Same goes for the crabosity lair.

  2. Yet again, another entertaining recap for the fans. Beedo, I know you have stated your opinion/observation that the Session Recaps are the least favorite articles that you post, but I would like to go on record that the Gothic Greyhawk and now Black City posts are what I keep returning for. You have the gift that I have only rarely encountered, most notably by an aunt of mine, of making the reader feel like they are sitting with you in the room as you are recounting your stories.

    1. I'll second that the Black City reports keep me checking...the other material is good as well but the feeling of old movies serials with "same time next week" is a good way to move yourself to the top of the check me list.

      And I love the idea of crabbing with dwarf chum. I'm sure Brutok was not nearly as amused.