Sunday, September 30, 2012

The Von Furstenberg Schism, pt. 4: The Jungle of Magyaru

The party has set out from their landing point on the coast of Magyaru. The group at this point includes:

Vincent Clemens: Big brick of a guardsman, and his faithful cargo servitor (who carries all of his many weapons).
Jeromy: Guardsman (substitute PC for Mark, who failed to show for the game)
Ferrus D'Angelus: Adept (Rhonda)
Alistair: Arbitrator (Kevin)
Castus: Imperial Psyker (John)
Ianescu: Tech Priest (Jason)
Their Guide/Pilot

I'll return to the recap in a moment, but first I think it's important to get a sense of the atmosphere I was trying to create with this one, and my my overall process in creating this setting. 

My first impulse when I set out to do this adventure arc in a jungle was derived from King Kong. This needed to be the sort of adventure that hearkened back to the days of monster movies and the short-form serials that gave rise to the term "cliff-hanger." You know, intrepid adventurers, mysterious islands, fearsome creatures never before seen by man, and that sort of thing. The island itself I envisioned as volcanic, and mountainous. Here's a bit of the description I wrote as flavor text/memory cue:

The Jungle of Magyaru Consists of rock, mud, vegetation, and rushing waters. There are two prominent rivers, the northernmost of which takes the form of a series of linked lakes and ponds as it runs, first quickly and then more slowly, toward the northern coast. Investigation of these "lakes" will determine that they are not natural in origin. In fact, they are a transportation system for large, aquatic beings, a stairway for octopoids.

I was really going for that Lovecraftian flavor, here. The island of Magyaru, as I imagined it, wasn't actually a volcano. Instead it was the remains of an absolute collosal city, which, at some time very, very long ago, beyond the memories of mere humans, was inhabited by the Great Old Ones, creatures that existed before the Chaos Gods (Nurgle, Slaanesh, and Tzeentch). So, yeah, Lovecraft all the way. That city, though, had been destroyed by some other power(s), with what presumably was some sort of kinetic strike, whether by asteroid or some other big freakin' thing dropped on their heads. What remains is a crescent-shaped chain of islands, of which Magyaru is the largest. Presumably, this setting could be used for a dungeon-crawl kind of adventure. My approach was to use some of the maps from the very excellent Castle of the Mad Archmage.

As the party made its way up the "mountain" it had two major encounters, and a minor one. The first encounter happened when the party encountered a river it had to ford. This leads me to comment on the approach of one of the players in this game. This guy played Vincent Clemens, the hardcore Guardsman. Let's just say that his notion of encumbrance was a bit different than mine. He figured that he could carry every weapon he could use by his training. This, through the steaming jungle, uphill. I called bullshit on that, and made him buy a cargo servitor to carry them. This ended up having hilarious results. The party felled a tree to span the water, and discovered that there was a dangerous critter in the shallows, the Water Whip (I will post its description in the next entry). After dispatching it with a few well-placed grenades, the party attempted to ford the water by crossing their bridge. The servitor failed an agility check... and fell in, sinking to the bottom of the water. Using his enhanced respiratory system, the tech priest was able to go underwater to recover some of the weapons load it was carrying, but not all. 

The noise from the encounter with the Water Whips attracted a band of primitive orcs. The PCs rolled over them. It was silly, frankly, and demonstrated one of the features of the armor system in Dark Heresy to a freakin' T. Primitive weapons are all but useless against high tech armor, which counts as having double the normal armor points when primitive weapons are used. So, primitive orcs = primitive weapons = the PCs not taking any damage and the orcs getting slaughtered. It was disheartening, frankly, because at this point I really wanted to create a bigger challenge. That would come in the third encounter.

The third encounter was with a Razor Beast, which I've already described in an earlier post. Just for reference, though, think of this critter as something like a mantis crossed with a flea crossed with a lizard, but the size of a bull elephant. The PCs heard a series of crashing sounds in the distance, wood cracking and whatnot, and then the thing dropped from the sky and into their midst. In short order it had taken out their Guide/Pilot. If they want off of this rock, someone in the party will need to drive. After that, though, they were able to dispatch the creature relatively easily. I'd really thought they'd be tested more, but, alas, no.

A bit more trudging would eventually bring them to their destination: The Black Temple.

The Black Temple is a series of ancient ruins. Its main entrance is a huge complex, deep in the jungle of Magyaru. It stands athwart two small rivers, which issue from beneath it. The entrance-proper is at the bottom of the complex, on the downhill side (NE).
 Its design is blocky and crude, but the stone is decorated intricately with mosaics and patterned designs. Looking too closely at these can make a person feel ill, disoriented, nauseous, and anxious, much like a severe panic attack.
 Inside are a variety of tunnels and rooms, seeming to stretch endlessly. There is an odd smell, faint but acrid. 

And that is where we ended the session.

Next up, they PCs enter the Black Temple.