Friday, June 28, 2013

Metal Gods of Ur-Hadad: Adventures in the Undercity, part... I can't even remember anymore

Well, boys and girls, last night's DCC session was a barn-burner. We finally hit that sweet spot between (mostly) survivable and "brudl" (a.k.a. "BRUTAL"). For background on that, see this: Make it Brudl. Here's what went down.

As you may remember, Vane Barbute (2nd level--again--fighter) had been fitted by the Gray Man leader with some fine new bling (an exploding collar). The Gray Men promised to remove it if the PCs would kill the Toothman chief and his "ju-ju man." Vane's owner was not able to make it to our session last night, having been brought low by a killer klown (bad McD's is a bitch, yo). It was just as well, he might finally have died, had he made the session.

When we started, the PCs were standing on an elevated platform, above the flooded room where they'd entered. Last session had seen them take out about 8 Toothmen with bows, slaughtering them to the last (tooth)man. Now, they were faced with a door designed in the style of a modern naval bulkhead door, vault-style with a spinning when in the center. This group being what it is, they opened the door pretty quickly. Luckily, no traps were affixed to it.

Upon entering, they encountered 6 Toothman warriors with bows. I've been trying out missile weapons this adventure, because I got kind of sick of the guys cutting up my pretty monsters in melee. Unfortunately for them, they pretty much got slaughtered without inflicting significant damage. Bows just don't do that much harm, and these guys are tough--humanoids about 7 feet tall, broad across the chest, with heads like a cross between an alligator and a T-Rex with bigger teeth. Scary bastards. Their bites are vicious, though, as the PCs would soon discover. Also, Clave was wielding the Spear of the Lizard King, and managed to chain together about three or four consecutive strikes on these guys, helping to wear them down considerably, and then the rest of the party got in on the action. Result? Six dead bad guys.

Having dispensed with the Toothmen, they searched the bedding in the chamber and found a variety of uncut gems. Nice. These could probably fetch a pretty decent price, and maybe more if they're willing to find a jeweler to cut them. They also found another door, like the first, but smaller. This one also had an attached keypad. Careful inspection suggested that the Toothmen are not particularly adept at choosing secure keycodes. Only the "6" button seemed to have been used, as it was marked with claw scratches. A short while later, "6-6-6" was entered and the door emitted a "thunk" as the lock disengaged. They entered the room only to discover it was actually more like an airlock. There was another keypad on the other side of this door, and another door about 20 feet on. It also had a keypad. Again, 6-6-6 was the number of the code. I'd thought briefly about making it 6-6-8 (the neighbor of the beast), just because it was right next door to the first keypad, but it was getting late. It was time for brutality. And brutality there would be.

The PCs opened this door as well, and were confronted by the Toothmen's chief, a ju-ju man (shaman), and four warriors with bows. I called for initiative. They rolled well, and I rolled very poorly. This would prove to be fortuitous for them. I'm not sure they would have survived, otherwise.

Absalom the Elf cast Choking Cloud to good effect, centered on the ju-ju man. Formerly Ian the Wizard cast Sleep. Several of the enemy were put down, but others, including the ju-ju man and his chief remained standing. The others could be roused by normal means (i.e., a swift kick in the head). The ju-ju man cast Emirikol's Entropic Maelstrom. I rolled pretty high, but the effect was less impressive than I'd hoped. Should have cast Fireball instead, or Invisibility, or Monster Summoning... oh, well. The chief also charged in with his axe, dealing decent damage. At this point, things started to get pretty chaotic, and I don't remember the blow-by-blow, but here are some highlights.

The party's wizards had some pretty bad spell rolls. The misfires on Sleep were particularly bad, as (twice!) a misfired Sleep put down all but one member of the party. Luckily, they could be awakened, but this constituted a movement action, and there were five of them. Also twice, Morfans the Dwarf used his Mighty Deed in an interesting manner--for increased movement. He used it to wake all of his companions. Did he roll well? Yes, ridiculously so, and narrowly averted what seemed like a sure TPK for the group.

That's when things got really, really ugly. Another Sleep was cast. Same. Fucking. Result. This time, everyone but Formerly Ian the Wizard was whacked with the misfire. Then the ju-ju man cast Fireball, and rolled something like 27, resulting in a 6d6 blast that killed just about everyone.

Luckily, Aram the cleric was on the job. If he hadn't been there to reverse the momentum of the fight by reviving his compatriots, the day surely would have ended poorly for one and all. Even so, the party almost got TPK'd twice in this combat. Alas, the brutality would not happen for me. My players were rollin' and my NPCs were hatin'. I don't think I've ever seen a DCC cleric this effective. He only blew a single roll, and the rest of his rolls basically saved everybody else.

Morfans the Dwarf also was magnificent. He kept using his Mighty Deed to knock the Toothman chief prone. On one such round, he hit with his blade and with his shield bash, busting the chief in the chops and cutting his legs out from underneath him.

Eventually, though there were many near deaths, the party survived the fight, took the heads of their enemies, and saved Vane Barbute's neck (literally).

The final tally ran about like this:

  • Formerly Ian the Wizard got reduced to zero hit points THREE TIMES (!!!) and survived to tell the tale.
  • Other party members got reduced to zero hit points and revived several times.
  • Two Sleep spells misfired, sending a total of 10 PCs into Slumber Land.
  • Two times, the party managed to rouse its sleeping members before The End could come.
  • Aram the Cleric earned several rounds of drinks with his mad healing skillz. He literally saved the party from certain death.
  • Aram was forced, in the end, to choose who would live and who would die. Wayne (the owner of Clave and Jerkal) gave the nod to Formerly Ian the Wizard, stating simply, "He's a better wizard than I ever was." Formerly Ian, despite three near-death experiences, will live to fight another day.
  • Clave and Jerkal the Blazin' will not.
About Clave and Jerkal, in memorium.  

Clave was one of the characters from the inaugural Metal Gods of Ur-Hadad session. He won the Spear of the Lizard King. He killed many an ape man at the Battle of Fort Simian. He was a good dude, and now he's dead. Pour out a drank for him.

Jerkal the Blazin' started life as a gambler. He looked like Kenny Rogers. He cast Flaming Hands like a champion, except when it misfired. When that happened, he inevitably--by dice roll, each time it happened--shot fire from his cock (a.k.a. his "flaming glans"). He also saved the party (along with with Formerly Ian) during the great battle with a Serpent Man Lich and his minions, in the caverns under the Temple of the Serpent God. His work, there, helped to save the world. Literally. Without his contribution, the Serpent Men would have reemerged as a force to be reckoned with in the World of Ore. Now he is dead. Pour out another drank.

The players have discussed maybe bronzing Clave and Jerkal's skulls and beginning a Wall of Heroes, back at the chapter house, but no firm plans have been made.

All in all, a very tense, very satisfying session. It was just about everything DCC can be. Hell yeah!

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