Saturday, June 15, 2013

MGoU-H: Adventures in the Undercity, Session I don't even know anymore

Our valiant(ish) heroes ended last session with chaotic fighter Vane Barbute equipped with an exploding collar about his neck, and a charge to keep: Kill the Toothmen! Both of these were foist upon them by the leader of the Gray Men, which is kinda funny... Vane already killed that guy, right? How'd he get here? Again? Yet another groovy mystery for the gang to solve, but it will have to wait until later. In the meantime, it's off to Toothman Central.

A group of the Gray Men escort the party, consisting of:

Aram (2nd lev. Cleric)
Absalom (1st lev. Elf)
Vane (2nd lev. Warrior)
Abel (1st lev. Wizard)
Formerly Ian (2nd lev. Wizard)
Rolf (1st lev. Thief)
(All levels are my best guesses, but everyone is either 1st or 2nd level at this point.)

On the way over to their desitination, they are told to beware the boss Toothman's "Juju Man," who apparently is bad news. After a short journey, the Gray Men left them at a crossroads in a wide passage. To the east was a set of stairs, ascending, now in the form of a waterfall due to the water draining down them. In fact, the whole passage is sort of a shallow river. The Gray Men said to go south, so they do, following the current.

Rolf took point, and was justifiably suspicious. He searched every nook and cranny for traps, especially the passage floor, but found none. Eventually, though, he found something very odd (and I quote):
A 12' tall statue of a man with small horns on his head, wearing a cap and an ancient schoolboy uniform, stands here gripping a stone guitar. If examined closely, the face can be seen to have a seam-with some effort, the face may be spun counterclockwise to unscrew it from the statue, leaving only a threaded hole.
The bridge of the guitar also has a seam-and pulling up on it will reveal a folded piece of paper, upon which is written the tablature for the song Back in Black.
I did a little free-stylin' at this point, and said that the guitar's body and neck were inset with colorful stones. The players hadn't discovered the tablature yet, but they soon would, after some good rolls by Rolf the Thief. [GM Note: These guys rolled extremely well, all session long. It was ridiculous]

After discovering the tablature, someone asked if it could be performed on the guitar, using the colored stones (like Guitar Hero, I guess). I hadn't even imagined such a thing at that point. The stones on the guitar were just a little descriptive flourish I'd included. But you know... why the fuck not? So... "Yes," I said, "I think that could work. You'll have to coordinate. It's a big guitar."

So three of them did it. One read the tab, one played the neck, and one played the body. They discovered that touching the stones made them light up. So, I quick-fixed a game mechanic. Everybody had to roll a d20, modified by their Agility and Intelligence. Eventually, they were successful, and heard a loud click. A compartment had opened in the back of the pedestal, revealing... I not a fucking clue. At this point I was just making shit up. I didn't want it to suck, though, so I delayed. It was, I told them, a small box made out of black stone. It was clearly meant to be opened, as it had hinges, but there were no corresponding seams, no lock, and no apparent means for manipulating it in such a way as to open it. This was me, scrambling to move on to the next thing, and not have to figure out what the hell was in the box. Hell, I still don't know, but I'm sure I'll figure something out... something... appropriate to the Metal Gods.

Oh, and by the way, thanks, Patrick Wetmore, for including (even if unknowingly) appropriate content for the Metal Gods of Ur-Hadad campaign. Oh, and for those of you playing at home, the statue is of the Metal God known as Yangu. He is the Metal God of... hmm... youth and rebellion, let's say. Maybe that will give me something fun to put in the box.

So, then the party turned to the east again, and descended another waterfall/staircase. There were a few missteps, but no damage, and no one got swept away. Eventually, after working way down a long corridor, the emerged in a room with four huge columns running in a row down the center. The water here was a bit deeper (and slower) and emptied through a grate under a raised platform on the room's west side. And, atop this fifteen foot platform... Toothmen! With bows! Roll initiatives!

The fight was on. Once again, these guys were KILLING ME with the high rolls. The spell rolls, in particular, were ridiculous. A veritable storm of magic missiles struck the opposition, turning one of into a rapidly expanding cloud of meat and vapor. Then, a whole bunch of them got Slept. During all of this, the Toothmen were raining arrows down on the party, and a few of them got lucky as well, striking party members, despite their use of cover (some of them) and the presence of a Choking Cloud which provide a 2 point penalty to all Toothman actions. But, like I said, the party was rolling like winners tonight. There was much healing, and they pushed on.

Eventually, Vane (who else?) charged toward the ladder on the east side of the platform and began climbing. He as hit (again) but eventually made it to the top. He fought the remaining Toothmen, alone, before one of them got a successful d10 bite on him. Vane died (again, again). Luckily, the wizards were able to Sleep most of the rest of them. And Aram the cleric healed Vane with a roll of something like 26 or 28 (Seriously, the rolls were ridiculous this session).

However, the stamina cost of death is starting to take a toll on Vane. After a bit of discussion, we decided to create a new house rule. Clerics, by tapping into their own essences, can heal attribute damage. The way it worked this time was to treat it like a laying on of hands roll. The cleric names the attribute (Strength or Stamina, only), and how many points he's going to give up to the other character. Then the roll is compared to the chart. For every die of healing the person would have gotten on the laying on hands chart, one point of attribute damage is healed permanently. Aram rolled ridiculously high (again), giving Vane 3 points (if I remember correctly).

Now, we're going to have to examine this house rule a bit more. It seems like an insanely powerful effect, and the risks are somewhat limited (temporary attribute damage). It may well be that we need to make that attribute damage permanent on a botched roll. I think that, then, the risk/reward ratio is a bit more balanced. I'll take it up with the fellas, later on.

All in all, a good session.