Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Hair Metal Elves and Giant Phase Spiders

So the party had been hired on to retrieve a mysterious book from a powerful witch-woman who was apparently using it to destroy the world. They arrived in time to discover her waking up the Colossus of Tarsil, kick the crap out of the huge rock-man. Babagya the witch woman, sadly, escaped. 

The trip back was uneventful, and they stopped in at town to gather some information and prepare for the next leg of the journey. Bruk bought an executioner's axe for 15 gold and a song (literally), and the group informed the Archbishop of Geth that they had not yet retrieved his book, but did have some pretty solid information on the person who had it. The Archbishop was not entirely impressed, and made it very clear that the book was incredibly important and that the Library would need it back as soon as humanly possible. Horses were made available, and a stable-girl named Emily to bring them back once the group passed into the Femoral Forest.

The forest itself is a sick, twisted thing. Black trunks grip the earth and greasy black leaves blow grotesquely in the wind. The floor of the forest is unsafe, the things that live in the underbrush terrifying and strange. This is a place where people go missing in an instant and insectoid monkeys would not be out of place. Memphis was born and raised here, and knows the safe paths, the ways to travel through the canopy high above, avoiding the worst of the dangers below. His people hunt boar here, following the herds and snatching them from above, living in hanging tents and tending their long, luscious hair. 

After hours of traveling through the branches of the trees, the party meets up with a member of Memphis' tribe, a cocky priss of an elf called Cecil. The two argue some, but agree that the group should meet with the Matriarch of the tribe, Cecil's mother, and Memphis' aunt. They travel to a healthier part of the forest, where elven magic keeps the trees healthy and whole, and try to learn the whereabouts of Babagya and her chicken-footed hut. The talks do not go well, with the party and the Matriarch at odds about nearly everything. Auntie suggests, forcefully, that they not be in her tents in the morning. One of the elven children whispers that she may know something about the woman they seek (but is sadly killed by Bruk's morning breath before she can say anything else).

They set off early, towards Babagya's last known location, the Spider Caves of Femur, near the border with the Basin Plains (pelvis, for the record, is the Latin word for "basin"). Here they are confronted by dark blue women who have spiders for heads and a small horde of spiders. These were stolen, part and parcel, from China Mieville's Perdido Street Station with the cosmetic change of spiders for scarabs. Scarabs are more alien, spiders are more metal. The spiders and their mates take the party to school, knocking every one of them out and dragging them back to their mountain lair to be fed to their breeders.

They awaken, fight off the guards sent to keep them, and rescue many other soon-to-be-meals. They manage to kill three of the spider-people breeders, fight off the eunuch guards, burn down the egg lair, kill many of the males, and discover that the Colossus of Femur is a huge, chrome phase spider. Now, they didn't do much of that, really. They fought the breeders, and saved the survivors, but the night was getting late, and we jumped straight into the boss battle. Babagya, in classic villain form, taunted the player characters some before fucking off to her chicken hut far below, and they were faced with a huge, scary, powerful, teleporting spider. It took for bloody ever (it's 2:50 in the morning as I write this), but they took the bastard down in good form. No one died. A few of them dropped unconscious, but got up the next round. It was good, but again a bit of a slog.

Some Notes:

One of the keys to being a good DM, in my opinion, is figuring out what you did right and what you did wrong. How things were good, and how they weren't means that next session you can do things better, make the game more fun for everyone. Below are my notes on where I think the session was solid and where it could have used some work.

  • The colossi need work. They're okay, but they take too long to kill and they don't do enough damage that anyone is frightened of them. This one only did 1d8+5 damage per bite, with some status effects that ended on a save. Not good enough. The bosses need to be terrifying.
  • We need to fight Babagya. Even if we don't win, we need to see the bitch in action and understand what we're up against. As she is, she's a sort of amorphous... thing. Also, I need to find a way to seperate her image from that of the flying Koopa Troopa that drops shells.
  • Dealing with Memphis' family was a lot of fun. The first session lacked in the role-playing department. This one was better, but we could still use a bit more in each session. I've been too encounter-oriented so far.
  • I need to plan stop-points, places where it would be a good place to stop for the night. I need to start planning for four to four-and-a-half hour sessions, even if we don't hit a boss.
  • It's time to hit a city, I think. ^_^ 

1 comment:

Johnni said...

Thanks for the good times bro. Regardless of how out of it I might've looked towards the end of the night as we got stupid and tired.
To tell you the truth, I don't think it's a matter of the Colossus not causing enough damage. Status effects are scary. Aside from getting pass bloodied in one hit, status effects are much more frustrating when I'm denied a turn or only being able to do half of your stuff.
I think it came down to the rising tension working backwards. Our first encounter had us all taken down and that one scared the piss out of the crew until you carried off the unconscious PCs. By the time we made it to the Colossus it was just frustrating as opposed to outright freaky. You had the right idea with the Spider teleporting. At that point you nulled the front line formation and we're all either scattering to hit or trying to reform the meat shield. Doesn't help when guys fall asleep every other turn. So kudos to you on that one.
I think a huge drawback to how a lot of D&D combat encounters break out is once the set up is put into place, the melee guys just sit in the front and the range attackers sit in one place back yonder. It's not your fault for how the mechanics work and a lot of the fun to try and prevent a slow grind comes to the part of the players. That's why I play Memphis running around all over the place. Memphis is a gunfighter, not a sniper. And I play things which look like fun, not always from a tactically sound position. Besides I get three actions per turn (unless your status effects crap is going). My standard, minor and move. It's nice to not just be doing one of the 3 most turns. And now with the Brutality system floating around, I have a game mechanic incentive to do so.