Sunday, November 28, 2010

LL at Paul's: If at first you don't succeed...

Guh... Turrrrkkeeyyyy....

Okay, so here we are back again at the ostensibly weekly recount of my action packed Labyrinth Lord game with my buddy Paul and the 10d Gamers. Last week, being so close to the holiday, was canceled, which is good since otherwise this would be another of my increasingly frequent double postings. So let us begin, shall we?

When last we left off, our gratuitous band of dungeon duffers had lowered ourselves down the caldera of a smoking volcano with a huge skull carved in the side, to take our vengeance on the bandit gang/cult that made their home there. After getting cornered by bowfire and fire of a non-bow variety we'd lost our trusty ranger Jantz, and had come very close to a tpk.

So back we went. We lowered our elf mage Hearth down and he discovered a small crevice along a tiny ledge with a combination of his night vision and his uncanny elf ability to find secret doors. Then, one by one we lowered down, each party member wearing a Ring of Feather Fall in case of emergencies, which we ferried up as each of us took a turn, until finally Klint climbed down using his thief climbing skill, coiling up the rope along with him. It concealed our tracks, but also made this a one way trip.

We inched our way along the small tunnel in pitch blackness, with Hearth in the lead with a rope tied around his waist that we all held onto. He came across a 2 foot hole in the floor, that he marked with a candle and stepped over.

Eventually, he came to a wall of inpenetrable blackness, opaque to all forms of vision. I seem to recall we rearranged the order and sent Klint up first, with his magic see in the dark hat. He proceeded thru the darkness, armed with a hastily planned out code for how many tugs on the rope meant what. After a short time, the rope started tugging, so we warily crept forward.

I don't remember the circumstances exactly (too much pie in the intervening time), but I do recall here that my metagame senses were tingling. Paul went off with the lead guy's player for a sideboard, and when he came back his descriptions of the rope signals and such made me really paranoid that our scout had been eaten and something was trying to fish us in.

Well, it turned out that wasn't the case. We made it to the other side of the 20' of blackness intact, although what we found there was in no way pleasant. In a forty foot diameter room we found an unholy idol that just RADIATED bad vibes. Far as I can figure, this is where Cooper the thief turned high priest found what passes for his religion.

I was really tempted to cast Bless on the thing to see what might happen, but on the other hand you don't pull the "self destruct" lever on anything without a clear way out, so we rain checked desecrating (consecrating? resecrating?) the evil altar. Probably a good thing. Klint touched it and got drained several points of strength. This was a seriously angry piece of furniture.

So we moved on, heading through a passage to the south and down. With painful memories of our prior experience down here in the Obsidian Order's complex, we were really careful/paranoid about traps, checking at every juncture we came to.

As we nosed around, it eventually became clear we were on the same level as we explored last week, with the pit traps and the fake doors and whatnot, and thus were able to connect the two maps.

We eventually got the the place where Jantz and Frog had fallen afoul of the crushing blocks trap, as our raspy voiced henchman recognised the hallway. Since he recalled a tripwire somewhere, we carefully searched the floor until we found it, noting it for future reference. Satisfied that we'd circumvented this trap, we pressed on.

And hit the second tripwire for the trap around the corner, causing a crushalanche of crushing.

Sigh... Sometimes it hurts...

Nobody was killed, but we all got seriously crunched up. Them's the breaks when 80% of the party is still first level or just slightly above. I think there were several crits that caused the Deacon to have to use up all of his Cure Light Wounds to get everybody moving.

And move we did, the heck outta dodge. Mercifully (more or less) by connecting up our maps we knew there was a way up and out, through the mouth of the big skull and down the mountain.

So we backtracked, passing by areas we remembered well due to the scars and burns, heading up the stairs and into the chamber with the black statue, then out.

As the only guys still functioning, the Deacon and Kashim staged a lightning raid on the guard post above, hitting the two bandits standing watch and taking them out before they knew what hit 'em. That cleared the way for us to get out without arrows and flaming oil chasing us, and we scampered back to the hideout cave that Bors and the Haberdashers had shown us to rest and recoup.

So flash forward to a couple days later. We've rested and healed, replenished our spells, and so we formed a plan, which was pretty much the same plan as before since there's no way the denizens of the mountain would expect us to do the same thing twice in a row. And for all they knew shoddy rope was what caused the crushing block trap to go off.

So up the mountain and down the caldera for us again. Same method of descent, lowered elf, ring of Feather Fall, Klint klimbing down after us, down the tunnel.

But here we changed our plan. We decided to see where the vertical shaft that Hearth had left the candle beside went to. We lowered Klint down with a rope around his ankles, and he came to a point where the shaft bent until it leveled off to become a tunnel. This he followed, until he came to a secret door leading into an illuminated room of some sort. After several back and forths, we all decided to crawl down there, leaving a rope hooked to the edge of the hole in case we needed to beat a not particularly hasty retreat.

Klint took the lead, and opened up what turned out to be a hatch underneath a workbench of some kind. Once we made sure the room was empty, we poked our noses out and checked the room out.

It seemed to be some kind of counting house, which implied *treasure* someplace nearby. There was the workbench, with several slots marked with different denominations of coins over buckets on the floor. There was a desk, that contained a ledger listing an awesome stash of treasure. (And if you can't see a hook with a nice juicy worm wriggling on it here, then you need to play more D&D. Do it now! Go!), as well as a magically glowing stone. Along one wall there were several sets of manacles. I guess the bandits did a l'il fact finding, in the medieval sense, in here too. The Deacon searched the writing desk, and palmed the glowing stone as a handy, dandy light source.

There were two exits from this room, so we checked 'em out. One led up to a set of stairs ending in a door, which we left alone thinking since this was probably the "Authorized Personnel Only" area we'd probably set off some kind of trap going thru it.

The other lead to a hall. We crept down it, and found a room off of the right side. Inside, three figures were tied to chairs, blindfolded with their heads lolling as if ensorcelled or knocked out. One was an acolyte of the temple that Kashim' had offended with his mighty nakedness, one was a swarthy gentleman of fighting aspect, and one was nondescript, kind of like a character who hadn't been created yet. The room they were in was painted with crazy, hypnotic patterns, and there was a glowing candelabra on the table.

The Deacon cast Protection from Evil on himself and went in with Kashim to check the prisoners out. They were unresponsive. We were nervous about the glowing object in the middle of the table. Either it was just a light source, or it had some kind of brainwashing or otherwise inimical effect, so we gave it a wide berth. We dragged the hapless captives out of their chairs and out into the hall, where their sluggish movements told us they'd probably been drugged. (Okay, Paul told us they'd probably been drugged, but work with me...)

So we decided to press on, with the contents of the treasure ledger dancing in our heads like sugar plums. We came to a fork in the tunnel, both branches quite dark, and decided to fan out to look down them.

Suddenly, Evund Knifewielder, our henchman, came over with a bad case of stabbing as a sinister figure faded out of the darkness and got the drop on him. One hit and the poor schook was dead. Enraged and confused, we pressed our attack, but found this guy a tough customer. He started throwing cleric spells at us, and managed to avoid my Hold Person. As the fight wore on, he started feeling pressed, and whistled up a bunch of lizard men to come help him.

After a long slugfest, we eventually conquered the lizards, but we were beaten up pretty bad once again. In the most tragic turn of events, Klint took a nasty slash and lost a leg! I used my last Cure Light Wounds to unfreeze Kashim from a Hold Person spell the evil cleric cast.

Still, we figured that this was probably the infamous Cooper, based on his combination of higher level cleric spells and theifly backstab abilities. We couldn't afford to let him get away, so we left Frog watching our suddenly unidextrous thief and the poor drugged up dopes back by the psychedelic room and charged down the tunnel through which Cooper fled.

Once there, we found a huge temple apparently consecrated to some kind of reptilian proto god.

It was empty, save for the tyrannosaurus idol and a couple of flickering braziers. (Flickering brassieres is a different temple, fraught with different perils.) We couldn't find hide nor hair of Cooper, so we doubled back to rejoin our sizable injured reserve list. Since we had more walking wounded then functional party members, we sadly had to leave Evund's body behind. Here's hopin' it don't come back after us all zombied up. (And in case you get any ideas, Paul, I can turn the crap out of a zombie now, so don't try anything funny...)

We dragged everyone back to the counting room and escaped via the hidden door, dragging a one legged man and a trio of doped up goofballs up the tunnel and then made our nervous way forward through the darkness and into the temple room with the nasty altar. From there we doubled back on our escape path once again, and once again lucked out meeting no resistance. The guard room was empty, so we took off down the mountain to our hidey cave, and that's were we wrapped.

So all told, pretty crazy. Two assaults on the mountain, two times the mountain assaulted us back and took it out of our hides. A lot of near misses and nail biting suspense. This place is HARD!

On the plus side, we figure that the acolyte guy we found was the subject of Kashim's quest spell, so all we have to do is take him back to Wildwood and that will be settled. The other two guys are replacement characters for the late, lamented Jantz and Gentleman Jack Getz, so it'll be interesting to meet 'em. I think we're done with Skull Mountain for now, but we'll probably come back and square up accounts once we've leveled up.

Speaking of which, the Deacon finally made 5th. level this go round, so I now have access to 3rd. level spells like Remove Curse and Cure Disease, which is awesome.

Our other high level character, Klint, is now something of a question. Unfortunately, all this nasty stuff happened to him while his player was out, so I'm not sure how he's gonna want to proceed now that his character is short a leg and strength drained to boot. (Only one boot, though.) Is he gonna strap on a peg leg and soldier on, or is he gonna retire to a farm and spend his days stealing eggs from his chickens? Can't say.

Anyway, all told, more fun than you can shake a 10' pole at. Thanks again to Paul, and to the rest of the 10d gamers for another hoopy session.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

LL at Paul's: Double Indemnity

Aw fer cripes sake...

Geez, I've been pretty remiss at this. Better catch up. There's two sessions worth of action to recount here, so buckle down while I try to slog thru. There were a couple Wednesdays that we didn't play as well, one because Paul was busy having tea and crumpets in England, and one the week before last because we had a critical player shortage for various reasons.
I guess they were all busy with something else...

Okay, so when last I was not being lazy about blogging the sessions, we were all in Elfhold figuring out what our next move was gonna be. We decided that we would head back through the Gloomwood and go to Skull Mountain to take care of Kashim's little curse problem, which was a result of him serving the fantasy schmantasy version of community service for skinny dipping in a temple's holy font one carousy evening.

So we formed up and set out, after going to the elvish equivalent of a tavern and picking up a couple more hirelings to supplement our offensive line. We found two likely subjects, a human in full plate armed with a mace named Evund Knifeweilder and an elf with a fancy helmet who went by the name of Tamar Tinhelm. Since we figured this was gonna be a long, rough journey, we hired 'em both, and after bulking up our rations set out on horseback.

After leaving the elvish lands we retraced our steps along the ruined road through the dark, sinister heart of the Gloomwood, a land that was once an elven kingdom that had kind of turned into a DMZ since a long ago great war between elves and men.

I think the first night we spent camping out was uneventful, but the second night we had another encounter with wereboars. The group that was up on watch included Gentleman Jack Getz, and I think Evund and maybe Jantz. As before trouble came slouching up the road in the form of a big, fat, ugly naked guy.

Getz approached him and got the same slurred demand for food, so he decided to just attack. The creature transformed into its bestial form, and let out a resounding squeal that echoed thru the woods. This meant more trouble was coming. The fight was pretty fierce, and our foppish thief ended up getting wounded so badly he decided to pull back and climb a tree to get out of the creature's reach. Two more boars crashed out of the woods at the creature's summons and charged to the attack with fierce tusks. The exact details of the fight are hazy by now, but I think our henchman Frog and maybe one of the new guys took care of them while Kashim, Klint, and the Deacon, who all posessed magic weapons, ganged up on the wereboar and took it down. I seem to recall Klint's bejeweled magic blade did the most damage again. I think we should start calling his sword "Pigsticker", but then maybe that doesn't have quite the panache he'd want.

Anyway, we coaxed Gentleman Jack down from the tree and healed him up, and spent the rest of the night in as much peace as you can in a spooky, doom haunted wood.

The next day we packed up and traveled on, and were still in the vast, scary forest when it came time to bed down. Around about the second watch, it was Kashim (played by myself since his player was absent), Gentleman Jack, and probably Hearth the Elf sitting up playing harmonicas and philosophising. Kashim had wandered to the periphery of the camp to check on something (so Paul informed us), when he got jumped by another raging giant boar. He turned on the creature with his Vadium sword and put it down with three brutal slashes.

To his horror, when the thing's last breath escaped in bloody bubbles from its snout, it shrank and transformed into the dead body of Gentleman Jack Getz!

Hamina hamina hamina!

Now, as the Deacon I kick myself a little 'cos it never occurred to me that Getz would contract lycanthropy, although that's what is very likely to happen if you take over 50% damage from a lycanthrope. If it had, we probably would have watched him a little closer after he got treed by that wereboar. As a proxy player for Kashim, I have no regrets, save of course killing a compatriot. He's a headstrong man of action attacked by a fierce beast, and I kinda think that somebody from the southern desert lands wouldn't exactly dig on swine...

So with a heavy heart, we buried Gentleman Jack after Klint looted his finery. (It's a thief thing...) and went on our way.

Soon, we'd made it out of the haunted wilderness into more familiar territory. We passed the crumbling castle where we'd encountered Tevlar the sorceror, and shook our fists as we rode by. We'll get back to you, buddy boy...

We eventually got to the fork in the road that took us either to the town of Wildwood, or toward the Dead Hills and our destination, Skull Mountain. So we took the exit to Skull mountain.

Sure enough, as we got closer to it, it did look like a mountain with a skull on top. It seemed it was originally just natural formations, but had been helped along to make it more skull like by whoever or whatever occupied it.

We camped out at the base of the mountain, and during the night, we saw lights flickering in the mouth and eye sockets, and heard the beating of drums deep inside the mountain. Spookular!

Unsettled, we kept a watch on it but spent the night otherwise undisturbed.

The next morning, we set out on foot up the mountainside, leaving Tamar Tinhelm with the horses. He was a bit put out, having hired on to adventure, not just watch the horses, but we assured him he'd get his turn on the next outing.

We approached the face of the skull and stood on the platform in front of a row of stalactites that formed the thing's "teeth" in front of a cave mouth. Of course, just standing around in front of a big, frightening edifice like that is sure to invite trouble, which it definitely did, as arrows started to rain down on us from the eye socket windows.

The party scampered inside and made our way down a hallway leading inward from the mouth. About 3/4'ths of the way along, our lead guys, who were Jantz and Kashim, suddenly found themselves doused in oil from a murder hole in the ceiling. We just barely managed to back out of the way as a torch dropped down, setting the pool of oil at their feet alight but missing the party.

We backpedaled to the cave mouth, and for some insane reason members of the party tried to strike up a parley with the guys up in the eye sockets. I don't totally recall what was said, all I remember is our doughty group trying to bargain from probably the weakest position I've ever heard of. We were invading their hideout. What the hell were we hoping to convince them of? That we were selling Amway or something?

Anyway, we finally got back into game on mode and went back down the hall after the flames had died down, coming to an octagonal chamber with this black stone statue of some nondescript, sinister figure in a cloak with horns and a monster face.

There was a staircase to the north, which we followed up and around to find a sort of watch room where two sketchy looking guys were hanging out with bows in their hands and empty oil barrels. Having put a face to our pain we put some pain to their faces and took them down. Searching them didn't turn up much, just their weapons and some leather armor. Probably bandits or some such.

So we doubled back to the room with the statue and checked it out for hidden compartments and secret stuff. Didn't find any. We took the other exit from the room, and found ourselves in a large, vaulted chamber with a couple of kettle drums and a set of stone double doors at the far end. This was where we broke off this session.

Flash forward two weeks later. We start off standing in the room with the kettle drums. Jantz, our ranger, decides to slice open the drums, but there's nothing inside, so we check out the doors. Klint searches them over, then successfully picks the locks. Beyond, we find a hallway, so we follow it around until it comes to a set of stairs leading down.

We take the stairs down, and come to a juncture of underground hallways. Jantz uses his tracking skills, and finds several sets of footprints leading down the one to the north, so we follow that one. He also spots a couple sets of tracks leading to a section of the wall and stopping.
Hmm. Looks like an ambuscade...

So we send Klint forward, creeping silently along with his theifly abilities and using his see in the dark hat to good effect. He spots a crevice in the wall and approaches, and dodges back just in time as someone lunges out with a sword and tries to strike him. He backpedals, and decides to fight liars with fire, tossing a lit flask of oil into the breach. We're rewarded with the sounds of shrieks coming form the occupants of the alcove, as we charge in to attack. The Deacon finishes one off with his Mojo Stick (Breeshk! BOOM!) and the other guy is too on fire to put up much of a fight. (You know what they say: Build a man a fire, you keep him warm for a night. Set a man on fire, you keep him warm for the rest of his life...)

Since our two fricaseed friends are too toasty to search right now, we keep heading forward. The tunnel hits a T junction, so we head south, and round a corner where Jantz and Kashim suddenly fall into a concealed pit trap. Once again, d'oh! I'm a little hazy, but I think Jantz took a critical and exploded his kneecap on landing, which meant the Deacon had to heal him up when they got him back up out of the hole.

There's a little bit of hall beyond the pit, so we figure maybe there's something good hidden behind this trapped area. So we start sending party members over by having them climb down into the pit and up the other side with Klint's expert climbing leading the way. We send Hearth over with is elvish ability to find secret doors, and maybe one of the henchies.

The rest of us stay on the other side of the pit, and search along a wall that by a trick of the map looks like it might lead to some kind of concealed room. Neither group finds much of anything by way of secret doors though.

Next thing we know, suddenly we're taking bow fire from a bunch of guys down the hallway. Crap. You'd think these guys don't want us down here or something...

Kashim, Jantz, and Frog charge them, and I think manage to cut at least one of them down, sending the others fleeing. The Deacon tries to fire off a Hold Person, but due to Paul experimenting with turn order and spell initiative it doesn't go off in time to affect anyone, and I lose the spell. (I won't hash it out here. We're still in negotiations about it. He's posted about it here.)

We drag the corpses over to where their fellows are smoldering, and find they've cooled down enough to search, not that we turn up much more than fresh charcoal. So we decide to move on, heading up the other way from the hall with the pit. We round the next corner to the east, and find... Another pit!


I think once again I had to repair a broken leg on Jantz, and I think Frog or Evund dislocated something too. On the other side of the pit, there's a short dead end hallway heading north, and a doorway just past the pit. We cross over and check it out, and discover that the door is in fact a fake, with a solid stone wall behind it. We cross back over to the other side to decide what our next move will be.

While we're considering our options, we come under more bow fire from the complex's inhabitants. We return fire and send the survivor running, but now Evund (Played by the late Gentleman Jack's player until his new character gels up), Frog, and Jantz have their blood up and go chasing after them. They run through the dark hallways following the retreating bandit's torch, and eventually fall afoul of a crushing block trap that wounds them all severely. Mercifully, they're alive, but they're deep in enemy territory having not bothered to map their progress. Meanwhile the rest of the group is staying put by the pit so as not to get TOO separated.

Finally, our half crushed wayward party members find their way back to us. By now we're all pretty badly munched, and we're out of spells, or at least out of spells that are of immediate use. So we make the brilliant tactical decision to hole up on the other side of the pit in the little space made by the dead end hallway. We detach the fake door from it's hinges and set it up as a barricade.

Now, at this point I'll take a moment to comment on what my esteemed DM Paul has deemed the Goldilocks Syndrome in a post he made pertaining to what happened. In short, it is MONUMENTALLY STUPID to camp out in an occupied space, essentially in enemy territory. He likens it very much to someone deciding to take a nap in the bedroom in the midst of a home invasion, leaving the house's occupants to mount whatever defenses they choose.

Looking at it rationally, I'll have to agree about 90% with this sentiment. We *really* need to stop doing this, as it has bitten us on the posteriors almost every time we've done it. On the other hand, though, there are times where you've just clawed your way through a perilous dungeon, and finding yourself bereft of resources, the choice between facing the way out with nothing in your tank vs. holing up to try to replenish isn't quite so easy to make. I think it's an easier call in a "wilder" place like a ruin or cave complex, which is almost the same as camping in the wilderness, vs. this instance, where we were very much in somebody's home. No, not home, a better word would probably be fortified base.

So yeah, the fruits of our bad call came calling around first watch, when a couple guys took up a position at the far end of the hall and started pelting us with flasks of flaming oil and arrows. The barricade was set alight, so we kicked it down into the pit, and then the space in front of the fake doorway was filled with burning oil, leaving us crouched against the wall in the little 10X10 space to the north.

Jantz stepped out and tried to return fire, and got an arrow in the neck, dying instantly. I think Hearth tried to cast Sleep but got his spell interrupted. Kashim, Evund, and the Deacon all tried to jump the pit and failed, falling to the bottom and taking damage, and then taking even more as a flask of oil landed down there with us. Things were looking pretty bleak. Could this be the end for little Rico?

Klint made the leap across and charged them, maybe with Frog backing him up. Either way, it was a close call, but he killed our attackers before they could toss another flask and sent the rest packing. We hauled the guys in the pit up and out, grabbed Jantz's body, and beat feet for the exit.

Out out out, run run run, go go go!

We didn't stop until we'd gone all the way out the skull mouth and down the mountain, down to the campsite where Tamar Tinhelm and our horses should have been waiting, but werent.


So we camp out, congeal and heal. In the middle of the night we hear more drums from the skull, and see more lights. Hey, keep it down up there, ya jerks!

The next morning, we see a bunch of riders approaching. Playing it cool, we approach and parley. Their leader is a fella with a FABulous hat who goes by the name of Bors Tolvek. We decide not to let on we just raided skull mountain, in case these guys were from there, instead just telling them we're refugees from the hobgoblin raids in Restenford.

As we fall to talking, we get the skinny on the Skull Mountain and it's occupants. Seems the riders are the last remnant of a thieves guild known in Bridgefair as the Haberdashers. A while back, they had a guy by the name of Cooper try a takeover, which failed, so they gave him the standard severance package, which took the form of them carrying him up to the smoking crater at the top of Skull Mountain and tossing him in. Somehow, he survived, and returned claiming he'd become the servant of some dark god living there. He started a cult, which took over most of the Haberdashers and brought them out to set up shop in Skull Mountain. From there, they started raiding and kidnapping, taking hapless souls into the grisly mountain to unknown fates. They beat their drums whenever captives had been taken. Bors and his men had made a habit of checking up on the cult's activities, but weren't strong enough to fight them head on.

We decided to come clean with these guys after determining they were the enemies of our enemies, and told him we'd made a raid on the mountain and killed a few of them. He wasn't interested in joining forces with us for another go, but he was kind enough to lead us to a secluded cave where we could rest up and heal without being bothered by raiders from the cult, which called themselves the Obsidian Order.

We also asked if any of his guys had seen an elf with a big helmet and a bunch of horses. One of Bors' men said he had seen an elf matching that description leading a bunch of horses toward Bridgefair.

Son of a bitch must pay...

So we rested up for a couple of days, getting ourselves back up to fighting trim. We buried poor Jantz in the back of the cave, too worn out to think of anything novel to do with the corpse. We also buried the nasty protoplasmic slime which was all that remained of our very late mage Koode's face. (Remember that? I'd been carrying that nasty thing around for weeks. Sometimes it's tough being the group's general purpose medic/chaplain/undertaker... Egughhghhh...)

Once that was done, we drew up our plan. We decided if this Cooper guy could survive getting tossed into the caldera with no rope but the little bit binding his ankles and wrists, we could do even better with the whole 100 feet we had at our disposal.

We approach the mountain again, taking care to skirt around to the opposite side of the mountain from the skull face part. We climb up to the plateau, and find the large, smoking hole in the ground where the Haberdasher's used to deal with their discipline problems. (I know it wasn't really the Deacon's place, or his alignment, to point this out to him, but really a dagger across the jugular is a lot more efficient way to handle this sort of thing, unless they were trying to rack up frequent rider miles or something...)

We sent Hearth down on the rope into the choking smoke, and sure enough with his uncanny elvish vision spotted a small ledge with a crack in the wall leading into the depths of the mountain. So we proceeded to lower the group down one by one, using a combination of Klint's Ring of Feather Fall with the rope for insurance, and to send it up for the next guy. Each party member then crept into the narrow crevice, groping forward in the pitch dark, until Klint finally brought up the rear, climbing down using his natural theifly skill and bringing the rope with him. We'd gone in on a one way trip, baby.

The party inched along, only lighting a light when the lead guy came across a hole in the floor that we needed to step over. We eventually came to a widening of the tunnel, and that was where we left off.

So yeah, a lot of thrills and chills. Two dead party members for two sessions, from debateably avoidable circumstances. So we'll be starting next time with a couple new PC's. The plot is indeed thickening. Our enemies list is growing too, now including Tevlar, the entire Obsidian Order, and frikkin' Tamar Tinhat the elven horse thief. On the plus side, I think most of the guys who're wanted in Bridgefair are now dead, so we can go into the city without getting tossed in the slammer. (I think it's just Kashim now who'd be on a wanted poster. Maybe if we get him a hat or a fake beard or something he'll blend in better.) We still need to work on our tactics a bit. That's for sure. Paul's gonna need to update his graveyard sometime.

Anyway, this one goes out to the party members, living or dead. Thanks to Paul for running an awesome game, and thanks to the rest of the 10d Gamers. Shine on you crazy diamonds...

Monday, November 1, 2010

Zombie Jamboree

Everybody was back to back, belly to belly, but I don't give a damn 'cos I'm stone dead already.

So, as a last shambling remnant of a nearly solid month of gamey weekend goings on in October I'm gonna report on my friends Scott K. and Karin K.'s "Eat Your Brains" zombiepocalypse game this past Saturday.

The whole thing started on a chilly night on the outskirts of an isolated town.

Seems almost peaceful, doesn't it? Except for that bunch of zombies there...

The team who went out to investigate included a wannabe ghostbuster with a proton pack, a two fisted private investigator (played by yours truly), the town drunk, the local fire chief, and a trio of lovely ladies composed of somebody's girlfriend, a candy striper, and the intrepid Duffy the zombie re-slayer.

Stay together, and keep heads and arms inside the ride at all times...

It was fairly smooth going for the group early on, as we pelted down the road to try to reach the far end of the map, where we could see some kind of eerie glow through the trees. Then the zombies started building up, popping up at five spawn points: the creepy old tree by the pumpkin patch, the graveyard, the ancient monolith in the farmer's field, the weird old statue in the middle of the woods, and worst of all, the dreaded pet cemetery.

This was the all time heaviest populated of the zombie spawn points. We figure they must have buried the touring company of "Cats" there or something...

After initial progress the foremost of the group charged a cluster of zombies by the woods. The fire chief went in swinging with his axe while the town drunk used his drunken kung fu. The wannabe ghostbuster was doing the most damage to the zombies with his proton pack, which had an area effect. The girlfriend was quite effective with her scream, that could force the creatures back, and with a torrent of thrown bottles and plates that she produced from... somewhere. The town drunk, inebriated though he was, scored a blow for the breathing by destroying the creepy statue at the center of the woods with a well placed molotov cocktail.

C'mon, bring it you staggering bastards! I was talking to the zombies, town drunk...

As they lagged behind, the rear guard had an unpleasant surprise in the form of the zombie princess, who came levitating up the road spawning zombies every nine minutes and generally being an ectoplasmic push broom, forcing us forward. We tried to nail her with one of the explosive pumpkins that were scattered about the area but the damn things skins were too tough to burst with gunfire. (@#$%*>:( Warhammer style hit/wound rules...)

"You found me beautiful once." Baby, you got real ugly...

Things started to go skull gnawingly south by the fence by the forest, as the number of zombies started to overload the heroes, and one by one they fell to the zombie bites, arising as undead horrors themselves and shambling after the living.

Back to back, belly to belly, yes my friends...

The wannabe ghostbuster held out the longest, drawing the big crowd and keeping them from mobbing the girlfriend and the candy striper, who made an end run around the woods to try to get to the objective.

Not even that restraining order will keep the zombie town drunk at bay now...

Meanwhile, back by the old church Duffy was making a heroic last stand, re-deading zombies left and right with her awesome corpse fu, until she fell to the undead remains of the two-fisted detective, who'd fallen to one of the Zombie Princess' minions after failing to ignite any pumpkin bombs...

Punch! Kick! It's all in the mind. Mmm Braiinnsssss....

After some desperate screaming and the heavy use of a satchel full of drug cocktails, the two intrepid final girls made it around the woods, to find what was causing that eerie glow. Uh oh! Doomsday cultists!

I hate those guys!

The candy striper, drugged to the gills and still riding high from taking out the Zombie Princess and setting her back to the start of the road, tried to take a shot at the cultists, but she and the girlfriend were soon bourne down by the mob of shambling undead. The cultists summoned a nameless horror from beyond space and time, culminating a fine ritual season with a strong showing at the regionals...

They're gonna have to do better, though, if they wanna compete at the state level with the team from Dunwich...

So all told a fine evenings fun. We were scored by how many deadheads we popped while alive, and big bonus points for how many humans we munched when we crossed over.

The candy striper's player took the most points with zombie kills and taking down the Zombie Princess, while the wannabe ghostbuster did a lot of damage as well. I took first blood with the detective, and got good points for finally taking down Duffy when I went all shambolic.

So the candy striper won the prize, a bottle of fine sippin' whisky for those cozy nights where you're holed up in your Omega Man redoubt taking potshots at the moaning hordes of undead gathered around the barricades.

Fun stuff. Thanks to Scott K. and Karin K. for setting up this swell event and having us in to lurch around your lovely home. Lookin' forward to what you cook up for next year.

Back to back. Belly to belly Ha ha ha haaaa!