Friday, April 5, 2013

This Week's Game; 'Fifty-Five Froglodytes!'

The Party has learned from their Neanderthal friends that the area known as The Cauldron is a roughly circular crater, ringed with five Obelisks, each containing a "path to somewhere else"... so they decide to return to the outer rim of cliffs, and circumnavigate the entire periphery, investigating each for a Gateway out of The Cauldron and back to Gnarth proper.

Dave the Caveman is assigned as a guide, although I doubt even his fearsome strength will keep him alive long in his present company... He leads them to a "shortcut"; a metallic pad in the jungle which Teleports to a similar pad near one of the Obelisks.  The Party is reluctant to take Teleportation advice from a Neanderthal, so Dave agrees to go first, if they promise to follow.  He neglects to mention the transport is one-way only.

Parn Mantises attack, but are dispatched w/o serious incident, and entry to the Obelisk is gained via the Magetti Stone.  Inside, a familiar sight: a glossy black pyramid, allowing transport to... somewhere else... just like the one they encountered when they first arrived.  From the darkness, a shuffle of raggedy zombies, Sleestak and Neanderthal, as per my devious plan, they were deemed beneath wasting valuable Spells upon, and were engaged in melee.  Half were downed in the first round, and then the wave of Ravebones (phosphorescent Skeletons, Hasted!) descended!  Dave manged to protect Rusty the Mage (his German Shepherd, Sarge, knew better than to bite these guys), but things looked iffy, so the Zombies were abandoned in favor of bashing their newer, Skeletal foes, but that meant an extra Zed attack on everyone at the end of each round, plus two hacks/rnd from the Ravebones.  From nowhere, a Stinking Cloud Spell!  The only one to Save is Centauri the Mutant Mastermind, who engages his Alter Mass, Telekinteic Arm, and Hypersight, and takes off into the air, seeking the source of the spell.  The Undead are called off of the incapacitated party (you're welcome!), and race toward their master, an Evil High Priest, Centauri Saves vs Paralysis, and proceeds to pummel the mage to death with his mace before his servants arrive, then, faced with all of them, uses his last few rnds of Mutations for the day to bug out... and the Undead, leaderless, simply disperse into the possible infinite darkness of the Obelisk.

The Gateway proves to lead to a post-apocalyptic ruined city, The Party wisely leaves before nightfall, avoiding the CHUD I had planned...

There aren't any noteworthy encounters en route to the next Oblelisk, and Centauri investigates the pyramidal Gateway, informs The Party that it leads to a cavern beneath the earth...  but which 'earth'?!  Is it their homeworld, or a tunnel complex in some asteroid, somewhere?  ...Knowing they can enter the Gate and return, they figure, Why Not?, and investigate, the subterannean chamber is empty except for the pyramid, and worn steps lead upward... The cave ends at a cliff face, overlooking a gigantic natural vault, the floor sprouting with massive mushrooms of varying shapes, bisected by a swift stream, bridged with mortared stone.  The opposite cavern wall features carved steps leading to a pillared cavern entry.

A massive but simple swing arm/pulley series/gondola, with rotating crank, allows for The Party to be lowered to the mushroom forest, but someone must stay behind and operate it, so Centauri volunteers, then uses Alter Mass Mutation to Feather Fall down to his companions.  Among the shrooms, they are soon surrounded and attacked by the degenerate Froglodytes, crawling out from under nearly all of the giant shroom caps.  Rusty the Mage NPC saves the day by casting Stinky Cloud on one side, and Web on the other, so that the Froglodytes can only approach along the narrow strip between the two hazards, rather than completely surround The Party.

Several rnds later, all usefull Spells, and most of the Party's HP are gone, along with most offensive and defensive Mutaions for the day... In desperation, Rose sounds the Horn of the Valkyrie (only 1 charge left, now!)... a glamorous, gleaming massacre of the final Froggies. Only Rusty escapes w/o injury, having hid in his own Webs.  Fifty-five Froglodytes meet a bloody end, but everyone except the Mage is infected with Froggy!

(In a gracious mood, the Valkyrie does not depart immediately after combat, as usual, but instead flies up to the cliff balcony, lowers the gondola mechanism, hauls up the battered Party, then departs with a wink!)

10GP Gems:
- Undead Swarm + Stinking Cloud Spell (the Undead are not, of course, affected) = Near TPK!

- Stinking Cloud is also useful to avoid being surrounded, and if worse comes to worst, one can always risk the dice and try to ditch enemies by running through it

- 'Evil High Priest" (EHP) Fill a few Spell slots with Magic-User Spells; it freaks out the Players!

Froglodyte:
Batrachian, subterranean humanoids, 4' tall, may either be degenerate savages, or slightly more advanced, speaking, weapon and armor using, a la Lizardmen.  Bite may cause Froggy Mutation.  Cure Disease applied immediately negates, otherwise, only Mutation-reversing tech, or the shroom-brewed antidote of the Froglodytes will reverse, and the smarter ones will use this to advantage.
(AC 7, HD 2, D BW or bite for 1d6, Save vs Poison or gradually develop Froggy Feature(s)(d4) in 1d4 days: 1 = Warty, 2 = Bulgy eyes, 3 = Squat and hoppy, 4 = Compulsive frog tongue)
  

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