Friday, December 9, 2011

Session XLI: PornOGREphy

So Monday was our last RPG session of the year. The holidays just go too damn busy to even try to schedule 10 people to get together to roll dice. So we usually take this time off and regroup after the new year.

We were planning on a full table, even Tim, who hasn't played in I don't know how long, showed up. We lost one player at the last minute and one ended up Skyping in due to new Baby watching duties. Eight faces around the table along with three cats and two dogs; full house no matter which way you slice it.

It was the usual raucous session and much hilarity ensued most of which, unfortunately, doesn't make it into the posts.

After passing through the gore and entrails of the 12 apostles of the Black Sun and catching up to their companions in the Temple of the Black Sun, Gnarly and Wolfheir come upon the scene we left our heroes in last session; Arg the half-orc unconscious by the hand of Skwanky the halfling, Slick Vinny invisible and bleeding after being mauled by a Hydra, the turn-coat Father Halford entangled in a web cast by Vinny, Flora-Fawn the fairy hovering around the remaining snapping jaws of said hydra, and Televon with the Crown of the Black Sun upon his head.

As Gnarly was healing Vinny and Wolf was debating slaying the entangled Halford, in walked their long lost companion, Adessa. Apparently, Adessa had split the group after she had lost a battle with her evil side and had recently taken up with Halford. She was working with Ankral the Dwarf assassin in a distant chamber was was told by her dwarven boss to go see what the commotion was.

Spying his new hire, Halford tries to get Adessa to free him but Wolf leaps onto the amazon and pinned her to the ground. Even with her Gauntlets of Ogre Strength she was unable to free herself from the Viking warrior. Soon afterwards, Wolf and Gnarly had her bound but that didn't last long as she snapped the rope strands and began to attack the Viking. But it was Gnarly that put her down once again by heating her armor and making her pass out. This time they removed her Gauntlets and bound her once again.

The hydra, who was unable to climb out of the hole, fled back into it's lair with one of it's head dragging behind, a causality of Arg and FloraFawn.

Arg and Skwanky wanted to follow the Hydra down it's Hydra-hole but first they prodded Halford a bit. Gnarly stabbed him in the back with his spear and then Arg tossed him into the pit. (Wolf then urinated on him from above but I'll leave that part out).

Then Arg and Skwanky tied a rope to the alter and lowered themselves down into the pit. They saw Halford limping away, mumbling. The two warriors pursued the fallen priest and began to hack away at him. Halford had one last ace up his sleeve as he reached out and grabbed the Half-orc and burned him with the remaining power of the black sun. Then calling the Hydra back upon his enemies Father Halford, former priest of Mithra and now follower of the Black Sun fell dead. But Arg and Skwanky had more to contend with as they were face to face with the now four headed hydra. As one head began chomping on the halfling, Arg began smashing through the other heads until the beast lay dead. Finding nothing in the lair and wounded and bloodied, they ascended back up to the temple.

Adessa, learning of Halford's death felt no obligation to him what-so-ever and told his former companions that there were hidden treasures somewhere within these chambers. The Dwarf assassin had some and Halford had some hidden as well. It was decided to head over to the dwarf and steal her treasures.

Still unsure of Adessa's motives, Gnarly kept her bound as she lead them to the Dwarf's chambers. Now with the Gautlets of Ogre Strength upon his tiny hands, Skwanky the halfling and Arg knocked on the door. A gruff female voice on the other side answered. When Arg, trying to impersonate Adessa responded, a furious Ankral opened the door to discipline Adessa She was surprised to find Arg standing there. A brief fight in the doorway later Ankral was dead but then her lover Charles the Ogre battled Arg and Skwanky but soon he too fell to the onslaught of the Half-orc and mighty halfling barrage!

Lifting some keys off of their fallen foes, the party explored the temple dungeon and the chambers of Ankral and Charles. Within the Dungeons they discovered a handful of citizens of Caladan awaiting their fate to be turned into Ghouls for Halford's undead army. Gnarly and Televon aided the unnerved prisoners.

Meanwhile, Arg broke into Charles' the Ogre's room. Besides a pile of straw and dirty rags the walls were etched with crude drawings of naked ogre females as well as nude drawings of Ankral the dwarf (this is what happens when you let the players help describe the contents of the room).

Finding nothing of value within the chamber the party proceed to explore Ankral's room and found a sensual pleasure chamber; incense, and tapestries, cushions and divans and even a heart shaped bed! It seemed that in the recent weeks of Adessa's employment, Ankral the Dwarf and Charles the Ogre had tried to get Adessa to join them in a dwarf / ogre / amazon three-way but she didn't want any of that.

After finding a trapped chest which hit Gnarly with an arrow, the room was looted and the party, leading the prisoners, moved on. Gnarly lead the prisoners back up to the cabin (the entrance to the temple tunnels) to await their return as they continued to explore the rest of the temple.

Heading down the southern and final passage they descend deeper into the temple. Opening a final door, Arg and Skwanky step into a large cavern guarded by three ogres and overseen by an aid to Halford. In front of this shady character were two tables with two townsfolk on them, other prisoners are in a cell at the back of the cave. Arg tried to bluff his way in and past the Ogres but eventually the shady character called the ogres to attack as the rest of the party rushed into the room.

Skwanky put on his ring of invisibility to try to get behind the shady guy and kill him but it wasn't before the minion pulled a lever that opened up two grates and in rushed twenty ghouls! Televon, acting quickly, lifted his holy symbol of Morpheus and half the the ghouls retreated back into the safety of their cave. Gnarly entangled another portion of them with some vines and thorny bushes. Along with the Ogres the remainder of the ghouls attacked the party. A large chaotic battle ensued with Skwanky and Arg taking out the ogres while the ghouls began to paralyze and the rest of the party. Eventually, one by one, the remaining ghouls were destroyed but not before a number of close calls!

After freeing the other prisoners and plundering the ghoul lab, the party headed back up to the cabin. Dusk was falling so it was decided that they all, party, mushrooms and rescued prisoners, hole up in the cabin until dawn. The session ended with the party discussing where they might have missed some treasure for they never found Halford's quarters.

So after almost two and a half years of gaming, forty-one sessions with S&W and a year passing in game time it was a pretty fun session for the last one of the year. A lot of laughs and some surprises with Brian gifting games to everyone. A great group indeed!

Thursday, December 8, 2011

ICONS Campaign Creation: Exquisite Corpse Style

Update: This post squeaked out before it was done in the oven. I hope it's not too badly written.

I mentioned that I'd start discussing my ICONS campaign idea so here we go.

I've been running my Swords & Wizardry campaign for just over two years now. We took one break last summer so that I can be a player in a Savage Worlds campaign (which still needs to be completed). Needless to say, I'm getting a bit dry on running a fantasy campaign and a nice change is needed. That is where ICONS will be coming in.

Here's the pitch....

I've learned to let the players create the campaign world while I just fill in what is needed. I love campaign histories too so instead of coming up with this on my own for ICONS (which I really don't want to do), I thought I'd let the group as a whole create this campaign. I also want to be a player more and not be stuck 'behind the screen' so much.

Now ICONS, if you haven't checked it out, is a very rules lite Heroes game. I think it would be easy for anyone to run a session. The mechanics are quite simple leaving all the rolling to the players, that leaves the GM as more of a guide for the session, introducing plots and characters and situations without having to keep all the rules and rolls in his/her head.

I like that. I like that a lot.

So the ICONS campaign will rotate GMs every session. The GM can use whatever the previous GM used such as plot, characters, events etc or just go off on his own tangent. Since most of the sessions will be self-contained there shouldn't be much of a problem. Even if a session is 'to be continued', the next GM can take that story anywhere he wants. Any GM can tap into previous events to spark a session of their own. Think of it as an Exquisite Corpse style of gaming. Everyone GMs and everyone plays. Think of every GM as a comic writer coming in to take over a title.

There will four or five rounds of this. The first round will take place in the Golden Age of comics around the early 1940's, the second round will take place in the Silver Age (the 1960's) while the third will take place in the Bronze Age of comics (70's/80's) and finally modern times. So each GM would run just a single session within one of those ages.

This whole process will create a history rich campaign that any GM can tap into for additional story material. Perhaps a villain from the Golden Age puts himself in suspended animation and returns in the bronze age more powerful than ever? Maybe the outcome of WW II is different than real history which would create a totally different world and scenarios than now? Whatever the case may be, everyone would be involved and invested in the creation of this campaign world.

So I would run the first game session starting in 1942. At the end of that night's session, the remaining players that are interested in running a session all roll a die, we'll say a d12 since it's kind of a lonely die. The highest roll will run the next session which continues the Golden Age era, all the way around until everyone had a turn to run a session then we move on to the Silver Age, etc.

Now I like the idea of not knowing when your GMing turn comes up as it keeps you on your toes, letting your ideas form based on previous sessions. Of course, you can come up with a complete adventure without tapping into anything that happened previously. But my experience with this group is that they're very creative and there's gonna be plenty of things happening that no one else would have thought of but could be a great inspiration.

So that's the general concept. The rest of the group liked the idea too. I'll be fleshing things out a bit more and, of course, posting it here for your reading pleasure!