Saturday, 3 June 2017

Session 139 - Et tu, Andromeda?

That was, without a doubt, one of the most memorable sessions of D&D I've ever run.
I know we've had mould-Andy go around trying to infest people before, but we've never had someone covertly work to undermine the party and actively oppose the rest of the players before. Can Ollie ever be trusted again?!

Character stakes, an ally turned villain, a breakdown of trust, and that character bleed, man. Intense stuff!

Also, pretty brutal to follow up fantasy Hillsborough with fantasy Manchester Attack but that's terrorists for you.

I'm pretty sure the plan is to have Andromeda go off to be an NPC for a while (I have her plans, courtesy of Ollie), so we'll be back to one cohesive group next week.
I'm pretty excited for next week to see what actually happens!

On with the art attacks etc -
We've got Charles-brand mid-Remembrancer doodles on show:
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Tom reveals his plans for Castigate Pox's fallen arms and armour

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- Tom collages a depiction of Zarat's mould pile condition

And finally, Tom writes us some sweet delicious fiction:---

“Let me see, let me see!” Mordus grappled past his friend for a better view. Hadfar always got the best look – he was bigger and taller – but today was too important for Mordus to miss. Rake Hacker was to speak at the arena.

Suddenly, footsteps! The boys snapped from their struggle and hid quietly. They'd sneaked beneath the seating of the arena to see the speech, but there were guards everywhere. Mordus was scared of the guards, they were loud and smelly and they made strange faces at his mother.

As soon as the guard was out of sight, Mordus - faster than his friend - sprinted back to the crack. Beyond he could see the brightly painted walls of the arena, today veiled with black, the smart uniforms of the bone parade, the curious head-cages and feather-shawls of the nobles. The crowd creaked and stomped in the stands above.

His eyes scanned the scene for the general's box. He was desperate to see Rake. Every child in Moondin wanted to meet him. The day before, the two boys had fought imaginary duels in Uncle Bram's orchard with sacks for capes.

Suddenly, Mordus was yanked from his hole by the leg - Hadfar didn't want to wait his turn! "That's not fair!" screamed Mordus, his arms flailing as Hadfar stepped on him to climb onto the scaffold, pressing his face into the dirt.

Oddly, the ground was trembling beneath him.

Then everything was fire, and Mordus' skin was screaming as his soft, freckled skin was turned to crackling. The fireball ripped out from the earth and up through the scaffold, sucking the air from the boys' lungs and spitting splinters of wood and nail and glass and bone. 

Then came the shockwave, rippling through the arena. Mordus felt his stomach void as he was thrown upwards, limbs wheeling like one of his sister's ragdolls, higher first than the seating, now than the cathedral spire. Below him the stones of the arena flung themselves lazily into the surrounding houses.

The view was exciting but also scary and it was hard to see because his eyes were bleeding, and for some reason he couldn't move his arms to wipe them. 

Mother will worry, he thought. I’m going to be in so much trouble.


Session 139 - Et tu, Andromeda?
Campaign Date:
Monday, 16 May, 1660
Moon Phase: Waxing Crescent
Zodiac: Taurus

New Characters:
- Gryph Bodhammer, drum sergeant and conveniently placed perspective character.

New Backstory:
- Zena, bedecked in demon-skin clothing and runic tattoos, always attracted attention. Her strange look made her an object of interest and suspicion wherever she went. (+1 to reaction rolls when you're wearing clean, stylish clothes)- Rake may or may not have knocked up a whore and may or may not have sold the child to slavery and may or may not have witnessed slavers stealing his baby away.
All we know is that there was a child and some point, nominally Rake's, and that when he returned from war the baby was gone. (Next character can be your child, starts with half your exp)
- Banjo Fishwick pulled off a ridiculous con - put on a circus sideshow billed as the "man eating fish". After they'd paid their copper, they entered the tent only to find a man eating a fish. Genius. (Once per session, someone totally believes a plausible lie)

Enemies Defeated:- 8 Mould Junkies (200 exp)
- 3 Mould Vessels (150 exp)
- 2 Filled Men (200 exp)
- Countless innocents (0 exp)- Cpt. Rigel, Leader of the Moondin City Guard (0 exp)
- Castigate Pox and his Necromancer retinue (0 exp)
- Madame Gash, Arch-Procuress (0 exp)
Total: 550 exp

Treasure and Equipment:
- A seriously pissed off Tom
- Powers known: Unbeliever.
-- +4 to hit vs Lawful creatures.
-- Each hit on a Cleric drains one uncast spell at random.
-- Cleric spells targeting the wielder can be denied if the wielder takes twice the spell level as damage.
-- All Cleric spells have minimal effect when cast on someone who has wielded the sword in the past 24 hours.
Total: 0 exp

- Travelled around 18 miles (60 exp)
- 2 random encounters (100 exp)
Total: 460 exp

- The party limp back to camp, finding that Bertha has been busy reinforcing the camp site! Nice! Trenches, spikes, the works. It's WWI up in here. (50 exp)
- As luck would have it... the party arrive just in time to see some mould people sneakily sneaking up on the other side of the clearing. (50 exp)
- Banjo melts into the undergrowth and begins to sneak around behind them, while Andromeda stands and whistles! Her steed, Midnight Fantasy, comes galloping from the camp. (50 exp)
- I take the new animal system for a spin and it turns out the other horse wants to follow the herd! It runs after Midnight Fantasy which is very convenient. (50 exp)
- All this noise alerts both Bertha and the mould people. Bertha hears POWERLAD's warning and darts into a tent. POWERLAD and Zena sprint in to save her! (50 exp)
- Banjo emerges from the bushes... and tries talking to the mould people! He tells them that the tentacle people need them urgently! (50 exp)
- "Tentacle people? What tentacle people?" say the junkies. Turns out they aren't friends with them! (50 exp)
- The mould men rush Banjo and grapple some sweet sweet mould into his mouth. It always happens to poor old Andy. He's overwhelmed by sadness and the mould people all collapse to the ground as the mould high kicks in. (50 exp)
- That's distraction enough for POWERLAD and Zena who grab Bertha from the tent and make a run for it. (50 exp)
- The others, mounted up, argue briefly about whether they should leave the newly infested Banjo to his new friends. A Floating Disk dragged behind Blue Jon's horse is used to scoop him up and escape! (50 exp)
- Once clear of the clearing, the trip back starts fairly uneventful. A grasshopper jumps on someone's shirt. No big. (50 exp)
- But then as late afternoon rolls round... a very strange man appears. Nude, mad, covered in tattooed writing, and creepy-crawling around on all fours. (50 exp)
- After some suspicious riddling conversation, the party try to make him fuck off by getting him to play hide and seek. This annoys him, and the roads warp around them! Suddenly the party's back near the tentacle! The strange man laughs! (50 exp)
- "You want to go to Moondin eh? But you are tentacles! Don't go to Moondin! Dark plots are afoot! Moondin will be your DOOM!!" he says, or something similarly foreshadowy. (50 exp)
- Blue Jon gives him a joint, which makes him cackle and caper back into the forest happily puffing away at it. The roads shiver and warp again, and as the party passes a corner they find themselves at the gates of Moondin itself! Hurrah! (50 exp)
- Rake, first things first, heads straight to the Necromancer-General's office. Andromeda heads off to buy some things and research some spells... or so she says. (50 exp)
- Castigate Pox, Necromancer-General, is very impressed and pleased with the progress the party has made into the tentacle dungeon. That the egg was destroyed is a great boon, as is the strange egg amulet that allows you to speak with the tentacle men. (50 exp)
- He agrees to build a slightly smaller statue of Mairead next to Rake's own, and to establish a forward base and supply chain to the chained tentacle to support further delves. (50 exp)
- Castigate informs Rake that he seeks to seal the Tentacle once more. There was once a witch who kept it bound, but no longer. The sealing ritual requires a sacrifice of 2000 souls, willingly given. This is the Necromancers' true cause. (50 exp) 
- He also says that there's an Arena Disaster Benefit event coming up on Sunday, and he'd be honoured if Rake himself could give a speech there as a tribute to the victims. (50 exp)
- Meanwhile, Andromeda is using her seedier connections to acquire a cart, a pile of corpses, a few vials of a tasteless white substance, and a number of barrels filled with a significant quantity of "fairy powder"... (50 exp)
- Also meanwhile, Banjo hits up Moonminster, the Mould Cathedral, and is invited inside. Within he sees Zarat, comfortably snuggled into the moist heaving mass of mouldy men, women and children that grow around each other against the walls (50 exp)
- This mental image really fucks up James Gregory so I must be doing something right! (50 exp)
- The priest takes Banjo to the altar of Oberon, where he prays. The priest Blesses Banjo as he leaves, telling him to go with god. They totally scripturally justify the Mould as a good and holy thing here, be fruitful and multiply etc. (50 exp)
- Zena buys a book on the Mould and Blue Jon uses Bookspeak to get the goods. How do you cure mould? DEATH! What spells can cure the Mould? CURE DISEASE. Great, thanks book real fucking helpful. (50 exp)
- Since the healers in Moondin were somehow murdered recently, plans are considered to take Banjo to the next walled town over and look for a healer there. They go to tell Banjo but... he's gone?! (50 exp)
- Suspecting betrayal, Rake declares a new plan - if you see Banjo, kill him. But his suspicion doesn't go far enough... (50 exp)
- Andromeda, using hookers and bribes to distract the guards, brings a cart full of corpses under the arena. The Necromancers need raw materials to build their undead for Construct Wars, obviously. (50 exp)
- After a few days of spell research, Andromeda is still missing and Banjo has been stalling the Mould by working his way through the red light district and infesting working girls. (50 exp)
- Rake attempts to unlock the full powers of Unbeliever. I swear I named this sword before I got a Kanye track of all things stuck in my head. (50 exp)
- "What's a man to a mob? What's a mob to a king? What's a king to a god? What's a god to a nonbeliever?". Intended answer "nothing" or something along those lines. Rake's answer isn't close, so he chucks it in the gutter and grumps. (50 exp)
- Blue Jon retrieves the sword and says "Nemesis!" to the final line. Close enough! Surprising nobody, it's a Cleric-killer weapon. (50 exp)
- A few days are spent researching spells and buying stuff. Andromeda gets Hold Portal. Blue Jon grabs Phantasmal Force from POWERLAD. (50 exp)
- Days pass. The Saturday before the Arena Disaster Benefit, the party head off to the Arena and check out the
 gambling minigames! I spent a small but significant amount of time making a gambling calculator and people seem to enjoy it so I am glad that nothing bad will happen to the Arena in the near future. (50 exp)
- Gryph Bodhammer, James' new character who works as a drum sergeant, is there betting on Flesh & Bone. It's capital punishment via fights against increasingly inventive undead. (50 exp)
- The next event, Blood Gauntlet, is like Total Wipeout but with blood instead of water and dumb Necromancer contraptions. (50 exp)
- It's remarkably exciting! The underdog Backflip Jack seizes the day due to judicious use of the d30 to influence the odds! (50 exp)
- MAA MAA MAAAAAAAA airhorns sound all the time in the arena by the way. (50 exp)
- The next day, the day of the Arena Disaster Benefit, Andromeda turns back up and buys everyone breakfast. What a darling. (50 exp)
- Rake realises first and chokes out, "Poison!". He fights it, stares at Andromeda in confusion, tries to get up and stumbles. The rest of the party stay where they are. Banjo is still nowhere to be seen. (50 exp)
- "Stay here guys", says Andromeda. She leaves and fades into the crowd that's walking in towards the arena. (50 exp)
- Rake comes to, staggers towards the door, tries to shout a warning but collapses against the door frame and passes out. The last words he hears are "wait, Rake? Is that Rake? What's wrong with him? Did... did he just shit himself?" (50 exp)
- We cut to Banjo, who's snuck into the bowels of the stadium. There are guards down there, but everyone's too excited about the event to really suspect anything. (50 exp)
- Banjo's really sneaky... but not sneaky enough. As he reaches the cart with the gunpowder barrels piled high, placed directly beneath the Necromancer-General's box... some guards notice. (50 exp)
- Rake regains consciousness again. He's on a stretcher. A man is asking him what happened. Rake tries to speak but only manages to murmer a single word - "Andromeda". (50 exp)
- Did you know that Banjo has a history of deception? We do, as of this very session. He engages his backstory to make the guard totally believe a plausible lie. These barrels are fireworks for the main event. Honest. They'll fire off from under the Necromancer's box at the end of the ceremony. (50 exp)
- The guard tells one of his underlings to go tell his daughters in the stands to watch out for the wonderful fireworks display that is to come. (50 exp)
- Out in the Arena, Gryph Bodhammer leads the musicans in a rousing display of musical patriotism. (50 exp)
- In the inn, the party can do nothing but wait as they wonder what Andromeda's dark plans may be. (50 exp)
- In the box, Necromancer-General Castigate Pox emerges and waves at his people to raucous applause. A symbol of strength and unity. (50 exp)
- On the streets, concerned citizens tend to the unconscious Rake. (50 exp)
- And Banjo climbs on top of the gunpowder barrels, torch in hand.  (50 exp)
Total: 2600 exp

 The Arena explosion destroys the whole southern section of the walls and stands, including and especially the Necromancer-General's box. (50 exp)
- Hundreds, if not thousands, are dead. (50 exp)
- Castigate Pox's axe spins lazily through the air and embeds itself blade-first in the arena floor. (50 exp)
- Andromeda rides hard out of the city. She passes by the inn where the effects of the poison are only just starting to wear off. (50 exp)
- POWERLAD stumbles out first, sees Andromeda, cries "Why!?" (50 exp)
- He summons the phantasmal Gravity Dragon, but too slow! (50 exp)
- As the great beast unfurls its great wings and drags itself out from POWERLAD's imagination, Andromeda rides between its still-forming legs and away. (50 exp)
- As she rides, her two remaining radicalised converts join her on horses of their own. Two prostitutes who believe in Andromeda's dream of a Necromancer-free Loegria. The humble beginnings of the RISEN insurgency. (50 exp)
Total: 500 exp

- Absolutely Disgusting bonus (50 exp)
- Aggressive Negotiations 
bonus (50 exp)
- Antagonist Annihalator bonus (50 exp)
- Antagonist Antagoniser bonus (50 exp)
- Balls to the Wall bonus (50 exp)
- Best of Intentions bonus (50 exp)
- Bookworm bonus (50 exp)
- Brutal Kill bonus (50 exp)
- Child Murderer bonus (50 exp)
- Classic Charles bonus (50 exp)
- Dramatic Rescue bonus (50 exp)
- Enmity Inciter bonus (50 exp)
- Fame bonus (50 exp)
- Gambling Problem bonus (50 exp)

- I Immediately Regret This Breakfast bonus (50 exp)
- Infamy bonus (50 exp)
- Internecine Strife bonus (50 exp)
- Kill It With Fire bonus (50 exp)
- Leave a Man Behind bonus (50 exp)
- Literally For Real a Terrorist bonus (50 exp)
- Ludicrous Gore bonus (50 exp)
- Noblebright bonus (50 exp)
- Michael Bay bonus (50 exp)
- Pundemonium bonus (50 exp)
- Riddlemaster bonus (50 exp)
- Ridiculously Bad Rolling bonus (50 exp)
- Soap Opera bonus (50 exp)
- Social Justice Warrior bonus (50 exp)
- Split the Party bonus (50 exp)
- Trapsetter bonus (50 exp)
- War Crime bonus (50 exp)
- What Could Possibly Go Wrong bonus (50 exp)
- What the Fuck Guy bonus (50 exp)
- Why Did You Eat That bonus (50 exp)- Delicious Admin bonus (100 exp)
- OHKO'd a Scary Enemy bonus (100 exp)
- Overkilled a Scary Enemy bonus (100 exp)
Total: 2000 exp

Party Roles and Individual Exp:
- Remembrancer (Charles / Zena - 100 exp)
- Caller (James / Mairead - 100 exp)
- Mapper (Fraser / Nix - 100 exp)
- Treasurer (Kitty / POWERLAD - 100 exp)
- Quartermaster (Ollie / Andromeda - 100 exp)
- Guard (Tom / Rake - 100 exp)
- Tracker (Henry / Blue Jon - 100 exp)
- Art Attack bonus (Charles*2, Tom - 100 exp)
- Artapalooza bonus (Charles*2 - 100 exp)
- Attacco d'Arte bonus (Tom - 100 exp)
- Fiction Fanatic bonus (Tom - 100 exp)
- Horrifying Realisation bonus (Breakfast eaters - 100 exp ea.)
- Asshole bonus (Andromeda - 0 exp)
- An Hero bonus (Andy - 200 exp)
- Lonely Death bonus (Andy, James - 500 exp ea.)
- Teamkilled bonus (James - 500 exp)

- "The Carrowmore Confederacy sell all sorts of strange and miraculous things from deep deep below the earth. The treasures they found under the lakebed were great indeed!"
- "The roads have a mind of their own, they bend and shiver beneath the light of the moon. The Elves sense all who walk upon them."
- "There's a reward for killing the elves in Moondin. They'll pay a gold piece per left Elf ear, I'm told."
- "At the mouth of the Moonwash, south through the Heart of the Woods, is a dead land full of dead men and barrow-geld."
- "Those mould people who infest others delay their transformation! It makes it hard to tell what they truly are, stay vigilant!"
- "There are no roads to the deep woods in the south of the forest, it is trackless and unexplored all the way to the sea."
- "Their are hags in the swamps who can only be found by one who is lost. If you must walk that way, stick to the paths."
- "Trust the Cunning Men, they know these woods better than anyone. It is a great honour to have a Cunning Man share your hearth."

Death Toll and Injuries:
- Banjo Fishwick, blew himself up while committing the brutal act of terrorism known as the Arena Explosion Disaster..
- Gryph Bodhammer, died in the Arena Explosion Disaster perpetrated by Andromeda Spiderbite and Banjo Fishwick
Exp Totals:
- Fraser / 
Nix Neckbiter, Level 5 Barbarian: 19192 (Level up at 32000)
- Henry / Blue Jon Goujon, Level 5 Magic-User: 18568 (Level up at 36000)*DING!* +1d4 HP! +1 level 1 spell/day! +1 level 3 spell/day! +free spell! +backstory!- Tom / Rake Hacker, Level 5 Fighter: 17760 (Level up at 32000)
- Kitty / 
POWERLAD!, Level 4 Muscle Wizard: 17797 (Level up at 18000)
- Ollie / Andromeda Spiderbite, Level 4 Muscle Wizard: 17372 (Level up at 18000)*IRRECONCILABLE DIFFERENCES*
- Charles / Zena, Level 4 Fighter: 9705 (Level up at 16000)- Andy / Banjo Fishwick, Level 4 Specialist (Thief): 8306 (Level up at 12000)
- James / Raaf van Held, Level 3 Fighter: 7803 (Level up at 8000)
*DING!* +1d8 HP! +1 to hit! +1 to crit/fumble table! +Backstory!
- James / Gryph Bodhammer, Level 1 Something-or-Other
- Andy / Next Character: +1464 exp

Absent, Retired or Brutally Betrayed the Party:
- Ollie / Andromeda Spiderbite, Level 4 Muscle Wizard: 17372 (Level up at 18000)
Will / Cecil Fulbright, Level 5 Cleric (Termaxian): 15063 (Level up at 28000)
- Tom / Insanity Mammoth, Level 3 Barbarian: 5192 (Level up at 8000)
- James / William Fox-Shitt, Level 3 Cleric (Zeanist): 4571 (Level up at 7000)

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