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Gatekeeper’s Campaign for PF2, Session 1, Part 2

Since people asked for it, I’m posting session notes for my Gatekeepers game for PF (index here if you want to look something up) . Here’s Part 2 for Session 1. (Part1 is here.)

The heroes have saved children from the basement of a flooding ruined tower outside the town of Tidegate. The children were apparently captured by devotees of a Bloodletter faction leftover from the Bloodletter wars of more than a century ago. The heroes want to keep the Bloodletter connection quiet as long as they can, and attempt Diplomacy to convince the children not to tell anoyone about tht part of the event.

The Diplomacy roll goes badly, but the children all claim to agree.

However, as soon as the heroes make it back to the Smoke Pine Taven, and the children see their clan patriarch, Syrkin Dale, in the great room, they rush up to him and loudly begin shouting all the details of what they saw happen.

This makes the townsfolk and shipwreck survivors in the Taven uneasy, but the councilfolk present don’t seem shocked. As the children are taken to a private room to calm down, the councilfolk tell the heroes that Bloodletter Sectarians have shown up trying to perform strange rituals every few decades. The council tends to keep it quiet, but it’s a known risk.

When the heroes mention the Sectarians seems to be waiting for them, specifically, the councilfolk note it may not have been about the PCs individually. Some Bloodletters have access to ritualistic divination, and can create situations that will bring in the elements that give them the best chance for success. So rather than “five specific townsfolk whose names we know are here!” the message might really have been “the divination indicates these are the random people who give our ritual the best chance of success!”

The PCs don’t mention their strange experiences with apparently elemental power sources, and most of the PCs don’t realize anyone but themself experienced it. Jaedyn and Morgan say each other’s Mystery Point uses and have acknowledged it to each other, but don’t mention it to anyone else.

It’s decided by the council that Hexer Hellaina will be asked to go investigate.

When the PCs go to get warm by the fire, the council-member Pottage swings by to give them some of his “Feel-Better Soup,” and at the same time quietly and in the most serious tone of voice any PC has ever heard him use, says “The Bloodletters wanted you, specifically, We’ll talk later. Be careful.” Then quickly moves away.

Several cats climb into the lap of halfling barbarian Hollyhock Stonefound, and keep her pinned in place by the fire all night.

Hexer Hellaina eventually shows up, and wishes to speak to the PCs. They tell her the general course of what happened, answering questions about the blood-drinking stone, but don’t mention the Mystery Point powers. Hellaina decides she needs to go look herself, after the storm ends, sometime the next day, and asks the PCs to go with her. They agree.

The next day the group including Hellaina have an uneventful journey back to the Ruined Tower. Hellaina does some rituals and analysis and determines that 1: The tower is the anchor for a wedge between the Mortal Realm and the Unlit World (where shadows, death spirits, and forgotten things dwell), 2: That wedge was asleep until awoken by a ritual recently, 3: Once awoken it was why the stone was drinking blood, and if it had gotten *enough* of the *right* blood, it could have forced open a full doorway between the Mortal Realm and Unlit World, and the PCs prevented this by moving the bodies of the fallen away from the tower, and 4: There must be an relic of some sort to serve as the focus for this anchor, and they need to find and destroy it.

So she gives everyone dowsing rods and explains how they work (search with Perception or Occultism, takes time), and Nambra ends up using a Red Mystery Point to reroll her check.

Well before anyone else has gotten more than a slight twitch on their dowsing, Nambra is strongly pulled to the keystone of the main door into the tower. Her dowsing rod then bursts into flame, the fire strikes the keystone and blows the front off it it, revealing it’s a hollow, lead-lined container dressed in stone, and containing a skull covered in sigils very similar to those of the Bloodletter Sectarians. Also, Hellaina notes that is NOT how the dowsing rod should work.

It’s suggested that maybe Nambra has a stronger connection to the relic because she took a critical hit and spilled the most blood on the stone before Averill telekinetically pulled her out. Hellaina is shocked Averill’s tk was strong enough, and he explained he felts a rush of power when he was straining, and Jaedyn and Morgan exchange glances. They begin to ask if everyone experienced such a thing, and Nambra confirms she had a similar rush when using the dowsing rod, and Hollyhock that she had the night before when running on top of the mud.

So Jaedyn and Morgan explain their experiences, and Hexer Hellaina finds this curious and important. She tells the PCs she’ll need to do some research ebfore she can even guess what is going on, and suggests (but does not order) that they keep their experience quiet for now.

Then she uses a ritual to destroy the relic, closing the sliver of a gap connecting the Mortal Realm and Unlit World at this location.

End of session.

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Gatekeeper’s Campaign for PF2, Session 1, Part 1

Since people asked for it, here’s part 1 of the notes for session 1 of my Gatekeepers game for PF2.

It’s early fall in Tidegate, and the storm season has been unusually bad. As we begin play, a major storm has caused a ship to wreck on the shore north of town, and most of the town council and senior people of note have gone to help survivors. As is the norm for local disasters, survivors are being brought to the Smoke Pine Taven, and all the PCs end up there to help settle people in. The many cats of the Smoke Pine are all present, but staying well out of reach of anyone.

Among other things the PCs have someone manning to Smoke Pine’s door, so they can open it to let people in but otherwise hold it closed against the wind and rain. The PC spots two councilmembers struggling towards the door – Syrkin Dale, who is clearly injured, being part-carried by Pottage (who is also struggling with a giant cauldron of his modestly famous “Feel-Better Soup”).

The PCs help them in and patch up Syrkin Dale, and determine that in the rough category of “Battle, Beast, or Debris,” the wound seems caused by debris. Syrkin explains that one of his tenant farmers’ children were last seen playing in a tower of the Old Keep outside of town, and hadn’t shown up since the storm began. Syrkin had gone to look for them, heard them calling for help from the tower’s basement saying they were tapped and the basement was flooding, but then a piece of the old tower’s structure fell on him and both injured him and blocked the only door in. Syrkin staggered to town to get help, and Pottage had spotted him and helped him in.

PCs note that Syrkin seems very annoyed Pottage is the person who found and helped him… and Pottage doesn’t seem to notice. Also, the Smoke Pine’s cats take turns coming up to and rubbing happily on Pottage.

With all the townsfolk who would normally go help already busy outside of town with the shipwreck, and a flooding basement not something that can wait to be dealt with later, the PCs decide they need to go save the children themselves. The Smoke Pine’s owner, Nana Cutthroat, gives them some gear to help, and they rush out into the storm.

The tower is up on a hill that’s a bit steep under the best of circumstances, and is a dangerous mudslide waiting to happen in the heavy rain. With some careful use of ropes and letting the most nimble PCs go up first, the group manages the ascent without incident.

The tower is a ruin, with a staircase on the outside spiraling up to the top of its 25-foot wall (the roof long-since gone), a pile of rubble on the other side making a rough but passable ramp, and a single door that does seem to be blocked by some collapsed timber. The PCs split up, with half heading toward the blocked door, and half heading to the stairs to seek an alternate way in.

As the PCs approach the blocked door, it slams down having obviously been rigged as a trap. Four sailors are just inside, all with thin leather handwraps common to sailors from the Akkaron region of the Continental Empire. One sailor has a headband, the other three have sigils freshly cut into their exposed foreheads. The headwrapped sailor yelled “They’re *all* here! Kill them!”

Fight ensues.

More foes climb up from the basement, warning children below to shut up.

Jaedyn opts to leap from the top wall down onto the new targets, a 30-foot leap. The player invokes the white Mystery Point, which allows her a good roll and Jaedyn discovers the wind is swirling around and guiding her. Morgan leaps after her, his player using a blue Mystery Point, and the rainwater water guides him. Nambra takes a critical hit from a crossbow, and is knocked out.

As the PCs defeat the sailors, they discover the stone of the tower is literally drinking up any spilled blood. The PCs begin to haul fallen bodies outside, beyond the apparent reach of the thirsty stone. Averill uses his telekinesis to pull Nambra out of the tower, so it can’t access her blood, which also required the power of a Mystery Point. However, they don’t manage to do so before enough blood gathers to form a icy blood paraelemental, which they must defeat.

Trying to get the children saved, allies patched up, and bodies moved, Hollyhock’s player expends the green Mystery Token, and the muddy ground supports her, preventing her from sinking in.

The fight is over, but the game session goes on (to be covered in Part 2).

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Really Wild West: Doomstone Campaign Ends

I wanted to spread this info over 5 articles last week. I started several of them. but I also got kidney stones… and that derailed everything. So, here is 5 articles worth of content and pictures, all crammed into one post.

End of an Era… of Gaming

Since moving back to Oklahoma, I have been running a Starfinder play mode I called the Really Wild West, in a campaign titled Doomstone. We just wrapped it up in my last session.

I don’t get to actually complete campaigns all that often. Scheduling or relocation usually kills them off first, and honestly burnout of myself or players is more common than wrapping a whole campaign plotline. And, to be fair, some games I designed to be endless sandboxes, so there was no “end” for the storyline to reach.

I originally intended to turn Really Wild West into a commercial setting book, so there is a ton of art and game rules and background for it on this site. Given how far behind I am on other projects that’s certainly not happening anytime soon (thankfully I never took money or preorders for it), and it may never happen. But the material is all still available, so you can see where I was going with it. And I never let anything go to waste, so the core material will likely show up in *something*.

For those of you who were following along back when I was posting session-by-session updates, here’s a super-quick rundown of the campaign, minus subplots. (There’s tons of cool stuff I just don’t have time to go into for a summery –how the PCs got the pistol Killdemon, the redemption of Beardcutter Ben the Shaver’s friend, the duel where Crackers Jack threatened to murder a the mysterious gunslinger who killed his brother only to in the end shoot himself in the hand so honor is satisfied, the Tombspider Inn, BoHoss the Ogre, Tex Tanner the Helium Baron, Ceasear — professional snuggler, “that Goddamn Manticore”…)

Earth, 1891. Magic and fantasy creatures have always been part of the world. Last year, the Martains attacked in the first War of the World.

The PCs (a centaur paladin, mysterious gunslinger, fenrin bounty hunter, human mechanic technopolitin, and orc cartogramancer easterner) were each for their own reasons on a train headed west. It’s attacked by teleporting serpentfolk bandidos who, it turns out, are trying to steal a safe being transported by the Fonts & Bismark company. The safe contains a Martian Power Generator, salvaged from a Martian tripod.

The PCs do some investigating, and come to believe the attack was funded by the East Hudson Bay Fur Trading Company, who have also taken over a local ranch and are making life difficult for its neighbors. Investigating further they discover the EHBFTC is funding a dig into a mesa where a genius known as Professor Adremelich is using converted Martian Digging Machines to access Demiplanes, including one with serpentfolk, and one with svirfneblin the Professor is using as forced labor. Using svirfneblin crystal tech after liberating them, the PCs raid the Serpentfolk demiplane, and cut it off from the Material Plane.

Evidence gather suggests Professor Adremelich wishes to become a Darkling, a more-than-mortal creature empowered by one of the Fates Worse than Death. Specifically he appears to be possessed by the Venom King, a medieval worldwide threat put down by the centaur paladin before she died, and the return of which is why she has been brought back.

The PCs commandeer one of the Martian Digging Machines and the mechanic technopolitan converts to be their expedition vehicle, the “Armadillo.” The PCs begin to see themselves mentioned in the papers, and decide to take the name “Knight Rangers,” rather than be stuck with some yellow-journalism appellation.

The Armadillo

They also encounter a Deputy of Death, a psychopomp cavalryman who warns that someone has escaped the Lands of the Dead, and if the deputies can’t bring him in their boss, “The Marshal” will come handle it personally. The Marshal getting into a fight on the Mortal plane could be… catastrophic.

Like, end-of-the-Olmec Empire catastrophic.

Realizing that defeating a proto-Darkling will require mystic aid, the group head to Hellgate, Montana, home of the famous hellgate University which allows the licensed study of fel magic, and thus should have experts who can help. Along the way they face Sumerian Vrock Demons, Angry Minotaurs (who they placate and befiend), and a cyborg named “Barron the Immortal”” who is causing all sorts of trouble, and they deal with him scoffing at the “Immortal” part of his name.

Of course the expert they need is currently lost after taking an expedition into the dinosaur-infested Badlands. Also, Hellgate appears to have a mole, and another cult is found supporting a myserious cigar-smoking man who clearly also wishes to become a Darkling, the Bloodletter, and is not as far along as the Venom King but is apparently working with him.

The PCs go rescue the expert they need, put an end to a spreading ghoul plague among the dinosaur population, drop a boxcar on a ghast allisaurus while using a holy smite to empower it, discover the mole in Hellgate U is the Chancellor who is also the Bloodletter Darkling wannabe, get attacked by Barron the Immortal again (who, it turns out, cut up his brain and used it to empower multiple mechanical bodies), and get a line on where Professor Aremelich is.

Their expert will make them a nail to drive through a Darkling’s shadow, so shooting them with a bullet will kill the darkling position itself, never to return. But, she also recommends they use the Chancellor’s research to find King Arthur’s Spear, Rhongomiant, which was forged to destroy the Darkling of Betrayal but was never used against it. The PCs raid the Chancellor’s secret base, slay a vampire, and get his notes. those take them to a hidden valley where there is a gate to the fiendish demiplane where the lost Legio IX Hispana Roman legion has existed for centuries, having turned to diabolism to survive a massacre and the fall of the Roman empire.

Fight on a giant gearwork dimension device, lots of Roman themed devils, free the people living under fiendish tyranny, get the spear. Encounter a second Psychopomp Deputy of the Marshal of Death, who warns time is getting short.

Upon returning to Hellgate, they discover it’s been attacked by a Martian Walker, the first anyone has managed to get functional since the War of the Worlds. They immediately help the US cavalry track it down, discover it’s a distraction drawing eyes away from a third Barron the Immortal, who is trying to complete a Martian Factory they began building just weeks before they fell to disease. The PCs stomp him and it, and find notes suggesting there’s just one Barron left… the most powerful of them.

They also discover a working Martian interplanetary communicator, and from its signal learn the Martian elite back on Mars are diabolists, and they are planning a second invasion… eventually.

The Knight Rangers still need to deal with the Tripod, and hunt it down with the Armadillo, fighting it in a Ghost Town. They win.

(I never made the Armadillo paper model I meant to, to that green vehicle in the background stands in for it)
(I love my cardstock Old West buildings)

Tracking Professor Adremelich to Helena, Montana, they find the city is cut off by an evil vapor projected from a Paddle Steamer. They sneak up on and attack the Steamer, ultimately dealing with its owner an ancient Sumerian Elf Vulture Diabolist. Upon killing him, the Mysterious Gunslinger PC discovers he has become a Deputy of Death, for bringing in a long-outstanding fugitive, giving him natural ghost gun advantages

Helena saved, they advance on the Monarch hotel, where Professor Adremelich/the Venom King is preparing to perform the ritual to become a full Darkling. To get to him they must face the last Barron the Immortal… who is a giant mechanical spider n the third act.

From there they descend into the basements beneath the Monarch, then the sub-basements, then they discover the builders had ignored numerous warnings from pre-Columbian cultures that said not to dig here. This is because when a Darkling brought down the Olmec Empire, his disciples had fled to North America, and build an underground Ziggurat to try to bring him back. The heroes of the existing lost-to-history native cultures of the time (referred to as the Woodland Mounds culture by some RWW historians) defeated them and left warnings which later cultures in Algonquian- and Siouan-language speaking peoples had maintained and respected.

The builders of the Monarch had not.

It is revealed Professor Adremelich has been hired to build digging machines to go even deeper below the Monarch, had encounter the darkling Cult Ziggaraut, and because of the poisonous Black gas the Martians has used in the War of the Worlds was so power, the dead Venom King had been able to whisper to the professor, hooking him as a host. Now, in that cavern, the Knight Rangers must face the about-to-ascend Venom King one and for all, in an ancient cavern littered with his failed technological and magical experiments, magic teleporting portals, two canopic guardians, a venom specter, a stream from the River Styx, and the Venom King himself.

(I got to use pieces from… 6? … different brands of terrain/structure/map products in this fight)

The fight was long and hard, but in the end, the Canpoic Guardians were destroyed, the mechanic kept the mystic or technological experiments from coming to life, the bounty hunter took down the undead chimera, the technomancer dispelled the Venom King’s displacement and other defenses, the Paladin pinned his shadow to the ground with Rhongomiant, and the Gunslinger took the only and only bullet they had to destroy him forever, and made an attack roll in the open, for all to see.

And rolled an 18. And shot the bastard right between the eyes, destroying that threat forever.

There was some wrap-up after that. The Marshal of Death dropped by to say the issue was settled. The paladin discovered she didn’t have to die to keep the universe balanced. Everyone agreed to invest in the mechanic’s soon-to-be-established tech company.

So, for now, game over.

I mean THAT game. I’m still getting together with these folks, who I have been playing with for 35+ years, and bouncing dice. Just not, for the moment, the Really Wild West.

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Really Wild West “Doomstone” Campaign — After-Action Report (Game Session 8, part 1)

I got a bit behind on posting these due to the holidays, but here’s the after-action report for Session Seven of the Really Wild West: Doomstone campaign. The Knight Rangers have headed out in their converted Martian Excavating Machine, now known as The Armadillo, to the Montana city of Hellgate as part of their quest to find and defeat Professor Barkane Adrameliche, who has become the darkling Lord, the Venom King.

Along the way, they topped in on the family of the ogre ranch-hand and ally Bo Hoss, and discovered the Hoss clan was being forced to labor for a group of Vrock cultists.

This entry is adapted from the notes of my friend Carl, a player in the game, and told from his point of view. My wife, Lj, was unable to play this session. As a result her character, the fenrin operative bounty hunter, was caught up by a twister while flying ahead to scout using DaVinci Wings. Sawyer managed to assure the other Knight Rangers that she’s catch up with them after she landed (and since Lj wanted us to go ahead and play without her, we hand-waved any concern the characters might normally have had over losing a member for a few days).

You can find Session One here: Part OnePart Two.
Session Two here: Part OnePart Two.
Session Three here.
Session Four here.
Session Five here: Part OnePart Two.
Session Six here.
Session Seven here: Part One, Part Two, Part Three.

If you don’t recognize a reference, it may (or may not) be in a previous session, or at the updated campaign notes page.

May 7, 1891

Travel past Idaho Falls, turning west.

May 8, 1891

The Knight Rangers pass many signs, pointing back to Idaho Falls, which appears to have been called Eagle Rock until recently. Numerous families in wagons are headed East toward Idaho Falls, evacuating the area further west.

Reach Root Hog, Idaho (will someday become Arco). It shows signs of extensive  new construction, Edison and Tesla-based engineering, and numerous Martian tech survey teams

The nearby “Craters of the Moon” was a major Martian landing location, and kind of an initial base for them. When Martians were getting sick at the end of the War of the Worlds, this was a place they fell back too. The town is “Martian wreckage boom town.”

Recently the Army Corps of Engineers has opened up Craters of the Moon battle site to public exploration. The Corp found a lot of stuff, but the mass of public can find more, and even a simple Martian “screw” is worth 2 credits.

As the Knight rangers arrive in the Armadillo, a bunch of people with newstypes (Newspapers printed locally having been received over the Babbage-Bel Grid) approach us and ask us for signatures.

(The Armadillo, the Knight Rangers’ mobile base of operation they converted from a Martian Embanking Machine. Art by Jacob Blackmon)

Headline in the “Lake Hudson Dispatch” reads:  Knight Rangers Threaten Town of Texburg. The coverage is all negative and wrong, along with a negative artists rendition

Headline in the “Gotham Times” reads: The Really Wild West: Martians, Mercenaries, and Magic!, and only mentions the KR in passing

Headline in the “Washington’s Bugle Weekly ” reads: The New Wild: Heroes Arise to Meet Unimagined Threats, and is accompanied by a fairly accurate artists rendition, although the female centaur paladin is depicted as being 12 feet tall. The article is written by “April Raynes,” and it mentions two other groups, the “Swordslingers” and the “Blud-Hexen Bunch”

After about hour, 12 men with rifles who have us artilleryman’s badges and red strip trousers show up. They are led by Sergeant Levy Cooper, a gruff man with a big bushy mustache and beard. He is currently in charge of Martian issues in Root Hog. Wants to see our Martian papers, and to have one of his people go over the Armadillo to make sure its not leaking or going to exploding. We agree.

Locals had more encounters with the “bug gum” and takes some affidavits from us about our experiences with it (the Jerusalem bugs and walking meat).

The engineer mentions “orange goo”  from some Martian tech that makes bugs grow big. Sergeant mentions Tesla was here first, indicates the least constructed building, “they had a really nice headquarters.”

He gives us a whistle that has a specific frequency that his fenrin employees can hear, they use it for emergencies.

They leave a corporal to keep an eye on us. Sergeant cooper says ” people don’t do what is expected, they do what is inspected.”

The closest crossing the Armadillo can take is a bridge which currently has so much traffic, we have to make an “appointment” to cross the bridge with the bridge officer.

In town, the centaur paladin goes for a hot shower, can’t find a shower place big enough, but a place that normally does degreaser for salvaged Martian tech, allows her to wash there. She encounters a large, 6″ wasp and pops it with a towel. It explodes into a green goo that is the same color as the Venom King’s various poisons.

The roboticist mechanic does some gambling, and looses to a professional gambler, “Slyton Seeves” , his friends call him “Sly.” They chat. He seems polite and proper. He wants to buy her (custom built) spark pistol for a lead lined box with a glowing blue dodecahedron crystal, She recognizes it as technological, but doesn’t know what it is. She does identify it as a part of a Martian interplanetary communicator. She makes the trade (and later builds herself a new spark pistol).

The human soldier guards the Armadillo while others are in town. He sees a woman walking about unnoticed on other people’s camps. No one else seems to see her. She then kisses a guy who is wraked with coughs, and that guy dies.

She approaches the Armadillo, and the soldier makes it obvious he can see her. She approaches, and they talk. She is Macha Morriga, basically a psychopomp. They exchange information, she tells him darklings rewrite reality. About 1,000 one got loose in South America, and destroyed an entire empire. She leaves, peacefully.

The cartographamancer half-orc was contact by agent of Tex Tanner. Tanner wanted to hire the Cartographamancer away from the Knight Rangers on a long-term contract, but was turned down. Tex Tanner is clearly paying agents throughout the West to keep track of the Knight Rangers.

(End Part One)

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Really Wild West “Doomstone” Campaign — After-Action Report (Game Session 7, part 3)

Wrapping up the after-action report for Session Seven of the Really Wild West: Doomstone campaign. The Knight rangers have headed out in their converted Martian Excavationg Machine, now known as The Armadillo, to the Montana city of Hellgate as part of their quest to find and defeat Professor Barkane Adrameliche, who has become the darkling Lord, the Venom King.

But first, they want to check in on the family of the ogre ranch-hand and ally Bo Hoss, who live near Rexburg and stopped communicating with him months ago, though they only ever sent him messages once a season.

Notes adapted from the notes of my wife Lj, a player in the game, and told from her point of view.

>>Later on May 6th day we come to Rexburg.

The Knight Rangers decide to visit Bo Hoss’s family before going in to Rexburg. The ogre clan live in a small valley between Rexburg and Hibbard, in the vents of a mostly-dormant shield volcano.
·        There’s a Pony Express post at the edge of the valley, which looks abandoned. An investigation reveals an old smell of blood in the floor – a Kasatha was stabbed and bled to death right there – no blood drops leading out of the shack. It’s been at least 7-8 months since the pony has been here, and no foot prints nearby for months.
·        The post itself has a hobo mark on it – means this place is unfriendly and unsafe
·        Strongly smells of vulture-like bird – either a large flock or a huge roc visits here every few days but is smart enough to clean up their sign (only their scent gives them away)
·        Place is clean and packed like they left it on purpose
·        The Soldier and Operative, both with DaVinci Wings, take to the air and scout the valley.
     o   The soldier determines that there is wildlife, but they are all acting like there are predators around. He finds and talks to a fisher (a weasellike mustelid) using speak with animals. It says there are “big, death birds” – they crow and dance and speak all the wrong words. They’re all feathered, but they talk to fleshy people
     o   The operative sees at the other end of the valley, beyond the volcano, there is a creepy looking lodge up in the side of the mountainside, in a wetland area. It’s old and rundown, but there’s a light on. Between 100-200 years old, or maybe just a really hard 40 years. Smells of at least two half-elves.

Drive the Armadillo in, but it can’t make it up the mountain to the vents where Bo Hoss’s family live. There are carved-in stairs the Knight Rangers take to get up.
·        There are old stones here carved with South Pacific language, which no PC speaks
·        Also some larger, new stones carved in a very different language
·        We see someone inside the cave – a Bo Hoss-like ogre– carving on the wall.
·        There is a vrock overseeing him. It sees us and screeches – it’s on

FIGHT!

·        The operative shoots and misses, but startles the vrock.
·        The centaur paladin charges and shouts “I name thee demon!” The Knight Rangers conclude it’s a demon.
·        The vrock screams and causes fear, though no one in the area is affected
·        It slams its beak into the paladin for a LOT of damage. It seems to be augmented.
·        The cartograthurge technomancer moves up to see if the new stones are doing something that may effect the ogres
·        The ogre, being now free to move as he will, turns to the stones at the entrance and starts to chisel away the runes yelling “NO!” with each blow
·        The soldier PC spots another figure down the other tunnel

·        The vrock dances and creates a cloud of spores, affecting everyone but the soldier, who is out of range. The centaur paladin grows pustules on her skin from it – blech – but just ignores the penalties and keeps fighting.
·       The technomancer says the menhirs are summoning rocks – brings more demons here, and infuse the area with demonic energy. The ogre keeps trying to destroy it, but it’s taken months to make and is resistant to destruction.
·        The roboticist engineer and her drone joins in to destroy the menhir with the ogre, using her engineering knowledge to help break up its structure. They speed up the destruction quite a bit
·        The figure the PC soldier spotted down another tunnel is a half-elf male with a red, glowing pentagram over one eye who has a wavy-bladed dagger and a pistol. He waves his dagger in the air to cast a spell while he fires. A screaming bullet fires past the Soldier, the bullet crying out obscenities in Infernal.
·        The ogre hits one of the runes on the menhir (natural 1 on a skill check to damage it), and it disintegrates his chisel and damages him mildly.
·        The fenrin Operative bounty hunter moves into the tunnel near , sees another set of stones and alerts the cartograthurge technomancer. Operative shoots the vrock, but the attack bounces.
·        The roboticist mechanic moves into the tunnel to deal with the second menhir. She spots three more ogres manacled and gagged deeper in the tunnel, and lets the other OCs know.
·        Te half-eld cultist and PC Soldier exchange gunfire in a different tunnel. The half-elf staggers to behind a third menhir in that tunnel, and smears his blood on the menhir – his eyes roll up – he chants in Ancient Sumarian and keeps firing at the Soldier.  His bullet missed, but the soldier felt the vileness of it as it passed
·        The Operative bounty hunter moves over to the bound ogres, and identifies that their manacles happen to be compatible with her manacle keys. Ha! She unlocks one, tells it to free the others.
·        The centaur paladin continues to solo the vrock but has to lay on hands for herself – she was running too ragged. It’s smite evil lance strikes against fiendishly-empowered beak bites.
·        The technomancer successfully breaks the front menhir. Half the sense of fiendish energy infusion in the area goes away.
·        The mechanic begins to dismantle the second menhir
·        The soldier (able to ignore the half-elf’s cover), shoots him again – this time, killing him
·        The first menhir broken, the ogre who was attacking it picks up a rock and assists the centaur paladin fight the vrock by flanking it with her. The ogre takes an attack of opportunity from the Vrock to get into position and is bloodied (runs out of stamina), but doesn’t seem to care.
·        The centaur paladin bloodies the vrock – woohoo! Then it smashes her with its beak again, bloodying her.
·        The technomancer unleashes his steampunk bee-bots (the spell “microboat assault) at the vrock, distracting it
·        With Engineering and her drone’s strength, the mechanic roboticist destroys the second menhir, ending the “evil temple” feel entirely, inside this tunnel. The vrock is visible weakened.
·        Soldier, Technomancer, and Mechanic PCs move on to break the third menhir in the other tunnel, byt the dead halg-eld cultist.

·        The manacled ogres frees themselves and follow the fenrun Operative into battle. Second.
·        Aided by the Operative and the orges, the centaur paladin finally does in the vrock. It diminishes into ropey cords of muscle, pus, and rot before it disappears.

·       A second vrock is spotted flying this way. The Knight rangers and freed ogres destroy the remianing menhir, and wait for it to arrive. It is visibly weaker than the first vrock, and faulters when the last mehir is destroyed.
·During the wait, the freed orgres explain two half-elves arrived months ago and summoned a vrock on a stormy knight. Then the vrock captured the ogres and forced them to make the new, evil mehirs. When three were done, the vrock did a dance that turned on half-elf into a second vrock. Then they began being forced to make more menhirs, to turn the last half-elf into a vrock, so the three vrocks could then open a gate to the Abyss.
 ·        Most Knight Rangers take cover to fight the vrock, but the centaur paladin and the ogres stand in open view to draw it in.
·        The second vrock arrives at half health since there are no menhirs, and he’s trying to get to the third one.
·        Paladin charges, Operative and Soldier shoot, Technomancer uses the beebots, Mechanic sics her drone on it, so the vrock is flanked by drone and paladin. Orgres pick up and throw rocks they have prepared for their home’s defense.
·       Vrock is outmatched, though it does ignore magic missiles cast by the technomancer thanks to Spell Resistance, and on a critical hit inflicts a bleed effect on the drone. It dies, much less impressively than the first vrock.

AFTERMATH
·        The ogres are Bo Ghun, Bo Ghran, Bo Deir, and Bo Fo. There are 20 total in the Bo clan (babies grow to full size within 2 years). They invite the Knight Rangers to eat and rest.
·        PCs check out the shack at the end of the valley first — was an abandoned cult house. Find a demonic text telling them how to summon a vrock. The cultists were still 5 months from completing the rocks needed to summon the third vrock, but needed the ogre’s exert stone-carving skills to do it. They told the local townsfolk that the post had been destroyed and that the ogres would come into town to get their mail, townsfolk didn’t care enough to check on why the ogres never did that.
LOOT: Magical Sumerian wavy-bladed dagger; sixteen sets of size-large manacles; demonic text (which is put in a lead-lined safe n the Armadillo the mechanic deigned for radioactives, but will work great for magic too)
·        The ogres give the Knight rangers us a return letter for Bo Hoss.
·        When the Knight Rangers get into Rexburg to mail the letter to Bo Hoss, they tell local officials that because they ignored the inquiry about the Bo clan, demons nearly overran the world.

XPs: 1300
20,270 current total, (23,000 to 7th)

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Really Wild West “Doomstone” Campaign — After-Action Report (Game Session 7, part 2)

Continuing the after-action report for Session Seven of the Really Wild West: Doomstone campaign. The Knight rangers have headed out in their converted Martian Excavationg Machine, now known as The Armadillo, to the Montana city of Hellgate as part of their quest to find and defeat Professor Barkane Adrameliche, who has become the darkling Lord, the Venom King.

Notes adapted from the notes of my wife Lj, a player in the game, and told from her point of view.

>>Campaign Day 31
·        About an hour after we set out, we see Waterlily (a ranch hand from the Circle Axe Ranch) riding up behind us
·        We pull over and she hands us a large, fancy, international letter that arrived right after the Knight Rangers left the Circle Axe.
o   Formal Eastern European letter
o   Carries appreciation and amazement at our accomplishments from Princess Allegra Gullveig of Stythencia (a tiny Tiefling City-state in Eastern Europe in the Carpathian Mts. near Transylvania).
o   She wrote and sent it, referring to the Knight Rangers by name, about six hours after we decided on our group name. Info doesn;t travel that fast without magic.

Camping first night, spot a glow-in-the-dark figure on a horse coming toward the camp. Skeletal man in law officer duds, with a badge that says he is “Deputy D. Nails.” His horse is bandaged like a mummy and has a necklace of severed heads. As the figure approaches it gets cold and snow begins to fall – not cloudy
·        The heads – there are at least three – are from men who fled when the Knight rangers attacks the Venom King’s forces at Neblin Hill.
·        He says he’s taking over after Deputy B. Hill was recalled. He’s hunting the grave jumper (Venom King).
·        We trade information. The Knight Rangers learn the Prof. has split himself in to two – flesh and bone – but they’re right next to each other. He’ll be at full strength in 180 days from tonight if not stopped – he needs a specific conjunction to accomplish this so it cannot be rushed. His vulnerability is the metal from coffin nails, not silver or cold iron, that have been used to keep bodies in the ground.
·        If the Venom King isn’t brought down soon, “the Marshall” will come down to earth personally and get him.
·        Deputy Nails heads away toward Montana

Campaign Day 32
·        Pass through Rollings, WY
·        Get to Rock Springs, WY
o   Stop here to camp and resupply

Day 33
·        Eden, Farson, Boulder, and Pinedale, WY – all of which are wrecks – wiped out during the WotW
·        Stop at a battlefield on our path – the centaur paladin stops to honor the dead

Day 34
·        Come to a pass through the mountains – gorgeous
·        Stop in Hoeback

Day 35 (fifth travel day – May 5th)
·        Idaho Falls, far eastern Idaho – decent sized town
·        Bear River too deep to cross in the Armadillo
·        Use the cattle bridge and end up in the edge of town
·        A crowd gathers, looking at the amazing converted Martian tech. Begin to cheer, because they think the Knight Rangers took it from the Martians
·        Cartographothurge Technomancer gets off to resupply
·        Centaur paladin gets on the train station platform and tells a tale of defeating the forces of the Venom King’s snakeperson allies, who are quickly dubbed “the Scorpion Gang.” Though she tells the tale accurately, the crowd is already making it bigger that she tells
·        We head out five miles from town to camp
·        A handful of horsemen come out to us – five
o   Three young men, one older man, and a middle-aged woman
o   Professor Virgil, and students from the Eastern Idaho Technical College
o   They want to ask about the Armadillo
o   They brought us potatoes au gratino   They talk to the technomancer roboticist, talking to dawn and learning from her. Invite her to come lecture whenever she likes

Campaign Day 36, which is determiend to be May 6th 
·        Around noon, we spot a herd of brontosauruses.
·        We slow down and drive by at a safe distance
·        Soldier outlaw with DaVinci wings goes out and flies over them – sees the babies
·        The technomancer sketches his heart out

Later that day, the Knight rangers reach Rexburg, and head to the nearby shield volcano to visit Bo Hoss’s family.<<

What do they find!? We’ll discover that tomorrow, in part 3!

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Really Wild West “Doomstone” Campaign — After-Action Report (Game Session 7, part 1)

After nearly a month break, I finally ran by Starfinder-Really Wild West-Doomstone campaign again, and people have been asking about getting to see the after-action report. So here’s a write-up adapted from notes taken by my wife Lj (who is playing the fenrin operative bounty hunter named “Sawyer”), mostly in second person, as a report for Session Seven!

You can find Session One here: Part OnePart Two.
Session Two here: Part OnePart Two.
Session Three here.
Session Four here.
Session Five here: Part OnePart Two.
Session Six here.

If you don’t recognize a reference, it may (or may not) be in a previous session, or at the updated campaign notes page.

A lot happened in this one, so it’s been broken into multiple blog posts.

>>We’ve traded the digging bits of the Martian Embanking Machine we captured (that had already been partially-converted by Professor Adrameliche, who turns out to be the Venom King) to the Circle Axe Ranch in exchange for the parts, materials, tools, and assistance we need to convert it into our base of operations. Conversion takes two weeks, during which time we are guests of the Circle Axe. The group decides on a group name (the Knight Rangers), and name the soon-to-be-finished mobile base of operations “The Armadillo.”

(A standard Martian embanking Machine, before any modifications. Twenty feet tall, twenty feet wide, and forty feet long. Art by Jacob Blackmon)

The local Fonts and Bismarck Station Chief, Adler, comes to visit and receive a briefing on the Knight Ranger’s recent activities. Agrees to use official Fonts and Bismarck channels to make inquiries about whether Professor Adrameliche has been seen in Montana. Also helps discover that the Professor’s style of technological invention is very similar to that found in several train robberies (performed with the aid of a robotic derailing machine) performed a few years back that accrued a great deal of cash.

Since the Knight Rangers believe the Professor is in Montana, the fenrin operative bounty hunter looks up bounties in Montana.
·        The situation is complicated, with the state new to the Union and in a very unstable place due to massive damage from Martian Walkers during the War of the Worlds. Various Copper Kings (like cattle barons, but for copper) are in near-open warfare and set bounties on each other, many with local (though not legal) support. State bounties are legal, but often lack local support and are likely to anger one or more factions. Mostly only official Federal bounties are seen to have the weight needed to be legal and not likely to bring reprisals.
·        An exception is that the rare bounty placed by “Gotham Jo” – Josephine Fiery, are also respected throughout Montana.
o   She is a madam and business owner of a hurdy gurdy house in Helena
o   She’s married to a man who’s present, but not in charge. In fact she seems to have him under her thumb, with lcoals knowing not to allow him to drink or gamble.
o   has a reputation for taking care of her employees, and only put out bounties on those who have wronged her people, never on an ex-employee
·        There are currently no active bounties safe to take

Knight rangers made some inquiries about Beard-cutter Ben (who sold them “walking meat,” a chewing gum that turned out to attract the Monstrous Jerusalem Bugs that attacks the PCs back in Session Two.
·        Upon hearing they are looking for him, he shows up at the ranch to apologize and offer us refunds and reparations. He got the material from the East Hudson Fur Trading Company. He will never do business with them again, and he’s spreading word that it’s bad, hired a lawyer to sue the EHBFTCo.
·        We ask him to tell us when he finds out more information
·        As part of reparations, ask him to give discounted shaves for law enforcement. He also gives some cash.

Station Chief Adler reports Professor Adremeliche has been spotted in three places in Montana in the last 60 days.

·        Helena, the capitol (It is 680 miles from here – if Knight Rangers go there, can visit Bute-Silverbow on the way. Economy fueled by lead, silver, and gold mining. Capitol buildings under construction. Most millionaires per capita in the US. Many movers and shakers – includes Gotham Jo. The Copper Kings who are so influential elsewhere in the state have very little control here. Population 13,000. No real bad part of town. Almost no unemployment. The rich people compete in charitable giving.)

·        Butte-Silverbow (Closest to the Knight Ranger’s current location – 450 miles. Population of 15,000 – biggest city in Montana. Center of War of the Worlds refugees in the state. Major EHBFTCo. base of operations–no Fonts and Bismarck office there. Center of where the Copper Kings are waging war against each other. Center of the Asteroid Mining Co. – mine adamantine and other star metals. Growing copper industry. Center of Martian tech research in the state. Two scummy red light districts. Grimy and smoke-filled. Gangs based on foreign national or ethnic origins divided up the town, most with ties to one or another Copper King.)

·        Hellgate (800 miles from here – due to limitations on moving the Armadillo through mountains and damaged infrastructure from the War of the Worlds, have to go around a forest to get there. Third largest city in Montana – pop. 3,400. In Hellgate Valley [Sections of which were choked with bones due to French fir traders fighting with natives, which is how it got its name. Fur trade has moved out.] Now largely trades in lumber. Home of Hellgate University [oldest in the state and includes the only accredited and licensed school of necromancy not in Eastern Europe]. Next to the Rattlesnake Mts. One of only two places in the world with a Badlands City embassy.

Most information comes from Station Chief Allison Flynn of Helena, Montana.
·        Her information was gathered under the radar. She is convinced Professor Adrameliche is connected with one of the power structures in the state. Found a picture of him for us – he wears black with accents of the same green as the Venom King. He is, of course, the Venom King. Mechanical arm. Cane with human bones and a green skull pommel – [Likely the Venom King’s actual bones.] Eyes = black with tiny, green dots

The Knight Rangers decide they are going to visit the university in Hellgate first, to see if they can find a way to put down the dead spirit that is the Venom King, and who now seems to inhabit Professor Adrameliche.
·        We can make 40-50 miles per day in the Armadillo. Get to the university in 16 days using an alternate route. Our route will take us through Yellowstone, Idaho Falls, Salmon, Hamilton, Lolo, then Hellgate

Around Day 10 into the 14 days it takes to put together the Armadillo. Dwargus invites us up to the big house for supper and new. Circle Axe has been granted 75% of the disputed lands they were arguing with the vicious Hippogriff Ranch – including Neblin Ridge.
·        Dwargus gives us a Federal salvage deed for the Armadillo from the Sixth Federal Circuit Court in Ohio. It might be overturned, but it should at least take a court case to do so.
· Mention that Texas Helium Magnate Tex Tanner has sent word he’s sending a representative to make an offer to buy the Armadillo… but the rep won’t arrive until two days after the Knight Rangers have left. We decide not to wait for him.

Around Day 12 into the 14 days elven ranch hand Waterlily wants to talk to us. She mentions the Ogre ranch hand Bo Hoss has a problem he doesn’t want to bother us with. His family lives in a shield volcano near Rexberg, Idaho. Communication with them has ceased. Dwargus sent an inquiry – got no information. They’re all ogres – only a few speak English – mostly immigrants of Pacific Islander descent.

A Shirren lady comes to measure Liam for some clothes. As a sensate, she asks if she can lick the Armadillo. The Knight rangers are okay with it, and she experiences 15 new flavors she’s never tasted before. In thanks, she gives us all spider silk umbrellas (+2 KAC/EAC against liquid-based attacks if held, but only 1 HP and takes damage if attack it is used against does any damage).

On Campaign Day 31 – it’s time to head out to Hellgate
·        The roboticist mechanic and operative bounty hunter are the best drivers, with the cartogramancer technomancer a close third.
·        The centaur paladin can drive, but her armor gives her penalties
·        The others we set up on rotation to learn

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Really Wild West “Doomstone” Campaign — After-Action Report (Game Session 6)

It looks like there is enough interest in session notes from my Really Wild West: Doomstone campaign for those to become a regular feature. So here’s a write-up adapted from notes taken by my wife Lj (who is playing the fenrin operative bounty hunter named “Sawyer”) as a quick report for Session Six!

You can find Session One here: Part OnePart Two.
Session Two here: Part OnePart Two.
Session Three here.
Session Four here.
Session Five here: Part One. Part Two.

If you don’t recognize a reference, it may (or may not) be in a previous session, or at the updated campaign notes page.

Session Six

I decided to playtest my idea for Spotlight Tokens in this session. I got some useful feedback, I may or may not keep using them in this campaign.

These notes are from the point of view of the PCs (specifically my wife Lj, and I adapted them from her notes for her character, the fenrin operative bounty hunter Sawyer).

The Svirfneblin host us and feed us. Dinner includes large roasted pill bugs that taste like lobster. Mushrooms, snails (escargot-style), slugs, beer.
· The svirfneblin give us papers and a copy of The Pact to give to Dwargus Hardfist, with whom they hope to open formal trade.
· The svirfneblin give us “the Door,” a complex set of nested crystal spheres. It will seek a spot within the serpent people Hollow World near its center, and then can be activated (with a combination of three successful Engineering and/or Mysciticm checks in a row) to close the serpent people Hollow World for a century or so. Once activated, it must be guarded for 1-2 minutes (1d10+10 rounds), after which it will open a portal. It then cannot be stopped, but anyone who doesn’t go through the portal will be trapped in the Serpent People dark Hollow World for a century.
· The Svirfneblin can have their Hollow World (the Vault) overlap the serpent people’s Hollow World (Aakath), and deposit us near where we will need to set up “the Door.” As soon as we open the door, the powerful Venom Champion known to the serpent people only as “Her” will know, and is sure to arrive.
· Once Aakath is cut off, the serpentfolk who are currently out in our world, will be stuck. They will still be able to teleport, but will have weaker arcane powers and less eldritch strength.
· The Svirfneblin the PCs found and buried have returned their essences and minds to the Svirfneblin communities. Their “soul sparks” have become soul gems, which those who have fallen offer to the PCs (one each) as thanks for putting them to rest.
o “Who they are” has gone back to the community
o These are the fuel that drove their essence, minds, and bodies.
Soul Gem
· all are +1 Resolve Point (only to stabilize)
· Then there are cuts, each with a different power set.
o Trillions +1 to all saves
o Navette +2 against all afflictions
o Cabochon +4 to all saves against poisons

Into the breach — The Svirfneblin perform the ceremony to place us in Aakath.
· We all take anti toxins
· Things dwell there that are worse than serpent folks
· Be prepared for darkness that defies simple concepts such as evil

Aakath — the Endless Cavern
· Darkness so gray, it might as well be black, but we know it isn’t
· Settlement with inhuman architecture in distance, outbuildings nearby
· Thin glowing green sickly line in the far distance
· Vapor clings to the ground
· Crunching noise beneath our feet
· An alien howl of alarm goes off
· The Door draws us toward a nearby fountain, but there are things between us and it.

FIGHT!
· “The unclean thing” – (GM describes it ‘the bezor that the otyugh spit up’). It is a shapeshifting mass of waste, raw, pulsing organs, and foul ichors.
o It spews digestive juices and waste as an attack out of a sphincter it forms for the purpose
· The alarm turns into chanting
· The green glow flashes and two figures teleport in
o One is a Four-armed Huge snake-legged serpentfolk, with glowing venomous pistols, a green gem in her head, and wicked dagger – this is clearly “Her”

(Art by Jacob Blackmon)

o Also with HER is a Size-large serpent with ridges on its back
o Damage to HER appears on the serpent, until the serpent is slain.
· The serpent charges for the bounty hunter operative fenrin.
· A Size-large four-headed serpent appears
· The centaur mercenary paladin protects the human robotocist mechanic and half-orc cartographer tecnomancer as they get the mechanism activated.
· Another unclean thing shows up – a minor version
· We finally get everyone down
· The portal opens as we see siege weapons and giant coils rolling this way
· We flee

AFTERMATH
· We all make it through. End up in the same cavern as the Martian embanking machine, beneath Neblin Ridge.
· Heal up

LOOT from Her: Pocket hollow world (clear gem) – teleport (self only, 440-foot range) CL10 as a move or swift action once per day – (goes the the centaur paladin); warmaster’s gloves (swap out weapon you are wielding with those stored on your person without taking an action) – goes to human soldier; Martian capacitor (1ce/day supercharge a weapon as part of the attack) – goes to human mechanic.

The Tess drives the Martian Embanking Machine out of the mine. We all take a turn driving it. Go back to the Circle Axe Ranch.
· They give us burgers
· Bring Dwargus up to speed. Learn Felspark has been “Recalled East,” by the east Hudson Fur Trading Company.
· He makes us Trustees of the Circle Axe Ranch
· We can take out the tunneling stuff from the Embanking machine and turn the engine into a mobile Base of Operations. Decide to do so before hunting down the infamous Professor Barkane Adrameliche, who we believe has beocme the Venom King, and we think is in Montana.

Divide up the $4000 worth of bounties between us. $800 each.

XPs: 1920
18,970 (23,000 to 7th)

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Really Wild West “Doomstone” Campaign — After-Action Report (Game Session 5, Pt. 2)

Here’s part Two of the Session Five notes for my Really Wild West: Doomstone campaign, adapted from notes taken by my wife Lj (who is playing the fenrin operative bounty hunter named “Sawyer”).

You can find Session One here: Part OnePart Two.
Session Two here: Part OnePart Two.
Session Three here.
Session Four here.
Session Five here: Part One.

If you don’t recognize a reference, it may (or may not) be in a previous session, or at the updated campaign notes page.

(Art by Jacob Blackmon)

Session Five (Part Two)

Still Day 13

The characters see that the heaviest traffic out of the Big Cavern is through the left-hand tunnel, which was clearly made by the Embanking Machine. This also shows signs of the svirfneblin-drawn sled they saw bring green ore out of the mine when observing the camp outside. This is the route the take.

  • There is a breach in the tunnel that clips some underground complex that was already there. (The players later learn this is the Svirfneblin Vault)
  • The end of that tunnel opens up beyond the breach
  • The centaur paladin, in the lead (with her darkvision) is attacked by monsters disguised as rocks at the entrance. They’re grick!

FIGHT!!!

  • The grick don’t seem to take electrical damage, fire damage either
  • The human soldier criminal grabs the Warhammer the Chimera Kid was using and uses that on the grick – bounces off. The magic fusion that was on the warhammer has already been moved to the mechanic robotisit’s drone’s bite attack (her drone looks like a mechanical dog).
  • The grick don’t do a lot of damage, but anyone near them has to make a Reflex save or take some damage from their flailing tentacles, on top of their bites or acid spit. And the grick are reducing every attack that hits them by 10 points of damage, so seem nearly invulnerable.
  • There are two Sverfneblin here. They speak some kind of old German. It takes Culture checks for people who know German to understand them.
  • The centaur paladin and fenrin operative work to asks the Svirfneblin to call off the beasts – the svirfneblin explain they do not control the gricks
  • The human soldier criminal called out the name Drungeldan Smyreonot – the name of one of the ‘neblins we talked to after death
  • Bullets don’t work against the gricks either
  • The half-orc technomancer cartographer makes a Mysticism check, and says it takes magic damage to hurt the grick. He then casts overcharge weapon on the paladin centaur’s lance.
  • The lance kills one. The human soldier has an automatic pistol with a magic rune on it, and he easily kills the other one.

AFTERMATH:

  • The centaur paladin casts a spell that allows her to speak to the Svirfneblin
  • They need to get to their Headman
    • He is being held hostage in the back
    • We will have to bypass the serpentfolk and some pact guardians
    • The Pact Guardians are varied – some mechanical, some monsters. They protect the svirfneblin, but also obey the pact, and thus don’t currently attack the serpent people who took over the pact by stealing blood of pact scion – Dwargus. Thus as long as Dwargus does not elave the area, the serpent people can come and go in the Svirfneblin Vault. (PCs realize this is why the manticore kept killing off Dwargus’s cattle–so he couln’t retire and leave).
    • Only the authority of the pact scion can get us to bypass the pact guardians
    • The PCs try the writ given to them by Dwargus allowing them to investigate the area on the door in this room, which is a Pact Guardian itself.
    • It works!
    • There are serpentfolk on the other side of the door!!

FIGHT!

  • There is a gorgeous small green snake, a serpentfolk with a gun and serrated jawbone of an ass sword, and a human carpetbagger with a staff and wearing a beautiful green operacloak
  • The two ‘neblin cast spells to aid the PCs
  • When the pretty cobra dies, it turns into a pool and evaporates
  • The soulstaff dissolves

LOOT: Sharpened jawbone of an ass that is bane vs humanoids (5,000- 10,000-year-old artifact); Who’s Who in Montana 1890; guardian greatcloak (Goes to the technomancer cartographer, and changes from venomous green to midnight blue with silver nautical symbols, route lines, and compass roses when he puts it on).)

Guardian Greatcloak (magic item, level 5): If you take an action that provokes an attack of opportunity, you may expend a Resolve Point without taking an action and not provoke the attack of opportunity

LOOT: One shotgun

PCs move through the rest of the Vault to get to the headman, using the Writ from Dwargus to bypass traps and guardians of the Pact. Final room. Locked and trapped door. The mechanic roboticist bypasses it, and recognizes the handiwork/design skills of Professor Barkane Adrameliche, whose handiwork was also found in the Martian Embanking machine.

  • The Svirfneblin Headman is inside
  • He asks if he can close the vault, using their authority with the Writ from Dwargus – PCs all say yes
  • The Headman explains Professor Barkane Adrameliche IS the Venom King (“Toxin Krieger”to the Sverneblin)
    • The Professor found the idea of a “Venom King” while studying Martian Black Gas, and began to hear whispers. As he experimented with and perfected ways to use the Black gas, the whispers grew louder and louder, and eventually the Professor became the Venom King as much as he is Barkane Adrameliche.
  • The Professor/Venom King is a Darkling — a human who has embraced the darkness so totally he is a native outsider, and on his way to becoming a demigod. He is one of six “Dread Fates,” six unspeakable ways to die.
  • The Professor had six Lts.
    • Dathaca (who was the Chimera Kid)
    • Gaotma – (the only one with a Doomstone)
    • Athath-ka
    • Venomancer (the spellcasters the PCs *just* killed)
    • Female serpentfolk in the other tunnel. Called “Her” in fearful tones by other serpent people.
    • One Unknown
  • The Professor and his six lts are the only ones who will ascend, becoming demigods
  • None of the other six Dread Fates currently has a physical body. The Professor is trying to bring about one of them, his closest ally, the Dread Fate of Torture (who has a drop of blood as his icon, like the blood cultists encountered earlier on Neblin Ridge).
  • The Professor is currently in Montana.
  • Sverfhaim is a Hollow World– a place that is as much a concept and planar pocket as it is a material place. So is the Serpent People home. Also, the serpentfolk seek another “Hollow World
  • Headman offers PC hospitality for the night
    • Sends his folk to watch the upper caverns
  • PCs need to get into the serpentfolk city, set up a mystical “door” (a device the Neblin headman can create), go through it, close the door
    • Then the serpent city will cease to have access to our world and we would be on Neblin Ridge

End of session. XPs: 2650

LEVEL UP to 6th!!

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Really Wild West “Doomstone” Campaign — After-Action Report (Game Session 5, Pt. 1)

It looks like there is enough interest in session notes from my Really Wild West: Doomstone campaign for those to become a regular feature. So here’s a write-up adapted from notes taken by my wife Lj (who is playing the fenrin operative bounty hunter named “Sawyer”) as a quick report for Session Five!

You can find Session One here: Part OnePart Two.
Session Two here: Part OnePart Two.
Session Three here.
Session Four here.

If you don’t recognize a reference, it may (or may not) be in a previous session, or at the updated campaign notes page.

Session Five

Day 13

The fenrin operative bounty hunter takes the mask of inconsequence once used by the Chimera Kid. This magic item allows you to make Stealth checks, opposed by observer’s Perception or Sense Motive (whichever is greater) to appear to be no different form the majority of people around you. It only works when you are not in combat, and does not work against anyone directly interacting with you or who is in combat.

(Art by Jacob Blackmon)

So equipped, she heads into the mine to do Stealth recon. She overhears a conversation between two guards – they know there was a ight outside, and if anyone comes up they don’t recognize the guards will will shoot first, ask questions later. They are awaiting the return of “the Professor,” who the guards obviously fear. The Professor specifically warned them not to use the “embanking machine,” which is taken by the group to be a Martian embanking machine from the War of the Worlds.

The players decide to make a blitz attack, since these guards and part of an operation that has used slave svirfneblin labor, and mercilessly killed and hid the bodies of a dozen or more of those.

  • The centaur paladin charges in to begin the fracas, impaling an enemy operative (one of two) with a critical hit on a lance change before he has a chance to do anything. (“Yep, that’s a crit. What IS the crit effect on your lance?” “He dies?”)
  • There is a spell-casting serpentfolk in here. It casts a defensive spell, then alternates between supercharge weapon and firing snakes as arrows from a 3-limbed bow.
  • The surviving operative sniper trick attacks the centaur, and gets his own critical hit on her before she rides him down.
  • The human soldier criminal PC exhcages fire with numerous gunslingers, and two axe-lords (people with magic rune brands in their hands allowing them to make special throw-and-return and multiple-target ace attacks, an old Nordic tradition). He gets shot with a snake arrow, but doesn’t go down
  • One crook, “Mr. Green Jacket” gets away out the front of the mine and since he agreed to flee “into the desert” and not come back, and the PCs took a lot of damage, they opt not to chase him down.

AFTERMATH

  • There is a Martian Embanking Machine here, which has been used to dig dozens of tunnels. It looks like a 20-ft. wide mechanical centipede, and has been converted to be steered by human controls. The human mechanic roboticist disables it by taking out aprt of thsoe adapted controls and in doing so finds a gear with a patent he reognizes–it was created by the infamous Professor Barkane Adrameliche, a citizen of the Ottoman Empire who helped create the first automatons. It is suspected he might have known Gaotma, the Manticore.
  • This room also has a series of Martian atomic batteries, which have been salvaged from other Embanking machines. These are not as powerful as a Tripod Generator (like the one serpentfolk tried to steal in Session One), but these three have been hooked to a capacitor designed to concentrate their power, though it takes several days to power up to a generator’s power level.
  • The capacitor is hooked to an array that clearly once had a spherical device hooked up inside it. This is right next to an empty storage area which the fenrin can tell 9with Scent) used to have Martian Black gas cannisters. Also, the iron box with the Doomstone taken from the manticore gets hot near the area.
  • The PCs conclude the Venom King is using the Martian Batteries to infuse Green Iron (taken from this mine) with the toxic properties of the Black Gas, the most virulent poison now known on Earth. This creates the “Doomstones,” such as the one they recovered, but can only make one every week or two. If the Venom King had a Tripod Generator, he could make a Doomstone every few hours.

LOOT from thsi fight: High-quality handaxes x4; Allin needle guns x2 (one for Liam); Ajax revolvers (x5); three-limbed serpent person bow (no arrows), bag with 8 snake eggs; golden bullet (magical) – put it in any projectile weapon and it has a one-shot built-in supercharge weapon (given to the fenrin operative bounty hunter); gallon of butane

Cast grave words on the bodies the Serpentfolk just hisses words at the PCs. The All of the rest of them talk about weird smells and weird dreams

There are two paths deeper into the mine. The PCs go left.

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