2015-07-14

session recap, 6/28/2015

CAST
--------
Gutboy the Cleric (6) and his blink dog Rufus II
Pai Mei the Wu-Jen (4)
Rolf the Dwarf (3)
Simon the Halfling (3)

The party began exploring the prison in which Ashkasar had trapped them.  They found various statues in niches along the walls, of varying species - they provided no clue on how to escape.  Finally, at the far end of the chamber, they stumbled across another pair of portcullises.  Expecting them to open, they poked a 10' pole through the bars of the near one and pressed the pressure plate that triggered the trap - but nothing happened.  Apparently, Ashkasar had been opening and closing the portcullises himself - a depressing realization for the intrepid crew.  Fortunately, brute strength was at hand, and with all the cannibals of the prison slain or turned to dust through Gutboy's faith, they had no problem using their combined strength to push the portcullis upwards.

Beyond, they negotiated a series of tunnels through the underground, discovering stuffed ape heads on pedestals, and the pit traps that disturbing said heads triggered.  The use of 10' poles prevented serious injury, and eventually they made their way to a large room with two skunk ape statues, one holding a quill, and the other a book.

The first ape statue uttered strange phrases when touched - "Never odd or even", "Flee to me, remote elf!" and other nonsense.  The second statue spoke even stranger things - "Knock knock", "Quack", and "Sizzle".  Pai Mei identified the second ape's utterings as onomatopeias, but the first ape statue's babbling was indecipherable.

Ignoring this mystery, they headed through a southern tunnel, finding a strange room filled with bean vines growing from pots.  Rolf was able to see the room clearly - a pair of ape statues were glowing with ultraviolet light - and in a corner, he saw a giant snake.  Rolf tossed a torch in that direction so the rest of the party could see the giant beast, and to their surprise, the snake used its tail to open a door, rushed in, and slammed the door closed.

A cursory inspection revealed ancient runes carved into the stone walls behind the bean vines, mentioning obsidian seeds and a being called the Gann, who was apparently supposed to return to the dungeon at some point.

The party approached the door and opened it, revealing a snake's bedroom - one wall lined with great pillows.  The snake sat coiled at the far end of the room, its head straight up in the air, with the upper half of a goblin sticking out.  The goblin spoke:

Esvet:  "Do not be alarmed, travelers!  I am a simple bean farmer!  This goblin is my method of communication!"
Gutboy:  "Wait, what?"
Esvet:  "My people can only speak through these lesser ones held in our mouths.  We are a peaceful race, and desire only commerce, and to harvest beans.  I am Esvet, of the Zerpanax"
Gutboy:  "Commerce?  What are you looking for?"
Esvet:  "Why, women, of course!"
Gutboy:  "Snake women?"
Esvet:  "No, don't be ridiculous.  We need human wombs to incubate our young.  Subterranean humanoids such as this goblin are inferior incubators, and the children produced are mentally incompetent.  Human women are necessary for proper childbearing!"
Gutboy:  "And what would we get for bringing you human women?"
Esvet:  "I see from your equipment that you are lovers of weapons and technology.  We can provide these in great numbers!  Have you heard of lasers?  Such devices are held in our citadels beneath!"
Gutboy:  "So you're not from here?  You're not the Gann?"
Esvet:  "The Gann?  No, we traveled through subterranean fissures to this dungeon.  Whoever the Gann was, he is long departed.  We worry not about him or his ridiculous apes."
Gutboy:  "So you eat beans?"
Esvet:  "No, our mouthpieces eat beans!  We eat the skunk apes, and sometimes the morlocks, when they are disobedient."
Gutboy:  "Well, we'll get those women for you right away.  Which way out of here?"
Esvet:  "To return to the surface, you'll want to head north.  You'll find some caverns, travel through them and a natural chimney will lead up to the swamps above."

The party (with the notable exception of Pai Mei) found the human-womb-seeking, goblin-devouring snake to be entirely trustworthy, and followed its advice, heading north.  They did indeed find a large natural cavern, with a gong at the far end.  Rolf spied a stony humanoid crouched behind the gong.  They suspected a trap, but pressed forwards regardless - Rufus blinking forward to bite at the stone-man, and the party unleashing a volley of arrows.  The arrows plinked off its stony hide, doing no damage, and the party realized they were in serious trouble, as two more stone men peeled off from the cavern walls.

Rufus managed to down one with his savage blink-dog-jaws, crunching through its rock hide, but the others hammered on the bell and rushed the party, crushing Simon the Halfling into paste.  The party fled for their lives, rushing back to the bean room, and Pai Mei used the ancient powers of the wu jen to secure the door against all intrusion.  Inhuman fists crashed on the other side of the door, and angry hisses were heard, but the mighty doors to the bean room held.

Incensed at Esvet's betrayal, they kicked down the door to his room and unleashed their fury on the slithering liar.  "Please, there must be some misunderstanding!" were the last words of the beast as Rolf severed the snake's head (and the goblin's feet).  The goblin fell from the monster's mouth, moaning in pain.  There was a brief and unsuccessful attempt to interrogate the mostly-unconscious goblin before the party decided that heading south would be a more profitable direction.

The southern tunnels brought them to a room full of morlocks and a giant lizard, who were quickly dispatched - and beyond that, a series of rooms that led back to recognizable staircase.  Despite horrendous mapping errors, the party had found their way out of the dungeon of the Gann.  They followed the more accurate upper level of their map, and made their way back out to the swamp, avoiding the laser stare of the stone ape heads outside.

Gains:  none
Kills:  margoyle, zerpanax, 2 morlocks, subterranean lizard
Losses:  Simon the Halfling

2015-05-29

session recap, 5/17/2015

CAST
--------
Gutboy the Cleric (6), his blink dog Rufus II, and the three Brothers Melba (1)
Pai Mei the Wu-Jen (4)
Rolf the Dwarf (3)
Simon the Halfling (3), and his henchmen the Unnamed Mariner (2)

The crew looked around - where the hell had Gutboy gone?  - no matter, they had a drug dealer to bust.  They packed up their belongings, headed down the Grand Stair to the Everglades, and began the trek through the swamp, avoiding the highway to Under-Miami, as import/export professionals so often do.

They handily dealt with a lone giant mosquito, climbed into the mossy cypresses to sleep, and then awoke to the sound of skunk apes.  The 7' tall bipeds were marching single file to the west, an unconscious man in an orange jumpsuit slung over one of the beasts' shoulders.  Intrigued, the party followed, and after a few miles saw the swamp 'squatches head towards a stony outcropping with a door cut into it.  The door was flung open, and flanked by giant stone skunk-ape-head-statues.  The cunningly carved eyes of each statue were rolled up so that no pupils were visible.

The intrepid crew headed into the tunnel, and stopped to examine a 6" round shaft cut into the wall.  A few feet into the shaft was the squared-off head of a metal bar.  Simon cajoled his Unnamed Mariner into reaching in to twist the shaft - and as he did so a metal blade swung down inside, shattering the antique Apple Watch he had dredged up from the bottom of the ocean in his seafaring days.  He yanked his arm back, thankful the watch took the brunt.  Pai Mei took a look at the statues, and saw that their eyes had rolled back down, and were pulsing with purple light.  He threw the mariner's shattered watch into the air, and lasers lanced out from their eyes, disintegrating the timepiece!  It was lucky timing, too, as just at that moment Gutboy and his entourage rushed towards the door.

Once inside, they began exploring the tunnels beyond.  They examined several long-abandoned dormitory rooms, lifted a portcullis, fought & killed a pack of skunk apes that had been standing around minding their own business (confiscating a few whistles and nothing else), and then made their way past a pair of ape-themed double doors and down a stairway.

On the lower level, they followed a trail of doors to an ape beauty salon (with ape combs and tubs of sanitizer), and eventually to a chamber with an ape-sized niche in the wall, the surrounding stone carved to resemble a larger ape about to give the niche's contents a hug.  Huddled below the niche was the villager - he was drooling and unresponsive, and covered with swamp scum with the exception of his well-groomed head and shoulders.  The Brothers Melba picked him up and forced him into the niche - and the stone arms reached forward to grip him tightly for a moment, and released him to the floor.  The fellow (identified by the brothers as "Phil") remained in his senseless state, and rather than lug him back to Squamscot, the Brothers lightly killed him, figuring they'd let his reincarnation know what happened later.

Exploring further, they came upon a room filled with implements of torture - thumbscrews, iron maidens, etc.  As they examined the grisly collection, a man in a torn jumpsuit staggered forward.  "Oh thank goodness!  I'm saved" he shouted as he approached.

Gutboy:  "Wait!  Who are you?"
Louis:  "I'm Louis, from Under-Miami!  I escaped from those awful skunk apes, and was hiding here for days!"
Gutboy:  "Really?  You just stayed here, in the dark?"
Louis:  "Uhhh.... yeah...."

Pai Mei thought this sounded fishy, and used the Wig of Lordship he had taken from the Tomb of Elvis to charm Louis.

Pai Mei:  "Who are you really?"
Louis:  "I work for Sanibel! I had a briefcase full of jewels for a deal, and was on my way to Squamscot to make a deal when those apes grabbed me."
Gutboy:  "Jewels?"

Their greed overcoming their paranoia, the party began hatching plans to retrieve the drug jewels and arrange an accident for Louis.  They explored the room further, and found a boudoir around a corner.  Looting the various drawers and trunks, they retrieved a book full of magical writing, a box with a knife and fork (cast into the shapes of screaming faces), a ring of keys, a golden thurible, crystal dish filled with incense, eight flasks of liquid, a scroll tube, and a wide array of expensive suits.  All were dumped into Gutboy's sack.

Heading to the other side of the chamber, they saw a pair of portcullises - the near one up, and the far one down.  Pai Mei jabbed at the floor near the far portcullis with his extensible pole, and the near portcullis slammed down (shattering his pole!) and the far portcullis rose up.  A lone ghoul ran around the corner, only to be driven away by Gutboy's holy presence.  After two minutes, the far portcullis slammed down, and the near one arose again.

Having figured out the nature of the trap, they decided to press ahead anyways.  They ordered everyone, including a sobbing Louis, shaking with fear ("I thought these clones weren't supposed to be afraid to die?") into the space between the two portcullises, and stepped on the pressure plate.  As expected, the near portcullis arose, the far portcullis fell down, and the party began advancing - all but Louis, who remained, clutching the portcullis.

As Gutboy, in the rear, crossed the threshold of the far portcullis, Louis began giggling, and the far portcullis slammed down, while the one he was clinging to began to arise.

Gutboy:  "Why are you laughing?  Are you jewels back here?"
"Louis":  "You seriously haven't worked it out yet?  Louis is not my real name..."
Gutboy:  "I figured that out!  What do you want?"
"Louis":  "You may call me Ashkasar.  All I want is for you to eat...  to dine upon the sweetest flesh..."
Gutboy:  "We've got your stuff!"
Ashkasar:  "Oh, I shall retrieve it later.  There is no hurry.  You'll want the cutlery, of course.  The hunger shall drive you to abandon your pretense of civilization and embrace the natural order!"

As Ashkasar spoke, a teeming horde of cannibal corpses emerged from the darkness around the party.  Pai Mei sent bolts of magical energy into Ashkasar's chest, to no effect whatsoever, while the presumed wizard easily sidestepped an attack by Rufus the Blink Dog.  Meanwhile, the brothers Melba and the unnamed mariner were rended limb-from-limb by the cannibal horde.

Gutboy's holy presence both repelled and attracted the ghouls - as the power of his nonfaith annihilated the fiends, those behind attacked him with increased fervor.  Bloodied and torn, the priest prevailed, and soon only the party members and the giggling Ashkasar remained.

Ashkasar:  "Now it is time for you to dine!"

With that, the session ended.

Gains:  ivory whistle, 2 frosted glass whistles, golden thurible, crystal dish with incense, ring of keys, spell book, glowing wood cube, box with plates and cutlery, suits, scroll tube, eight flasks of liquid
Kills:  giant mosquito, six skunk apes, 12 ghouls, 3 ghasts
Losses:  Phil, the Brothers Melba, the Unnamed Mariner

2015-03-24

session recap, 3/15/2015

CAST
--------
Gutboy the Cleric (6) and his blink dog Rufus II
Pai Mei the Wu-Jen (4), and his henchmen "The Doctor" the Time Lord (2) and Paula Abdul the Battle Dancer (2)
Rolf the Dwarf (3)

Having a week to kill before they were to meet with Pablo Sanibel and try selling him fake lanthanides, the party decided to head back up to the fifth level and hunt down some of that sweet, sweet dungeon loot.  The hiked across the bridge to the mainland, followed the crumbling highway through the Everglades, and then climbed the Grand Stair up to Swampscott.  They passed through without stopping - waving at their buddies from Customs - and took a pair of golf carts into the tunnel upwards to the dungeon.

The trip passed uneventfully, and after two days of travel they arrived at the dungeon terminal.  They walked up the stairs to the vast mist-filled room (where they had fought a giant daddy long legs) and began walking its perimeter, making note of the many side passages on their map.

They stopped at a pile of bones they had previously encountered in the mist-filled room - and above the bones the stone wall was pocked and chipped.  Paula Abdul began climbing freehand, shouting "It goes up forty feet and there's a ledge OH WHOOPS--" before crashing down to the floor.  Rolf stood over her broken, bleeding body, and began playing a tune on his Metal Axe - BACK IN BLACK.  The grinding distortion brought renewed vigor to Paula's broken limbs, and she leaped up in a fury, determined to ascend to the top.

The second ascent, she climbed with spikes and rope, and carefully made her way upwards.  The party heard another shout - "I made it!  Wait what's that AIEEEEEEE" - and then silence.  Pai Mei hurriedly climbed the rope, uncharacteristically determined to save a henchman's life.  At the top he saw a trio of young giant daddy long legs, each the size of a horse, tearing Paula Abdul apart with their mandibles.  His eyes rolled up in his head as he began a mystic call to the unhatched eggs strewn around- thousands of tiny spiders hatched and crawled towards their larger brethren, biting with somnolescent poisons.  The three spiders fell asleep, and Pai Mei slaughtered them.

The top of the ledge was scattered with bones and rotting clothing - and gold!  Searching through the piles of refuse led to teh discovery of 1,000 gp, four gold necklaces each spelling the name "VINNY", a cardboard box labeled "ORDNANCE - LANDMINE" containing a metal disc, and a glass jar with two rainbow colored leeches crawling around inside.

The party headed back down to the misty room, and headed through one of the newfound side passages.  At the end of this passage was a room with a box, carved from the living stone of the room itself, standing at its eastern end.  The wall behind the box was carved with a relief of a leafy tree, and two niches were cut in its branches.  The floor of each niche had three metal pins sticking up.  The party had seen these niches before - crystal skulls were placed in them, for reasons they had not yet determined.

Rolf put a green skull in the first niche - it began glowing softly.  This had happened in a similar room (with but one niche in the tree-carving) on the 1st level.  The party had been stymied then as to its purpose.  He then placed the yellow skull taken from the interdimensional portal on the 3rd level into the second niche - this one vibrated and sparked noisily.  Clearly the yellow skull was not meant for this niche.  He then removed the skulls, figuring they didn't have the right colors to solve this puzzle.

They then began exploring side passages from this room.  One to the north ended at a closed door - opening it revealed a room with dozens of unlit torches in sconces along the wall, and a floor covered with what looked like raisins.  Closer inspection revealed the raisins to be dried slugs, covered with a light dusting of salt.  As they examined the piles of dead slugs, they heard an accusing voice from the hallway - "MURDERERS!  YOU SHALL PAY!" - and turned around to see massive piles of living slugs dropping from the ceiling to the floor, blocking the exit.

The two Slug Collectives assembled themselves into upright, manlife forms and began punching at the party.  Rolf took a beating, but Gutboy's potent prayers to his non-deity and Pai Mei's magic missiles eventually killed enough of the slugs that the remaining portions of the collectives collapsed.  The individual slugs were easily stomped into slimy paste after that.

The party examined the torches and found that four (one on each wall) would turn - but they would not turn fully individually.  Gutboy spiked the door open, and the four surviving party members tried turning them simultaneously - a secret door on the west wall swiveled open a short ways and then stopped, and grinding noises were heard from the spiked door.  Clearly the spiked door would have to close for the secret door to open, so the spike was removed, the torches turned, the door closed, and the secret passage opened.

The party followed the passage towards a circular room, with four silver rods with sharp crystals at their ends sticking out of the floor.  A milky-white crystal statue, 7' tall, stood in the center of the room.  Unsurprisingly, the statue came to life moved towards them, slashing and ripping with sharp crystal claws.  Rolf was able to damage it with the Metal Axe, but Pai Mei's non-magical weapons were ineffective.  The Doctor was finally able to use a Time Lord abililty, sending a significant chunk of the statue's head a few minutes into the future.  Sadly, this was the Doctor's last act, as the crystal monstrosity tore him limb from limb in retaliation.

Panicking, the party ran back towards the raisin room - and thinking quickly, Pai Mei dropped the newly-acquired landmine behind him as he ran.  There was an earth-shattering kaboom, and the party returned to see the circular room covered with white powder - salt.  The salt golem had been dealt with, but two of the silver rods were bent in half.  All four (damaged and undamaged) easily lifted from the floor.

The party decided that was enough excitement, and headed to Bartertown.  When the elevator doors to Bartertown opened, another adventuring party stepped out, dressed in black - and immediately began fawning over Gutboy.

Adventurer:  "You're Gutboy the Glittering!  Omigod, you're the reason I got into adventuring!  I can't believe I'm meeting you in the flesh!  This is awesome!"
Gutboy:  "Yes, it is!  So, who are you guys?"
Adventurer:  "We're Bela's Boys - we work for Bela Isogul.  He comes in with us sometimes, but not every trip.  We're looking for some guy he says lives in here - Count Dracul?  You ever heard of him?"
Gutboy:  "No, never.  Say, what do you guys think of the Blessed Expeditionary Company?  Does Bela like paying the taxes?"
Adventurer:  "Hell no!  Who likes paying taxes?"
Gutboy:  "Well, we should have a meeting.  Maybe we can come to an understanding."
Adventurer:  "No problem, we'll talk to him!  Here, take our card!  He stays at a hotel in Retennis."
Gutboy:  "Does he ever visit to Lugosi?"
Adventurer:  "No, and he's real weird about that place.  Says they're all jerks there.  Well, good meeting you in person!"

Bela's Boys headed off into the dungeon, and the party filed into the elevator.  Once in Bartertown, much shopping and negotiating commenced - the net result being a visit to Boris the Crawler at the Dying Way, to trade of the Sword of Unlife (held by Gutboy, as he didn't trust anyone to not die holding it and produce a horrid wight) for a strange stainless steel mace, whose head was a green glass sphere filled with liquid, held in place by stainless steel ribs.  Pai Mei was unable to determine its thaumaturgical powers, but both he and Gutboy were sure of its puissance.  Additionally, Boris informed them that the rods with crystals atop them were salt spears, feared and hated by the Slug Collectives.  They also determined that the leeches were some form of drug, although their method of application and effects remain unknown.

Healed up and ready for action, they made the trek back to the underground village of Swampscott, hiring three local yokels as henchmen - the brothers Melba.  How they are "brothers" when the citizens of Under-Miami are produced by cloning machines remains a mystery.

Gains: 1000 gp, 4 gold "Vinny" necklaces, jar of variegated eye-leeches, 4 salt spears (two damaged), green glass mace
Kills:  3 baby giant daddy long legs, two Slug Collectives, one salt golem
Losses:  Paula Abdul, The Doctor, Sword of Unlife

2015-02-01

session recap, 1/25/2015


CAST
--------
Gutboy the Cleric (6), his henchpeople Trezgar the Elf (3) and Bunny the Thief (3), and his blink dog Rufus II
Pai Mei the Wu-Jen (4), and his henchmen "The Doctor" the Time Lord (2) and Paula Abdul the Battle Dancer (2)
Rolf the Dwarf (3)
Kalimar the Ranger (3)

The crew followed the customs agents to the nearby village of Swampscott, which stood on a plateau overlooking a vast cavern, perhaps 150 miles end-to-end.  It was lit by an artificial sun - a tube of plasma energy running from one end to another.  Below the plateau was a vast mangrove swamp, and to the east of that the city of Under-Miami stood on the western edge of an underground sea. Volcanos spewed smoke and steam throughout the landscape, a ruined city (identified by the customs agents as "Boston") stood on the far side under a broken glass dome, and sphere of black-and-violet energy broiled above a mountain on the opposite coast.  The distances were too vast to see beyond these landmarks.

The customs agents led them into a bar (the "Thirsty Whale"), and they ordered a round of fermented milk (for all but Pai Mei, who refused when learning the milk came from nipples on the "meat pods").  As they drank and talked about getting to Under-Miami proper, a pair of bald gentlemen in fresh orange jumpsuits walked in.  They had no memories - at least not until the bartender handed each of them their diaries, which they had left for safekeeping. "Ahh, says here I was off to find out what's been riling up all the skunk apes!  Fifth time I've gone missing!  Well, I'd better get out there again and find out what those things are up to, this don't bode well!"

A bit of conversation later, and the party learned that the people of Under-Miami considered themselves immortal, being "reborn" in a facility named the Creatatorium whenever their bodies died. Arriving without memories, they'd make their way to wherever they naturally hid their diaries and rediscover the past they had written down.  The party was intrigued - if this Creatorium worked for them as well, they too could live forever!

There was also some confusion when it came time to pay the bar tab - the customs agents bought the drinks with paper money.  It soon shook out that one silver piece was referred to as a "silver dollar", and they could exchange a gold piece for ten "bucks".  The citizenry in the bar assured the party that their "dungeon coins" were just fine, and they didn't have to go to a bank to exchange gold for cash, although it would certainly fit in their wallets better...

Refusing an offer of $20 to help the lentil farmers of the plateau find out what was bothering the normally placed skunk apes of the swamp below, they climbed down the Grand Stair and followed the cracked pavement of the highway north to Under-Miami.  The passage through the swamp was uneventful - a few skunk apes were sighted in the mangroves, but they kept their distance.  As the party crossed the miles-long bridge from the mainland to the city, there were several exit ramps leading to nearby islands - and speeding automobiles passed them, the drivers shouting helpful suggestions such as "Get out of the road, jerks!"  and "Get a job, you bums!" As they reached the island that Under-Miami stood upon, the great beam of light above dimmed, and lights flickered on in the city.  An artificial night-cycle had begun.

No matter that - they crossed over to the city and headed towards the sound of salsa music coming from a windowless bar.  Inside, the clearly criminal class of customer backed away from the heavily armed and freakish-looking party.  They interrogated the bartender about where they could stay - he indicated perhaps a group known as "The Libertines" would take them in, or maybe they could stop at the Visitor's Center - both were on Ocean Drive, a few blocks to the east.  As the party got up and left, a seedy fellow came up to them and started an unwanted conversation:

Addict:  "Hey! Psst!  You're from the surface, aren't you?"
Pai Mei:  "You know about that?"
Addict:  "Yeah, I know, you can trust me.  I need lanthanides!  I got money!"
Pai Mei:  "Sorry..."
Addict:  "Aww man, don't hold out on me!  I know you got 'em!  They come from the surface!"
Pai Mei:  "We don't have any.  Get lost."

The addict sneered as he sidled off, and the party headed towards Ocean Drive.  The art deco hotels along the beach were lit up with pastel neon lights, and peculiar groups sat at tables in front of the hotels.  In front of one were a group of gray-bearded old men and (beardless) women, playing chess - these were Methusalans, paranoid eccentrics who believed that they truly died and their rebirths were different individuals entirely.  Past them were a group of tattooed individuals wearing leather pants and little else, many of them with both arms amputated for reasons of fashion - the Libertines.

The party ignored the hotels and headed for a dark building at the north end of the beach - the Under-Miami Visitor's Center.  The glass doors were unlocked, and inside were rusty racks of decaying pamphlets ("Whale Watches of Under-Miami", displaying pictures of oddly tentacled whales breaching, with the warning "Do Not Taunt the Whales") on dusty counters.  Behind the main counter they found a diary  (with thousands of the same entry: "Came to work.  No visitors showed up.") and a relatively fresh apple.  Nothing else interesting was discovered, so they went to sleep on the dusty floor.

In the morning, a young woman entered - the visitor's center clerk! She was stunned to see actual visitors, and it took several minutes before she recovered her composure enough to answer their many questions.

. Housing - there were no proper inns or hotels, as there were no visitors.  Given their bizarre appearance, the party could probably get lodging with the Libertines
. Art Deco Hotels - they were all permanently occupied by "clubs", such as the Methusalans and the Libertines
. Work - All jobs were assigned by the government.  Many people ignored those and were in the informal "import/export" business
. Things to Do - the Museum of Natural History was offered up as a possible tourist attraction
. Hospitals - They could easily fix up Bunny's severed fingers and cursed bleeding hands

Of course, the next stop was shopping.  The party unloaded their loot (including Pai Mei's hideous tentacled mask, revealing his hideous tentacled face) and split the proceeds (all in bizarre paper currency).  Pai Mei commissioned a silk veil to hide his grotesque appearance, and once that was sewn up they ventured to the hospital to get Bunny's various medical conditions attended to.

Oddly, all the doctors (in their green scrubs) were carrying sidearms.  One of them saw Bunny's fingerless hand and exclaimed "Oh, you poor dear!  Come with me, we'll get that fixed up in a jiffy!"  The party followed her and the doctor into the examining room.  The doctor sat Bunny on a chair, pulled out his pistol, aimed it at Bunny's head, and fired.  Bunny jumped out of the way before the gun went off, and ran for the door - but Pai Mei used his sorceries to summon a swarm of biting insects that put Bunny to sleep.  "Ahh, that's better" said the doctor as he blew Bunny's brains out.

Pai Mei:  "So she gets a new body now, right?"
Doctor:  "Oh yes, in a week or so."
Pai Mei:  "So, where do we pick her up?  We're not from around here."
Doctor:  "Really?  Huh, I thought everyone was from around here. Well, she'll probably be at the Creatatorium back where you came from, or maybe from ours."
Gutboy:  "Maybe we made a mistake..."

Concerned that bullets-to-the-head may not be a legitimate medical procedure, the party headed to the Creatatorium to see how they handled strangers' reincarnations.  The white-jacketed staff there informed them that they'd never seen a stranger come out of the rebirthing tubes, but if she showed up, they'd be sure to point her in their direction.

Looking for a bit of adventure, the party headed towards the Under-Miami Museum of Natural History.  When they got there, yellow police tape had been stretched across the stairs, and blue-suited officers were walking in and out of the building.  Two detectives in expensive silk suits walked up to talk to the party - the same duo they had interrupted in Bartertown.

Bennett:  "Well, well, look who decided to show up after a major robbery."
Gutboy:  "What got stolen?"
Bennett:  "Some exhibits from the weapons display - a hammer, a trident, and a sword.  Wouldn't know anything about that, would you?"
Gutboy:  "Absolutely not!  Nothing to do with us!"
Bennett:  "Let's talk about this some more downtown.  In the cars."

Gutboy tried sneaking away, but being in full view of the entire Under-Miami Police Dept, was unsuccessful.  He also noticed Trezgar had gone missing (Rufus:  "He left after you let that doctor shoot Bunny in the head").  Gutboy and the rest of the party were pushed into the back of several police cruisers, taken to the city police department, and herded into a pastel interrogation room.  An acne-scarred man came in, introducing himself as Lt. Castellan.

Castellan:  "You're from the surface.  Yeah, we know about it.  You ever hear of a wizard called Keraptis?"
Gutboy:  "No... who's he?"
Castellan:  (showing surveillance video of a half-man, half-liquid-metal wizard flipping the bird to a security camera and stealing the weapons from the Museum) "He left a note, signed it Keraptis.  It's a riddle about where he's taking the weapons. Simple riddle, he's referring to the volcano north of the city. We're sending a SWAT team up now to recover them.  You recognize him?"
Pai Mei:  "No, we didn't do it."
Castellan:  "If I didn't know that already, we'd be having a very different conversation.  I understand you surface folk don't come back when you die.  It'd be a one way trip for all of you."
Bennett:  "Now here's the thing.  We need you."
Castellan:  "There's a new drug on the streets, coming from the surface.  Lanthanides."
Pai Mei:  "Oh right, we know about that.  We're not bringing it in!"
Castellan:  "I know that, too.  Pablo Sanibel has arranged to get it smuggled in.  We need to take him down.  I want you to get close to him and arrange to bring a  load in for him.  Make sure you meet him in person.  When you do, get his diary.  That will have the proof we need to put him away for life.  We can't just kill him - he'll come back, and we're back at square zero with no evidence."
Bennett:  "Once you've got the diary, put a bullet in him. It'll be easier to pick him up when he comes out of the Creatatorium."
Gutboy:  "How about colloidal silver?  We can sell him that, our henchmen were addicted to it."
Castellan:  "I don't know what that is - but anything from the surface he'll buy.  Just make it happen.  Let us know when you set up the meet, we can arrange a case full of steel ball bearings, and one actual lanthanide ball.  Make sure they test the actual lanthanide, and you'll be fine."
Bennett:  "You need money, right?  You take what you find on him. Just don't touch any lanthanides, or you'll be sleeping at the bottom of Biscayne Bay.  Come see me at the marina once you've set up the drop."

With those instructions given, the party was free to go.  They immediately set out shopping again, picking up expensive silk suits tailored to fit over their armor, and headed to a club named "Import/Export" - a likely spot to make contact with one of Pablo Sanibel's men.

While at the club, a sleazy fellow in a silk suit (like so many of the other patrons) came up and said "You're from the surface, ey? El Blanco wants to talk to you!"  He led them to a table where an elderly gentleman with gold chains sat, a pair of young blonde ladies at his side.

El Blanco:  "Well, I'll be.  A couple of surfacers, here in Under-Miami.  You looking to do a little business?  It all goes through Sanibel down here."
Gutboy:  "What kind of business?"
El Blanco:  "You a cop?  Ha!  I already know you're from the surface.  Look at you freaks.  Lanthanides!  We'll buy whatever you've got."
Gutboy:  "What's a lanthanide?"
Pai Mei:  "Whoa!  Ignore him!  We can get you lanthanides!"
El Blanco:  "Yeah?  Good.  Look, here's how it works.  Those guys we're doing business with now, the BEC, they've gotta be gouging us.  You get 'em to us cheaper, we'll buy whatever you can bring. Let's say, one million for 50 doses to start.  You bring that down and meet us in Lago and we'll do the buy there.  It's in the jungles north of Under-Miami - stay out of the city on the way down, you don't want the cops picking you up with the cargo.  Just go the long way around through the swamps and meet up with the highway north of the city.  You got a week."
Pai Mei:  "We'll be there."
El Blanco:  "And don't worry about customs - they won't be looking for anything.  That's taken care of."

The deal struck, the party headed down to the docks to meet Bennett at his sailboat.  Bennett was updated, and he told the players that El Blanco was one of Pablo Sanibel's lieutenants.

Bennett: "Meeting with El Blanco is all well and good, but you need to get to Sanibel.  Now get lost for a week, you don't want El Blanco to see you in town or he'll know it's a setup."
Kalimar:  "So how's the swat team doing at the volcano?  Need us to go up there and get the weapons?"
Bennett:  "They've gone missing, and no, we don't need amateurs up there.  This is an active investigation, stay out of it."

The party mulled over their options - skunk apes, stolen weapons of power, and drug busts.  Decisions for the next session!

Gains:  none
Kills:  Bunny
Losses:  Bunny, Trezgar's confidence

2015-01-01

session recap, 11/16/2014


CAST
--------
Gutboy the Cleric (6), his henchpeople Trezgar the Elf (3) and Bunny the Thief (3), and his blink dog Rufus II
Pai Mei the Wu-Jen (4), and his henchmen "The Doctor" the Time Lord (2) and Paula Abdul the Battle Dancer (2), and a charmed blind Conjure-Man
Rolf the Dwarf (3), and his henchman Piston Honda the Sumo (2)
Kalimar the Ranger (3)
SPARKI the Robot  (3)

The party had been lodging in Bartertown, and joined up with an itinerant murderbot named SPARKI (Synthetic Positronic Android Responsible for Killing and Infiltration).  First order of business - their captive cultist was insisting on being sacrificed to his tentacle-god.  Pai Mei put on the Mask of the Coiled God, and was elated when his face became a mass of tentacles - but the cultist was unimpressed with his blasphemous display.  The party escorted him to the Fane of the Coiled God, a large room with a giant pit of bones, and 20' wide bronze doors sculpted with spiraling tentacles. They ordered the cultist to search the bone pile for loot - but once in the pile, he began shouting "Take me, Coiled God! Take me!" as he marched towards the bronze doors.  The Coiled God did not disappoint - the doors swung open, and masses of tentacles plucked the ecstatic cultist from the pit and shoved him into a beaked mouth.  The tentacles reached out a second time, to pull the doors shut.

Unimpressed, Gutboy convinced Bunny to hop into the pit looking for spare change - she found a few silver pieces, and then the party (wisely) decided the search was taking too long, and decided to press on to fabled Under-Miami.  They walked down to room where the Priest of the Coiled God had been holding services, and two stairways beckoned downwards.

The north stairway led to the excitement of a 30' by 40' room with nothing but a rusty pail and ancient mop.  There's adventure for you!  Beyond this room the corridor ended, a giant face with a gaping open mouth carved in the wall.  The mouth cavity was dark. The party nominated Bunny to crawl into the mouth and see what lay beyond, assuming it was a portal - but as she approached, Gutboy told her to stop.

Gutboy:  "Wait!  That could be a trap!"
Pai Mei:  "You're right.  Conjure-Man, explore that portal!"

The Conjure-Man crawled into the mouth, which snapped shut and made grinding noises, opening wide a moment later.  Only darkness was seen inside.

Gutboy: "It was a trap."
Face:  "No, not a trap at all!  It's a portal, like you said! Endless riches lie beyond!"
Pai Mei:  "I'm not buying this."
Face:  "Seriously, riches!"
Gutboy: "We're leaving."
Face:  "Fine, you figured it out, it's not a portal.  Give me another fleshy one!  I shall grant you whatever knowledge you desire!"
Kalimar:  "We've heard that one before"
Pai Mei:  "We just gave you a guy!"
Face:  "That one didn't count!  Bring me more!"
Pai Mei:  "How about a cow?"
Face:  "I do not know these 'cows' you speak of.   Are they fleshy?"
Pai Mei:  "As fleshy as four or five people!"
Face:  "Let it be so!  Bring me this cow, and I shall provide you wisdom beyond measure!"

Disgruntled by the cannibal demands of the face, and unconvinced by its promises, they backtracked to the altar-room of the Coiled God and headed down the second stairway.  The stairs went down 40', and terminated in a circular room with a 10' wide pit in the middle. Suspended from a wire 20' above the pit was a foot-wide jeweled silver globe.  This proved to be no obstacle, as SPARKI was fully equipped with rocket-feet, and he boosted himself up to snag the globe.

Beyond the circular room, a stairway headed even deeper - another hundred feet or so.  After the climb down, a short tunnel opened into an enormous fog-filled chamber.  The whir of machinery was heard from above.  They could only see a few feet in front of them, the fog was so thick.

The party followed the left-hand wall, and stopped after a bony column, perhaps 6 inches wide, came into view.  They began whacking the chitin column with a ten foot poles, checking to see if it would explode or otherwise terrorize them - and it did not fail to disappoint!  The pole began swaying, and more poles began swinging into view as a massive globular body lowered from above - the column was a leg of a gigantic daddy long legs.  The arachnid was enormous, its body 20' wide, and it gulped down Piston Honda the Sumo Wrestler in a single bite.

Fear and panic infected the party, with a healthy dose of bloodlust - and the big guns came out.  Gunfire echoed through the foggy chamber, coruscant magics blazed forth from the hands of twisted wizards and fanged elves, and swords clanged against chitin armor. Resources depleted, the party stood victorious over the bloated horror.  They briefly considered gutting it and searching for treasure in its innards, but breaking through the chitin plates looked to be too time-consuming.

They continued following the edge of the room, stumbling across a pile of bones, the wall above the pile chipped and marked with tiny holes - presumably near the creature's larder.  No time for investigation - they continued around the room, eventually finding a narrow corridor heading west.

Beyond, they stumbled across  a room full of dusty monitors and keyboards mounted into consoles along the wall.  Beyond that, a second room, with a large knife switch on the wall, above a series of faintly humming cylindrical coils.  Bunny used a wooden 10' pole to lift the knife switch up - and the coils began vibrating loudly and sparking, as the computers in the previous room sprang to life. Gutboy rushed into the computer center, and began typing away, conversing with "Weather Observation AI #23", gleaning the following facts:

a. The AI deeply desired to be installed into a satellite and launched into orbit, to fulfill its weather observation duties
b. It had no idea of its surroundings or current location
c. It was one of a number of personalities or programs that could be loaded into the satellite deployment system

At this point, the transformer vibrations were reaching a crescendo, and Bunny dropped the knife switch, fearing electrical explosions.

Continuing on, they came across a natural cavern with acrid water puddling on the floor, and thousands of slugs crawling across the walls.  The slugs slowly gathered themselves into a shambling humanoid form and rose up, demanding that the intruders leave.  The party deduced that this thing was a Slug Collective, one of the ruling class of monsters on the fifth level - a brief negotiation promised delicious lettuce and cucumbers in return for unnamed rewards, and the party retreated.

Heading in another direction, they came across a room with a bronze hatch mounted in the wall, and large pump machinery with dangling wires and disconnected hoses.  One of the henchmen spun the wheel on the hatch, and it opened with a hiss - and the party began choking and wheezing.  The air beyond the hatch was sour - and all but SPARKI retreated.

SPARKI headed into the cavern beyond, finding a pair of dry, withered, nude corpses on the floor, perfectly preserved by whatever gas was filling the caves.  Pressing deeper past the stalactites and stalagmites, he saw another dried-out corpse - this one a bit more mobile.  He rocket-boosted himself up to the ceiling as the black-eyed fanged fiend clawed at his leg hydraulics - the gunshots the robot put into the corpse immediately healed.  Unfazed, the murderous machine tossed down an incendiary grenade, blowing the undead fiend to pieces.  Determining that discretion was the better part of valor, the robot abandoned his solo expedition and headed back to the rest of the party, closing the hatch behind him.

Back to the great fog-filled chamber, and then following the wall again - they came upon a much wider corridor with stairs heading down.  At the bottom of the stairs was an octagonal room with the words "UNDER-MIAMI TERMINAL" spelled out in soothing teal and pink floor tiles.  The corridor beyond was circumscribed by a great hoop of protonium metal, with colored lights flickering along the inner edge - the only way past was through the center of the hoop.

As each party member walked through, a calm feminine voice announced "Human genome detected - access granted" (or "Partial human genome" for the various demihumans, and "Machine servitor" for SPARKI).  The only exception was for Rufus II, who received an angry "Nonhuman genome forbidden!", as the air in the center of the hoop flared with red energies - he leaped back just in time.  Being a blink dog, he simply blinked across, and the party proceeded onwards.

Past the hoop was a wide room with parking spaces outlined on the floor in yellow paint.  Several white vehicles resembling golf carts were scattered about the room with no regard for the clearly marked parking spaces, cables running up from charging points in the floor to access ports in their hoods.  The party piled into two of the golf carts, and the meters were glowing green and showing 100% charge.  With some experimentation, the party figured out the various pedals and steering mechanisms, and they began to drive down the 40' wide underground lane beyond.

The trip took two days total, covering uncounted miles of featureless tiled tunnels with occasional abandoned charging stations.  At the final station, they saw a few more golf carts, and, surprisingly, sunlight from the tunnel beyond.

Their destination reached, the party headed down the tunnel, which opened into a miles-wide underground cavern.  They were standing on a ledge on the southern end of the cavern, overlooking an underground sea, and a landscape dotted with jungle, swamps and volcanoes.  The sunlight came from a vast glowing cylinder of plasma running from the southern end of the cave to the far reaches of the north, above a ruined city.  Looking below, they saw a small ramshackle village, a highway heading north for a few miles, and finally, the glimmering metropolis of Under-Miami.

Whooping in joy at their arrival, they headed down, encountering a pair of bored Under-Miami customs agents, who were quickly enamoured by Gutboy's charismatic demeanor ("Anything to declare? No? Good, our shift's over.  Why don't you come grab a few brews with us?"). They headed down the to village to rest up before heading down into Under-Miami proper.

Gains:  5 sp, jeweled silver sphere
Kills:  Giant daddy long legs, undead thingy
Losses:  Conjure-Man, Piston Honda

2014-11-18

Previous Lulu code only works for some. Try FLASH30 instead!

So it turns out that only some people are eligible for the prior Lulu code.  You have to be logged in to apply it.  I have no idea what the criteria are.

So if it didn't work for you, Lulu has another code - FLASH30 for 30% off.  This one lasts until Thursday (Nov 20th).

Buy buy buy buy buy buy!

Oh and for the various people who've asked when ASE4-5 will be released - the answer is, when I'm done!  Probably 2015.

2014-11-17

35% off Anomalous Subsurface Environment!

Normally I don't bother hawking my books - I'd rather goof off than get involved in marketing.  But Lulu's having a 35% off sale until December 2nd - just enter coupon code SAVE35 on checkout.

I'm pretty sure they lose money on each sale of ASE1 and ASE2-3 - but I don't!  So take advantage of their insanity, and buy buy buy!

There's plenty of other good stuff out their too (e.g. Stonehell) so fill up that shopping cart!