Friday, September 1, 2023

Dubzaron Session 112: Wheelin' and Dealin'

Ahoy hoy! DM Dubs here again with another session report from DM Brigadine. In this session I was not even a pc. But I do know a great deal about the hooks and seeds involved as most of them were created during past sessions and downtime actions of which I did have a say. 

The first is Zed the Radiation Dragon. I created this Lair for Kyle O’Conner when he was searching for monsters on his land and he kept rolling Dragons. So he needed a more unique lair. Because dragons were becoming redundant. Imagine that! So I had a couple thoughts when I made this:

-I wanted a location that armies couldn’t approach and just “lair smash”. This was accomplished with the radiation. 

-PCs would be needed to help. I’m very good, when I Patron play, of creating things my PCs want to get involved in. Kyle, not so much. He often reaches out to me for tips on hooking PCs into his stuff. This is necessary skill for Patron Play. If you’re just running solo stuff then say so. You’re not a patron, you’re playing solitaire. Have fun; but that’s not what we’re doing here. Work on these skills, everyone!

-I wanted some tech stuff in the game. At this point my “High Crusade” Patron was out of the game and I still wanted some tech hooks in the game. 

-the hook itself is a mix of “planet of the apes” and “zardoz” which a mutated Sean Connery of zardoz turning into the titular zed the dragon.

Of course my PCs circumvented all the stuff I put above and simply parleyed with Zed and came out one spaceship richer. 

The other points of interest is the Fairy Wood just outside of one of the Lawful towns that can teleport PCs deep into the massive forest far to the north east of the map. This was generated in solo play with MadEye or Briarwhisper (same player) because fey stuff kept hitting when he was exploring the little local forest. He asked me if it could be a fairy wood and it sounded cool. I can’t find it but this was not the first session some PCs used the fairy wood to teleport. 

Lastly Kyle’s Patron play allowed this all to happen and develop the way it did, especially bringing the PCs to the location and giving them army power to bring to it. 

What this session really shows is the PCs will always do something with the elements of your campaign world something you don’t expect at all. They’ll usually look for the low-risk-high-reward option first. But the dice really needed to come through for them in this session for it to worked out as well as it did. 

Enjoy and happy Labor Day weekend! -DM Dubs 09/01/23

Session 112: Wheelin’ and Dealin’ 5/24/23-6/6/23, rest 6/7, active 6/8 

PCs: Tuck (Barbarian), Gront (Barbarian), Samson (Cleric), Proteus (Mage), Edelweiss (Mage)   

Hench: Jeev, Nonus, Ziggy, Gudvar, Hafgrim, Beavis, Frostweave, Davian, Azalea, Gilford, Lily #ACKS 

Tuck picked up some leads in downtime from Kyle O’Conner (Patron Barbarian) and Vince McMaximus (Patron Human Pugilist) about a crashed spaceship somewhere in Kyle’s domain. This crash site was contaminating the surrounding area with radiation and had mutated the ship’s crew into various deformed monsters, most notably Melman the Fire Giant and Zed the Radiation Dragon. Kyle wanted them off his land so that he could expand and would have blitzed them himself but the radiation made it extremely dangerous for low levels to approach, so sending soldiers in wasn’t gonna cut it. Vince had helped broker a deal of sorts with Melman on Zed’s behalf. If they could bring offworld technology to Zed to prove they actually had access to it, then Zed’s crew would train them on how to use the things they found in exchange for leads on a working ship to get them off of the planet. 

Once the PCs got wind of it, they gathered to see what they could leverage. They had a spaceship from a previous session that they didn’t know how to operate. It was stuck way out in the Istrith Forest and guarded by some bandits loyal to Tuck. And by loyal I mean if Tuck returned by the end of the month then they wouldn’t put the spaceship on blocks and pawn the parts for extra arrows kind of loyal. The party chose to hit up Kyle and Zed first, with the former promising to provide escort and introductions. Apparently there was a system for this, with one of Kyle’s men launching an arrow as far as he could in a specific direction and then waiting. After a while, a few gnolls showed up that were mutated with strange growths and deformities. The weird creatures did not behave as the usual beastmen would, moving with jerky motions and clearly not having violent intent. Kyle had apparently seen this before but Samson wanted to kill them on sight.

The Warchief read the message that they delivered and nodded as though it was expected, then led the party to a neutral ground kind of site where they’d had a parley before. The adventurers waited by a big weird rock with a small tree growing from the top of it and eventually the other side arrived, more deformed gnolls kind of scouting ahead. The party this session was huge with tons of henches, which kind of surprised the gnolls so it took them a few minutes to call up reinforcements that menaced the area from the woods to the north. Finally, Melman entered the clearing once he felt like each side was on an equal footing.

He was a fire giant, which many of the PCs had seen before, but he was also deformed, with arms much too long for his body. This gave him an apelike quality, including a habit of sometimes walking on his knuckles. He greeted Kyle respectfully and then spoke with the party for a bit, fighting through some mental issue by shaking his head or knocking over a nearby tree randomly. It was a little off putting but they powered through. At this point I learned that the party had knowledge of a second ship that had crashed somewhere to the south. Apparently they’d visited “the moon” in a previous session, but it was just a desolate spot of land south of Kyle’s domain. They insisted that there was a crashed battleship there, and ok sure whatever you say gents. These kinds of things happen when swapping around DMs and you’ve got to trust that everyone’s playing it straight or your head will explode. (DubsNote: Your head will still explode!)

The group requested an aside to discuss their options, wherein Edelweiss made it clear that she wanted both ships and didn’t gaf about these guys. Most of the party, however, were on board with a plan to trade the abductor ship guarded by Tuck’s bandits for the knowledge to operate and repair the bigger, badder battleship that they knew about. They felt that this resolution would solve most of their problems by getting Zed out of Kyle’s hair, gaining knowledge to operate this future tech, and oh yeah taking the treasure left behind by the dragon and fire giant who made it abundantly clear that they didn’t care about the primitive trinkets of this world. Back with Melman, they asked for the knowledge to fly the ship so that they could retrieve it. Unfortunately, their smooth, monkey brains could not understand the knowledge without the machine itself as a learning tool. What Melman could offer, however, was one of his crew to travel with them. He left and returned with a basilisk with a blindfold on named Orville, much to the consternation of the party who have serious flesh to stone PTSD. Proteus the mage was big into transmogrification magic and spent some time asking questions about Zed’s crew’s afflictions. He even convinced Edelweiss to cast Dispel Magic on them to try to break the spell. Unfortunately it didn’t work out, but he wasn’t done yet. He offered to Polymorph Orville into a human and started to prepare the spell, but Orville panicked and insisted that Melman draw a picture of their race’s original form. “Don’t let them turn me into a monkey!”

With a reasonable idea of what they were supposed to look like, Proteus advised Orville to picture his true form to help. Idk if this was bullshit or not but it sounded good so Orville the basilisk tried to relax and picture his actual self. The spell fired off and there stood a little gray man, big bulbous head and big eyes and all. The barbarians in the group snickered at his tiny alien junk and no one offered him any clothes. They did show him how to mount a horse though so they weren’t complete animals I guess. They left Melman and hustled back to Kyle’s capital city of Claymore Crossing, which for some reason I kept calling Cavalier Crossing and I still don’t know why that stuck in my mind all night. Edelweiss stayed in CC with her mercs that needed rest, apparently too good to run errands with the rest of the party. The plan was to head towards a portal that they had a vague idea of somewhere northeast of Siadanos that was under the supervision of the elves of the Istrith. This fairy portal is what brought Tuck and Samson, among others, home from the Istrith the first time. They knew it worked, they just didn’t know where it was exactly.

Proteus hired a scout to help them find the portal and they got to searching. They were on a real tight deadline to get back with the bandits. They did not want their spaceship to get chopped up into spare parts. It didn’t take them long to find the portal spot, where they were stopped by two elves who demanded to know why they were there. After a short conversation, they convinced the elves to let them through in order to get rid of the bandit problem. One of the elves took a dance around the fairy ring to engage it and they sent the party through. I may have used the phrase, “The portal will take you where you deserve to be.” Maybe the elves were fucking with them. Maybe it was lost in translation. But it made me laugh and the group a little nervous, enough that Samson cast Augury with a blinding flash of Ammonar’s holy light and a giant thumbs up emoji setting them at ease. I think Proteus’s player commented “Man the Empyrean in Dubzaron are way more laid back than those Olympians.” Fortunately the portal let out into a forested glen that was guarded by many more elves, all of whom were a little sour at the intrusion. One of them recognized Tuck and Samson from their previous trip and called off the goons. The elves insisted on blindfolding the party before leading them away from the area, releasing them and indicating that their bandit camp was a ways to the southeast. The group found it easily enough and got to work. Queue training montage.

Tuck convinced the bandits to help dig the ship out of the mud while the crew was taking tutoring from Orville. I forgot to roll the days it was supposed to take for this training, but the bandits were gonna take a few days to dig the ship out so we’ll pretend I did it right. Shh, don’t tell anyone. They learned that Proteus could pilot the ship, Gront could act as gunner, and Tuck or Samson could act as engineer. What they didn’t have was anyone that could be a navigator because it required the Navigation proficiency. Orville filled in for that role and they were in business. Now to get the bandits out. Their camp was deeeep in the Istrith. The shortest distance to freedom was towards Turos Veren to the northwest, so the ship took off with Tuck leading the bandits out. It took a little while but fortunately there were no crazy encounters and they were able to land back in human civilization. It had been a minute for the bandits, but the merry men were game for whatever Tuck had planned due to a massive loyalty roll. Turns out Tuck chartered them as a mercenary company and promptly hired them out to Turos Veren’s captain of the guard due to some recent trouble out of the forest north of the fort. That’ll serve to keep them busy and cushion some of the cost while the boss deals with adventurer stuff.

The group flew the spaceship back towards Kyle’s domain with some pretty tame random encounters. This was one of those nights where nothing much of significance was hitting in that regard, but that’s ok. We’ve seen the alternative a few times. They arrived and parked outside of CC, where Kyle looked askance at the ship’s goofy bright green paint job that the bandits had applied. Kyle had been on this ship before for Operation Musclethunder and was not impressed with the new appearance. They also picked up the well-rested Edelweiss.
The Warchief agreed to escort them back to Melman, where they met again and concluded their business. True to their agreement, Melman, Orville, and their crew taught the boys the basics of alien technology. As they taught, more and more of them showed up, deformed creatures straight out of the random encounter tables, all able to talk and all carrying portions of the treasure which they called “useless monkey trinkets”. By the time Future Talk with Melman was concluded, all the treasure had been delivered. The monsters started piling on the craft, apparently unconcerned with their deformities, until they realized that Zed, the huge brownish dragon, couldn’t fit on the ship. Never fear, Proteus the Transmogrificationer was on the scene. He offered to ensorcel Zed the same that he did for Orville, which the offworlders agreed to. Zed landed a ways off so as not to kill everyone with radiation aura and Proteus poofed him into a little gray dude. He thanked them in Sean Connery’s voice that I simply cannot do an impression of so I was blessedly saved from that indignity. “Your asshishtance was invaluable, monkeysh. Well done, and please take this garbage, I mean these valuablesh as reward.” The offworlders boarded the ship and took off, their mutated gnoll thralls just kind of standing around and watching them go. It was at this point that the party realized this could be a problem. They furtively discussed some options while Samson sharpened his blade and muttered, “Kill them all.” There were over a hundred of them and they looked a bit tougher than normal gnolls. As they started to regain control of their minds, Kyle’s cavalry charged and rode them down, suffering some losses but not nearly as many had they waited. Wiping green mutant blood from his greatsword, Kyle asked them, “20% seems fair, doesn’t it?” The group agreed. The weird green glowing core piece was left behind, but the PCs asked Kyle to pull some mules in to help them dump it into the dungeon entrance that was gaping open from the abandoned dragon’s fort and then pull down the entrance and cave it in. They had some environmental suits and power armor that they used to protect themselves, but unfortunately they had to put down the sick mules. Some kind member of the party fed them apples and things before doing the deed. Ole Yeller vibes. They packed up and bounced, returning to rest and figure out loot splits with Kyle.

5/24/23-6/6/23, rest 6/7, active 6/8 PCs: Tuck (Barbarian), Gront (Barbarian), Samson (Cleric), Proteus (Mage), Edelweiss (Mage) Henches: Jeev, Nonus, Ziggy, Gudvar, Hafgrim, Beavis, Frostweave, Davian, Azalea, Gilford, Lily Session 112
Xp from Kills: 0
Xp from Loot: 99375
Total XP: 99375
Cuts: 21
PC: 0% 9,464 5% 9,938 10% 10,411 Hench: 0% 4,732 5% 4,969 10% 5,205

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