Friday, November 13, 2015

Game Hole Con III (part 2 of 2)

Ok, we're back!  This is part one.

Liberation of the Demon Slayer, I've found, makes for a good convention game.  There's an abrupt beginning that gets PCs where they need to go with a definite objective - retrieve the legendary demon-slaying sword Kalthalax or see your beloved homeland ripped apart by demons.

Because it's fairly deadly, the adventure is perfect for a funnel / meat-grinder type situation.  Pre-generated characters was the obvious way to go, but there were two things working against that idea.  One, my wife and children.  Two, players will form more of an attachment to their characters if created there at the table, by their own hands.

Since the adventure has several tables at the beginning for fleshing out backgrounds, we dived right in.  That morning I quickly scribbled out a quadrant character sheet so all four zero-level characters could be seen at a glance.  But, since this was a convention game, I wanted every character to be able to do some cool stuff.  So, 1st level for all!

Next, I told all the players not to worry about any limitations of rule-book or system.  Rather than playing DCC with the serial numbers filed off, we were playing a fantasy RPG that never had serial numbers, one that only lived in our imaginations, unfettered by arbitrary restrictions.
Forget all the fiddly bits about your characters, I told them.  If they wanted to play a half-orc, lizardman, demonic humanoid, dark elf, or whatever, that was just fine.  If they wanted to play some weird class like bard, monk, or anything else, that was cool.  I didn't care if they wanted to pick an old school alignment like Chaos or chaotic neutral.  All that was fuel for their imaginations and wouldn't be a focus for today's session.

Before I forget, one player had played in my The Islands of Purple-Haunted Putrescence game at the last Game Hole Con.  So, it was nice to see a satisfied customer.  Although, I had my doubts about that particular session.


There was some quick thinking as PCs got tossed out of bed and marched to the caverns below Clear Meadows without dilly-dallying for supplies.  One character snapped the leg off a wooden table on his way out.  After hearing that, a few players attempted to do something similar.  I let player descriptions and luck rolls determine their success or failure.

The first death came quickly.  A skeletal wizard at the bottom of a pit trap.

A magic ring allowed one of West's characters to summon a demon.  The demon was summoned and the PC asked the demon to transport him to someplace in the dungeon that contained a really powerful weapon.  The demon did as he was told.

West's character suddenly appeared in a white room containing a pedestal, upon which rested an innocent looking orange.  A few seconds later, the orange killed him.  Such is the life of an adventurer - especially since it was a convention game, he had three other characters, every player except West laughed, and West actually wasn't even scheduled to play, but we're friends and I let him in the game as a favor.

Instead of revealing Kalthalax at the very end, after a big boss fight, I decided to offer it up early so someone had the chance to actually use it!  The demon slayer laid upon a black altar, guarded by a gelatinous green slime.  I was expecting a harrowing fight, but the party's thief (one of them) made his roll to tumble past the creature (both times!).

The party wizard (one of them) discovered and pocketed a yellowish green vial of liquid that would become useful later.

Basically, the adventurers fought the Devil.  It was a 30' demon lord just coming out of some gigantic gateway to Hell.  Kalthalax did a lot of damage, but so did a character with a shovel!

A portal opened after defeating the demon lord.  Out stumbled an American family - the Sterlings - from some "other world".

There was also some necrophilia going on.  A couple PCs rolled that for their dark secret.  One woman in particular named Angela Nekro (played by +Julian Bernick) kept staying behind to play with the corpses.  Awesomely gross!  If this had been more than a con game or one-shot, her creepiness could have been explored in depth.

I was using the DCC mercurial magic table for spells cast.  If the percentile dice fell into the middle range (yielding no strange effect), I rolled on the weird magic side-effect table in Purple.  Just as the adventurers were leaving the caverns, a wizard cast a spell and rolled something close to a 50.  So, I rolled on the other table only to discover that his spell had inadvertently brought the Purple Putrescence itself to Clear Meadows.

It loomed in the sky like a slimy purple Rhode Island of mouths, tentacles, and foulness.   The wizard who had the yellowish-green vial of liquid drank it, started to glow and grew more and more unstable until he ran into the thing's tentacle.  The Thing That Rots From The Sky scooped him up and popped him in its mouth - just as he went nuclear - blowing the purple godlike thing back to its home dimension.

Clear Meadows was saved!

The Outer Presence

Unfortunately, I don't have time to go into detail about this game.  Character creation was fun.  I just used the random tables and players made their own connections based on available data and intuition.

Everyone had a good time.  The world was narrowly saved, yet it cost all the characters their lives - with the possible exception of those who rolled the "hard to kill" distinction.  If there's a sequel, I'll allow those PCs to survive the fistful of dynamite shot point-blank in Nafu Aata's inner sanctum.

Thanks again to everyone who played in my games at Game Hole Con III.  I'm looking forward to next year's games!


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