On day two (Friday), I got a chance to run players through my latest creation, and one that I'm still working on. It's the subterranean cave and tunnel megadungeon known as Cremza'amirikza'am.
This session was billed as a little spicy, but still very much a dungeoncrawl... maybe that's why I had seven dudes at the table (the only game where there wasn't at least one woman).
I do have openings written down ahead of time, but am always tempted to create something new in the moment, when inspiration strikes. For whatever reason, I decided to start this session with the PCs overhearing the discovery of that demon-fabled system of caves in the tavern, just before the lizardman who spilled the beans had his intestines spilled out from a dagger in the gut.
And then a princess-witch was sunbathing on top of the platform in the lost city. That set the tone. As usual, a few players didn't know what to make of these odd and mildly sexually charged encounters. But enough players were ready to roll with the punches, so it's ok if some are hesitant or don't know how to feel about encounters like a redhead with banana-men bodyguards who just inherited a chicken shack and bordello down here in Cremza'amirikza'am.
Soon after, the prospect of combat and treasure seemed to invigorate the players. Monks, security droids, and a stockpile of loot owned by Pizza the Ha'at (if you've seen Space Balls, then you know who I'm talking about), using Monsieur Froma'aj as an alias on Cha'alt.
The PCs did well for themselves, taking pretty much all of it - including a circuit board that seemed really valuable for no discernible reason. Maybe just because Pizza the Ha'at wanted it?
After that, there were crests and troughs of high weirdness and standard sword & sorcery tropes.
One of the funniest parts, for me and I think a few of the players, was the replicant film crew who decided to film the PCs' exploits as a documentary with their camcorder. So, the second half of the session was expertly documented for posterity. I wish we, the gamers, could actually see the footage they captured.
The PCs cleared the entire first floor and then a cave or two on level 2. I had maps of Cremza'amirikza'am (the first three levels) printed and laminated for the event. Those looked good, and the players appreciated the visual aid. All combat was theater of the mind, though.
Also, I should mention, for every game, except for Alpha Blue, I used my laminated Crimson Escalation visual-aid tracker for extra crits. As usual, Crimson Escalation favored the players, which they greatly enjoyed.
I've been running playtests of Cremza'amirikza'am on Roll20 for the last couple months prior to my Kickstarting Cha'alt: Chartreuse Shadows right now - please back it! But what I came up with only a week ago in terms of puzzles had never been playtested.
Turns out, what I wrote worked like a charm. And led the player who successfully pulled a sword out of an effulgent indigo crack in reality to say that in all his life, he's never had a character wield a blade that powerful and awesome.
I won't go into any more detail other than to mention the nudist colony, empress trapped in ice, and Ta'arna on a mission of revenge. All in all, Cremza'amirikza'am is coming along nicely. I feel it's a solid mix of eldritch, gonzo, science-fantasy, and post-apocalypse... along with my trademark humor, sleaze, and pop-cultural references.
Everyone said they had a good time, and I even got an email after the convention thanking me again for running that session. I'll copy/paste it below...
- Crimson Escalation was a great idea! Some kind of large red d20 that changes between rounds with the number you crit on would have been a good addition.
- I like how you brought up erotic things, but did it as a matter of genre, and kept the narrative moving along.
- You kept the story moving. I think we got more done in your game than any other con game I’ve ever been at.
- Giant Maps! Who doesn't love a giant map?
That getting more done is a testament to my laser-focus on one-shots over the last 5 years. When these blog posts are done, I'll be turning my attention to One-Shots Like A Fucking Boss, as well as finishing up the megadungeon for Cha'alt: Chartreuse Shadows.
Thanks to Colin, the Cremza'amirikza'am players, and GameHole Con. I'll try to get the next blog post out tomorrow.