Thursday, October 28, 2021

GameHole Con 2021 [part 4]


Check out the previous blog posts if you want to read what led up to today's.  

The Alpha Blue session was good and fun, but my head's definitely in another place.  That helps, actually, because if I have Alpha Blue on my mind, then it's going to distract me from Cha'alt... which is my primary focus right now.  Especially, as I'm working on book three of the trilogy Cha'alt: Chartreuse Shadows.

And the Encounter Critical session was really just Crimson Dragon Slayer D20 tooling around Cha'alt.  When telling Gamehole Con what games I wanted to run, I thought I'd be diving into the next edition of Encounter Critical.  Instead, I decided to shelve that until I was finished with Cha'alt: Chartreuse Shadows.

Since Encounter Critical inspired both Crimson Dragon Slayer and Cha'alt, I didn't feel too bad about it.  I broke out Beneath Kra'adumek because that's a fun little one-shot scenario.  For an extra bit of strangeness and because it was almost Halloween, I offered the players monster races instead of traditional, elves, dwarves, etc.

I'll share what I came up with here, just in case you want to use it in your own Halloween inspired sessions...

  • Vampire - Hypnotism (save to resist).
  • Wolfman - Transform into wolf and/or wolfman (Advantage from savage attacks).
  • Mummy - Resurrection, unless completely incinerated, vaporized, or annihilated.
  • Creature From The Black Lagoon - Swim, breathe under water, and fast healing.
  • Ghost - Incorporeal at will.
  • Demon - Can force humanoids to make a deal; the Devil's bargain.
  • Frankenstein - Super strength (extra d6 damage).

It was a fun session, and I finally got to use the d100 weird magic table included in Cha'alt: Fuchsia Malaise (I've used it before the book was printed during playtest sessions).  Unfortunately for the party, one of the PC sorcerers turned the Ipsissimus of the temple into an invulnerable pillar of green flame.

But one of the highlights of the weekend was my running The Islands of Purple-Haunted Putrescence.  There's a reason why so many gamers love this one.  You can see the primordial roots of Cha'alt in the purple islands.

This being a one-shot, I almost had too much material to choose from.  For some of the session, I used whatever was written down for the hexes the PCs traveled.  The rest I cherry picked because I was excited to see the players' reactions.  A decent chunk of the session was spent on something I just made up - a sleestak temple containing a pit housing their god - a gigantic purple worm.

After killing the worm, they looted its lair of amethyst crystals that radiated with magical energy.  It was night and the PCs bedded down with their crystals.  One of my favorite things about the purple islands is the "while you were sleeping" random table.

So, I rolled on that and a totem had been driven into the ground, just outside the sleestak temple.  It was a warning or curse from a competing faction, the Sect of the Crimson Tongue.  Someone casted a spell during the night, as well.  So, I rolled on the weird magic table again and, I kid you not, the result specifically says that all crystals within 50' of the sorcerer explode.

All of the PCs took heavy damage.  One guy was left with 1 HP.  

When something accidentally turns out to fit exactly in the random chaos of what's going on, I'm sometimes in the habit of shouting "THE PROPHECY!!!" at the top of my lungs.  These guys got to experience that twice.  ;)

A couple players were returning guests from previous games, which was nice to see.  

The PCs were moving through the violet cloud of radiation and picked up some nice mutations, as well as a magic sword.  Instead of metal, its blade was forged of concentrated willpower.  

I rolled on the d30 table from Cha'alt since that was easily at hand.  One woman rolled 30 and so got two mutations - acidic sweat and her lower half became serpentine.  Seriously, watching her face throughout the session was a trip.  She went from incredulous to pleased to concerned to laughter to defeated to triumphant.  It was quite the rollercoaster of emotions for her.

One-shots don't give you a lot of time to work in PC motivations and overarching stories.  But if everyone has a sense of who their character is and the agency afforded them to explore an eldritch, gonzo, science-fantasy, post-apocalyptic island, that's all you can ask for.  

At the session's end, I got a lot of praise for running the game.  I could tell the players really enjoyed it and that made my day.

The purple islands session was the first one on Saturday.  I decided that I'd had enough of trying to run a game muzzled, and so I either ate a banana or drank a sip of bottled water throughout the three-hour session so that I didn't have to wear my mask.  That definitely helped improve my experience, though it was still plenty loud in there.

Tomorrow's blog post should be the last of this series.  Thanks for joining me on this insane journey!



  1. I had wondered as to ECs fate. But it makes sense, wrap up one series before you start another.
    Though disappointed on the one hand with having to wait for a new edition of EC, I do admire yor willpower with sticking to finishing the Cha'alt trilogy

    1. There were also some extenuating circumstances, but Cha'alt is worth finishing.

  2. 1HP guy here... Purple Putrescence was indeed a very fun session. CDS d20 is becoming one of my favorite systems.

    1. Haha, sweet! Welcome to the blog, hoss. Thanks for the praise. ;)

  3. My daughter got those same dice for Christmas this year.