Monday, December 27, 2021

Last One-Shot of 2021


Earlier today was the very last one-shot of the year.  2021 has been... interesting.  Better than 2020 isn't saying much, but yeah... I might do an end of the year wrap-up next week.

Unexpectedly, I cut my hand on one of our plastic childproof locking mechanisms after logging into Roll20, but before the session actually started.  Not letting spilled blood go to waste, I ordained it a ritual sacrifice while concentrating on the Kort'thalis meta-sigil.

Anyway, I had 3 stalwart players in this session...

  • Warren of the Wasteland - a Mad Max style human warrior.
  • Omar Nasr - a sorcerer from Carcosa who worships The Yellow King and occasionally talks to a little skull tied to his belt.
  • Tief - a demon sorcerer played by a guy who's never played in one of my games.  Predictably, there's a bit of a disconnect between my "home game" and whatever official D&D stuff is normally presented.  

Since these were new characters (started at 3rd level with max HP) but 2 of the 3 were veterans of Cremza'amirikza'am, I told them they had only been in the ancient megadungeon a few hours, but that was enough time to get acclimated.

They followed a couple stained popsicle sticks to a demon playing around with a high-tech device.  The PCs believed it might be a popsicle maker, but alas, it was only a portable, electronic chess game.

After some small talk, there was a "cremquake" which just means earthquake mixed with Cremza'amirikza'am because these caves and tunnels are so ancient that instability is its middle name.  During the cremquake, several chunks of stalactite fell from above and a section of rock wall collapsed, revealing several humanoid skeletons entombed within.  One of them wore a turquoise necklace.

Now, Tief had something to trade for the chess device.  Admiring the necklace, the demon said, "I'll probably give this to my girlfriend.  She lives in Ca'anada."

The exchange was made as the PCs wandered down the tunnel, listening to a half-demon explain a bizarre game to several humanoids who were interested in playing to win a magical ring.

A bit later, the PCs fought 5 demon berserkers, dispatching them easily because of sorcery.  Specifically, Omar cast sleep which took out 4 of them.  Tief wounded the last with eldritch blast (I did some conversion work in my head, since there's no "eldritch blast" in Crimson Dragon Slayer D20.  Warren landed the final killing blow.

Looting the bodies, they found a decent amount of gold and platinum pieces.

Just beyond, they spotted a slumbering, green draconic-worm blocking the southern tunnel with its massive bulk (20' long and about 5' wide).  

Before dealing with the dragon-worm, I suggested... or rather, a producer on the show suggested that at least one of the PCs say a few words in the confessional booth.  Warren nominated Tief, and his player did his level best to both understand what the fuck was happening and to play along.

Basically, Tief told everyone about his carnal knowledge regarding a girl in some village or settlement who looked like Kiera Knightly.  

Then Omar hopped on and talked about his companions, specifically Warren, and how he might be converted to the worship of Hastur.  

So, not only is the confessional concept weirdly gonzo and hilarious, it can also introduce new threads of characterization and gameable ideas.

Finally, the party snuck-up to the draconic-worm and attacked.  Warren used the first stress die (communal and first come, first served) to up his damage.  Everyone else let loose on the dragon-worm, as well.  The creature got one attack in before it was burned to a smoldering crisp, nearly killing the sorcerers who were drained of vitality from casting spells.  

That's what happens when you don't have a cleric.  Every time, the new initiative system has been successful.  Everybody loves the new name... TWERPS, which means (in order of who gets to act) thieves, warriors, enemies, retainers, priests, and sorcerers.

I told the players they needed to read the blog in order to find out what was in the pile of treasure behind the dragon-worm's burned corpse.

7 orange and green Easter eggs, a magical battle-axe, 437 gold pieces, 111 platinum pieces, and a huge chunk of shiny green calcite.

Not bad...  Overall, I'm pleased with the adventure.  I know the veteran players enjoyed themselves, but wasn't too sure how the new guy felt about things.  My games are probably night and day different from the usual D&D Roll20 session.

Aside from getting to play at all (which is always fun), and playtesting several new mechanics, I reached a place of comfort with Cremza'amirikza'am that I can improvise encounters without much thought.  I know the place so well that ideas will just come to me and I rarely have to check my notes.  That tells me it's real enough to exist without me.  The next few weeks will be making sure everything is clear enough for GMs who aren't me.  I want them to be able to run it without unnecessary trouble.

Want to be kept up-to-date on when I'm running one-shots?  Follow me on Twitter, MeWe, and this blog.


p.s. Want to attend a gaming convention that's exclusively about old-school tabletop RPGs?  VENGER CON is taking place in Madison, WI this July (2022).  No masks; no mandates!


  1. Neat idea for the initiative system. Sadly TWERPS has been taken for another game. Being a Jeff Dee thing, I have no idea if he'd even consider sharing the abbreviation.

    1. I'm pretty sure you can't keep someone from using an acronym, so TWERPS stays. :)

  2. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  3. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  4. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  5. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  6. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  7. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  8. Replies
    1. Yeah, I know. Did your account get hacked? This doesn't sound like you...