Tuesday, January 24, 2023

Crystals of Chaos [episode two]


By the end of this blog post, I will come up with a name for the 2023 Cha'alt campaign.  I already have a few ideas, but will reserve final judgement until then.

A fortnight later, session #2 happened.  Two of the first session's (see this post) three players returned.  The third was home sick.  One of my usual players couldn't make the first session, so he was back.  And two new gamers joined the fray - one of which I gamed with way back during 3rd edition about 17 or 18 years ago.

The five players and their characters (the returning players kept their characters), and everyone is currently 3rd level still...

  • Colin playing Robard the Red, dwarf sorcerer
  • Richard playing Ban-Dade (I didn't get the joke until halfway through the scenario), dwarf priest
  • Mike playing Crandell, half-orc warrior
  • Steve playing a halfling thief named Heighten Chancery Philthrop III (don't worry, there's a reason)
  • Patrick playing Jackal, dwarf warrior

After introductions (the new PCs joining the employ of Varantha the exquisite, along with the original PCs), a gnome came to their service quarters (the PCs are called service providers rather than servants or enchanted love slaves, which more accurately describes the situation-ship they're all in).

Varantha wanted to tell them something.  While bathing her loveliness with ivory silt, as is customary of the highborn, she announced her desire for her service providers to travel to Kra'adumek (still in the midst of civil war) and murder a noblewoman named Ska'ai.

"Ska'ai is evil," she said.  And that's all there was to it.  Varantha also stated that the man who dealt the killing stroke would be able to sheath his purple serpent in her love-purse (I write not only adventures but erotic thrillers, as well).

Just as they were leaving (this is kind of a "one more thing" Columbo moment I like to use every now and again), a royal guard from the palace showed up to tell Varantha that King Fahd-Salma'an wishes her to return and be his prime concubine once more.

Varantha told the royal guard no, but then decided it would be better to send a stronger message to the King of A'agrybah.  She ordered her service providers to murder him.  Crandell grabbed the guard and broke his neck, but not before getting stabbed by his victim.

Ban-Dade had the idea of personally sending the severed head over to the palace, so he started cutting while a gnome fetched a decorative box.  Then, they dropped the box off with a royal guard stationed just outside the palace gate.

Before leaving for Kra'adumek, Robard suggested they check-in with the merchant Dookal.  Dookal had already sold the ka'alaxian crystals they found for him in that network of tunnels and caves, and he had a few prospective buyers lined up for more... if the PCs could find some, and the merchant promised to split the profits in half.  On the way out, Heighten Chancery Philthrop III swiped a glass cube containing a splash of yellow (and, indeed, it will look nice upon the thief's mantle... if he ever acquires one).

Being rather poor, the PCs decided to visit the caves again, hoping to find more ka'alaxian crystals.  They had a beeper for the transport driver named Sa'ab, and utilized that.  Before I forget, Karl stayed at Varantha's temple since the adventuring party was sufficiently strong without his presence.

Sa'ab took the scenic route because of sandworm activity.  This led the PCs near a stone marker, like a monolith with a strange symbols carved into it and an eye within a triangle.  Such markers were known across the S'kbah wasteland, but no one knows what they mean or who built them.

Soon enough, they arrived at the cave.  Once inside, they fought the huge skittering tentacled insects, massacred 5 night-clowns who were forcing humans to fight alligators for their amusement.  The party used deception (invisibility, dragging one away, murdering him, and then going after the others) to even the fight and then waded into combat.  Some really good fictionalization of the fight elevated the scene.  Crandell was badly wounded, but thankfully healed by Ban-Dade after the battle.

Then PCs encountered a pool of zoth with three robed humanoids standing over it.  Turns out these were snake-men.  It would be like hikers today in 2023 accidentally stumbling upon Babylonians or Assyrians.  After a bit of amusing chit-chat involving way too many ssssssssssssss's, the PCs moved on.  

Traveling further north, they discovered a medium-small adult sandworm coiled around a ka'alaxian crystal 5 times bigger than anything they've seen.  Realizing they probably couldn't steal it without a fight, the party's thief, Heighten Chancery Philthrop III - he picked up prominent sounding names from people he met and 3 is the number of people the thief had killed at one time - decided to investigate the worm for vulnerabilities.

Usually, I don't have players roll to search things, but this was a special case.  He rolled well enough to discover an area on the sandworm that had been previously hurt.  Believing this was their best chance, the thief stabbed the sandworm there.  And stab he did.

It took several round for them to kill it, but eventually they did... almost losing their sorcerer in the process (Jackal was badly wounded, too). Luckily, he survived, thanks to the priest's healing.  Turquoise blood everywhere, the adventurers snatched the massive ka'alaxian crystal and headed back (along with the humans they saved) to the transport waiting for them just outside the cave.

Almost forgot to add, while Ban-Dade was healing the others, one of the PCs noticed a humanoid skulking in the dark.  One of the warriors crept over to him and decapitated the dude - a scruffy human with scraggly beard, eyepatch, and gold tooth.  One of the rescued humans named him as a servant of the demon who inhabits the northern section of these caves.  The PCs decided not to investigate further.

Returning to A'agrybah, Sa'ab's sand-speeder ran out of fuel.  That actually occurred because I had the idea and then gave it a 2 in 6 chance of happening, then rolled a 2.  After breaking the news, we all realized it made sense that the extra 3 humans rescued weighed the transport down which became a greater drain on the sand-speeder's fuel supply.

Only about a 20 minute walk back to the city, they decided to grab the chartreuse crystal and walk the rest of the way as it was starting to get dark.  They noticed a twinkling light up ahead, but decided to bypass the mysterious illumination, lest it be dangerous.

Once in A'agrybah again, the PCs made a b-line to Dookal.  He asked if they wanted to be paid 750 gold pieces for their share right away or wait several days (perhaps longer) for a buyer, at which point their share might go down.  They chose to take the 750.  The PCs were also given a pyramid-shaped glass bottle filled with prismatic sand.  The merchant had no idea what it was or what it could do.  No one asked, but that was due to it being made out of magic-proof glass.

Back at Varantha's temple, the PCs watched several gnomes pleasuring her exquisiteness with their diminutive tongues before heading down the corridor to their service quarters and awaiting bunkbeds.

As you can see, there are a lot of available threads upon which to pull as the campaign unfurls.  

Below are some amusing phrases uttered around the table...

  • "If it's more than zero, it's too expensive."
  • "Hold that syllable."
  • "Snake you later."
  • "Is it even in?"
  • "Gnome-a-sutra."
  • "When they die, they die smiling."
  • "Stabbed in his prosthetic fat."

As for the campaign's name, I almost went with Ka'alaxian Realities, but eventually decided on the much simpler and open-ended Crystals of Chaos.  Will it catch on and the players actually ever use that?  Perhaps.  Nevertheless, I think it'll help me contextualize what's happening in the campaign.

God willing, the next session will happen in a couple weeks.  Until then, keep checking my blog for posts about this, that, and the other... like the Cha'alt Game Jam!  

Remember, I've still got that Advanced Game Mastering Like A Fucking Boss kickstarter happening.  Back if you like it, and share wherever there are gamers.




  1. Bro Im so happy for you that you have a live game again!

    Enjoy and please continue to post!

    1. Absolutely! No more one-shots... well, fewer. ;)