Six sessions probably doesn't seem like much of a milestone, but still feels that way to me.
This campaign is set in the eldritch, gonzo, science-fantasy, post-apocalyptic world of Cha'alt. And I've been using Crimson Dragon Slayer D20 to run it.
We had a full table of six players at the new space - the game room in my house. Finally, after the pandemic and cleaning it (I had been using it as a storage room to house Cha'alt books, among other things), my gaming space was back in use.
- Jackal - dwarf warrior
- Crandol - half-orc warrior
- Zagreus - dwarf thief
- Gath - human priest
- Ro-Robard - dwarf sorcerer
- Heighten Chancery Philthrop III - halfling thief
Now, I'm just going to come out and say it... I don't think this session was as successful as previous ones. I wanted to change things up and go for a different kind of adventure, which I think is a good thing.
This session also comes after a two-week break due to our family vacation.
Session six was about going to Alpha Blue, the space station brothel, carousing, getting hired for a special mission, and then purchasing high-tech equipment.
Before they had a chance to leave the solar system in their weird tri-crystal artifact sentient starship, the ship detected a barrier that shifted this area of the galaxy out of phase with the rest of space. The ship had a plan (they need to name that thing, but we know it's approximately the size of the Millennium Falcon and the interior is covered with leopard-print shag carpeting walls) - create a wormhole to break through the phase-shift.
They had to enter weird space... I don't know if this is something I invented or subconsciously latched onto and ripped off from somewhere else. But this was the description I gave (with slight edit)...
You've just entered weird space... outside the ship you perceive rainbow slime, melting reality, ectoplasm vibrating, the sound of strange primitive drums, the smell of blue jellybeans, time-lapse of fruit decomposing... the bananas becoming sentient just before turning to a primordial soup... a leprechaun sprinkles shamrock gold dust over the primordial banana ooze, so that it now resembles the glowing chartreuse ichor known as zoth. Llamas sit around a table playing D&D as they sip the ancient zoth from teacups.
Then, everyone blacked-out and entered some kind of dream state where they encountered a humanoid clown-worm with outstretched demon claw - each of seven fingers had a different colored string attached in a bow (according to the colors of the rainbow). Everyone chose... and then the surgeon from Heighten Chancery Philthrop III's black urn ashes hallucination reappeared and swallowed the halfling into its torso-void.
When the PCs awoke, they each had a crystal the color they chose in the palm of their hand. The clown worm-thing said something about this determining their destiny, remaking the universe, and extolling a terrible price.
How the crystals fit into the campaign might be revealed next session. I'll put down what each adventurer chose so there's another record (besides my notes). Incidentally, I had each player roll a d4 before the clown / string encounter, pairings meant that some PCs were together and others were alone. That meant two or more PCs could conceivably choose the same color and have the same colored crystal at the end (which actually happened)...
Jackal chose indigo, Crandol also chose indigo (because he asked his demon sword and I rolled randomly), Zagreus chose orange, Gath chose violet, Ro-Robard the Red chose red (duh!), and Heighten Chancery Philthrop III chose yellow.
Ironically, I spent the most time preparing for this adventure than any other of the Crystals of Chaos campaign so far. Who knows, maybe I'm wrong and everyone thought this session was one of the best. Looking back, it's hard to pinpoint what did or didn't work. Maybe the fish-out-of-water vibe I was going for took the players by surprise. The format of revolving social interactions definitely kept everyone on their toes.
There was a duel between Ro-Robard and an insect-humanoid that was fun. Although, how it went was way different than how I anticipated it in my head... which is a good thing, but I switched lanes in my mind while crossing an imaginative intersection, and there was a disconnect.
The party's halfling thief got laid, but it kind of felt forced. By that I mean, the reptilian prostitute I was roleplaying put in all the work, but maybe that was par for the course (again, I wrongly assumed it was going to go down differently than it did). I was dimly recalling his liaisons with the tall woman from last session, but I should have laid more groundwork in the roleplaying. It's possible I was rushing myself because I didn't want to neglect the rest of the group.
There was a bar fight between Zagreus, Crandol, and Gath against this VIP dude that Yogoo (this Yoda-like character with a massive dong) wanted to intimidate. Even with disadvantage, I rolled a critical-hit with the VIP's bodyguard. Zagreus nearly bought the moisture farm as he was brought down to -3 HP.
Jackal did some gambling, betting on a droid fight, as well as, placing a wager for some spacer who was banned from betting on such droid battles. He won some credits.
Eventually, the entire party listened to Astra, a Draconian Princess, and her space-ape companion Graaawl. Basically, they hired the PCs to transport a rebel leader named Garren Voy out of this prison facility on Frigia (an ice planet) and then transport him to Cha'alt. Astra offered the PCs 10,000 credits, which they thought was a little low, so she upped it with a 2,500 signing bonus. They gladly accepeted.
Graaawl was a professional assassin, so he went with the party to make sure the mission goes well and transfer funds when Garren Voy was safely transported to Cha'alt.
On the way out, Ro-Robard gets lured over to an exotic dancer. A little tentacle squirmed out of her g-string. The tentacle clutched a data-crystal in its suckers and deposited it in the palm of the crystalline cyborg dwarf sorcerer.
They had it scanned on the way to the high-tech equipment emporium. Long story short, rescuing the resistance leader might be one big psy-op by the Federation, as the data-crystal revealed Federation plans to release undercover agents posing as resistance leaders on Cha'alt. Eventually, the destabalization will lead to regime change. During the civil unrest, the Federation plans to buy up strategic zoth reserves, continuing to drain the planet of its natural resources.
No names were given, but at the end of the hologram transmission, it warned to beware of the banana!
And we just about ran out of time as the PCs shopped for the upcoming mission. Here's a breakdown of the gear, benefits, and prices I came up with...
- Power Armor; gets you to 20 AC; 500 credits
- Slow-Field Armor; gives you a 2 in 6 chance to dodge out of the way as the thing trying to kill you is slowed down as it enters your personal shielding zone; 200 credits
- Laser Shield; shield made out of pure energy that gives you a +2 to AC; 100 credits
- Disintegrator; on a successful attack, the target must make a successful saving throw or be disintegrated, but you have to wait at least 10 minutes per shot; 1000 credits.
- Plasma Cannon; 4d6 damage; 400 credits
- Thermal detonator; 8d6 damage, save for half; 50 credits
- Laser-Sword; 3d6 damage and 2 in 6 chance of severing a limb; 250 credits
- Blaster; 3d6 damage; 200 credits
- High-Tech Thieves Tools; gives you advantage on doing thief type stuff; 400 credits.
- Hoverboard; travels up to 20 miles per hour and it's fun / looks cool; 150 credits.
- Advanced Weapon Systems (starship upgrade); advantage on attacks with your starship; 5000 credits.
Perhaps my ever so slight disappointment with this session has to do with the fact that I haven't run Alpha Blue for a couple years, and that was a convention one-shot. I'm out of practice. Or maybe it's just me, and everything went great? It's honestly hard to tell from this side of the screen.
Since this day was a different format that my wife actually suggested, gaming 2 - 6pm, then pizza, then watch a movie, instead of a movie on Friday night and then gaming noon - 4pm on either Saturday (or occasionally Sunday), I left to go get the pizza immediately after the session ended, so didn't get to hear any feedback. So, it's possible that's contributing to my unsureness...
Regardless, I'm looking forward to session #7 (in two weeks) where the PCs travel to Frigia, attempt to complete their mission (which might include killing the dude they've been hired to rescue if he turns out to be a Federation agent), and then, presumably, back to Cha'alt.
As it happens, this coming weekend is Gary Con! Ro-Robard the Red's player and I are traveling to Lake Geneva, WI to attend one of my favorite gaming conventions (2nd place in my affections would have to be Game Hole Con). I will be running a series of Cha'alt adventures, and have to start preparing for that.
Thanks for reading,
p.s. Want to purchase some gorgeous hardcover Cha'alt books? They're signed, numbered, and include the PDFs. Ordering details here! And of course, there's my own convention happening again this July in Madison, WI. Of course, I'm referring to VENGER CON II: Electric Boogaloo. It's exclusively for old-school, OSR, and traditional roleplaying games. Limited to 100 attendees - grab your ticket today!
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