This was kind of a strange episode... reminded me of Empire Strikes Back.
Only 3 players (which I consider the bare minimum for playing face-to-face in a long-term campaign). We had Jackal the dwarf warrior, Zagreus the dwarf thief, and Crandol the half-orc warrior. As you can see, they're missing at least half their firepower.
I opened the session by gazing at the Kort'thalis meta-sigil, striking the Gong of Destiny, and donning my black Game Mastering cloak!
Aside from Vanessa who didn't even get mentioned this session, and the film crew... I meant to remind the guys that they could do that thing where they talk to the camera in a private interview format to earn an extra point of Divine Favor - next session, don't wait for me to forget again, just ask!
So the main NPC du jour was Teddy Westside (along with the medical-droid they liberated from that Federation penal colony, OZ-22). He didn't have as much screen time as last session, but towards the session's end, he was there when it counted.
There was only one cave on level 2 of Cremza'amirikza'am that hadn't yet been explored. Zagreus, being the stealthiest, checked it out first. It was a demon massacre, at least a dozen demons ripped or hacked apart. Many pools of blood, including one that was neon-blue. They saved a vial of that for later and the thief searched the bodies for loot.
They found a number of interesting things, such as a sleestak bobblehead with a series of numbers taped to the bottom, a bust of H.P. Lovecraft covered with fungi that glowed indigo in darkness, an onyx idol of Kort'thalis, and 111 gold pieces. Also, Zagreus picked-up a magical and vorpal ba'atleth (the Klingon melee weapon).
As the thief scoured the corpses, he noticed one demon was still barely alive. With its last breath, the demon croaked "The Mutilator!" then died. Zagreus took the just-now-dead demon's aquamarine ring that he believed was magical... and then kept getting thirsty for no apparent reason.
Towards the back of the cave was a spiral stairway going down to the third level. They eavesdropped on a couple of young lovers who were part of this game or contest, the survivors got some sort of prize, and it was all being televised with silent drones that Zagreus happened to notice.
But not having much to do with either of the Crimson Bastard's quests - search for crystals to fuel their starship Jefferson and track down Federation Commander Andrak before he can find that super-weapon capable of destroying Cha'alt - they let them go on their way.
Zagreus scouted ahead again, noticing a purple demon pleasuring himself to the sight of two women making-out just up the northern tunnel. He bypassed that while silently creeping to the southern caves, and found a few different humanoid settlement factions preparing for something - ritually cleansing themselves with zoth, trying to decipher infernal glyphs on scrolls, and so forth.
With Teddy Westside's prompting, the warriors eventually made their way towards the party's thief. Jackal saw the purple demon jacking it and decided to stab him with his enchanted trident. He did, killing the demon. I rolled to see if the demon was able to finish before succumbing to his wounds. Yes, he was! Then I asked Jackal's player to roll a saving throw... and I believe he rolled a natural 1 (either that or it was real low, like a 2 or 3). So, I ruled that the demon managed to get his purple spunk all over the dwarven warrior.
Wiping the purple ejaculate away, Teddy mentioned the repairing qualities that purple demon jizz had, like on leather furniture, for instance! So, Teddy Westside collected as much as he could with a special instrument that he called "jizz tweezers" and Zagreus' player dubbed "jeezers," as Ted mentioned another name for the tool... a jaccard (the highest quality and fashion dictate the jaccard be crystal-rimmed, of course).
Finishing that, they met up with Zagreus, talked to more people, and found out about The Selection - a certain number of humanoids who passed The Selection were able to face The Challenge in the southwestern cave. Whoever passed The Challenge would be set apart from all other humanoids down here in Cremza'amirikza'am.
Curious, they made their way further south, encountering a rave party that included a 22-person hot-tub, bar, DJ, the works. The PCs spent a fair amount of time relaxing, having fun, and interacting with the locals. Zagreus, whose thirst was nearly unquenchable by now, refused "the special" three-penis margarita, instead opting for the only other drink they had - a can of Bud Light... which led to a strange looking demon luring him away from everyone else - only to mug him. But the mugger rolled a 1, and Zagreus chopped off his hand, as it got stuck in the dwarven thief's ba'atleth, and then was decapitated.
Jackal got in the hot-tub and put the moves on a sexy woman, eventually fucking her right there in the jacuzzi. Cue the GM finding "Move Any Mountain" by The Shamen on his cellphone and playing that over the dark ambient tones audible in the background.
Crandol listened to a group of 6 humanoids planning to heist something from a black robed and black masked stranger who was also in the hot-tub. Zagreus noticed the amateur thieving, and when Jackal had finished, he noticed his friends at the back of the cave with the humanoids who'd liberated a triangular black keycard from the humanoid in black. Apparently, it opened a special room in The Black Pyramid - a rainbow room - where one of the six's brother had gone missing a year ago.
Crandol, instead of hacking them to pieces, which was his usual M.O. decided to help the humanoids. After they were done with Cremza'amirikza'am, they'd accompany them to The Black Pyramid for everyone's mutual benefit. In the meantime, the six humanoids were teleported to Jefferson until the adventurers were ready.
The PCs decided to move towards a cave between the rave and The Challenge. It was a man in a jeweled animal mask executing humanoids who failed The Selection. After he offed one of them by shooting him at point-blank range, Zagreus blasted the dude in the back. The remaining three failures stayed with the PCs as they all went to see what The Challenge was all about.
A huge and muscular demon stood between them and a back wall completely covered in crystal formations. It was an amazing sight, and access to it would allow the winner to commune directly with the Great Old Ones. But first, that demon would have to be disposed of.
The demon held a massive two-handed hilt in his hands, waiting for challengers. One of the three humanoids who'd just been rescued stood before the demon and talked as the PCs stood way back. Within minutes, the demon ignited a ferocious violet blade of plasma energy and sliced the whelp into pieces. Oh dear...
All three decided to challenge the demon. Zagreus tried to blast him, missed, and the demon (who after some banter was revealed to be The Mutilator) kicked a rock at the side of his face - doing 6 points of damage! Then it was Crandol's turn. He rolled a 1. The half-orc's magical black blade came down, was caught and held by the demon, then bitch-slapped against the nearby cave wall, and knocked unconscious. Holy crap!
Finally, it was Jackal's chance. He swung and hit, doing a fair amount of damage which the demon regarded as "merely a fleshwound" before striking back, reducing the dwarven warrior to nearly half his hit-points. Ouch!
The trio+ decided to back away from this challenge until they were better prepared to face The Mutilator. Jackal was pissed and wanted to quench his rage with a little senseless violence, cutting down a couple of night-clowns (or were they just regular clowns?) outside of a black structure. The other two clowns ran inside, and the party decided to go around, venturing into another cave that contained a clown abortion in progress!
This was the final and deadliest battle (that the PCs finished). 8 night-clowns vs. the 3 PCs + Teddy Westside. After the first couple rounds, most of the clowns were dead and had only dealt bush-league damage. But the last 2 had detachable red noses that doubled as explosives. The first threw his at Jackal (who made his save) and did 8 points of damage. The second threw his nose at Zagreus (the 6th level thief, who failed his save... I think he rolled a 1). I rolled enough damage to take the dwarven thief down to -9 HP.
Yeah, he was in bad shape, almost blown apart due to the shrapnel. Luckily, Teddy Westside was there with the PC's medical-droid. The droid applied a quick-acting, antibiotic healing salve. Ted had the foresight to collect and insight + willingness to experiment with the purple demon jizz as an infernal accelerant to the salve.
Meanwhile, the warriors dispatched the last of the clowns. When it was all over, Zagreus was bandaged up. His eye was badly damaged, his right arm up to the elbow was gone, and his flesh was cut-up all over, but he was alive. Luckily, Ted knows of a top-notch cyber-surgeon in A'agrybah that could fix Zagreus up with a mechanical prosthetic. The medical-droid explained that Zagreus would need at least a week of R&R before he was in-shape to adventure again.
"Everyone, back to the ship!" With that, we ended the session a bit early. It was an appropriate place to stop, so we hung-out and talked the until the 4 hours was up.
I have a feeling that next session will see the PCs' fortunes rise. As I mentioned at the start, this felt like Empire Strikes Back - the "heroes" more or less defeated, but stabilized and preparing themselves for the conflict to come.
Aside from the multiple objet d'art lifted off of dead demons, the adventurers got some gold, that cool Klingon weapon, and a bunch of plastic purple trapezoidal coins - surely, some weird currency from another land.
If we can sustain the player-base, there's time enough for two more sessions before VENGER CON. I'd be happy to end the Crystals of Chaos campaign with session #14, so we'll see how things work out.
Thanks for reading. If you enjoyed the session report, leave a comment!
Edit - forgot to mention, between the hot-tub and clown abortion was a random encounter of some dancing lights that the PCs decided to basically ignore and march through. At the tail end of the session, the medical-droid ran a scan on Zagreus, but Crandol was right next to him - and it picked-up that the half-orc warrior (very much a male) was pregnant!
p.s. VENGER CON, you say? What's that? Only the most old-school RPG convention in the Midwest, hoss! Weekend badges still available. And if you want the books that comprise my eldritch, gonzo, science-fantasy, post-apocalypse campaign setting, you can acquire the hardcovers right over here. If you want to see some Cha'alt reviews, check out google and/or YouTube!