Tuesday, August 22, 2023

Crystals of Chaos [session report #15]


Hey, guys!  What's up?  Yeah, 15th session of our Cha'alt campaign "in the can," as they say.

4 players because 1 of them had a social function they couldn't get out of.

Heighten the halfling thief, Zagreus the dwarf thief, Robard the Red dwarf sorcerer, and the half-orc warrior Krandol.

Got to try some new stuff this time, so for that reason alone it was a worthwhile session.  But we all had fun.

So, last time the PCs escaped from that pocket universe just as it was exploding.  A bit of residual energy was also born in the aftermath, as an amorphous blob of crimson effulgence.  Zagreus decided to grab it before Robard could properly vet the thing with his sorcery.

The intense crimson light asked Zagreus what form he'd like to choose, and the dwarven thief chose a cheeseburger (of course).  So, we kind of collectively hashed-out what this thing would look like, the final say coming from Zagreus (such as his name - Mayor McCheese - I didn't realize until searching for an image of this thing that that's its actual name) and my dice - just to keep things interesting and neutral.

So, it became the cheeseburger humanoid guy from the old McDonald's commercials and we all attempted to do the voice - same as the Mad Hatter from Disney's Alice in Wonderland.  With jellybabies just under the top bun... because Tom Baker.  

Then, the PCs felt a tremor as a slow but steady Cha'altquake reverberated through Cremza'amirikza'am.  One of the PCs realized that particular vibration was due to sandworms burrowing above.

Robard wanted to magic himself an escape portal for later, just in case bad things went down.  He did, and I rolled on the fuchsia-infused wild magic effects table in Fuchsia Malaise.  A zone of silence followed the party, which led to a violent altercation with a gang of demons - which reminds me, at some point, I really need to come up with a d100 table for random demons I can consult when a bunch of infernal dudes happen to be walking down a tunnel.

A little bit later, there was another demon encounter, so I'm kind of conflating both of them in my mind.  But the first was silent, and Robard's player wondered aloud what it would be like if this fight took place as if in a silent movie.  I thought that was a fun idea, so I said yeah... and we roleplayed the fight like we were all in a silent movie.  I even found a silent movie piano track on YouTube to play during some of the action.

The second demon encounter was a bunch of demons surrounding several demon rights activists with picket signs and protest chants at the ready.  Unfortunately for them, demons don't care about humanoid activists, protests, or any political posturing.  So, the demons were about to sacrifice the humanoids for the greater glory of Kort'thalis.  The PCs didn't really want to hero-out for the activists, but were hoping to deny Kort'thalis any more devotees or sacrificial power.

These demons were tougher, and between a crystal-encrusted glaive, ruby laser eye-beams, and body spines, they gave the adventurers a run for their money.  Both of the new NPCs got killed, Teddy Westside was crippled, I think Robard was down to 3 HP or something, and Heighten had three of his fingers sliced off when he tried to gank the leader's glaive in mid-air.

You see, I told him that if he wanted to grab the glaive in mid-air and use it for himself, that he'd need to roll one of his lavender demon-moon destiny dice.  And he did.  He rolled a 1, which was a critical failure.  Then, he burned a point of Divine Favor to roll that d6 again, and got another 1.  That's why three of his fingers went bye-bye.  And now, that moon-demon Heighten had called upon owned a shard of the halfling's soul... and he'd need to undertake a service at some point in the near future.

Yeah, it was a formidable battle, but the PCs came out on top... and Robard used his sorcery to conjure up a new hand for the halfling.  It was a mixture of tentacles and gold and demon parts.  Heighten claimed the glaive for himself, since he was maimed by it and all.

Incidentally, this was my worst session for taking notes.  I wrote almost nothing down for some reason and have to pretty much rely on only my memory.  Oh well, shit happens!

For some reason, Robard wanted to free the demon who lived in the black blade he'd been wielding every since Krandol upgraded to the purple plasma sword (the black demon-sword was originally Robard's, though).  So, he used all those humanoid activists that the demons were going to sacrifice in order to permanently free the demon who would have the blade and the violet power-armor suit of the samurai-rangers.  Too bad for the activists, as Robard needed all their blood to complete his ritual.

I filled the guys in on my alignment shake-up, trying to turn that into something gameable in Crimson Dragon Slayer D20.  Chaotic PCs get to commune with the Old Ones (once per session), so Robard availed himself of the opportunity.  I imagined something like in The Golden Child, when the main villain Sadow Numspa'ar or something like that meditated or said a demonic prayer and everything melted away as he appeared in Hell, talking to Satan or whoever.

Surrounded by slimy tentacles, the sorcerer felt the presence of a Great Old One.  He asked for assistance and was willing to take on a task in exchange.  While I didn't have anything red hot at the tip of my brain, I told him the message was received and the sorcerer would get clued-in soon.  Not the greatest beginning for the new alignment system (I should have prepared more), but it was a start.

The last combat of the night (there wasn't as much exploration or social stuff happening in this session, unfortunately - definitely my bad and room for improvement next time) was with a dragon who guarded the elevator taking folks from Cremza'amirikza'am to the depths of Hell.

At first, the PCs were going to bargain with the dragon, which was smart.  However, I wrote a note to let the halfling thief know that his demon liege was cashing-in on his debt right now - kill the dragon!  Heighten used his new warlock hand to open up a portal behind the dragon and surprise him - and he also wanted to use the recently added Fuchsia Burn mechanic since there was only 2 points of Divine Favor currently on the table, essentially burning both to spike a critical-hit.

Him being a thief with sneak-attack, plus the glaive's inherent powers had him rolling 27d4, which came out to about 75 points of damage.  When the dragon returned fire (yes, a pun) he got some of the squishier PCs, like the sorcerer, down to 3 or so HP.

Robard cast a spell, which he, again, wanted to supe-up... causing me to roll on that wild magical aftereffect table.  Coincidentally, Robard's player decided to "mix" his dice for that roll, and then I laughed as I told everyone at the table there are reasons why you don't do that.  The result (according to my roll on that d100 table) was sorcerous seizure.  The original spell, Missile Command, went off, but it put the sorcerer in some kind of coma.  Thinking on my feet, and based on group input, I determined that Robard melted into a purple puddle physically, as the rest of him awoke in the purple labyrinth.  I also wanted Robard out of the way so if the dragon breathed fire again, his incapacitated body wouldn't get incinerated.  

Zagreus couldn't hit the broadside of a barn, and Krandol was whittling the dragon down in HP.  Not having Jackal hacking away on behalf of the party was disappointing.  Luckily, just before the dragon burned them all alive - three sandworms burrowed into the giant cavern they were fighting in.  The sandworms seemed most interested in devouring crystals, but their movement through Cremza'amirikza'am was also causing instability - rocks falling and it was a widespread cave-in situation everywhere.

While the dragon was distracted, the PCs ran to the elevator and pushed the button down.  I played The Girl From Ipanema since that strikes me as the most cliche trope of elevator music.  

Eventually, the elevator doors opened, and an attractive woman gestured for the PCs to follow her.  That's where we ended things.  We got a late start and ended a bit early, so this session seemed a bit shorter than most, but it was still packed with cool stuff.

The next blog post will most likely be about next July's VENGER CON III, so stay-tuned for that.

Thanks for reading, hoss!


p.s. Want the hardcover Cha'alt trilogy (or individual books)?  Sale is right over here with ordering details!  Remember, these are professionally printed, signed and numbered, hardcover books unlike anything you've seen before - PDFs included.


  1. Until you develop a random Demon chart, you could always use the random Shub~Spawn table in Carcosa. If I can find the time I would be happy to send you some ideas to populate a random chart. I think I started one at some point.

    1. Yeah, I'll take a look at that spawn table in Carcosa... should give me ideas, if nothing else. Thanks, hoss!

  2. "Girl from Ipanema" is perfect! Next time they get in the elevator throw in "The Theme from a Summer Place".

  3. I have used Left Bank Two in the same way in a Gamma World session when the PCs managed to restore power to the Albuquerque Starport.

  4. 👍🏻"jellybabies"
    You referenced my favorite Blues Brothers scene. Too bad an army of demonic warriors wasn't amassing while chanting, "HUTT-HUTT-HUTT-HUTT-HUTT.."
    I always liked the supernatural stuff in Golden Child. I think the image of someone's mortal shell cracking away to reveal a winged demon MUST be used at some point.
    Great adjudication of sh*tting the bed with the moon dice. I thought up fitting a handless PC with a cursed glove/prosthetic that turns into a demonic muppet known as.. d'Jym Ha'and-Syn. Kind of like having a possessed hand in Evil Dead 2, but it speaks and wants you to do bad things. It tries to get you to comply by threatening to make you rub one out in public, carve up your companions or troll powerful entities on the etherwebs.