Sunday, December 31, 2023

Mysterious Qada'ath [Cha'alt campaign, session 4]


This session was managed with a skeleton crew.  Myself and 3 players did what we had to do in order to keep the campaign going through this God forsaken holiday season.

A lot happened but I'm still going to try and keep this short because every 20 minutes or so one or more of my kids yell for me to come and deal with something.

We had a brand-new player who decided to play a grog (sand construct) priest of the Great Old Ones named Gorra (male).  The other two were Ha'agly Morningwood the pixie-fairy sorcerer and TX-1139 aka Uppgrade the droid warrior.

Before I continue, let me remind everyone that I have a new Kickstarter for The Cha'alt Experience: Designing Worlds Like A Fucking Boss.  Check it out and back if you can, hoss!  It's a great way to get the Cha'alt trilogy in hardcover, as well!

The usual adventurous activities which I had prepared shortly after our last session wouldn't do since most of the party was MIA, so I improvised.

The PCs were at the Quick Stop, spontaneously buying some supplies from the two black-robed drug dealers hanging outside the convenience store (Jack and Heat-vision Bob), and then snacks, oil, and information from Dante the clerk and Quick Stop manager.  

Morningwood got himself a little "squirt gun" sized blaster that was powered with this little crystal that turned it into something almost like a disintegrator (but after use it takes an hour to recharge).  

Once inside, Gorra asked where the party was at, and Dante told him to go to a cantina called Casa Zoth around 9:30.  It didn't take Gonzo too long before he sauntered in and asked when the PCs could get their black van and Ark of the Covenant out of his garage.  They took Jack and Heat-vision Bob along with.

The Federation had a transport check-point and the PCs wanted to risk going through, knowing that if the shit really hit the fan, they could take care of those Federation soldiers themselves.  

The sorcerer used a glamor spell and Gorra decided to give an impromptu sermon.  At the start of the session, I had explained the new game mechanic we were playtesting (first time we tried it was last session), the Gilded Die of Satanis (product releasing on DTRPG later this week).

He rolled a standard d20 along with a gilded d6.  The gilded die came up cringe (2 in 6 chance), but he also rolled a natural 20 - that meant Satanis Gold!  He managed to be such a zealot that his religious oratory got their black van waved through.  Additionally, his Yog-Soggothothery ended with a Howard Dean "yeehaw-scream" that embarrassed himself and everyone in the vehicle. And for his trouble, earned a point of Divine Favor.

They got through, went inside Gonzo's garage, and looked at the weird writing engraved on the Ark.  Turns out, they're primordial glyphs, an older and darker form of language which eventually developed into the eldritch-infernal glyphs which every sorcerer worth his zoth already knows.

Luckily, Jack knows a demon who can read primordial glyphs.  So, the pixie-fairy writes it all down on a scroll and they take it to the demon, while also taking the van, along with the Ark of the Covenant (it has an aura of gravitas) out of Gonzo's garage.

They come up to a cafe where the demon was sitting on the patio.  He asked TX-1138 to get him a drink while he translated what was written on the scroll.  Also, Gorra played a game of 17-dimensional chess with another cafe patron while the demon prepared the translation (Gorra won - I'll include the rules for 17-dimensional chess in another blog post next year).  

Here's the translation...

"This Ark contains a power so terrible and fearsome that the Old Ones' servants hid it away - Do Not Open!  Ever!!!  Furthermore, those in possession of the Ark of the Covenant are assumed to be its protectors, and must guard the Ark from revealing its secrets."

So, they stash the Ark away in another dude's garage, and decide to head to Casa Zoth.  The PCs got to the cantina early and saw that hardly anyone was there.  To kill time, they went across the street to a gun store.  A strip club was also in the vicinity.

After perusing, buying, and special ordering various weaponry and ammo, the adventures heard a commotion outside.  Three Federation soldiers were behind a barricade, shooting at a couple of civilians just inside the door to the strip club.

Quickly deciding to get involved and help the strip club patrons, TX-1138 waded near the Federation, believing that his former Federation droid body would allay their suspicions.  And he was right.  The soldiers didn't suspect he was a danger until TX-1138 open fired on them, wounding one.

Morningwood used magic missile, Gorra used his new hot-pink blaster (it was cheaper), and TX pulled out his bazookoid and rolled a crit.  Basically, that finished them off.  

The two guys in the strip club were grateful and bought the PCs a round, including TX's little cyber-demon companion growing out of his magical wound, named Downgrade.  "Tequila, por favor."  I still don't know why this little kuato guy is Mexican, but he is.

Once inside the strip club, they heard about a legendary stripper named Sausage Candy.  She's known far and wide as "the good luck lap dance" stripper.  They all got a lap dance, but only Gorra paid extra for the Champaign Room.  When he came out, there was a post-coital bonus waiting for him, and Sausage Candy had glittery sand all over her face.

As the PCs were leaving, they eavesdropped on two low-lifes and a tall fancy man wearing expensive robes and an impressive hat.  They were talking about a shipment coming in.  The fancy man paid the low-lifes with an ornate box, and both parties departed.  The scum went to Casa Zoth (TX and Morningwood followed) where they opened the box to find a sticky, organic, pink, fleshy thing.  The PCs had no idea what it was, but the low-lifes were pleased.

Meanwhile, Gorra shadowed the man with the fancy hat.  He went to a disused star-port (a nicer, newer, and much bigger star-port was recently built several months ago just a few streets away) and received a shuttle containing strange cargo - it looked like blue crystal.  

The blue crystal went into a truck which the fancy hat man and his little humonculous sidekick eventually (after some car trouble created by Gorra when he turned into sand and screwed with the power-coupling) drove outside The Settlements and to the Federation Wall about 10 miles away.

They know this because the PCs stole the shuttle after putting the dock workers to sleep.  Getting close enough for a visual, they saw the truck unload its cargo by Federation soldiers and then load it onto a hover-tank on the other side of the wall.  Then, the hover-tank went away from the wall, north... possibly to A'agrybah.  

Perplexed, the PCs considered what was happening and then their options.  Finally deciding to take the stolen shuttle over the orange labyrinth and into mysterious Qada'ath.

They landed safely and went out to explore.  The PCs were astounded to see that it looked like Shadowrun. 

Choosing to head downtown, they walked - eventually coming to a nighclub that was next door to someplace that manufactured that same blue crystal.  Although, in Qada'ath, they call it blue glass.  

Turns out, it's a drug [hey, it's 4:20 as I type this... the prophecy!].  What you do, and the PCs watched it happen, is break off a piece of blue glass from a glass sheet, melt it down, use a little creature (kind of like a leech), to suck it up, then you put the elongated creature on your skin and it secretes the drug right into your bloodstream.  And it gets you fucked up, like, tripping balls!

Gorra was brave enough to try it (curious to see how it affected a grog or sand-construct), so I had him roll.  He decided to roll his d20 along with a gilded die, and the gilded die came up a 1 (or possibly a 2).  The grog started to feel something, then foul smelling clay gushed out of his bottom - clearing the dancefloor.  Yeah, that was cringe, but hilarious!

By then it was almost 6pm and my GMing muscle felt like a wet noodle.  So, we ended the session there.

Thanks for reading, hoss!  There's a 1% chance I'll be staying up until midnight tonight.  It's now 4:34pm and I'm already yawning.  See ya on the flip side...

Happy New Year!


p.s. If you don't yet have your weekend badge for Venger Con III: Revenge of the OSRGrab it now!  You won't want to miss an entire weekend of old-school, OSR, and traditional RPGs in Madison, WI this July.

Friday, December 22, 2023

The Cha'alt Experience [Kickstarter]


It's been a little while since I've launched a Kickstarter campaign.  Well, now's the time to fund The Cha'alt Experience: Designing Worlds Like A Fucking Boss.

Here's the link.  It's already doing pretty well, but I hear that a bigger first day helps with the algorithm.  So, do what you can to pledge early, raise awareness, and spread that url around like manure.

So, what is it?  I've had such an amazing time creating Cha'alt (first as a world, then as a living, breathing, undulating campaign setting) that I wanted to share my experience, showing you what worked, what didn't, and how you can create your very own world... or simply adapt an existing world to you and your unique preferences.  

This is a subject I know well, so help me unleash my dark wisdom upon an unsuspecting universe and watch it tremble, quivering with involuntary glee!

If you have a question or comment, post something down below...



p.s. Cha'alt hardcover books are part of the backer rewards, but now's the time to start thinking about VENGER CON III: Revenge of the OSR - info and weekend badges

Sunday, December 17, 2023

Mysterious Qada'ath [Cha'alt campaign, session 3]


We're back again with another session report because our normally scheduled gaming would have put us too close to Christma'as...

Regardless, the holidays (and other unfortunate events) reduced our player pool to only three.  We had Nix the demon thief, Ha'agly Morningwood the pixie-fairy sorcerer, and TX-1138 the droid warrior.

After sounding the gong, which opened the way, we resolved downtime pursuits.  Ha'agly had fetched the spider-droid guy with his brain in the jar, Gerald, from that cave in the Vault of Tahqeez.  TX-1138 was fine-tuning his targeting computer, for which I gave him a point of Divine Favor so he could use that during combat.  And Nix had been trying to find out more about Tyrian Purple.  I didn't have a ton of news on that front, other than the hue symbolized a connection to the divine, which meant the Great Old Ones, in most peoples' eyes.

I wrote down what the pixie-fairy's crystal scepter could do.  It had one charge per day (again, we've instituted a new rule that will be forthcoming in the next Advanced Crimson Dragon Slayer update - Divine Favor can also be spent to get another use out of a limited or temporary special ability that one would normally have access to under more favorable circumstances).

The Gift

I informed the adventurers that Dante's Quick Stop had become a frequent hang-out of theirs, when they weren't laying low at their base of operations / whore house.  And the manager handed them a gift that had been left there, a black box with gold ribbon, bow, and letter attached.  The letter was from Lord Ada'alo, saying how much he appreciated the PCs' effort, that they were welcome in A'agrybah as his guests anytime they wished, and Ada'alo's tailor was able to turn the trimmings of that Tyrian Purple death-shroud into sexkerchiefs embroidered with the phrase "Eenta A'agrybah veelo den Cha'alt," which means... as A'agrybah goes, Cha'alt follows suit.

What is a sexkerchief, you ask?  A sartorial article, traditional to Cha'alt, for cleaning oneself, partner, possessions, toys, clothes, sheets, etc. after sex.  And being Tyrian Purple, they look really snazzy, regal, and in fact, holy.

Pleased with the appreciation and lavished with a present, the PCs got caught up to speed on what else had been happening in the region since their last adventure.  Apparently, a 3-mile section of the Federation's border wall was blown-up by a terrorist group (Cha'alt natives would call them freedom fighters).  This meant that Federation soldiers were picking people up, stop & frisk, interrogations, detainments, etc.  Speculation pointed to the Federation having a secret military base nearby.

Back at the PCs' quarters, Keke, an aqua-skinned elf prostitute, just got back from that secret Federation base where she'd been servicing the troops.  She came back to the whore house to get more instructions from her pimp.  The PCs informed her that they were now in charge of the house and prostitutes, but decided to make Keke the madame, who's really like a hooker manager that takes care of all the details.

TX-1138 and Keke went out to that secret base to get an idea of what was in store.  2 guards, remote controlled platform lowering into the base, shift change every 6 hours or so.  

After being reunited with the group, they went back to the Quick Stop and sought information from Dante on that alternative route into Qada'ath, allowing them to avoid the orange labyrinth.  He revealed that months ago, a man staggered into his convenience store, clutching in his bloody hand a key-card.  Before dying right there on the tile floor by the chilled spider-milk, the man said that this [indicating the key-card] got him into the undercity of Dha'arma.

The Undercity

Since Nix had found that locked entrance some time ago, the PCs decided to pounce on this idea.  They took the black van they confiscated from that failed robbery / execution to the site.  Unfortunately, the door was blocked by two sandworms having a territorial dispute.  It had been going on awhile, drawing a small crowd.  

Oh yeah, while they were driving, Ha'agly stared out the window at the endless dunes and had some kind of vision where he was moving through this black space giving way to fuchsia sinew and oozing tissue, an organic realm that felt endless, but also finite... even claustrophobic.  Eventually, he opened his eyes, realizing he was floating in a bacta-tank.  Seeing inside the tank's reflective surface and then looking down, it became clear that he was in Kra'ang's little pink, tendrily body.  A doctor looked at him, wrote something down on her clipboard, called for another doctor to look at him... then he was startled into wakefulness by the ululation of sandworms.

This was a continuation of the 1st session where Ha'agly's player rolled a critical-success on his lavender moon die of infernal destiny.  Somehow, his consciousness is connected to that of Kra'ang.

Up until now, we had neglected TH-1138's little Kua'ato dude that manifested from his wound last session in the vault.  "I would like a cerveza," he said.  I don't know why that popped in my head, but we went with it.  One of the spectators had a red and white cooler filled with beer, so the droid went over to ask if he could have one.  The guy said sure, and the little guy (who I think we were calling Downgrade at this point) guzzled that beer.

There was another bystander wearing rags, barefoot, and covered with eldritch glyph tattoos.  He told the PCs that they didn't belong here, that their consciousness didn't belong in those bodies, that they were parasites, of a sort, inhabiting these flesh vessels.  This harkened back to the start of the campaign when the PCs were actually members of the Two Jacks Detective Agency in 1929 Chicago, and went down into that tunnel below the mausoleum and into the cave with that massive device where each sat as the technology launched them into another dimension.

After chatting some more, and Downgrade volunteering nuggets of wisdom such as, "I was there... a thousand years ago, when the sandworms sucked the Great Old Ones' dicks," the tattooed guy (who had been a scribe for some prophet who died years ago in a rebellion against the Federation) offered to distract the sandworms for a price.  

5 gold pieces was paid and the guy ran off some distance jumping up and down while yelling.  I wrote-up a little d4 random table right there to determine the effectiveness of his plan...

  1. Gets eaten
  2. Sandworms don't budge
  3. Sandworms move, but they attack him
  4. Sandworms move; success

I rolled a 4.  It worked, and no one was harmed.  Then, the PCs went through.  Beyond the door was a long, dimly lit corridor.  It looked like the inside of some kind of factory, warehouse, or 3rd world prison.  Wasn't long before they were shot at.  TH-1138's blaster ran out of juice (he rolled a 1 on his attack), and they weren't getting any farther without taking some hits.  Most being 2nd level, they realized they wouldn't stand a chance and so retreated.  

Ha'agly, being so small and able to fly, stayed behind to surveil the area.  A guard put a couple of steel bars across the door, so even with a key-card, intruders would have a tough time getting in.  Several corridors each led to a locked door and more guards.  Eventually, Ha'agly slipped out through a tiny ventilation hole, reuniting with his companions.  

Disheartened, the party went back to their own base and saw that it had been ransacked!  Keke hid in a closet and told them that only an hour ago, Federation soldiers came in and turned the place over.

Pissed at the violation, the PCs went back to the Quick Stop where a player stimulated the GONZO Cha'alt X-Card.  I think that same player suggested that maybe Gonzo himself (from the Muppets) could be there.  I loved the idea and ran with it.  Gonzo was talking to Dante about the logistics of shooting himself out of a cannon in order to get into Qada'ath.  Dante was reminding him of airspeed ratios and that he'd probably never make it.

Nix interjected that the Great Old One hovering over the city would probably just grab him with a tentacle and eat Gonzo.  This got them talking more about the Federation and overheard plans.  Something big was coming!  So, the PCs asked Gonzo to come along, but not before the fuzzy purple whatever was able to find Gerald a new body [cue another player stimulating the POST-APOCALYPSE Cha'alt X-Card] the large, animatronic ferret from Willy's Wonderland that had been recovered after the bombs fell.  Yes, Nic Cage!

After outfitting Gerald and loading up on weapons, they went back to the secret Federation base.

Secret Federation Base

Nix used a lavender demon-moon die after failing his surprise rolls on the two guards, eventually killing them both and electing to level-up right then and there (the extra HP would definitely come in handy).

They went in and I'll montage this to save time... 
  • They released the prisoners (two of which were aquaintances of the PCs - Zara magenta skinned tentacled woman and Ninsk the elf with gold geometric patterns all over his skin).
  • Morningwood accidentally ricocheted onto a urinal cake and skidded around the room like he was in a pinball machine.
  • Rescued a woman who the Federation suspected was part of the terrorist / freedom fighter group Scarlet Dawn.
  • TH-1138 used his own lavender moon die of infernal destiny but rolled a failure, so he "borrowed" another player's Divine Favor fuchsia stone while that player had gotten up to get a beer from the fridge, and thankfully rolled a success, killing all but one of the guards - a guard who was about to take an experimental weapon off the wall and use it on the adventurers until the party's sorcerer blew him to smithereens with missile command.  
  • They took a bunch of weapons as firefights were breaking out all over the subterranean complex.  Eventually, everyone got out, but not before Nix took blaster fire to the chest, saved by his extra HP, and a few other NPCs were minorly damaged by stray lasers... but no one was killed.  
  • Finally, they got back in their van which the pixie-fairy had brought up to the platform that got stuck halfway (Federation soldiers had killed the power), and took off.

They put their black van (with artifact - see below) in Gonzo's garage.  Oh yeah, so the R&D experimental weapons armory contained the following things which the PCs took... a bazookoid (4d6 damage - armor piercing shells), hand-held photon detonators, and (at this point I stimulated... in my mind... a POP-CULTURE Cha'alt X-Card) revealed they had the Arc of the Covenant.  It was heavy, but the droid and another NPC were able to lug it up to their van.

They didn't have time to investigate beyond noticing that the Arc was hermetically sealed shut.  The rest went back to their base of operations which they decided to call The Chicken Coop, and hope Federation soldiers wouldn't track them down.

At that point, we only had 5 or so minutes to spare before the session's end-time.  We talked about what the PCs would do for their next bout of between-session downtime... Nix wanted to make contact with that Scarlet Dawn group, Ha'agly wanted to find a nearby property where they could hide if The Chicken Coop got exposed, and the blank section next to TH-1138 tells me that whatever he said wasn't clear, he forgot to tell me, or the Gods of Cha'alt just don't want me to know.

Aside from the continued playtesting of the Cha'alt X-Cards, which were back to being awesome as Hell - there's another mechanic that I was really psyched to try out.  As you can watch right over here it relates to the gilded dice of Candela Obscura, but I've deconstructed it and remade it into something different and 7-fold more awesome!  I can't say too much more about it because the big reveal will be tied to my next Kickstarter happening in a week or two, but I got some extremely valuable insight that's helped me tweak my design.  I'm really happy with it and in a few months from now, it will work itself into an Advanced Crimson Dragon Slayer update.

Well, thanks for reading!


p.s. If you don't already own the Cha'alt hardcover trilogy, now's your chance!  Also, get your VENGER CON III: Revenge of the OSR weekend badge hither and yon (I'll be asking for GM and player gaming wishlists next month, so don't delay).

Saturday, December 16, 2023

CHA'ALT Webcomic - Under Fuchsia Ska'ai


Yes, it's out!  You can get it here.

Going into this project, I never could have guessed all the time and energy that went into this thing.  Specifically, I'm talking about the phenomenal artwork of Jae Tanaka.  He did a masterful job!

This thing is broken into (for the most part) 13 "issues" that are each about one page.  Like adventures in a campaign, each issue is meant to be self-contained and also part of a greater story.

Thanks to the Kickstarter backers who helped make this thing possible!

Additionally, I released Cha'alt-GPT: Purple Islands Majesty (right over here).  It's scripted dialog between 3 players and a GM in the vein of something like Chat-GPT.  It's funny and weird and awesome!  The first Cha'alt-GPT title is a free PDF.

I've got another little gem on the way, but the upload hasn't yet been OKed by DTRPG yet (and I need to send it to backers this weekend).  Soon...



p.s. I've got Cha'alt hardcover books for sale - get 'em while they're gonzo!  And you'll be kicking yourself with your own tentacle if you miss gaming with us at VENGER CON III: Revenge of the OSR this July in Madison, WI.  Weekend badges on sale NOW!!!

Monday, December 11, 2023

Mysterious Qada'ath [Cha'alt campaign, session 2]


There's so much to talk about regarding yesterday's game [two days ago, now, because it took me awhile to find all the art + editing the blog post] - session two of the Mysterious Qada'ath campaign set in the eldritch, gonzo, science-fantasy, post-apocalyptic world of Cha'alt.

5 players, so we had one of our recurring players return for this session, but that still leaves 1 player unavailable due to family commitments.

The incoming player had his choice of classes since all of the 4 core were spoken for.  He decided another warrior would come in handy, and the current droid warrior convinced him to also be a droid... so now the adventuring party looks like this:  two droid warriors (Talis and TX-1138), a demon thief (Nix), pixie-fairy sorcerer (Ha'agly Morningwood), and half-orc priest (Drogan).

An important detail is that TX-1138 was an old Federation droid who'd been reprogramed and broke away from his former masters, eager to start a new life on Cha'alt.

Next, I talked about a small rule modification.  When a lavender moon die of infernal destiny has been rolled, that player may choose to level-up early.  If they do, they get max hit-points instead of rolling their hit-dice.  

Since the pixie-fairy sorcerer, Ha'agly, had used one of his lavender moon dice at the end of last session, he got to jump to level 2 ahead of the others (who would all level up at the end of this session because I just do every other session advancement... no XP, no milestones).

Then, I had everyone roll for their downtime pursuits as per this random table.  Drogan wanted to figure out high-tech healing so he could apply that Federation salve to non-organic lifeforms, like the party's two droid warriors.  Nix wanted to find an alternative way into Qada'ath, other than traversing the orange labyrinth, Talis and Ha'agly wanted to keep tabs on the Federation.  Everyone succeeded.  I took a couple minutes to describe what they'd accomplished since last time we met.

Now, onto the actual game!

The players were in the section of outer settlements where they made Tyrian Purple.  They saw a noble, surrounded by his men and droids sit cross-legged, watching the city... as if he were meditating.  Meanwhile, a midnight-elf woman and her pale female concubine were seductively dancing in the streets.

It turns out that Mistress Midnight and her female friend had sex with the makers of Tyrian Purple, jumping the line when it came to getting what she wanted dyed that particular shade, rather than the noble, Lord Ada'alo.  

The noble invited the PCs to his hover-skiff to discuss business.  He explained his need - his brother would be at the Annunciation where a new King of A'agrybah shall be chosen.  His brother intends to nominate a Federation oligarch.  There's a saying on Cha'alt, "Where A'agrybah goes, so goes Cha'alt."  Lord Ada'alo requires a sash of nobility dyed with Tyrian Purple in order to replace his brother and make his royal nomination.

This is definitely a thread I want to come back to before long.  In fact, it would be hilarious if the whole campaign was geared towards exploring and interacting with the city of Qada'ath... and then the PCs never actually set foot inside it.  Lol.

A couple plans were suggested.  Either get rid of the midnight-elf who wanted her pallid concubine dyed Tyrian Purple, or loot the vault of a dead sorcerer named Tahqeez who was rumored to possess another sash of nobility, just the like the one Lord Ada'alo was trying to have made.

Ada'alo knows the whereabouts and password that will present the vault of Tahqeez, so he planned to take the PCs to the location the next night.  As it happens, this night the assassination droid Talis agreed to work the nightshift at the outer settlement's Quick Stop.  The manager needed someone to find out who was stealing the porn off his magazine rack, and he offered all the Thirst Mutilator 2-liters he and his friends could drink as payment/reward.

Talis and Nix hung out at the Quick Stop while the others went to look for a base of operations in the outer settlements.  They found an abandoned house that was home to a pimp and three of his whores.  Colin stimulated the SLEAZE Cha'alt X-Card, so it was decided that a particular John (bald out-of-town merchant resembling Die Hard 3 era Bruce Willis named France Bacon) was going to be driving by the house very soon, looking for female entertainment.

Eventually, TX-1138 barged in and started blasting.  After trading blows, the pimp ran out of the house.  Texas Instruments followed, trying to shoot him in the back.  He rolled a 1, and a stray shot hit a Federation soldier out on patrol.  The Federation guy shot back, disabling TX-1138.  

Since TX-1138 looked like a Federation droid (and the droid claimed his targeting computer was malfunctioning), they repaired him, fitted him with a restraining bolt, and released him back onto the street.  

Meanwhile, several annoying customers came into the Quick Stop buying random stuff and asking stupid questions.  One interesting fellow came out of nowhere and didn't have any idea where he was... even the planet Cha'alt didn't ring a bell.  His name was Surge Danger Montgomery... and he will appear again sometime soon.

A mantis-folk was skulking back by the magazine rack, so Talis kept a watchful eye on him.  Suddenly, 4 hoodlums jumped out of a black van wearing ski masks and held the convenience store up.  The same player stimulated the GRINDHOUSE EXPLOITATION Cha'alt X-Card, so I described how one of the robbers had a suitcase that opened when it hit the ground after Talis' head-shot.  Inside the suitcase were gold coins, a thermal detonator, and a wallet belonging to Dweezil Jackson with Bad Motherfucker embroidered onto the front.  

Why was one of the robbers carrying such a suitcase?  One of the players asked that, and I didn't have a great answer... but I'm working on something.  Honestly, of all the sessions where we've playtested the Cha'alt X-Cards, this one was the least fruitful, but that's ok.  Not every mechanic (any mechanic?) works beautifully 100% of the time.  Hey, I'll take 90% any day of the week!

Once everything had died down that night, I did a screen-wipe that got us to the hover-skiff of Lord Ada'alo at dusk the next evening.  He took the PCs to one of those stone markers with the eye in the triangle that the PCs had encountered the previous Cha'alt campaign.  

From there, the PCs took the appropriate number and direction of steps and spoke aloud the 3rd moon of Cha'alt.  There appeared the entrance to Tahqeez' vault.  The stone double-doors were etched with a curious seal.  Glyphs on the outer edge spelled out the following (which only the sorcerer could read)...

"The Old Ones, in their infinite wisdom, have blessed us with many wonders, but the greatest of these is zoth."

Eventually, they decided to try splashing some zoth on the seal and it opened.  Inside, the caves and tunnels were dimly lit by tiny crystals covering the walls, floor, and ceiling of this subterranean vault.

From there, the PCs fought a few skeletons, giant scorpions, Nix got some alone time with a demon girl bathing in a pool of black liquid (securing for himself the high-five bonus), and they encountered an almost identical seal, but instead of the final glyph being zoth, it was "vyzvra'akna" which means unutterable darkness, frequently translated as cosmic horror.  Wisely, they decided against activating this seal.

The PCs found a brain in a jar attached to a spider droid.  This was Gerald whose body had been burned away by the sorcerer whom he served.  Gerald explained that the dead sorcerer Tahqeez had become a lich.  In exchange for the promise to help him find a new body, Gerald told them the lich's weakness.  

Finally, the adventurers bypassed a trap and ignored some strange shadows before reaching the jeweled sarcophagus of Tahqeez the sorcerer.  They opened the lid and saw the dead sorcerer.  Nix tried to yank its Tyrian Purple death-shroud, but the lich held on and then swung his magical sword wreathed in black flame.

I really should have made that last room either a bit deadlier (with additional monsters and such) or prepared with gizmos to deactivate high-technology.  A few shots of laser (I think both warrior droids had a critical hit) and Drago using one of his lavender moon dice to really spectral-blast the shit out of Tahqeez, the lich didn't last more than 2 rounds.

Once vanquished, the PCs recovered the loot that was there and even found a hidden compartment that contained a scroll - it was an explanation of that other seal with an invoice paperclipped to it for 1,000 gold pieces that was never paid.  Colin joked that the lich probably intended to "outlive" the seal maker and so he didn't have to pay.

That other seal, the "cosmic horror" one would have triggered a TPK if they'd splashed zoth upon it, shadow tentacles erupting throughout the vault, tearing everything alive to bloody shreds.  So, good thing the PCs avoided it.

The PCs really searched all over the place for that sash of nobility dyed Tyrian Purple, but all there was in that hue was the lich's death-shroud.  So, they gave their patron, Lord Ada'alo that, and kept the rest for themselves (in addition to each earning 36 zuleks from Ada'alo himself.  He acquired them from some recent off-world adventure)...

  • The lich's magical sword named Zorvra'an, which means black flame.  It does 2d6+1 damage (on a crit the sword does an additional 1d6 damage of obsidian fire that can only be put out by some sort of dispel magic or anti-magic field.
  • A Ring of Power +1 that grants the wearer a +1 to all their rolls (assuming the character wants it).
  • Elsewhere in the vault, the pixie-fairy scored a prismatic crystalline scepter (I've got a general idea about what it can do, but will save that for next game).  
  • 7 Lich sarcophagus gems 
  • The aforementioned 36 x 5 zuleks
  • TX-1138 started using an ivory demon's horn javelin +1 that had skewered him during the skeleton warrior attack.  If it wounds someone who survives, that wound becomes a little demon.  Since TX-1138 is a droid, I thought it appropriate to turn his wound into a little mechanical demon - will have to feature that next session as it'll be fully grown by then.

The hover-skiff took the PCs back to their whore house headquarters and they made plans before trying to find their way into Qada'ath next session...

Drogan wanted to talk to the Gods about his new power ring, Nix wants to find out more about Tyrian Purple, Talis wants to establish/remodel their "whore base," Morningwood is going to sweet talk Dante (manager of the Quick Stop) so he spills the beans about getting into the city, and TX-1138 was hoping to do some diagnostics on his targeting computer (I should have asked him about that since I'm not sure what he meant... we had just wrapped everything else up and I got distracted by parting words, blowing out the ceremonial candle, scribbling the last of my notes for that session, etc.

Oh yeah, the pixie-fairy's player texted me after the game to say they'd forgotten about Gerald, but he wanted to go back and recover the brain in the jar.  They never ended up using the lich's weakness since they had enough raw (and enhanced) firepower.

Colin prefers non-dungeon adventures, and he'll get his wish soon.  The intrepid adventures (they're still working out a group name for themselves) should reach Qada'ath by the 2nd half of next session... probably.  From then on, it'll be a series of urban-crawl sandbox shenanigans and Shadowrun type scenarios.  But I'll still adhere to the three pillars of exploration, social interaction, and combat. 

Because of the impending Christmas holiday, the next session will actually be this Saturday, December 16th... and then we'll be back again on Saturday, December 30th.

Thanks for reading, hoss!


p.s. I've got hardcover Cha'alt books for sale - details here!  And now's the time to get your weekend badge for VENGER CON III: Revenge of the OSRcheck out the convention page!