Previously I recapped the first half of the adventure, which occurs above ground. Now we move to the into the depths and the Starless Sea.
Restated from Part I:
On Saturday I ran a few of my friends who I have ensnared into our gaming fold through the awesome Harley Stroh published. As with my recap of Portal Under the Stars, I’m going to attempt to keep this as spoiler free as I can, but let’s face it.. There will be spoilers, so if this is something you want to play in, don’t read any further.
I rolled up four level zero characters for each of my four players, and then used my Hubris Occupation table to replace any that came up as the standard DCC races, which are not a part of Hubris, plus an additional 16 characters that were still in “the village”
In the Beginning
I’ll start out by saying that I pulled some of the punches in this module or had to alter stuff on the fly. The reasons are simple; A) this is the last game I’ll have with these people in NJ before I move to Rochester, NY and I didn’t want it to be a total TPK; B) near the end of the 6 hour session peeps were getting tired, so I cut down on the enemies at the end of the adventure, but it still proved to be brutal.
I set the stage that the group of 16 soon to be maimed, mutated, tortured, and dead people returned to their village to find it ransacked and mostly burnt to the ground. The 16 people left over explained what happened and we started with the characters on the path staring up at the keep.
Into the Module
I am going to break the module down room by room and describe what was interesting there. I will list it in the order that they went to the location.
The Starless Sea
1-1 and 1-A
The group found the gold, but decided that it was too dangerous to go investigate and wanted to keep moving forward.
The group stared at the pretty mosaics (and passed around the beautifully drawn handout) and two stared into the pool, were drawn in, and one made contact with Ghostrider skulls full of vengeance. The other noticed a giant ring at the bottom of the pool and played with it, released the water and they were swept away. The skull talking creeper broke her back on rocks, and died twitching and gurgling. The knob fiddler said, “well that’s a shame” and moved on.
The knob fiddler looked around, saw the magic item, but was too scared to take it.
The punches that I mentioned pulling started here. It was getting late at this point and I could see people were starting to wilt, but I really wanted us to finish. The group was pretty much down to 2-3 chars each (one had 4), all were injured or had 1 HP only.
When we got on the boat and the sea monster made its appearance I realized that this was going to be a TPK, if I let it… My players are noobs, and while they are quickly grasping that rules are only a guide and you can do whatever the fuck you want philosophy of OSR, they still sometimes have a linear approach… oh and they missed the only thing that would soothe the savage beasts.
I had 6 tentacles burst from the water and combat started. Each tentacle claimed the life of a wimpy level 0 mook and then, having claimed enough souls, moved back into the depths. The players DID manage to do 20 points of damage to it in 2 rounds, which was impressive.
Call it cheating or whatever, but as a one shot and a last time of playing- I wanted them to cross the finish line and them having that fun was more important to me than being a hardass and stickler to the scenario.
1-5 and 1-5A
The climax. I pulled another punch here and really lessened the amount of beastmen here. I had decided to do this while they were still on the boat, and I’m glad I did. They charged head long in. Like I said, everyone was tired and ready to call it quits for the night- but we wanted to finish.
Before the fight the newly made wizard cast Invoke Patron and gained a thick carapace that reduced damage by 4 and caused her eyes to bulge and become black, granting her dark vision. Now the players knew something was up with her. During the fight she attempted to cast Summon Spider (Patron Spell level 1 for the Spider Goddess) and rolled a 1, gaining patron taint. Now when she casts a spell spiders fall out of her pant legs, shirt cuffs, and neck and scurry away…. eeeewwww…
After a few more character deaths they brought down the BBG and escaped (losing two more people to giant falling rocks that crush and kill soft things).
Making their escape we called it a night.
We MAY try to play on G+, but I’m not sure. We’ll see how that goes.
The module is fun and I will definitely run it again with other players.
I tip my hat to Harley Stroh for a job well done!
If I were to continue…
If we get to play via G+ (which honestly is doubtful) and I get to run another session I’m totally doing an underdark session and have it be heavily influenced by Descent and have them scrambling towards the surface as fast as they can.
I run all my sessions in my Hubris setting and what one group does affects the whole world/setting. So this group beat the Starless Sea, and now a flood of fetid water has sent them cascading on a boat down a black tunnel and they will have to deal with the underdark thing I mentioned above.. But what of the sea monster? That thing is too delicious to just let fade away, so it’ll be carried by the water as well and find itself in the Bogwood Swamp.
I have a group of players there right now who just finished Portal Under the Stars (see recap link at top of post). So now there will be a terrible sea monster attacking the weary and brave lignite farmers that are scavenging the swamp for this needed source of energy.
I ran 3 sessions with the same group that just got done with this adventure in the Frozen Wastes and they failed to capture a witch who, along with a Ingvarian noble, were planning to overthrow the king of Ingvar… so now that is going on in the north.
Doing it this way does take more energy, and planning, but I feel it does give way to a living and breathing world. Eventually (when I have time after I move), I plan on running some G+ games that are straight DCC characters, and others that will be full flailsnail chaos, and yes, those will also shape the fate/face of Hubris.