Yesterday I posted the part 1 of my first session of Barbarians of the Ruined Earth.
Cultists and Museums
After the group rested up, they barged bravely through the front door of the Museum of Art and History. The group plunged into the entrance and found a dirty, disheveled mess. Ishkur the Ummm Wizard saw that they could head into a Weapons Exhibit and recommended that direction. Zed Winkle led the group through the hall and triggered a trap, taking a spear to the side. The Weapons Exhibit had pretty much cleaned out, but the group found a spear from ancient Roman times, a cutlass from the American Civil War, and a mace that didn’t have a plaque with information.
They continued down to the cafeteria and were attacked by three cultists. All were wearing white robes, black masks which had a crescent moon symbol on their forehead, and curved daggers. The cultists stood in front of the entrance, creating a bottle neck. “Only death will set you free! Let us send you on your way!”
I used mook rules, each cultist having only 1 HP. The group made quick work of them, but got stabbed a few times, but for little damage. Once the cultists were dead the group looted the room, finding daggers, a healing salve, 50′ of rope, and a backpack.
The group then headed back up and found a hallway to the Modern Art room. Ishkur the Ummm Wizard groaned, “ug… There is nothing of interest in there.” Most of the paintings had been defaced, however they found the body of a Barbarian tossed into the corner. They looted him of his items, the most exciting of which was a football helmet and then continued into the Old West Room.
Here the group was attacked by four cultists throwing spears at the group. Ishkur stepped to the front and used Life Leach, dealing 1 point of damage to each of the cultists, killing them all. They took the daggers on the cultists and Ishkur found a tattered and cut up cowboy hat, and excitedly put it on his head.
Error (404) came up with a plan that he would put on a cultist outfit (being the only one who could wear one) and tie up Ishkur and Zed with a trick knot. The group went through the rest of the museum and didn’t encounter anyone else, except for a mutant with glowing red eyes who was chained to a wall and shied away from the robe-wearing Error (404).
Eventually the group came to a room with stairs leading into the basement; chanting could be heard below.
Battle for the Heavy Metal Throne of the Eclipse
The group wandered into the basement and found three cultists circled around a large throne made of metal, adorned with spikes. Walking around them was another cultist, with embellished robes and a black mask with a half moon on the forehead. A car engine rested on the seat of the throne, jumper cables attached to several of the spikes of the chair. The captured humans were tied and laid on the ground, metal skullcaps placed on their heads with metal tubing going from the cap and attached to the engine. Lurking in the corner was a hideous mutant with green slime dripping from its skin.
The lead cultist spoke to the room, “We have finally obtained the Heavy Metal Throne of the Eclipse! With the energy taken from these lower ones, we will revitalize the throne and finally have the power over the sun itself! We will plunge this world into darkness and be the true masters of everything! Let the ritual begin!” One of the cultists pulled a lever on the engine and it sprang to life. A human screamed as their energy was pulled from their body, leaving them a dried husk on the floor. The energy traveled through the skullcap, up the cable, into the engine, and through the jumper cables into the throne.
The lead cultist looked at the disguised Error (404), “Ah brother! What have you brought us?
Error (404): More food for the machine!
“Ah! Excellent! The energy of a Sorcerer will truly make the throne powerful!”
Error (404) brought the pseudo-captured comrades into the circle and they sprang their trap. Liam (Ishkur’s player) told me he wanted to summon forth Error’s bag that was carrying a bunch of the curved daggers and multiply them in the bag, then have the bag explode and send the daggers flying everywhere. I told him that they would hit everyone, not just the cultists, he said that’s ok. I told him it would be Power of the Moon (level 2) spell (here is the alt magic rules) and he agreed. He rolled in INT check with Advantage after using Life Leach previously and succeeded. He failed his Usage Die roll, finally robbing him of his energies to cast spells. While this was going on another two human hostages were drained of energy.
The daggers killed all three cultists, all the human hostages save 1, missed the mutant and the lead cultist, and missed all three players.
Nate had to leave at this point, so John took over rolling for Error (404).
The cultist and mutant ran at Liam’s character and started beating on him. The mutant’s touch drained Ishkur of his vitality (temporary CON drain). Zed Winkle used his epic strength to pick up the Heavy Metal Throne and engine and chucked them at the lead cultist, who was struck hard and slammed into the wall, becoming a bloody grease stain.
The battle with the mutant took awhile, but eventually the group stabbed and bludgeoned enough to kill the creature. The group looted the room, finding an obsidian sword and a silver dagger. They also found a scroll on the body of the dead lead cultist- with the wax seal of the Portends of Death. Ishkurr put it in his pack to examine later.
With that they took the delirious, shell-shocked survivor and returned her to The Bluffs. Ren thanked them for risking their lives and returning his daughter to them (I made a Luck roll on the importance of the survivor).
With that we leveled up and called it a night.
Next time: Trouble in the Bluffs
After Thoughts: We are all still loving the simplicity of The Black Hack. We are using the Better Armor rules from Additional Things. It works very well for the players, however I tried to do something similar for monster and it doesn’t work well. Damage Reduction per attack works well for systems like 3.x, Pathfinder, and 5e where there is a steady escalation of damage based on the weapon, Attribute modifiers, and weapon bonuses… However in TBH weapon damage is static, although it may have a small bonus or you roll damage with Advantage, etc. However a creature with an armor of 3 means that a Conjurer will always need to roll a 4 on a d4 to be effective. When we were fighting the mutant, this became really apparent. John and Liam both were rolling super low (John gets to roll a d8 for damage)… and after 4 or 5 rounds (can’t remember), it just became evident that it doesn’t work well. The normal armor rules in TBH work much better for enemies. So I switched it back to that rule and they had done about 5-6 points of damage, I treated it that they had drained the creature of his armor and were now doing physical damage. So now I need to change that throughout the whole BotRE document.
John’s use of his epic strength ability was fun as hell and creative. Also, he totally stopped the second coming of Lo-Pan (the next round the evil Sorcerer would have been pulled from the chair). So that was a cool and unexpected event.
Liam really likes the free form spell casting thus far- especially as the two spells he attempted to cast would not have been possible at all with normal rules. We will keep trying them and see how they hold up over several sessions.