Sunday, March 1, 2015

The Keepers: Srady's Penny, Part 2

Session Report 8 of the Keepers of Crux.

Ash Wiseowl ain't going to take it anymore.
Part two of Srady's Penny continued from the cliffhanger of the last session: the Keepers faced a trio of Bounty Hunters, hired to take Ash alive.  Continuing their hunt for the lost relic known as Srady's Penny,this session would see them dive deep into the ancient ruins of a lost Ursyklon city.

Scene Question: Do the Keepers manage to defeat the three Bounty Hunters?
Three figures meet them in Tengril Square.  A man with a bronze-plated rifle.  A fat woman in the dark robes of the Black Rose.  A young boy licked his lips at them.

"Give us the halfling lass, and we'll leave you be."  The sharpshooter said, a hand on his tattered hat.

He tipped it respectfully in the Keepers direction.  "We ain't afraid to cause you harm."

The Keepers stood their ground.

"Uh, no."  Gav replied.  Ishida ran around, quickly trying to catch them offguard.  Gav started to weave a spell at the bounty hunters.

"Well then.  Okay."  The Sharpshooter gestured at the boy with them.  "Trol?  Do your thing.  Don't eat the halfling, the rest are free."

The boy smirked.  "I'mma gonna rip out your arms and eat your hearts."

Then a gigantic eidolon erupted from the Trol's skin.  A giant appeared where Trol had been standing, nearly ten feet tall.  Dark green skin covered rippling muscles.  The eidolon's maw was huge, with jagged teeth.  It looked hungry.

"Great.  A Synthesist."  Gav muttered.

Gav's wind gust knocked the Sharpshooter and the Cleric to the ground.  The Sharpshooter instead took up position prone and started firing shots, hitting Ash in the leg.  Trol turned on Gav, eager to starting munching on him.  But Pyro, ever the clever Alchemy Android, smashed a vial of sleeping gas onto Trol.

The giant eidolon-covered Trol fell over, pinning Gav.  Both were knocked unconscious from the gas.

The sharpshooter continued firing, even as Ishida tried to fend him off.  The Cleric of the Black Rose
instead touched him, inflicting wounds on him.

But a moment later, the Keepers got the upper hand: a pack of sacred wolves attacked the bounty hunters, convinced by Ash to rip them into shreds.  Both the Cleric and the Sharpshooter were devoured, Trol too.  Gav woke from the gas annoyed.

"We need to get into Gruudl.  So we need the Archdruid's permission to get there."  Ash explained.

"We need to return that painting," Gav pointed out, "Or else we just repeat what we just went through."

Scene Question: Do the Keepers get permission to go into Gruudl from the Archdruid?

"You're right."  Ash scratched her chin.  "But what's the right way to return the painting to the
Chancellor?  As toilet paper or maybe a flag...?"

Gav grunted, trying to avoid facepalming himself.  "We just return it, in fact, I'll just go do it myself.

 It'll take a little bit."

"Ok, we can talk with the Archdruid then."  Ash replied.

Professor Rill is annoyed but happy to see the painting when Gav returns it.  He reminds Gav of the
dangers of associating with someone like Ash.  But Gav tries to be cordial, more glad Rill will drop
charges instead of much else.

Gav returned to the Keepers, at least satisfied to have solved one problem.  While he was gone, the
Keepers had found a young Priestess of the Wolf Mother.  Sent by the Archdruid to aid them in the recovery of Srady's Penny, she heals Ash's wounded leg.

"Of course I can take you to Gruudl."  The Priestess and her Wolf companion guide the Keepers to a set of stone doors near the Grand Bazaar.  The tunnel within leads them into Gruudl itself.

Scene Question: Do the Keepers find where Srady's Penny is hidden?

Gruudl is a Ancient Starship Graveyard. The Keepers look across the ruins, a shining
collection of citadels and living starships long since deceased.  Based on their map, the Priestess takes them to where she thinks it starts, the site known as the Bonewall.

A long narrow corridor, the Bonewall's two walls are covered in the many bones of the Ursyklon's dead enemies.  The Keepers search the Bonewall for a sign of a door.  Pyro finds a door, and Ash is able to unlock it using a sample of her blood to get past its Blood Lock.

The verdant limestone door slid open.

The first room they found short, perfectly suited for an ursyklon's height.  It also was full of spider webs and a rather large spider.  The Keepers successfully snuck past the spider to the next room, which Ash unlocked as easily as the first.  A bit of her blood let them pass.

Once the door slid shut behind them, they could hear the spider start to pound at it.  In a small hallway, pass another door they found a large room.  Once it must've held livestock, since the mud on the ground was covered in hoofprints and as hard as rock.  A large circular, empty trough sat in the center.  There was two other exits.  One led to another hallway, the other looked like it had been chiseled out of the walls far more recently.

Ash explore the tiny alcove cut into the wall.  Gav and Pyro run into a trio of cat constructs, made of adamantine, wood and bronze.  Gav studies the creatures, curious about them.  Pyro meanwhile, discovers a series of holes in the walls sized for cats to climb in and out of.  He also ventures down the other hallway, finding a room with what appears to be a control room.  Vines connecting to a chair made from a stump.

In the alcove, Ash found an arm sized hole has been carved into the limestone wall.  Long enough for a arm to reach in, at the end of the hole was a tiny pedestal.  An ancient coin sat on it, the image of a mouse on the face Ash could see.  One could reach in for the coin, but couldn't pull their arm out with the coin.  The pedestal and hole had been carved tight enough that if you clenched your fist you couldn't pull it out.

After showing it to Pyro and Gav, Gav studied the coin with his arcane senses.  He told Ash what he thought the command words for the coin were.  Curious to see what would happen, as legends suggested that the coin might help one pass through walls, she reached in and said the first command phrase in ursyklon.

"Size of a Mouse."

Instantly Ash seemed to disappear.  Shrunken to the size of a mouse, she was clinging to the outside of the hole.  After a bit of exploring, Ash retrieved the coin.  Eventually with Pyro she found the hole that held the coin was connected to a series of tunnels, all ornately carved with romantic vistas.  Cataloging it, the found that the adamantine cats were programmed to hunt down anything the size of a mouse moving around.

The Keepers put the cats into the hallway behind a locked door.  Then they continued their explorations.  Gav experimented with the coin meanwhile, trying out the command phrase in very rough ursyklon.

"Size of a Bear."

Gav grew to twelve feet tall, suddenly taking up most of the room.  The penny became tiny in his hand.  Unlike him, Srady's Penny didn't shift size with him.  It stayed the same.

By this time, shrunken Ash and Pyro had left the tunnels they had been exploring.  They marveled at the huge Gav before them.  Atop Ash's ferret Cavi they rode out to him.  Gav looked down, then tried to reverse the process.

"Size of a Mouse."

Unlike the reverse, Srady's Penny shrunk Gav to the size of a mouse instead of his normal size.  Meanwhile, the penny landed some ways away from him.  A massive clink sound echoing around them as it landed in another part of the room.

"Drek."  Gav cursed.  "Of course it works that way.  Of course."

Then the door trapping the feline constructs cracked open.  Their adamantine teeth and claws shatter it.  Hungrily they leap through, aiming at the shrunken Keepers on the ground.  The size of mice, the cats seem the size of buildings...

On that cliffhanger I ended the session.  Part of what made this session very fun was how the dungeon had been created.  Normally I despise dungeons: when all of the information is one-sided, and there is no collaboration on the contents, then a dungeon is just a form of railroading.  Which is fine.

People are allowed to do that, as long as everyone is kewl with it.  But I dislike not giving the players information or not having their input go into something.  The map had been created by all of us.  All I did was add complications.  The characters had a map, an idea of what to look for.

So that made it one of the funner moments.

I will admit to railroading the players at the end of the session.  I added a complication to Srady's Penny, it doesn't work both ways.  Of course I added so all the players were shrunken at the same time.  But the problem enabled the cliffhanger, and more importantly, added some danger to the next session.

Next time, the Keepers face off against adamantine cat constructs, learn some ancient secrets and are confronted by something horrific from another age.