Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Road Crew Games at Gen Con 2016 - Part I

It's time for more Road Crew games reports! This time it will be a compilation of 5 Road Crew games reports that happened at Gen Con through August 4th to August 7th! It has been a couple of weeks and I was kinda of sleep deprived during the whole time, so some details might be a little fuzy. But bear with me because we had some pretty awesome time!

August 4th

Right at the gate I signed up to judge an adventure I am writing (The Ball of Lost Souls) to publish some day (well, it was mostly written, but after some editing and revision we noticed it needed some corrections). It's one of those horror house kind of adventures but with a meta plot and impending doom coming to blow up in everybody's face.

The game starts with the party checking this old manor in search for valuables and, possibly, old tome of secrets, since it's said the inhabitants were a couple of sorcerers sisters. What they found was a dreaded place, covered with a fetid fog and a eerie song played in a harp. Soon, they were surrounded by dancing skeletons dressed in fancy rotting clothes, wearing masks. The group didn't want to think to much and decided smashing them to pieces was the best idea. Once they were out of danger, they sent the halfling ahead to scout the manor.

On the outside, the manor seemed in complete ruins, but once the halfling entered through the gates, he saw himself in a luxurious hall, with a number of guests arriving in elaborate costumes, some guards announcing the arrival of important visitors and, across the door at the end of the hall, a great room, with tables and a small stage where a beautiful woman playing the harp. The same song they heard outside.

Meanwhile, the party, outside, was looking at the halfling inside the manor. He seemed mesmerized but they couldn't see what he was seeing. Soon they all realized they needed to go through the portal to "travel" to where their companion was. Inside the manor, they had to figure out how to get past the guards and into the "party", and some clever ideas helped them, using masks from the zombies they fought and the strange clothes they were wearing.

The wizard and cleric, two of the characters with most education in the party, recognized the clothing, architecture and manner of speaking of the people around them, and deduced they seemed to have been taken to at least a few thousand years in the past. How it happened, they were not sure. But if they were looking for riches, they had plenty to lot. All the guests were wearing jewelry, there were statues all around and, as they soon realized, the sorcerer sisters were the hosts of a great masquerade ball.

I don't want to spoil the full adventure for everyone (specially since I plan on publishing it someday), but the party moved on to understand what was going on, looking for the most expensive pieces of treasure they could find and a way to get out of there. They learned about the schemes revolving around the two sisters, their steward and a prince from a foreign land, and the possible catastrophe that was upon them all.

Exploring the rooms of the magnificent party they found secret passages leading to a library of ancient arcane tomes and plans of one of the sisters to betray her companions and, luck for them, a way out of that place, possibly back to their own time. Preferably before all hell broke lose.

So they put their plan to action, as soon as they got one. They were going to escape using a magic item guarded by some terrible creatures, porcelain dolls! Hordes of them. If that wasn't enough, a spell check misfire opened a hole in the ground a the group was separated and two characters fell down into the smoking and tea room, with drugged guests and hallucinogenic smoke!

But the player's were really resourceful and used that do their advantage. Pushing enemies through the hole and locking doors and barring passages on their way back to their escape route. But as it should have happened, the doom that they were running away from started to happen as soon as they got to their escape way. They needed to finish a ritual to activate the portal, but dice was not helping at all.

While the spell casters were helping each other, spellburning, and doing whatever they could to bring them back home, the rest of the party were battling demons that were tearing holes in reality to eat their flesh. In the end, reducing himself to a catatonic state, they wizard manage to open the portal. Not to their time and place though, to a strange dimension of perpetual darkness and shadow, but, at least there were no horde of demons there, yet.

It was a fun game. It took a while for the players to really get engaged in the adventure and to what was going on. I may try to use other resources to instill the knowledge of what's going on and what might happen sooner. Maybe they will try to act quicker that way.

August 5th

After spending some time doing crazy RPG shopping on the exhibition hall, It was time for my second game, and my second adventure of own writing for DCC RPG. This time, for my upcoming setting Adventurers of the Lost World. The adventure is set in the 1930s, and begins in Rio de Janeiro, where a member of the Explorer's League calls the adventurers for a important mission.

A band of smugglers seem to have found ancient relics in the middle of the amazon rain forest and are selling them in the black market. Apperently, they are similar to what would have been statues from the legendary lost city of Pazaqui, and the discovery of the site of this ruins would mean a great deal to the league. But there was a complication too, the Nazis seemed to be after the same group of smugglers, looking for the city too. They needed to get there before the nazis, or who know what they would do.

So the first scene put the group in the hideout of the band of smugglers to try to get some information out of them, how to get to the ruins, where they found the relics and this sort of things. The party chose to mingle with the people of the area, gamblers, bohemians and others, and payed their way to talk to one of the gang leaders. It was going all good and well, until one of the players declared he wasn't drinking, gambling or participating in any of this, but was still around looking at everything. This, obviously, called some attention.

Soon enough, some pale looking thugs appeared with guns and lead started to fly. Using the good old strategy of getting the hell out of there, the group helped the smuggler leader escape in exchange for information of where they found the relics, and ran away. It was time to fly to the amazon forest and seek a guide to take them in the furthest parts of the jungle!

Contacting the Explorer's League, the group managed to get a hold of an experienced guide of the region and rented a boat to navigate through the hundreds of streams that flew into the amazon river. According to the information they had, they needed to find and uncharted river the northern reaches of the river. But once they got there, they realized they were not alone.

A buzzing sound grew stronger and stronger as they navigated that uncharted river. Giant blood drinking mosquitos approached, they had little time to act. They decided to get into the forest to hide and managed to lose the mosquitos, but ended up somewhat lost themselves. Now, out of the river, they would need a couple of days to reach the site of the ruins.

While they made camp, they noticed that, at night, strange shadows passed nearby. Burly humanoid figures, bigger than men, but very silent and nimble, able to scale the trees without difficult. Whenever they tried to approach these creatures they would vanish into the forest. Their number were greater the closer they got to the ruins.

Once they arrived at the spot the ruined city was supposed to be, all they saw was a great boulder, the size of a hill, covered in vines and moss. A closes inspection revealed it resembled the face of a giant ape with just one eye. Once they approached, they saw the bodies of nazi soldiers dismembered, like their limbs have been pulled from theirs sockets with extreme violence.

That's when a band of giant apes attacked. They were almost 10 feet tall, with arms that looked like trees and just one eye in the center of their skull. The weapons and inventions of the group managed to kill some of them, but the noise seemed to be attracting more. So they rushed inside the cavern.

A corridor decorated with murals and small statues showed images of pre Colombian civilizations mingled with giant apes, dominating other group of people. They didn't have much time to observe running from the approaching apes. Soon they reached a large circular room with a great hole in the middle. It was not possible to the where the hole lead to, but a corpse of an German soldier laid beside it, with a bullet on its head.

One of the players tried to decipher the writings on the floor and decided their only way out was jumping into the hole. Everyone followed him, and after a while, falling, they stopped floating in reach of a stair case. Where was the ground, now was the sky and vice-versa. They seemed to be in a great pool in the middle of a small arena. Ruined constructions lay around them, and further afield, after a small patch of primeval jungle, was a great pyramid, from where they saw smoke.

They didn't know exactly where to go to, but the smoke and the trail of corpses leading the pyramid attracted them there. Corpses of German soldiers and women savages were scattered all around. As they were approaching the giant pyramid, a group of savages approached from every side, all women, bearing medieval arms and armor. The legendary Amazons. Their leader, wearing a golden helmet and silver tipped spear and shield approached, and with a rough accent demanded the party to leave and take their friends with them, pointing to the pyramid.

Obviously, she was referring to some other party, possibly the nazis. That lead to a roleplaying encounter between them and the party (thank Cthulhu they didn't want to fight all the Amazons), and in the end they made a alliance, getting the Amazons to help them defeat the nazis.

Soon they were storming the pyramid with their warrior women friends. With their help they defeated all the soldiers and rushed in to face General Weber, inside the structure. And like any nazi villain, he was already expecting this. Weber was a sorcerer, and used dark magic against them. The shadows of themselves turned against them.

And to make matters worse, a tremble in the ground announced the approach of some giant beast. A Tyranossauros Rex as coming their way. The blood of the soldiers and amazons attracting it. Now the explorers had few minutes to fight the sorcerer general, grab whatever relic they could for the League and get out of there before the giant lizard destroyed them all.

The battle with General Weber was quick but fierce. One of the PCs died, but they managed to get to the place where the general wanted to go and saw images that implied that an golden ape idol controlled a giant sleeping ape to defend the Pazaqui. Which would be pretty useful right now. But to get the right statue they needed to answer a riddle, which they did without much effort (I may need to make it a bit more difficult). So from the depths of the jungle came a giant ape to battle the Tyrannosaurus, while the rest of the party rushed to get everyone to safety. It was a hard battle, but the remaining amazons helped as well did the other party member not controlling the ape.

In the end, they found the lost city, but did not know how to get back. They way they came in didn't work backwards. So now they were stuck in the primeval jungle that, although similar, wasn't the amazon, and seemed a lot more ancient, and a lot more perilous. They were stranded in the Lost World.

I had a lot of fun with this adventure and the players who were in them (which I took their names, because I want to write them as playtesters of my setting). It was a very pulpy game, with exciting moments coming after another, and with a quick and fierce climax! We all had fun experimenting with the new classes and the group choose well when to run, when to talk, and when to fight.

I will leave the other games for a future report. I don't want to make this too long to read at once. I know it isn't as fun to read these as it is to play, but I like to share these experiences anyway.