Another Lulu sale - 35% off. And how are they making money?

Well, Lulu is having another sale.  35% off today only (and yesterday too, but they're not real timely about sending me their coupon codes).  Use BLIZZARDS305 at checkout.

So, this means they are losing money on every PDF purchase, since their royalty is only 20% usually, and is currently 10% til mid-January, and the base fee charged is on each PDF sale is just 99 cents.  The authors (namely, moi) don't see any price changes on these sales, so Lulu is eating all that.  They must have some hefty markups on the base cost for print books for these sales to be remotely profitable, because print royalties are also 20%.

How does this make any business sense?  No idea.  I'm guessing PDF sales are a very tiny part of their business and they just ignore the losses.


Thanks to everyone who purchased ASE1 up to the 25th!

A big "Thank You!" to everyone who purchased ASE1 in the days leading up to Christmas - we managed to raise $200 for Village2Village!


Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas everyone!

Isaiah 9:6 "For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace."


published an adventure in FO #13

Having contributed to a bunch of community efforts, one has finally born fruit - I've got an adventure published in Fight On! #13.  So go buy that bad boy!  You can get it here on Lulu:  Fight On! #13

The adventure is called "Fruiting Towers", it was the result of an "art first" thread on the ODD forums.  If anyone ends up running it, drop me a line, I love hearing how I've killed other people's players...  I mean, "challenged" other people's players...


More ASE session reports

Tavis (of Mule Abides) runs a Red Box New York gaming group, and he's got his players running through the Anomalous Subsurface Environment, among other things.  He's managed to somehow crank the gonzo up several notches higher with his changes, so good on him!

The session reports are all posted online here: http://redbox.wikidot.com/white-sandbox-session-summaries . The players arrive at a modified Denethix in session 39, and enter the dungeon proper in sessions 40 and 42.

It's really good stuff if you like reading campaign reports (I do), and it's incredibly gratifying to hear about someone else using something I wrote.

And more Lulu sales - 25% off til the 14th

Yeah I know these "Lulu sales" posts are boring, but if you haven't actually purchased from Lulu before, you won't know about the codes.  Lulu says this is their last sale, for whatever that's worth.  25% off until December 14th, enter coupon code COUNTDOWN305 at check out.  Remember, it all goes to support Village2Village until the 25th, so buy buy buy!  Or just donate to V2V directly, it's all good!


Lulu can't help themselves - another 30% off sale

Lulu must be getting desperate... there's yet another 30% off sale.  Use coupon WINTERSAVE305 at checkout, it's good through Wednesday Dec 7th.  This does NOT reduce how much goes to charity, Lulu eats the discount themselves.


Elves Got Guns

So that was a decent session. I had Gutboy's player roll the percentile dice to decide his face at the ungentle hands of Dr. Giggles - he chose to do a d30 roll instead, and was lucky, I had loaded all the "good" outcomes into the lower percentage range. Not as lucky as he could have been - Dr. Giggles didn't manage to find any solid gold organs mysteriously implanted into Gutboy during the operation.

So Gutboy lived. I was kind of sad about that, I was hoping somebody would roll up a geisha or an equally bizarre class. But, they are almost completely broke now, and have no way to pay for equipment for new henchmen.

It was amazing how fast Gutboy's mind turned to banditry and murder. Every NPC they met was a potential victim being sized up. Mongo and Netal were a bit more restrained, until Netal saw the farmer with a shotgun. Netal's player has seen my firearms damage chart, and has been angling to get a shotgun, which I cruelly and arbitrarily said were restricted items, and nobody would sell him one. I'd since forgotten about that, but Netal's player hadn't - once he saw the shotgun, all thoughts of finding missing NPC's and collecting rewards disappeared. The shotgun was all that mattered. Not the best conceived plan, but a double-barreled shotgun is a pretty formidable weapon as I wrote up - unload both barrels for 1d12, with +2 to hit at close range. Of course if they head back to Louisburgh to follow up on that missing person quest, there's going to be consequences.

Netal's big plan was to gather some coin to buy an army of pit-fighter slaves to do his dirty work. The violent abolitionists had been brought up before, but I decided to make them target Netal - there's a reason the slavers wear masks in this city. He's been a bit too open with his slave-buying-and-getting-them-killed ways. Now brain-extracting abolitionists have got his number.

I've also changed the book from "constant temptation" to "implacable villain". It's not my goal to tempt players into being naughty, they're bloodthirsty enough without encouragement, so the book's now firmly in the cartoonish supervillain camp. Through the medium of Janet of 70's sitcom Three's Company. I really didn't intend for sitcom characters to become villains when I started this campaign... the players are so inured to my idiocy now that they don't even blink when this stuff happens.


All Proceeds to Charity thru Dec 25th

All proceeds from sales of Anomalous Subsurface Environment will be going to charity from Dec 1st thru December 25th.  So if you haven't bought a copy, here's your chance to indulge in some gonzo while doing a good deed!

Lulu keeps their cut, of course, but I'll be donating all my revenues during this period to Village2Village.  They are an awesome charity helping out the folks in Uganda.

Here's a brief video about two of the children they're helping, Sam & Esther:


Session recap, 11/29/2011

Netal the Elf (2)
Mongo the Fighter (2)
Gutboy the Cleric (3)

... and Dr. Giggles began slicing wildly into Gutboy's body with a filth-encrusted scalpel, calling to his troglodyte nurse for clamps, staples, and sutures.  The operation was done quickly, and he waved a vial of smelling salts under Gutboy's nose.  The clown-doctor cried "Success!" as Gutboy groggily awoke.  Gutboy said a quick prayer, and the sutured wounds healed without a scar, the stitches falling out of his flesh.

Dr. Giggles:  "Hmm, this went even better than usual.  I am truly a master of medical science."
Gutboy:  "Science?  Do you know those guys who shout 'Science!' all the time?"
Dr. Giggles:  "No, I'm afraid I'm the only one down here who cares for science.  I had to abandon my brutal brethren, for all they desired was butchery."
Gutboy:  "Where did you learn medicine?"
Dr. Giggles:  "I learned at the feet of the hologram of Dr. Quartermaine, in the Learnatorium"
Gutboy:  "Where's that?"
Dr. Giggles:  "Back with my brethren, the Painted Men, far to the southwest of here."
Mongo:  "Well, we've got to be going, I've got an appointment"
Dr. Giggles:  "Really?  I didn't realize you were in the calendar!  Please, disrobe..."
Mongo:  "No!  Not with you!  We've got to go!"
Dr. Giggles:  "Well, Nurse Ratched will take your co-pay.  Please escort them back to reception, nurse"

The players followed the troglodyte nurse back to reception.

Nurse:  "What insurance do you have?"
Gutboy:  "Nisus Underwriting"
Nurse:  "I'm sorry, we only take Miami Mutual..."
Gutboy:  "Ahh!  Nisus Underwriting was just acquired by Miami Mutual"
Nurse:  "Oh, then that will just be the co-pay, 20 gp please"
Gutboy:  "With the merger, the co-pay was reduced to 5 sp"
Nurse:  "Not until I get some paperwork from Miami it isn't.  20 gp."

Gutboy searched his pockets, but came up empty.  Mongo was likewise broke.  Finally, Netal coughed up the cash, and the players headed west, deeper into the dungeon, looking for a way out.

The first room they came to was a large circular chamber.  The walls were lined with transparent cylinders, stacked four high, with scaffolding to reach the higher cylinders.  Each cylinder had a seam in the front, and it looked like most were empty but for pieces of foam with body-shaped indentations.  They saw that a few in the distance were occupied.  Grim fantasies of zombies or worse lurching out of the cylinders filled the party's thoughts, and they decided to try a different route.

They headed back to the offices of Dr. Giggles, and tried a side corridor - this lead to a room filled with ordure and bone fragments.  They inspected the filth for movement carefully, suspecting danger, and then Gutboy looked up at the ceiling - a horrendous monstrosity was making its way towards them from above!  The creature's central body was 10' wide, with a large snail-like foot, a monstrous fish head, and dozens of 20' long tentacles.

The tentacles reached down and wrapped around Mongo, yanking him up to be bitten by the fish-mouth.  Other tentacles flailed at Gutboy and Netal, but they danced out of the way.  Netal recited his sleep spell, and the snail-fish-tentacle-freak was put into an arcane slumber, still clinging to the ceiling.  Its tentacles slowly unrolled, lowering Mongo gently to the floor.

Netal, completely enraged, ran into the room with his bow out, planning on shooting the sleeping monster in the face and killing it.  Gutboy and Mongo convinced him to leave instead - they were deeply afraid that a single arrow wouldn't be able to kill it, and the thing would awaken again and slaughter them all.

The party returned to the circular room with the cylinders.  Looking around, they saw three bodies in cylinders at ground level, and a another way up on the fourth level.  They also saw that the room extended farther north than their torchlight revealed, and a control panel to the north as well.  They briefly examined the floor-level cylinders, which contained:

1. an unmoving painted man, apparently frozen in time while struggling to escape
2. a beige humanoid whose head was mostly occupied by a mouth full of 2" long fangs
3. a human male, with no skin

They decided the cylinders were absolutely horrible and best ignored for the time being, and probably not some sort of "magic healing cylinder" as they had hoped.

Following a tunnel southwest from the cylinder-room, they came to an empty stone chamber.  They began searching the walls - and Gutboy was startled to see a pair of stone eyes watching him from the wall.  The eyes quickly receded back into the stone, but that was enough to spook the trio - they headed through another exit out of this room.  Joyously, they found that they had reached the stairs up to the first level.

The trip out and back to Chelmsfordshire was uneventful - the few wandering monsters they met ignored the party entirely.

Back at Chelmsfordshire, they found that an entrepeneurial merchant named Fitzy had set up shop selling adventuring gear.  They quizzed Fitzy for a bit, and discovered that their former henchman Slezgar, leader of the Excellent Elven Edventurers, had been flashing gold around, and more adventurers were heading towards Mt. Rendon, going through the forest and easily avoiding the Fist patrols.  Gutboy told Fitzy to let him know if he saw Slezgar, and Fitzy quickly agreed.

At the sole Chelmsfordshire tavern, the Muddy Cup, they saw a few of the Unyielding Fist drinking away their salaries, and a pair of scruffy looking adventurer-types.  The adventurer-types barely spoke to the even-scruffier looking trio, but after a round of drinks was purchased, the Fist got chatty.  Gutboy asked for employment, and heard that a lieutenant in nearby Louisburgh was offering a 250 gp reward for information on a missing relative of a city councilmen.

Gutboy's lack of cash was beginning to cramp his style - so he began sizing up the barkeeper, wondering what kind of coin he might be hiding.  Mongo and Netal talked him down, however, as the village was clearly no great source of wealth.  They marched to Louisburgh instead, dreaming of the sweet reward they'd earn.

As they approached Louisburgh, the stench of rotting meat filled the air.  Gagging, they went to the Pig's Bride Inn, and talked to Hulk, the proprietor, and learned the stench was caused by the nearby spinefruit orchards, and that the lieutenant they were looking for was named Armidon, stationed a few hovels down from the inn.  They quickly dropped by for a visit, but failed to impress the lieutenant and his two men.

Armidon:  "Well, look at this.  As if this town doesn't smell bad enough already."
Gutboy:  "Hi, we're here about the reward"
Armidon:  "Oh, that's fantastic.  Looks like we can all just pack up and head home now, a couple of hobos are going to do our job for us"
Gutboy:  "So who's missing..."
Armidon:  "Helmut Gargon. Some councilor's wife's cousin.  Supposed to be coming up to check on the spinefruit.  I could be down at the mountain where the action is, but no, some idiot has to get himself lost and now I'm stuck in this stinking hole."
Gutboy:  "How much is the reward?"
Armidon:  "Ha!  Like you'll find him!  I've been looking for three weeks, and you'll just march in and find this idiot.  Get out of here already."

The party headed back to the Pig's Bride Inn, and began chatting up a well-to-do looking gentleman at the bar.

Fred:  "Name's Fred Mebs.  I grow spinefruits."
Gutboy:  "Do you know Helmut Gargon?"
Fred:  "No, can't say that I do."
Gutboy:  "Does he own an orchard up here?"
Fred:  "No, of course not!  If he did, I'd know him.  I already told you, never heard of the guy."
Gutboy:  "So you've never seen him?"
Fred:  "Like I said, no.  Never seen him.  What's this all about?"
Gutboy:  "There's a reward for him.  Say, do you have any work you need done?"
Fred (motioning them to a more private table):  "It just so happens I do, quiet-like.  See, what I need is bodies.  I'll give you 10 gp per body."
Gutboy:  "Well, how fresh?"
Fred:  "Well, they just need to be a little juicy, that's all"
Gutboy:  "So no mummies?"
Fred:  "No!  No!  They need some juice in 'em.  Don't want to know the details either.  And don't bother heading to the cemetery, that's all emptied out."
Gutboy:  "OK.  20 gp a body"
Fred: "No.  I said 10, and I meant 10"
Gutboy:  "How about goblins or morlocks?"
Fred:  "Don't know what a morlock is, and there aren't any goblins round here, so I can't say how well they'd work.  Tell you what, I'll give you 5 gp per goblin."

Gutboy chewed this over, and agreed on behalf of the party.  They then quizzed the bartender a bit on who the local spinefruit farmers were, and got four names:  Mebs, Ungol, "Sleazy" Phil Turner, and Darinius.

There was brief talk about stalking the nearby farms and killing peasants for their valuable corpses, but eventually they decided to follow up a few leads on Helmut's disappearance instead.  The party headed out of town, and followed their noses towards the manor-houses in the orchards.  They stopped first at the Ungol house, and asked Gar Ungol if he knew anything about Helmut - but Gar denied knowing him.  They then headed towards the Turner house and knocked on the door.

"Sleazy" Phil:  "Yeah?"
Gutboy:  "Do you know anything about what happened to Helmut Gargon?"
Phil:  "Who?"
Gutboy:  "He went missing, he was coming up to check on the spinefruit harvest"
Phil:  "Well, I can't say I know anything.. but... you might want to check out that Fred Mebs."
Gutboy:  "Why?"
Phil:  "Just a word to the wise.  Mebs.  and Ungol.  Check out their orchards."

Gutboy thanked Phil, and the party headed to the last household - the Darinius manor.  They knocked on the door, and were answered by a gruff man gripping a shotgun.  Netal's eyes grewed wide as he stared at the shotgun.  A fit of greed overtook him, and he began casting a sleep spell.  Mr. Darinius, shocked, raised the shotgun and fired with both barrels, but missed and only took out chunks of his door.  Netal completed his spell, and Darinius fell to the floor asleep.  The party could hear running footsteps from somewhere in the house, so Netal grabbed the precious shotgun and the trio fled down the road.

They decided that it was too dangerous to stick around in Louisburgh, and headed back towards Denethix.  Once they reached town, they had a few nasty surprises.

Netal headed back to the Tattered Heel, where he had a deal with the innkeeper for free lodging.  When he got there, he found that the door was sealed with yellow crime scene tape, and a soldier of the Fist was standing guard outside.  Written in blood on the front door were the words "WHERE'S KROGO?" - Krogo being a slave owned by Netal, who had died several sessions earlier.

Gutboy and Mongo headed back towards their apartment, and Mongo was shocked to see that his evil book, which he had left sitting in his chair, had mysteriously changed shape - it was now much smaller and had vile looking arcane symbols upon its cover.  Gutboy, due to his basic literacy, recognized the horrifying symbols as being normal letters of the English alphabet, reading "Diary of Janet".  He quickly paged through the diary - most of it was occupied with their neighbor Janet's unrequited love of her roommate Chrissie, but at the tail end it described going to the party at Mongo & Gutboy's, where she was very upset at Chrissie for running off with Gutboy, and she was fascinated by a strange comic book that Mongo had.  After the party, it apparently occupied all her thoughts, until the last entry, where she wrote that she was going break into their apartment and take the book.  After this entry, scrawled in a different hand, was a message:  "MONGO, YOU ILLITERATE BUFFOON!  I WARNED YOU, AND NOW YOU'RE GOING TO DIE!"

Mongo quickly figured out that the book had gotten sick of him not obeying the book's evil instructions, and had decided to target Janet instead.  Mongo & Gutboy headed down to the landlord's apartment to discuss the break-in - but no one answered the door.  Mongo smashed the door down, and they rushed inside, and found that the Ropers weren't there.  Gutboy, broke and sensing opportunity, grabbed 140 gp in costume jewelry and ugly vases.

They then headed over to Jack, Janet, and Chrissie's apartment, and knocked on the door.  Jack answered, but he hadn't seen the girls in two or three days - he couldn't remember exactly how long because he'd been on a bender.

They later hooked up with Netal, and shared their stories.  Mongo headed down to speak to the Fist soldier at the Tattered Heel and ask what had happened.

Mongo:  "So what happened here?"
Soldier:  "Oh, wow, that was really gross.  So get this, we hear about all this blood, and we're called down, you got this bloody message on the door, I go in, and there's blood everywhere.  No body though.  But!  But!  There's a brain sitting on the bar.  Just a brain!  We've seen it before, see, sometimes the Society of the Luminous Spark kidnaps a slaver, usually they just disappear, but sometimes the brain gets left behind.  Weird.  Don't know why they'd go to all that trouble, cutting out a brain and leaving it.  This guy wasn't a slaver though.  You know anything about this?"
Mongo:  "Me?  No, no, not me..."

And so our session ended, with new opportunities, new enemies, and a double-barreled shotgun.


The Little People

Source: http://www.bookdwarf.com/?p=1108

Cyber Tuesday Sale

Apparently the executives at Lulu didn't sell enough to pay for another solid gold jet airplane yesterday, so Cyber Monday has been extended into Cyber Tuesday.  Enter CYBERTUESDAY305 at checkout for 30% off today!


Cyber Monday sale

Lulu is having their Cyber Monday sale - 30% off!  Which is the best sale I've seen out of Lulu since I've published with them.  Today (Nov 28th) only.  Enter this coupon code at checkout:  CYBERMONDAY305

If that's not enticing enough, check out these reviews of the Anomalous Subsurface Environment:



Medical Mistake

Medical Mistake
No. Enc: 1 (1)
Alignment: Chaotic
Movement: 90' (30')
Armor Class: 4
Hit Dice: 4
Attacks: 6 tentacles
Damage: Restrain, plus single 1d8 bite
Save: F4
Morale: 8
Hoard Class: VII
XP: 190

The medical mistake is one of Dr. Giggles’ surgeries gone more wrong than usual.  The doctor attempted to graft a cave squid, a snail, and a juvenile gill-man together.  The resulting chimera survived, but quickly escaped from the absent-minded physician.  The thing has grown enormously since its escape, feeding on patients while the doctor isn’t looking.

The mistake is a mass of tentacles surrounding a giant toothy fish-head, all sprouting from a snail foot.  The body itself is 8’ in diameter, and its tentacles can stretch to 20’.

In combat, the mistake may lash out with up to six tentacles.  Anyone hit by a tentacle will be captured unless they save vs. petrification.  A new save may be made each round to escape.  Opponents so restrained may not perform any actions other than attempting to break free.

Once each round, it will drag a captured opponent to its mouth and bite for 1d8 damage (automatically hitting).  This bite may be performed on a newly-captured opponent.

Each tentacle has AC 7 and takes 6 points of damage to sever.  The mistake has a total of 20 tentacles, although it may only use six at once (more than that is beyond its limited mental capacity).

The medical mistake’s treasure is found in its stomach, and consists of the non-digestible valuables its victims carried.


Insect-Men of the Lanthanide Wastes

And here's a first draft of my other new Labyrinth Lord class, the Insect-Men. Their big shtick is being immune to most undead effects. Their downsides are a ridiculously bad reaction modifier, guaranteeing most civilized people will attack them on sight, a lack of magic armor, and a somewhat slower rate of advancement than fighters. In an undead-heavy campaign this thing would be pretty unbalanced, but I'm not real big on the undead, so the advantages aren't really that much in the ASE.

Insect-Men of the Lanthanide Wastes

Requirements: DEX 13
Prime Requisite: DEX
Hit Dice: 1d8
Maximum Level: 10

The insect-men are a nomadic people who roam the Lanthanide Wastes, riding upon giant gila monsters and hunting the human and dwarven fortune-seekers who trespass upon the desert landscape.  Occasionally, an insect-man will become curious about the pale fleshy grub people and make its way to Denethix, where its inability to distinguish human children from tasty livestock inevitably leads to a brutal end for the adventurous bug.

Player character insect-men are of that rare breed that has managed to integrate themselves into the most despicable outcasts of human society: an adventuring party.

Physically, insect-men most resemble wingless praying mantises, and have six legs.  They normally walk on the bottom four, and wield weapons and/or shields with their topmost legs.  They can lift themselves upon just the bottom two legs, extending their height to 8’ tall, but the middle legs are not particularly dexterous and the creatures become prone to toppling over, so four-armed fighting is not practiced among the insect-men.

Insect-man mouthparts are quite capable of the extreme contortions necessary to reproduce human speech, and all insect man PC’s know the prevailing human language, in addition to their native language of clicks and chirps. Speaking the language does nothing for relations with the locals, however: insect-men suffer a reaction penalty of +3 when dealing with humans and demi-humans.

The insect-man does have certain advantages over more traditional classes.  Their chitin exoskeleton means that their AC is never worse than 5, regardless of armor worn (if any).  This is good, because human armor does not fit them, and finding an armorer willing to custom-manufacture a suit is difficult.

They are also immune to most undead effects other than physical damage – to the insect-man, a ghoul or wight is simply carrion on the move, and a ghost or wraith is entirely a human concern.  The one exception is the mummy – mummy-rot is especially virulent in insect-men, and they lose an additional 1d4 hit points per day when under the effects of that disease.

All insect-men are immune to the effects (both beneficial and harmful) of lanthanides and hafnium.  Other intoxicants behave normally upon the insect-man physiology.

Insect-men never exceed the tenth level of experience.

Insect-Man Level Progression
ExperienceLevelHit Dice (1d8)
480,00010+2 hp only *
* Hit point modifiers from constitution are ignored

Insect-Man Saving Throws
LevelBreath AttacksPoison or DeathPetrify or ParalyzeWandsSpells or Spell-like Devices

Insect-Man Attack Table
Attack Value for Armor Class


This is the first draft of my Moktar class, designed to mesh in with Labyrinth Lord rules. Completely un-playtested of course. The idea here is to capture the buffoonish sidekick-ness of the moktar, while still allowing it to be strong in combat. So, it has a really low cap on dexterity, high strength, and an excellent "to hit table". Hit dice are crazy high for first level, 2d10. Saving throws are abysmal, except against poison. This ensures they can give out, and take, a solid beatdown, but are constantly getting themselves into trouble against wizards and the like.

I'm contemplating adding a "knockback" ability, which would allow a moktar to toss opponents away in a fit of rage if under attack by more than one. I think they might be tough enough already though.


Requirements: STR 13
Prime Requisite: STR
Hit Dice: 1d10
Maximum Level: 8

Player character moktars are disturbed individuals who have decided to leave the comfort of the war-band to live among humankind.

All moktar PC’s understand the prevailing human tongue – but their jaw structure prevents them from speaking it.  They can only communicate in the native moktar tongue, a language of roars.  Likewise, while humans (and demi-humans) can speak moktarish, they are simply unable to enunciate the subtle differences in roaring that are essential to the moktar language.

Fellow player characters should be assumed to understand a moktar PC’s roars and wild gesticulations, but few NPC’s will have any grasp of the moktar’s intent.  Moktar PC’s thus have a penalty of +2 on reaction rolls with non-moktars.  The language barrier additionally means that moktars are unable to hire henchmen.

Moktars are not particularly agile to begin, and PC moktars (accustomed to living in comparatively cushy human cities) are even less so.  Moktar characters thus have a maximum Dexterity of 8.  Half of any discarded Dexterity points (round up) may be added to the character’s Strength score (up to a maximum of 18).  These additional Strength points may be counted towards the minimum requirement of 13.

Due to their size and strength, moktar characters start with two hit dice (1d10) at level 1.  Their thick hides ensure that their armor class is always at least 6, regardless of the type of armor worn (if any) or dexterity penalties.

Moktar Level Progression
ExperienceLevelHit Dice (1d10)

Moktar Saving Throws
LevelBreath AttacksPoison or DeathPetrify or ParalyzeWandsSpells or Spell-like Devices

Moktar Attack Table
 Attack Value for Armor Class


Happy Thanksgiving!

Among the many blessings I have to be thankful for this past year are all of you who've read this blog, left comments, purchased my module, and in other ways have made this funky little hobby a joy.  Thank you so much.

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!


Shaking up the Classes

The campaign has been in progress for a year, and I feel like shaking things up a bit.  P.W./Dick Dock's player needs to roll up a character, and Gutboy has a good chance of dying, so I'm making some changes to the house rules.

a. Any Basic or AD&D class is fair game, from any source.  Unearthed Arcana, Oriental Adventures, the goofy ones from Dragon Magazine - it's all good.  Death Masters, Anti-Paladins, Geisha, Duelists, it's all good.  Only caveat here is I will rework the XP tables for any class so it's more in line with Labyrinth Lord.  Stats will still be 3d6 in order, but players will be allowed to move points from stat to stat to make the minimums for a desired race or class.

b. I like variable weapon damage vs. size from AD&D, so I'm going to start using that too.

c. Not sure if I'm going to go for AD&D style hit dice (e.g. d10's for fighters) or reduce the dice used for the other classes

d. All spells are fair game for choosing wizard & cleric spells, from Unearthed Arcana or wherever.

e. I'm going to add Moktars and Insect People of the Lanthanide Wastes as playable races/classes.  Now I need to stat those up.

The net effect, I hope, is to both up the gonzo factor, and to make character death more palatable.  I am giving no consideration for balance - this isn't a video game.  If somebody gets overpowered, great, enjoy it until you're dead.  Then do something different.


PDFs are back on sale

The PDF of ASE1 is back on sale!  So all you hordes of disappointed shoppers may now indulge in your wildest capitalist urges and buy, buy, buy!

It's down to just the one definitely-licensed-correctly font.  I got hung up trying to find out why MS Word + Ghostscript kept jamming Helvetica and Symbol into the file - it turns out that bulleted lists cause that problem.  That's several hours of my life I'll never get back...  but it's all good now.

If anyone has problems with the new PDF drop me an email and I'll get it sorted out for you, but my test downloads were flawless so I don't expect any issues.


PDF sales temporarily disabled

Hi everyone,

I've temporarily disabled PDF sales (and map pack downloads), until I verify that the font usage is properly licensed.  They'll be re-enabled in the next week or two while I make sure everything is on the up-and-up.

See the K&KA thread that prompted my withdrawal here: Digital Millenium Act of 1998; watch 'yer rears publishers

Hardcopies are still for sale via Lulu.  There's a sale on currently, too, enter coupon code SECRET305 thru Friday and you'll get 50% off a second book.


Nearly a TPK...

Nearly a TPK last night.  Things that went wrong for the players:

a. The fight was lost before they entered the room.  Because they walked into a room where they'd be surrounded by stuffed monkey-fish.  How can they NOT be animated monsters?  I think I know what went on - the players were completely focused on what to do with that 5' long gold T-Rex tongue and ignored my descriptions.

b. And yes, the tongue is also a trap.  Come on!  It's a gold tongue inside a T-Rex skull!  How can it NOT bite you?  Well they haven't triggered it yet, probably next session someone'll get chomped...

c. Once combat began, it went poorly from the first round, but the players refused to retreat until round 4, with almost everyone dead.  How things were suddenly going to turn around after the henchmen started dropping, I don't know.  The clerics (Leroy the henchman and Gutboy) went down with almost no use of their heal spells - Gutboy spent the entire combat fooling around with his pet dog, healing it and removing its muzzle, and then watching helplessly as it was gutted by Feejee mermaids.

They managed to pull out of it alive, but are in a really bad spot, though, as any wandering monster will probably take the lot of them out, unless Dr. Giggles saves Gutboy.  That's a big "if", I've got a table of surgical results to write up now, most of them unpleasant.  I didn't want to do it on the fly, and I hadn't written up the Dr. Giggles part of the dungeon yet, and it was late, so I ended the session on a cliffhanger.

I hope they get a bit more cautious in the next session... I want them to succeed, but I will slaughter their characters as the dice demand.


Session recap, 11/8/2011

Netal the Elf (2), and his slave Roger the Fighter
Mongo the Fighter (2), and his henchmen Leroy Brown the Cleric and Lorgar the Elf
Gutboy the Cleric (3), his henchman Serlo the Elf, and his dog Rufus

We left the party in the viewing chamber for the Bee Bearded Lady - who was reduced to a skeleton wearing an aluminum hexagonal mesh beard, on the opposite side of a thick wall of glass.

The party headed out and traveled further into the freak show, find a chamber with four doors - one of which appeared to lead into the other half of the Bee Bearded Lady's chamber.  The door was locked, though, so the party investigated the other doors.  A door to the northeast read "Feed the Geek", while a door to the southeast read "Observe the Geek."  The party decided unanimously that feeding the geek would be a bad idea, and opted to observe.  They sent Roger the slave through the door first - he found a room split in two by a wall of bars.  On the opposite side of the bars, a horrible painted man with the tail and claws of a scorpion gnashed his teeth, trying to reach his stinger between the bars.  Roger stayed well away, and was safe from the monster's attack.

The rest of the party entered, and proceeded through another door out into a hallway.  They opened a door at the north end of the hall, and entered an oddly-shaped room with a stack of rusty iron cages along the south wall.  Each cage held a subterranean locust, 3' long.  Mongo surmised they were food for the Geek.

They had Roger open a door to the southeast - briefly, a room with a half dozen monitors was revealed, the monitors showing views of various rooms in the dungeon, some of which the party had just walked through.  Six Painted Men were observing the monitors.  One of them ran at the door, shouting "EMPLOYEES ONLY!" and slammed it shut in Roger's face.

There was a brief argument about whether to kill the Painted Men - Gutboy was afraid that the other Painted Men would kill them in retribution, while Netal and Mongo were irate about being observed by the clowns and wanted them dead.  Gutboy's argument won out, and the party moved further into the freak show.

The next room they entered held the skull of a Tyrannosaurus Rex.  Inside the skull was a 5' long tongue, sculpted from solid gold.  To the south of it was a large tapestry, depicting dinosaurs wallowing in a swamp - rather than a sky above the swamp, a stalactite-covered cavern ceiling was woven instead.  There was another tapestry to the west, but apparently they were looking at the back side of it, as it was a featureless muddled gray.

Another argument ensued, about whether the party could successfully smuggle the tongue past the clowns.  They feared the clowns exacting retribution for its theft, and decided to leave it alone for the time being, and scout around for a back way out of the dungeon.  So they sent Roger to investigate behind the curtain - he saw another door to the west, and walls covered with shelves, on which rested eleven withered figures - the upper halves of chimps sewn onto the lower halves of fish.  The party then had Roger check behind the dinosaur tapestry, and found a door heading south.

They decided that heading west was a better bet, and went back to the room with the eleven Feejee Mermaids.  As they reached the center of the room, the mermaids came to life and flopped down onto the ground, advancing on the party with bared fangs.  The party got in a few hits, but went down one by one under the onslaught of the mermaids.  A few were killed, crushed into dried skin and sawdust stuffing, but eventually only Netal and Mongo were left standing.

Netal and Mongo ran out of the room - Mongo moving slowly, letting the slow-moving mermaids stay within sight of him, and Netal running as fast as he could, trying to find a back entrance into the mermaid room so he could rescue his unconscious companions.  Eventually he did, rushing through a hexagonally-shaped room with a stone giant laid out upon a tall table, and bandaged Gutboy's wounds as best he could.  Sadly, he was too late for the rest of the party - they were dead.

Mongo eventually caught up, slamming doors behind as he ran, and apparently losing the pursuing mermaids.  They recovered a few weapons from their slain henchmen, and retreated to the room with the stone giant as the tapestry began to show movement - the mermaids must certainly have been returning from their failed pursuit.  Mongo spiked the door shut, and the two returned to the giant chamber with the carnival midway, hoping to sneak out.

The party walked around the big top, taking the most direct route to the entrance possible, walking past several Painted Men who pointed and laughed at them - but were stopped at the dais by the carnival barker. 

Carnival Barker: Leaving so soon?  After all this trouble we've been to, it would be a shame to miss the show
Netal:  I think we need to be going, our friend's in trouble.
Carnival Barker:  Nothing like the trouble there's going to be if you don't attend the show.  I suggest you enjoy some of the attractions on the midway.  Looks like you've been enjoying them quite a bit already.
Netal:  Do you know a doctor?
Carnival Barker:  Oh, there's Dr. Giggles... but that's going to have to wait until after the show.

Sensing the undercurrent of menace, the pair retrated back around the midway.  They checked out a few of the tents as they went - a shell game didn't interest them, but a shoot-the-skull-with-the-crossbow game attracted Netal's attention.  He paid 10 gp, and fired three shots from the crossbow the Painted Man behind the counter handed him.  All three shots hit, and the Painted Man handed Netal a bloodstained kewpie doll.

Painted Man:  Three shots!  Big winner!
Netal:  Does it have any special powers?
Painted Man:  Yes, it's cute!  Very cute!

The duo gave the "Ring the Bell" game a pass, avoiding the snarling beefcake Painted Man and his big rubber mallet, and passed a door with a sign reading "Emergency Exit", nestled between the tent and the entrance to the freak show.  The two casually slipped through the door, finding themselves in a room with yet another tapestry, this one showing smiling children enjoying a circus.  They ignored the tapestry and followed a corridor west, eventually reaching a bronze portcullis guarded by two Painted Men.  The guards were delighted to see visitors.

Painted Man:  Strangers!  Welcome!  You see show?
Netal:  Yes, we're just going to step out for a bit.
Painted Man:  You come back and see show!

The painted men happily wheeled up the winch and wished the two well, and they headed deeper into the dungeon, dragging the unconscious Gutboy behind them.  They followed twisting corridors and chose random directions at intersection, and eventually ended up at a sign reading "Dr. Giggles - Welcome to Our New Office."  Following the arrow on the sign, they came to another door marked "Receptionist."  They entered within, and found a doctor's waiting room.  There were chairs arranged around the room, with a coffee table holding an assortment of magazines.  A troglodyte in a white nurse's uniform sat behind a desk.

Nurse:  Do you have an appointment? hisss
Mongo:  No, we're walk-ins
Nurse:  Any insurance?  hisss
Mongo:  Uhhh... no.... blue shield?
Nurse:  No blue shield.  hiss... We take Miami Mutual.  hiss.
Mongo:  No, do you take cash?
Nurse:  Always take cash.  hiss.... Better anyways, avoid co-pays. hiss.  Wait here for doctor.

The nurse then hummed tunelessly for a few minutes, and then got up and opened the door behind it, announcing "Patients, Dr. Giggle!"  A painted man in a white doctor's coat entered the room, a surgical mask dangling around his throat.  The doctor spoke in an incredibly well-educated voice.

Dr. Giggles (rushing over to examine Gutboy):  Goodness!  That man needs immediate medical attention!  It's a good thing you brought him here!
Netal:  How much is this going to cost?
Dr. Giggles:  Money? How can you think of money when a man is dying?  How mercenary!  Nurse, help me get him into the O.R.!

The troglodyte grabbed Gutboy's feet while Dr. Giggles lifted Gutboy by his armpits, and they quickly hauled him through a door into the O.R.  The nurse stepped back through and told the two to "wait here, he in good hands now, hisss...."  Realizing that they had just let strange monsters take their bosom comrade, Mongo and Gutboy insisted on seeing the operation.  The nurse agreed, and admitted them to the O.R., advising them to stand in a corner out of the way.  Dr. Giggles stood over Gutboy's unconscious body, scalpel in hand, with two Painted Men in nurse's uniforms assisting him.

And here we halted - you'll have to wait til next session to find out the results of the operation.


Hitler Must Die

I don't have enough stupid in the dungeon yet.

a. Subsurface Circus
b. Miami
c. Dracula

So... here's something for the ninth level.  Near the 9th level entrance, past the cave kraken that's been chewing on all those poor soldiers of the Unyielding Fist, there's a hangar, containing a single Avro Lancaster bomber.  Everything is in perfect condition - all the rubber parts are pliable, the fuel is fresh, etc.  There is also a manila envelope marked TOP SECRET, containing orders for the missing crew - to destroy the Nazi Time Ray before it can be used to modify history.  Location:  Hitler's Bunker.

If the plane is wheeled out of the dungeon and the airstrip outside the 9th level entrance cleared, it can be flown off - where it will instantly pass through a time portal back to 1943, over Berlin, and presumably be shot down.  The Nazis will be unsure of the effects of their Time Ray since the plane only disappeared for a moment, and will send a bunch of SS thugs to capture and interrogate the crew.  From there, the players must fight their way back to the Time Ray and defeat Hitler to return home.  Or whatever else they want to do.  Maybe find Glenn Miller and join the band?  Who knows...

The circus is going over very well - I was wondering if the players would rebel at the sheer ridiculousness of an underground carnival.  They're actually quite enthusiastic, and paranoid about the massive numbers of Painted Men turning on them unexpectedly, so it's working out exactly as I had hoped.  Given that success, it's full steam ahead on my other stupid ideas.


Another Christianity and D&D post

This is another Christianity and D&D post.  There were a bunch last week, and I thought about posting something, didn't because my thoughts were muddled, and then bam! power outage.  So it's coming in a bit late for that discussion.  If you're not interested, no worries, I'll be back to gonzo D&D adventure in the next post - this is a content-based blog after all, non-content bits like this are almost nonexistent, so please forgive me this exception.

Nevertheless, in my recent "my players are evil!" post, I described some of the characters' interesting "developments".  As I've been DM'ing the world, I've been trying to be a purely neutral arbiter, letting the players determine the story and simply presenting a sandbox.  Those of you who've read ASE1 know it's a really bleak environment, but with a spark of hope.  The city of Denethix is ushering in a human renaissance in the midst of sorcerous tyranny.  My basically cynical world-view is that we are all brutal savages, and you don't have to look beyond the mirror to find the most horrifying monsters imaginable - and it is only through our seeking of God that we rise above our animal nature.  The campaign setting is a reflection of this world-view, tempered with humor, as the human situation can be ridiculous in so many ways.

From a PC's point of view, there's not a lot of immediate consequence for bad behavior.  I let things slide, because the players' actions are the same as the populace at large - self-serving and manipulative.  Of course, I don't intend this to be a condemnation of my players - they view the NPC's in the game as pawns on a chessboard, and there's no moral consequence to sacrificing pawns.  So Roger the Slave is the door opener, Chrissie & Janet are fair game if it means leveling up...

But I worry that I'm creating a moral cesspool out of the game.  I do not want to codify bad behavior.  There's no huge moral consequence - none of my players are going to murder anybody, for instance.  It's all make believe, and a really fun Vancian story is emerging.  On the other hand, playing out behaviors like this is, I believe, morally corrosive.  It conditions a person to be a bit more callous (just a bit!), and from there it's a bit easier to be just a bit more callous than that...  So it's a lot of little moral consequences instead of a great big one.

So how do I reconcile Vancian fun with creeping moral corrosion?

I believe that I have failed my players here in not having consequences for bad behavior.  The real world permits evil men to continue in their evil ways, but make-believe-land doesn't have to operate that way.  The villains are villainous only so far as I permit them, and likewise there's no reason I have to create an environment where immoral actions are implicitly encouraged through lack of consequence.  So, a few of my dilemmas and how I plan to address them:

a. The Evil Book.  I introduced a magic book on a lark, rolled some dice, and decided it was an Evil Book.  So I had it trying to tempt Mongo into doing evil things.  It's led to a few laughs, but in the end I'm not interested in actually tempting Mongo.  So I've changed the book slightly so that it is demanding socially unacceptable behaviors - there's no way Mongo is going to be killing his fellow players.  I've also made it more threatening, so there's no mistaking Evil Book for a potential asset.

b. Purchasing Slaves.  There's a whole Society of the Luminous Spark dedicated to violently murdering slave-owners, a la John Brown.  When I put the setting together, I wanted some opportunity for interesting moral dilemmas between law-abiding slavers and cruel, violent abolitionist terrorists.  No non-violent resistance here, only two very nasty groups of people going at it.  When Netal gets out of the dungeon, he's going to find that the Society has taken an interest, and there's going to be consequences for the slaving going on.

As for encouraging good behavior, there would have to be some good behavior to reward first...  this would easier to play out in city adventures, but I'm all about the dungeon, so unless the players are going out of their way I try to get the city bits done as fast as possible.  The dungeon, of course, is not an opportunity for rampant good deeds- it's an opportunity to try to figure out all my death traps and get the gold.  Maybe when the players reach Under-Miami there will be some opportunity for do-goodery.
So that's where I'm at.  I'm fairly sure this post has been rambling and semi-incoherent, but I am trying to work through the moral repercussions of my DM'ing style, and if anyone has any advice I'd love to hear it.  It's possibly also useful for the non-Christians in the audience to understand at least one Christian's perspective (and please do not take it as even a correct perspective - I have many failings and I am likely blowing it big time here, theologically).

God bless you all!

Session recap, 10/27/2011

Netal the Elf (2), and his slave Roger the Fighter
Mongo the Fighter (2), and his henchmen Leroy Brown the Cleric and Lorgar the Elf
Gutboy the Cleric (3), his henchman Serlo the Elf, and his dog Rufus

The morning started off, as it typically does, with Mongo consulting his evil book.  The cartoons within were arranged in a flowchart - the first panel depicted Mongo reading the evil book, with a cartoon that had Mongo killing Netal, Gutboy, Janet, and Chrissie.  Arrows leading off in one direction showed further panels where Mongo killed his friends and neighbors, and was rewarded with piles of gold and a bevy of beautiful naked women.  Arrows leading off in the other direction showed panels where Mongo gave his friends and neighbors big hugs, went to bed, and then was found in the morning chopped into little pieces, with the evil book sitting in a big pool of his blood.

Mongo thought about a bit, and decided he'd split the difference by not hugging Netal or Gutboy.  Hoping that not-hugging was enough to satisfy the evil book, he headed off to buy some replacement plate mail at the Bazaar Incomparable.

After shopping was complete, the party gathered up their henchmen and headed off to the border village of Chelmsfordshire.  Once there, Gutboy checked out the shrine to Nisus - it had been trampled into the dirt by pigs.  Enraged, he sought out the dirt farmers he had brought around to the worship of Nisus, and found them getting drunk at the Pig's Bride.

Gutboy:  "Have you seen the shrine?  It's in horrible condition!  Who was supposed to be watching it?"
Drunks:  "Uhhh.... aren't you the priest?"
Gutboy (remembering he is, in fact, the official priest of Chelmsfordshire):  "I left you in charge!  Get out there and clean up that shrine!  Now!"

Grumbling, the farmers went off to restore the shrine to its former wormy glory.  After they left, a soldier of the Unyielding Fist approached Gutboy.

Soldier:  "Father, can you bless us?  We need all the help we can get in that horrible pit under the mountain!"
Gutboy:  "What's going on?  Have you been inside?"
Soldier:  "We don't go in there anymore!  But things keep coming out to kill us, so we're walling the hole up"
Gutboy:  "Really?  What's coming out?"
Soldier:  "Tentacles, all we see are tentacles, they're dragging us into the darkness."
Gutboy:  "So nobody's going down there?"
Soldier:  "No, we're going to deny the place to any wizards who go poking around.  It's all getting walled up.  But you remember the lights that were shining?  There was one, higher up the mountain, by a collapsed tunnel, and some idiot's digging it up.  Must be related to somebody on the Council, we're ordered not to interfere.  You know how it is."
Gutboy:  "Yes, of course."
Soldier:  "So can we have a blessing?"
Gutboy:  "Yes, tomorrow morning we'll have a village-wide service."

Gutboy decided he was in dire need of funds, and figured passing the hat was an excellent way to raise some much-needed cash.  At the service the next day, he gave a rousing sermon about the necessity of obeying the gods, particularly Nisus, and how she would protect farmers and soldiers alike.  This done, he passed a bucket around, urging people to give - but this only incensed the crowd, who began taunting Gutboy as a worthless money-grubber.  The bucket came back with only a measly 4 gp.

The party decided it was high time to head to Mount Rendon and the dungeon, so they quickly purchased five pigs, and headed into the wilderness.  On the way there, they were surprised by a dozen musclebound doberman-headed men, wearing only loincloths and sandals, and wielding wicked scimitars.  The dog-headed men growled, and demanded that the party empty their bags and give them all their money, and told them that "Canus would hear of it!" if they didn't comply.

Gutboy tried to convince the dog-headed men to join them in an adventure underground and gain great treasure, but the men only laughed, explaining that they'd just take whatever treasure he found when he came back out.  Negotiations quickly broke down, sleep spells were cast, and battle ensued - the party came out victorious, and kept one of the dog-headed-men alive, slitting the throats of the other sleepers.

The party headed into the dungeon, and went straight to the morlock's lair.  Mongo argued for slaughtering the morlocks and taking their stuff, but Gutboy was opposed, finding them to be valuable allies.  Inertia won the day, and the party decided to just hand the pigs and the dog-headed-man over to the morlocks as a gesture of goodwill.

Knocking on the door to the lair, a lone morlock answered, and his jaw dropped in delight as he surveyed the pigs and dog-man.  "Pigs!  And people!  Delicious!" he exclaimed, taking a quick bite out of the whimpering humanoid.  He quickly called for help, and a half dozen more morlocks appeared to help drag the meaty bounty into their lair.  There were squeals and whimpers of pain as the morlocks nibbled at their prizes while dragging them into the darkness.

The party decided to see what the morlocks were up to, and followed them inside the lair - the fiends were too excited to notice the party was behind them.  They came into a large chamber, with a massive demonic idol in the corner, with several rotting hearts impaled on its forehead-horn, and holding a great gold bowl in its lap.  Stacked next to a stew-pot were several human-looking arms and legs.

As the party entered, Chief Gribnel, leader of the morlocks, emerged from a room to the south.  He had a silver circlet on his forehead, and an ivory brooch pinned through his bare chest, and wore two keys on a leather thong tied around his neck.  He saw the many pigs, the dog-faced-man, and the party, and his face broke out in a wide smile.

Gribnel:  "Mongos bring much food!  We feast!  Mongos must stay and eat with us!"
Gutboy:  "Could we stay overnight?  We could use some rest"
Gribnel:  "Yes!  I give you one of my women tonight!  You take her, she the ugliest, I don't miss her!"
Gutboy:  "So what are those arms?"
Gribnel:  "They make sign, how you say?  Eeeee's?"
Mongo:  "Excellent Elven Edventurers?"
Gribnel:  "Yes.  No problem?"
Gutboy:  "No, no problem!"

Gribnel walked over to the dog-faced man.  "You want piece of him?  He looks delicious!"  The party mumbled a bit and said they'd prefer the pigs, and the chief merely shrugged as he pulled out a knife and decapitated the whining dog-man.  "More for me!"

The party had an excellent meal of boiled pork, and bedded down among the moldy rags the morlocks used for sleeping.  Gutboy made use of his complimentary morlock woman as a pillow, but declined to take things any farther.  When they awoke, the cook fires had burned low, and the elves in the felt their minds refreshed and ready to re-learn their sleep spells.

They bid the morlocks farewell, and headed to the stairs they had discovered during the last foray into the dungeon, leading down to the second level.  They returned to the room where the gray slime had attacked and destroyed Mongo's armor, and found a humanoid poking around in the puddle in the center of the room.  The creature had rainbow-colored matted hair, and was dressed in a motley of dyed skins.  Gutboy shouted "Hello!", and the thing turned - its skin was ghost-white, and its mouth had massive red lips and was filled with pointed fangs.  Clearly, they had stumbled upon one of the Painted Men the morlocks had warned them about.

Painted Man:  "Strangers!  Customers!  You must come with me!  Come!"
Gutboy:  "Come where?"
Painted Man:  "So exciting!  Exciting!  So long since new people come!  You must come to our circus!"
All:  "Wha????"

The party argued a bit among themselves, and decided to chance following this freakish clown-monster and see what it was talking about.  The monster led them to a room with a large tapestry, with the words "Anomalous Subsurface Cirus Ahead!  Family Fun for All Ages!" embroidered onto it.  Large arrows on the tapestry pointed towards a slit in its middle, and in front of the tapestry stood a wooden lectern.  The lectern had no visible shelves in its solid square body, so the party followed the clown through the slit.

Beyond the tapestry was a room with a second Painted Man.  This clown was a sleep, til the first kicked him awake.  He looked surprised to see the party, and began jumping up and down excitedly.  "Ticket!  Ticket!" he shouted, as the first clown ran past and out of the room shouting "Visitors!  Customers!"  Gutboy explained they had no tickets, and the clown switched to shouting "Gold!  One gold!"

The party dutifully handed over 1 gp per member, and walked past the ticket-taker into an enormous room, nearly 200' across.  Occuping most of the room was a geodesic dome made of multi-colored acrylic triangles.  Surrounding the dome were booths with various midway games and concession stands, and nearby was a stone dais, atop which stood a "normal" human.  The man wore a straw boater's hat, a red tailcoat, and a pinstripe suit made from dyed face-skins, and carried a cane in one hand.  The man approached the party, and began to talk rapidly.

Carnival barker:  "What amazing wisdom you've shown in choosing to visit the greatest circus under the ground!  Step right up for the amazing acts..."
Gutboy:  "Is there cotton candy ?!?"
Barker:  "Why yes, there is, at the concession stand..."
Gutboy:  "Where? Where?"
Barker:  "Just on the other side of the dome, right over there!  Visit all the exciting games of the midway, and don't forget the show, starting in only ONE HOUR!  See the Amazing Bundini Twins DEFY GRAVITY!  Watch the lion wrestlers tame the savage beasts with their BARE HANDS!"
Gutboy:  "To the concession stand!"

In the background, dozens of Painted Men hurried about, opening the tents and stands along the midway and rushing into and out of the great geodesic dome.  The party quickly made their way to the promised concession stand, where they found a painted man just finishing the set-up of his booth.

Gutboy:  "What have you got?"
Painted Man:  "Fire beetle glands!  On stick!"  (holding out a skewer of freshly-fried still-glowing glands)
Gutboy:  "I need cotton candy!"

The Painted Man handed Gutboy a stick covered with tightly-wound gray strands of what might be some sort of subterranean candy.  He took a small strand and tasted it, finding that it stuck to his fingers and lips tightly - in fact, he could no longer open his mouth at all.

Gutboy:  "Mmmmph!"
Painted Man:  "Sticky! Yes!  From spiders!"

Gutboy borrowed a knife from his fellows to cut away the spider-silk that masqueraded as delicious cotton candy, badly slicing his lips up in the process.  The painted man offered up other goodies - "Baked people feet!  Bucket o' entrails!" - but there were no takers.  They bid farewall to the greasy, grotesque foods of the stand and picked another tent at random.

Inside this second tent they found an unattended fortune-telling machine.  The machine was a wooden box, on top of which sat the carved and painted upper torso of gypsy woman.  The box had a coin slot, and small plaque reading "10 gp".  Netal ordered his slave Roger to deposit 10 gp, and Roger dutifully obeyed.  A mechanical voice sounded from within the box:  "Ask your question"

Netal quickly asked, "Are the clowns going to try to kill us?".  The mechanical voice replied "Probably eventually, but in the meantime, enjoy the show."  As it finished its answer, the "10 gp" plaque withdrew and was replaced with a "100 gp" plaque.  The party made mental note of this divination machine, and vowed to leave before the show finished.

As there was still time to kill before the circus began, they picked a door at random, and found it bore a sign reading "The Amazing Subsurface Freak Show."  They had Roger open the door - the room beyond was empty, with nothing but empty shelves and two more doors.  One door had "Bee Bearded Lady" written upon it, and the other was marked "More Exhibits This Way!"

The party decided to view the Bee Bearded Lady, and had Roger once again open the door.  Behind the door was an irregularly shaped room, divided in the middle by a wall of thick glass.  On the other side of the glass, the party saw another door, and a skeleton sprawled on the ground.  The skeleton had a "beard" of aluminum hexagon-shaped mesh loosely hanging from its skull.

And here we ran out of time - further exploration of the Subsurface Freak Show will have to wait til the next session.


My players are turning eeeevil

So my players are turning eeeeeeevil.  Mongo contemplates murdering his neighbors for the prospect of gold sandwiches and a higher level (me: "How could you kill Chrissie & Janet?" Mongo's player: "I hated that show!"), and Netal's player finds that purchasing slaves is a lot easier than making reaction rolls and hiring henchmen the old-fashioned way.

Of course this stuff is going to bite them on the ass.  That's slave #2 owned by Netal, so he's bound to attract the attention of the Society of the Luminous Spark.  I'll start laying that groundwork in this Thursday's session.

Mongo's player is upping the ante with the book after my lecture on character lifespans - given that Mongo could die on any given expedition, he wants to go "all in" on the book.  It's about time to put a bit more threat into the evil book, so far it's been comic relief.  Well, it will probably continue to be comic relief, but with more nasty consequences.

I've written (in crappy draft form admittedly) a large chunk of level 2 now, so it should wrap up soon.  Which is good - the players are going to hit third level very soon, which means they'll be heading deeper.  Probably without having explored too much of the 2nd level.  That's fine, the essence of the megadungeon is its scale, you're not supposed to go to every single room on every single level.  Not that my OCD players don't give their best effort...


Session recap, 10/13/2011

Netal the Elf (2), and his slave Roger the Fighter
Mongo the Fighter (2), and his henchmen Leroy Brown the Cleric and Lorgar the Elf

Mongo awoke from a fine night's sleep, and decided to consult his decidedly evil book, because what harm could come of that?  He flipped it open, and viewed the comics within - they depicted Mongo cutting the heads off his neighbors Chrissie and Janet, and mounting them on spikes.  The stick figure Mongo was rewarded with a pair of sandwiches.  Disappointed, Mongo flipped the page - and it was revealed that the sandwiches were made of solid gold, probably worth 2,000 gp combined.  Mongo began hatching a murderous plan, involving a picnic basket, and resolved he should carry his book around everywhere with him, so he could always get sound advice on what to do next.

The day continued, as it often does, with a search for new henchmen.  Netal, ever pragmatic, decided purchasing a henchman was much more efficient than an extended interview process, and so headed to the Street of Tormented Flesh.  He accosted a green-masked slaver in the street:

Netal: "I'm looking to buy a slave"
Slaver: "Of course you are!  A pleasure slave, perhaps?"
Netal:  "I need someone who can open doors."
Slaver:  "Right... you're going to need to be more specific.  Young, old, male, female?"
Netal:  "Someone young.   Male."
Slaver:  "Ahh! I was right!  A pleasure slave!"
Netal:  "No, someone who's strong, and likes adventure."
Slaver:  "Now I'm not following you"
Netal:  "How about one of those pit fighters?"
Slaver:  "That I can do!  What rank are you looking for?  I have many newly trained, unranked fighters, or perhaps a second-tier fighter?"
Netal:  "How much?"
Slaver:  "My first ranks are only 150 gp.  1000 gp will get you a second rank... and I see by the look on your face I needn't go any further."
Netal:  "Let's take a look at your first ranks"

The slaver led Netal to a basement "stable", with a half-dozen barred cells.  Most of the pit fighters within snarled nastily at Netal, shouting obscenities until they were beaten into quietude.  One lad, however, seemed somewhat chipper.

Slave:  "Oh, hello there!  I'm quite looking forward to actually getting out of this cell and doing something.  Didn't think it would be quite so nasty when I sold myself, but the family certainly needed the money!"
Netal:  "What's his name?"
Slaver:  "Your choice.  We beat the names out of them during training.  He doesn't have any rank in the pits yet, so you get to choose"
Netal:  (dead silence for quite some time)
Slaver:  "Sir?  Are you feeling all right?"
Netal:  "I'm trying to think of a name.  Roger."
Slaver:  "An excellent choice.  That'll be 150 gp."

A quick trip to the Bazaar Incomparable was taken, and Roger was equipped with a two-handed sword and some armor.

Mongo also keenly felt the loss of Jimgar, and decided to hire a replacement elf.  He wandered the bars of the Street of the Alien, and eventually came across a goateed young elf who expressed an interest in the adventuring life.

Mongo:  "Anybody want adventure?"
Lorgar (stroking his goatee):  "Good sir!  Does this involve crawling into deep holes far underground?"
Mongo:  "Yes!  Lots of deep holes!"
Lorgar:  "That's absolutely fantastic!  I've been looking for just such an opportunity to explore dangerous caves for little to no pay!"
Mongo:  "You're hired!  Do you know spells?"
Lorgar:  "Of course!  I am a master of the arcane energies that are more commonly called 'magic missiles'"
Mongo:  "Great!  What's your name?"
Lorgar:  "I am Lorgar"
Mongo:  "What's with the gar?  And why doesn't Netal's name end with gar?"
Lorgar:  "That is odd.  Netal, you say?  Strange name.  His parents must not have liked him."

More shopping commended, and Lorgar was equipped with sword and armor, and Mongo found a picnic basket salesman.  The hiring and purchasing completed, Netal, Mongo, and their retinue headed into the wilderness towards Mt. Rendon and the dungeon.

As they climbed the slopes of Mt. Rendon, they came around an outcropping of rock and were dismayed to find a clearing, with a gigantic floating stone head in it, 20' tall.  In front of  the stone head stood a robed man with a beard and moustache drawn in ink upon his hairless face.  He was directing a group of nearly a dozen men in red diapers, armed with rifles.  The robed man, clearly a wizard, shouted "Who is this who dares interrupt me?"

Netal and Mongo responded by running away as fast as they could, their crew bravely running behind in abject panic.  The wizard and his henchmen did not pursue - and after an hour or so the stone head was seen in the sky, flying away from the mountain.  The party cautiously made their way up to the dungeon, taking a different route, and avoided any further danger.

Once in the dungeon, Mongo and Netal examined their map of level 1, and began systematically exploring the few unmapped areas.  They noticed the letters "EEE" painted on the walls in a few spots.  Mongo asked the henchmen if they had any idea what that meant, and Lorgar piped up - it stood for "Excellent Elven Edventurers," an adventuring company recently put together by an elf named Slezgar.  Mongo recognized the name - it was one of Gutboy's former henchmen, who had quit a few months ago.

During this anal-retentive mapping, they ran into some strange sponge-bodied multilegged horned monsters, that gored Leroy and Mongo.  Leroy prayed for healing, and his wounds miraculously closed up.  The party then holed up in a room overnight, spiking the door shut, so that Leroy could meditate and regain his ability to access divine powers.  The night was frightful, with creatures scratching at the doors all night, and eventually a party of morlocks forced their way in - but they recognized Mongo.

Mongo:  "What you doing here?"
Morlocks:  "Stuff"
Mongo:  "Stuff?  Huh.  Can I help?"
Morlocks:  "No, we got it"
Mongo: "Can I visit your home some time?"
Morlocks:  "No, no, we're busy. Very busy."
Mongo:  "You guys are always busy.  What are you doing?"
Morlocks:  "Stuff."
Mongo:  "Do you know about the EEE sign?"
Morlocks:  "Oh yeah, other not-mongos.  They make sign."
Mongo:  "Did you eat them?"
Morlocks:  "Maybe... maybe not..."
Mongo:  "Because it's OK if you did"
Morlocks:  "Well we go now.  Take yummy people with us?"
Mongo:  "No!  Maybe later.  Pigs."
Morlocks:  "OK, bye"

This exchange over, the party moved to a different room, and barricaded themselves within.  The scratchings at the door continued, along with occasional voices - and eventually the door was beaten down once again by the morlocks.

Morlocks:  "You here too?"
Mongo:  "Yes, we rest here"
Morlocks:  "OK, bye.  Leave mark or something, we not bother you."

The party did eventually make it through the night, with Leroy having regained his divinely-inspired healing ability.  He immediately used it on Mongo, and the party explored some new territory in the southwest corner of the dungeon.  Beyond a door they found a room that opened onto an abyss, the bottom far below in the darkness.  A bridge of strange gray shell-strips, tied by leather to stainless steel wire, extended over the abyss.  The party carefully made their way to the other side, and there was another tunnel beyond, which led to a long flight of stairs leading deeper into the dungeon.

At the bottom of the stairs they entered a 50'x50' room, with eight exits.  The room was full of filth, and covered with foot prints.  Mongo consulted his book of profound evil, and the pictures within revealed a stick figure Mongo mounting the heads of Chrissie, Janet, Jack, the Ropers, Leroy, and Lorgar around the room.  The stick figure Mongo was rewarded with a sense of a job well done, apparently, as he proudly surveyed the carnage - this wasn't nearly enough to tempt Mongo into mass murder, however.

Netal randomly chose the southwest corridor, and the party entered a damp room, with a leak in the ceiling dripping filthy water into a dirty puddle on the floor.  There was a door on the opposite side of the room.  Mongo made his way around the puddle, but as he did so a horrible thing of gray slime swept forth from the puddle, slapping at Mongo's armored chest with a pseudopod.

The party surrounded the creature, hacking away with swords, and eventually cut it to ribbons - but Mongo's armor was bubbling and dissolving away.  The creature's pseudopod had left an acidic slime that was rapidly destroying the plate.  Mongo stripped it off as fast as he could.  Feeling vulnerable, Mongo and Netal decided to evacuate the dungeon and re-equip.


New OSR stuff!

Got a bunch of new OSR stuff.  I ordered the Tome of Horrors months ago, but the rest was ordered this week.  Note the original cover art on Spire of Iron & Crystal.


PC suicide

So Dick Dock's player got pissed off when he was wasted by a giant robot for thought-crimes.  The exchange went something like this:

1. Dick Dock states "Bank Inviolable?  That sounds like a challenge!"
2. I describe big doors, giant gold robots
3. D.D.: "I'm scoping them out"
4. I describe the mini-guns spinning up
5. Me: "What are you doing?"  D.D. "I'm checking out the robots"
6. I describe crowds screaming and running away.
7. Most other players describe running away and hiding
8. Me: "What are you doing?"
9. D.D.: "Looking at the robots"
10. I start counting down slowly from 5 to 1
11. Remaining players state they are fleeing
12. D.D.: "But I'm not doing anything!"
13. Me: "What's your AC?  You're hit, red mist, etc etc"

At the time I had no idea what that was all about.  There wasn't any need for PC death there... I figured I'd let the mind-reading robots be a bit slow to fire and the thief, looking for ways to rob the place, can run off.  But he just stood there.

So my theories:

a. Maybe he wasn't in the mood to put up with crap from NPC's.  That's happened before with him, and it gets him into trouble.  At first level you're not going to be pushing anybody around.
b. Maybe he felt like I was dicking with him on purpose.  Of course it's all published, just going by the material I wrote months ago.  Giant mind-reading psycho-killer robots in the bank.
c. Maybe he felt like there shouldn't be danger just walking into a bank, and that the home town should be safe
d. Maybe he perceived it as a contest of wills?  If so I missed that entirely at the time
e. Maybe something else?

I have had players get seriously bummed out on PC death before.  I'm not fudging dice, though - while it's nice to see the players succeed, if there's no penalty for failure what's the point?

This death was more like a PC suicide though.

I expect he'll be back at the next session - I'll know in 2 weeks.

The party also finally got the bug back for the sacrifice, so I tossed in some more gods stealing Nisus' thunder at the ceremony and bitching at Gutboy for wasting his time with such a minor goddess.  It's been 2 months or so of attempts to get that bug, I'm glad they're done with that.

The return expedition foundered almost immediately, with the giant centipede fight.  Mongo was taken out entirely for a 10 day stretch.  So much for a triumphant return to the dungeon.  I'm hoping they'll notice that the first level is a bit treasure-empty and head down to the lower levels.  No risk, no reward, people...

I almost introduced Dr. X - they went to see the doctor at the academy, so I rolled some dice.  1-2=good doctor, 3-4=incompetent hack, 5-6=Dr. X.  The dice were good to them, and they got the good doctor - cranky Dr. Howse.


Session recap, 9/27/2011

Netal the Elf (2)
Gutboy Barrellhouse the Cleric (3), his dog Rufus, and his henchman Serlo the Elf
Mongo the Fighter (2), and his henchmen Leroy Brown the Cleric
Richard "Dick" Dock the Thief (1), and his baby grunkie Bunkie

The party entered Denethix, hauling their giant pillbug in a cart behind them, and headed towards the Street of Temples.  Mongo and Gutboy began singing songs of praise to Nisus, and soon attracted a large following of commoners and holy men, and a dancing midget to lead the procession.  As the people sang and danced, the party passed around collection plates, netting some 20-odd gp.  The impromptu parade made its way up to the booth that held Nisus' Eye, and the party went in to consult with Nisus on when to hold the sacrifice.

Frustratingly, the God's Eye remained blank - so the party headed to the Grand Temple to arrange the sacrifice of the pill-bug as soon as possible.  The attendant in the vestibule, Mary, looked up Gutboy's reservation - it had come and gone three weeks ago.  Surprised, Gutboy asked to hold the sacrifice immediately - Mary summoned the high priestess Lunexia, who saw the large crowd chanting "Kill the bug! Kill the bug!" and decided to allow the unscheduled service.

Lunexia gave Gutboy a specially consecrated dagger to perform the sacrifice - the blade was polished to a mirror finish, and had two channels running down either side of the blade, with tiny pinholes in the channel visible near the hilt.

Lunexia:  "Use this knife to sacrifice the bug.  After it is dead, disembowel it, examine the entrails, and proclaim what you read to the assembly."
Gutboy:  "OK.  Netal, you want to do the gutting?"
Netal (enthusiastically):  "Sure!"
Lunexia:  "Are you mad?  That's sacrilege!  The gods would never accept something like him participating in the sacrifice!  You must do this yourself, Gutboy!"

The roles of elves in religious services clarified, Gutboy agreed to perform the sacrifice on his own.  The bug was brought in through the back entrance and placed on a platform in front of the 20' tall God's Eye.  Gutboy waited for the crowd to settle down, and then slipped the dagger between the chitin plates on the bug's head and into it's brain, killing it.  The knife came out covered with green bug-blood and a black oily substance.  Mongo quickly slashed the ropes binding the bug, and it unfolded onto its back.  Gutboy then lived up to his name, gutting the bug, and examined the entrails - they were covered with strange black designs, but whatever they were supposed to mean was unclear.  Gutboy waved Lunexia over to consult, and she agreed that they were meaningless.

Gutboy (to the congregation):  "The reading of the entrails is unclear!  This means we must be cautious!  Everyone, be careful - the entrails are uncertain!"

The congregation muttered to itself in concern - but then the God's Eye behind Gutboy filled with a swirling rainbow of colors.  The colors cleared, and the circular screen filled with images of crawling bugs.  Nisus' voice boomed out from the Eye:  "Behold, the glory of Nisus!  Much praise to her champions, Gutboy, Mongo, and Dick Dock!  All in the city shall be blessed with vermin from beneath the ground!"

The image then began shimmering, and was replaced by a man in profoundly filthy, stained clothes.  "I am Voil!  I find this sacrifice to be worthy of the gods!"

Mongo shouted "Praise Voil!"
Voil:  "And may all know the name of Mongo, brave warrior who has brought this sacrifice to us!"

The image faded, and the congregation began to line up for a free meal as temple attendant began carving out slabs of pill-bug meat and placing them on large cooking grills to either side of the sacrificial platform.  Gutboy handed out the collection plate, getting a meager 40 gp for his efforts.  The party, having concerns about the edibility of pill-bug meat, headed for the exit.  On the way, they were accosted by another attendant, Paul.

Paul:  "Ahh, Father Gutboy, an excellent service.  And you'll be paying the rest of our fee now, I'm sure."
Gutboy:  "Right.. that's 200 gp?"
Paul:  No, that's 1800 gp.  The 200 gp was your deposit."
Gutboy (handing Paul the 60 gp they had collected in offerings):  "Take that."
Paul:  "Ha, ha, very amusing.  Please, the 1800 gp."
Gutboy (handing Paul another 40 gp):  "There you go.  We're out of here."
Paul (restraining Gutboy):  "I must insist, sir.  You booked the temple, you have to pay."
Netal:  "We're going to have to go to the bank."
Paul:  "That's fine, we can do the transfer to the temple accounts there."

The group made there way to the Bank Inviolable.  Dick Dock found the name interesting - and said aloud "Bank Inviolable?  That sounds like a challenge!"  As they entered in through the 20' tall gilded doors, Dick Dock spied the two giant robots to either side.  They were made of gold and iron, and on their arms were a pair of mini-guns and rocket launchers.

Dick Dock began scoping them out.  As he did so, the two robots looked at him, and their miniguns began spinning up.  The other patrons in the bank noticed, and began screaming as they ran for the exit and overturned tables for cover. Dick Dock continued sizing the two robots up, unperturbed.

Mongo, Netal, Gutboy, and Paul fled in fear as the two robots leveled their mini-guns on Dick Dock.  He continued standing there.  As he said "But I'm not doing anything!"  the two robots fired, turning Dick Dock into a pale red mist.  Bloody gobbets of flesh were all that remained of Dick Dock and his grunkie Bunkie.

Mongo ran to the crater where Dick Dock had once stood. "No!  You kill Bunkie!" he shouted in grief.  He pointed at a bank manager who was rushing over, and yelled "You pay for grunkie! That was my grunkie!"

Manager: "We certainly will not.  This is what happens when you associate with scoundrels and thieves."
Mongo:  "You pay!"
Manager:  "You do not want to go there."

Netal began bending over to collect the misshapen remains of Dick Dock's pouch of gold coins, but the manager shooed him away.  "That's all confiscated - get away!  We'll use that to pay for the repairs to the floor."

Discouraged by the banking incident, the party settled up with Paul and headed back to Mongo's apartment to get drunk.  They began to party loudly, drinking first to the memory of Dick Dock, and then more loudly and more frequently to the memory of their beloved grunkie Bunkie.  All the noise attracted attention - there was a knock on the door.  Two women and a man introduced themselves as Chrissie, Janet, and Jack, their neighbors from the apartment downstairs.  They invited themselves in to join the party - several beers later, Gutboy and Chrissie went back to Gutboy's room for some privacy, while Janet sobbed inconsolably at Gutboy's door - "Chrissie should be mine! Mine!"

In the morning, Chrissie, Janet, and Jack were gone - all that was left was a messy apartment and several hangovers.  Determined to carry on, the party decided to round up the surviving henchmen and head to the dungeon.  Five pigs were purchased, and the expedition headed into the wilderness and up the slopes of Mount Rendon.

The dungeon was once again eerily silent as they made their way to the lair of the Morlocks.  They knocked on the door, and a morlock answered.

Gutboy:  "Can we speak to Bilibub?"
Morlock:  "Me Bilibub!  You forget who Bilibub is!"
Mongo:  "No!  No!  Is joke!  We know Bilibub!  We bring pigs!"
Morlock (eyeing the pigs hungrily):  "Pigs!  Good!  I take pigs!"

Bilibub the Morlock snatched the pigs' leash away and hurriedly dragged them back into the lair, slamming the door behind them without even a "good-bye."  Mongo wondered aloud what the morlocks could be so busy doing all the time.

Dismissing that line of thought, the party consulted their map.  Rather than head down to the 2nd level, they decided to try some unexplored areas of the second level.  They began following the 30' wide corridor that bisected the dungeon further west than they had previously.  As the reached new areas of the tunnel, they saw a pair of alcoves on the north and south wall.  The north alcove had an ancient organ made of bones (taken from human, morlock, goblin, and screaming freaks).  Nobody wanted to touch the grim instrument, so they headed to the south alcove, where they saw a door.

Mongo boldly opened the door, and the party entered a 20' by 30' room, with a crack in the ceiling at the western end.  Muddy water dripped from this crack, falling onto a large mound of dirt beneath.  The mound had three 6" wide holes in it.  Mongo took his crossbow and fired a quarrel into the mound - five giant centipedes spewed forth.  Gutboy futilely blessed the centipedes, hoping that Nisus would pacify the insects, but it did no good.  The bugs nipped at Mongo, and one bit his ankle through a seam in his armor, injecting him with a painful poison.  Mongo collapsed in agony, as his foot swelled up.

Deciding that magic was needed, Netal used his sleep spell on the centipedes, and they were quickly slain.  Mongo was in no condition to fight, however, as he staggered around on his poisoned foot, vomiting profusely.  The party decided to return to Denethix and try to find a cure for the poison.

The made their way out of the dungeon, and began the long slog back to civilization.  On the way, they heard the howling of wolves - they gathered together and waited for the pack to come, knowing Mongo could never outrun the animals.  The wolves attacked, one savaging the helpless Mongo, but a sleep spell and Gutboy's mace finished the threat off.  Mongo's wounds were easily healed by Gutboy's prayers, but he remained helpless due to the poison.

Once back in Denethix, the party made their way to the Grand Temple, and asked the attendant Mary to get someone to treat Mongo's poisoned ankle.

Mary:  "Ahh, yes, that is a very complicated ritual.  The gods demand a lot before they grant that miracle.  That will be 4,000 gp."
Gutboy (outraged):  "What? Are you kidding?  It's just a spell!"
Mary:  "The incenses, the dancers, it's a very involved ritual.  I'm afraid it's 4,000 gp."
Gutboy:  "Get me Lunexia!"

Mary left briefly, and informed Gutboy his request for an audience had been granted.  He was led back into the sanctuary, where Lunexia sat upon a chair upon the sacrifial platform, wearing nothing but her golden lobster-helm and golden lobster-claws.

Lunexia:  "What is it, Father Gutboy?"
Gutboy:  "I need a neutralize poison for Mongo."
Lunexia:  "Yes, the ritual is expensive.  The cost will be 4,000 gp."
Gutboy:  "It's just a spell!  Between you and me, we can just cast it!"
Lunexia:  "Certainly not.  The gods demand proper obeisance.  You may certainly pray on your own, if you wish, but the proper ritual must be performed."
Gutboy:  "Fine.  Do you know any doctors, then?"
Lunexia:  "Doctors?  Oh yes, at the Academy of Elevated Thought.  They're a scary bunch, but if you wish you may try them."

Frustrated, Gutboy left the temple, with the rest of the party and the piteously moaning Mongo in tow.  As they headed north up the Street of Temples, they heard a metallic voice shout from an identified temple to their left: "GUTBOY!"

Nervous, Gutboy edged towards the door - the voice kept shouting "GUTBOY!".  He looked inside, and saw a 3' wide God's Eye, filled with the image of a golden clockwork man.  Gutboy entered the temple, followed by the limping Mongo and Netal.


Mongo:  "Yes, Nisus is a worm!"

The image of Kiod faded away.  Gutboy hurried back to the temple, and asked Mary for their big book that described all the known gods.  Mary handed the Almanac of Deities to Gutboy, and he looked up Kiod.  He was the god of robots, and a well-regarded deity.  He was known to manifest at sacrifices of robots when the metal men sometimes wandered into the city from the wilderness.

Gutboy (disturbed):  "Mary, you sacrifice robots?  What if they're good robots?"
Mary: "The gods appreciate their sacrifice all the more!"
Gutboy:  "Do you ever sacrifice people?"
Mary:  "Oh, not very often, that's pretty unusual."

The admonitions of this jealous robot god were confusing, so the party decided to return to the original plan of finding a doctor.  They limped off to the Academy, and accosted a student, who brought them to the offices of Dr. Howse.  Howse was a bitter-looking man with a cane, who limped out to inspect Mongo.  He whacked Mongo hard on his basketball-sized ankle.  "What are you bring him to me for?"

Gutboy:  "He has been poisoned!  We need a cure!"
Howse:  "Here's your cure!" (whacking Mongo on the ankle again)  "Now get out!"
Gutboy:  "Wait!  What about the poison?"
Howse:  "Elevate the leg and get some rest for a few days.  Looks like you've been walking for miles on that thing.  Now get out, I've got serious issues to deal with!"

Mongo took Howse's advice, and within a few days he was right as rain.

Next session is Thursday October 13th.