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Saturday, July 18, 2009

[Playtest Campaign] Sneers Hold the Rope Bridge!

The stalwart and fairly adaptable (if foolish and decidedly non-tactical) PCs have been exploring and mapping (read as: I have been mapping) Christopher B.'s Underlord of Cold Mountain location, which I have utilised as the Undercity of Qerzyk.

In previous sessions, the Aelbaan that tore the head off of the Xarj Scout once freed from the Stasis Field, took off down a corridor to another Lift Shaft and almost escaped. Delver, the WI Vrun noble (i.e., the thin-blooded Aelbaan) zapped him with a 3d lightning bolt, and the psychic of the party entered the Aelbaan's mind.
Inside, telepathic beings with a vast range (one was in a nearby star system) were wagering as to the KO'd being's chances of making it out of the complex. Wojo, the psychic, made the understandable error of directly contacting one of them, and was quickly possessed after a fumbled Control [Spells] Test. The distant woman began to Tele-relocate, metabolising the psychic's body as her gateway, transforming him into her body. A party member knocked the psychic unconscious, which resulted in a broken link and a rapidly deforming body (gooey-like). Long story short: They bag the Aelbaan, and escort the terribly deformed and wailing compatriot out of the complex, which opened up into an interior marketplace.

Fast forward to the psychic now residing in the body of a comatose mutant (with transparent skin), and the party, and a small army of support personnel (mainly construction workers, small unit repair techs, and troopers) who are working their way through the complex.

The previous week, they fought heat-sink organic-metal reptiloids with d8 Armour and the ability to sap heat to power their metabolisms and healing. The party vanquished the beasts and found curious architectural features in the prison cells of the middle left portion of the map.
Last night, they explored the guard post directly south of the cells, and found the secret door to the 20' bridge over the roaring, icy waters 120' below, which leads to the room designated on the map as the Temple Guard Barracks. The bridge was treacherous, and soon, the party had to devise an alternate rope-scuttle method of traversing.
Whereupon, they quickly ran afoul of a flame-thrower team of Green Sneers. As only a couple of PCs had crossed, they were the ones to detect the Sneers advancing, and two of the three smartly decided to fall back across the bridge before the alchemical Blackfire weapon was used against them. Tybalt, being Tybalt, remained and took fire damage before dropping a series of Darkness pebbles, and then Levitating and holding onto the rock face against the 24 knot headwind whipped-up by the roaring waters below.

The flame-thrower was almost able to reach across, but the spray was blown away by the strong winds and merely kept the party at bay as the ropes of the bridge began to burn and snap (mostly their rigged crossing ropes) as the Sneers' reinforcements arrived from the barracks. Now, Blue Sneers, a full head taller than the greens, arrived and were clearly their NCOs. One fired a 'bazooka' type launcher, the round of which exploded for 4d6, nearly killing the already battered characters on the other side.
Back and forth difficult missile-weapon combat transpired as Tybalt manoeuvred over the entrance and stealthily crawled along the ceiling of the stairs and eventually cast an 'empowered' Sleep spell, catching 2d6 creatures, including the 4FD Blue who fired the tube. Being Tybalt, he grabbed the weapon, and after I asked how he was aiming the device, fired it down the stairs (only 20' distant), nearly killing himself in the process of trying to keep the reinforcing Sneers at bay.

Meanwhile, the trolls from a Troll room (15) came to investigate and ambushed Delver who had dragged-out two unconscious and dying support personnel. Fortunately for him, the Troll missed with one claw and the bite, and only did 1 point to his Dodge Pool on the ambush round, and missed with all three attacks on the second, surprise round. Delver then struck back and damaged the troll's left arm. Other retreating characters (PC and NPC) began to engage the troll, who took off back into his chamber.
Darius crossed over, by hand, and began to grope around in the 20' radius Darkness spell for Tybalt. Ashta followed, but, despite her massive 19 Power [Strength], failed her roll, and plunged the 120' to unconsciousness below the icy river. My drowning rules are pretty cinematic (it takes 5, 6-second rounds to take 1d4-1d4 Critical Damage), and so she was rapidly washed downstream to (Barracks 29).

Tybalt, now at 3 or so DP, hands Darius the Long Range Flight (Overland Flight) potion, and they begin to search for Ashta. --[Mela Mela, has died from the 'bazooka' round damage, but Wojo's new mutations save her at the cost of burning out his Total Healing (scratched-off his sheet).]-- Ashta's Ancient Ancestral genetic memory plays out as the Superstructure Technician enters a ship's superstructure and begins to greet old friends as the steady thrum of the FTL drives pulse through the lengthening ship's hull. She hears a foreign name being called. Someone punches her in the jaw, and she awakens. Ashta comes to as a green, scaly 'gill-man' slaps her to consciousness, and deposits her upon the teardrop-shaped, black river stone beach, as Tybalt and Darius fly about, piercing the darkness with their mediocre 20' radius Light spell. She is flown out first, and then Tybalt, and the party meets up with more of their Grogs, now equipped with flaming longswords as they battle back another troll.

Wojo tried to leave a peace-offering, having been opposed to the bridge-exploration from the beginning. The construction workers, who have a green Sneer on their force, tried to relate the 'Draw' result, but it was only partially understood by the proud and defiant Blue overseers.

We held it more or less there, and I drove Wojo and Ashta/Mela's players back. I asked them if they felt comfortable with me removing the kid gloves, and simply killing their characters outright next time, and received a hesitant, 'yes.'