Thursday, December 26, 2013

Playtest Report: Desert of Desolation Prelude

Fencer by Beaver-Skin
Bronan the Barbarian and Jean-Claude the French Canadian Fencer have blown into town in search of adventure and coin.
Town is an oasis in the middle of the shifting sands.
Plenty of Caravans and Merchants
Plenty of crazy tribes too.
Party witnesses tribal dance followed by selection of beautiful girl who is led off crying
Party demands answers from local street vendor
Local street vendor proves surprisingly knowledgeable
Tribals are superstitious and think that Great Thunder Lizard will emerge from deep beneath the sands to wreak havoc and consume the oasis.
Tribals placate Great Thunder Lizard with human sacrifices.
The last sacrifice was an out-of-towner they snatched.
She proved resourceful and escaped (or was eaten, hasn't been seen since)
Tribals have selected a new sacrifice.
Bronan on a quest to save Damsels in Distress
Jean-Claude will not suffer this Lizard Worshipping.

Party ascends watch-tower to look for Obsidian Obelisk where sacrifice will be tied up.
Obelisk is in the bottom of a 20ft valley, must be very tall to not be swallowed by sand.
They have until midnight until the ritual will be complete.
Not wishing to hire a guide and offend locals the pair journey out into the sands.
Despite Jean-Claude's poor survival skills they manage to find the Obelisk
Bronan notices ropes were cut on the obelisk but caused considerable laceration to the escapee.
No signs of a struggle.
Bronan tries to track target.
DM assigns Unearthly Difficulty
Luck with him Bronan manages to find bits of red sand to follow.
Sand mysteriously stops in one area.
Bronan mysteriously plummets downward.
Jean-Claude grabs his hand in time.
Jean-Claude is not very strong.
The Dynamic Duo plummet below the sand.

A bit worse for wear party find themselves on rooftop in underground City.
Sand dunes fill the streets and block most building entrances
Large four story Alabaster Citadel in the center of deserted, forgotten and buried town.
Party avoids walking through sand and hops rooftop to rooftop.
Buildings all made of Marble with high quality craftsmanship
Party takes the direct path which is more dangerous but Bronan avoids falling flat on his face.
Enters second level of Citadel.  Spiral staircase leads to the top with no railing.
After ascending to the Third Level electric blue message can be read on the wall.
Letters appear as party moves upward.
"Those who seek the mystery of the stars should beware----"
Message cuts off.  Party begins to feel tingling and feet and hairs stand on end.
Another Message is traced in glowing blue along the wall.
Alpha 5, 3, 2
Beta 6, 4, 0
Party feels charge building on certain steps
Gets zapped on others
Party comes up with plausible (but incorrect solution) and actually hits every single shock trap along the way despite leaping over many ordinary ones.
Trap solution:  Steps begin counting at 0 go to 6 then reset.  Step 2 and 3 charge step 5 (Alpha shock), steps 0 and 4 charge step 6 (Beta shock).  
DM is a jerk who starts counting at zero.

Electrified party makes it to the top.
Finds altar with Starburst pendant on it and potion of mending
Putting pendant on Jean-Claude has an astral out of body experience.  Time seems slower and feels little to no physical sensation.  (Haste and Painless)
"No thanks!" Party pockets pendant
Looking around party notices dome has holes in the ceiling.
At the right time of night start light could shine through those holes and create a map on the altar.
Party considers options to blow the roof off of forgotten city to let the light in.
Planning disrupted by screaming down below.
Bronan leaps off Citadel to save Damsel in Distress.
Doesn't aim for soft cushiony sand.
Survives 3 story plummet to rooftop below.
Badly Bruised Bronan charges towards the source of the distress bounding across rooftops.
Finds damsel beset by Mummies on all sides
"By the blood of Chrom what witchcraft is this!"

Bronan's Silver Claymore begins hacking up Mummies
With the first Mummies demise the remainder Curse Bronan affecting his Combat rolls
Jacque Frogleaps in to save the cursed Barbarian
Together they fend off the first wave of Mummies but more have rounded the corner
Damsel hops onto Bronan's Shoulders and scampers up to roofs above.
Jacque follows suit.
Bronan the spring board barbarian sheathes his Claymore now swathed in bandages and begins scaling not before a Mummy slams him from behind.
Some broken ribs between them the party limps off in the safety of the rooftops and introduces themselves to Masika (Egyptian "Born during rain" ) the bushy-eyebrowed Water witch.  
Sent on a research mission by a faculty staff that wanted to wash his hands of her
Bronan: "Who would send a water mage into the desert?"
Jacque: "Someone who didn't want her to return"

Party only has a few hours left before the midnight Sacrifice.
Devises plan to use electrified trap from before (Crystals lodged underneath stairs, too bad no player decided to look up.  As an impromptu breaching explosive to the surface.)
One problem.
Water Witch cannot command the elemental fury of Lightning.
Monsieur Frog: "Saddle up, we're going thunder lizard hunting"
Deciphering the script atop the Citadel altar they find the location to summon the Great Thunder Lizard.
Water Witch makes the necessary Incantation 
Great Thunder Lizard decides to show himself to entire party by spraying them with Lightning breath
Parties hair is on end
Water Witch still out of her element can do very little
Jacque scales the Great Thunder Lizards back
Jacque is crushed when Thunder Lizard rolls over
Bronan attacks the exposed belly
Defeated the Great Thunder Lizard forms a pact with the party, all can now wield the element of Lightning.
Jacque downs the potion of mending fixing his broken frame
Water Witch summons forth a large surge of Mana 
Overloads the electrical crystals blasting a hole in the ceiling
Summons Great Thunder Lizard to fly through shrinking hole
Scene ends with Sacrifice Interrupted as floor blows up and Great Thunder Lizard streaks through the sky depositing Party on Surface between captive Desert Princess and Croc Tribe
Storms Brewing

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