Other Games, Development, & Campaigns => Design, Development, and Gameplay => Topic started by: jgants on May 14, 2017, 11:17:35 AM

Title: Actual Play - Palladium Fantasy: Warlords of the Wastelands
Post by: jgants on May 14, 2017, 11:17:35 AM
*** Campaign Introduction - Quick Background ***

This thread will be for my latest campaign, a Palladium Fantasy campaign I'm calling "Warlords of the Wastelands".

After my last campaign (Boot Hill) fizzled out, I was a bit discouraged and decided to take a short break. I've also had a lot going on personally and professionally lately. But, I dislike not gaming for too long and had some thoughts on a fantasy campaign for a while.

Our gaming group decided to make a couple of changes. First, we're not inviting one of the players back. As mentioned in the Boot Hill thread, we like the player on a personal level well enough, but his gaming style is just too disruptive for our group because it was too different and always seemed to break any momentum we had going in the games. We were never quite sure what his motive for playing was - half the time he'd avoid danger, the other half he'd be reckless. He seemed to want to play every RPG as a dungeon crawl (which made for rather annoying disruptions for our heavily character/story-driven Boot Hill and Cthulhubusters campaigns), but in the D&D Al-Qadim campaign he went out of his way to avoid going into any dungeons to avoid danger. Mostly, he seemed to thrive on being the group contrarian - never wanting to lead the group but always complaining about whatever direction the group tried to go and generally making an effort to always be doing something different than the rest of the group while avoiding obvious hooks to reconnect him with the group (but then oddly clumsily inserting himself back in when he wanted). He always seemed bored - he never engaged with any story (we aren't even sure he realized there were plots/stories going on in the games), he never seemed to enjoy combat or adventure, and always seemed to be searching for treasure (he'd try to loot bodies in non-fantasy games as if they were D&D goblins or whatever) but other times talked about how pointless the fake money in the games was. I fully admit - I didn't get it at all, but neither did anyone else in the group; we had several side conversations trying to figure out why he seemed to enjoy coming to the games despite not seeming to like anything we did (and then there was the whole "dragging his daughter along" thing, where he claimed she insisted on coming but then she'd sit around bored and spend the whole time on her iPhone or whatever). Anyhow, we all feel a little bad about dropping him by not inviting him back for the new game, but it's probably for the best and I think he suspects anyway.

The other decision was not to invite our Skype player back right away. We really like the guy and he adds a lot of humor to the sessions. At the same time, he's not the best at paying attention to what is going on and needs a little extra effort to keep included (partly because he's gaming over Skype via his phone, and partly because his attention wanders even when playing in person). We'll have him back, but we want to get the new campaign up and running a little first so the other players are comfortable with everything and we have the pacing good first.

The idea for "Warlords of the Wastelands" had been forming for a bit. It had a few different inspirations - it was part Necromunda (from the Warhammer 40K universe), part Dark Sun (from AD&D 2nd edition), part Warhammer Fantasy Battles (1st edition), and part Baalgor Wastelands (from Palladium Fantasy 2nd edition). I wanted a campaign where the PCs start off as low-level heroes or anti-heroes in a city ruled by evil oppression. Knowing my group, I was fairly sure they'd go the anti-hero route.

I gave them three options for a ruleset - we could either use my personal version of D&D (my preferred mix of original D&D, basic D&D, and AD&D rules and setting elements), Magic World (the basic-roleplaying fantasy rules; they were big fans of basic role-playing rules in Cthulhubusters), or Palladium Fantasy. In the end, they went with Palladium Fantasy to try something different - none of them have every played any Palladium rules before (the other two members of the group mentioned above were in my Rifts campaign but the current three were not); Magic World was a close second choice. Ironically, D&D was the rules I originally planned on using and had spent a lot of time prepping for that (which I am still converting).
Title: Actual Play - Palladium Fantasy: Warlords of the Wastelands
Post by: jgants on May 14, 2017, 11:55:20 AM
*** Campaign Introduction - Rules / Campaign Info ***

So, now that the quick background is out of the way, here's the info on the rules. I went back and forth. Originally, my intent was to use the 1st edition Palladium Fantasy rules because on the whole, I like those rules a little better (more streamlined, and I liked to larger variety in hand to hand skills).

However, as I began typing up my quick notes to help the players learn the rules and started working up some of my initial adventure ideas / notes, I quickly came to the conclusion there was just too much I liked about the new material added in the later setting books (not to mention all the material I could use from the other Palladium lines). Also, the PCs have been a bit fragile the last few games and with a slightly smaller group I thought the overall slightly more powerful 2nd edition character rules might be better. So, in the end, I changed my mind and went with the 2nd edition rules.

Unlike my other campaigns, I'm trying not to create my own version of the rules this time. What I have done is come up with a master list of OCCs, skills, magic, psionics, etc. so players knew what supplement material is available when we did character creation. I do have a "player's guide" for the players that walks them through character creation and the basic combat rules, but it is more or less out of the book Palladium (given the differences between Palladium books, there is an old-school D&D-like feel where you are never quite sure you are interpreting the rules correctly so I needed something to make it easier for the players to learn).

For my part, I've started converting my adventure scenario notes over to Palladium rules. The downside of Palladium is that NPCs, monsters, etc. require much longer to write up than my D&D versions and I feel are a bit harder to ensure I have them "correct" (D&D has so many things statted up there is a lot more to compare with).

On the plus side, Palladium (in my opinion) encourages a more character-driven story and less dungeon-crawly approach to gaming, so my plots are shaping up to be more interesting. I also love having the whole Megaverse to draw on (though I am introducing some additional creatures based more on those other games I mentioned as inspiration).

One of my thoughts is how much material from past campaigns may find itself in this new campaign. It's a given I'll want to include some plot and character elements from my (relatively famous) Rifts campaign of a decade ago. I'm also planning to re-use some concepts that got started in the D&D 4e Shadows Over Fallcrest campaign as well as the AD&D Al-Qadim campaign.

I'm still at the early planning stages where I come up with discrete story plot concepts and start fleshing them out. Later on I'll start to weave together the spider web of tangled plots that I've become known for.

One thing I decided early on - the last few campaigns I've purposely tried to limit myself to make the plots less convoluted. This time, I'm not going to do that. I enjoy making Byzantine plots that are far too complicated for the PCs to fully follow, full of conspiracies, counter conspiracies, and dark cults. If the campaign develops towards my more classic style (as in Rifts and D&D 4e), so be it.

Similarly, the players have decided they want to return to full anti-hero mode. After spending the last few campaigns trying (and failing) to be more heroic, they are ready to go back to being selfish and evil bastards.

The campaign itself will begin in the Baalgor Wastelands. In my version, the PCs will be escaped slaves living in a small community of tunnels of the old Dwarven kingdoms of the mountains, underneath the city of giants, Gurthasi Tor. Here is the setting info I provided the players so far:

*** Campaign Setting Info ***
The campaign begins in the eastern mountain region of the Baalgor Wastelands, in the city of the giants known as Gurthasi Tor.

The lowest levels of the city are known as “the mound”, where the slave races live. These areas are primitive rock caves and resemble termite mounds.

Below the mound is a network of old dwarven kingdom tunnels known as the Undermound. Many escaped slaves and would-be adventurers travel here to make their fame and fortune. Rumors of the lost treasures of the dwarven lords still persist and dare anyone to brave the dangers to claim them.

Various smaller settlements exist in the Undermound. The existence of them are not entirely unknown by the giants, who by and large consider them too insignificant of a problem to deal with as long as they do not pose any threat.

High profile escaped slaves are hunted down by the slavers. The Undermound communities largely exist by the grace of the slavers, who demand heavy bribes and cooperation in exchange for letting the communities survive.

A set of laws has been put in place to ensure the communities do not pose a threat.
* No gods but the giants themselves may be worshipped.
* No use of magic is allowed.
* No mutants or those with mental powers are allowed.
* The community must cooperate with the slavers at all times.
* No community may be larger than 500 people.
* Trade of goods between communities is authorized solely to members of the trade guild (known as the guilders).
* An attack on a slaver, guilder, or other authorized servant of the giants is strictly prohibited.

Those settlements who fail to abide by these laws are swiftly destroyed by the orc soldiers of the giants.

The settlement where the campaign begins is known as Beartooth. Around 400 people total live in the town and surrounding underground region.

The unofficial magistrate of Beartooth is a retired human bard named Caleshomo. Caleshomo is said to have come to the town after journeying for some time with a band of warriors known for their heavy metal armament of plate mail armor and two-handed swords, known as the Sons of Disaster. He now owns the Inn of the Red Bull, the only inn in town.

Beartooth is home to many men at arms, typically mercenary fighters and thieves, along with the odd assassin. Law and order is kept under control by a dwarf named Taybury and his small force of town guard.

The local thieves’ guild is controlled by a goblin named Materich. Materich gets a small percentage from most of the businesses in town, including the Inn of the Red Bull. He has a small gang of a dozen or so members made up of goblins, hob-goblins, and orcs.

Magic is strictly outlawed by the giants, and to keep the peace with the slavers, most of the Undermound communities (including Beartooth) outlaw it as well. Men of magic in the Undermound have formed a secret guild known as the Scarlet Alliance.

Like most settlements in the Undermound, open religion is not practiced in Beartooth as the Giants want to be worshipped as gods by the smaller races. There is a hidden shrine to the Gods of Light, notably a local deity named Karreng, a god of gold, smiths, and minstrels. The shrine is maintained by the village priestess, Fleria.

The local trade guild representative is a kobold named Jongores. Jongores is a crafty man known for inspiring competition among the craft guild gangs, whether friendly or otherwise, to get the best production he can from them. Like most guilders, his underground caravan uses a small force of armed guards.

The usual slaver who comes through town is an ogre named Thrinton. The official legal representative of the giants for this area is a troll named Lucina. She rarely ventures into Beartooth unless there is dangerous criminal activity (leaving escaped slaves and minor crimes for Thrinton and Taybury to deal with).

*** Notes on Setting Info ***
Gurthasi Tor comes from the Baalgor Wastelands book by Bill Coffin, but the mound/undermound thing, and the guilders, is more or less taken conceptually from Warhammer 40K's Necromunda and the magic and religion ban (along with the secret magic guild alliance) is more of a Dark Sun inspired concept. I came up with the laws to try and explain how/why the giants would allow such settlements to exist.

The note about mutants is another change I'm making to the setting - in my version of the Baalgor Wastelands, the great cataclysm that turned the area into a desert also caused a lot of magical mutations.  I'll be using Necromunda, Dark Sun, and the X-Men comics as inspiration for that, along with some of the rules from Palladium's supers game, Heroes Unlimited.

Beartooth is named after the hard rock band, as are the Sons of Disaster, and the god Karreng is a reference to the heavy metal magazine.
Title: Actual Play - Palladium Fantasy: Warlords of the Wastelands
Post by: jgants on May 14, 2017, 12:10:46 PM
*** Campaign Introduction - The Characters ***

A little over a week ago, I met with the three players to have a character creation session. If we would have had time, we would have also started the campaign, but it took pretty much the whole time to create characters as the players really liked to look through all the options before selecting things. We'll hopefully begin the campaign in earnest this coming Friday.

The first player is the guy who played Father Mulroney in the original Cthulhubusters game (he was also Mitka and Tiberius Enchilada in the D&D 4e Shadows Over Fallcrest campaign, Wreck Deckard in the Traveller 2300 AD campaign, Boo Le Doux and Frank Callahan in the Cthulhubusters Crescent City campaign, and Squantum in the Boot Hill Quebrada Cruz campaign). Taking inspiration from his own favorite past campaign, he created "The Great Mulroney", a miscreant changeling witch who is masquerading as a prestidigitator. He is the servant of a Deevil prince, and his greater familiar is named "Shoes". He envisions the character as some sort of reincarnation of Father Mulroney who believes he is human with a magical ability to shape-change. Of the three characters, he's actually the weakest at the moment.

The second player is the guy who started playing with us last campaign as Hennessy in Boot Hill. He went with an anarchist coyle thief named Tickles. In addition to being a thief, he has minor psionic powers.

The third player is the guy who played One-Eyed Earl in Boot Hill (he was also Silas Ballard and Sa'lid Dra'lah in Shadows Over Fallcrest, Chrysostomos in D&D Bronze Age, Shoes/Gem/Yulian in Cthulhubusters, Jean Danielou/Schlomo in Traveller, Gra'bir in Al-Qadim, and Eberhardt in Crescent City). He decided to go with a 10-year old human girl who is also secretly an aberrant assassin, named The Deadly Snow (I believe he said this comes from an anime inspiration). Because Tickles also had hand-to-hand assassin we decided she was an orphan girl raised and trained by Tickles. She is a complete bad-ass - a major psionic with tons of physical skills that make her extremely deadly in combat; easily the coolest starting character anyone in the group has had.
Title: Session 01: Beartooth
Post by: jgants on May 28, 2017, 01:12:34 PM
*** Session 01 - Cast of Characters ***

Tickles: An anarchist coyle thief. He raised the orphan Yukiko from a baby to work as a hard killer.

The Great Mulroney: A changeling witch who believes he is human and masquerades as a prestidigitator.

Yukiko Amagi (aka The Deadly Snow): An aberrant young human girl trained as a secret assassin. She considers Tickles to be her father.
Title: Actual Play - Palladium Fantasy: Warlords of the Wastelands
Post by: jgants on May 28, 2017, 01:14:15 PM
*** Session 01 - Scene 1 (of 11) ***

The Great Mulroney was an evil man, or more accurately an evil changeling (though he does not fully understand his heritage and believes himself to be a man). After enduring the hardships of the Undermound for a brief time, he found a way to sell his soul to a devil prince named Glebecar. In return for his devotion, Glebecar granted Mulroney a gift of magic power along with a devil familiar, a cat Mulroney calls “Shoes”.

This night, Mulroney was attending a meeting with his fellow witches in the Undermound who also worship Glebecar. They were there to induct Thomasin, a young woman who recently murdered her entire family to show her devotion to the dark lord. As part of the ceremony, she was granted her own familiar, a goat she calls “Black Phillip”.

As the ceremony ends, Mulroney passes by the other members of the coven. One is a standoffish woman named Alice with her familiar, a cat named “Vinegar Tom”. Mulroney does not bother to attempt to speak to her as she has made it clear in the past she wants nothing to do with any men.

There is also an old, half-demented woman named Janet. She attends with her daughter, a woman named Jenny who is a mutant with deformed hands and feet. As the old woman is senile, and the daughter too repulsive, Mulroney avoids them as well.

Finally, there is the pirate named Captain Spaulding and his nephew, Otis “Driftwood”. Mulroney has spoken with them a few times in the past; Spaulding has a small pirate ship out in Ruggsville Cove, near the larger pirate den of Scarbone’s Hollow. When they are inland, Spaulding and Otis pose as travelling performers so they can abduct, defile, and murder young maidens (and not always in that order, as they are death fetishists).

Spaulding moves over to Mulroney, clearly wanting to talk about something. Mulroney decides to oblige him. After exchanging greetings and their mutual desire to have their way with young Thomasin, Spaulding asks him if he knows any assassins in the area.

Mulroney says he’s heard of a new one in town but hasn’t met her yet. He offers he could look into it. Spaulding mentions there is some trouble that needs dealt with, saying it is “clown business”. Mulroney recalls that as part of Spaulding’s cover, he is a member in good standing of the Guild of Kleintro, the clown guild (much in the same way that Mulroney himself is a member of the stage magician’s guild as part of his cover as a prestidigitator).

Spaulding explains there is a group clowning without being members of the guild, which the guild doesn’t like. Mulroney says it doesn’t sound like a very humorous situation. Spaulding says the whole thing is becoming a real pain in the ass, and they can’t have a bunch of renegade clowns running around out there.

Mulroney asks what to do about it. Spaulding says that’s why he wanted an assassin, so someone could take care of it. Mulroney suggests he could find a local one, for a small finder’s fee. Mulroney, not familiar with the going rate for assassinations, quotes Spaulding a price of 100 gold for the job and 10% of it for himself.

Spaulding tells him to go ahead and make contact. He tells Mulroney that his other nephew, Tiny, can meet him at the usual place in a couple of days’ time (Mulroney knows the other nephew is a 7’6 tall deformed, mute mutant who isn’t a member of the coven but is loyal to his family). He agrees to the meet then decides to head back towards Beartooth.

Once they are alone, Shoes speaks to him. Shoes tells him their dark lord has requested another meeting for him. Mulroney finds the creature’s voice disconcerting as always and agrees to follow him to the meeting that Glebecar has commanded him to attend.

They walk a short distance to a nearby cave. Inside is a devilkin, who Mulroney greets but as a servant. The devilkin responds in kind, giving his name as Enilefil. Mulroney insists on calling him “Little Effil” to mock him.

After attempting to correct Mulroney, Enilefil continues to discuss the wine shop in Beartooth, the Drunken Cyclops. Mulroney offers he is familiar with it. Enilefil explains the owner, the man named Mathias, is secretly a wizard and head of the local Scarlet Alliance. Furthermore, his shop clerk, the young woman named Lorna, is his secret apprentice.

Mulroney isn’t sure what use this information is for. Enilefil tells him that Glebecar wants him to know that something has happened to Lorna; he won’t tell Mulroney what has happened as he shouldn’t appear to know too much. The devilkin says the important thing is that whatever has happened will cause something to happen in a few days’ time and that Mulroney should take the opportunity to insert himself into the situation when it does.

The witch is having a hard time following, but Enilefil insists he will understand better once the thing comes up. Enilefil explains as part of his involvement, he may come across a spirit. The devilkin suggests if that happens, he should try and get as much information as he can out of the entity without revealing his true intentions.

Confused, Mulroney asks what kind of information he should be asking about but says it won’t be hard to conceal his intentions as he can’t follow what the devil is trying to tell him and what he’s being told is almost meaningless. Enilefil says it is better for him not to know so that events can unfold naturally and he won’t need to fake not knowing.

The two banter back and forth for a minute but the devilkin ultimately tells him the important thing is just to listen. Mulroney tries asking for a tribute, but Enilefil suggests he should be the one offering the tribute. He then tells the witch he had better follow the dark lord’s instructions, as it would not do to make him angry.

Telling Mulroney he will follow up with him later if needed, Enilefil retreats back into the shadows of the cave and disappears. Mulroney decides to continue back to Beartooth, planning to stop at the Inn of the Red Bull to grab a drink and find out more information on that assassin he heard about.
Title: Actual Play - Palladium Fantasy: Warlords of the Wastelands
Post by: jgants on May 28, 2017, 01:15:28 PM
*** Session 01 - Scene 2 (of 11) ***

Over at the Thieves’ Guild, Tickles is attending a guild meeting with his fellow thieves. Materich is complaining about falling revenue for the guild based on competition from a couple of nearby competing guilds.

The first is a new group of goblins and hob-goblins operating out of the old Temple of Rodemus. That group has been causing a lot of trouble lately with raids on travelers and caravans and may need to be dealt with soon.

The second is a larger, more powerful group known only as the Thieves of Harr-Ki who have been extorting local businesses. According to Materich, he wants to avoid open conflict at the moment with this group, as they are said to have a large fortress guarded by demons and double as a cult to some strange avian humanoid warrior deity known as Harr-Ki.

Materich does say he has heard there is some strange artifact the Thieves of Harr-Ki are scared of. He doesn’t know what the object is, but encourages his gang to keep their ears open for anything they might hear about that.

Finally, Materich mentions there is a crimelord named Khruul in the area, from the nearby community of Saigo, who he has granted safe passage in the area. Materich tells the thieves to stay out of the way of the orc and his men, saying Khruul has a legendary temper and is said to have killed his own sister last year in some family dispute.

Tickles takes a moment to think on the ruins of Rodemus. It is a day or so journey away, so it would not be easy to case out ahead of time. He knows it was originally established as a temple to the warrior goddess Rurga by a man calling himself Lord Rodem many years ago. It was abandoned long ago, after Lord Rodem was killed in battle and his family and servants mysteriously disappeared; some say they fell to a dark curse of some kind. Since then, the ruins of Rodemus have been avoided by most humanoids, despite persistent rumors that the lost treasure of the Rodem family still lies there waiting to be discovered. Most recently, a force of goblins and hob-goblins have established their base of operations there.

Deciding to get some food, Tickles heads over to the Inn of the Red Bull.
Title: Actual Play - Palladium Fantasy: Warlords of the Wastelands
Post by: jgants on May 28, 2017, 01:16:00 PM
*** Session 01 - Scene 3 (of 11) ***

The Deadly Snow arrives at her secret assassin’s roost to find she already has a carrier pigeon waiting with a message. Taking the tiny scroll off the bird’s leg, she sees it is from an unknown sender inviting her to meet them in the alley behind the nearby trading post to discuss a job.

The meeting is set to occur soon, so Deadly Snow heads out to see what this is all about. Rather than head in directly, she decides to sneak there in the shadows and observe who is there.

Climbing up on the roof of one of the buildings, she carefully observes there is an orc standing in the alley. However, she also spots a couple of other orcs hiding nearby the alley, armed with clubs.

Deadly Snow quietly sneaks over above one of the hidden orcs and drops down. She immediately attacks him with her cat of nine tails, whipping him like a little bitch. She tries for a second hit, but the orc parries that attack with her club. He strikes her back with his club, but she rolls with the impact and minimizes the damage.

The other orc emerges from his hidden vantage point to assist while the orc standing in the alley just watches. Deadly Snow drops her whip and draws her daggers as both orcs miss with their clubs. She slashes at the orc in front of her, cutting him down quickly. He collapses to one knee.

The remaining orc slams her with another strike of his club. This time she takes the full brunt of the hit.

She lashes back out with her daggers, the orc parries one with his club but is cut by the other. In his haste to counterattack, he misses.

They repeat the dance again, with Deadly Snow slashing the orc with another dagger strike. After the orc fails to hit, she slashes him with both blades, one striking deeply.

As the second orc collapses, bleeding, the orc standing in the alley steps over and tells Deadly Snow, “That is enough.”

The orc laughs, telling the other two they are pathetic for being beat by a little girl. He greets the assassin by name, saying she has proved her mettle. He gives his name as Thahn.

Thahn explains he works for a local merchant who has been robbed recently by a mysterious man using a strange style of unarmed combat. He tells her he wants the man captured alive and brought to him to deal with. Thahn says they know only that the man wears a hood and left behind a strange sign. He shows her a symbol containing two lines – one above the other; the higher line has a bump in the middle.

The orc says he knows it will take her some time to find this man. Thahn doesn’t want to give out any more information about the robbery, saying the merchant wishes to keep it a private matter. He offers her pay in the amount of 2,000 gold to bring the man back to them.

Deadly Snow, never saying a word, holds out her hand and shakes on the deal. Thahn gives her a location to send him a note when she finds the mysterious man, then he and his companions head on their way.

The young assassin decides to head over to the Inn of the Red Bull to look for Tickles after changing into the clothes she wears in her normal Yukiko identity.
Title: Actual Play - Palladium Fantasy: Warlords of the Wastelands
Post by: jgants on May 28, 2017, 01:16:46 PM
*** Session 01 - Scene 4 (of 11) ***

Over at the Inn of the Red Bull, the Great Mulroney spots a coyle thief enter. He knows the man is the one rumored to have a human ward he’s raised as an assassin.

Mulroney heads over and greets the man, calling him “Mister Fox”. Tickles asks what he can do for him. Mulroney offers to buy him a drink of dragon ale, which he agrees to.

Ordering a drink for each of them, Mulroney is surprised when the thief takes both for himself. He then tries to use what he supposes is a clever code, saying “I hear the snow has fallen.”

Tickles, unimpressed, simply says “has it now?” Mulroney claims it has, and could be a “lucrative falling”. Tickles asks how lucrative.

Mulroney explains he’ll pay 70 gold to take care of a couple of clowns. Tickles notes that doesn’t sound too risky. Mulroney claims it is essentially “free money” and all he has to do is rough up a couple of clowns. Tickles asks for clarification, and Mulroney explains it would be the kind of roughing-up that they wouldn’t walk away from.

Tickles is skeptical, feeling an assassin is overkill for such a light job. Mulroney says he wants to pay for quality, but Tickles notes he’ll need to quadruple his price then as he’s underestimating the cost of what he’s trying to purchase.

Mulroney says his employer wants to see some results first, noting there will always be more clowns to take care of later. He promises Tickles it could be a steady track of work for him should things work out.

Tickles says he’ll put Mulroney in contact with the assassin he knows for a small “finder’s fee” of 10 gold. He says he’ll have her meet Mulroney at a neutral location. The witch says the neutral location can be the table in the back of the room.

After ordering Tickles a couple more drinks and tipping the bartender, Mulroney heads to the back corner.
Title: Actual Play - Palladium Fantasy: Warlords of the Wastelands
Post by: jgants on May 28, 2017, 01:17:24 PM
*** Session 01 - Scene 5 (of 11) ***

Not long after, a little human girl enters the inn and skips over to the thief. She greets him by name. He pushes her a drink, greeting her as Yukiko. She reminds him she doesn’t drink those kind of drinks.

Yukiko happily tells Tickles how she made a new friend today. He asks what kind of friend. She says it is one she can play with. Tickles asks if the friend is still alive, she indicates he is for now.

Tickles then says he may have found her another new friend as well. She asks what the job is. He says it involves roughing up a couple of clowns, but admits it doesn’t pay much but doesn’t sound too difficult.

Yukiko asks what kind of clowns they are. Tickles says they are the scary kind, unlicensed clowns. She notes all kinds of clowns are scary, reminding him about the one they hired to perform at her birthday a couple of years ago.

She asks how much it pays. He tells her seventy, but says there is a promise of more. Yukiko chuckles a bit, telling Tickles this is why she doesn’t let him handle the money.

Tickles says she doesn’t actually have to do it, he’s just delivering the message. But Yukiko tells him he knows she’ll do it for him, looking up at him with daughterly love.

She asks about the location of the clowns, but he says he doesn’t have any of the details yet; he just arranged a meet with the person doing the hiring.

Yukiko wants to change back into her Deadly Snow outfit before meeting the contact. Tickles points him out in the back of the room, saying she should sneak up on the man to impress him.

She gives Tickles a peck on the cheek, then loudly says she’ll see him at home and skips out of the inn.
Title: Actual Play - Palladium Fantasy: Warlords of the Wastelands
Post by: jgants on May 28, 2017, 01:18:28 PM
*** Session 01 - Scene 6 (of 11) ***

A short while later, Deadly Snow shows back up at the inn in her full outfit. She sneaks in the back door and tries to sneak up on Mulroney, but he catches sight of her.

Mulroney greets her and mocks her by saying her stealthy talents are most impressive and he can tell his money will be put to good use. He asks her to take a seat. She does so, silently.

Since she doesn’t speak, Mulroney does all the talking. He tells her he expects her employer has already given her the basics, saying there are a couple of clowns he needs her to rough up.

Deadly Snow pulls out a map of the area and indicates for Mulroney to point to where the clowns are. He says he doesn’t know where they are yet, he’s just trying to get a commitment for his employer. He says he can get her paid up front, but if she doesn’t get the job done they’ll be sending more than clowns after her.

The girl holds out her hand, and they shake on the deal. Mulroney says he understands she is one of the best. She nods, subtly. He tells her he hopes her skills at killing are better than her skills at sneaking up on an old man. Deadly Snow decides to let the barb slide.

Mulroney offers to let the girl pet his cat. She abstains. He tells the girl to meet him back here the next night. She nods, and walks out.

Tickles saunters over to Mulroney as the man tries to leave the inn. He asks for his finder’s fee, but Mulroney says he doesn’t have the fee as he needs to get the money from his employer first. Tickles insists Mulroney pay him out of his own pocket first, but the man pleads poverty.

The thief considers attacking the man, but thinks better of it. He settles for angrily flipping over a nearby table and walking out.

As he goes to leave, a local citizen runs in to tell everyone about the big news – the goblins from the ruins of Rodemus have attacked again. Using his keen hearing to hear from out in the street, Tickles hears the man explain a half dozen pilgrims were captured by the goblins this time.

Murmurs of anger and fear spread throughout the inn. Caleshomo begs the crowd to quiet. He then offers a reward of 50 gold per citizen saved from the goblins, or 500 total if all six are brought back alive.
Title: Actual Play - Palladium Fantasy: Warlords of the Wastelands
Post by: jgants on May 28, 2017, 01:19:49 PM
*** Session 01 - Scene 7 (of 11) ***

The Great Mulroney decides to make the trek out to the remote shack where Captain Spaulding is staying. He finds the captain’s nephew, Otis, outside. Otis is dismayed to see Mulroney and asks what he wants now.

Mulroney tells him he’s there to see Spaulding. Otis says he’s inside with one of his whores. According to Otis he’s been in there five minutes so he should be done soon.

Waiting around, Mulroney offers a game of cards but Otis refuses, saying he’s not playing cards with a crooked old bastard like him. Mulroney tells Otis he’s smarter than he looks.

Mulroney asks how business is. Otis asks what he cares, and tells him to sit tight. He points out Mulroney was supposed to wait to deliver his message to Tiny, but Mulroney says he got his confirmation quicker than he thought, saying he’s efficient like that.

Around this time, Spaulding emerges from the shack in his undergarments, yelling about all the racket going on out there. Mulroney asks if he has any clothes to put on. Spaulding responds all he has are the clothes Mulroney’s mother left there last night.

After exchanging barbs, Mulroney tells him he got confirmation on an assassin for him but he needs the money up front. After complaining for a minute, Spaulding tells Otis to give him the money.

Along with the fee of 100 gold, Spaulding points out to Mulroney where the clowns have been active lately on a map – showing them near the area of Rikki.

Mulroney asks about distinguishing characteristics, noting there are a lot of clowns around and he wouldn’t want to target the wrong ones. Spaulding says they are strange clowns. When Mulroney tries to say all clowns are strange, Spaulding clarifies they are elves, which is odd given there are usually no elves at all in the wastelands.

Sensing this could mean the clowns are tied to something larger and this is less of a run-of-the-mill job than he originally thought, Mulroney points out he didn’t mention that before. He tells Spaulding the price will likely go up.

Spaulding doesn’t want to pay more money out of his own pocket, so he says he’ll need to go back to the guild to see if they’ll pony up more money. Mulroney wants 20 gold now for his finder’s fee. Spaulding says he’ll give him the money once he delivers the dead clowns, saying he can’t have renegade clowns out there clowning around.

Mulroney argues with Spaulding he didn’t say he wanted them dead before and the cost would be higher. He accuses Spaulding of trying to get a free ride and warning him to remember who he’s dealing with.

Spaulding, in turn, reminds Mulroney who he’s dealing with. When Mulroney points out he’s dealing with a clown, Spaulding menacingly asks him, “Don’t you like clowns? Don’t we make you laugh? Aren’t we fucking funny?”

Mulroney tells him his offer is funny and the assassin won’t take kindly to it, saying he doesn’t want the assassin after him. Spaulding says he should be more worried about his clan being after him reminding him the family aren’t just clowns (as they are also pirates and witches). He threatens to have Otis carve him up and turn him into “fish boy”.

In the end, Spaulding has Otis throw 10 gold on the ground for Mulroney’s finder’s fee. He tells him to get the hell out of there and he’ll let him know if the guild comes up with more money for the clowns.

Mulroney takes the money, makes a bad pun regarding his cat, then heads back to Beartooth.
Title: Actual Play - Palladium Fantasy: Warlords of the Wastelands
Post by: jgants on May 28, 2017, 01:20:43 PM
*** Session 01 - Scene 8 (of 11) ***

Back in Beartooth, the Great Mulroney makes his way to the Drunken Cyclops. When he goes inside, he is greeted by the wine shop owner, Mathias.

Mathias greets Mulroney, knowing him as the local stage magician. Mulroney asks him how business is. Mathias describes it as “steady”.

Fishing around for possibilities, Mulroney says he heard something about a “wine embargo”. Mathias has no idea what he is talking about, though says they have lost some goods from raids by those goblins from Rodemus.

At the mention of the goblins, Mulroney points out the recent news about the pilgrims being kidnapped. Mathias says he heard that as well, saying it is nasty business. They discuss the reward, but Mulroney says he is not the hero type and Mathias says he should probably keep to the shop.

Mathias does, however, mention the stories of the lost treasures of the Rodem family and speculates they may still be out at Rodemus. Mulroney asks what kind of treasure it might be. Mathias speculates there is probably a large monetary treasure and possibly some magical artifacts related to the goddess Rurga, whom the temple was built for.

Mulroney shows a little interest in the treasure, but repeats the hero business isn’t for him. He then pivots the conversation to ask about Mathias’ clerk, Lorna.

Mathias says she hasn’t been around for a few days, but assumes she’ll turn up soon enough. Mulroney tells him to let him know if there is anything he can do to help.

Confused, as Mulroney appears to be leaving without buying anything, Mathias asks if Lorna is related to why he stopped by. Mulroney gives the excuse he wanted to see if Mathias heard about the wine embargo but says apparently he got bad information.

They then exchange goodbyes and Mulroney leaves. Outside, the witch wonders how Lorna’s disappearance relates to what Enilefil was hinting at about something coming up in a few days that he’ll need to involve himself in. He decides to head back to the Inn of the Red Bull to wait for the “fox man” (Tickles) to return.
Title: Actual Play - Palladium Fantasy: Warlords of the Wastelands
Post by: jgants on May 28, 2017, 01:22:07 PM
*** Session 01 - Scene 9 (of 11) ***

Back at his home, Tickles tells Yukiko he has a better job for them than “greasing a couple of clowns”. She asks what it is. He explains some citizens have been kidnapped by the goblins out at Rodemus and there is a reward offered for their safe return.

Tickles feels it is a chance for Deadly Snow to kill some goblins and them to make a lot of money. Yukiko asks about the number of goblins, but Tickles isn’t sure. She tells him she still has some research to do on her other job, but after that would be free to head out to Rodemus.

Thinking it over, Tickles says they may need to recruit a little help. Yukiko says splitting money isn’t really her style, but agrees to help. Tickles also notes they may also recover the lost treasure of the Rodem family in the process.

He asks her what she is researching. She says it is a symbol she is looking for more information on. Leaving her to her task, Tickles decides to head back to the Inn of the Red Bull to get that dinner he never quite got around to eating last time he was there as well as see if there is anyone to recruit to help.

As soon as he steps inside the door of the inn, Mulroney spots him and rushes over to greet him. Tickles is less than thrilled the man is still at the inn. He warms up a bit when Mulroney tells him he has his finder’s fee.

Mulroney invites him over to his table and lays five gold out on the table. Tickles reminds him that wasn’t the agreed amount. Mulroney says the job still needs to be done but that his employer has had some “scope change” that will require higher fees so they are paying half of the finder’s fee now and half later.

The witch insists the money is a sign of respect for Tickles and his protégé. Tickles isn’t buying it.

Mulroney then tells him he has a more profitable venture in mind for the meantime while they wait for the new fee to be decided by his employer. While he’s trying to talk Tickles into it, the thief tries to pick the man’s pockets but fails miserably.

Noticing the attempt, Mulroney sardonically asks if Tickles is also a member of the clown’s guild saying his attempt was pretty funny. Tickles claims he was confused as he’s had too many drinks.

Letting the matter drop, Mulroney turns attention back to the citizens kidnapped by the goblins. He tells Tickles they could get 250 gold if they bring them back alive, though “corrects” himself when Tickles points out he also heard about the reward and it was 500.

Continuing, Mulroney also explains the location could hold other items of value. Tickles asks what the proposition is. Mulroney says the two of them, along with Deadly Snow, could easily handle this and make out with all that money.

Tickles asks how many goblins there are. Mulroney claims with great confidence that there are only eight to ten goblins there.

When Tickles asks what Mulroney will do for his part of the money, since he’s just an entertainer. Mulroney counters that Tickles and Deadly Snow are entertainers themselves, and mocks their attempts at stealth and pickpocketing against him. Tickles explains it as Mulroney seeing only 20% of their usual skill as he’s only offered 20% of their usual fees.

Mulroney goes on to say his illusionary magic tricks can be quite powerful, though insists they are only tricks. Tickles isn’t so sure, asking if they are strictly legal. Mulroney says of course they are, as he is an honest man. Tickles figures if Mulroney’s magical abilities are as legal as the man is honest, they will be in good shape.

As Tickles finally eats his dinner, they discuss leaving for Rodemus later that evening before anyone else heads out looking for the treasure. Tickles tells Mulroney to wait there while he goes to get Deadly Snow. He even pays for a meal for the man.

When Tickles leaves, Mulroney has Shoes follow him. The cat keeps to the shadows, avoiding Tickles’ gaze.
Title: Actual Play - Palladium Fantasy: Warlords of the Wastelands
Post by: jgants on May 28, 2017, 01:23:08 PM
*** Session 01 - Scene 10 (of 11) ***

Yukiko takes the symbol to the local sage, a man named Dietrich. She tells the old man she believes it is some kind of family crest, saying it was the only thing her real parents left her.

Dietrich, however, identifies it as an astrological symbol. Hauling out a copy of Cormath’s charts, he shows the match to Yukiko and explains it represents the constellation of the “azure dragon”, representing the east and spring season.

The old man rambles on about astrology for several minutes, talking about the alignments of planets and stars. Yukiko asks if he can tell her fortune from the stars, but Dietrich says he is only a scholar with knowledge of the theory and concepts of astrology – he lacks the ability to perform the science himself.

Yukiko asks if he knows any astrologists in the area, but the old man does not. Nor has Dietrich seen the symbol around in the area. He speculates perhaps her family was born under the sign or something. She pays him a small fee and heads back home.

She arrives around the same time as Tickles does coming back from the inn. He tells her he believes he found them a partner for their journey to Rodemus. She asks about the clowns, but he says it is on hold because they weren’t paying enough so she shouldn’t kill any clowns right now. She agrees.

He asks if she learned anything about her other friend. Yukiko explains she just learned some astrology stuff, but nothing useful yet. Tickles suggests if that isn’t heading anywhere they should focus on the Rodemus job first.

Explaining there are only eight to ten goblins, it should be easy for the three of them. The girl asks who the third man is. Tickles explains it is the same man who wanted to hire her to murder clowns.

She says that man sounds like a liability. Tickles suggests the man has certain powers, though warns they shouldn’t trust him. He also points out if they do the job and the man doesn’t pull his own weight, they can always take care of him when they get back.

Given her armor was damaged in the fight with the orcs earlier, Deadly Snow heads over to the armorer to trade in her armor for a new set.

They then meet up with Mulroney at the Inn of the Red Bull. Before they head out, Deadly Snow has Mulroney help bandage up her bruises from earlier and they stop over at the general store for a lantern and some torches as only Tickles can see in the dark once they get outside of town.
Title: Actual Play - Palladium Fantasy: Warlords of the Wastelands
Post by: jgants on May 28, 2017, 01:24:04 PM
*** Session 01 - Scene 11 (of 11) ***

Using his navigation skills, the Great Mulroney leads the group while carrying his lantern. He locates a path that will take them straight to the ruins.

About twelve hours into their journey, Shoes alerts Mulroney telepathically that the familiar has spotted something up ahead. The voice in his head says, “orcs” and identifies there are five of them.

Since the orcs have obviously already seen the lantern from far away, and appear to be heading their direction, Mulroney mentally commands Shoes to cast a fear spell on the creatures.

The devil familiar does so. The leader of the orcs along with two of his men run off in sheer terror – believing the light ahead must be a ghost. His second in command, wearing heavy chain mail armor and carrying a battle axe, and one of the other orcs (in leather and wielding a club) rush in to attack.

Tickles moves off to the side to keep the focus of the orcs on Mulroney as he prepares his grappling hook. Deadly Snow draws her daggers and throws them at the lighter-armored orc, hitting him twice. The cuts appear to cause minor wounds on the warrior but don’t slow him down too much.

The Great Mulroney casts an energy bolt, blasting the wounded orc. The blast, however, only scores a glancing blow against the orc.

For his part, Shoes also casts an energy bolt from behind the orcs after they run past him. The orc is badly injured by this point.

Tickles swings his grappling hook out to try and entangle the battle axe of the larger orc, but misses. The orc turns his attention towards the thief, advancing on him.

Deadly Snow, morning star at the ready, swings out at the other orc. The blow hits square in the orc’s armor, barely scraping against it.

The orc ignores the ineffectual young girl and swings at Mulroney, but Deadly Snow’s attack causes him to miss. Mulroney has Shoes cast another energy bolt into the creature’s back, killing it. The witch himself draws his long sword to deal with the other orcs.

Tickles tries another attempt to grapple the orc’s axe, but he shakes it off. He responds by hacking into the thief’s armor with his axe. Deadly Snow moves over to assist, as does Mulroney.

Making an odd tactical choice, Deadly Snow drops her morning star and decides to try and grapple the orc. He pushes her off.

Mulroney hacks at the orc with his sword, but he parries the attack with his axe. Tickles drops his grappling hook and draws his war hammer.

Unfortunately, before Tickles gets a chance to parry the attack, the orc hits him with a brutal strike with his axe. Cutting through his armor and down to the bone in his shoulder, Tickles drops to the ground in pain as his blood drips out.

Deadly Snow responds by trying to tackle the orc. Once again, he shoves her out of the way and she falls to the ground as well.

The Great Mulroney finds himself standing alone next to the large, unwounded orc with his battle axe looming over him. He has Shoes cast a fire bolt at the orc, injuring the orc. Mulroney himself swings his sword, hitting the orc around his thick armor and causing further injury.

The orc swings his axe at Mulroney. The witch manages to parry the first attack, but fails to block the second. It hits the man outside of his armor, lacerating his arm.

Pressing the attack, the orc cuts into Mulroney’s leg with his blade. Mulroney makes an ineffectual counter-attack with his sword which is parried, but Shoes does hit the creature with an energy bolt.

From the ground, Deadly Snow attempts to make a telekinetic kick at the orc’s leg. The orc blocks the strike.

Believing Deadly Snow’s tactic is a good idea, Tickles decides to also try and kick at the orc from the ground. The coyle hits the orc in the leg with a glancing blow.

Ignoring the weaker members of the group lying on the ground, he strikes at Mulroney again. This time, the witch manages to parry the attack with his sword. Mulroney tries to counter with his sword, but that is blocked in turn as well.

Deadly Snow attempts another kick from the ground, but the orc blocks it again. Tickles hits again with another weak kick.

Mulroney gets upset that his companions refuse to get up and assist him as the orc hacks Mulroney’s armor into bits. The next attack digs in deep, badly wounding the witch.

With a sweeping kick from the ground, Deadly Snow puts her foot through the orc’s chest with telekinetic fury, killing him.

With the orcs dead but everyone wounded and fatigued, they limp their way back towards Beartooth to recuperate before continuing on to the ruins of Rodemus…
Title: Actual Play - Palladium Fantasy: Warlords of the Wastelands
Post by: jgants on May 28, 2017, 01:58:10 PM
*** Session 01 - Session Notes ***

This session went pretty well for an opening. The players are still getting used to the rules and the setting, but other than the fight at the end being far more dangerous than intended (largely because I rolled really well, the players rolled really terrible, and a few tactical errors were made) everything went smooth.

I did cause some confusion at the beginning by seeding multiple plot hooks for each character, many of which are foreshadowing for later. As I said before, I'm not holding back on my plotting this time so they'll get the whole "web o' plots" experience. In the end, they settled on the intended opening adventure, heading to Rodemus.

Notes about the session:
* We haven't fully detailed exactly what the Great Mulroney is and isn't. The player's idea is that Mulroney's spirit or whatever was taken by dark forces and moved to this plane as part of a larger, evil plot. I'm going to run with that, but told him he needs to keep the rest of it vague so I can fit it in with my plots. I will tease with one question - if the mind is that (at least partially) of Father Mulroney - where does he get the changeling body from? More on that in the future of the campaign.

* I wanted to start Mulroney off at a coven meeting since he's a witch.

* Glebecar is named after Carl Gleba, who created the whole Megaverse in Flames megaplot. That megaplot had some influence in the Rifts campaign and will have a similar influence here.

* Thomasin and Black Phillip are taken from the truly excellent and underrated film, The Witch. It is a favorite of myself and the Mulroney player so he was in on the reference.

* Alice and Vinegar Tom come from the play, Vinegar Tom.

* Janet and Jenny are (both) named after Janet Horne, the last person to be executed for witchcraft in the British Isles.

* Captain Spaulding, Otis, and Tiny (who is only mentioned here) all come from Rob Zombie's films, House of a Thousand Corpses and The Devil's Rejects. I lift a few lines of dialogue from the films for their later banter and Ruggsville Cove is named after the fictional town of Ruggsville from those films.

* Because I added Spaulding the whole "renegade clowns" plot seemed like a natural. Plus, someone in the message boards made a crack about misreading the title of the Warhammer Fantasy RPG book, Renegade Crowns, way back when and I always thought that was funny enough to deserve something more. The fact that Seimbeida had info on the clown guild going after renegades made it a perfect fit.

* The renegade clowns remain to be expanded on, but the whole "elf" angle has to do with their inspiration coming from 40K harlequins.

* Enilefil (named for the backwards spelling of a product from a company I once worked at) comes from the Rifts campaign. He was last seen in Dyval when the Rifts group escaped him to get back to Rifts Earth.

* As I mentioned before, Beartooth comes from the band. Mathias is a common, mysterious-sounding name I like to use and the Drunken Cyclops just sounded funny. Lorna, however, is named after someone specific but I won't reveal that just yet because of the reason I picked that having to do with the plot related to her.

* The Inn of the Red Bull is named after the record label for Beartooth, Red Bull Records.

* Materich was another random name. I wanted to start Tickles off at a Thieves' Guild meeting to remind him there's more than just him in the area. Plus, it allowed me to set up some goings-on in the area for future plot material.

* The Ruins of Rodemus were originally inspired by the B1 - In Search of Adventure module for D&D, but other than a play on a name from it I long abandoned any inspiration there.

* The Thieves of Harr-Ki are a bit of an in-joke for myself and the Mulroney player. More on them later.

* Khruul comes from old Avengers comics from the seventies.

* The plot around the Rodem family is a mystery that the characters will likely discover more about once they get to the actual ruins.

* The Deadly Snow player decided his assassin would dress and act differently when acting as "The Deadly Snow" versus when she was Yukiko Amagi (the assassin is silent, the girl acts and talks like a little girl). He even puts sunglasses on when playing the character in "assassin mode", it is kind of a fun effect.

* Everyone recognized the orc encounter for what it was - a tryout. I'm not sure anyone caught on that the orcs work for Khruul and that the mysterious man plot is the same plot mentioned at the thieves' guild (and to be fair, it requires some assumptions as I've presented no direct link).

* Thahn is a common enough Vietnamese name. The orc is named that because Khruul was Vietnamese in the comics and so were his henchmen.

* Originally I thought the PCs would start knowing each other, but since Mulroney didn't play it that way at the coven meeting I thought this worked out fine too.

* Clearly the reward for the goblins was a way to get evil characters to want to bother with Rodemus.

* The symbol left behind is intended to be that of Libra (as in the Marvel character of the same name) but to keep things more fantasy-like, I used the name of the Chinese constellation of the azure dragon.

* One thing I'm terrible about remembering in RPGs is light sources (it's up there with forgetting not everyone can read/write in games with literacy skills, which I'm sure I made a mistake with as well for this session). It's why getting the lantern and torches was a big deal to head to Rodemus but wasn't earlier when Mulroney went to the coven meeting or to see Spaulding. I may add in an idea that normal routes are lighted with magic stones or something but the off-path areas are not.

* The orc fight was originally intended to be more of a tension-filled encounter that could come back later, but the group went immediately into attack mode. Hopefully they learned some lessons from this.

* Since it will take weeks for everyone to heal up (not to mention the lost armor, etc.) I'm going to have to figure out a way to keep things moving for next session.
Title: Session 02: The Rock Vipers
Post by: jgants on June 11, 2017, 09:44:24 AM
*** Session 02 - Cast of Characters ***

Tickles: An anarchist coyle thief. He raised the orphan Yukiko from a baby to work as a hard killer.

The Great Mulroney: A changeling witch who believes he is human and masquerades as a prestidigitator.

Yukiko Amagi (aka The Deadly Snow): An aberrant young human girl trained as a secret assassin. She considers Tickles to be her father.
Title: Actual Play - Palladium Fantasy: Warlords of the Wastelands
Post by: jgants on June 11, 2017, 09:44:57 AM
*** Session 02 - Scene 1 (of 7) ***

When the group arrives back in Beartooth, they assess their situation. Not only does the Great Mulroney need a new set of armor, as does Tickles, but both are badly wounded. Healing naturally, it could take Mulroney a couple of weeks or more to get back to full health.

Since they know they can’t wait that long and still rescue the prisoners at Rodemus, they consider going to Fleria for her healing touch but don’t have enough money.

They decide to start by selling off the chain mail armor they took off the orc (since it isn’t suitable for any of them, anyway).  Mulroney offers to do the selling. He takes it to the local armorer and attempts to claim it is enchanted (which he got off an “orc chieftain”) but the armorer isn’t buying the story.
The armorer offers 90 gold, but Mulroney insists it is worth at least three times that especially with its powerful enchantment. After some haggling, they eventually settle on a price of 100 gold and a suit of soft leather armor. He pockets 20 of the gold for himself and takes the remaining 80 back to the others to split.

On his way, he stops over at the Drunken Cyclops. Mathias is surprised to see him again. He asks if the prestidigitator is there to talk of wine embargos again.

For his part, Mulroney spins a tale of being off to a birthday celebration engagement he was hired to perform at when he was attacked by three large men. He tells Mathias the men claimed he worked for Mathias and he should warn him there is a wine embargo. After that, Mulroney claims the men beat him, said something about Lorna, then ran off. He asks after the clandestine wizard’s assistance.

Mathias, skeptical, says Lorna is still missing. He doesn’t appear to believe in any wine embargos, but does admit Mulroney clearly has been in a fight of some kind. He tells Mulroney he should go get healed, but Mulroney claims the men took all his money.

Giving in, Mathias gives Mulroney 25 gold to get himself at least a little healed up for his troubles. Mulroney thanks the man, saying he will be sure to pass along any more information he hears about the wine embargo. Mathias is still confused about that matter, but tells him to go ahead and give him any information he comes across.

After that, Mulroney makes his way over to Tickles’ shack.
Title: Actual Play - Palladium Fantasy: Warlords of the Wastelands
Post by: jgants on June 11, 2017, 09:45:52 AM
*** Session 02 - Scene 2 (of 7) ***

When Mulroney arrives at Tickle’s house, he slams down the purse of 80 gold, saying that should make them feel better. He even offers to only take 10 of the gold and let them split the rest. Tickles and Yukiko agree to the deal, but aren’t sure what Mulroney’s game is.

Once the money is divided, they discuss what to do next. Mulroney offers to use some of his money to take them out to dinner at the Inn of the Red Bull. Again, Tickles accepts but isn’t sure what the witch is up to.

At the inn, Mulroney buys them the cheapest meal he can afford – some roast pigeon. Not long after they finish eating, an orc wanders in.

The orc is clearly agitated. Deadly Snow notes it is not one of the orcs from the alley while Mulroney plans an exit strategy.

Tickles is paying attention to what the man is talking about at the bar. Apparently, the orc was the leader of a band of mercenaries called the “Rock Vipers” who were attacked by some kind of ghost while out planning an attack on the goblins of Rodemus.

According to the orc, two of his men were killed by the ghost and the others driven off. He’s attempting to recruit new members for his mercenary group. Mulroney smells an opportunity for profit and winks at Tickles. Tickles isn’t sure how to take that.

Mulroney tells the others this could be an opportunity to make a little money. Tickles wonders if his plan is to join the Rock Vipers or take advantage of them. Mulroney says it would be better to find out a bit more about them first since they appear to guard the pass to Rodemus. Deadly Snow is concerned the orc may recognize them, but Mulroney says the orc clearly believes there is a ghost.

Tickles and Deadly Snow aren’t sure about joining up with the orcs to split the reward for Rodemus. Mulroney is more interested in scamming the orcs to say he has powers to exorcise spirits.

Mulroney draws the orc’s attention over to their table. He comes over, asking if they are interested in joining the Rock Vipers. Mulroney says he isn’t sure about that, but asks about the ghost that drove off the orc’s men.

After getting some of the relevant information out of the orc (in order to maintain his cover), Mulroney explains he and his companions were also attacked by the ghost. He claims their wounds were the result of the ghost’s attacks. The orc is suspicious at first, but between Mulroney’s fantastical and animated story, and the orc’s dim intelligence, he eventually believes it.

Mulroney offers to work together to take vengeance on the ghost, but the orc says he isn’t interested in ghosts, only money. Mulroney tells the orc he was out on that path for a reason. The orc confirms he was, that reason being money.

The orc continues that his group wanted the reward for the hostages that Caleshomo offered; but even more than that, they wanted the spoils of the raids the goblins have been performing. The orc offers an attack on Rodemus could be very lucrative. Plus, the orc notes, Rodemus is located inside Rock Viper territory and he doesn’t like that.

Discussing the potential rewards, the orc also believes they could get some money out of the local goblin gang leader, Materich, since the Rodemus goblins are interfering in his operation as well. Mulroney asks how many goblins are out at Rodemus, but the orc isn’t sure.

The orc offers them each pay of 400 gold each plus half a share each of whatever treasure they recover from Rodemus. Mulroney says they are interested, but need time to heal up. To avoid a delay, the orc (who gives his named as Skulric Fortman) gives them half the money up front to get healed up and buy any equipment they need before they head out. They agree to meet back up with him the next morning after they have a chance to heal and buy equipment.
Title: Actual Play - Palladium Fantasy: Warlords of the Wastelands
Post by: jgants on June 11, 2017, 09:49:19 AM
*** Session 02 - Scene 3 (of 7) ***

The next day, the three meet back up with Skulric. Tickles and Mulroney have spent much of their money on healing from Fleria, as well as a new suit of armor for Tickles, enough lantern oil to get to Rodemus and back, several more daggers for Deadly Snow, and a set of blowgun darts and a dose of scorpion blood poison for Tickles.

Skulric leads them out on the path to Rodemus. Little of interest happens on their trip until they reach the outskirts of Rodemus. As they approach the underground region where Rodemus is located, they can spot the outline of the large temple fortress.

When Skulric tells Mulroney to dim the lantern, the witch says ghosts can still see them in the dark. Skulric notes he isn’t worried about ghosts so much as goblins and hobgoblins. Mulroney didn’t realize the goblins at Rodemus also had hobgoblins working with them.

Skulric has him shine the light over near the end of the path to reveal the dead bodies of two hobgoblin archers. He explains his men killed them during a previous reconnaissance but this was as close as they got. He points out the tower nearest the path as where the guards were stationed.
Tickles asks about a plan of attack. Skulric prefers a more frontal assault approach, but admits he isn’t a trained soldier. Tickles would prefer to recon the area first, sneaking around quietly and looking for alternate entrances.

Mulroney sends Shoes out to examine the area in more detail. The ruins of Rodemus lie near a sulfur-smelling underground river. Nearby is a pool of fresher-smelling water, though it is dark and brackish. The temple is built with two towers to either side, each connected to a main keep by a covered, columned walkway.

At the front of the temple, three sets of stairs lead up to doors – two single doors on either side and a larger set of double doors in the middle. There don’t appear to be any guards there.

Around the back, there is another set of double-doors. Because of the slope of the ground, that set of doors is level with the ground. Two hobgoblin soldiers stand guard over it. Some distance away is the underground river with a bridge over it.

As Tickles passes by the rear of the building, he spots a nook along the side with a set of stairs leading down to a door that must lead to a level of the building below ground. In the back of the far tower, there appears to be some kind of statue as a shrine to Rurga. Neither Tickles nor Shoes spot any other guards as they complete their circumnavigation around the temple.

The group debates what to do next. Tickles would like to scale the walls and enter from above, while Mulroney wonders if they should go in through the lower level. Deadly Snow sees drawbacks to either approach, but feels they should kill the hobgoblins in the rear regardless. Skulric, anxious for battle, would prefer to rush in through the front doors.

Tickles says the back door will be less heavily guarded. Mulroney offers he can use some of his “magic tricks” to distract the guards so they can kill them quickly.

The witch’s plan is to use a ventriloquism spell to distract the guards, and then follow it up with a befuddle spell to confuse them. Tickles offers he can use his grappling hook on the guards after Mulroney distracts them, but Mulroney isn’t so enthusiastic about that.

Skulric says he can take a couple of hobgoblins himself, but since the others need to earn their keep he agrees to let Mulroney use his trick so they can advance on the guards before being spotted.

Shoes moves around to the opposite side of the back of the keep to cast ventriloquism. Once the guards are distracted, the plan is for Tickles and Deadly Snow attempt to sneak in for an attack. Skulric and Mulroney agree to hang back to let them attempt the assassination.

The ventriloquism spell works, causing both guards to look the other way. Unfortunately, both Deadly Snow and Tickles make too much noise moving in, spoiling their surprise.

With the element of surprise gone, Tickles quickly grabs his grappling hook and swings it at one of the hobgoblins, wrapping it around the creature’s spear.

Mulroney then casts his befuddle spell at the other soldier. Unfortunately, the hobgoblin is able to resist the effects of his magic. Shoes attempts the same but has no better luck.

Deadly Snow tosses a couple of daggers at the guard. They slice his side and leg as they hit home. The hobgoblin responds by moving towards them all while his companion is able to free his spear from Tickles’ grappling hook.

Tickles tries to grapple again, but fails. Deadly Snow gets another couple of hits on the other one with her daggers as the hobgoblins close in.

Skulric moves in with his sword and slices hard into the soldier near Tickles, badly wounding the creature. Tickles tries to finish the guard off with his grappling hook but the hobgoblin knocks it away with his spear.

Mulroney, wanting to prevent Tickles from getting killed, fires an energy bolt into the hobgoblin, killing it. Shoes finishes off the other one with his own energy bolt. Skulric is impressed with the witch’s abilities.

Tickles searches the bodies and finds a key on one of them; he takes it. As he does so, his keen hearing picks up multiple people approaching from the bridge. He alerts the others, but while they discuss what to do Skulric charges off towards the bridge with a battle cry.

Leaving Skulric to take care of the soldiers on the bridge, Tickles unlocks the rear doors with the key he found and slowly opens it. He can see a hallway inside heading to either side but no one immediately inside. Not wanting to wait around for others to come, they all head inside the keep and close the door.
Title: Actual Play - Palladium Fantasy: Warlords of the Wastelands
Post by: jgants on June 11, 2017, 09:49:49 AM
*** Session 02 - Scene 4 (of 7) ***

Once inside the keep, Tickles’ keen sense of hearing picks up sounds of screams behind the door down the hallway to the right. He can tell they are screams of pain, and believes it could be from one of the hostages.

Mulroney hatches a plan, pointing out that Tickles could attempt to lure someone out of the room by speaking Gobbley. He thinks Tickles should attempt to sound like a goblin and tell whoever is behind the door there are intruders, with he and Deadly Snow standing ready at either side of the door to attack.

Tickles tries to say, “the boss wants to see you”, but neither sounds like a goblin nor says anything of intelligence. Deadly Snow, with her own knowledge of Gobbley, recognizes her father has just spoken gibberish.

Mulroney hears a noise from around the corner in the hallway on the side of the door he’s on. He spots a hobgoblin heading towards him with a knife. The witch makes a run for it, heading past Tickles and Deadly Snow while warning them.

The two, along with Shoes, quickly set up an ambush. When the hobgoblin rounds the corner, Tickles hits him hard in the head with his war hammer. Shoes follows it up with an energy bolt. Staggering, the hobgoblin’s armor is hit by Deadly Snow’s daggers.

The hobgoblin taunts the men, laughing at their attempts to kill “old Erto”. Deadly Snow swings away with her battle axe, but misses again.

Shoes, slinking between the feet of Deadly Snow and Tickles, blasts the hobgoblin with another energy blast. Erto’s corpse falls to the ground, still smoking.
Title: Actual Play - Palladium Fantasy: Warlords of the Wastelands
Post by: jgants on June 11, 2017, 09:50:41 AM
*** Session 02 - Scene 5 (of 7) ***

Tickles doesn’t hear anyone coming so he searches the body. He finds a few daggers and gives them to his young ward. He also finds a key on Erto, which he takes.

Deadly Snow forms a different idea – she strips the body and uses some make-up to disguise herself as a hobgoblin. While she’s doing that, Tickles looks around and sees another door down the other hall.

The three discuss for a minute what to do and believe they should head into the room where they heard the screams. He listens at the door and hears the screaming has stopped and all he hears now is labored breathing.

Finding the door unlocked, Tickles attempts to impersonate Erto’s voice saying he is coming in. He doesn’t get the voice right, but at least says the right words this time.

Deadly Snow then walks in first, posing as Erto. But she finds no one there except for a human prisoner chained up to the wall. Based on the cuts on his body, it appears that Erto was torturing the man by cutting him with his knives.

Tickles heads over and uses the key from Erto’s pocket to free the man from his chains. Mulroney looks around, spotting two other doors leading out of the room. He can also tell this room used to be the old nursery back in the days of the Rodemus family.

The man is terrified of Erto but they manage to calm him by explaining it is only a disguise. Mulroney and Deadly Snow use their knowledge of first aid to help wrap the man’s bandages.

Tickles asks the man his name. He gives it as Samuel. Tickles asks if he is in shape to fight the goblins, but Samuel explains he is a mere pilgrim. Tickles gives him one of the knives he took off Erto to use as a last-ditch defense.

Samuel asks if they’ve found the others yet. Mulroney explains they have not and asks if Samuel knows where they are. He explains he’s been kept in the torture chamber for days.

Tickles asks how many there are. Samuel responds there were five others besides himself. Tickles slaps the man, saying they already knew that and that what he wanted to know was how many goblins there are. Samuel says he does not know the answer to that, but there are many of them. Tickles notes again mentally that Mulroney said with confidence there were only eight.

Mulroney, deflecting the conversation, asks how many women there were with them. Samuel says there was only one woman. Mulroney asks if she was young. Samuel responds that she was a young maiden. He wants to know why the man is asking.

The witch starts carrying on about goblins and hobgoblins, and the terrible things they do to young maidens. Tickles tries to shut him up, but Samuel gets agitated. He says the goblin chieftain, Clotrol, did spend a lot of time looking at her. Mulroney says the goblin probably did a lot more than look at her, and suggests she may be impregnated by the creature at this point.

Mulroney continues on with a rant on the terrible shape of the hobgoblin phallus. Deadly Snow asks Tickles what the man is talking about, saying she would be interested to see such a horrific thing, but Tickles assures her she would not.

Samuel asks where they should go now. Tickles and Mulroney interrogate the man about what he knows of the building; he doesn’t recall much except the cells being in a lower section of the keep.

Mulroney decides to open the door on the south side of the room and peer in carefully with his lantern. He can see the dilapidated room appears to be the old governess’s room. There is also a large hole in the wall to the east. He wonders if there is a large rat around.

Tickles suggests Mulroney send in his cat to investigate. The witch tries saying his cat is only a cat, but the thief is pretty sure the cat is much more.

Deadly Snow offers to take the lantern and go investigate. She creeps over and shines the lantern inside, revealing a giant, coiled snake. Feeling threatened, the snake lashes out but Deadly Snow is able to deflect the attack.

The young assassin tumbles backward to get out of the way but the snake moves too fast. It bites her in the leg. She can tell from the bite it is not poisonous – it must be a giant bull snake.

Snow draws her battle axe and strikes down hard on the over-sized reptile; blood splatters into her face.

Mulroney, pretending to assist, makes various hand gestures and nonsensical incantations. Tickles moves in to assist with his war hammer, knocking it away from Snow.

The snake turns and strikes out at Tickles but he parries away the attack. Deadly Snow attempts to axe, but the snake moves out of the way. Meanwhile, Mulroney continues to pretend to cast spells.

Tickles strikes out again, smashing the giant snake in the head twice in rapid succession. Deadly Snow finishes it off with her axe.
Title: Actual Play - Palladium Fantasy: Warlords of the Wastelands
Post by: jgants on June 11, 2017, 09:51:45 AM
*** Session 02 - Scene 6 (of 7) ***

With the snake dead, Deadly Snow looks back in the hole. It appears the hole was originally made by rats but the snake ate them all. She can see it leads into the adjoining room.

Looking in, Deadly Snow sees the room beyond appears to have been some sort of children’s room. The ruins of an old bed sit along one of the walls, with the wall covered in long-dried blood. Lying against the wall, sitting on the bed, appears to be a child-sized skeleton. Snow moves through the hole and retrieves the child’s skull so she can fashion it into a mask for herself.

Meanwhile, Mulroney talks with Samuel about how his pilgrim group was captured by the goblins on their pilgrimage. Samuel offers no explanation as to why they were captured except to suggest the goblins enjoy kidnapping, torture, and murder for sport (especially that old bastard Erto).

Tickles offers they could go retrieve Erto’s head for Samuel as a present. Mulroney seems it sounds like a good idea so he retrieves the body. Samuel isn’t so sure he needs Erto’s head, but is glad to see he’s dead.

Moving on, Tickles opens the door to the east of the torture chamber after making sure he doesn’t hear anything. The room beyond appears to be an old sitting room.

The room has clearly already been gone through, but Tickles notices it contains the remains of a desk. The desk drawer has been thrown on the ground. He decides to examine it.

He finds an old journal hidden below a false bottom in the drawer. The writing inside identifies it as the diary of Lady Lissa Rodem. He skims through it quickly, reading a few choice passages to his companions.

The first passage of interest is near the back of the journal, from a few months before the last entry in it. “Today is a day of sorrow, for I have learned my lord husband, Cristion, has died in. According to the survivors, he met his end fighting a small horde of demons. The head demon was said to call himself Modeus, and was looking for some sort of enchanted black sword and only attacked our temple’s patrol for being in his way. I grieve for the tragic circumstances of his death, but am glad the creature did not find what it was looking for. The demons moved on to look for their quarry, so the immediate threat is over, but it will be some time before Goffry can succeed as the true ruler.” Tickles sarcastically says he's sure everything will work out just fine.

The next passage appears to be from a day or two later. “The high priestess Kandia has foreseen even more tragedy for us in her divinations, but cannot say what the real threat is. She refuses to tell me all and says only she must journey on to see L’ai Sau of the Priests of Pah-ma for more insight. She has taken our most valuable artifacts with her, though she left her Amulet of Rurga in the treasury for safe-keeping. The priest’s hidden Temple of Agaphaur is far away and I fear her absence for such a long time.” Tickles doesn’t like the sound of treasure being taken away from this place, but makes a mental note to keep the Temple of Agaphaur in mind for the future.

Several weeks after that entry, he reads “Young Pieter was bit by a foul bat creature while playing out in the barrens today. I have cleansed his wounds, but his fever continues. Without Kandia here, there is little we can do but wait.”

Tickles notes things take a turn for the worse, reading a passage from a few days later, “Pieter’s condition continues to worsen. In his fevered state he even bit one of the men attempting to hold him down during his convulsions. I pray to Rurga for the quick return of Kandia.”

The thief quips he has a feeling Pieter is going to get better before reading the next day’s entry, “I can barely write the words of the tragedy that has befallen us. Pieter has gone missing, his infection appears to have made him mad. In his altered state, he must have attacked Goff, for we found Goff’s body in their room this morning with his throat ripped out. I cannot bear to have the body moved yet; we shall deal with it on the morrow though one of the men named Klyvan says he has heard of a plague like this before and there is something he needed to do in the room after I left.” Deadly Snow takes a mental note that the skull she is carrying is that of Goffry Rodem.

Trying not to laugh as Mulroney makes vile insinuations about what Klyvan may have done in the room with the body after Lady Lissa left, Tickles continues with the following day’s entry: “One of the kitchen workers encountered Pieter in the yard today. His arm was badly bitten and acting on the advice of Klyvan, they quickly cut the arm off to try and stop the infection. As for Pieter, he seems to have run off again.”

Mulroney is briefly confused by the story, having difficulty following the tale. Tickles and Deadly Snow clarify for him what has happened, saying the story is straight-forward enough and he hasn’t been paying attention.

Deadly Snow speculates that the man Klyvan appeared to understand what was happening even if no one else did. Tickles continues reading the events of the following day, “The kitchen worker’s condition continues to decline and Klyvan fears we may need to put him down. He talks about anyone being bitten needing to be killed immediately, but I fear he speaks too openly and now everyone is acting quiet and suspicious.”

Tickles finds the next entry takes place two days later. It reads, “As things get worse, Klyvan reveals more to me. He says he first saw the plague years ago, as a young boy. His clan elders believed a necromancer was responsible; they blamed a mysterious man who arrived in the area recently but no one ever knew for sure. Klyvan recalls not who the man was nor that of his fate. He did, however, recall a strange symbol associated with the man.”

The journal has a drawing of the symbol – it appears to be a spiral-like symbol, black with jagged edges. The symbol is not familiar to any of the men.

Tickles then reads the final entry, “Several more of the staff appear to have gotten sick, the result of unreported bites. Klyvan has urged me to seal ourselves in the East Tower until Kandia returns and can assist the remaining men in ridding this threat. I have agreed to his plan, but am insisting we include everyone who is not obviously sick; I will not sentence anyone to death by leaving them outside the protection of the tower. May Rurga watch over us and have mercy on our souls.”

Everyone concludes the obvious – this series of events is clearly what led to the disappearance of the Rodem clan. They wonder if their remains are still locked away in the tower.

Tickles wants to discover more about the symbol, but Mulroney is more interested in finding one of the bat creatures and extracting its venom to use as a weapon.

Mulroney, however, fakes that he recognizes the symbol. He says it is the symbol of Reedikus, a powerful demon. He claims it means that any item of value found in this location will be cursed and that only those with the knowledge of Reedikus (such as himself) can take them without risk. Deadly Snow isn’t so she believes his story.
Title: Actual Play - Palladium Fantasy: Warlords of the Wastelands
Post by: jgants on June 11, 2017, 09:52:54 AM
*** Session 02 - Scene 7 (of 7) ***

As everyone is wondering how much they trust each other, sounds of moaning come out from beyond the door leading to the south. There appear to be two voices – one in pain and one in pleasure.

Mulroney approaches the door and finds a keyhole. Peeking through, he sees inside is a bed with a goblin riding atop a human female.

The witch uses his magic to cast a fear spell at the goblin raping the woman. Terrified, the goblin fouls the bed and runs out of a door to the south while still naked and covered in his own filth. The poor woman is also terrified, but still chained to the bed.

Mulroney opens the door and moves to help the woman out. Tickles unchains her and covers her with her discarded clothes on the floor.

Tickles then looks through the goblin’s clothes on the ground, finding 20 gold in his pockets. He also spots a scroll with an encoded message of some kind, but cannot decipher it. He pockets it for later.

Once the woman is calmed, Tickles asks her name. She gives it as, Edwina. He asks her if she is OK or needs medical attention. She responds that she is pretty far from OK, but does not require any healing.

Edwina is happy they stopped Clotrol, but warns he will be back soon with many more guards. Mulroney asks about the others, and she explains they are in the lower part of the keep, to the south. He eventually convinces her to help them find the others. Tickles arms the woman with another of the knives from Erto so she can defend herself in case they run into any trouble.

Before they head south after Clotrol, the group decides they should make sure to investigate the second door to the north in this room to be sure they don’t get attacked from behind.

Tickles doesn’t hear anything from the chamber beyond, but does smell a foul odor. Opening the door, he discovers the room beyond is a large privy.

The others feel the room isn’t worth searching, but Tickles wants to check the privies for secret compartments. Mulroney offers to back him up in case they encounter anything.

Tickles does not find any secret compartment, but when he sticks his arm in the privy hole, he discovers a milliasaur has taken up residence there. The rocky-hided, sharp-toothed giant centipede creature bites on to his arm.

The creature’s toxic bite paralyzes the thief. Mulroney grabs Tickles and pulls his arm out of the hole, taking the creature with him.

Using his psionic powers, Tickles neutralizes the poison in his body. The milliasaur drops off of Tickles and attacks at Mulroney for interrupting its dinner. He carefully dodges the attack.

Shoes then casts a levitation spell, trapping the creature in the air. Everyone takes the opportunity to escape the room while the creature is trapped. Deadly Snow then moves in and hacks the creature to bits with her battle axe.

The three adventurers, Shoes, and the two freed hostages then make their way towards the south part of the keep, ready to take on the force of goblins waiting for them…
Title: Actual Play - Palladium Fantasy: Warlords of the Wastelands
Post by: jgants on June 11, 2017, 10:39:54 AM
*** Session 02 - Session Notes ***

These are the session notes from our game a week ago. Because I was busy last weekend and this weekend, I just barely managed to get them done in time (our next session is this upcoming Friday).

I do love typing up these detailed journals of our sessions, but it really does take a great deal of my time (easily 5-6 hours) just to get the notes typed up. Then I have to post / email them to the group then post the messages on the two gaming sites I post to (side note - one site is annoying because of forcing a 60 second delay between posts while the other is now annoying because it throws an error whenever I attempt a quick reply).

In any event, on to how the session went. This session went very smooth - the PCs got a chance to recover from the previous session, do some role-playing, come up with some plans, and then make some progress in the dungeon. This is them at their most competent.

So far, they've caught right on to the Palladium system. It's nice to see the witch learning the magic system enough to be able to use spells intelligently (in some games, the person who ended up a spell caster never bothered to learn much and as a result was never very effective).

The group is still missing a front-line fighter type, which is why Skulric the NPC showed up (side note - he has a last name given in the write-up because of an in-joke). Skulric won't become a regular, necessarily, but at least got them to Rodemus. He also gets a cool moment where he heads off-screen to battle, leaving the PCs to fend for themselves and not sure if he is dead or alive (not that these three would care).

Other notes about the session:
* Step 1 to getting the game on track was giving the PCs a chance to recover without having to wait around a couple of weeks. To that end, the armorer, the wine merchant, and Skulric are a lot freer with money than I usually have NPCs being. The PCs found it unnerving because they know it isn't my usual style and started to get paranoid.

* Mulroney is still trying to figure out what the Lorna thing is or when it will come up.

* I thought it would be funny to have the orc they scared off last session hire them this session (as well as provide a little tension that they have to be careful not to reveal themselves). It was also a way to get them some money for healing / armor.

* Mulroney had a terrible idea about trying to rob Skulric or something but I kept implying that wouldn't work (nor would it have gotten them much). I would have ultimately let them try it if they kept pushing it, but they backed off. It's not that I want to railroad to Rodemus so much as I don't want them to overplay their hand and make the campaign environment untenable for their characters (as happened in some of the last campaigns). I don't mind them trying to be Vic Mackey or Tony Soprano, but going full Dexter Morgan or Tony Montana is a recipe for a short campaign.

* The ruins of Rodemus are based on the art museum near where I work (closed since the flood of '08). I always thought it would make a cool fantasy stronghold. The surrounding geography is similarly placed.

* Rodemus isn't trying to be a hard-core dungeon crawl - it's a base for goblins. The way I mapped out the building, most of the goblins are in the front of the building it gave them plenty of opportunity to explore.

* Erto wasn't exactly weak, but a couple of good rolls from the PCs (and bad rolls from him) killed him off quickly. The PCs were unnerved that I gave him a name (which they should have, he was technically a 3rd level assassin).

* The hole in the wall with a giant snake is there as more of a "classic dungeon encounter", but the backstory was that Erto was keeping the snake around to eat the rats.

* I had to stat up the snake myself since Palladium doesn't have much in the way of giant-animal type monsters (and didn't have a big snake that wasn't poisonous). Creating monsters for Palladium, like NPCs, is considerably more challenging than in most other RPGs I play (because of all the different numbers and wide ranges of values) and as someone who has to run the games, has always been the one thing I like least about the games.

* Deadly Snow taking the skull was intentionally disturbing. The player likes to contrast her more child-like nature (not understanding the conversation about the goblin genitals) with her killer nature (collecting a child's skull to wear).

* As is my usual custom, I had a big sheet of journal entries typed up in a script font to hand to the PCs. I love handouts - partially for the humor (the players dislike trying to read script and hate reading long passages aloud; they also know they will miss half the clues contained in it).

* Lady Lissa's journal is both an explanation of what happened as well as some foreshadowing for some things to come.

* Modeus was a demon in the Rifts campaign. He captured the PCs in that campaign and even killed one of their members and fed him to the rest in a stew. He was the demon Enilefil rescued them from.

* Anyone who is familiar with the Rifts campaign may recognize the reference to the "enchanted black sword". More on that later.

* L'ai Sau and the Priests of Pah-ma, along with the temple of Agaphaur, are based on the Marvel Comics characters, the Priests of Pama. They should also come more into the story later (clearly I am laying groundwork here to incentivize the PCs to find the hidden temple).

* The story of Pieter is straight out of a typical "zombie plague" style genre. The zombie plague in the undermound is something that was co-inspired by being a plot point in the Warhammer Necromunda game as well as being able to take advantage of Palladium's Dead Reign rules.

* Klyvan clearly made sure to destroy Goffry's brain before he reanimated as a zombie, but I'm not sure the players have understood this story yet.

* Readers of my D&D 4th edition campaign (Shadows Over Fallcrest) may recognize the spiral symbol. Again, more on that later.

* The Mulroney player sees the bat creature as a potential way to use the "use the green goo to try and take over the world" plot he wanted back in the original Cthulhubusters campaign. I'd say he should have learned his lesson, but since this Mulroney character is based on that Mulroney character it would make sense he has not.

* I had to guess how "Reedikus" should be spelled in the write-up since the Mulroney character ad-libbed that whole thing out of his ass in the session.

* The defeat of Clotrol is perhaps a bit too lighthearted given the circumstances, but at least they saved the girl and did it in a clever way.

* The milliasaur is another Necromunda-inspired monster. It's in the toilet because I thought had the most humor potential.
Title: Session 03: Royal Rumble at the Ruins of Rodemus
Post by: jgants on June 25, 2017, 08:01:06 AM
*** Session 03 - Cast of Characters ***

The Great Mulroney: A changeling witch who believes he is human and masquerades as a prestidigitator.

Yukiko Amagi (aka The Deadly Snow): An aberrant young human girl trained as a secret assassin. She considers Tickles to be her father.
Title: Actual Play - Palladium Fantasy: Warlords of the Wastelands
Post by: jgants on June 25, 2017, 08:02:04 AM
*** Session 03 - Scene 1 (of 5) ***

Believing it would be too dangerous to take Edwina and Samuel into open combat against Clotrol and his guards, Tickles offers to take the rescued pilgrims to safety by slipping out the back. As they head that way, Edwina gives a description of a partial map of the temple ruins based on what she knows.

According to Edwina’s map, the door in the hall they are in leads into a larger chamber that sits elevated above the main hall. It apparently is where Lord Rodem held audience. Edwina relates two hobgoblin soldiers usually guard the door nearest them as well as a second door leading from the opposite end of the hallway, across from the room where they found Goffry’s remains.

From the chamber beyond, a set of open steps lead to the sunken lower level of the great hall of the keep. Here Edwina says there is usually a goblin sergeant and anywhere from half a dozen to a dozen hobgoblin soldiers. The double-doors from the front of the keep lead directly into the main hall, but the other doors outside lead into side chambers. She also notes she has seen a goblin lieutenant around at times, and believes he is staying in one of the side chambers.

Edwina can relate nothing about the western chamber attached to the great hall, as she never ventured there. As for the eastern side of the great hall, there are two doors identified by her – with one leading to a side hallway that connects to one of the outside doors at the front of the keep as well as a door leading to the covered walkway on the east side of the keep. At the end of the hallway is the cell area, kept under guard by a kobold jailer named Lymox (identified by Edwina as a hired hand of the goblins) and his goblin assistant.

The group try to decide what to do next. As an aside, Mulroney notes the stairs leading below the keep from outside do not connect with the lower area of the main hall, so they must lead somewhere else. He wonders if there could be something down there to help them.

Deadly Snow is more focused on the fact there are many more goblins and hobgoblins than Mulroney originally said there would be. He says they must have brought in more after he was last informed.

The small assassin believes the best idea is to sneak in to the prisoner area from the side door off the east walkway. Mulroney, however, believes the two of them (and his cat) are insufficient to take on all the forces inside Rodemus themselves.

Eventually, they decide the best course of action is to go look for Skulric to see if he can assist. They begin heading back down the hallway towards the doors at the rear of the keep when they hear the door from the main hall open behind them and soldiers moving inside.

They quickly move outside and Mulroney directs Shoes to go around the corner while they make their way towards the bridge and Tickles and the prisoners head back towards the path leading back towards Beartooth.

Shining his lantern out in the darkness, Mulroney slowly sees the bloody form of Skulric walking towards them. He appears to have won a hard-fought battle, being drenched in blood.

Skulric greets them, saying he has won in glorious battle. Mulroney praises the orc’s skill (as if they witnessed the fight) but says there are more battles to come back at the keep. Not missing a beat, Skulric yells “To battle!” and charges on towards the keep.

Mulroney and Deadly Snow follow behind Skulric but he quickly enters the rear of the keep. Saying they need to keep the orc alive, Mulroney slips in after him, with Shoes following.

Deadly Snow decides to slip off in the dark towards the covered walkway to try and enter from the side.
Title: Actual Play - Palladium Fantasy: Warlords of the Wastelands
Post by: jgants on June 25, 2017, 08:03:15 AM
*** Session 03 - Scene 2 (of 5) ***

Lighting her torch, Deadly Snow makes her way towards the covered walkway. She walks up the steps and notices a dead body between her and the door into the keep. It appears to be the upper torso of a long-dead man.

Snow kneels next to the body to examine it in more detail. But when she does so, the body springs to life and attacks her with the strength of the undead.

The crawler zombie moves to bite Snow on the arm, but she manages to block the attack with her lightning-fast reflexes. Drawing her dagger, she stabs into the zombie.

She struggles for a few moments, fending off the zombie’s bite while continuing to stab away at the zombie with her dagger. Eventually a sharp blow penetrates the zombie’s skull, causing him to go dormant. She throws the half corpse off of her and makes her way back towards the door.

She first checks the door and finds it to be locked. Deciding how to best ambush the goblin and kobold inside, she attempts to scale the wall around the door to get above it. After falling on her first attempt, she gets back up and manages to climb her way above the door.

From her position on the wall, she knocks at the door below her. When no one answers, she attempts to yell in Gobbley to those inside, but doesn’t manage to phrase things correctly. The response from inside suggests she go away.

Dropping back down, Snow gets out her lockpick set and picks the lock open. When she opens it, Lymox is ready for her. Lymox immediately moves in with his short sword, catching the assassin in her side.

Deadly Snow responds with a telekinetic kick, causing the kobold to stagger. He swings at her with his sword again, but she easily parries with her dagger. Spinning around, she slices at him with both daggers, drawing blood.

Continuing her flurry of attacks, Snow cuts into him again. Lymox drops his sword and collapses to his knees, saying he surrenders. He promises to do anything she wants as she ties him up. She finds a key in his pocket and takes it.

With Lymox out of the way, Snow heads up the hallway to the cell room, finding the prisoners chained to the wall. The goblin assistant still guarding them takes one look at the diminutive killer and drops his knife. As he cowers in fear, Deadly Snow slits his throat.

One of the men chained to the wall thanks her for helping them, though notes she’s awfully small for an assassin. Using the key from Lymox, she frees the prisoners.
Title: Actual Play - Palladium Fantasy: Warlords of the Wastelands
Post by: jgants on June 25, 2017, 08:04:22 AM
*** Session 03 - Scene 3 (of 5) ***

Back inside the keep, Mulroney enters the back hall to see Skulric charging ahead into battle against a force of four hobgoblin soldiers.

Mulroney casts a fear spell on the front rank of the soldiers. One of the soldiers stands his ground, but the others turn to flee. Shoes casts an armor of ithan spell on Skulric to protect him against the remaining soldier.

Using his sword, Skulric makes quick work of the remaining hobgoblin and charges down the hallway after the others who fled. By the time Mulroney catches up to them, Skulric has cut the soldiers into pieces and is heading into the main hall.

Mulroney can hear the sounds of battle from beyond the door. He decides to head into the main hall to assist. Once he opens the door, he sees Skulric is surrounded by a half-circle of six soldiers with spears.

Skulric is stabbed once with a spear but fends off the other blows. Mulroney assists by using blinding flash spells cast by himself and Shoes to blind three of the soldiers.

To Mulroney’s dismay, Skulric presses his attack with the soldiers who can still see. The soldier manages to parry his attack.

Skulric fends off another wave of attacks by the hobgoblins, but a lucky attack by one of the blinded soldiers manages to strike him and damages his armor. Skulric responds by cutting into one of the soldiers with a couple of well-placed sword strikes.

One of the soldiers stabs in at Skulric, but he deflects the blow. He tries to counter, but is parried as well. Meanwhile, Shoes casts an energy bolt, killing the wounded soldier.

Meanwhile, Mulroney casts another blinding flash spell, blinding another of the soldiers. Skulric manages to fend off a series of attacks by the soldiers and wounds the remaining non-blind hobgoblin. The soldier strikes him back, and Skulric responds by unleashing a furious strike that kills the hobgoblin.

With the remaining hobgoblins all blind, Skulric easily parries their attacks and strikes back. Shoes casts a fear spell on three of the soldiers close together, causing one of them to run into the spear of another, killing him.

For his part, Mulroney uses a ventriloquism spell to speak in Gobbley and distract the remaining three blind hobgoblins. Unfortunately, his attempt to use the language gets mangled in translation and the spell is ineffective.

Skulric continues to trade blows with the soldiers, with most of his attacks damaging their armor or being parried. He does manage to wound one of the hobgoblins just as a goblin sergeant and two more soldiers begin walking up the steps to the chamber.

The newly arrived soldiers and their sergeant move in to attack Skulric. The sergeant sticks him with the point of his sword, wounding the orc.

Mulroney has Shoes cast another fear spell on the new attackers as they are close together in battle. The goblin stands his ground, but his guards turn and run. The witch himself uses an energy bolt to take down the wounded, blinded soldier.

The goblin sergeant strikes again, his blade digging deep into the orc’s chest. He attempts to attack back, but the sergeant parries away his sword. Their swords clash again as the goblin tries to hit again.

Shoving the goblin back, Skulric strikes once into the goblin’s abdomen and another into his chest. The two men stare at each other with respect, each badly wounded but remaining determined.

The goblin and Skulric continue to exchange strikes against each other’s swords. The orc also manages to block the spear of the remaining hobgoblins.

Mulroney blasts the goblin sergeant with an energy bolt from behind, further wounding him. He ignores the pain and continues to strike at Skulric, hitting only the mercenary’s armor. Skulric tries to end the fight, but the goblin is as effective at parrying as he is.

Shoes finishes off the goblin with an energy bolt. Mulroney attempts to blind the remaining soldier again, but the hobgoblin avoids the attack. Skulric then dispatches the creature by lopping off its head.

Mulroney then draws his sword and moves in towards the remaining hobgoblin soldier. Shoes attempts to blind the soldier, but he avoids the attack.

Skulric turns to fight the hobgoblin, but is parried. Mulroney attempts a swing with his sword, but misses. With a second attempt, Skulric dispatches the soldier. To make sure he is dead, Mulroney drives his sword down on the body.
Title: Actual Play - Palladium Fantasy: Warlords of the Wastelands
Post by: jgants on June 25, 2017, 08:05:24 AM
*** Session 03 - Scene 4 (of 5) ***

With the two hobgoblins who fled being nowhere in sight and the immediate fight over, Skulric and Mulroney take a moment to catch their breaths.

Mulroney suggests to the orc he can heal his wounds using first aid, but he fails poorly. Skulric yells at him to get off and they should get going to finish off any more goblins. The two then head down the stairs into the empty main hall.

Looking at all the doors leading out of the room, Skulric asks Mulroney which way they should go. Mulroney points him towards the door leading to the back hall where the cells are located.

As they move into the hall, they encounter Deadly Snow and the freed prisoners. After greeting each other, Deadly Snow suggests they try to get information out of Lymox by wrapping a cloth around his face and pouring water down his throat to simulate drowning. Unfortunately, her technique is a little too effective and the man ends up choking to death. Mulroney tries to help the man, but only succeeds in breaking the ribs of the corpse.

Skulric is unhappy, as they have freed the prisoners but do not yet have the goblin’s treasure. He also still wants to kill Clotrol and any other remaining goblins or hobgoblins.

Mulroney wonders if the treasure could be located down the stairs they found outside, but ultimately they decide to clear the other side chambers first.

Deadly Snow moves quietly over to the door in the main hall and listens. She can hear some arguing in Gobbley coming from behind the door – with Clotrol arguing with one of his men that they should go out and attack the invaders, but the man saying they will be safer inside.

After Snow relates the information, Mulroney motions for her to move back. He then approaches the door and douses it with lamp oil then lights it afire.

The door smolders slowly, filling the main hall with smoke. Mulroney goes to open the main doors to the hall to try and ventilate some of the smoke. As he does so, the smoldering door crashes to the ground and a pair of hobgoblin soldiers emerge, followed by a goblin lieutenant.

One of the soldiers moves to attack Snow, but she knocks the attack aside. The other has no better luck against Skulric.

Skulric strikes back, hitting the hobgoblin. Behind them, the goblin lieutenant maneuvers around and heads towards Mulroney.

Deadly Snow strikes out with her daggers, hitting the soldier on her once with a slice across the leg.

Seeing the lieutenant heading towards him, Mulroney blinds the goblin with a blinding flash. Shoes uses an energy bolt spell to strike the soldier attacking Skulric.

One of the soldiers stabs at Deadly Snow, striking her armor. The soldier on Skulric fails to hit, and the orc cuts him down with his sword in response.

Towards the back of the hall, the goblin lieutenant stumbles his way slowly towards where he last saw Mulroney.

Deadly Snow slices out again with her dagger, cutting the soldier deeply along his cheek. The soldier attacks back, but the assassin avoids the attack. Skulric moves in and kills the soldier by attacking him from behind.

Clotrol emerges from the room, rushing at Skulric. He gets a solid hit into the mercenary, causing him to wince in pain.

Deadly Snow decides to assist the powerful orc mercenary, throwing two daggers into the goblin king’s leg.

The lieutenant swings wildly in the rear of the room. Shoes blasts the goblin with an energy bolt, and Mulroney moves in to club the goblin with his staff, striking the creature in his armor. The attack alerts the lieutenant to his presence, however, and the witch is struck by his sword.

Skulric and Clotrol exchange attacks while Deadly Snow draws her battle axe. Skulric gets a hit in, wounding the king. A second attack kills him.

Over in the back, Mulroney gets another attack in on the lieutenant’s armor. The lieutenant responds with another strike, wounding him badly. He follows it up with a second hit.

Skulric and Deadly Snow head over towards the lieutenant as the goblin strikes Mulroney again. Mulroney attacks back with his staff, hitting the goblin in the head.

Shoes pounces up at the goblin, slashing the soldier across the face. It isn’t enough to distract the soldier, as he parries an attack from Skulric then strikes Mulroney again with another sword strike.

Deadly Snow moves in from behind, striking the lieutenant’s armor with her axe. In front, Mulroney tries to attack the goblin but misses. Shoes has better luck with another cat paw strike.

Skulric once again fails to hit with his attack, but luckily for Mulroney the witch manages to parry the goblin’s attack.

The parry gives Skulric an opening, and he hits the goblin from the side. Staying focused on Mulroney, the goblin cuts into the witch again.

With another strike, the goblin continues to slice into Mulroney. The witch is now bleeding badly. He attempts to attack back, but is parried. Even the cat is knocked away when it tries to attack.

Skulric once again fails to penetrate the defenses of the lieutenant, but Deadly Snow uses the opportunity to wound the lieutenant with her axe.

The lieutenant, for his part, continues his assault on Mulroney. The witch, badly wounded, makes a run for it. As he turns away, he is hit by the lieutenant’s sword again. Shoes responds by attempting to attack the goblin’s eyes, but fails.

With a mighty blow, Skulric then kills the goblin by running him through with his sword. To Mulroney’s annoyance, the orc seems to take all the credit for the victory.
Title: Actual Play - Palladium Fantasy: Warlords of the Wastelands
Post by: jgants on June 25, 2017, 08:06:05 AM
*** Session 03 - Scene 5 (of 5) ***

In the aftermath, Mulroney and Skulric are both badly wounded. Mulroney suggests they get back to the safety of Beartooth.

Deadly Snow suggests they first examine the room where Clotrol was. Inside appears to be the old priest’s quarters of the temple, where the lieutenant had made his personal chambers. A locked door sections off part of the chamber into another room.

Mulroney checks over the bodies and finds a key on the lieutenant but little else. He gives the key to Deadly Snow, who uses it to open the locked door.

The door opens to reveal an old altar area to Rurga. A holy font of some type sits in the center of the room. The font itself is long dry and only filled with dust, but the base is covered with runes. Deadly Snow quickly copies down the runes in her notes.

Surrounding the font are several crates of stolen goods taken by the goblins along with a large chest. Clearly the goblins were using the room to store their ill-gotten gains.

Mulroney steps over to the font. He moves his hands over it and speaks gibberish. When he’s done, he tells Skulric the font is magical and can heal them. He suggests the dust inside can heal them, though is confused there is no water in the font and no mechanism to fill it (it never occurs to the witch to pour his own water into the font).

Deadly Snow examines the chest and does not locate any traps on it. Opening the chest, she discovers it is filled with gold coins.

Looking at the gold, Mulroney estimates there is approximately 500 gold inside. Skulric is excited, as there is also 2000 gold worth of trade goods in the room they can take back. He suggests they use the escaped prisoners to haul everything back to Beartooth.

Before Skulric can say anything else, Mulroney and Shoes blast him in the back with energy bolts. He falls to the ground, dead. Deadly Snow is surprised at the dishonorable kill, but Mulroney says this way they’ll get a much larger share of the treasure, and they need money more than they need honor.

Leaving the rest of Rodemus to be explored later, Mulroney and Deadly Snow gather up the slaves, find Tickles and the others, and make their way back towards Beartooth. Along the way, Snow ruminates on Mulroney’s treachery and knows she’ll need to keep an eye on him…
Title: Actual Play - Palladium Fantasy: Warlords of the Wastelands
Post by: jgants on June 25, 2017, 08:27:59 AM
*** Session 03 - Session Notes ***

The write-up for this session seems short because most of the time was spent on either combat or planning for the combat.

I began by giving the PCs a drawing of the ruins that laid out everything they knew about the ruins (with question marks for areas they hadn't been yet). They looked over that and talked for about 25 minutes before anything really happened in the game.

It didn't help that the Tickles player couldn't make it that night, leaving us with only two PCs. One challenge of fantasy games is trying to scale them appropriately when there are less than the usual number of players. I was prepared to cut down the number of goblins and hobgoblins in the keep, but since they really wanted to use Skulric to assist them I kept it the same and it all worked out.

While Palladium's combat system isn't as slow as, say, D&D 3rd or 4th editions, it can be a bit to keep track of round to round with the variable number of attacks everyone has, the various types of modifiers, the three or more different ways you have to track damage (armor SDC, personal SDC, hp - and that's hoping there's no ISP or PPE to track), and then having to remember conditions like blinded / afraid / etc. on top of it can make for a lot of use of messy scratch paper. Worse is me trying to keep track of a NPC on the party's side, so I was often rolling for two as it were. In retrospect, I wish I would have given a paper with Skulric's stats on it to one of the PCs so they could do double-duty instead.

A few other random notes from the session:
* As I mentioned before, the overall shape of the ruins and its location is taken pretty much from across my parking lot at work. Oddly, even when I pointed it out to the Mulroney player he didn't recognize it or know which building I was talking about, despite us driving by it nearly every day for lunch.

* In the session, I'm not sure we actually had Deadly Snow light a torch. As I mentioned before, in the heat of the game torches (and literacy) are often forgotten.

* Deadly Snow was attacked by a crawler zombie taken from Dead Reign. Part of including the whole "zombie plague" plot was so I could use some of the Dead Reign material. More to come on that in future sessions.

* Since Lymox was a hired hand, there was always the possibility he would surrender quickly or be bribed away from the goblins. My players, however, rarely think to attempt to parlay with potential enemies.

* The scene where Deadly Snow kills Lymox by water-boarding him and Mulroney fails to revive him with CPR made for great dark humor in the session. The players often like to inject dark humor into the game by doing terrible things.

* The Deadly Snow player was the first to point out that Mulroney's "burn the door down" theory had some problems.

* The Mulroney player was hilariously annoyed at Deadly Snow and Skulric leaving him to fight the most powerful goblin on his own.

* I'm not sure what Mulroney was originally going for with his fake divination about the font for Skulric. He was right, though, it was a healing font. The hilarious thing (which I pointed out in the notes), is that it never occurred to him to simply pour his own water from his waterskin into the font (instead, he was looking around for "a button").

* One thing Palladium has never given great guidelines on is treasure. Pretty much every other fantasy game in existence gives you an idea of what a typical treasure amount found on or near a monster should be, but Palladium has never really done that to my knowledge (and their own sample adventures vary incredibly wildly). So, I had to wing it with the 2,500 gold worth of treasure they found.

* Since several sections of Rodemus never got explored, and the lost treasure of the Rodem family was not found, its a safe bet the PCs will be back there at some point. But there are other plots waiting for them as well.

Just a note - it could be late July by the time we have another session because of vacation schedule conflicts.
Title: Session 04: Dirty Secrets of the Scarlet Alliance
Post by: jgants on August 07, 2017, 02:22:11 PM
*** Session 04 - Cast of Characters ***

Yukiko Amagi (aka The Deadly Snow): An aberrant young human girl trained as a secret assassin. She considers Tickles to be her father after he raised her as an orphan.

The Great Mulroney: A miscreant changeling witch who believes he is human and masquerades as a prestidigitator.

And introducing...

Nardig: A miscreant hobgoblin mercenary exiled from his family for his evil deeds. He can control his tendancies for short periods of time to work with small groups, but will steal from them and turn on them with the slightest provocation.
Title: Actual Play - Palladium Fantasy: Warlords of the Wastelands
Post by: jgants on August 07, 2017, 02:22:56 PM
*** Session 04 - Scene 1 (of 9) ***

Nardig had been a mercenary from his youth, always looking for a new way to earn gold. It had never mattered to him who got in the way, even his fellow hobgoblins – something that resulted in him being the black sheep of the family.

Since escaping from the giants in Gurthasi Tor years ago, he'd made his way from community to community in the underground, picking up work where he could. He never liked to stay in one place too long, for he would inevitably get the urge to steal or even murder his companions when it was to his advantage.

In recent days, Nardig had been operating out of Threshold where he hooked up with a small band of thieves he met at the Shady Dragon Inn. There was the jokingly named Celeste the Swift, who was neither swift of mind nor foot; Fenris the Filch, a tall, lanky, and shabby-looking tomb robber; Jake Jumpwater, a sharp-witted fellow who would just as quickly turn on the group as Nardig, something the hobgoblin is keeping a close eye on; and Lenore the Beautiful, a former slave and gem-cutter.

The current mission of the little band has them heading into some caverns near town, where an evil wizard named Bargle is rumored to have been hiding out (with his treasure). Much to Nardig and Jake's pleasure, the group has not managed to find Bargle in the caverns but has cleared them out quite easily and have come upon the locked door they believe contains his treasure horde.

Filch listens carefully at the door then uses a key he found earlier. Much to everyone's surprise, as soon as he unlocks it the door bursts open and the chamber they are in fills with flesh-eating plague zombies.

The area is too crowded to make a getaway, so Nardig leaps into battle with his long sword and shield. A zombie responds by biting him in the shoulder. He attempts to fight it off, but the zombie bites in further.

Shoving the zombie back, Nardig gets in a solid hit with his sword but the creature still comes at him. It bites him again on the arm.

His wounds leaving him slow in reacting, Nardig misses with his sword. He is unable to block the creature as it bites him yet again.

Too wounded to adequately attack, Nardig continues to get bit by the creature. He misses with a counter attack but at least blocks the creature from another bite with his shield.

Maneuvering around, Nardig slices into the zombie again; it slows the creature down and he blocks another attempt to bite. After waiting for an opening, Nardig lunges in and finishes the zombie off by skewering it through the skull.

As he finishes off the creature, the mercenary looks around to see the others have likewise ended the battle. Fenris lies on the floor, dead; but Nardig has no compassion for the man, he was an idealistic fool who Nardig would have had to eventually kill anyway.

Of the other three, only Jake is wounded but he is worse off than Nardig. He lies on the ground, bleeding heavily. Celeste and Lenore argue over what to do about him and Nardig, as Celeste claims anyone bitten by a plague zombie will contract the plague and become a zombie themselves.

Nardig doesn't like the way the women are looking at the two of them. He tells the women to be quiet and worry about that later and focus on finding the treasure.

Sitting in the back of the chamber where the zombies came from, they see a large treasure chest. It appears to have a strange mark on it – some kind of spiral-like symbol.

Wary of magical protections, he points towards the chest with his sword and commands Lenore to open it. Easily bullied from her time as a slave, Lenore opens the chest. As she does so, she falls to the ground writhing in pain then quickly dies.

Nardig can see there is around 500 gold and 200 silver inside. He tells Celeste to grab the gold, but the woman isn't that dumb and tells the hobgoblin and the thief they are on their own. She then runs off, out of the caverns.

Jake figures it is worth the risk to split the gold. He moves in and takes the gold. As he takes it out, Nardig stabs him through the back, killing him. He then grabs all the gold for himself.

With all the gold and silver for himself, Nardig decides to head to the next settlement over, a town called Beartooth. He sees there is some celebration in progress at the local inn; he decides to join it.
Title: Actual Play - Palladium Fantasy: Warlords of the Wastelands
Post by: jgants on August 07, 2017, 02:24:11 PM
*** Session 04 - Scene 2 (of 9) ***

After returning from Rodemus, Tickles, Deadly Snow, and Mulroney were treated like heroes. Caleshomo insists on throwing a celebration in their honor as the "Heroes of Rodemus" after giving them their reward money. Tickles begs off, having some business to take care of at the thieves' guild, but the other two decide to attend for appearances sake (after they spend a little time getting healing, repairing their armor, and refilling their supplies).

Most of the town shows up to the celebration. Even Jongores, the local kobold guilder, attends with his guard. He comes over to talk to Mulroney and Deadly Snow.

Jongores greets the two and says they did an impressive job. Mulroney doesn't speak right away, but quickly remembers Deadly Snow tries to remain mute so he figures he better do the talking. He tells Jongores it was quite a task, but he was able to save everyone (including his teammates).

The guilder explains he needs to leave for some business, but promises a dinner invitation in the near future. Jongores tells Mulroney he has some business to discuss that he believes would be mutually beneficial. Mulroney says they'd be happy to join him, speaking for the two of them and tousling the young assassin's hair.

Taybury, the dwarven captain of the guard standing nearby, scoffs at the conversation. He grumbles that he and his men could have gotten the hostages out and there was no need for hired sellswords. Mulroney verbally spars with the man, calling him "Teabagger" and saying it was good he and his men were guarding the town against no one while they were out saving people. He tells the dwarf his work is certainly appreciated.

A short distance away, Nardig has been paying attention – the man and the girl appear to be some sort of mercenaries. Clearly, they just made some sort of major score and could be in demand for more work in town. The hobgoblin decides he should head over and get to know them better.

Nardig cleans himself up slightly and grabs his drink to head over and introduce himself. Mulroney gives him a disgusted look at first, but then greets him loudly with a smile.

After cheerily insulting Nardig's appearance (for he is ugly even for a hobgoblin), Mulroney introduces himself and Deadly Snow (calling her "Little Snowball" as he rustles her hair again). Deadly Snow mentally calculates how close the man is coming to losing his hand as Nardig and Mulroney continue to talk.

Nardig explains he is a sword for hire himself, and offers his services to them. Mulroney says the group could use someone who can handle themselves in a fight and Nardig explains about his various skills in battle.

While they talk, some commotion breaks out near the entrance. Lucina, the local troll arbitrator, enters. Mulroney knows the woman is feared as the agent of the giant's justice, but he isn't overly impressed by her despite her training as a knight.

The three see Lucina talking to someone in the front. The man then points their direction and Lucina heads over. She asks which of them is the leader of their band.

Mulroney speaks up, saying he is in charge. She tells him he doesn't look like much. He says she doesn't either but everyone knows better. Since it is both a compliment and an insult, the troll lets the matter drop.

She stares at the unassuming middle-aged man, the little girl, and the hobgoblin intently. Her eyes narrow as she asks to clarify that the three of them were able to defeat an entire force of goblins and hobgoblins.

Mulroney doesn't bother to correct her mistaking Nardig for Tickles as the third member of the group. Instead, he claims it was his superior mind for tactics that allowed them to be victorious. She simply says, "interesting…"

Lucina goes on to say perhaps she should follow up with the pilgrims to make sure she has the full story. Mulroney, overly confident the hostages won't talk about his use of magic, says that could be quite useful.

Wondering if the man is foolhardy or just stupid, Lucina tries to make it more obvious she wants a bribe. She tells him she might drop the whole investigation if she had something else to focus on, such as 30 gold.

Mulroney points to the mirror behind the bar and tells her to focus on the ugly mug in there. Lucina tells him to take care, as he would not do well to make an enemy of her. She threatens to send him back to the slavers in Gurthasi Tor.

His ego overflowing, Mulroney continues to exchange barbs. Worried the wizard is going to quickly lead to the premature end of their adventuring campaign with his short-sighted megalomania, Deadly Snow quickly throws out 30 gold to the troll. Nardig does the same and gives her Mulroney's share as well; he may be a greedy killer, but even he knows better than to openly antagonize an agent of the giants.

Lucina takes up the gold, telling Mulroney his companions are smarter than he is. He tells her lots of folks think that. She smiles evilly at him, saying they will meet again, then leaves.
Title: Actual Play - Palladium Fantasy: Warlords of the Wastelands
Post by: jgants on August 07, 2017, 02:25:28 PM
*** Session 04 - Scene 3 (of 9) ***

Watching Lucina leave, Mulroney spots someone else he knows across the room. It is Vera-Ellen Firefly, Otis' sister (nicknamed "Baby" for her coquettish behavior). Of course, Mulroney knows she is really a sultry and completely insane killer who always murders her consorts.

Baby tries to catch his eye, but Mulroney doesn't want that kind of trouble. Instead, he spins a tale to Nardig to try and get him to go talk to her. Nardig notes he doesn't usually go with human women but Mulroney convinces him they should go over and say hello.

Deadly Snow walks off to find a game of chance or contest of some type she can engage in. She spots a knife-throwing contest. As she does, a rough-looking drunk knocks into her. He blames her for nearly spilling his drink and insists she buy him another.

Snow orders a drink then smashes into the man's head. He falls over unconscious. Taybury and his men come over immediately, asking what the meaning of it is.

Deadly Snow says the man passed out. Another drunk nearby backs up her story, so Taybury has his men haul the unconscious man off, though he gives her the eye as he leaves.

The other drunk appears to be an indigent man from the streets who snuck in for free drinks as part of the celebration. He says something about how people need to better keep their wits about them when they drink at night and says something about it being bad enough "that little one-eyed bastard is out there."

Deadly Snow decides to get the man a drink and some food to try and get more information out of him about the "one-eyed bastard". Unfortunately, he drinks the drink very quickly and his speech becomes even more slurred and harder to follow.

He continues on about the "little gooney thing" with the "big claws" who keeps stealing all his stuff. He then passes out next to his bowl of soup.

Across the room, Baby chides Mulroney for finally coming over as she's been trying to get his attention forever. He says he is a man in high demand, but she doesn't understand how he can keep himself away from her.

Trying to avoid her flirtations, he introduces Nardig. She tells him they should go off someplace private. When he begs off a romantic entanglement, she tells him to get over himself; she's there to deliver him a message from her uncle.

Baby complains about having to come all this way to deliver the message, saying she got stuck with it because Otis refused to get off his lazy ass and Tiny disturbs people too much.

Mulroney tells her to give him the message now, but she insists on at least heading to a remote corner of the inn. He agrees but makes sure Nardig knows where he is headed; the hobgoblin discreetly keeps an eye on them in case there is any trouble. For his part, Mulroney has Shoes ready a befuddle spell just in case.

When they are at least relatively private, Baby explains her uncle wants him to know he's secured a deal for 500 gold a clown head. Mulroney asks her what she knows about the clowns. She is annoyed by the suggestion she knows anything, saying the whole thing is a waste of time and she couldn't care less about clown business.

Continuing on, Baby says he'll need to go to the community of Zarzote and talk to Otto, the head of the local clown guild, in order to get the deal finalized. Mulroney wants the money up front, but Baby calls him stupid and tells him he has to bring the heads if he wants the gold.

Baby tells Mulroney he's cute but not very smart. He tells her he certainly doesn't have the intellect she possesses. He asks for more details, but she tells him that's all she bothered to remember. The young woman asks why he cares about clowns anyway. Mulroney says he doesn't, but it is a favor for her uncle.

She then suggests to Mulroney they go off and have some fun. He tries to get her interested in Nardig, but she says she doesn't go for hobgoblins.

Baby offers him a kiss, but he declines even after she explains Otis says she's the best. He then acts like he'll tip her for the information, but pretends to be out of coins. She doesn't care then quickly leaves when she spots a new target for her affections.
Title: Actual Play - Palladium Fantasy: Warlords of the Wastelands
Post by: jgants on August 07, 2017, 02:26:21 PM
*** Session 04 - Scene 4 (of 9) ***

As Nardig watches the exchange, a scarred man sitting nearby offers him a drink and tells him his name is Theosius. He asks Nardig if he's looking for work, saying the hobgoblin looks brave and he's in need of strong people for some work.

Nardig tries to make sure his drink isn't poisoned first (though he can't be sure) then has a drink. He says he'd be interested in what opportunities the man had in mind. Theosius says he doesn't have anything at the moment, but needs trustworthy men from time to time for some minor duties. He does say he has something coming up soon and can leave word at the inn when the time is right. Nardig agrees.

Mulroney starts heading over to Nardig to see who he's talking to, but his robes are grabbed by a decrepit looking old woman as he passes by. She starts ranting to him about demons in her house and needing his help.

The woman continues on, saying she can hear the demons talking at night below her floor. Mulroney asks how much she can pay. She says she has no money but begs for his help.
Mulroney recognizes woman as Thanta, and old widow who lives next to the Drunken Cyclops. Given the connection to the wine store, and the cryptic message from Enilefil, he wonders if he should look into it after all.

The witch heads over to Deadly Snow just as she wins the knife-throwing contest and clears 20 gold. He congratulates the girl then tells her they have a small job to do as a "lovely old lady" needs some help. He says they can take along Nardig as well.

After collecting Nardig, he tells Thanta to lead them back to her home. She blesses them all, but as they go to leave they see there is a large crowd forming outside along with some commotion.

When they exit, they can see a large force of savage-looking barbarians led by some sort of high priestess. The priestess appears to be arguing with Taybury, Mathias, and Caleshomo about something.

Mulroney sends Shoes over to get a closer look at what is going on. From the cat listening in, Mulroney gets that the priestess is named Zaladane, and she is looking for her sister, Lorna. The witch can tell things are getting more complicated with his potential mission.

As she argues with the others, it is clear Zaladane blames Mathias for her sister's appearance. According to the priestess, the shop owner made advances towards the girl in the past but was rebuffed as the young woman wanted nothing to do with him. Mathias is incensed at the allegation and vigorously denies any wrongdoing; he says he has no idea where Lorna went.

Mulroney can tell the argument is going poorly for the man, particularly with the dangerous group of barbarians backing the priestess up. Caleshomo and Taybury are busy trying to keep the peace, with the dwarf insisting his men can investigate but Zaladane doesn't appear to trust him.

The witch tries to move everyone away quickly, wanting to avoid becoming entangled in the affair. But it is too late and Caleshomo spots him as they try to move away. He calls out to Mulroney and beckons him over. He tells the others to go along to Thanta's and he will meet them shortly.

Resigning himself to the situation, Mulroney heads over to talk with Caleshomo. Caleshomo explains to Zaladane that Mulroney and his men are the "Heroes of Rodemus" who recently saved a group of pilgrims captured by goblins. He offers that Mulroney could assist in finding the truth out about Lorna as an independent investigator.

Zaladane isn't so sure, as Mulroney does not appear to be a very powerful man. He tells the woman he can certainly help, and offers that he is a friend of her sisters and a "hero of the realm", though says she can certainly continue to look on her own instead given all the success she's had so far.

Considering Mulroney's comments, Zaladane laughs saying she appreciates his boldness. She decides she will allow him to investigate, but gives him 48 hours to find what happened to Lorna or else she will have her warriors raze the town to the ground.

Mulroney says the time is reasonable but offers that burning the town to the ground "for the actions of one sick man" is a bit much, indicating Mathias. Zaladane says she is acting on the will of the god of her people – Garrak, the Petrified Man.

The witch offers he is not familiar with her god. She explains he was a powerful warlock of earth who transformed himself into a being of living stone. Her and her people, who she calls the Sun People, have worshipped him for ages.

Zaladane goes on to say Garrak has granted her many powers, such as the ability to communicate with her mind. She claims to have been in contact on a regular basis with Lorna, until contact was abruptly cut off a week or so ago. Mulroney tries to get more details about their last conversation but Zaladane isn't able to give anything helpful to the investigation other than something about Lorna looking for some kind of herbs (and repeats her allegations against Mathias).

Mulroney is intrigued by the mention of herbs but isn't sure what it means. He tries interrogating Mathias to see what kind of herbs Lorna was looking for, but the man doesn't appear to know what they are talking about. Mulroney says he finds that suspicious as Lorna was his apprentice so he should have been keeping a better eye on the girl. Mathias counters she wasn't a slave so he didn't keep that close of a watch on her activities.

The witch then tells Taybury he should hold the man under arrest as he seems very suspicious. Taybury grumpily agrees to keep the peace, but tells Mulroney he needs to find the girl.

He then tells Zaladane to keep him informed if she comes up with any new helpful information. She agrees to do so, but again reminds him he has 48 hours. Mulroney tries to get a "small operating expense" of 50 gold from her to aid in the investigation, but she just looks at him with scorn.

Mulroney gives Taybury a look, but the dwarf scoffs at the request as well. To keep the peace, Caleshomo agrees to cover the expenses and hands over the gold. Taybury then takes off Mathias while Zaladane and her men settle in the streets to wait.
Title: Actual Play - Palladium Fantasy: Warlords of the Wastelands
Post by: jgants on August 07, 2017, 02:27:33 PM
*** Session 04 - Scene 5 (of 9) ***

The Great Mulroney rushes to catch up with his companions heading to Thanta's house. When they are alone enough, Shoes talks to him saying that this situation with Zaladane must be the situation their dark lord mentioned. Mulroney agrees, saying the key is to avoid the town getting burned down before they can get out of it.

Mulroney tells Shoes he has a plan. The familiar asks how he can help. The witch explains his plan – he'll have Shoes use a ventriloquism spell to mimic the voice of a demon once they are at the house and tell the old woman that Mathias killed Lorna and burned the body. He hopes that will be enough to end the situation.

Once he meets up with the others, the old woman takes them into her home. She shows them into her bedroom, a simple room with a bed and a large trunk against the far wall. Mulroney asks her about the trunk – she explains it was her hope chest but now contains her old linens and things.

Mulroney wants to check out the trunk for valuables, though tells the old woman they need to check it for demons. He motions to Deadly Snow, who checks the trunk but finds nothing other than the old woman's clothes and sheets.

Nardig wonders if there could be any secret entrances to the wine store next door. He searches around, and while moving the trunk discovers there is a hidden trap door underneath. He points it out to Mulroney.

The old woman is initially confused, but then recalls there was an old trap door to the basement she forgot about. She warns them not to go down there, for that is probably where the demons are.

Mulroney says they will need to go down to make sure the demons go away. He warns her of one demon in particular, Reedicus, who will haunt her until she does a task it commands her to do. He implores her to listen to the demon and follow any instructions to get rid of it as soon as possible.

Thanta is frightened by Mulroney's tale, but he tells her to trust him. He has her go over by Nardig and have him lift up the trap door.

When Nardig opens the door, Mulroney has Shoes give his message (using the creature's creepy demonic voice). Shoes tells the woman the voice belongs to Reedikus, and that he commands her to "carry the truth" about the disappearance of Lorna.

According to "Reedikus", Mathias raped and murdered Lorna then burned her body. The voice tells her to go reveal the information to the town authorities so the truth may be known, but not to reveal how she came across the information.

Frightened by the demonic voice, Thanta agrees to do as it says. She rushes out of the house, leaving Mulroney and the others alone. Once she is out of sight, they descend the ladder below the trap door.

The ladder leads down to an underground chamber. Looking around, there is nothing around and but one way out. They leave the chamber into a narrow tunnel passage, with Nardig taking the lead and Deadly Snow guarding the rear. Mulroney lights his lantern, but has Deadly Snow carry it so that it won't interfere with Nardig's nightvision.

After following the tunnel for a short distance, Nardig comes to a T-intersection. Although his underground sense of direction isn't good enough to tell for sure, he's pretty certain the way the tunnel curved that the passage to the right will take them back towards the wine shop so he leads them that way.

It doesn't take long before the tunnel curves around again to a Y-intersection. Unsure which way to go, Nardig elects to go to the right again.

After traveling a little further, the passage eventually leads to a large chamber. The chamber has a simple table and chairs inside, with black candles around the table and a faint smell of incense in the air.

Mulroney suggests they search the table. Looking around, Deadly Snow spots a hidden drawer in the bottom of the table. Opening it, she discovers six sticks of incense.

The witch looks the incense over, using his knowledge of demonic rituals. He can tell the incense is a special type of magic incense designed to drive away evil spirits. He also knows such sticks are worth 400 gold each, so he pockets them.

Deadly Snow wants some of the sticks, but Mulroney tries telling her they are the same incense he uses in his rituals. She considers breaking his thumbs, but decides to avoid doing so for now.

Nardig looks around and finds nothing else of interest except for another path leading out of the chamber and back towards the area where he presumes the wine store to be.

They decide to follow the narrow tunnel out, which eventually leads to another small chamber this time with a ladder. Nardig searches around for anything hidden but finds nothing.
Title: Actual Play - Palladium Fantasy: Warlords of the Wastelands
Post by: jgants on August 07, 2017, 02:28:30 PM
*** Session 04 - Scene 6 (of 9) ***

Mulroney tells Nardig to head up the ladder and listen at the door. Hearing nothing, he slowly opens the trap door. It opens to a small, dark chamber with many robes hanging around.

He slowly climbs up. In front of him appears to be a sliver of vertical light in the middle of his vision. Pushing forward, he feels it is a set of wooden doors. After confirming he hears nothing, he opens the doors to the wardrobe containing the hidden passage and sees he is in Mathias' bedroom.

The hobgoblin relates the information down to the others, who decide to climb up and join him (with Shoes being carried on Mulroney's back). Nardig takes the opportunity to look around for any money hidden in the room, but finds nothing.

Leaving the bedroom, Nardig sees the back hall also leads to another, smaller room in the back with a simple bedroll. He searches around, and notices when he moves the bedroll he notices a hidden pouch is sewn into the back of it.

Nardig takes out his knife and cuts open the hidden pouch. Inside is a small collection of herbs. He shows them to Mulroney, but the witch has no idea what they are. He does, however, recall what Zaladane said about Lorna looking for herbs.

Mulroney then puts a plan into action – he takes some of the herbs and plants them in Mathias' bedroom underneath the mattress. For good measure, he cuts his hand slightly to smear some blood of them.

After planting the evidence, they decide to check out the front of the shop. There they find little except for the locked drawer where the gold is kept and the bottles of wine.

Mulroney signals to Deadly Snow to check out the drawer. Looking carefully, she can't be certain but there do not appear to be any traps. She then attempts to pick the lock, but is unable to do so and additionally is affected by the ward of burning agony that was placed on the cabinet.

As she writhes on the ground in pain, Mulroney tries to cover her mouth with his hand. She bites it. He tells her to be quiet to avoid alerting the town.

Once the pain passes, they decide what to do next. Nardig wants to steal some of the wine, but Mulroney stops him warning him they don't want anyone to know they were there because of his plan to frame Mathias but promises to buy him a fine bottle later.

Nardig grudgingly puts the bottles back, but drinks down the opened sample bottle on the counter (a fine vintage of snozberry wine). Mulroney chides him again and they all decide to leave by heading back down into the underground caverns.
Title: Actual Play - Palladium Fantasy: Warlords of the Wastelands
Post by: jgants on August 07, 2017, 03:10:19 PM
*** Session 04 - Scene 7 (of 9) ***

Deciding to explore the rest of the caverns, they may their way back to the last intersection to try the other direction. It doesn't take long before it comes to a T-intersection again.

Heading to the right, the group doesn't get very far before they come to a dead end. Despite searching around and even knocking on the wall, they find nothing so decide to turn around and go back down in the other direction.

From the rear of the group at the dead end, Nardig notices one of the small sacks on his belt, with 40 of his gold coins, has gone missing. He looks around at his companions, wondering which of them stole from him.

He asks them who is stealing from him. Deadly Snow just gives him a look while Mulroney says he has no idea what he's talking about. He tells Nardig he must be drunk from the wine; Nardig is fairly sure only a guilty man would be so defensive about it.

Nardig pushes Mulroney up against the wall and starts patting him down. Mulroney has Shoes cast a fear spell on the hobgoblin.

The mercenary is overcome by the spell and makes a run for it back down the opposite direction from where they came. What really terrifies him is when he bumps into a short, one-eyed creature with large claws.

The creature seems as surprised as Nardig is. The hobgoblin quickly draws his sword. The creature lashes out with its claws, but Nardig easily parries it.

Nardig jabs but the creature moves out of the way. The creature lunges out with a claw, raking him across the face. The hobgoblin swings wildly, but it ducks out of the way.

Another claw cuts into Nardig as Mulroney and Deadly Snow hear the commotion. They start heading towards the noise to assist.

Meanwhile, Nardig finally manages to strike the creature with his sword. The creature doesn't like that and tries to bite Nardig, but backs off when the hobgoblin's sword moves to block.

Nardig follows up with another thrust, and the creature is not able to move out of the way in time. However, it is able to sustain the injury and continues to press the attack.

The creature slashes out again with its claws, striking home. Nardig starts to get nervous about getting seriously injured and begins stepping back.

With the others approaching, the creature begins backing away as well. It decides to make a run for it.

Mulroney has Shoes run ahead of the creature so it can get into position to cast a spell. Deadly Snow tries to tackle the creature from behind, but fails and falls to the ground.

From in front of the creature, Shoes blasts the monster with an energy bolt. It tries to dodge, but fails and the energy fries him. The body is so cooked, the eye explodes. From behind the creature, Deadly Snow is dirtied as the creature voids itself.
Title: Actual Play - Palladium Fantasy: Warlords of the Wastelands
Post by: jgants on August 07, 2017, 03:10:56 PM
*** Session 04 - Scene 8 (of 9) ***

Mulroney looks over the dead creature. He can see it was a "Boogie Man". Deadly Snow surmises this must have been the creature the indigent man was talking about in the inn as she wipes herself off with a rag Mulroney hands her and tells her to keep.

Checking over the body, Nardig spots a small sack on the body; it's his bag with the 40 gold. Mulroney starts to hassle him about it, but Nardig pays Mulroney 20 of the gold to let the matter drop.

Nardig then looks around the area. He spots a large alcove with a refuse pile nearby that the boogie man was apparently running towards.

Find a large stick near the top of the pile, Nardig uses it to try and sift through the refuse. With the help of the others, they find the creature has largely stolen a bunch of litter and broken objects from the streets above but do come across a few pieces of jewelry. The hobgoblin puts them in his pouch to sell later.

Behind the large refuse pile, the group also discovers another ladder leading up. Nardig isn't sure where it might lead, so he decides to climb up to listen at the trap door.

As he gets near the top, Nardig discovers the creature trapped the ladder and some of the rungs are designed to break off. He plummets back to the ground, landing hard on some of the debris. The impact leaves him injured and he knows he'll need to get to a healer soon.

Mulroney doesn't want to emerge back from the old woman's house (as part of his plot), so he decides they should continue down the tunnel to see where it goes.

After a short while, the tunnel stops at a door. Nardig listens at the door but hears nothing. He also checks it over for traps, but it appears to be safe.

Because he is fairly injured, Nardig suggests someone else open the door and head through first. Deadly Snow opens it, discovering a circular chamber with another door on the opposite side.

The room itself is filled with several small wardrobes. Nardig opens one to discover a hook with a set of red robes and a black leather hood. He asks Mulroney about it, who explains he knows these are the clothes of the Scarlet Alliance, who wear them during their meetings to avoid revealing their identities to each other.

Mulroney considers taking a set of the clothes, but ultimately decides it would be too risky. He checks the other wardrobes but sees they are all the same, except for one which is empty. Given the doors in the chamber appear to only lock from the inside, the group surmises this room must be used to secretly change anonymously by the members before and after meetings.

Nardig listens at the door but hears nothing. He opens the door and sees the tunnel has a T-intersection, though Shoes scouts it out to discover the passage to the left leads back to the other T-intersection near where they originally entered.

Mulroney decides they should continue down the tunnel in the direction they haven't been yet. As they head down, Nardig spots some mystic symbols written on the wall. Unfortunately, no one in the group has the ability to read such symbols.

Just beyond the symbols is another Y-intersection. Mulroney devises the symbols must inform something about which way to go, but is cautious about any magical traps. He grabs some pebbles from the ground and tosses them out but nothing happens.

Still concerned, Mulroney heads back and grabs a set of robes and a hood and puts them on. He then steps past the symbols and takes the chamber to the left.

He goes down a short ways before spotting a larger chamber up ahead with some light source. He can also hear chanting. The witch heads back to inform his companions.
Title: Actual Play - Palladium Fantasy: Warlords of the Wastelands
Post by: jgants on August 07, 2017, 03:11:57 PM
*** Session 04 - Scene 9 (of 9) ***

After some discussion, Mulroney convinces the others they should proceed in the direction of the chanting rather than attempting to go down the opposite passage.

First, the witch sends in his familiar to scout things out. Through the devil cat's eyes, he sees there is a man in the chamber wearing the hood and robes of the Scarlet Alliance. In front of him is a magic circle of some type, with a larger humanoid inside of it. The other humanoid has dark skin and is clearly some kind of demon but Mulroney isn't sure what type.

To avoid releasing the demon from the binding and risk getting them all killed, Mulroney tells the others they should just wait and observe. Shoes continues to watch as the demon and the hooded man converse.

The hooded man refers to the demon by name, calling him Jalil (which means nothing to Mulroney). The echoes in the chamber and the creature's accent make it difficult to fully understand the conversation, but Jalil appears to serve some sort of master named Alknar.

Jalil says something to the man about Alknar wanting to get a sword from their enemy, someone the hooded man calls "The Hero of Black Eagle" and sending a servant to the hooded man to assist. Apparently, that servant previously served as a servant to the Hero of Black Eagle so may be of use.

As their conversation wraps up, a plan forms in Mulroney's mind. He has Nardig and Deadly Snow go hide inside the wardrobes opposite of the empty one so they can ambush the man when he goes back to remove his robes. The witch himself hides behind the door on the far end.

The man enters the room as everyone listens. He locks the door he comes in, but when he moves to lock the other door Mulroney steps in and blocks the way. The man asks, "Brother, what are you doing?" as Mulroney tries to hit him with an energy bolt. Reacting quickly, the man dodges out of the way.

Running back to the locked door, the man tries frantically to open it as Nardig and Deadly Snow burst out from their hiding spots. Before he can get out, Shoes blasts the man with a fire bolt. The hooded man collapses on to the ground.

Deadly Snow and Nardig move in quickly to pin the man to the ground. Mulroney tells the man to halt. The hooded man asks who Mulroney is and what he is doing there; he can tell Mulroney isn't really one of them.

Mulroney motions to the others, who rip off the man's hood. The witch recognizes the red-haired man as Akarios, the local wheelwright. Akarios asks what they are doing.

Masking his voice as best as he can, Mulroney tells the man to tell what he knows about Jalil or die. Akarios says he would rather die, but after Deadly Snow rips out a few of his fingernails he becomes more willing to talk.

Begging for the girl to stop, the man asks what Mulroney wants to know. Mulroney tells him to speak of the blade, the hero, Jalil, and Alknar.

Akarios explains the blade is a powerful magical sword the hero has. Apparently, the "Hero of Black Eagle" is a sorcerer from another land who has become a champion of the people in the distant community of Black Eagle. Jalil is a Jinn demon who serves some other sorcerer master in another plane, an enemy of the hero.

With little specific information to give, Akarios offers he did hear Jalil mention the hero's real name once. He has trouble remembering it, as it was some strange, foreign name. After a moment he recalls it; it was, "Sa'lid Dra'lah".
Title: Actual Play - Palladium Fantasy: Warlords of the Wastelands
Post by: jgants on August 07, 2017, 03:55:23 PM
*** Session 04 - Session Notes ***

Well, here it is - the long-awaited new session notes from our session a week or so ago. After a long delay due to summer vacation schedules, we're finally back on track (with our next session coming up this Friday).

Despite my concerns about the long delay, the session went off without a hitch. We even added back in our Skype player as Nardig, the murderous hobgoblin assassin (a great concept that will work well with the group). The hardest thing about that was the arduous process of arranging character creation via email ahead of time so we wouldn't waste a whole session on it (I really like the Palladium system, but character creation is a chore).

Given we've had four very well running sessions in a row, I feel confident that removing the one player from the group was what was needed. Hopefully this coming session all four players will be able to make it at once and we can verify the mix still flows well.

As for the campaign itself, it's moving into high gear with lots of plotlines, increasingly using elements from my past campaigns. I'm not necessarily trying to create this campaign as a magnum opus of sorts, but I am looping in some of my favorite plots together to move the story forward. One of my players referred to it as potentially being my "Dark Tower" series; I'm just hoping it won't be more of a "Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back".

Other misc notes about the session:

* I wanted to start the new PC off in media res to give him a chance to get some adventuring done before he encountered the others and as a quick way to remind him how the system works (he played in my famous Rifts North Chicago campaign, but that was many years ago).

* For Nardig's companions, I used the names / characters from the Shady Dragon Inn accessory for Basic Dungeons & Dragons to grab four thieves. I didn't bother to stat them out for the session as I was fairly sure most of them would end up dead and they were really there as window dressing and to give Nardig someone to interact with. Threshold comes from the city mentioned in the Expert set.

* Bargle is, of course, taken from the Metzner Basic Dungeons & Dragons set. The spiral symbol on the treasure chest was meant to imply he has a connection to the whole necromancer / zombie plague plot, but my intent isn't to suggest he himself is the necromancer (more on that later).

* I specifically set up the situation with the NPCs to see if Nardig would double-cross them or not. His actions were great.

* The whole "Heroes of Rodemus" thing is meant to be ironic - that three of the most evil men in town are treated like heroes (and thus roped into more nonsense). I used a similar bit of irony for a screenplay I once wrote about a serial killer who accidentally becomes a local celebrity even to the point of attracting his own serial killer (this was back in the late 90's before Jeff Lindsay's excellent "Darkly Dreaming Dexter" tread similar ground, though had that existed at the time it certainly would have influenced me).

* I purposely hit the PCs left and right with one potential plot thread after another at the celebration in the inn to keep them off balance and give them lots of options of what to do next. At least one or two of them ended up tying together in the session.

* Mulroney got dangerously close to pushing his luck with Lucina, hence my warning in the write-up. There are NPCs you can mess with, and ones you shouldn't unless you have a really good plan.

* Vera-Ellen Firefly, like the rest of her clan, comes from the Rob Zombie films House of a Thousand Corpses and The Devils Rejects. I did my best Sherri Moon Zombie impression when playing her. Mulroney was appropriately wary.

* The references to Otto and Zarzote refer to famous Ringling Brothers clown Otto Griebling and his final resting place of Sarasota, Florida.

* The joke where Baby refers to her brother as saying she's the best kisser is a play on the joke from the original Vacation movie where the cousin refers to her father.

* Theosius and his search for help is taken straight out of the Basic D&D module, The Veiled Society; a favorite module of mine I used for several other names (Thanta and Akarios), the old woman with demons in the basement plot hook, and the map for the underground area they later find.

* Zaladane, the Sun People, and Garrak the Petrified Man are taken from their respective Marvel Comics characters. If you are familiar with the characters you may get a better idea of who Lorna is based on and what may have happened to her.

* In my backstory, Mathias did, in fact, sexually harass his apprentice but his role (if any) in her disappearance is yet to be revealed.

* Zaladane gives them 48 hours because I wanted the mission to have a sense of urgency. Mulroney using that as an excuse to frame Mathias for her murder (when she may or may not be dead) was hilarious but could well cause some blowback.

* I particularly like how Mulroney keeps using the fake demon "Reedikus". I'm debating having the "real" Reedikus show up and be not to happy about his name used in vain.

* Originally I did not plan for there to be anything hidden in the table, but since they searched and made the skill roll, I thought it would make sense to have some incense there. And the purpose of warding off evil spirits will factor into other plots.

* The herbs are indeed a clue to Lorna's disappearance, but I liked that Mulroney mostly used them for his frame-job instead.

* It's meant to be ironic that Deadly Snow is hit with the same protective ward that killed Lenore earlier in the session.

* The Nardig player kept losing track of the fact the Mulroney player didn't want to leave any evidence they were in the wine shop, which was hilarious.

* The "snozberry wine" is a joke homage to the snozberries mention in Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory.

* The boogie man stealing Nardig's money was a great way to introduce some conflict and put the characters on edge.

* Deadly Snow getting defiled in the course of the boogie man's death started as an OOC joke that I decided was too funny not to have happen.

* The ladder trap is somewhat inspired by one of the traps in one of the Grimtooth's books.

* When the group explored the wardrobe room, I mistakenly said they all contained robes and hoods and had to retcon that later. As with some other elements, the robes and hoods were inspired by The Veiled Society.

* The mystic symbol on the wall was a warning about going the other direction at the intersection; it really freaked the players out. It is too bad they don't have anyone knowledgeable of magic in the group as I tend to use a lot of mystic symbols in this setting.

* Jalil and Alknar are taken straight from my Al-Qadim Caliphate of Darkness campaign from a couple of years ago. Since I never got too far with that plot, I'm repurposing some of it here.

* Black Eagle is a reference to the Black Eagle Barony from the old D&D Companion set.

* Sa'lid Dra'lah is, of course, taken straight from the D&D 4e Shadows Over Fallcrest campaign. Careful readers may note this is the second reference to demons looking for a magic sword.
Title: Session 05: Sunchipweed
Post by: jgants on August 19, 2017, 09:05:44 AM
*** Session 05 - Cast of Characters ***

The Great Mulroney: A miscreant changeling witch who believes he is human and masquerades as a prestidigitator. He sold his soul to the devil prince Glebecar and has a devil familiar named Shoes.

Yukiko Agami (The Deadly Snow): A ten-year-old aberrant human girl; a major psychic trained as a secret assassin. She considers Tickles to be her father after he raised her as an orphan.

Tickles: An anarchist coyle thief and minor psychic. He raised Yukiko from a little orphan girl into the assassin she is today so she could earn them money as a hardened killer.

Nardig: A miscreant hobgoblin mercenary exiled from his family for his evil deeds. He can control his tendencies for short periods of time to work with small groups, but will steal from them and turn on them with the slightest provocation.
Title: Actual Play - Palladium Fantasy: Warlords of the Wastelands
Post by: jgants on August 19, 2017, 09:06:37 AM
*** Session 05 - Scene 1 (of 9) ***

Tickles made his way over to the thieves' guild while the others were at the Inn of the Red Bull. Materich wasn't there, but one of his lieutenants, a hobgoblin named Doyle, is there.

Doyle greets Tickles and they talk briefly about his excursion to Rodemus. Doyle expresses Materich's gratitude for taking care of the goblins at Rodemus. He mentions perhaps Tickles and his companions can take care of the Thieves of Harr-Ki at some point as well.

Tickles asks if the Harr-Ki thieves are still causing problems. Doyle says they are, and by extorting various businesses in the region they are getting gold the guild could be getting. Still, Doyle offers, they are probably too powerful to take on at the moment given their rumored associations with demons and the like.

Doyle does offer one of his men, an orc named Sirko, did hear some interesting news about the thieves. According to Sirko, there is a tale about the thieves making an enemy of a witch in the past; someone named Tr'di. Doyle hasn't been able to find out much more about Tr'di, except that she was said to have been killed by some group known as the Cult of Cegorach.

Apparently, the cult took a magical item off the witch – some sort of amulet. Doyle wonders if the Amulet of Tr'di could be the magical item Materich mentioned that could aid in their quest against the Thieves of Harr-Ki, but notes it is a moot point as no one seems to know who the Cult of Cegorach are or where they may be located if they still exist at all.

Changing the subject, Doyle tells Tickles that Materich wants to express his gratitude by only charging Tickles half of his normal cut from the raid on Rodemus. Tickles says it is very generous, but is less enthusiastic when Doyle points out that still comes to 500 gold.

Tickles claims he didn't collect that much from Rodemus as he was a part of the team. He tries to negotiate for less money, but Doyle says Materich won't like that. He reminds Tickles that Materich has the backing of Lucina and the giants, so he kind of has to give the goblin what he wants.

The coyle offers he could start looking into the cult. Doyle said perhaps that may help, then changes the conversation slightly by saying he would never charge Tickles that much himself. Tickles, suspicious, tries to feel the hobgoblin out.

Doyle then says that if any unfortunate accident or other event were to ever happen to Materich, he'd only charge Tickles and the others 10% of their cuts when he took over as the new master of the guild. Tickles says that would be even more generous of him. The hobgoblin says he understands better that everyone at the table needs to eat.

The guild lieutenant then says of course, he isn't in charge of the guild. Tickles agrees he is not. Doyle then asks, pointing out that it is apropos of nothing, how Tickles' ward is doing. He calls her a sweet child, but Doyle describes her as surely being an efficient killer by now. He tells Tickles he's sure he'll find some way to make use of her.

Doyle then returns to the question of the money for Materich. Tickles negotiates to pay half the money now and half later. He puts it aside for safe keeping until the goblin's return and wishes Tickles well, again referring to him as his close friend.
Title: Actual Play - Palladium Fantasy: Warlords of the Wastelands
Post by: jgants on August 19, 2017, 09:07:36 AM
*** Session 05 - Scene 2 (of 9) ***

After dealing with Doyle, Tickles decides to do some more searching into the Cult of Cegaroch. Finding a rougher part of town, he starts asking around.

While he's out and about, he notices a man with a purse who has had too much to drink. He takes the opportunity to liberate the man of his pouch of 30 gold.

As for the cult, he doesn't have much luck finding anyone who has heard of them. One of the men he talks to asks if he's heard about the barbarians in town. Tickles doesn't like the sound of that.

The man goes on to explain about how the barbarian tribe calls themselves, "The Sun People". He asks the man why they call themselves that, but the man does not know.

Tickles tries to get some more information about what's going on. The man explains about Zaladane and her quest for Lorna, and how the Great Mulroney is looking into it. Tickles says he wouldn't hold his breathe on Mulroney solving the case, but is concerned when he learns the barbarians may destroy the town.

The man also discusses the rumors circling about Mathias being involved in the disappearance of Lorna. Tickles knows the man is more than just a wine merchant and wants to talk to him, but since Taybury took the man into custody he figures that could be problematic.

Joking that he can sleep easy with Mulroney on the case, Tickles leaves the man and heads home. There he finds one of Deadly Snow's pigeons with a message on its leg. He unscrolls the message to find she has left a note for him about heading to Thanta's house to help Mulroney with the investigation into Lorna. He decides to head over.
Title: Actual Play - Palladium Fantasy: Warlords of the Wastelands
Post by: jgants on August 19, 2017, 09:08:32 AM
*** Session 05 - Scene 3 (of 9) ***

Tickles tries not to be seen on his way over, but isn't quite as stealthy as he'd like. When he notices someone actually spots him, he coughs and tries to act like he wasn't sneaking around; he doesn't want to ruin his reputation.

When he arrives at the home of the old woman next to the Drunken Cyclops, he sees the front door is closed and does not appear to be broken into. He circumnavigates the house, looking for anything suspicious or alternate ways to enter.

One the side facing the wine shop, he finds a window. After discovering it is unlocked, he looks inside to see there are some candles lit. The room through the window appears to be a bedroom, with a bed and a chest moved away from the wall.

Seeing the trap door next to the wall where the chest was moved away, Tickles climbs through the window into the room. He opens the trap door to see the ladder leading to a cavern below. He decides to head down.

Finding himself in the cavern, he spots the tunnel leading out of the area he climbs down to. He makes his way carefully through the tunnel, trying to keep an ear out for any noises down there. There are some echoing noises, but he has a hard time telling where they are coming from.

Making his way around, he comes to various caverns and intersections. After wandering around for a while, he steps over a short body of some dead humanoid creature and hears some noises coming from the passage below – it sounds like some talking and cries of pain.

The tunnel eventually leads to an open door. Beyond the door appears to be some kind of room.
Title: Actual Play - Palladium Fantasy: Warlords of the Wastelands
Post by: jgants on August 19, 2017, 09:09:43 AM
*** Session 05 - Scene 4 (of 9) ***

Inside the room, Mulroney, Nardig, and Deadly Snow are interrogating Akarios. They are having problems following his tale about all the people with strange names – Alknar, Jalil, and Sa'lid Dra'lah along with the unnamed servant who is supposed to be coming to meet with Akarios soon.

Nardig hears someone coming down the tunnel from the open door. Mulroney gags Akarios and drags him off to the side, leaving Deadly Snow and Nardig to ambush whoever is coming.

When Tickles pokes his head in the door, Nardig (who doesn't recognize the coyle) moves to tackle him. The hobgoblin dives at the thief's legs, but Tickles moves quickly out of the way.

With Nardig on the ground, Tickles jumps on top of him and pins him to the ground. Mulroney yells for Tickles to stop, who insists he is just defending himself.

It takes a moment, but Mulroney clears up the confusion by introducing Tickles to Nardig. The two men eye each other with disdain.

Mulroney shuts the door as Tickles asks what they are doing. Deadly Snow moves in and gives him a hug, which slightly embarrasses him.

Over the next several minutes, Mulroney brings Tickles up to speed on what they've been up to with framing Mathias and searching for Lorna. Tickles notes he knows some of what is going on from the rumors he heard in town.

Mulroney talks about the old woman and her tale of demons, and how they came down and discovered Akarios summoning a jinn. Tickles gets some clarification on what the summoner was talking to the demon about, but is mostly concerned if the man knows anything about the Cult of Cegaroch.

Ungagging the man, Deadly Snow applies some pressure to get more information out of him but he claims not to know anything. Mulroney beats him about the head and shoulders a bit with his staff, but that has no better of results.

Tickles asks what they plan to do with Akarios. Mulroney says, looking straight at the man, that it depends on what further information he can provide them. Mulroney begins asking about the servant coming to meet him, but Akarios doesn't know much except that the servant is a male goblin.

Mulroney mocks the man for not knowing when the goblin will arrive, but Akarios explains the goblin is traveling from a land far away so he's not sure how long that may take. Mulroney asks how the goblin will find him, and Akarios explains he is supposed to arrive at his wheelwright shop (as the summoner poses as the town wheelwright).

With no other valuable information to get out of the man, Mulroney walks behind him and quickly cuts his throat. Deadly Snow is not amused at the dishonorable killing. Tickles starts to get nervous, but his young ward continues to contain herself.

Mulroney can tell she's upset, so he offers to give her some of the magical incense he found earlier. But instead, he double-crosses her by giving her a couple of the non-magical sticks from his personal supply. He watches Nardig carefully, hoping to make an ally out of the evil hobgoblin against the father and daughter team.

Deadly Snow decides to punish Mulroney by throwing one of her knives a little too near Shoes. The cat arcs its back, hissing. It then casts a spell on Deadly Snow, causing her to cower in the corner in fear, wetting herself.

Tickles tells Mulroney to call off her cat as the in-fighting isn't helping anyone. Mulroney pretends to call off the cat while mentally having him hiss at her again.

Mulroney makes a comment about the girl dropping her knife. Tickles points out it was a warning, saying they can't keep killing everyone they encounter. Mulroney insists it was necessary, otherwise the man would have brought down the wrath of the Scarlet Alliance on them.

Saying he is an honorable man (which Tickles disagrees with immediately), Mulroney agrees to let all future such decisions be settled by the group as a whole. Letting the matter drop, Tickles suggests they hide the body but Mulroney feels there is no good way to hide it and not leave evidence of some kind.

Instead, Mulroney has Nardig drag the body of the dead boogie man into the room and places his knife in the creature's hand and stages the two bodies to look like they died fighting each other. The effect is not perfect, but may be close enough to fool someone who doesn't investigate too close.
Title: Actual Play - Palladium Fantasy: Warlords of the Wastelands
Post by: jgants on August 19, 2017, 09:10:49 AM
*** Session 05 - Scene 5 (of 9) ***

With the body of Akarios dealt with and Deadly Snow recovered from Shoes' spell, the group discusses what to do next. Mulroney explains what they've found so far, but that there was also a section after the mystic symbol on the cavern wall they have not been to yet. They agree the best course of action is to go down the other corridor.

Tickles takes the lead, with Nardig following then Mulroney and finally Deadly Snow in the rear. The witch is a little nervous about having the disgruntled assassin behind him so he has Shoes keep a close eye on her.

The thief tries to be quiet as he scouts slightly ahead of the others, but his footsteps echo in the caverns despite his best efforts. It attracts the denizens of the chamber just beyond the mystic symbol in the caverns – three plague zombies.

The plague zombies move in quickly to attack. Tickles tries to run away, but the coyle isn't very fast and the creatures catch up with him.

Back in the cavern, Nardig sees Tickles ambling towards him saying something about plague zombies. Just then one of them reaches him, biting his shoulder from behind. He turns and fends off a second attack with his war hammer.

Mulroney calls out to everyone to back up towards the intersection. It takes some time for that to occur with everyone trying to move in the tight space, so Tickles swings his war hammer and smashes into the plague zombie.

As the others coordinate their moves, the plague zombie tears into Tickles' armor, destroying it. With everyone else out of his way, he is able to move back so Tickles takes a tactical retreat. As he does so, the zombie gets in another slight bite on his arm.

With just enough of an opening, Deadly Snow starts tossing knives at the zombie. She throws a series of six of them in rapid succession, hitting with them all but not quite stopping the creature.

The group splits at the intersection, with Mulroney getting behind Nardig on one side and Tickles getting behind Deadly Snow on the other.

Mulroney uses his magic to heal Nardig so he can better participate in the fight. Shoes uses a spell as well.

The zombies split as well, attacking Nardig and Deadly Snow. Nardig strikes the one approaching him with his sword, but fails to hit with a follow-up attack.

Deadly Snow uses her axe to attack the zombie on her. She lops off a large chunk of the creature with a powerful strike. Tickles assists by throwing a dagger over her head into the zombie.

The zombie, badly damaged, attacks at Deadly Snow but she easily deflects the blow. Nardig does the same on the zombie attacking him.

Deadly Snow continues to chop into the zombie in front of her, cutting off another chunk. It bites back, damaging her armor. She responds by burying her axe into the creature's skull, killing it.

Nardig attempts to attack the zombie in front of him, but can't seem to get a hit. He does, however, manage to fend off a further attack by the zombie.

Deadly Snow moves in to attack the third zombie in the cavern, placing herself between the two zombies. She gets in a quick strike and blocks a counter-attack by the creature.

Meanwhile, the other zombie continues to attack Nardig but he also continues to fend off the attacks. He strikes back with his sword, cutting into the creature.
With just enough of an opening, Mulroney and Shoes fire energy bolts into the zombie attacking Nardig. The creature sustains the attack but is badly damaged.

Deadly Snow misses badly with her next attack, leaving herself open. The flesh-eating zombie bites at her arm, injuring her. Tickles throws a dagger into it to help.

The zombie on Nardig damages his armor with another attack. The attack rattles him, and he isn't able to hit it back with his sword. The zombie bites him again, this time hitting flesh. He thrusts with the sword, skewering the zombie through the skull.

Moving quickly, Deadly Snow deflects another attack from the remaining zombie. She gets in a series of two swings with her axe, heavily damaging it. Tickles assists with another thrown dagger. The others wait and let Deadly Snow finish the creature off with her axe.
Title: Actual Play - Palladium Fantasy: Warlords of the Wastelands
Post by: jgants on August 19, 2017, 09:12:29 AM
*** Session 05 - Scene 6 (of 9) ***

Once the zombies are destroyed, Mulroney sends in Shoes to investigate the cavern beyond but finds it empty. Tickles goes in to look for any secret doors or other things hidden in the chamber, but finds nothing. Apparently, this cavern was simply some sort of quarantine area holding the zombies (possibly by the mystic symbol on the cavern wall).

The group spends some time discussing what to do next. Mulroney wants to investigate the ladder in the boogie man's lair.

Since it was trapped before, Tickles offers he could use his grappling hook to test the remaining rungs on the ladder. Mulroney instead offers to head up himself and poke at the trap door with his staff.

He does so, pushing the trap door up just enough to see if there is anyone up there. Some light comes through from the opening and sounds near the door, but not immediately next to it.

Mulroney climbs back down and discusses if it would be better to exit into the wine shop or Thanta's house instead. Given the trap door is still in open view at Thanta's house, they decide that makes the most sense.

They make their way back up into the woman's bedroom. No one appears to have been there yet. Deadly Snow moves to change into some of the old woman's clothes, but Mulroney yells at her to sneak home instead. She moves silently out the window and into the shadows.

As she does so, Nardig and Mulroney move the trunk to conceal the trap door again. Meanwhile, Tickles tries to sneak out the window as well.

Unfortunately, Tickles is not as stealthy and someone calls out, "Stop, thief!" Looking out the window, Mulroney is shocked to see several town guardsmen making their way towards Tickles. He quickly has Shoes cast a blinding flash while he generates a cloud of smoke.

Tickles slips away in the confusion. When the smoke clears, Mulroney and Nardig see Taybury there with a sergeant (who appears ready to throw his club at any source of danger) and several guards. Taybury yells out to ask what is going on.

Mulroney runs to the window and cries out calls of "Thief!" Taybury comes to the door of the home and asks Mulroney what he is doing there. The witch spins a tale about waiting for the old woman.

Taybury explains the old woman told him a story about Mathias killing Lorna and burning the body, which he was coming to investigate when one of the guards spotted someone sneaking out of the old woman's home. Mulroney explains how Thanta asked him for help with demons talking to her and witnessed her apparently speaking with such a creature along with some "grumbling and groaning sounds", though they saw and heard nothing.

After the old woman left, Mulroney claims they waited around for her to return then spotted a thief who snuck into the house. He says the thief must have used some magical device to affect his escape.

Taybury is suspicious of Mulroney's story, but ultimately accepts he has no better evidence of what occurred and does not challenge the veracity of the man's tale.

The two then discuss the woman's story. Taybury doesn't feel she is a reliable witness to anything, but Mulroney says he believes something very strange is going on. Taybury can't argue with that.

Taybury says he and his men will investigate into the old woman's story but suggests Mulroney and his companion continue to look for Lorna. Mulroney agrees they don't want Beartooth burned to the ground.

When the gruff dwarf says he expects to see results soon, Mulroney asks if anyone has investigated at the wine shop yet. The dwarf says he'll allow Mulroney to go investigate, but the witch explains as he is not a member of the law he wouldn't want to go in without an official representative.

Taybury assigns on of his town guards, Sgt. Hooker, to accompany them while he and the others search for the escaped thief. Using a set of master skeleton keys for town, Hooker opens the door and they head inside.
Title: Actual Play - Palladium Fantasy: Warlords of the Wastelands
Post by: jgants on August 19, 2017, 09:13:29 AM
*** Session 05 - Scene 7 (of 9) ***

Inside the Drunken Cyclops, Mulroney suggests they look the place over from top to bottom. He offers that he and Nardig can search the front area and Lorna's room while Hooker looks in Mathias' room. With a swift motion, the agile sergeant glides himself across the counter and to the other side to go look while Mulroney opens the half door to get to the back.

It doesn't take long before Hooker says he found something. Using his fingers to dab something he found, he tastes them in his mouth and says he appears to have found blood. Mulroney expresses his surprise in his usual flamboyant manner.

Hooker explains the blood was on some herbs he found under Mathias' bed. While Hooker is sniffing at the herbs and attempting to figure out what they are, Mulroney tries to bring up Zaladane's mention of Lorna looking for herbs. But as the sergeant wasn't at that conversation he doesn't know what the man is talking about. Mulroney carries on about how the whole thing is very strange indeed.

Saying the area is clearly a crime scene, Mulroney says they should clear out. He calls out for Nardig to put down the wine. The hobgoblin grumbles as the witch keeps thwarting his plans.

As Hooker is roping off the door with a "keep out" sign, they make their leave and head back to Tickles' home. When the coyle answers the door, Mulroney immediately begins needling him about his display of speed and stealth.

The witch does explain their plan to frame Mathias is going well, which Tickles is happy about, but points out since they haven't actually found out what happened yet they'll want to keep a real close eye on time so they aren't anywhere around when the 48-hour limit is up. Tickles notes this is the first anyone has mentioned having a time limit.

Tickles asks what the chances are they can stop Zaladane from tearing the town apart. Mulroney says he is hoping that framing Mathias will be good enough.

Just to be safe, Tickles suggests they continue to look into the disappearance. Deadly Snow is OK with sacrificing Mathias for the good of the town if it comes to that, but agrees they should try to find him. He asks if they have any other clues, and Mulroney says he kept some of the herbs.

Tickles suggests they begin by asking around about the herbs. Mulroney doesn't want the herbs connected back to him, so they'll want to do it discreetly.

The thief thinks up a good plan to have Mulroney ask Sgt. Hooker for a small sample. Once they get that, they can openly talk to the apothecary to figure out more information about the herbs.
Title: Actual Play - Palladium Fantasy: Warlords of the Wastelands
Post by: jgants on August 19, 2017, 09:14:35 AM
*** Session 05 - Scene 8 (of 9) ***

They all head over to the local apothecary's shop, ran by an old woman named Kalda. Mulroney tells her they are there are important business from Taybury (after getting the name wrong a few times).

Mulroney hands over the herbs he got from Sgt. Hooker along with the others so she has enough to examine. Looking over the herbs, she says it contains some whey, tomato powder, and something rarer in there.

Kalda starts asking where they got the herbs when Nardig interrupts her to ask if she has any poisons. She says she does not sell poisons, as she wants to help people with her herbs. Nardig settles for spending 5 gold on pipe weed.

Mulroney asks what happens when someone indulges too much in pipe weed. Kalda says they will lose their ambition. When he presses her for what happens after, she says sometimes they get hungry as well and possibly impotent. Mulroney lets the matter drop.

The old woman asks again about where the herbs came from, but Mulroney won't tell her saying it is confidential. She says it is difficult to help without all the information, but that they must have come from out in the wild caverns somewhere.

She doesn't recall coming across this particular herb before but offers her assistant may have. Mulroney asks who the assistant is, and she gives the name as Galen. The witch doesn't recognize the name.

Kalda calls up Galen, who appears to be a handsome young teenage boy. Mulroney asks if he's ever seen the herbs before. He says he has not, but Tickles and Mulroney think he may be lying.

Mulroney tells Kalda they need to speak to the boy privately. When they get him alone in a back room, Mulroney forces the matter with the boy more. Deadly Snow makes some threatening gestures and the boy is scared but doesn't talk.

With the boy nearly catatonic, Mulroney decides to change tactics. He calls out for Tickles to stop her. While Tickles makes a crack about Mulroney always being the voice of reason, Mulroney coddles the boy and has Shoes rub up against him.

Using his golden tongue, Mulroney convinces Galen he'd be better off telling him what he knows. Galen cracks, saying all he did was tell Lorna where she could find the sunchipweed. Mulroney is confused by the name of the herb, having never heard of it before.

Mulroney asks why he didn't say anything earlier. Galen explains he didn't want the girl to get into trouble as she mentioned whatever she was using it for was something she wasn't supposed to do yet.

Interrogating further, Mulroney gets out of the boy that he and Lorna were on somewhat intimate terms. Deadly Snow looks on with disdain, surprised Mulroney is able to follow even the obvious train of clues.

The witch asks Galen to tell him where he found the herbs and gave them to her. He said he found it out near the cavern where Lorna likes to practice her magical rituals.

Feeling they are really on to something, Mulroney asks the lad if he's ever been around for any of the rituals but he says she never let him. Mulroney has the boy take them out to the cavern to show them.
Title: Actual Play - Palladium Fantasy: Warlords of the Wastelands
Post by: jgants on August 19, 2017, 09:15:29 AM
*** Session 05 - Scene 9 (of 9) ***

Lorna's secret cavern is located a fair distance out of town, an hour or so away and off the beaten path. As they get near, Galen tells them it is just up ahead.

Mulroney presses the boy to continue on with them. He says he has never been closer than this as Lorna warned him it was dangerous, but Mulroney tells him it will be all right.

As they get closer, Mulroney asks more about the sunchipweed. Galen doesn't know much about it, except that it was an herb she needed for some magical ritual. He explains they are normally just used as a seasoning for baked goods.

They decide to approach the cavern with Mulroney and Galen in front, with Nardig behind Galen, and Tickles and Deadly Snow following in single file order.

As they walk through a field of light cave grass on the way, it releases sports of a fungus growing. As the cloud comes up into their faces, Galen starts coughing. Mulroney tells the others to run.

Everyone begins heading backwards while Galen stops to cough. Tickles uses his grappling hook to pull the youth out of the fungal field. Nardig tries to determine what the fungus was, but only Tickles spots it as choking fungus.

Unfortunately, all the noise has attracted something. A lizard-like creature with large flaps on skin on its legs looks out from a nearby ledge on a rocky outcropping; its curly tail raised high. It is a sloderi.

Deadly Snow decides to make a run for the cave. The sloderi jumps off its ledge and begins gliding towards her. Behind them, Nardig decides to head to the cave as well. Tickles, however, decides to hide himself behind a nearby boulder.

Mulroney calls to Galen to run back to town to save himself. He then sprints for the cave himself.

Everyone making a run for it gets into the cave. It is a medium-sized, single chamber cavern. Mulroney positions himself behind Deadly Snow, who herself tries to hide in the shadows as best she can (despite Mulroney's lantern shining behind her).

The creature makes the first attack, lashing out at Nardig with one of its claws and drawing blood. Nardig strikes back with a skewering strike of his sword and the lizard cries out in pain.

Mulroney and Shoes each blast the creature with energy bolts. Deadly Snow opts to throw a pair of daggers into it, but both bounce off its scaled hide.

The other claw of the creature cuts into Nardig's leg, wounding him further. Distracted by pain, Nardig is not able to hit the creature with his counterattack.

After blocking the sloderi's bite attack with his shield, Nardig wounds it with his sword.

Deadly Snow jumps over the creature with a backflip to get behind it. She stabs into it from behind with her daggers but the small blades barely wound it.

As Nardig blocks the sloderi's tail with his shield, Deadly Snow finishes it off from behind with her daggers.

Once the battle is over, Deadly Snow signals Tickles to come meet them. They find the cavern contains several chalk drawings on the floor along with some pages of written notes.

In the center of the room is a cauldron full of some sort of liquid. Nardig examines it closely, but can't tell if it is poison or anything else. Tickles can't identify the smell either.

As they examine it, a ghostly visage of an armored knight emerges from the wall. The figure draws a sword from his side and tells them all to leave immediately or face certain death…
Title: Actual Play - Palladium Fantasy: Warlords of the Wastelands
Post by: jgants on August 19, 2017, 09:36:12 AM
*** Session 05 - Session Notes ***

This was the first time in the campaign we've had all four players at once. While it doesn't run quite as smooth as it did with only three players, it still went pretty well (and having four of them is much better for exploration / combat, if not investigative scenes).

Per my usual style, I always start by catching up whoever hasn't been around recently - not only because I loathe a RPG session that doesn't make sense as a story (I hate it when other GMs just "teleport" PCs in and out of the story based on whether they show up to a session or not), but also because it gives that player a chance to get engaged in what's going on early on.

The highlight of the session was the fact one of the players brought a bag of Sun Chips for snacks then later asked me for the herb name so I gave "Sunchipweed". Hilariously, he didn't get the joke so the rest of us had to stop the game for over 10 minutes to laugh and mock him.

Random notes from the session:
* The tale of the Thieves of Harr-Ki is just there to keep that subplot in the back of the player's minds. The witch named Tr'di is another in-joke tied back to the main joke about who the thieves are modeled after.

* The Cult of Cegaroch comes from the Games Workshop background for the Harlequins. Hence, the cult and the renegade clowns are one in the same (though the players don't know that yet as none of them are fans of the GW games).

* Doyle trying to politically maneuver around Materich is a subplot I had planned for the thieves' guild. I want the guild to have a lot of plotting and back-stabbing going on. The Tickles player, however, didn't seem to want to engage in that subplot at the moment.

* The Tickles player spontaneously decided that since he was in the bad part of town looking for info, he might as well rob someone. I love it so provided the victim.

* Deadly Snow's message is a bit of a retcon, but I needed some way to get Tickles caught up to the group.

* The goblin Akarios is referring to is Snarg, the character from both my D&D 4e Nentir Vale campaign and my AD&D Al-Qadim campaign. The players figured that out a while ago even if their characters don't know who he is yet.

* I loved the "staged crime scene" with Akarios' body, though I'm not sure why they didn't just try to hide or dispose of it another way.

* Tickles and Deadly Snow aren't nearly as murderous as Mulroney and Nardig, which should lead to some more conflict down the road.

* The quarantined plague zombies are part of the whole plague zombie plot that is still being fleshed out.

* The Boogie Man's ladder emerged into an alley, which I thought was implied enough before. But the players seemed very nervous about where it might lead.

* Sgt. Hooker wasn't named in the session nor did he do anything of note during the actual play. In the write-up, I needed a name so I threw in some T.J. Hooker jokes.

* The herbs Kalda recognizes are ingredients from the bag of Sun Chips sitting on the game table. I read them off directly (which made it even better when he didn't get the "sunchipweed" joke just a few minutes later).

* I'm not sure what Mulroney was going for with asking about the pipe weed. He kept wanting an answer that wasn't a pot-related joke, but I'm not sure why.

* When the name Galen came up, the players furiously started looking through their notes just to make sure he'd never been mentioned before.

* I forgot to note which book the sloderi came from so spent forever trying to look it up so I could show the players what it looked like. Mental note for later - always reference book and page.

* The cauldron in the cave and the magic ritual is implying Lorna was attempting the "magic cauldron" ritual. But what exactly happened is still to be revealed.

* The ghostly knight hasn't been identified yet, but let's just say he's another call back to a previous campaign I ran...
Title: Session 06: Sir Percy's Tale
Post by: jgants on August 30, 2017, 11:53:05 AM
*** Session 06 - Cast of Characters ***

The Great Mulroney: A miscreant changeling witch who believes he is human and masquerades as a prestidigitator. He sold his soul to the devil prince Glebecar and has a devil familiar named Shoes.

Yukiko Agami (The Deadly Snow): A ten-year-old aberrant human girl; a major psychic trained as a secret assassin. She considers Tickles to be her father after he raised her as an orphan.

Nardig: A miscreant hobgoblin mercenary exiled from his family for his evil deeds. He can control his tendencies for short periods of time to work with small groups, but will steal from them and turn on them with the slightest provocation.
Title: Actual Play - Palladium Fantasy: Warlords of the Wastelands
Post by: jgants on August 30, 2017, 11:53:37 AM
*** Session 06 - Scene 1 (of 7) ***

Seeing the spirit, Mulroney determines it is a haunting entity, a type of intangible apparition bound to the world of the living due to some unresolved situation and are usually stuck in their own past. As a haunting entity, the witch knows it could be good or evil and can't harm them physically but could assault them psionically.

Knowing the entity may or may not be aware enough to reason with, Mulroney decides to try and talk to it given his instructions from Enilefil. Before he can do so, some noises break out near the opening of the cave. Everyone turns to see a humanoid shape begin to form from the rocks and earth.

Deadly Snow isn't sure if what is happening is real, or part of a psychic attack by the entity. She activates a mind block to protect herself. Tickles, however, believes that discretion is the better part of valor and makes a run for it before the figure can completely block the way.

Mulroney turns back to the ghost, telling it they are there to look for his mistress, Lorna. He says something happened to her and they are there to help.

The knight raises his sword and advances towards the figure of rock and earth. He tells them all it is too late now, and they must protect themselves. Too late, Mulroney realizes the ghost's statement about leaving was not a threat, but a warning against this other entity. He surmises it must be an evil tectonic entity.

Nardig turns to face the tectonic entity, preparing to defend himself with his shield. The entity punches at him, but manages to get around the hobgoblin's shield. The resulting strike slams him in the shoulder, cracking some bones.

Deadly Snow considers running out to follow Tickles, but the creature is fully-formed now and standing in the way. She throws a couple of daggers at the creature instead, but they bounce harmlessly off of its stone body. Mulroney calls out to let his companions know a tectonic entity can only be damaged by psionics or magic.

Mulroney then casts out a fire bolt, but the entity moves out of the way. Shoes casts a fire bolt as well, and that one hits. With no way to attack the creature, Nardig maneuvers himself behind Mulroney for protection. The witch is a bit nonplussed about a warrior hiding behind him.

The ghostly knight moves in and strikes at the tectonic entity, wounding it with his spiritual sword. Deadly Snow drops her mind block and uses a telekinetic kick to attack the creature but the entity parries the attempt. The telekinetic feedback injures Deadly Snow instead.

The entity strikes back at the ghost knight, who deflects the blow with his sword. Deadly Snow strikes twice more with a combination of kicks, damaging the creature further but further injuring her leg from the stress of the extra energy.

With the last of her inner strength, Deadly Snow gives a powerful strike directly into the center of the creature, temporarily disrupting its cohesion.  The knight tries to take advantage of the situation, but the entity reforms quickly enough to block his strike. Out of options, Deadly Snow follows Nardig's example and moves herself behind the ghost knight.

Shoes blasts the entity with another fire bolt, but does relatively little damage. The creature attempts to dodge Mulroney's spell, but fails and takes the full brunt of his fire bolt.

The knight strikes at the creature again, but it knocks the sword aside. However, it then turns and stomps out of the cave off into the distance. As it walks away, the knight tells them they must have damaged it enough to convince it to leave.
Title: Actual Play - Palladium Fantasy: Warlords of the Wastelands
Post by: jgants on August 30, 2017, 11:54:32 AM
*** Session 06 - Scene 2 (of 7) ***

With the fight over for the moment, Mulroney asks the knight if Lorna brought the entity there to protect the cave. The knight says no, saying he isn't sure who Lorna is. He asks Mulroney if she would have been the young woman he saw some days ago here.

When Mulroney says that would have been Lorna, the knight explains he and the tectonic entity were both drawn to the cave by the same power. He points to the cauldron.

Mulroney asks what happened, if she was trying to summon something but had unintended consequences. The knight says he believes she made a mistake of some kind and inadvertently drew them there.

When Mulroney asks what happened to Lorna, the knight tells him a third entity was summoned as well. He names the third entity as Ma'leese. According to the knight, Ma'leese possessed Lorna and then left.

Deadly Snow asks if the cauldron is still drawing entities to the area. The knight says he understands little of magic, but from his time alive he recalls this sort of ritual will cause evil spirits to be drawn to it if the contents are not dumped out after the ritual. Mulroney makes sure to stand well away as the young girl dumps the contents.

The knight gives his approval at the actions. Putting his sword away, he introduces himself to them as Sir Percy of Scandia. Mulroney doesn't recognize the name so he asks the ghost why he is still wandering the Earth.

According to Sir Percy, he is trapped to remain as a spirit due to the way he died. He explains that unlike most entities of his type, he is more aware of his state of being.

Sir Percy goes on to say he is not from their world, and died many centuries ago (in a time on his world known as the "12th Century"). According to Sir Percy, he came from a land known as "England"; a half-formed memory starts to bug Mulroney at the back of his mind at the mention of England, but he cannot clarify what it means.

While Mulroney is wondering about this England, Nardig asks Sir Percy if his unique condition allows him to come and go as he pleases. He says he is bound, in a manner of sorts.

Sir Percy explains by starting with the tale of his life and death. Back when he was a young knight in England, he was recruited by a man named Prester John to form a new kingdom in a land on his world called "The Orient". He says he believed Prester John was a human from the lands of "Europe", but he later discovered he was a different type of humanoid known as an "Atlantean". According to Sir Percy, Prester John came from this world (which he calls Palladium) many millennia ago.

Getting back on subject, Sir Percy says Prester John formed his kingdom in the Orient to guard against the release of a powerful, ancient entity known as the Lord of the Deep. The Lord of the Deep is a dark, powerful entity that lives below the depths of the oceans in his world. Sir Percy likens it to the tales of the Old Ones in the Palladium world.

As Sir Percy's tale continues, he says one day the leader of an evil cult of followers of the Lord of the Deep, known as the Witch Lord. The Witch Lord led an assault on Prester John's castle with a small army of demons from the sea. The Witch Lord used a powerful blade made from evil magic in his assault – a demon sword known as the ebony blade.

Sir Percy says the Witch Lord slew him with that blade, causing his soul to be forever bound to it. Because of the binding, Sir Percy has a better understanding of the weapon and its properties. He explains the blade was made with a particular alloy of magical minerals mined from Hades itself, the home dimension of the demons. The Witch Lord himself carved the runes into it to enchant it further with its power to absorb souls.

Deadly Snow asks what the purpose of the sword was. Sir Percy explains it was forged as a weapon in the great war between the demons of Hades and the other evil entities who opposed them, the devils of Hell (or Dyval, as the creatures themselves call it).

Mulroney recognizes the ebony blade as potentially being the magic sword Akarios and Jalil were discussing – the one being used by Sa'lid Dra'lah in Black Eagle and that Alknar wanted to acquire. He decides to ask Sir Percy if he's ever heard of Sa'lid or Alknar. Sir Percy doesn't recognize the names, though admits he can't recall the names of everyone he has come into contact with since his death. According to his explanation, his interactions with the living tend to fade in his mind over time.

Deadly Snow mentions she believes they are looking for the same sword that killed him, and asks what they may need to know about handling it. Sir Percy tells her they must be very careful, for the sword's dark magic that absorbs souls can also corrupt its wielder through the power of the souls of the devils the Witch Lord slew and bound into it.

Sir Percy goes on to say how Prester John defeated the Witch Lord and his army of demons, though died in the attempt. Though John's kingdom soon crumbled, the sword was protected by a powerful magic and placed under the protection of Sir Eobar of Garrington. Garrington's family protected the sword from everyone until centuries later when the Garrington Castle was destroyed during a cataclysmic event on Sir Percy's world he calls "The Coming of the Rifts".

The knight can't really explain what happened, but says something about how a great eruption of magical energy caused gates to many other planes to open and become invaded by all manner of creatures and entities. In the aftermath, the sword was found by an adventuring knight named Palin Partur, but just touching the blade caused Partur to be possessed and transformed into a demon calling itself, "The Bloodwraith". Sir Percy says he has heard of some creatures known as blood wraiths on this world (referring to the undead creatures of the Lands of the Damned) but clarifies this Bloodwraith is unrelated.

According to Sir Percy, the Bloodwraith used Partur's body as a demonhost. The creature spread terror and destruction as part of a cult of followers of a necromancer known as Avaj Eroc while being hunted down by one of Partur's old companions, another knight named D'artagnon.

D'artagnon was never able to find the Bloodwraith himself, but he enlisted the help of another knight named Rugar Blascan. Blascan killed the creature with a magical spear then took careful possession of the sword. Fearful the sword would be taken by a member of his own group who had been tainted by demons, a wizard named Liftkor, Blascan gave possession over to a powerful cabal of wizards calling themselves the Ungala Draconis.

The Ungala Draconis live in a fortress inside of a pocket dimension, and it was there Sir Percy stayed with the sword until the cabal used a ceremony to destroy it. Sir Percy thought he was free, but something happened later to cause the sword to re-form; Sir Percy again notes his ignorance of the ways of magic and cannot explain precisely what occurred.

After the sword reformed, a devil named Enilefil snuck into the fortress of the Ungala Draconis and stole the blade, giving it over to a devil lord named Glebecar. The next years were spent with Sir Percy and the blade trapped in the possession of Glebecar as he wielded it in a series of conflicts in the war against the demons of Hades.

In the final days of the war that Sir Percy experienced, the conflict took place in a different world where large ships of metal moved through the dark seas of the sky along with great floating cities. In a gigantic city known as "Center", Glebecar fought against a demon lord named Zelezn.

During the battle, the sword was lost and fell through a portal to this world. Sir Percy and the other souls inside the blade were dragged along with it. As Sir Percy explains this, Mulroney starts to piece together the story in his mind; clearly Enilefil was sent to get Mulroney to find out where the sword is so he can return it to their dark lord, Glebecar.

Mulroney asks if the sword controls him, but he says he is simply "bound" to it. He knows the sword is somewhere in this region, but not precisely where. He similarly explains to Deadly Snow the sword cannot open portals to other worlds itself.

Nardig asks if he can leave the cave, and Sir Percy says he can. Mulroney asks if he can communicate telepathically and Sir Percy explains that is how he is "speaking" with them now.

Mulroney tries asking how they can free Sir Percy from his imprisonment to the mortal plane. Deadly Snow is suspicious at this attempt to seem helpful, but says nothing. Sir Percy says because of the unique situation with the sword, he isn't sure if freeing him to move on is even possible (since it didn't happen last time the sword was destroyed).

Nardig asks Sir Percy if he could join them to help search for and destroy the sword. The ghostly night examines them a minute then says he would not care to continue his association with them. He says there is a strange touch of evil associated with them.

Mulroney tries to say they are agents of honesty and decency, which almost causes Deadly Snow to openly show disgust. Sir Percy looks over at Shoes. Mulroney asks why he is interested in his cat.

Sir Percy's tone grows dark as he says, "It is one of them!" Looking at all of them, he says they are not there to help at all, but are more agents of evil who want the sword for themselves. Mulroney tries to argue they want to help but he says he will take his leave of them. Ignoring Mulroney's request for more information on Ma'leese, Sir Percy says he will not help them find the sword and disappears back into the cavern wall.
Title: Actual Play - Palladium Fantasy: Warlords of the Wastelands
Post by: jgants on August 30, 2017, 11:56:45 AM
*** Session 06 - Scene 3 (of 7) ***

After Sir Percy leaves, Mulroney says they should look around for any secret compartments in the cave just to be sure. Nardig and Deadly Snow look around carefully, but find nothing.

Deadly Snow then looks outside the cave for signs of Lorna's tracks, but finds nothing. Nardig, however, picks up a set of tracks near the cave, leading away towards the settlement of Rikki. Mulroney finds that fortuitous, as he needs to take care of the renegade clowns in that area anyway.

Since they are injured and badly fatigued after their recent encounters, Mulroney believes they should spend some time resting and meditating before heading out again.

He begins by applying some first aid to Nardig, bandaging his injured shoulder. He tries assisting with Deadly Snow's wounds as well, but can't provide much help to her sprained ankle.

The group then decide to head back to Beartooth to rest in safety, since they aren't sure when the tectonic entity may show up again. When they get back, they find Tickles at his home. He greets them, and says something about having to head back to town for "guild business". When Mulroney starts to mock him about it, he says he has some more business to take care of and leaves.

Everyone else spends the next five hours resting and meditating. After the rest period, Nardig and Deadly Snow decide to head to see priestess Fleria to heal them. Because he is so badly injured, Nardig spends all his money and then some on healing. He ends up getting 50 gold from Mulroney (who later lies and says he owes him 75) and another 75 from Deadly Snow.

Just as they are finishing up and leaving the shrine, Zaladane and some of her men approach them. She calls out to Mulroney, asking what he's found so far in the investigation into her missing sister. He sardonically says they discovered Lorna has gone missing then follows up by saying "all the evidence" suggests she was killed by Mathias who burned her body.

Zaladane asks Mulroney where Lorna's ashes are; she says she will require him to retrieve her sister's ashes. Mulroney wonders what the woman is up to with the ashes, but she says only that it does not concern him. As he is unfamiliar with her religion, he can't be sure what she has planned but is very suspicious.

The priestess then tells Mulroney he has twelve hours to find the ashes or she will destroy the town. Mulroney says he already proved what happened to Lorna, so the least she can do is give him another day and a half.

Zaladane considers his offer for a moment then decides to give him 36 hours, but says not a minute more. Mulroney is happy they have some breathing room to rest up (or at least get far away from Beartooth).

Leaving Zaladane, they decide to start by heading back to the cave and seeing if they can pick up Lorna's trail. Mulroney reminds everyone to be careful and try to avoid the choke fungus (or at least cover their mouth and nose while passing through).

When they get there, Nardig picks up the trail with ease. They begin following it for some time. After an hour or two, it occurs to everyone that Rikki is a couple of days' travel away and Lorna has been missing for more than a week so had more than enough time to get all the way to Rikki by now.

Mulroney has them stop for a moment and decide what to do next. They don't know anything about Ma'leese or where she is headed. Deadly Snow suggests one of them should run back to town to try and get more time out of Zaladane by saying they've found reason to believe Lorna went to Rikki.

With no way to get a message back to town, Deadly Snow offers to run back. Mulroney isn't thrilled with the plan, but since it is all they have agrees to continue on with Nardig and Shoes while the girl runs back and catches up to them later.
Title: Actual Play - Palladium Fantasy: Warlords of the Wastelands
Post by: jgants on August 30, 2017, 11:58:36 AM
*** Session 06 - Scene 4 (of 7) ***

Deadly Snow runs quickly in the dark with her torch back towards town. Part of the way back, she runs across a trio of plague zombies. These particular plague zombies move very fast and close in on her quickly.

Snow pulls out a pair of knives and throws them into one of the creatures as they run towards her. She draws out her battle axe as they begin to surround her, dropping the torch. It stays lit, but unfortunately does little to keep the plague zombies at bay.

The zombies lunge in, biting. Deadly Snow manages to parry off one and avoid another, but a third still manages to bite her arm.

The assassin slashes back with her axe at the one that bit her, scoring a slight hit. The zombie bites her back again, while another gets in a deep bite from her flank.

The fight continues as Deadly Snow scores another slight hit on the zombie. She then defends against their bites and scores with a second hit on the same zombie; it is beginning to look damaged.

One of the zombies gets in another bite on Deadly Snow as she strikes the damaged one again. Unfortunately, it still doesn't go down.

A couple of more bites later, the assassin wonders if she may need to make a break for it. But first takes out the damaged zombie with an axe through the head.

Continuing to take bites, Deadly Snow strikes into one of the other zombies with a slight hit. The dance of death continues and the girl notices she is beginning to wear down.

Worried she may get bit deep enough to contract the plague soon, she grabs her torch and tries to make a run for it. The zombies catch up to her and bite at her again, further injuring her.

Shoving one of the zombies aside, she summons her inner strength and runs for it again. This time, she manages to break off from them and gets back to the main gate in town.

The watchmen at the gate asks her what is going on. She explains there are zombies coming. The guards close the gates and spear the zombies to death when they arrive while Deadly Snow takes a moment to recover from the fatigue of her fight and run.
Title: Actual Play - Palladium Fantasy: Warlords of the Wastelands
Post by: jgants on August 30, 2017, 11:59:25 AM
*** Session 06 - Scene 5 (of 7) ***

Taybury comes over afterward and asks (hopefully) if her companions are dead. She says they are still alive and she needs to talk to Zaladane. He takes her to the priestess.

Zaladane grants Deadly Snow audience with her, asking what news she has. The young assassin explains they believe Lorna was taken to Rikki before she died (being careful to choose her words as not to explicitly lie). She explains about tracking the trail and how they need more time to investigate.

The priestess is suspicious of the girl's story. Deadly Snow offers to let her accompany her back to Rikki, but Zaladane has something else in mind. She tells the girl she will need to "prove her honor" by defeating one of her barbarians in unarmed combat.

Deadly Snow agrees and faces off against one of the larger men. She moves in quickly, using a telekinetic kick to his face. The warrior rolls with the impact to minimize the injury.

The barbarian uses an axe-hand strike to smash at the little girl. She's hit, but also manages to roll with the blow.

Maneuvering around, Deadly Snow gives a sharp kick to his solar plexus. He expresses his amazement that a little girl can kick so hard. He kicks her back in response, cracking her ribs.

Using a spinning round kick, she knocks the warrior out cold but the stress from the telekinetic strike breaks her foot. She falls to the ground in pain.

Zaladane offers she is impressed with the young girl's prowess in combat. She says she is clearly an honorable warrior for one so young. The priestess even says Deadly Snow would make a fine Sun Person.

Since Deadly Snow has defeated the warrior, Zaladane's urgency for Lorna's ashes is mollified. She has faith that Garrak will see the ashes are returned in due time. But just to be safe, she has Deadly Snow promise on her word of honor she will go to Rikki and retrieve the ashes before she'll agree to withdraw her forces from Beartooth. Choosing her words carefully, Deadly Snow only promises to go to Rikki and return whatever is left of her sister.

Because the girl fought so gallantly in the battle, Zaladane heals her injured foot enough so she can stand again. Zaladane and the Sun People then take their leave while Deadly Snow heads over to Fleria to get healed the rest of the way as well as meditate to recover her inner strength.
Title: Actual Play - Palladium Fantasy: Warlords of the Wastelands
Post by: jgants on August 30, 2017, 12:00:39 PM
*** Session 06 - Scene 6 (of 7) ***

After recovering, Deadly Snow heads back out into the wastelands to catch up with her companions. As she runs along, she stumbles right into a pair of plague zombies lying in wait.

Like the ones she encountered before, these zombies move very fast. They rush in and bite at her, but she manages to duck out of the way of one and block the other with her dagger.

Deadly Snow then tries to make a run for it, but the zombies are able to keep up with her. She fights off a couple more of their attacks before finally leaving them in the dust.

Out in another part of the wastelands, Mulroney and Nardig set up camp for the night and sleep for a while. Just as they get ready to break camp, Deadly Snow rushes in.

Deadly Snow quickly explains about her pledge to Zaladane to recover Lorna's remains and how she negotiated for a truce until then. Mulroney says they should get going to Rikki then. Deadly Snow makes sure to stress to the witch, again, that she is bound by honor (while Mulroney simply agrees that honor is "good stuff").

They make good time on their journey to Rikki. As they near the town, they are approached by a pair of men wearing long coats. The men have shaved heads with the same tattoos on their faces. Mulroney can tell the tattoo is not magical in nature.

Mulroney asks what they want. One of the men tells him to state his business. Mulroney says they are there to seek their fortunes.

Apparently misunderstanding Mulroney's intent of the word "fortunes", the man points towards a nearby shop and suggests Mulroney will want to be visiting the astrologer then. Mulroney decides to go along with it but says they are looking for a young woman named Lorna.

Mulroney tries to get the men to say whether or not they've seen Lorna, but the man remains oblique. When Mulroney tries to bribe him, he tells the witch to move along.

With the men watching carefully, Mulroney decides they better go inside the astrologer's shop. When they get inside, they see there is a man on the floor of the shop with his throat cut. From his dress, it would appear to be the astrologer.

Mulroney looks around carefully while reminding Nardig not to touch anything. He sees a curtain separating this room from the back room. Nardig listens carefully, but hears nothing.

The witch bends over and starts searching the man's pockets. He finds a coin purse with four gold in it and decides to leave it there. As he does that, Deadly Snow moves behind the curtain.

Just as Mulroney is standing up, he hears people getting ready to open the door. He turns around to see it open with the two men from the street.

The men see the body and immediately go for their weapons. Mulroney tells them to hold on as they just found the man like this, saying he even still has money in his pockets.

One of the men looks around and asks where the girl is. Mulroney tries playing dumb at first, but after he insists Mulroney says she went into the back to investigate. He calls out to her, but she ignores him instead readying her daggers behind the curtain.

The man to the left tells everyone not to move, and motions to the other man who heads outside. The remaining man tells Mulroney and Nardig to make no sudden movements. They decide to follow the instructions.

In another minute, the other man returns with two more men of similar appearance. They appear to be holding manacles. Mulroney and Nardig make no movement to resist and allow themselves to be chained.

Deadly Snow peers through a crack in the curtain to see what is going on. One of the men spots her and calls out to the others.

Mulroney calls out to Snow to say they've done nothing wrong as honorable travelers, stressing the "honorable" part. He urges her to come out.

Deadly Snow puts up an ectoplasmic wall in case they try to come back. She doesn't want to be arrested and tries to ignore the calls to come out.

After a few tense moments, she finally relents and comes out to surrender. Like the others, she is placed in manacles. The lead man says they will need to go see the magistrate, a man named Stormgren.
Title: Actual Play - Palladium Fantasy: Warlords of the Wastelands
Post by: jgants on August 30, 2017, 12:01:44 PM
*** Session 06 - Scene 7 (of 7) ***

At Stormgren's palace, they meet the magistrate of the town. He is an older man, looking somewhat kindly but perhaps a bit unhinged as well.

He tells the men he feels safe having a conversation with these three. He has the men remove the manacles and wait outside while they talk.

Once the others are gone, Stormgren says he heard they managed to get themselves into trouble. Mulroney says they went to the astrologers based on the recommendation of the "fine men" and found the body. He stresses he knows strangers from out of town are suspicious but all they did was walk into the shop.

Stormgren appears swayed by Mulroney's argument that they wouldn't murder someone after just talking to the town guard. He also says Bassino (apparently the name of the head of the guards) didn't find any blood on the weapons they confiscated from them or other evidence pointing to them as the assailants.

The magistrate calls the situation an "unfortunate incident". Mulroney agrees it is such, especially for the astrologer. While Stormgren ponders why the astrologer was killed, Mulroney changes the subject to ask about Lorna, saying they came from Beartooth to look for her.

The old man recognizes the description of the young woman but says she was using a different name, Ma'leese. Mulroney suggests she was using discretion while traveling.

After some questioning, it appears Lorna was in town a couple of days ago but may no longer be around. Stormgren says people don't stay around for long as there have been problems in the area lately.

Mulroney suggests the astrologer's death is certainly a problem, but Stormgren says that is a bit of a new development. The old man wonders if the astrologer was killed because he didn't pay the Thieves of Harr-Ki, who have been preying on the town for some time now.

After Mulroney claims ignorance about the thieves, Stormgren gives some of the basic information (group of thieves extorting businesses, Harr-Ki the bird warrior god, backed by demons, etc.) but also says he knows the truth about the thieves as the "overlord" has told him.

Mulroney wonders if the man is sane, and asks him about the "overlord". Stormgren says he is in communication with a special agent who calls himself "The Overlord of the Undermound" as a matter of mocking the giants.

Pointing to the mirror on the wall, Stormgren says he uses it to communicate with the Overlord. The magic in the mirror allows them to communicate their voices, though he hasn't actually seen the man.

Stormgren insists the Overlord is quite knowledgeable. Mulroney asks if the Overlord will talk to anyone. Since Mulroney and his group seem to be "special", Stormgren suggests they may be able to speak to the Overlord.

The old man heads over to the mirror and whispers to it. Something whispers back from the mirror with a very deep voice, but even Nardig can't pick up exactly what they are talking about.

After a moment, Stormgren tells them they are blessed for the Overlord has agreed to speak with them. From the mirror, a deep voice calls out to approach.

They move in to talk, The Overlord asks who they are and Mulroney says they are humble travelers, but the voice of the mirror says he believes they are more than that.

The Overlord continues to say he predicted the coming of powerful travelers such as them, using his knowledge of astrology.

Mulroney asks how he can speak through mirrors. The Overlord says the device is magic. When Mulroney points out that magic is illegal, the Overlord says he cares not for the giant's laws.

Stormgren explains the two of them work against the giants' interests, using their agents. Mulroney asks the Overlord what to call him. The Overlord gives his proper name as Karellen. Mulroney doesn't recognize it.

Mulroney tells Karellen he is looking for Lorna, also named Ma'leese. Karellen says he might be able to locate her using the stars. But in return, he wants their assistance against the Thieves of Harr-Ki.

According to Karellen, the Thieves of Harr-Ki secretly work as agents of the giants. In particular, they work for one known as The Herald. The Herald takes the funds extorted from the communities to fund the giant's forces.

Karellen goes on to say the thieves are too powerful for a frontal assault without some kind of advantage. He says the thieves fear a witch named Tr'di, who was allied with the Old Ones back in the Age of Darkness. She had an amulet that could be used against the thieves.

Mulroney asks if they need to get the amulet from the witch, but Karellen explains it is not so simple. He says the witch is long dead, but her amulet was taken by a group Karellen calls "The Rillietann". Mulroney is getting confused at this point and asks who they are.

Stormgren points out the Rillietann are the elves, who the locals call "The Harlequins" because they are some sort of clowns.

Karellan says the elven clowns are actually a cult, worshipping the elven god Cegaroch, the Laughing God. Mulroney says he never heard of him. Karellen explains that in the elven mythology, Cegaroch was said to have witnessed the death of the other elven gods (except their sole surviving god, Khaine) by the Old Ones at the end of the Age of Darkness.

Deadly Snow tries to piece it together – they need to kill the clowns (the Cult of Cegaroch / Rillietann / Harlequins), take the Amulet of Tr'di, and use it to defeat the Thieves of Harr-Ki to stop The Herald, which will then allow them to find Lorna.

As they try to get the story down, Karellen mentions there is one more complication. The amulet, he says, is hidden inside of a fortress of the Rillietann known as the Black Vault which exists in a separate pocket dimension. It is there they hold various confiscated evil magical items and other artifacts from the Age of Darkness.

Mulroney, growing increasingly incredulous at the complexity of the situation, asks how they are supposed to get into the pocket dimension. Karellen says that will take some doing.

Stormgren warns them it will be under heavy guard by the elves, but he's sure they'll come up with a plan…
Title: Actual Play - Palladium Fantasy: Warlords of the Wastelands
Post by: jgants on August 30, 2017, 12:34:27 PM
*** Session 06 - Session Notes ***

So, the good news is I finished these notes early for once so you get them right after the session last Friday. The bad news is we likely won't have another session for a few weeks as the Mulroney player is moving during our next regularly-scheduled session and the other guys are loathe to take a leadership role in the game so feel lost without him (despite the fact he points out many times he's terrible at coming up with good ideas). For his part, the Mulroney player wishes the other players would step up a little more so he doesn't end up doing all the talking with NPCs (he's been bugging the Deadly Snow player about adjusting her concept so she'll speak more). Oddly, because of the way the Palladium experience point system works, this does mean Mulroney has a lot more XP than the others (he's level 3 while the others are still on level 1 or 2).

But overall, the campaign is still moving along great. My plot threads are really starting to shape up (even if the players started to get really confused by the end of the session because of all the layers) and its getting that epic feel.

Some general thoughts by our group on the Palladium Fantasy rules:
* Pro - They really like the less abstract combat rules (as opposed to D&D style rules)
* Pro - They like percentile skills
* Pro - They like how the game feels more epic and character-driven because PCs start out so powerful (again, compared to D&D style rules)
* Pro - They like how the game isn't overly combat focused and more interaction and planning driven in general
* Con - The skill list is too large / not standardized enough
* Con - They prefer the BRP-style skill gains after each session instead of per-level adds
* Con - They absolutely hate the terrible layout of the Palladium books and how it takes forever to find anything (picking new skills and spells for Mulroney when he reached level 3 took over 40 minutes)

As the GM, my thoughts are:
* Pro - Love having all the great material from the multiverse to work with
* Con - Creating stats for NPCs or new monsters is a giant pain in the ass
* Con - I get it isn't a dungeon crawl system, but any kind of treasure allocation guidelines would be nice (I may yet write a Rifter article myself on that)

For running a game, I still think D&D and its variants are easier (I'm interested in trying 13th Age or Fantasy Age) but I do think the player experience is much cooler in Palladium. If I wanted something grittier, then I prefer the BRP-style rules.

Other random notes about the session:
* I had to write out the Tickles PC again because it was his volleyball night. Hence, him running away.

* I had to really explain to the players that Sir Percy was warning them, not in league with the tectonic entity.

* A tectonic entity is way too powerful for the group to take on its own (especially with only Mulroney really able to damage it) so I had Sir Percy able to assist.

* The idea of a bunch of entities being summoned by a mistake with the magic cauldron is an idea I had for a while now because of the text written in the description of the ritual.

* Sir Percy of Scandia comes from the Marvel Comics character, though this particular implementation is taken directly from my Rifts North Chicago campaign.

* Ma'leese is, of course, Malice - the Marvel Comics character from the X-Men series (hence, Lorna and Zaladane).

* Sir Percy's story about Prester John, the Lord of the Deep, and the Witch Lord was told more or less exactly the same in the aforementioned Rifts campaign (though that time it was Rugar hearing it).

* Mulroney recognizes "England" because his soul is that of Father Mulroney, from the Cthulhubusters version of Earth (as used in my Cthulhubusters Lakefront City and Cthulhubusters Crescent City campaigns).

* The ebony blade (again, a Marvel Comics thing from the Black Knight's mythology) is tied to the Minion War from Palladium here (though at the time of the Rifts campaign that wasn't a thing yet so I actually based it on the same concept from the Planescape setting of AD&D).

* Similarly, Eobar is another Marvel Comics character.

* The search for Palin Partur by D'artagnon (who is obviously named after the Three Musketeers character) was the backstory for the prologue to the Rifts campaign. Rugar Blascan (a PC from a player in that campaign) and his actions all took place in that campaign - including the part about Liftkor (side note - the Nardig player had that character in that campaign).

* The sword was indeed said to be destroyed during the Rifts campaign. How it reformed is a mystery yet to be revealed in this campaign.

* The tale of Glebecar and Zelzn's battle is inspired by the Megaverse in Flames Dimensional Outbreak book. Again, Glebecar is named after Carl Gleba, the writer of that megaplot. Zelzn is named after artist John Zeleznik who did the kickass covers to those books.

* Sir Percy probably should have detected the evil from the PCs right away, but that wouldn't allow me to give a ton of exposition. I used dramatic license that he wouldn't actually check until they asked him for help getting the sword, which would make him suspicious. Similarly, I can't just have him helping the PCs so he needed a reason to leave them to their own devices.

* The plague zombies encountered by Deadly Snow were Fast Attack Zombies from Dead Reign. They were rolled on a random encounter table I have, but it was nice to keep the plague zombie subplot going.

* I always planned on someone having to fight one of Zaladane's warriors to get the time limit removed since there was no way they would find Lorna before it ran out.

* The town guard in Rikki are mysterious because the story (which hasn't come up yet) is that the town uses the Delaque gang (taken from the Warhammer 40K Necromunda game) as mercenaries to guard the town.

* Rikki, Stormgren, and Karellen are all inspired by Arthur C. Clarke's Childhood's End, but don't assume that means Karellen is a demon (or devil). The players don't seem to get the reference yet.

* The Herald of the giants is another in-joke. But the war against the giants is intended to be a major plot thread.

* Again the whole Cult of Cegaroch, Rillietann, Harlequin stuff is all Warhammer 40K inspired.

* The players had a really, really hard time at the end of the session keeping track of the series of events that had to occur, which was hilarious.
Title: Session 07: Happy Birthday, Yukiko!
Post by: jgants on September 14, 2017, 09:16:16 PM
*** Session 07 - Cast of Characters ***

Yukiko Amagi (aka The Deadly Snow): A ten-year-old aberrant human girl; a major psychic trained as a secret assassin. She considers Tickles to be her father after he raised her as an orphan.

Tickles: An anarchist coyle thief and minor psychic. He raised Yukiko from a little orphan girl into the assassin she is today so she could earn them money as a hardened killer.

Nardig: A miscreant hobgoblin mercenary exiled from his family for his evil deeds. He can control his tendencies for short periods of time to work with small groups, but will steal from them and turn on them with the slightest provocation.
Title: Actual Play - Palladium Fantasy: Warlords of the Wastelands
Post by: jgants on September 14, 2017, 09:16:55 PM
*** Session 07 - Scene 1 (of 8) ***

After the most recent incidents with danger, Tickles wanted to make sure he was ready for the next time he found himself in a fight. Taking some of the money he had left after partially paying Materich, he headed over to the armorer and purchased a new set of studded leather armor along with a heavy, two-handed hercules club at the weaponsmith's.

With everything purchased, the coyle thief planned to head out to Rikki, based on the note left for him by Yukiko. But on his way out of town, one of the local street punks motions him over to a nearby alley. Tickles goes over, and the youth explains a message was left for the thief at the local guild so he's delivering it.

Tickles opens the message. It invites him to meet at the Laubenstein Inn in Zarzote at midnight in a couple of days' time to discuss a mutually-beneficial arrangement (clearly some job someone wants him to pull). The note is signed by someone named "Morlock". Tickles doesn't recognize the game.

The thief considers his options – Zarzote is in the general direction of Rikki, but they are still a day or so apart from each other. Since it will take two days to get to either location, he'll need to go to Zarzote before he makes it to Rikki in order to make the meet-up time.

Not wanting to try a job on his own, Tickles ultimately decides to ignore the offer and head straight to Rikki so he can meet back up with Yukiko and the others.
Title: Actual Play - Palladium Fantasy: Warlords of the Wastelands
Post by: jgants on September 14, 2017, 09:17:37 PM
*** Session 07 - Scene 2 (of 8) ***

A few days later in Rikki, Deadly Snow is busy trying to find more information on the harlequins. After their recent audience with the Overlord of the Undermound, the Great Mulroney suggested they all split up to find more information that might give them a way to get inside the Black Vault of the elves to retrieve the Amulet of Tr'di.

So far, Deadly Snow has managed to uncover very little they didn't already know. Eventually, she comes across someone who has actually seen them from a distance at their camp outside of town.

In addition to getting information on where the camp is located, Deadly Snow also learns they wear garishly-colored outfits that seem to give them an almost blurry appearance as they move. The young assassin suspects the garments are magic and the blurring effect is some sort of defense against attacks. The also appear to wear black masks with white skulls on them – a symbol of death – which intrigues her. Other than their outfits, she learns only that they are skilled acrobats who perform a variety of physical feats as part of their act.

Yukiko wants to follow up on the apparent magical aspects of the troupe, but has no luck discovering anyone local in the Scarlet Alliance. As she is asking around, she spots Tickles in the nearby tavern. She stops over to talk to him, finding he had a rather uneventful trip from Beartooth (which she finds relieving, but also annoying given her recent encounters with plague zombies).

Tickles enquires about Mulroney and Nardig, and his young ward explains they all split up to look for information. After the two of them talk it over, Tickles suggests they do some recon work on the clowns. Deadly Snow wonders if they can track them back to the Black Vault.

Since neither of them knows how one would access a pocket dimension or even what one is (as they are not versed in the ways of magic), they decide they may need to try to do more than just observe from afar. Deadly Snow thinks of a potential angle to get in closer with the Rillietann. She notes because of their magic clothes, she can't go in with a disguise. However, she wonders if trying to join their routine using her acrobatic skills might do the trick.

It doesn't take long before they spot the camp up ahead in the area Deadly Snow found out about in town. To get closer, they move in the dark with the girl activating her psionic powers to provide her with nightvision so she doesn't need a torch.

The two try to approach quietly, seeing three of the harlequins apparently practicing some sort of dance / combat maneuvers. Unfortunately, Deadly Snow accidentally kicks a rock as they move in closer and the noise attracts the attention of the elves.

The elves begin moving towards Tickles and Deadly Snow, doing flips and cartwheels as they head over. Deadly Snow decides to try and impress the clowns with a back flip of her own, but fails and ends up landing on her ass. The clowns stop a short distance away to laugh at her attempt.

Though only her pride is actually injured, Deadly Snow fakes an ankle injury as she looks beyond the clowns at the tent in their camp. Tickles immediately knows what she has in mind and plays up the injury as well, asking the clowns for help with his injured ward.

The clowns glance at each other without saying anything then shake their heads. Tickles asks if they have any medical skills, and they respond by acting out a series of gestures indicating they do not. Tickles realizes they must the kind of clowns that are mimes, which they confirm by nodding when he asks them.

Pressing on, Tickles tells the harlequins he is looking for some clowns to perform at a birthday party for his daughter (gesturing towards Deadly Snow). He asks if they would be interested and suggests he would pay well, but they shake their heads indicating they are not interested. Nor do they respond positively when asked for references for other clowns potentially in the area and motion for Tickles that he should leave.

Tickles ignores the suggestion and asks if they can rest for a bit so his daughter can recover from her injury. Deadly Snow plays up her injury as well, telling her father she doesn't think she can walk. After considering the idea for a moment, the elves relent and invite them to sit over by the fire.
Title: Actual Play - Palladium Fantasy: Warlords of the Wastelands
Post by: jgants on September 14, 2017, 09:19:25 PM
*** Session 07 - Scene 3 (of 8) ***

As Tickles helps Deadly Snow over to the camp, the elves move over performing their jumps, flips, and cartwheels. Deadly Snow gives a convincing performance with her limp. When they get there, one of them throws something into the rocks in the center of camp and a fire blasts into existence.

While the two of them sit by the fire, the clowns decide to put on a small show for them. They begin juggling some fungus balls. Deadly Snow makes sure to clap and act enthusiastic as they perform their act.

Tickles tries to take the opportunity to sneak over to their tent, but one of the clowns notices him. When he realizes they've spotted him, Tickles asks if they have anything to eat and suggests he is starving and implies he was headed over to the tent to look for something without disturbing him.

The elves throw him one of the fungus balls. Tickles isn't so sure about the edibility of the fungus balls (himself preferring rats and other live meat over eating fungus in the Undermound). One of the elves mimes for him to eat. After looking it over and determining it most likely isn't poisonous, he finally eats a little to appease them and sits back down.

Seeming pleased, the elves go back to juggling. Tickles whispers to Deadly Snow to ask what they should do next as their plan isn't working out so well so far. She suggests perhaps she can impress them with her own skills.

The elves then motion for Tickles to stand up and they place him in the middle of their juggling. When they switch from fungus balls to knives, Tickles gets nervous. He tries to dive out of the way but inadvertently causes one of the knives to hit him in the arm.

While he tries to stop the blood, Tickles asks why they started juggling knives as they really unsettled him. The clowns motion in a way that suggests they are sorry.

Tickles then asks if he can go in their tent to look for something to bandage himself up since he's bleeding. They agree.

While Tickles heads over to the tent to look for whatever he can find, Deadly Snow wants to keep the elves distracted by showing off her knife-throwing skills. She hobbles over to where they have a target and throws. She hits it, but not very well, and the elves give her a "better luck next time" sort of pantomime.

Inside the tent, Tickles searches furtively but finds little more than the elves' bedrolls and some personal items. He does manage to locate some materials to patch up his wounds, but is dismayed there is nothing suggesting how to get into the Black Vault. He wishes he would have brought along some poisonous scorpions to put in their bed rolls.

Outside, the elves show off to Deadly Snow how well they can hit the target while throwing knives. They move her over to the target and put a fungus ball on her head, then throw a knife that splits it in half. So as to not waste food, they hand the remains to her to eat.

Still undeterred, Deadly Snow tries to find another way to impress the clowns. Seeing a set of parallel bars they use as part of their act, she attempts to work them. Unfortunately, she again fails and falls to the ground. The elves help her up and pat her on the back, getting increasingly patronizing with each of her failed attempts.

When they help her up, Deadly Snow takes a closer look at them to see if they have any weapons. In their belts, she can see they have strange sorts of weapons – they appear like cat o' nine tails, but made of slender cords of metal rather than leather.

She tries asking them about their weapons, showing her own cat o' nine tails and saying it is different. One of the clowns draws an elven symbol in the ground, but since she doesn't speak Elven she doesn't know what it means.

The clown picks up a rock off the ground and throws it in the air. He then uses the whip to slice it into several pieces with much flourish. Yukiko assumes the weapons must be magical somehow.

By this point, Tickles has emerged from the tent. Seeing the display with the weapon, he assumes any plan to offer his services as a bodyguard won't work. He exchanges some glances with Deadly Snow and they realize they are out of good ideas.

He thanks the clowns for their hospitality, asking if there is anything they can do to repay them. When the clowns suggest there is not, Tickles hands them his pocket mirror as a gift. The clown he hands it to looks confused, but puts it in his pocket. The two then hobble off back towards town.

On their way back to town, Tickles and Deadly Snow discuss possible options. Tickles found the clowns to be rather nice and almost regrets having to kill them. Deadly Snow, however, is focused on the method – she feels unless they can find a way to make the fungus balls explode, their best option is to poison them. Neither of them considers too much about how they'll get into the Black Vault if they kill the elves, feeling they'll figure that out at some point.
Title: Actual Play - Palladium Fantasy: Warlords of the Wastelands
Post by: jgants on September 14, 2017, 09:20:20 PM
*** Session 07 - Scene 4 (of 8) ***

Nardig felt his best bet would be to find another hobgoblin with some magical knowledge to talk to about the Black Vault. Unfortunately, like Deadly Snow he doesn't usually travel in magical circles so he didn't have much luck.

After a couple of days of fruitless searching, he comes across Tickles and Deadly Snow coming back from the harlequin camp. They discuss what he's been up to, and Tickles suggests looking for someone who may have worked with the astrologer such as an apprentice.

He doesn't discover an apprentice, but the word around town is the astrologer was friends with a man named Crentist, a local barber-surgeon (and dentist). They decide to head over to his shop, Crentist's Leeching and Tooth Extraction Emporium, and talk to the man.

Crentist asks them how he can help, suggesting he could pull one of Tickles' canines. The coyle doesn't like the way the doctor is looking at his teeth, and immediately changes the subject to say they are looking into the astrologer who died, The Amazing Dwute.

Tickles explains Dwute was a real asset to the community and his death was a real loss. Crentist corrects him by saying Dwute wasn't actually liked by many people, but he was friends with him and he was a good customer (he needed regular teeth pullings due to all the fungus balls he ate rotting his teeth).

The thief asks the dentist if the astrologer had any enemies, trying to figure out why he met his early demise. Crentist can't think of any enemies per se, though notes he never got a lot of business.

Tickles then has a thought, asking how there can be astrologers in the Undermound since they can't see the sky. Crentist says he asked Dwute about that once himself, and the explanation was they guessed the position of the stars based on star chart documents and calendars. Of course, among the astrologers in the Undermound there is much debate over which charts are accurate or even what the actual date is, so it's not much of an exact science.

Intrigued, Tickles asks the surgeon if he ever did any astrology work himself. Crentist says he did not, though notes he did try augury a few times using extracted teeth but it never seemed to work. Nardig finds the whole thing bizarre.

Getting back to the subject of Dwute, Tickles asks about the last time Crentist talked to him asking if the man was worried about anything or said anything strange. Crentist recalls him saying something about a bald, pale man lurking near his shop shortly before he died.

Tickles is sure the strange-sounding man is involved somehow. He asks what the man was wearing, and according to Crentist the astrologer said the man was in dark robes. Nardig wonders if the man was albino, but Crentist said Dwute said something about the man having dark eyes.

Thanking the man, Tickles prepares to leave but Deadly Snow has some questions. She asks if he gives anyone anything for the pain when he pulls teeth. He explains he usually just has them bite down on a stick with their other teeth. For the ones that can't handle the pain, he waits until they aren't suspecting it and punches them very hard in the mouth (though admits he usually gets more than one tooth out when he does that and not always the right one).

Tickles is somewhat incredulous, asking what happens when he needs to get out one in the back. Crentist says you have to punch really hard to get those as they don't come out easy. Tickles exclaims he doesn't envy Crentist his (assumedly) thankless job.

Before they leave, Tickles asks about Dwute having an apprentice (he did not, as he didn't make enough money for that) or any children (again, Dwute's acerbic personality prevented that). Crentist does mention a cousin in town named Buckman who mostly does odd jobs around town. According to the dentist, they were on well-enough terms (and isn't the same as the bald pale man) so Tickles isn't sure that will lead anywhere.

As they head out, Crentist makes another appeal for a leeching treatment. According to him, he has the best leeches and a good leeching will restore their rigor and vim. Tickles says he'll keep that in mind when it is time for his next leeching.
Title: Actual Play - Palladium Fantasy: Warlords of the Wastelands
Post by: jgants on September 14, 2017, 09:21:27 PM
*** Session 07 - Scene 5 (of 8) ***

Feeling they aren't making much progress, Tickles gets frustrated. Deadly Snow suggests they head back over to the astrologer's office to investigate as they didn't really get a chance to before. She also wonders if the astrologer's notes might reveal anything about how to get into a pocket dimension.

They quietly make their way back to the astrologer's office and find it looking the same as they left (except that the body is gone). The front room has only the small table and two chairs, with a small chest nearby being used as a table. On the chest is a book of star charts open to a page.

Tickles examines the book carefully. He can't tell anything from the star charts (not being an astrologer) but does notice a note scrawled into the margins, reading "Charno". Tickles doesn't recognize the word but does get the feeling it is the proper noun of some kind.

Putting the book to the side, Tickles opens the chest. Inside are some spare linens for the table, a spare set of the astrologer's robes, and a fancy hat he must have worn at times. Tickles checks over the chest, and the hat, for anything hidden inside but finds nothing except for a small sack with glass beads in it. Deadly Snow checks over the table and the rest of the room but finds nothing either.

Nardig searches in the back room where the man's living quarters are. He starts by digging through the regular clothes in the armoire but finds nothing hidden in them. Nor does Deadly Snow find anything odd with the food still stored in the room.

Since the blood is still on the floor, Tickles carefully sniffs the blood so he gets the scent down. He can't tell if there is more than one person's blood there nor can he track the scent (in case it got on the killer).

Nardig looks around the parameter of the building for any discarded weapon used in the killing. Unfortunately, he finds nothing there.

Out of potential leads on the killing, Deadly Snow suggests they go to the apothecary next as she wants to get some poison for the clowns.
Title: Actual Play - Palladium Fantasy: Warlords of the Wastelands
Post by: jgants on September 14, 2017, 09:22:58 PM
*** Session 07 - Scene 6 (of 8) ***

At the apothecary shop, they are greeted by the store owner, Verrock. Deadly Snow asks about a euphoric drug that would affect the senses (knowing deadly poisons are much easier to detect). Tickles gives the cover story they are thinking of opening a dentist shop that doesn't involve punching people in the face.

Tickles first asks about anything injectable. The shop-keeper suggests basilisk's eye, as it can paralyze a man. That isn't exactly what Tickles was looking for and he isn't sure he wants to pay the cost of 200 gold a dose.

For a general relaxant, he suggests the plant veroc (noting the similarity to his own name). He notes when brewed into a tea, it will relax the patient and enhance their senses. Tickles says he definitely doesn't want anything that enhances the senses.

Given that criteria, Verrock suggests oponi – a bushy plant whose leaves can be pressed into cakes or wades. When ingested, the plant gives a light-headed, floating feeling that reduces inhibitions. The mention of cakes gives Deadly Snow an idea and she decides to purchase an ounce of the plant (about four doses worth, for 150 gold).

Deadly Snow and Tickles discuss their plan. Since they already laid the groundwork for Yukiko's birthday, they'll bake the plant into an actual cake and serve it to the clowns as a birthday cake. Because he has the psionic ability to negate toxins in his system, Tickles can even eat a piece without fear of feeling the effects. For Nardig, they'll have him stay back until they signal him to come in to attack.

They then head over to the baker's shop to have him bake them a cake. Bru'ger, the baker, offers to bake the cake for 50 gold. When Tickles balks at the price he says he can bake them a less fancy cake for 20 gold but Deadly Snow insists on the fancier one, as they need to "sell this". Tickles hands over the money and instructs Bru'ger on how to mix in the plant without rendering it ineffective and has him frost the cake with the picture of a clown on it for added effect.
Title: Actual Play - Palladium Fantasy: Warlords of the Wastelands
Post by: jgants on September 14, 2017, 09:26:33 PM
*** Session 07 - Scene 7 (of 8) ***

The next day, they make their way back towards the harlequins. As they near the elven camp, Nardig hides behind a nearby outcropping where he has a good vantage point. Tickles and Nardig walk up, with Deadly Snow skipping along as they head in.

The elves notice them and point to the cake. Tickles asks them to forgive their intrusion, but says his daughter insisted on them coming back out for her birthday. Yukiko plays it up, talking about how they are the best clowns ever after she saw their juggling act.

Tickles says they are more than welcome to join in the cake. Deadly Snow pleads with them to join in the festivities, noting she can't eat the cake herself as she has a condition preventing her from eating anything made with wheat flour. The clowns consider their options for a minute and ultimately decide to let the pair back into the camp and join them for wine and cake.

One of the clowns takes out his weapon and swirls it around, neatly lashing the cake into eight perfect pieces. Deadly Snow claps and shows enthusiasm at the display while Tickles finds it impressive but scary.

The clown motions for Tickles to eat a piece, which he gladly does. Once Tickles swallows his piece, the clowns join in, lifting their masks just enough to eat.

Tickles tries to make conversation with the clowns about whether they are planning to stay in the area or move on. They try to make some motions to explain, but Tickles has a hard time following it. He can, however, tell their motions are starting to get a little less coordinated.

Deadly Snow picks up on that as well, and tells Tickles to be quiet as she wants to see them juggle again. She pleads until they agree to juggle the knives again. When one of them misses and ends up with a knife through the hand, the others move over to help. One of them trips and falls along the way, and starts rolling on the ground laughing.

Yukiko decides it is time for action and tells Tickles. She notes they only need to keep one alive for questioning. Hooting like an owl, she signals Nardig.

Nardig draws his sword and heads in towards the clown with a knife who is trying to pull the knife out of the other's hand. He slices in, getting a solid hit.

The clown on the ground sees what is going on and stops laughing. He jumps up, weapon in hand. Tickles runs over to him and touches his weapon, using his powers to teleport it a distance away.

Meanwhile, the one clown pulls the knife out of the other's hand. Deadly Snow decides to help by throwing a couple more knives at the injured one, but even with his dulled reflexes he manages to move enough to only damage their armor.

The wounded clown throws out a dagger at Deadly Snow, but it is stopped by her armor. In response, Nardig cuts into the clown with a couple more hits.

A few feet away, the clown next to Tickles performs a back flip combined with a kick, but Tickles manages to block it. However, the back flip does move him out of the way. He draws his hercules club and heads over to help Nardig with the other clowns.

The wounded clown whips out his weapon and attacks, slicing into the coyle's arm. Deadly Snow throws another couple of knives at him in response, hitting him with both.

Tickles attacks back at the clown in front of his with his heavy club, but the clown manages to parry it. He twirls around and flicks the metal coils across Tickles' shoulder, cutting into him again. He begins to bleed from the wounds.

Deadly Snow draws her battle axe and moves up to the action. Tickles has another attack blocked while she moves in and hits with her battle axe. The clown manages to block her second attack but the first does injure him.

Nardig scores another hit on his clown but is hit by his counterattack, though his armor protects him. As he does so, Deadly Snow chops into him with her axe, covering the two of them with his blood.

Meanwhile, Tickles smacks into the clown he's attacking with his club with a sold blow. He can hear the bones of the clown crack under the pressure. The clown tries to attack back but Tickles easily parries.

By now, the third clown has found the weapon Tickles teleported away and is heading towards Nardig. The hobgoblin turns to face him and slashes the elf across the face, drawing a little blood.

Deadly Snow lunges in at the clown Tickles injured, hacking into him with her axe. She gets a glancing blow into his leg. Tickles follows it up by smashing the clown's head with his club; he seems somewhat dazed by the blow and badly misses when he tries to attack back.

The other clown slashes Nardig across the chest with his whip-like weapon as it cuts straight through his armor. The hobgoblin strikes back with his sword, slashing into the elf.

Deciding it is time to try and capture one of the clowns, Deadly Snow attempts to tackle the clown in front of her and Tickles, but he steps out of the way and she stumbles to the ground. Tickles takes the opportunity to hit the clown across the jaw with his club and blood begins to flow out of the mask.

Badly injured, the clown attempts to make a run for it. Deadly Snow gets up and pulls out her grappling hook. Tickles runs after the clown but can't catch up. Yukiko then tosses her grappling hook, entangling the clown and sending him to the ground. He hits his head on the way down and appears to lose consciousness. Tickles moves in to tie him up with his rope while Deadly Snow grabs her axe and heads over to assist Nardig.

A short distance away, Nardig fends off another attack by the clown he's fighting then stabs into the elf again. The elf attacks back again but only manages to damage Nardig's armor.

Nardig attempts to finish the clown off, but the clown manages to parry twice. He also fends off an attack from Deadly Snow. While Nardig does his best to parry off the clown's counter attacks, Deadly Snow chops off his leg and he falls over and dies from the massive blood loss.
Title: Actual Play - Palladium Fantasy: Warlords of the Wastelands
Post by: jgants on September 14, 2017, 09:27:31 PM
*** Session 07 - Scene 8 (of 8) ***

With the two clowns dead and the other unconscious, the three grab up the strange weapons of the harlequins. They also examine their clown suits and masks, but find whatever magic they may have had is lost as they were too badly damaged in the fighting.

For the dead clowns, they cut off the heads and put them in a bag so Mulroney can deliver them to whoever he needs to later. They look through their belongings for any clue about the Black Vault, but find nothing. Tickles does manage to recover his pocket mirror.

Not sure how the town may react to bringing the clown back there, they decide to sneak him in by tying his arms and legs to themselves and "walking" him in. The effect would not pass close scrutiny but they manage to keep their distance to avoid any strong attention.

They take the clown to the astrologer's shop for interrogation. Deadly Snow has them tie the man to the bed. She then splashes him with cold water while mentally getting prepared to activate a mind block in case he has any psionic powers. Nardig, meanwhile, keeps a lookout outside.

Eventually the clown is roused. He swears at them in Elvish but as no one speaks it Deadly Snow slaps him and tells him to speak the common tongue. Tickles, playing the role of "good guardsman", says there is no need for such language, reminding the clown it is a birthday celebration.

Tickles asks the clown his name. The harlequin responds by asking what they've done. Tickles repeats he wants the name, but the elf refuses to answer any questions.

Deadly Snow threatens torture, though it doesn't seem to impress the elf. She responds by cutting off his finger. He responds by showing her a different finger.

Tickles tries asking what the elf knows about a pocket dimension, but he stays quiet. He likewise doesn't respond to questions about "Charno".

Deadly Snow tries a few more tactics, such as putting knives under his fingernails or cutting off some of his flesh. All she gets for her trouble is him spitting in her face (despite Tickles saying there is no need to get nasty).

Realizing her efforts are doomed, she says they should just kill him. Tickles, trying to pretend the others are still alive, says he hopes they wouldn't have to kill any of the clowns. Deadly Snow ruins the effort by lifting up the two severed heads and asking, "What about these two?" The surviving elf swears at them more in Elvish.

Tickles calls that an "unfortunate accident" and says they just need to find the Amulet of Tr'di, pleading with the elf to not make it hard. He even tries tickling the elf but that doesn't help matters (not even able to get him to laugh).

The elf starts whispering something in elvish. Tickles slaps him and tells him to stop but he doesn't. Worried he is muttering some kind of incantation, Tickles tries to cram his hand mirror in the elf's mouth but is having trouble getting it in.

With no tactics left and feeling frustrated, Deadly Snow cuts off the elf's genitals and he quickly bleeds to death. She then cuts off the head and puts it with the others. Since the bag of heads is beginning to drip blood, they empty out the chest in the astrologer's parlor and Nardig hauls it out as they go to get a room at the inn.
Title: Actual Play - Palladium Fantasy: Warlords of the Wastelands
Post by: jgants on September 14, 2017, 09:47:19 PM
*** Session 07 - Session Notes ***

So, this was a session I wasn't expecting to have - the other players actually agreed to proceed without the Mulroney player after all. The session bordered on the limits of the amount of zaniness I want to see in a session, but it more or less followed a logical flow. Except, of course, that they didn't actually accomplish anything (and in some ways made things more difficult).

Random notes about the session:
* The note to Tickles from "Morlock" asking to meet at the "Laubenstein Inn" is more or less taken directly from the first adventure in the module Harlequin for 1st edition Shadowrun. I had converted that entire mission to something relevant to the game as a way to give Tickles something to do and move the story along, but he made the choice to go to Rikki instead. But since they'll be heading to Zarzote at some point, I have a feeling this will come up again.

* The appearances of the clowns is taken pretty much straight from the 40K harlequins, including the masks of the death jesters.

* I considered the options about how to handle the clowns' reactions to Yukiko and Tickles, but since she is a little human girl (and kept screwing up her attempts to impress them) I thought having them not see the two as a threat made sense and kept things more interesting.

* The clowns weren't originally designed to be mimes; I decided to add that aspect later to make them creepier.

* I debated letting Tickles find something in the tent, but couldn't come up with anything logical as there is no reason for the elves to have anything about the Black Vault there.

* The harlequin's weapons are based on the 40K kiss of death weapon the death jesters carry.

* Crentist the Dentist is, of course, the joke from the American version of The Office. The Deadly Snow player made a joke about Crentist the Apprentice and I decided to go with it. Similarly, Dwute is named after Dwight Schrute (originally I was going to use the Buckman name for him since the whole dead astrologer / Charno angle was inspired by the X-Files episode, Clyde Bruckman's Final Repose, and I misremembered the name).

* Until the Tickles player asked, it never occurred to me how the astrologers in the Undermound actually did anything.

* The pale, bald man with dark eyes will be revealed next session, but as for what he is and why he killed the astrologer - I'll give a hint that he's a mutant based on a type of mutant from Rifts and leave it at that.

* As odd as it seems, I came up with the name Verrock (by combining a first and last name of someone; but I forget who now) before I saw there was a veroc drug in the Palladium main book.

* I do remember Bru'ger is based on Bruegger's Bagels.

* I let the wacky plot with the cake work since it was rather inspired, particularly after they unintentionally foreshadowed it themselves.

* In the actual session, Yukiko explicitly said she had Celiac's disease to avoid eating the cake. I removed it as an anachronism in the write-up.

* The Nardig player, normally a terrible roller, rolled almost nothing lower than a 17 the whole fight.

* The exact description for bringing the unconscious clown back into town was they were going to use a "Weekend at Bernie's" tactic.

* The interrogation scene took a really long time with the players repeating questions and tactics more than once. Literally every attempt had an associated roll that was very poor. It was particularly funny as the Deadly Snow player had the same thing happen earlier with her various skill use attempts to impress the elves.

* The ending, with the heads in the bag then rolling around in the chest, reminds me of that terrible Joe Pesci movie from the 90's, Eight Heads in a Duffle Bag.
Title: Session 08: Renegade Clowns
Post by: jgants on September 29, 2017, 12:05:54 PM
*** Session 08 - Cast of Characters ***

Yukiko Amagi (aka The Deadly Snow): A ten-year-old aberrant human girl; a major psychic trained as a secret assassin. She considers Tickles to be her father after he raised her as an orphan.

The Great Mulroney: A miscreant changeling witch who believes he is human and masquerades as a prestidigitator. He sold his soul to the devil prince Glebecar and has a devil familiar named Shoes.

Tickles: An anarchist coyle thief and minor psychic. He raised Yukiko from a little orphan girl into the assassin she is today so she could earn them money as a hardened killer.

Nardig: A miscreant hobgoblin mercenary exiled from his family for his evil deeds. He can control his tendencies for short periods of time to work with small groups, but will steal from them and turn on them with the slightest provocation
Title: Actual Play - Palladium Fantasy: Warlords of the Wastelands
Post by: jgants on September 29, 2017, 12:06:45 PM
*** Session 08 - Scene 1 (of 9) ***

Since splitting off from the others, the Great Mulroney had little luck finding any useful information on the elves and how to get into their pocket dimension so they can reach the Black Vault. Since Rikki has no local clown guild of its own, there isn't anyone to contact in that area nor does he know anyone in the local Scarlet Alliance.

Eventually, he makes his way down to one of the taverns. It is filled with the usual dull, working folk but he does notice one of the town guardsmen sitting at the bar, wearing his long with his shaved head showing the strange tattoos. He decides to order the man another round and tries to make conversation.

The man is a bit gruff at first and wants to know what Mulroney wants. Mulroney tries his best to sound friendly, saying he's just there enjoying a drink and wanted to express his appreciation for all the fine work the town guard does.

The guardsman notes how odd it is that Mulroney always has the cat with him. Mulroney extolls the virtues of having a pet, saying they keep a man entertained. He asks the guard if he has any pets; the guard says something about having a rat around once but he ate him.

Mulroney tries to use the talk about entertainment to bring up the subject of clowns. He makes a few oblique questions about clowns to get information about of the guard, but the guard says little and what he does say about the local renegade elven clowns is all information Mulroney already knows.

The man isn't really interested in talking about clowns, saying he doesn't like them much. Mulroney says he doesn't really care for clowns either, hence why he travels with a cat. The guard says he doesn't like cats either.

Mulroney presses for more information but the guard just says they are strange. Eventually he offers they wear skull masks, which Mulroney notes isn't very funny. The guard suggests their sense of humor isn't the same.

The witch asks if perhaps the clowns are up to something more than they appear. The guard says according to his boss (referring to Bassino), the clowns are part of some sort of cult. He doesn't know much more and says only that Bassino has given them instructions to stay away from the elves as long as they don't come into town.

Dropping the matter for the moment, Mulroney decides to ask the guard about his tattoos instead. The guard explains they are the markings of his clan, the Delaque. From what Mulroney is able to gather from the man's clipped responses, the Delaque clan are a local clan used as hired mercenaries (or "private security contractors" as the man insists) by Stormgren to police the town.

Mulroney tries to get information out of the man about where the clan headquarters is (as he wants to try talking to Bassino personally), but the guard says the location is not discussed with outsiders. He's also told he can't talk to Bassino directly, though the guard suggests if Mulroney needs to get ahold of anyone, he can simply talk to any of the guards on patrol.
Title: Actual Play - Palladium Fantasy: Warlords of the Wastelands
Post by: jgants on September 29, 2017, 12:07:52 PM
*** Session 08 - Scene 2 (of 9) ***

After gaining little information from the guard, Mulroney leaves the tavern and begins to wander the streets. Out of ideas, he decides to see if he can attract any attention by muttering about clowns as he does so.

An hour or so later, he finds himself walking down a side street by himself. He notices the lantern up ahead has burned out. He starts to get wary of his environment, just as the lantern behind him goes out.

Acting quickly, Mulroney has Shoes cast a globe of daylight spell to illuminate the area. He just catches sight of a humanoid figure darting behind one of the buildings as it lights up. All he could really tell from the brief glimpse is that the figure was man-sized and wearing black.

Mulroney calls out, telling his "friend" there is no need to hide as he isn't a threat. From behind the cover, he hears a high-pitched, somewhat unhinged sound of a man giggling and saying he is a "funny one".

The witch says he is no clown but is looking for one. The giggling voice says he is no clown. As he talks, Mulroney hears noises suggesting the man is climbing up the side of one of the buildings.

Mulroney has Shoes cast levitation on him, lifting him up. He asks, "Where are you going friend?" and saying that two can play at this game.

Emerging from behind part of the roof is a very pale bald man with white skin. His eyes appear dark, but a closer look sees they have black circles around them, but the eyes themselves have no iris or pupil – just a small oval of pure white. His hands have long, sharp nails and as he speaks Mulroney can see his teeth have been filed down to sharp points. He tells Mulroney, "You shouldn't waste it!"

Confused, Mulroney asks him what it is he shouldn't waste. In his giggle-mad voice, the figure says he was referring to "The tasty energy of yours." Mulroney begins to understand what kind of madman he is dealing with as the figure continues to say how he can tell Mulroney will be even more delicious than his last meal.

Mulroney says he has more energy where that came from, suggesting he can use it to kill the insane, giggling man. He asks who the man is and what he wants.

The strange mutant man tells Mulroney he can call him "Charno" just as he draws a dagger and sword from his belt. Seeing the man is getting ready to jump at him and attack, Mulroney has Shoes cast a cloud of smoke to obscure him. Mulroney himself casts armor of Ithan to protect himself.

Unfortunately, Charno's natural mutant abilities also give him the ability to sniff out Mulroney's position in the darkness. He tells Mulroney he is being naughty by trying to hide and jumps out at him, slamming into him in mid-air. The added weight of Charno is more than Shoes can control, and the two crash to the ground.

Charno backflips off Mulroney and strikes at him in a flourish with his dagger and long sword. Luckily, Mulroney's magic armor protects him. He does manage to parry the second and third sword strikes with his staff.

As Mulroney stands up, Shoes attempts to levitate Charno into the air, but the mutant resists. Mulroney uses his own levitation spell and succeeds in levitating the man. Charno shrieks about Murloney "cheating".

Mulroney says attacking him was not fair. Charno says he needs Mulroney's magic energy. Mulroney senses an opportunity, and offers they could work together. Charno insists he wants to feed on him.

The witch says he can't help Charno if he eats him. Charno corrects him, saying he doesn't need to eat his flesh just his soul. Mulroney doesn't like the sound of that either.

Mulroney tries to offer a deal, saying he could promise more souls if Charno agrees to work with him. The gibbering mutant isn't so sure, saying he hasn't encountered as strong of a flavor as Mulroney in a while.

The witch tries to get Charno to go after the clowns on the edge of town, but Charno isn't interested. Mulroney tries saying he is a coward, but Charno insists he is a hunter but chooses his prey more carefully than that.

Deciding the man needs a stronger incentive, Mulroney has Shoes blast the man with a fire bolt. He follows it up with an energy bolt. Getting weakened by the blasts, Charno calls Mulroney naughty again and says this is such a waste of energy.

As Shoes is blasting Charno again, Mulroney can hear some people approaching from the next street over. Apparently, all the smoke, energy bolts, and blasts of fire have somehow attracted attention. Mulroney drops the levitation spell, sending Charno dropping to the ground. He hits his head and no longer appears to be conscious as they run away.
Title: Actual Play - Palladium Fantasy: Warlords of the Wastelands
Post by: jgants on September 29, 2017, 12:09:05 PM
*** Session 8 - Scene 3 (of 9) ***

Mulroney and Shoes get away before anyone shows up. He tries hiding behind a nearby building and listening, but hears nothing. After a short time, he has Shoes peek around the corner. By the time he looks, there is no one there – whatever happened appears to be over.

The witch decides to make his way back into a more well-lit area. He is stopped by one of the Delaque guards. The guard questions him about seeing any strange smoke or lights in the area, saying some people had reported such things. Mulroney says he saw nothing of that sort and asks if the people making the report could have been drinking.

The Delaque guard says there is concern someone is using illegal abilities. Mulroney is appalled at the idea of magic use, saying he is a member in good standing of the prestidigitator's guild and would be happy to help in any way he can. The guard asks to see Mulroney's union card. After verifying he is indeed a licensed prestidigitator, he says they haven't found anything yet so he should let one of them know if he does hear anything.

Mulroney gives the man one of his calling cards and says to contact him if he is ever in need of a show. The guard asks Mulroney if he can perform the trick where a woman is sawed in half and turns into two dwarves. Mulroney assures him he can perform that trick.

After leaving the guard, Mulroney goes back to wandering around the streets until he eventually gives up and retires back to the local inn. A day or so later, he spots his companions checking into the inn, with Tickles having joined them and Nardig carrying a large chest.

Mulroney is eating his continental breakfast of moss muffins and friend rat as he greets them. Tickles notes they are very tired. Spotting the chest, Mulroney asks what is in it. Tickles says to not worry about it, they'll show him later.

After refusing Mulroney's offer to help carry the chest, the others head up to their room with Mulroney following. Once in the room with the door closed, Mulroney asks about the chest again. Tickles says it is a bounty and asks if Mulroney ever went to Zarzote to secure the contract on the harlequins with Otto, the head of the clown guild.

As Mulroney explains he still needs to travel to Zarzote, Deadly Snow opens the chest to reveal the three severed clown heads (along with the severed elf penis from the one she killed at Dwute's shop). Mulroney is surprised, saying they must have found the clowns then.

Thinking a moment, Mulroney asks that since they found (and killed) the clowns, they must have discovered the information they needed about how to access the pocket dimension the Black Vault is located in. Tickles says they didn't have any information.

Mulroney stresses the clowns could access the vault so they must have had some information on how they do that. He asks again if they got the information. Tickles explains they weren't very talkative as they were mimes.

The witch then asks if there are more of them then. Deadly Snow simply says, "probably". Mulroney doesn't find that very encouraging. He asks if they separated these clowns from the main bunch, but Tickles explains that was all they found.

Mulroney is somewhat exasperated that they killed the only clowns they found, as they are the only link they have into the Black Vault was the clowns. He also isn't sure why there is a clown phallus in the box.

Just to make sure he has all the information he repeats it back to Tickles – they found the clowns, they got no information out of them, then they killed the clowns. Tickles says that is about the long and short of it.

Mulroney says it is too bad they didn't get a chance to try and interrogate them. Tickles corrects him, saying they did bring one of them back to the astrologer's shop for questioning, noting that is where they got the chest.

Further exasperated, Mulroney can't believe they hauled a clown into town and went back into the shop where the astrologer was murdered. Deadly Snow and Tickles assure him they were discreet. As Mulroney gets increasingly agitated, Tickles tells him to calm down as his yelling isn't going to bring the clowns back to life.

Tickles and Deadly Snow take a moment to tell Mulroney a few more details about their investigation into the death of Dwute the astrologer and how they talked to his friend, Crentist. They also mention hearing about Buckman, Dwute's cousin, who Mulroney asks some questions about to see if there is any way they can use the man as a patsy for their criminal activities later.

When they mention the bald, pale man with dark eyes Mulroney says he ran into a strange creature matching that description. He says the creature gave his name as Barno, or Bargo, or Charny… something like that. Mulroney says the creature tried to eat his soul but he got away. Tickles quips about Mulroney's luck in that he has no soul to eat.

Ignoring the jibe, Mulroney says the man cornered him but he and Shoes took care of him. Tickles asks the witch to clarify, asking if he actually killed the man. Mulroney says he wasn't sure if he was dead or not as he was in the process of killing him when the town guards showed up.

Deadly Snow says they found a strange word written down on the astrologer's notes but she can't recall what it was. Tickles remembers it was Charno. Mulroney realizes that is the same name as the man who attacked him.

Deadly Snow wants more clarification on what happened to Charno. Mulroney explains he dropped the man from forty feet in the air so he's hopefully dead. She asks about where the body is, but Mulroney doesn't know since there was nothing there when he checked later.

Tickles says it sounds like there is more of a story there so Mulroney explains how he was out looking for information on the clowns (noting he was doing that while the others were killing them) and ran into Charno in a dark side street. Tickles pipes in they do have some information about the clowns – there are three less of them than there used to be.

After Mulroney explains his story, Deadly Snow wants to make sure Charno won't be coming after them in the future, but Mulroney isn't sure the man is actually dead. Since the guard he talked to didn't mention a body, there's no way to know but Deadly Snow suspects the mutant killer may still be at large.

Tickles doesn't understand how Dwute knew Charno's name. Mulroney does offer that Charno said he ate the soul of another, so it's possible the astrologer had magical powers and foretold his own death. Tickles, looking directly at Mulroney, notes the astrologer got what he deserved for practicing magic.

Some time is then spent with everyone catching up on what each has done and what they want to do next. Mulroney isn't thrilled at finding out they left a headless, dickless clown body in the astrologer's shop (where they've been seen) and are carrying the heads around in a box taken from the shop (which is fairly distinctive). He considers concocting a plan to frame either Crentist or Buckman for either the killing or the magic incident, but ultimately decides it would be riskier than letting sleeping dogs lie.

Tickles eventually suggests they head to Zarzote to collect the bounty (before the heads rot too much) and ask the clown guild if they have any more information on the renegades that could point to where more of them are. Mulroney says the fox isn't half as dumb as he looks, especially since he wants them to get out of town as soon as possible before the elf body is discovered and they are arrested.
Title: Actual Play - Palladium Fantasy: Warlords of the Wastelands
Post by: jgants on September 29, 2017, 12:10:00 PM
*** Session 8 - Scene 4 (of 9) ***

It takes a day or so to make it to Zarzote, but they encounter no danger along the way. Mulroney decides to go in to town by himself first, as he doesn't want to be heading in with a box full of heads. The others will follow later, and arrange to meet up with him at the Lido Hot Springs Inn, the fanciest inn in town.

In contrast to the downtrodden industrial feel of Rikki, Zarzote has a happier, more relaxed atmosphere and people even smile at him and wave as he passes. People he gets too close to even stop to make pleasant small talk. Mulroney figures part of that is due to the more recreational nature of the town's business around its famous hot springs.

One helpful citizen points Mulroney in the direction of the official building for the Guild of Kleintro. The man says they love clowns in Zarzote, and suggests Mulroney see the show put on by local celebrity clown Bello and his "wheel of death" trick. Mulroney says it sounds hilarious.

When he gets there, he finds a tall clown wearing a soldier-type outfit standing guard at the door. The imposing clown asks what he wants and Mulroney explains he is there to see Otto.

The soldier asks Mulroney for his clown guild card, but Mulroney explains he is a magician not a clown. He asks to see Mulroney's prestidigitator card instead. As he looks it over, Mulroney tells him if he gives him a gold piece he can make it disappear. The soldier laughs heartily at the joke and suggests perhaps Mulroney could be a clown after all.

Recognizing Mulroney's name, the soldier says Otto has been expecting him. He knows Mulroney is the one who knows Captain Spaulding.

Mulroney is shown into Otto's office. The older clown greets him by name and says he's heard from Captain Spaulding that he can make their problem disappear. Mulroney agrees as a magician he can make a great number of things disappear, but there will be a bit of a charge.

Otto says the guild is anxious to get rid of the renegade clowns. Mulroney says he can understand why and asks for more details. Otto explains what he knows – they are elves (which is unusual), they have a camp out in Rikki, there are three of them, and they all wear colorful outfits with death's head style masks.

Mulroney picks up that Otto said there were only three and double-checks the figure. Otto reiterates they only know of a small troupe of three being active in the area.

Trying not to become dismayed at the dead-end lead for getting into the Black Vault, Mulroney asks Otto more about the clowns. He asks if they've ever talked to them or tried to get them to join the guild. Otto explains that anyone clowning without a permit isn't funny and conversation is never their next move after hearing about it.

Mulroney offers perhaps they didn't know about the guild. Otto says they should know, and even though there isn't a local chapter in Rikki clowning without a license is still a menace that needs to be controlled. Mulroney is forced to agree the magician's guild operates in much the same manner, always taking a poor view of scabs though he they don't usually take such extreme measures at first.

Otto insists the reaction is reasonable and says there are too many strange things going on in the area lately to allow such activities to go unpunished. Picking up that more may be going on, Mulroney asks Otto to elaborate.

The guildmaster says in addition to the elves, there was the mysterious hooded thief from a couple of weeks back. Mulroney asks for more information, and Otto explains a local gem merchant was robbed by a mysterious hooded man who displayed remarkable abilities in unarmed combat techniques the likes of which he hasn't seen before.

Otto also says the man left some sort of strange symbol behind. Mulroney asks what it was, and Otto draws out a pattern of dots. Not sure what it is, Mulroney takes the piece of paper to look into later. He tells Otto he'll let him know if he finds out anything more about that.

Turning the conversation back to the renegade clowns, Mulroney asks what it is worth to the guild to get rid of their headache. Otto says he told Otto the contract was for 500 gold a head. Mulroney starts talking about the complexity of the job and how he just has him and his cat, though Otto says he was supposed to know someone.

Mulroney counters with 800 gold a head, but Otto rejects it saying that was too much. However, if he can get the job done within the next two days he'll pay 2,000 gold total for all three heads. Mulroney agrees to the terms.

Otto tells Mulroney he can just bring the heads in to him, but the witch is cautious about hauling around severed heads in town in case the local constabulary gets upset at that sort of thing. He wants Otto to have someone meet him outside of town for the exchange and says he can have it ready by tomorrow. Otto is surprised he can do it as quick as that, but Mulroney says he likes to make the customer happy.

Agreeing to Mulroney's plan, Otto says he'll have the clown at the door (who is apparently named "Corporal Punishment") come meet him at a predetermined location the next morning. Otto has Corporal Punishment come in and they explain the plan.

Mulroney then asks about the payment delivery, suggesting he doesn't want 2,000 gold delivered to him outside town where it could be dangerous. Otto agrees he can have Corporal Punishment deliver a note of credit from the local banker, Mordecai.
Title: Actual Play - Palladium Fantasy: Warlords of the Wastelands
Post by: jgants on September 29, 2017, 12:11:00 PM
*** Session 8 - Scene 5 (of 9) ***

Settling things with the clown guild, Mulroney begins heading back to meet up with the others when a stranger calls him over. Mulroney is intrigued but not too concerned and makes small talk with the man for a minute.

The man eventually offers that Mulroney is a friend of the fox-man from Beartooth. Mulroney asks if he knows the man. The man says he is a friend of someone who knows of the coyle. Mulroney starts to catch on that this man is likely a member of the local thieves' guild and wants to pass along some sort of message.

The man says Tickles is in a little bit of trouble. Mulroney asks how so, and the man explains Tickles refused an invitation the other day and that is bad for business.

Mulroney offers that the fox-man isn't very bright and may not have understood the invitation and the significance of not attending to the offer. He then offers to assist in the situation.

The man tells Mulroney to pass on word to Tickles that he should come to the Laubenstein Inn tonight at midnight. Mulroney asks if there is any other information, and the man says only to say that "Mr. Morlock" will be waiting for him.

After getting the message, Mulroney heads over to the Lido Inn. He's half-surprised to find the others did not get arrested coming in to town with the box full of heads.

Mulroney catches the others up on his conversation with Otto and gives them a hard time for killing the clowns as according to Otto there were only three. He then discusses the contract he made, though only mentions the 500 gold per head and not the extra bonus, and the plan to meet up with Corporal Punishment in the morning. Mulroney wants to leave the heads in the inn, so he'll take Nardig with him as muscle while the others stay behind at the inn.

Tickles is confused by the plan and doesn't understand why Mulroney wants to leave the heads behind if he's meeting the clown out of town. Mulroney doesn't want to risk moving the heads through the gate again and notes he doesn't fully trust the clowns.

Mulroney also explains he led the clowns to believe the elves weren't dead yet in order to secure a better fee. Tickles calls that a wise move. Mulroney says people often use such words to describe him.

As Mulroney explains the plan, including his insistence he'll be giving the lion's share of the gold to them for doing all the work (describing himself as a "giver"), Deadly Snow thinks over in her mind the plan she and Tickles already came up with to secure the gold. They don't trust Mulroney because of his past actions, and have her own idea on how to make sure they and Nardig collect the money they are rightly owed for the clowns they killed.

Mulroney also shows them the picture of the symbol Otto showed him. Deadly Snow recognizes it and takes out her own version – it is the constellation of the azure dragon, and clearly connected to the man she was hired to find.

Before the conversation about the symbol can get anywhere, Mulroney mentions the more immediate concern of the man he spoke with and the need for Tickles to visit Morlock at the Laubenstein Inn. He tells Tickles he should take the severed elf penis with him to show he's a man who means business but Tickles doesn't like the idea and Deadly Snow seems to be the one holding on to it as a trophy anyway.
Title: Actual Play - Palladium Fantasy: Warlords of the Wastelands
Post by: jgants on September 29, 2017, 12:12:17 PM
*** Session 8 - Scene 6 (of 9) ***

Before anything more happens, Tickles makes sure to take some time to enjoy the hot springs. He and Deadly Snow then decide to find the local temple. Nardig could use some healing as well, but is still short of money.

The shrine is hidden in a secret room in the back of a small café called Magoo's, rumored to be controlled by a group of warlocks. The shrine is to a local god of corpulence and death, Jar'ri. The priestess, Althea, greets the two and tells Tickles (who is still sweating from the hot springs) to "cool down boy, rest easy".

After getting healed, they eventually make their way over to the Laubenstein Inn. By this point at night, the common room of the inn has a modest-sized crowd.

Deadly Snow goes in to look around. She looks for anyone looking for someone (hoping to spot Morlock), but doesn't see anyone. She does overhear someone ask about a room and the innkeeper explains the entire upper floor has been rented out by a private party.

She heads over to the stairs to investigate, but finds a couple of orc mercenaries guarding the stairs. She decides to try a different tactic and sneaks into the kitchen to find any servant stairs.

With workers moving in and out they don't notice the small girl move into the kitchen. She quickly moves past everyone and finds the servant stairs in the back. She quietly makes her way up to near the top and stops to listen. She can hear a few people upstairs moving around – one of whom is a servant dropping off some wine for Mr. Morlock.

Since the servant will be heading her way, Deadly Snow heads back down to the kitchen. She decides to try and grab a plate of food but is caught by one of the kitchen workers. She bluffs her way out of it by pretending she works for Morlock and is getting the food for him. She takes the plate and heads back up the stairs.

When she gets to the top, she spots a couple more orc guards standing outside the large doors of the suite at the end of the hall. She tries heading over to the orcs and saying she's bringing the food for Morlock, but they are suspicious.

Yukiko attempts to bluff the guards by pretending her mother has taken her into work tonight. The orcs don't seem to buy the story; one of them grabs the plate and tells her he'll take it into Morlock. He then tells her to leave.

As she leaves, Deadly Snow tries to go towards one of the other rooms but the orcs again tell her to get back downstairs. She tries to stop and hang out in the stairwell, but another servant comes by after a while and chases her off (though the assassin briefly considers murdering the man instead). She decides to spend the rest of the time waiting in a corner of the dining room.

When Tickles arrives a short time later, he heads straight to the bar. He nurses a drink for a while (electing to go for a regular ale and not the special "hot springs ale" with touch of cinnamon), waiting for someone to contact him. He asks the bartender about Morlock, who confirms the man has the entire upstairs booked.

Tickles tries to get a better idea of who Morlock is. The bartender says Morlock is involved in all kinds of businesses, but elects not to get too specific. Tickles quickly catches on that Morlock is involved in the underworld. He gets a little more information – hearing how Morlock moves around inns in town when he visits, has a small retinue of "assistants" with him, etc.

The thief waits around another 15 minutes, but no one ever approaches him. He asks the bartender if Morlock is in. The bartender says he should be. Tickles tries to get the bartender to send a message up to Morlock, but the bartender explains he is the type of man who sends messages, not one who is sent to.

Tickles continues to wait but still no one comes. He starts to get annoyed. He heads over to the staircase and encounters the orcs.

Greeting the orcs, Tickles asks if their boss is in. One of the orcs asks what's it to him. Tickles says he was supposed to meet Morlock but no one has shown up so he wants to know if he's wasting him time. The orc tells him no one needs to go upstairs.

Taking a different tactic, Tickles asks the orc if he knows anyone in the clown guild or if Morlock has any business with them. The orc wants to know why Tickles is asking about Morlock's business dealings. Tickles says he thought that why he was asked there.

The orc tells Tickles he is asking too many questions. Tickles starts to get surly, saying he's trying to figure out why he was asked there and Morlock hasn't bothered to come talk to him. The orc asks if Tickles is insulting Morlock. Tickles, surlier by the minute, insists he's never even met the man and just wants to know what is going on.

Threatening Tickles, the orc tells him he's a little too curious and reminds him that curiosity killed the cat. Tickles says he hates cats (thinking of Shoes as he says it).

Greatly annoyed at the waste of his time, Tickles heads outside the inn to see if anyone approaches him there. As he's waiting around, he notices the light up on the second floor.

Deciding to try a new tactic, he takes out his grappling hook and tosses it up, catching the window. He climbs up the rope to listen in, but isn't very quiet and while he's waiting the window opens and a voice invites him to come on in.

As he climbs inside, Tickles sees the inhabitant of the room is a finely-dressed, hunchbacked dwarf. The dwarf invites him to come in and sit down, offering him wine and food.

Tickles asks the dwarf if he is Mr. Morlock, and he confirms he is. Tickles apologizes for missing the previously-scheduled meeting. Morlock says he was a little upset about that, but he supposed he didn't give him much notice so is prepared to let the matter drop.

Morlock is happy to see that Tickles was able to get into the room without resorting to violence against his orc bodyguards. He explains he always sees that as a valuable test when evaluating potential contractors.

Tickles asks Morlock what he does. He says he does a little of this and that. Tickles points out that's quite vague.

Morlock calls himself a collector of rare things. Tickles asks what sort of things. Morlock says he collects antiques, objets d'art, and specialty items.

The dwarf then says he first heard about Tickles because of the incident at Rodemus. He asks him if he and his companions found the lost treasure of the Rodem family. Tickles admits they did not. Morlock says it is a pity, as the family was rumored to have large amounts of wealth and some magical items in their treasury.

Tickles asks Morlock if he believes it was more than just a rumor. The dwarf says he does, noting many of the old ruins in the region are filled with lost treasures that enterprising men such as Tickles can recover. He says if the Rodem treasure does exist, Tickles may want to get to it quickly as who knows what other treasure hunters may come along to find it now that the goblins have been vanquished.

Morlock comments on magical items being quite valuable to the right people. Tickles asks if he is one of the right people, but the dwarf refers to himself as merely a middle man who helps facilitate transactions.

Tickles wonders if Morlock wants to hire him to recover the treasure, but the hunchbacked man says he didn't actually invite him there to talk about that. Instead, he tells Tickles he invited him there because he was asking around about the Cult of Cegaroch.

 Morlock goes on to tell Tickles what he knows about the cult. He begins talking about the elves, giving much the same information Tickles has already heard about. When the subject of the Black Vault comes up, Tickles asks Morlock if he knows about an amulet in it (referring to the Amulet of Tr'di), but the dwarf says only that there are many magical items in the vault and he'd love to get his hands on some of them.

Tickles asks if Morlock knows a way to get into the vault. The dwarf says he does not, but that he does have a plan. He then asks the thief if he's heard of an ancient manuscript by Ehran the scribe called "Mankind Revealed". The coyle starts to get nervous as he's sure this will lead to an even more complex set of things for him to try and remember.

Morlock continues on, explaining Ehran was an elf who wrote about the emergence of humans back during the dawn of the Age of Light. The manuscript is said to be very rare and contains heretical passages connected to the Old Ones – the kind of writings that the Cult of Cegaroch tend to impound and put into the Black Vault for safe-keeping.

Tickles asks Morlock how big the cult is. The dwarf says he can't say for sure, but it likely has hundreds of members across the land and into other planes. Tickles asks if they are all clowns. Morlock confirms they are, as it is part of their worship of Cegaroch, the Laughing God.

Talking about the cult further, Morlock explains the cult locks away any writings about the Old Ones as dangerous, subversive material. Tickles asks why they have such a hatred of the Old Ones and Morlock explains he can't be sure but believes it has something to do with Cegaroch witnessing the destruction of most of the original elven gods at the hands of the Old Ones back in the Age of Darkness.

Tickles says this is a lot to take in. He asks Morlock if he has had any contact with the elves. The dwarf says he has not, but the idea is to get ahold of the manuscript and put the word out to lure the elves into coming after it.

After Tickles asks if the location of the document is known, Morlock says it just so happens he recently discovered just that fact. A fragment of the manuscript, according to his sources, is owned by a local nobleman named Lord Sylvan.

Tickles asks where he can find Sylvan. Morlock explains Sylvan has a large compound just outside of town. Tickles begins to see the pattern of events – Morlock wants him to steal the manuscript from Sylvan so he can put the word out to lure the clowns so they can get into the Black Vault. The thief knows there is an entire other series of events after that, but the plans of late have become so complicated he's started to lose track of what the end goal of his activities was in the first place.

Continuing on, Morlock explains Sylvan's compound is heavily guarded by patrols of men and dogs. Tickles asks about the layout and Morlock draws him a large map of the building, saying it is two stories high with a dungeon. Tickles asks if the man is kind or cruel. Morlock says that rumors have the man put his prisoners in the basement and lets his dogs rip them apart, so he supposes he is cruel.

Morlock's plan is to have Tickles slip in and steal the manuscript fragment. He claims to have a special magical item that he can slip in to the manuscript that will allow them to transport to it once it is inside the vault. Then, the two of them can grab whatever they can quickly and escape, splitting their plunder fifty-fifty.

Tickles says since the vault is in the pocket dimension, he wonders how they will get out. Morlock says that will be the real trick, but is confident they'll be able to find a way (though notes they'll likely need to get out quickly as the vault will likely be guarded by dozens of warriors). Tickles feels the escape plan is a little dicey. Morlock says he's free to come up with his own plan, but the thief says they can figure that out later.

Thinking of the Amulet of Tr'di, Tickles mentions there is a particular magic item – an amulet – he is looking to acquire from the Black Vault. Morlock offers Tickles can have that and he can take everything else. Tickles says he wants to make sure he gets the amulet but may want some of the other items as well. Morlock says they can negotiate once they have the objects (which Tickles isn't sure is a good idea).

The thief asks about the timeframe, as he needs some time to rest up first. Morlock says it just needs to be done within the next week to guarantee the item is still there.

As an afterthought, Morlock gives some additional warnings about the compound. He explains the compound is heavily wooded by illuminated by a large globe of magical daylight so it is difficult to sneak into. The dwarf also notes it is surrounded by a large wall that is enchanted by electrifying wards. Tickles begins to understand why Morlock needs his help.
Title: Actual Play - Palladium Fantasy: Warlords of the Wastelands
Post by: jgants on September 29, 2017, 12:14:07 PM
*** Session 8 - Scene 7 (of 9) ***

When Tickles finally gets back to their room at the inn, he wakes the others and tells them they aren't going to believe it, but they have yet another quest to perform. He explains how they need to steal a document from a well-guarded compound and suggests they get started thinking up one of their overly-elaborate schemes for the mission.

Deadly Snow wonders about using some of the trees with a rope attached to a grappling hook and tightrope walking over the wall. She isn't so sure, however, she is good enough at it to guarantee she won't fall onto the electrified wall.

Before they get too far into the discussion, everyone agrees to go back to sleep first and get the clown bounty in the morning then deal with the document theft mission later.

Early the next morning, Mulroney and Nardig head out of town to meet Corporal Punishment. Tickles says he will spend the day at the hot springs, which annoys Mulroney as he wanted the coyle around as backup.

When Corporal Punishment shows up, he asks to see the heads. Mulroney explains they left them in a secure location in town. The corporal is confused. He asks why he didn't just have them meet there. Mulroney says he wanted to be sure the clown didn't bring any assistance. The corporal doesn't really understand, as they hired Mulroney to kill the clowns so he's not sure what the man is worried about.

The three of them head back into town and find the room at the inn abandoned, which further annoys Mulroney as he thought at least Deadly Snow would have stayed behind to guard the heads.

Ignoring the aggravating circumstances for the moment, Mulroney tells Corporal Punishment the heads are in the chest. The clown tells him to open it. When Mulroney does, he sees there are only three large rocks inside the chest. Corporal Punishment asks what he is trying to pull here and says no one messes with the clown guild. Realizing his partners have screwed him over, Mulroney tells Corporal Punishment he has a feeling the heads are on their way to the clown guild as they speak.

Meanwhile, at the clown guild, Deadly Snow knocks at the door. She is greeted by a clown with tall hair named Bello. She opens the sack she is carrying and shows him the heads.

Bello takes Deadly Snow back to see Otto. The guildmaster is confused and asks who she is. The young assassin opens the sack and dumps the clown heads out at his feet.

Otto says that is very efficient but asks who she is. Deadly Snow gives her name. Otto asks if she works with Mulroney, as he was the one they hired to find the clowns. The assassin says she does work with the man from time to time.

The guildmaster is still confused. He asks if Mulroney sent her there, saying he sent Corporal Punishment to meet Mulroney outside of town. Deadly Snow says Mulroney sent her to get the payment.

Otto hands the note for 2,000 gold to Deadly Snow. She notes the amount and he explains about the bonus he promised Mulroney. She takes the money and leaves, feeling that the unexpected bonus amount justified her distrust of her partner.
Title: Actual Play - Palladium Fantasy: Warlords of the Wastelands
Post by: jgants on September 29, 2017, 12:15:08 PM
*** Session 8 - Scene 8 (of 9) ***

Deadly Snow takes the money to the moneylender. Mordecai greets her with a hearty, "Shalom!" She says she wants to make a deposit and hands him the slip.

As he is making some notes in his books, Mordecai claims he has the best accounts in town. He does warn her he is closed for Shabbos, his holy day of rest for his god Halaktan. He explains he's had some problems with angry customers in the past who couldn't get their money out because he was closed. Deadly Snow says she doesn't have a problem with that.

Deadly Snow has Mordecai deposit the money in two different accounts – 1,400 in a joint account for her and Tickles, and 600 in an account in Nardig's name. Mordecai explains there will be some fees because of account splitting in the amount of 5%, so he gives her a note for 1,300 for her account and 600 for Nardig's.

Back at the inn, Tickles and Deadly Snow eventually show up. Mulroney has been sitting around, livid, ever since Corporal Punishment left in a huff for wasting his time.

Deadly Snow notices Mulroney is very tense, she tells him he should have enjoyed the hot springs. Mulroney is too angry to speak.

The girl then hands Nardig a note about his account at Mordecai's. The hobgoblin is happily surprised.

While Mulroney considers what to do with his misbehaving companions, Deadly Snow and Tickles talk about throwing the rocks out and burn the chest in the fireplace in the room to ensure there is no evidence of the severed heads leading back to them. They note Mulroney is unusually quiet but he still says nothing.

As they work, Mulroney watches and plots. He knows the two were getting back at him and need to be brought into line. At the same time, he knows he doesn't want to escalate the group undermining each other as he still has a use for them for now. But he thinks ahead of the day when he does not.

Deadly Snow and Tickles start plotting how they can get the manuscript. They try asking Mulroney for ideas, but the man says simply he has none. Tickles notes that is unusual, and starts to wonder if perhaps they went too far.

Nardig doesn't have many ideas either. He wonders if they could wait until Sylvan has a ball or something at his palace and sneak in. Deadly Snow isn't so sure he's the kind of man who throws parties.

Deadly Snow agrees they need a way to trick Sylvan into letting them into the compound. Tickles offers perhaps a counterfeiter could produce something the man would want to buy. Deadly Snow laments the astrologer's chest could have been perfect to transport such an item in.

Tickles says they should ask around about the man to see what he knows. Nardig offers to set up surveillance on the compound to get a feel of the comings and goings.

Out on the streets, Tickles starts asking around about Sylvan. He discovers the man and his family are a bit reclusive – he doesn't usually leave his compound personally and rarely has any visitors. The one exception to that involves Sylvan's predilection for young girls; apparently, he often has poor girls from the streets over for special visits.

Deadly Snow sees the potential to use herself as bait, though her surrogate father doesn't like the idea. She says she can take care of herself, which Tickles agrees is true.

When Nardig comes back, he says he was not able to get very close so he didn't get a good feel on the guard patrol patterns. He did notice there aren't many comings or goings, and from what he could tell by asking around it seems the servants only leave once a week or so.

The plan begins to form – Deadly Snow will trick Sylvan's men into bringing her into the compound as a street girl. Once inside, she'll either sneak off to open the gate or use force to get Sylvan or his men to open it.

Deadly Snow hides her daggers on her person. They also make sure to have Tickles use his teleport object power to send one of the elven whip weapons past the wall into the bushes where she can retrieve it.
Title: Actual Play - Palladium Fantasy: Warlords of the Wastelands
Post by: jgants on September 29, 2017, 12:16:05 PM
*** Session 8 - Scene 9 (of 9) ***

Later that day, all four of them head out to the compound to put the plan into motion. When Deadly Snow goes up to the gate to beg disguised as an orphan girl, the guards quickly bring her inside and Tickles teleports the weapon in when no one is looking. Nardig and Mulroney stay behind cover waiting for the gate to open.

The guards take Deadly Snow inside the main hall and head over to the stairs. They bring her upstairs, where she passes through a landing area with a large statue and is put into one of the rooms that appears to be Lord Sylvan's study which contains a strongbox she believes could hold the manuscript. Unfortunately, she is guarded over by a knight while waiting for the master of the house to appear.

Deadly Snow starts coughing and asks for water. The knight goes over to the door and calls out to a servant for a glass of water.

While his back is turned, the girl leaps into action and takes out her daggers. She attempts to rush over and stab him in the neck quickly, but it is blocked by her armor.

The knight draws his large, two-handed sword. Deadly Snow quickly strikes him with a telekinetic kick but it doesn't slow him down much. His sword cuts into her.

The assassin performs a double strike with her knives, drawing some blood of her own. He tries to strike back, but she deflects the blow.

She continues her attack. The knight blocks one dagger but is hit by the other. He strikes back but she parries him again. Following up with a series of dagger strikes, she slashes into his midsection and he falls over into a pool of blood.

Acting quickly, she shoves the body up against the door and makes her way over to the lock box. Using her lock picks, she opens the lock and grabs the ancient scroll wrapped up inside. She tries to read it but it is in elven. She figures it must be the document they were looking for and takes it.

Just then, the servant shows up at the door. Deadly Snow heads over to the window and leaves, scaling quickly down the wall.

Unfortunately, there is a guard patrol nearby – two men and a dog. She decides to distract the dog by throwing the elf penis near him. Despite all odds, the trick works and the dog goes for it.

The two guards come after her, attacking with their clubs. She manages to fend off their attacks and makes a run for it.

One of the guards is too slow to keep up with her but the other stays on her tail. She heads over to find where Tickles put the whip and he swings at her. She turns and blocks the attack.

Swinging the whip around, she attacks with the strange elven weapon but finds as she does so that it shocks her with an electric blast surging through her hand. She realizes the weapon must be attuned to the elves and drops it.

Drawing her daggers, Deadly Snow gets a couple of quick cuts into the guard. He responds with a solid strike of his club into her head. Across the yard, she can see the other guard coming with another pair of guards carrying spears.

The assassin makes short work of the guard and heads over to the gate before the others can get to her. Through the open window in the gate, she pushes through the document so the others can get it, calling out to Tickles. She then runs back in the other direction, further into the compound grounds with two of the guards chasing her while a third goes to open the gate to get the manuscript. As he opens the gate, the guard finds Nardig, Mulroney, and Tickles waiting for him…
Title: Actual Play - Palladium Fantasy: Warlords of the Wastelands
Post by: jgants on September 29, 2017, 01:47:29 PM
*** Session 8 - Session Notes ***

So, if you read between the lines of the session this week you'll notice the Mulroney player (not just character) was pretty upset at the other PCs for ripping him off. He felt it was out of character, required metagaming (since their characters didn't know he planned to steal from them), and was excessive punishment. The other guys just thought it would be funny. I'm somewhere in the middle - the trick with any PvP stuff is a little bit of tension is realistic and good but too much and it turns into a wacky spy vs. spy scenario that ultimately leads to dysfunction. So, hopefully the session write-up will be a clear enough reminder but if not I'll intervene next time.

On a side note, this session went about an hour longer than usual for us - not intentionally, but because the clock was set wrong and we thought it was an hour earlier than it was so we kept going (never mind we all have watches, phones, and other devices with the time on them - we still looked at the clock). We typically game from 7-10, but this time went 7-11. By the time the Mulroney player pointed it out, we were all half-asleep at the table.

Outside of those things, the session progressed the plot along in dealing with the clowns and trying to get the group back on track towards the vault. It's kind of interesting that with American Horror Story, IT, and various other clown-related things in the cultural zeitgeist at the moment that clowns just happened to figure into my plot; that was completely unexpected when I first wrote down some of my ideas.

Other notes about the session:
* The Mulroney player clearly had no idea what to do to investigate the elves, so I threw him a bone by having the Delaque guard more talkative than I intended them to be. It allowed for some exposition, but nothing related to the main plot (which is something the PCs rarely pick up on; they tend to think any exposition is directly related to the last plot I mentioned no matter how many times that never turns out to be the case).

* I always planned for Charno to attack Mulroney. In fact, him following them around was one of the perception-type checks they missed a few times. Charno is envisioned as somewhere between a complete psycho and Zsasz from the Batman comics (though he was inspired by the killer from the X-Files episode, the characterization I use isn't anything like that - he's far more crazy supervillain).

* Charno obviously escaped alive so I can bring him back later horror-movie style. The Mulroney player thought I kind of railroaded that one, but I would have let him kill him if he wasn't tossing around spells in the middle of town (which would obviously attract attention).

* Zarzote is named after Sarasote, FL - hence it also has famous hot springs, the hotel Lido, a clown named Bello (who's act really includes a wheel of death), etc.

* Corporal Punishment is named after the member of Krusty the Clown's show on The Simpsons.

* The entire Morlock plot is still being adapted from the first mission of the Harlequin module for Shadowrun 1st edition.

* One of the PCs suggested instead of the hot springs ale it should have been pumpkin spice ale. I missed a good joke there.

* At this point, the chain of plots is too much for the PCs to follow, which again was intentional. I'll let it relax a bit and have a few things finish up before introducing too new of things (though I have plenty more in mind)

* What Tickles actually said when he got back to the inn was they should start coming up with their Mission Impossible type schemes

* Mordecai is taken straight from my D&D Bronze Age campaign, as is his reference about being closed for Shabbos. To those who didn't read that one - he's intended to mock the racist stereotype, not promote it, by constantly charging the PCs various fees he invents.

* I didn't originally plan for the dark angle I took with Sylvan, but since the PCs didn't seem to want to plan a sneak-in type of heist I wanted to give them another option.
Title: Session 09: Black Vault Breakout
Post by: jgants on October 14, 2017, 11:37:36 PM
*** Session 09 - Cast of Characters ***

Yukiko Amagi (aka The Deadly Snow): A ten-year-old aberrant human girl; a major psychic trained as a secret assassin. She considers Tickles to be her father after he raised her as an orphan.

The Great Mulroney: A miscreant changeling witch who believes he is human and masquerades as a prestidigitator. He sold his soul to the devil prince Glebecar and has a devil familiar named Shoes.

Tickles: An anarchist coyle thief and minor psychic. He raised Yukiko from a little orphan girl into the assassin she is today so she could earn them money as a hardened killer.

Nardig: A miscreant hobgoblin mercenary exiled from his family for his evil deeds. He can control his tendencies for short periods of time to work with small groups, but will steal from them and turn on them with the slightest provocation.
Title: Actual Play - Palladium Fantasy: Warlords of the Wastelands
Post by: jgants on October 14, 2017, 11:38:36 PM
*** Session 09 - Scene 1 (of 5) ***

Tickles strikes into the guard in front of him with his hercules club, but the guard moves quick enough to parry the attack. Shoes has better luck with a fear spell, causing the guard at the gate and his companion starting to run after Deadly Snow to become overwhelmed with terror.

As the two guards run back towards the main compound, the Great Mulroney blasts the other guard running after the assassin in the back with an energy bolt. He gets a glancing hit, but not enough to stop the man. Deadly Snow herself turns around and throws a couple of daggers at him, also getting a couple of slight hits.

Nardig holds back to protect the others, watching out for any new guards to show up. Tickles does the same, hoping Deadly Snow will quickly finish off the remaining guard so they can make their escape.

Not to disappoint her father, Deadly Snow blocks the guard from attacking her with his club, then slashes his throat with a couple of strikes with her daggers. He falls over dead.

Unfortunately, the commotion in the yard has caught the attention of another squad of guards. Two more guards with spears and a dog come running towards the group. Deadly Snow starts running back towards the group.

Everyone heads out the gate to get away from the compound and the guards. The patrol runs after them. They easily outrun one of the guards, but the other guard manages to keep up and the dog is quite a bit faster than most of them.

The dog bites Mulroney in the ass as it catches up to him. The other guard catches up to Nardig, hitting his armor with his spear.

Nardig turns and cuts into the guard with his sword. He attacks back, but the hobgoblin parries the attack. Unfortunately, blocking the blow moves Nardig out of position for a good counter-attack and his next swing misses.

Tickles assists by swinging his grappling hook, entangling the guard. Nardig then cuts his throat with his sword.

Meanwhile, Mulroney uses a spell to levitate the dog into the air. Deadly Snow finishes the dog off with her daggers.

By the time the other guard starts to reach them, Mulroney casts a cloud of smoke. The group uses the opportunity to escape and get back to Zarzote.
Title: Actual Play - Palladium Fantasy: Warlords of the Wastelands
Post by: jgants on October 14, 2017, 11:39:30 PM
*** Session 09 - Scene 2 (of 5) ***

When they get back into town, before they go to see Morlock, Deadly Snow suggests they should find a way to authenticate the document first since she just grabbed the first thing in the lock box. Tickles agrees it would be a good idea, and doesn't look forward to the possibility they may have to go back in.

Mulroney explains he has a way they can read the language. Casting the spell of the Eyes of Thoth on Deadly Snow, she finds she can suddenly read the ancient elven document.

Deadly Snow immediately identifies the document is indeed titled, "Mankind Revealed" by Ehran the scribe. Skimming through it, she notes it is poorly-written philosophical drivel; but all that is important is that it is the document they were looking for.

Tickles then leads the others to go talk to Morlock at the Laubenstein Inn. Deadly Snow isn't so sure they should all go, but Tickles wants backup in case Morlock tries to pull anything.

When they arrive, the orc guards let Tickles and the others past this time so they can head upstairs to the suite where Morlock is staying. When they are shown inside, Morlock greets all of them.

The misshapen dwarf doesn't seem too surprised or concerned that Tickles has brought friends, but does ask Tickles about them. The thief explains they assisted him with the heist of the document.

Morlock is surprised Tickles was able to get the document so quickly. He asks to see it, and Tickles shows it to him but makes sure to keep it at a distance.

The dwarf then says they need to authenticate the document. Tickles says they won't need someone else to authenticate the document as the dwarf will be able to read it himself.

Morlock is confused, saying he can't read ancient elven. As he does so, Shoes brushes up against him and casts the spell allowing him to read the document. He is amazed at his sudden new ability.

He congratulates Tickles on a job well done and asks him to hand the document over. Tickles tells him he wants some more information first on what the dwarf had in mind for how the rest of this operation will work, as his previous explanation was a little fuzzy.

Morlock tells Tickles not to worry about it. He says what will happen next is that he'll start putting the word out around the underworld about the document being available. He then expects the cult to come steal it, at which time he'll use his magic item to teleport them into the Black Vault.

Tickles wants to see the magic item. Morlock shows him a simple amulet made of turquoise. The coyle thief is suspicious of the amulet and wants to know if it could be the Amulet of Tr'di. Morlock says it is not.

Deadly Snow doesn't understand how the amulet will help them get to the stolen document. Morlock explains the amulet is linked back to a specific ward carving that he will place inside the document, acting as a homing beacon of sorts.

Mulroney tries to determine what the magic amulet is by looking at it but is unable to identify it. Morlock refers to it as Tangia's Amulet of Bilocation.

Tickles is still curious about how they will get back out once they are inside the Black Vault. Morlock says the amulet won't help them there, as using the ward will use up the magic in it. However, he isn't concerned because he "has it on good authority" there is some sort of portal inside the Black Vault that leads out of it and he's sure they'll be able to use that.

Morlock's confidence in the plan is viewed suspiciously by Tickles, who thinks the dwarf may have become a bit irrational in his greed to steal the elves' magic items.

Mulroney notices Morlock refers to "we" when talking about the plan, and asks the dwarf if he intends to come along with them into the Black Vault. He says he will go into the vault with Tickles to procure items. Mulroney asks about the rest of them, but Morlock suggests they would not be allowed to come with.

Tickles argues it might be handy to have extra muscle along to protect them from the guardians of the vault. Tickles promises the split of the treasure will remain the same as they discussed.

Mulroney asks who decides which 50% of the treasure goes to who. Morlock says not to worry about it and they can come to terms once they are back.

Morlock agrees to let them come along but has Tickles introduce them first. They exchange introductions over a round of drinks, with Tickles letting them all give their own names (in case they want to use pseudonyms, but they do not).

The dwarf recognizes all but Nardig as the heroes from the incident at Rodemus. He says he heard there was another adventurer who was involved in that named Skulric Fortman. The others pretend they've never heard of the name. Morlock says perhaps he misremembered or misheard the details about Nardig.

After confirming everyone will go along on the mission into the Black Vault, Morlock asks Tickles to hand over the document so he can start the process. He tells Tickles it won't take too long.

Tickles wants everyone to stay together until it is stolen. Morlock doesn't want the elves coming to the hotel, so he decides the best plan is to store it with a local banker that the elves can steal from. Tickles agrees to go store the document with a banker and let Morlock know.
Title: Actual Play - Palladium Fantasy: Warlords of the Wastelands
Post by: jgants on October 14, 2017, 11:40:34 PM
*** Session 09 - Scene 3 (of 5) ***

Tickles doesn't want to store the document with the same banker they have their personal funds entrusted to (Mordecai), so he looks for another local banker to store it with. Deciding to pass on "Schlomo's Discount Bank", he entrusts the document with one of the larger and more reputable bankers, the Lehman Brothers.

The thief heads over to the large merchant shop where the brothers do business. He makes the acquaintance of one of the brothers, Henry. Henry assures him they have the safest lockboxes in all of Zarzote, even showing Tickles around so he is satisfied the lox box area is secured.

Tickles deposits the document for a fee of 100 gold up front and an agreement to pay a monthly fee of 50 gold. In exchange, Henry gives him a key. As Tickles leaves, he mumbles under his breath how happy he is that these highway robbers will be the ones getting robbed.

When he returns to Morlock's room, he informs the dwarf about the deposit. Morlock is pleased and begins putting the word out, though notes he's head the Lehman Brothers have been busy buying property all over town.

Tickles says he'll sleep on the floor in Morlock's room until the theft goes off. Morlock doesn't want him in his suite, so he arranges for everyone to have one of the other rooms down the hall.

While they wait, Deadly Snow replenishes her daggers and heads over to Althea for some healing. On the way, she stops by Mordecai's shop to withdraw some of the money.

The banker greets her, surprised she is back so soon. When she says she needs to make a withdrawal, he explains there will be an early withdrawal penalty.

Deadly Snow isn't surprised but is annoyed. She decides to go ahead and take all the money out. Mordecai starts explaining all the fees – early withdrawal, withdrawing within a day of Shabbas, gold surcharge, estate taxes, etc. In the end, the fees add up to 300 gold, leaving the assassin with 1,000 gold left.

Taking the money and grumbling about the fees on her way out, Deadly Snow replaces her daggers at the weaponsmith's then finds the shrine to Jar'ri.

Althea greets Deadly Snow when she arrives, telling her to ramble on baby and settle down easy. She tells the girl she'll heal her just like the mojo hand.

When she gets back, Nardig considers withdrawing his money as well but when Deadly Snow warns him about Mordecai's penalties he decides against it.

Deadly Snow also mentions something about needing armor repairs. Nardig offers he can make some of the repairs for her, and spends a day doing so.
Title: Actual Play - Palladium Fantasy: Warlords of the Wastelands
Post by: jgants on October 14, 2017, 11:41:35 PM
*** Session 09 - Scene 4 (of 5) ***

A day or so later, word spreads around town about a daring robbery of the Lehman Brothers. Tickles asks around town about it, and discovers one of the workers named Richard was killed during the raid. He also confirms the attack was made by "crazy-looking elves" who took something from one of the lock boxes.

Tickles heads down to see the Lehman Brothers and demands to speak to someone in charge. Emmanuel Lehman comes out to talk to him.

Acting indignant, Tickles says he wants to open his lock box. Emmanuel tells him there has been a problem. Tickles, clearly annoyed, asks what the problem was.

Emmanuel explains about the attack and how his item was stolen from the lock box. Tickles acts as if he doesn't believe him and demands the brothers pay him the value of his stolen item.

As Emmanuel explains to Tickles that the agreement he signed explains they aren't liable for theft, the coyle grabs him by the throat and slams him head into the counter. He falls unconscious.

Henry rushes out and asks Tickles what he's done. Tickles demands he be compensated for his loss. Henry threatens him that he'll hear from Magistrate Peck for this.

Tickles doesn't back down, and eventually intimidates Henry into refunding his 100 gold (in cash) and gives him a bank note for 800 gold (the amount Tickles claimed the item was worth) redeemable at Mordecai's. Tickles takes the cash and note, punching the banker in the face before he leaves and slams the door on the way out.

Getting back to the Laubenstein Inn, Tickles informs the others the item has been stolen. When they head into his suite, they find Morlock is already aware of the theft.

The dwarf asks them if they are ready for the trip. They agree they are as ready as ever. He has them hold hands as he prepares to go through the instructions.

Tickles is alarmed that Morlock doesn't seem 100% sure of what he's doing. The dwarf explains he's never actually done this before, but has the instructions by way of a friend of a friend of an associate of his and isn't concerned. Everyone else is, but goes along with it anyway.
Title: Actual Play - Palladium Fantasy: Warlords of the Wastelands
Post by: jgants on October 14, 2017, 11:42:40 PM
*** Session 09 - Scene 5 (of 5) ***

When they materialize in the pocket dimension of the Black Vault, the group find themselves inside what appears to be a tall tower looking like some kind of library illuminated by magical torches. It is open all the way to the top, with various mezzanine levels around the outer ring of the tower, connected by a winding staircase heading up the wall.

Aside from the staircases, the outer walls of each level are filled with shelves of documents and objects behind locked gates. In the walking areas of the levels are several tables, several of which appear to contain items.

The tower has dozens of harlequins inside, and everyone knows they'll have to move quickly. Morlock gives the command for everyone to move out and grab what they can.

Deadly Snow is overcome with nausea from the trip while everyone else is unaffected. She begins vomiting as the others move into action.

The harlequins move in first, with one of them attacking Morlock. The dwarf manages to move out of the way of his whip-like weapon.

With the other elves still a fair distance away, Tickles looks around at the tables. The one nearest to him has some sort of suit of plate armor on it. He looks around for one with an amulet, but doesn't see one. He does catch sight of a helmet and a set of arrows.

Tickles decides to help out Morlock with his grappling hook. He wraps it around the elf.

Mulroney looks around for anything to steal while Shoes casts a cloud of smoke to obscure some of them. The witch himself runs over towards the table with the helmet. He isn't sure what it is, but puts it one anyway.

Nardig attacks the elf Tickles has grappled, but slips on the slick floor and misses. Morlock takes out a dagger and sticks the elf.

The harlequin slips the grappling hook, using his whip weapon to cut the rope. Tickles' grappling hook falls to the ground. Feeling that discretion is the better part of valor, Tickles runs for the stairs to go look for the amulet.

Over in the other part of the main floor, Mulroney spots a table a further distance away that has some sort of magical torch on it. He moves over to grab it.

The harlequin starts after Tickles but Nardig blocks his way. He slashes out with his sword, but the elf parries the blow with his whip. However, Morlock uses the opportunity to sneak in and get another attack with his dagger. The elf counterattacks with his whip, slashing the dwarf across his body.

Nardig continues to press the attack on the elf, but the warrior is too fast for him. The harlequin can't handle both attackers at once, however, and Morlock gets in another stab. The elf responds with another fierce blow on the dwarf with his whip, wounding the man badly.

Deadly Snow, recovering from her illness, decides to start scaling the wall up to the next level. Down below, Morlock blocks another attack from the elf.

When Tickles gets to the top of the stairs, he spots a table nearby with some sort of talisman or amulet on it. Encouraged it could be the one he is looking for, he makes his way towards it while being pursued from behind by other harlequin warriors.

Downstairs, Nardig continues to battle with the harlequin. He manages to strike it with his sword, wounding the elf. Morlock follows up with a dagger strike of his own.

Upstairs, Deadly Snow climbs her way onto the mezzanine. She spots a table nearby with what appears to be a pair of wings on it.

Mulroney sees the clowns starting to move in closer. He has Shoes get ready to cast a fear spell while he starts heading up the stairs to the next level.

Meanwhile, Tickles grabs the amulet from the table near him. As Tickles grabs the amulet, two of the harlequins move in and attack. He manages to block one of them but is hit by the other attack.

Down below, Nardig strikes into the harlequin warrior again. Morlock tries to finish the elf off, but misses badly. The hobgoblin attempts to press the attack, but the warrior beats him back.

Up above, Deadly Snow straps on the wings and jumps off the mezzanine. Unfortunately, she can detect she doesn't quite have the magical ability to activate the wings and begins to fall. Using her psionic power, she harmlessly floats towards the floor on the main level.

Meanwhile, the harlequins up above slash into Tickles' armor with their whips. More begin to approach him. He tries to escape by climbing up the shelves as Deadly Snow did. The clowns come after him, whipping at him.

Mulroney calls out to Morlock to ask how they get out of there. Morlock points to a magic circle near the center of the ground floor; he says they should be able to use it to escape.

Deadly Snow rushes over and grabs Shoes. As he picks the cat up, Shoes stretches out a paw and fires a fire bolt into the shelves of books to create a distraction.

Nardig runs the harlequin through with his sword. Upstairs, Tickles is under attack from above and below, as one of the harlequins on the upper level whips into him.

Tickles takes the opportunity to hurl himself off the book shelf and dives towards the portal. He disappears in mid-air as he reaches it.

On the stairs, Mulroney sees what happens with Tickles. He starts running back down towards the portal. Deadly Snow decides to help by hurling the witch's cat into the portal.

Before heading out, Nardig decides to go for the set of (presumably) magic arrows and heads over to that table.

Meanwhile, Morlock grabs the nearby set of plate armor. Mulroney runs over to the portal, but stops just short of entering it to block the dwarf. Morlock tries to tackle the witch into the portal, but Mulroney steps aside and he falls to the ground, dropping the magic armor.

Deadly Snow goes up to Morlock with her battle axe ready. She chops down into him, cutting off his leg. Some distance away, Nardig grabs the arrows off the table and starts running back towards the others.

Since Morlock can't make it back to the portal before the elves get him, Deadly Snow grabs the armor and heads towards the portal. She knocks Mulroney down and drops the armor herself.

Deadly Snow picks herself up off the ground. She sees nearly a dozen harlequins surrounding herself and Mulroney, closing in fast. Nardig, still a distance away, appears to be cut off from them.

The young assassin grabs the armor from the ground. Mulroney grabs her and pulls the two of them into the portal.

Nardig, left alone, tries to figure out how he'll manage to get to the portal. Rushing through, he slams into one of the warriors but can't push him aside.

The harlequins begin attacking the hobgoblin. He is badly injured by their whips. Using the last of his energy, he slams one aside and makes it into the portal…
Title: Actual Play - Palladium Fantasy: Warlords of the Wastelands
Post by: jgants on October 15, 2017, 12:17:57 AM
*** Session 09 - Session Notes ***

There's no nice way to say it - the circumstances around this session were kind of fucked up for a few reasons, some personal and some related to the game.

You may recall last time the Mulroney player wasn't happy about the joke from the Deadly Snow player. Well, that got worse. I found out he was still pissed about Friday's game that following Monday, to the point where he started reading way too much into it and thought it was a calculated personal attack. Then, after I sent my game notes out, the Deadly Snow player reached out to the Mulroney player (they've been friends longer than I've known either of them) about what happened, and it apparently escalated into a back and forth argument over email with thousands of words exchanged. By the time I got involved, both were ready to quit and I had to do what I do at work and break out the old conflict resolution guidelines and offered to facilitate them having an in-person discussion. Which we planned for the start of the next session - hence, this session started an hour normal later than usual (I had the other guys come late). I wasn't thrilled about it (there's a reason I get paid to deal with that at work), but I wanted to help / prevent the game from falling apart.

But the real kicker was just after I got them both agree to a mediated discussion, I received some very bad personal news. I won't go into the specifics, but it basically meant knowing something really bad was going to happen the Saturday morning after the game and I spent all week distracted by that. Oh, and my Friday morning wasn't helped by being stuck in a half-day offsite management meeting where I was also driven half-crazy by work-related nonsense.

By Friday evening, I was pretty much dreading the coming Saturday and decided to numb myself a bit with some whiskey. I may have gone a little overboard and was at least half drunk by the time anyone arrived, but somehow still managed to get the players talking and back on decent terms and ran the session (which ended up going off pretty well). So, hopefully all's well that end's well with the game (the personal stuff still sucks and left me a bit out of sorts last week as well, but I'm to the point now where I'm able to get back focused on things and looking forward to the upcoming game on Friday).

Other notes about the session:
* I keep forgetting Mulroney shouldn't be able to cast spells when he's engaged in close combat. That's fairly important so I'll have to try and keep a better eye on that.

* The part about Mankind Revealed being poorly written, philosophical drivel comes from the original Shadowrun source material.

* I liked they thought to authenticate the document themselves; I did have another sub-plot lined out in case they didn't think of it.

* Morlock's amulet wasn't named or described in the session. In the notes, I named / described it after the necklace worn by the character in the movie Poltergeist III.

* Schlomo's Discount Bank is a further play on the Mordecai idea, combined with the character Schlomo from my D&D 4th edition campaign. The joke was that Schlomo's bank would clearly be even more disreputable than Mordecai's.

* Clearly the Lehman Brothers bank is a joke on the real life investment company. I used a very similar joke in the Al-Qadim campaign.

* I was making up as many fees on the fly as I could when Deadly Snow was withdrawing her money just to see how outrageous I could get before the player got annoyed. To his credit, he rolled with the punch nicely.

* Althea once again is rattling off lyrics from Greatful Dead songs (this time from Ramble On Rose). Again, I'm not really a fan (I'm more of a contemporary hard rock guy ala the Octane channel on Sirius XM; I was just at the Hollywood Undead concert this last Friday night) but the Mulroney player is so I just look up lyrics online ahead of time so I can slip them in.

* Tickles being indignant with the Lehman brothers about the robbery was hilarious. He really got into the righteous indignation aspect when talking to them.

* The Black Vault was designed simply because I didn't want the PCs spending more than a couple of rounds there. It is clearly meant to be a smash and grab job.

* I had eight or so magic items (all mostly themed on Warhammer 40K Eldar aspect warrior equipment) sitting around; the PCs managed to get six of them.

* They escaped, but they won't all be going back to the same location (I have lots planned on that for next session). As for the obvious, the elves will be coming after them but not right away...
Title: Session 10: Detours
Post by: jgants on October 24, 2017, 09:55:57 AM
*** Session 10 - Cast of Characters ***

Yukiko Amagi (aka The Deadly Snow): A ten-year-old aberrant human girl; a major psychic trained as a secret assassin. She considers Tickles to be her father after he raised her as an orphan.

The Great Mulroney: A miscreant changeling witch who believes he is human and masquerades as a prestidigitator. He sold his soul to the devil prince Glebecar and has a devil familiar named Shoes.

Nardig: A miscreant hobgoblin mercenary exiled from his family for his evil deeds. He can control his tendencies for short periods of time to work with small groups, but will steal from them and turn on them with the slightest provocation.
Title: Actual Play - Palladium Fantasy: Warlords of the Wastelands
Post by: jgants on October 24, 2017, 09:56:53 AM
*** Session 10 - Scene 1 (of 8) ***

After falling through the portal, everything goes black. When the Great Mulroney and the Deadly Snow wake up, they find themselves on rough ground. To their shock, they find themselves outdoors, with the sun shining on them. It has been quite some time since Mulroney has seen true daylight, and Deadly Snow has never seen it before. It takes them both some time to get used to.

Deadly Snow examines the area. They seem to be in some kind of mountain valley, surrounded by heavily-forested mountains. Looking around, she spots a path nearby but little else except for rocks and trees. She looks for tracks of people, but does not discover any.

While Deadly Snow is marveling at the beauty of the surface world, Mulroney is growing increasingly anxious. Their companions are not with them, and he can't even feel the presence of Shoes. His missing familiar is very troubling to the witch, as if a piece of his own soul is missing.

Mulroney is also ill at ease as he detects something else odd. Wherever they are, the ambient magic energy in the area is clearly stronger than he is used to. Studying it for a minute, he can sense the "scent" of the magic is different. He believes they are not on their home plane of existence but off in another dimension.

The witch informs Deadly Snow something is wrong. He explains based on what he can sense, they appear to be on another world. Deadly Snow asks if he can find the way to go that could lead them back, but the witch becomes very distracted about his lost cat.

Deadly Snow believes standing around won't do much good so she begins walking, saying something about hoping to find shelter soon as she is not familiar with how to survive outdoors. She then heads down the path, with Mulroney absently-minded following along.

It doesn't take long before Deadly Snow feels strange… like she's being watched. She looks around at the trees surrounding the path, but doesn't see anyone.

Mulroney sees her looking around and asks if she saw his cat. She shakes her head no. He asks what she is looking for but she signals for him to be quiet.

While the assassin continues to scan the tree line, Mulroney becomes convinced whatever she thinks she saw it must have been Shoes. He sprints over to the nearest rock pile to investigate. Deadly Snow decides to make a run for it, heading down the path.
Title: Actual Play - Palladium Fantasy: Warlords of the Wastelands
Post by: jgants on October 24, 2017, 09:57:47 AM
*** Session 10 - Scene 2 (of 8) ***

As Mulroney hunts for his cat, he gradually becomes aware of people starting to surround him. Looking up, he sees they are human but they look different than he is used to. They wear strange clothes and carry strange-looking spears, and their skin and facial features look very different than the humans he is used to. At the same time, he has a vague recollection in the back of his mind that he has seen men like this before, as if in a long-forgotten dream, but can't summon the memory in his mind.

Mulroney asks the man closest to him if they've seen his cat. The man responds, but in a strange language Mulroney can't understand. The men continue to talk and point with their spears.

The witch ignores them and goes back to looking for his cat. One of the men tugs at his robes, pointing down the path and motioning as if he wants Mulroney to head in the same direction that Deadly Snow went. Mulroney decides this must mean the men are telling him where his cat is, so he follows their instructions.

Meanwhile, a bit further down the path, Deadly Snow notices black vapor in the air on the trail in front of her. She watches as it begins to take a humanoid form – a skeletal body with horrific facial features. She is momentarily overcome by terror from seeing the creature.

Before she can act, it approaches her and breathes on her with a breath filled with pestilence. Young and in good health, the girl manages to resist the deadly plague.

Acting quickly, Deadly Snow attempts to hack at the creature with her axe but the blade goes through it effortlessly. The creature appears to laugh at her pathetic attempts.

The creature then attempts to possess Deadly Snow. She manages to fight him off, though doesn't think to activate her mind block. Instead, she attempts a telekinetic kick but finds that is no more effective than her axe.

After shrugging off another possession attempt, the assassin knows she is in trouble. She can't seem to harm the creature and doesn't think she can outrun it. Trying a different tactic, she attempts to speak to it – asking why it is attempting to block her path.

The creature speaks back in a language she does not understand. But it points at the wings and armor she is carrying that she took from the Black Vault.

Guessing the creature wants some kind of tribute, she hands the wings to it. It accepts the gift graciously, saying something else she can't understand. It and the wings then transform back into black vapors and disappear into the air.

Just as the creature disappears, Deadly Snow hears Mulroney approaching up the path. She sees he is being followed by a large group of strange-looking men with spears.
Title: Actual Play - Palladium Fantasy: Warlords of the Wastelands
Post by: jgants on October 24, 2017, 09:58:56 AM
*** Session 10 - Scene 3 (of 8) ***

Deadly Snow can tell the men don't appear to be threatening Mulroney. She asks who they are, but Mulroney says only that the men said his cat was this way. The girl says she didn't see the cat, but did encounter some kind of skeletal guardian.

She tells Mulroney they need to find a way out of where they are. As they talk, one of the men approaches and points further down the path. He speaks again, and Mulroney decides Shoes must still be further down the path.

Since Mulroney starts walking down the path, Deadly Snow decides to follow. After an hour of walking, they eventually come upon a walled village.

The men with them speak at the gate and get the village to open it. Inside is a small collection of homes and other buildings made of stone and mud. It is also full of more humans of similar appearance to the men with them.

Mulroney and Deadly Snow are guided by the men towards one of the larger stone buildings. It has a large arched doorway with several arched windows, and a curved roof with various ornate sculptures incorporated into its design.

As they head inside, they are greeted by a short, thin man. He has white hair with a long white beard and appears to be very old.

The man comes over to try to talk to them. Mulroney, enraged he still hasn't found his cat, attempts to tackle the man while yelling to ask where his cat is. The man easily steps aside, sending Mulroney to the ground. He laughs while stroking his long white beard.

Deadly Snow notices the man then begins what looks like an attempt to cast a spell. Acting quickly, she activates a mind block.

When the spell finishes, the man speaks in a language they can understand. He tells the travelers not to worry, for he was only casting a spell so he could speak to them in their language.

The man asks where they came from. Mulroney demands to know where his cat is. The man says he knows little of cats there, though some of the mountain folk claim they make a fine soup.

Deadly Snow tells the man they come from the Baalgor Wastelands. The man says he has not heard of such a place, saying it is very interesting.

He then asks their names. Deadly Snow gives the names of herself and the Great Mulroney. The man asks Mulroney what makes him so great, but Mulroney only threatens him again about his cat.

The man says again he is afraid he does not have the cat. He explains he is the shaman of the village, and gives his name as Chen Hsu.

Chen asks more about the wastelands and where they are located. Deadly Snow says they came here through a magic portal, which Chen refers to as "one of the rifts". He says they must be confused then.

The little man goes on to explain they have found themselves in the mountains of Mount Qian, in the Hanbing Province. He also says he is afraid to tell them it is the lands of the Second Hell of the Yama Kings.

Deadly Snow says that doesn't sound very good. Chen Hsu says it is not, for the Yama Kings rule the lands with their dark magic. He says their area is controlled by Chu Chiang, the 2nd Yama King who rules from the Iron City of Harbin. He says out here in the mountains they are reasonably safe.

Yukiko says that is not too unlike their homeland where they are under the rule of the evil giants. Chen finds that very interesting.

Deadly Snow then asks about the "skeletal guardian" she encountered along the path. As she explains what she saw, the shaman says it was a Shen Mo demon. He says such a demon often waylays travelers to demand magical goods, or simply poisons them with disease.

When Deadly Snow says the creature got an offering from her, Chen is surprised she would so freely give up a magical item. She says it was that or her life. He says she was fortunate to be carrying such an item.

Chen Hsu notices she is carrying another magical item with her, the armor. He asks to inspect it. Looking it over, he identifies it as the "Armor of the Exarch" – a magical heavy plate armor that wears as lightly as leather.

When he mentions Deadly Snow herself could even wear it, she asks for help wearing it. He notes to actually fit her they'd need to have an armorer size it down for her (and because it is magical armor, an alchemist would be needed to assist as well). Chen suggests perhaps she has a taller friend who can use it.

Mulroney's greed kicks in at the suggestion. He asks if he can wear it. Chen says he can sense some power within Mulroney, suggesting he may be able to wear the armor but as a practitioner of magic it may still interfere with his abilities so it would be unwise to wear it.

Chen Hsu also says he senses a "dark stain" on Mulroney's soul. He asks if he has been touched by the Yama Kings. Mulroney says no one has touched him, but Deadly Snow agrees the man is "a little touched". The wizened old man says perhaps it is something else.

The old man then notes Mulroney has a couple of items with him that also appear to have a magical aura. Chen identifies the helm as the "Helm of the Striking Scorpion" and explains how it can be used to channel magical energy into an energy bolt spell. Mulroney is less than thrilled, as he can already cast that spell.

For the torch, the shaman identifies it as the "Torch of the Flaming Dragon" and says it can be lit by magical energy as needed. He also indicates it can be used to cast a fire bolt spell; again, Mulroney is disappointed to learn the item does something he already knows how to do.

The witch initially considers letting Deadly Snow wear the helm. But after thinking on it a minute, Mulroney realizes the items may be useful after all – for although he can cast the spells, the magical items can do it more quickly allowing him to fire off more spells in a shorter amount of time.

Tired of the talk about magical items, Mulroney turns to the most important matter at hand – how he can find his cat. Chen Hsu says the cat may not be in this world, and he may need to travel back through the rifts to his home dimension to find it.

Mulroney asks how he can get back. Chen Hsu says he does not know, but knows of one who might. He tells them they will need to go see a powerful sorcerer named Zhang Tong who lives at the Makluan Temple in the Valley of the Dragon, a location not too far from the village.

When the witch asks how they get there, the old man helpfully offers to draw them a map. As he sketches it out, Deadly Snow asks if it is a safe passage and if they can get anyone to accompany them.

Chen explains the villagers are very wary of the sorcerer's power and will go nowhere near the temple. They will need to journey the half day on their own.

Since the temple is a half-day away through the mountains, and it is questionable they will reach it by nightfall, Deadly Snow wants to wait until dawn to head out. Mulroney has other ideas and heads straight for the gate out of town. The young assassin sighs and reluctantly follows.
Title: Actual Play - Palladium Fantasy: Warlords of the Wastelands
Post by: jgants on October 24, 2017, 10:00:03 AM
*** Session 10 - Scene 4 (of 8) ***

The trip through the mountains is quiet and peaceful, and as the sun falls below the peaks of the mountains and the shadows fall across the path they come upon the mountain at the end of the trail.

There appears to be a large castle of some kind built into the side of the mountain. It is surrounded by a fifty-foot high wall, with thirty-foot high doors.

Mulroney goes up to the doors and knocks. The gate appears to open on its own. Inside is a lush courtyard lit by magical sunlight. A stone path leads up to the main castle entrance.

On either side of the path stand legions of clay-like statues of warriors, ominously looking like guards with their spears. Far in the back on one side is a thirty-foot tall metal statue of some kind; it looks vaguely humanoid but appears nothing like either Mulroney or Deadly Snow have seen before.

Mulroney heads up the path, with Deadly Snow following behind and giving him some distance. The young assassin has her battle axe ready for trouble as he approaches the door to the castle and knocks.

The castle door is opened by an unassuming man wearing robes. He appears to be the same strange ethnicity as the men from the village. Unlike them, he appears to be able to speak the same language as they do.

The man greets Mulroney and gives his name as Loc Do. Mulroney responds in kind, saying he is looking for his cat. Loc Do says there are no cats there.

Mulroney then says he is looking for a portal back to his world. Loc starts to tell him to leave when a voice calls to him from back in the castle in the language Mulroney can't understand.

Loc Do turns back to Mulroney and tells him the "honorable Emperor Zhang Tong" has graciously agreed to see them. Mulroney beckons for Deadly Snow to follow him inside as Loc leads the way.

The servant leads the two into the main hall of the castle, where they find a raised dais at the end. Loc Do will only allow them to get so close before telling them to stop.

On the dais is a tall throne. Sitting in the throne is a very tall man with long black hair and a long beard. Like everyone else they have encountered, he appears to be of the same strange ethnic background. The man wears long robes made of yellow and black, and has a tall hat on.

The man Mulroney presumes to be Zhang Tong does not look at them immediately. Mulroney notices the man's arms are made of green scales with claw-like hands, as if he were part dragon. Zhang is holding a strange black orb that he is looking into with a strong gaze.

He turns slowly to face Mulroney only. Saying "greetings, brother" he tells Mulroney they should speak on their own and tells Mulroney to have his servant (indicating Deadly Snow without looking at her) go with his own. Loc Do leads the girl out so the men can talk.

Once they are alone, Zhang Tong looks over Mulroney carefully with an almost confused expression. He mysteriously says, "I thought I would recognize you, but I do not." He asks Mulroney the reason for his new form.

Mulroney doesn't pay any attention to what Zhang is saying and insists he needs to find his cat. He says he needs Zhang's help to find a portal back to his world so he can find the cat, which is of vital importance.

Zhang asks Mulroney if he wants him to send him to his world or the world he came from. Mulroney is confused, for as far as he knows they are one in the same. Mulroney starts to understand the man has mistaken him for someone else, and tries to say as little as possible.

The gambit appears to work, for Zhang continues by asking Mulroney if he's located his "old friend" yet. Since Mulroney has no idea what he's talking about, he asks which one. He starts to say Deadly Snow is his only friend there, but Zhang cuts him off. The sorcerer says he is not talking about Mulroney's servant but rather their mutual friend, who is located at (some place called) the Pyramid of Shadows.

Mulroney indicates he has not. Zhang Tong explains he has been communicating with that person, along with two others he names as "Paldemar" and "Nigel". He tells Mulroney the plan is proceeding forward.

The witch asks Zhang Tong what the (unnamed) man had to say. Zhang says things are moving forward, and soon it will be time to raise their dark lord. Mulroney suggests he could speak with the man, but Zhang suggests it would be best for Mulroney to speak with him in person at the pyramid once he goes back. After all, Zhang explains, he hasn't seen Mulroney in some time.

Still unsure what is going on, Mulroney tries to agree along but against his better reasoning asks again about the cat as he is obsessed with finding Shoes. Zhang says he does not understand the importance of the cat, but Mulroney insists "everything" revolves around finding him as it has great power.

Zhang seems placated at the answer. He says if the cat is that important then he's sure "Bragosani" (apparently the name of the man he's been talking about at the pyramid) will find him once he finds the cat.

Changing topics, Zhang asks Mulroney what he thinks of the castle. Mulroney says it is very nice. Zhang laughs, saying it was once a stronghold of Prester John himself. The sorcerer says he enjoys the irony that they will use such a place to raise John's enemy. Mulroney agrees it is a great plan.

Zhang says he'd better get on with getting Mulroney back to his world as there is much to do. He also says something about "the old wizards will not stop us this time" (apparently referring to some enemies of his group of conspirators and their plans).

Drawing a magic circle on the ground, Zhang says he will send Mulroney back. He asks if he needs the servant to go as well, as he could find a use for her here. Mulroney insists he needs the girl to come as well as she's a key part of his activities.

Loc Do brings Deadly Snow back and has her move into the circle. She asks Zhang Tong if he is sending them into a deeper level of hell.

Zhang Tong looks to Mulroney, asking if his servant is daring to speak to him. Mulroney insists the girl was speaking to him, not the sorcerer.

Once they get inside, he begins the incantation. The last thing Mulroney hears is Zhang wishing him farewell, saying "Until we meet again Arlo", which he assumes is the name of the person Zhang believes he is. And with that, they disappear into a white light.
Title: Actual Play - Palladium Fantasy: Warlords of the Wastelands
Post by: jgants on October 24, 2017, 10:01:33 AM
*** Session 10 - Scene 5 (of 8) ***

Nardig coughs as his lungs are filling with dust and sand. Picking himself up off the ground, he sees he is outside but lying on a rocky plateau out in a harsh desert. As the wind blows, he has a tough time spotting anything with the dirt and sand in the air.

So unused to seeing sunlight, Nardig manages to blind himself trying to look around. He trips and falls, tumbling down a sandy hill and landing on a rough ground of earth.

As he gets his sight back, he finds himself surrounded by horses. On the horses are some sort of human warriors, though they appear to be of a strange ethnicity he is not familiar with.

The men speak to each other in a strange language. One then attempts to speak to Nardig, but he shakes his head as he doesn't understand.

Two of the men get off their horses and Nardig tries to speak to them. They don't appear to speak his language but do make a move to grab him. Hopelessly outnumbered, Nardig doesn't resist as they tie him up and throw him on the back of one of the horses.

The men head off into the desert with Nardig. After several hours, he sees they appear to be taking him towards a large tower.

As they get closer, he can see the tower better. It appears to be built into the side of a mountain, and carved to look like a large serpent is encircling the peak. Near the top is the head of the "snake" with a large open mouth, while the door to the tower is down near the tail.

The men roughly dump him in front of the doors then ride off. Nardig attempts to use his escape artist talents to free himself, but the bonds are too tight to slip.

Hoping for help, he reaches over and kicks at the door and yells to see if he can get anyone's attention. Eventually, it opens to reveal a goblin. The goblin speaks in the same language as Nardig, though appears to be using an odd dialect with a strange accent.

The goblin seems surprised by the bound Nardig and asks him who he is. Nardig gives his name, and the goblin asks how he got there.

Nardig briefly explains he came through a portal and arrived in this world. He says he wants to get back to where he came from.

The goblin tells Nardig that lucky for him, the master always needs new servants. The goblin then begins taking all of Nardig's possessions and putting them into his own bag. He remarks on all the items "falling" into his bag and suggests Nardig be more careful with his things.

Nardig asks the goblin to untie him but he ignores him. After the goblin is done stealing things, he calls in a different language and a couple of human and orc guards appear. They untie Nardig and haul him up the stairs, leaving him nothing but a loincloth as the goblin explains he will like the master, who the goblin describes as a very generous person.

The goblin eventually gives his name as Snarg, and explains he is a valued servant of the master. He then explains to Nardig that he will also be a valued servant of the master, only his duty will be to work in the mines.

After ascending a few flights of stairs, Nardig comes face to face with a very tall, dark-skinned humanoid wearing a variety of jewelry. Nardig recognizes him from the cave below Beartooth but plays ignorant as Snarg refers to the djinn as Jalil.

Snarg explains to Jalil how they have a new slave to work the mines. As the two talk, Nardig catches that the majority of the slaves being kept here were freed some time back by a group of humans (referred to as the "wicked Al-Badassi clan) leading to delays.

Nardig tries to delay them by saying he was on a quest for magical items in another dimension and asks them to send him back or come with him to get the items, but Jalil jokes he can dig for some magical items in the mines. To motivate him, Jalil makes sure one of the slave masters whips Nardig well.
Title: Actual Play - Palladium Fantasy: Warlords of the Wastelands
Post by: jgants on October 24, 2017, 10:02:14 AM
*** Session 10 - Scene 6 (of 10) ***

Hours that feel like days pass as Nardig toils in the mines with the other slaves. Eventually they are allowed a break to go rest for the night. They are all thrown together in a large room inside the tower.

Nardig looks around at his fellow slaves – most appear to be humans (of the same odd ethnicity as the horse riders), but he also sees goblins, dwarves, hobgoblins, and elves among the others. He carefully observes them until he figures out who looks to be the leader of the slaves then approaches that man discreetly.

The leader of the slaves is an elf who gives his name as Naveed, speaking in the same variant of Gobbley that Snarg did. Naveed explains he was captured by the Blood Riders, and after explaining who they are Nardig realizes those were the same men who grabbed him. In Naveed's case, his village of Zayir was attacked by the Blood Riders hired by Alknar.

The hobgoblin explains how he came to this world via a magical portal, and asks Naveed if he knows anything about that. Naveed does not, though knows Jalil has powerful magic and can travel between worlds. He also says the master of the tower (who he calls "he whose name we cannot speak") is also a powerful sorcerer.

Nardig asks about other powerful sorcerers in the area. Naveed explains this tower was once the domain of such a sorcerer, a powerful but evil man named Salazar the Maleficent. Naveed notes Salazar was said to be killed in another dimension as well by the brother of a rival of his, many years ago.

The hobgoblin continues to talk with Naveed, discovering he has been there many months. The slave explains his village was raided after the tower's original workforce of slaves was freed by a great hero named M'balz Al-Badassi. However, M'balz was said to have died while on a quest in the north, in a forgotten dungeon under the city of Hiyal, so will not be able to save them this time and there is no one else around who would dare take on the new overlord of the tower, the dreaded Alknar (whose name he will only say in a whisper).

Undeterred, Nardig inquires if Naveed has any escape plans underway. The elf says they have been slowly digging a narrow tunnel out of this chamber and into an adjoining one; it would not allow someone to completely escape the tower, but would give them a chance (though would be very dangerous). Nardig being rather small and slender offers to try it, saying it is better than staying there.

Naveed shows Nardig over to the small tunnel in the wall they have carefully obscured from the guards. He wishes Nardig that the Fates be with him, and asks him to come back and free them all should he get free.
Title: Actual Play - Palladium Fantasy: Warlords of the Wastelands
Post by: jgants on October 24, 2017, 10:03:17 AM
*** Session 10 - Scene 7 (of 8) ***

After crawling on his hands and knees for a while, Nardig eventually emerges in the back of an old cistern no longer in use, in the back of an old kitchen area in the tower. He doesn't see anyone around in the dark room with his darkvision.

Nardig makes his way carefully over to the door, opening it slowly. He sees a room beyond that is the room he passed through on the way to the slave chamber. He sees a couple of guards standing near the door to the slave room.

The hobgoblin attempts to sneak over to the other door leading out of the chamber, but manages to get spotted by the guards. They yell at him and begin chasing after him.

Nardig moves out of the way just in time as one of them tries to tackle him. He then opens the door at the end of the room and runs down the hall, narrowly avoiding being grabbed by the other guard on his way out.

As he heads down the hall, one of the guards throws a spear at the warrior, grazing his arm. Despite the wound, he continues on, quickly making his way towards a stairway. When he reaches it, he heads down the stairs.

Nardig can hear the guards coming after him as the stairs lead down to another hallway on the next level down. He's moving fast and doesn't recall exactly how he came in to the tower, so he runs at random, heading down a side hall to his right.

Gaining distance, the hobgoblin looks for a place to hide but the hallway is too sparse and narrow. Eventually the hall ends in a door. He manages to get inside before the guards catch up to him. But as he goes to close the door, one of the guards catches up enough to block the way.

Nardig looks around, seeing he has ran into a large dining hall. It has a long table surrounded by chairs on it. He climbs up the table and runs along the table as the two guards enter.

One of the guards climbs up the table after him while the other runs along the side, hoping to cut him off. As he runs, he sees there is no other way out of the room and little in it he could use as a weapon, for the only other thing he sees is a brazier at the end of the room with some charred skeletal remains of a humanoid in it.

Nardig maneuvers around and jumps off the opposite side of the table, getting back around the guards. He heads back out the door and down the hallway to look for another route.

Heading down a different passageway, he comes to a dead end after a few twists and turns. At the end is a statue of a large, fanged creature – apparently some dark demon or god once worshipped here. He tries to hide behind the statue, but it isn't quite big enough.

When the guards arrive, Nardig looks for a way to get around them but there isn't quite enough room. He body blocks one of the men into the wall, giving him just enough room to squeeze by. The other guard tries to grab him but he manages to just slip out of the way.

Continuing to run, Nardig heads back to the stairs and back up to the level he was on before. Like the other level, there are various side halls so Nardig picks one at random to move down.

Luckily for Nardig, he just steps over a trapped section of the hallway. The orcs following behind him aren't so lucky – in their haste to catch him they forget about the trap. It activates, spraying one of them with acid and killing him instantly. The remaining orc continues to pursue.

Nardig manages to make some distance, though, and gets well outside of the orc's sight. After heading down another side passage, he comes to a large archway with skeletons hanging to either side. He heads inside, finding a large room furnished with many fine rugs and pillows, and oddly sand coating the floor.

Burrowing himself under the pillows, Nardig hides from his pursuer. The gambit appears to work, as he sees the orc peer into the room but then leave and go down another passageway.

Once he's sure he's safe, Nardig uncovers himself and looks around the room more. He notices a large, locked chest. Unfortunately, he has no way to open the chest so he decides to leave.

Wandering around the tower some more, he heads back towards the area where the prisoners were. Moving carefully, he manages to get close enough to pick up some sounds from the guards near the room; apparently reinforcements have arrived. He hears them discussing the slave who escaped (referring to himself).

Unable to get any closer without the guards hearing him, Nardig heads over to the stairs and decides to try heading up one level this time. As he ascends, he hears a discussion going on above though he can't quite make out what they are talking about and he doesn't want to risk getting up any closer.

Eventually the voices get closer. He heads back down the stairs and to the lower level he was before. After wandering around, he eventually comes to another door.

Nardig listens at the door and doesn't hear anything so he heads inside. He instantly smells a sulfurous scent inside. The room contains a table but is mostly an open, dome-shaped room with various geometric patterns written on the walls. There is also a circle of some type in the middle of the floor.

The hobgoblin looks around for anything to use as a weapon or any other exits from the room but finds nothing. He is about to leave when he hears someone getting ready to open the door. Thinking quickly, he ducks under the nearby table to hide himself.

When the door opens, he sees Snarg and Jalil enter. Jalil is telling Snarg once he gets in the circle, he will activate the magic. The djinn explains that once the goblin is transported to the other world, he is to meet up with someone named Akarios. Nardig recognizes the name as the wheelwright who was talking with Jalil under Beartooth and realizes Snarg is the goblin they were talking about; the portal Jalil is activating will lead him back home.

Nardig bides his time until the last second, emerging just as the portal activates to throw himself into it. Snarg gets a change to stick Nardig with his dagger (or rather, Nardig's own dagger) before Jalil finishes the spell. He and Snarg then disappear into the white light.
Title: Actual Play - Palladium Fantasy: Warlords of the Wastelands
Post by: jgants on October 24, 2017, 10:04:24 AM
*** Session 10 - Scene 8 (of 8) ***

The Great Mulroney, the Deadly Snow, Nardig, and Snarg all emerge from their dimensional portals at the exact same time in the cavern under Beartooth. The chamber is still lit with magical torchlight.

Mulroney gets himself off the ground and looks around for Shoes, but doesn't see him. Deadly Snow sees the goblin and rushes at him, attacking with her axe. He parries with his dagger, telling the little girl she shouldn't attack him (referring to himself in third person).

The witch then attempts to levitate the goblin into the air, but he resists the spell. Nardig attempts to grab at Snarg's dagger but isn't able to wrestle it away from him.

Snarg, outnumbered, tries to run away. Deadly Snow drops her axe and quickly takes out her grappling hook, entangling the goblin. The goblin howls out, begging not to be killed.

Continuing to plead his case, Snarg offers to be Mulroney's servant. He explains he has been the servant of powerful magic-users before, offering the name of Sa'lid Dra'lah.

Mulroney says he's heard the name before, recognizing it as the man who is said to have the ebony blade. Nardig says Snarg is there to meet Akarios, which Deadly Snow offers may be a long wait. Mulroney helpfully notes they are friends of Akarios so Snarg can talk freely with them.

Snarg offers an apology to Nardig for stabbing him, saying he should have said he was a friend before. Nardig makes the droll remark that it slipped his mind when he was stripped naked and forced into slavery. At that, he grabs Nardig's sack and begins taking back his possessions along with a small amount of gold Snarg was carrying (suggesting Snarg pay them for not killing him).

While Snarg talks on about the masters he's served and his hatred of elves, Mulroney uses magic to heal Nardig. He manages to get the hobgoblin looking less rough, though it takes the majority of his power.

The witch then asks Snarg about where his cat is. Snarg is confused, saying he doesn't recall a cat falling into his bag. Mulroney, in a blind rage, starts choking the goblin. Snarg pleads for his life, asking his new master why he is doing this. Mulroney demands he tell him where his cat is.

Deadly Snow eventually stops the choking. Snarg asks why Mulroney is so angry about a cat. Deadly Snow says she doesn't know, but suggests he find it quickly. Snarg says his specialty is hauling things, not finding animals. He also says the tendency for things to fall into his pockets while he travels can be very profitable.

Although Snarg doesn't seem to know much more about Sa'lid's current status than they do (for Mulroney already knows is said to be in Black Eagle), Mulroney figures the goblin may still be of some use since he knows the man. He decides to keep the goblin alive, for now…
Title: Actual Play - Palladium Fantasy: Warlords of the Wastelands
Post by: jgants on October 24, 2017, 10:47:06 AM
*** Session 10 - Session Notes ***

This session went OK, but not as well as I would have liked. I had planned quite a lot of material for the session, intending to include a lot of crossover material with past campaigns by having the PCs show up in different dimensions. That part worked OK, but there were some problems.

First, the Mulroney player deciding his character would simply go completely insane and carrying on about his cat like a child was not very helpful in having a productive game. It was his choice to do that, but I feel it made that part of the session a lot more rushed than it needed to be, and the tone of it didn't match the intrigue vibe I was trying to go for so I didn't care for it. Then there's the problem that the Nardig player isn't very good on his own - the write-up is much more streamlined than the actual game was, where he meandered around a bit and wasn't sure what to do until I gave strong hints. We also had the problem the session started late because the Deadly Snow player showed up quite late, and then the Tickles player who was supposed to show up late didn't show up at all which meant that whole section got dropped and we decided to end early because we didn't want to get too far without him.

I'm also concerned with Snarg showing up that the PCs will once again abandon all the current plotlines to go chasing off after Sa'lid. This is a constant problem I have as a GM - any amount of foreshadowing or subplots whatsoever are either ignored completely or chased after while abandoning whatever the PCs are currently doing. It is very difficult to bring stuff up for later or to add color without it potentially derailing things.

But despite all that the session was fun overall and the campaign is still moving forward so that's good. And it was certainly an improvement over the last couple of sessions.

Other notes about the session:
* Mulroney and Deadly Snow clearly traveled to China in Rifts Earth. I probably should have had them emerge at a ley line nexus, but didn't think of that until I'd already described the area.

* Mulroney somewhat recognizes the Chinese warriors because his soul is based on Father Mulroney, who visited Chinatown all the time in Lakefront City during my original Cthulhubusters campaign.

* The question of how to handle dimensional travel and languages is a challenging one because you want to be authentic but some method of communication has to be possible to move the story along. I handled it slightly different between the two stories based on what made the most sense. The villagers in China speak Chinese, so Deadly Snow and Mulroney can't understand them without magic. Zhang Tong and Loc Do also speak Chinese, but since they are involved in a multidimensional conspiracy, I figured they would also speak a language Deadly Snow and Mulroney can understand. Similarly, the humans in Al-Qadim speak a human language specific to that world, but I decided to make the Gobbley language a bit more universal.

* The Shen Mo demon was specifically chosen because I wanted to introduce a choice - do the PCs give up a magic item or do they fight. In this case, it ended up less of a choice because Deadly Snow alone lacked a way to damage the creature.

* The magic item Deadly Snow gave up was the "Wings of the Swooping Hawk". Like the other magic items, it is inspired by the Warhammer 40K Eldar aspect warrior equipment.

* Chen Hsu, Loc Do, and Zhang Tong (along with the Makluan Temple and the Valley of the Dragon) are all heavily inspired by some of my favorite Iron Man stories from the comics in the 90's surrounding the Mandarin (and not the abomination that was the film version of a cool comic character reduced to a lame joke).

* Zhang Tong was originally a very small, off-screen character in my Rifts North Chicago campaign. He's part of the conspiracy surrounding the Lord of the Deep.

* I also had Chen Hsu act a bit like the stereotypical Kung Fu movie master (though I was specifically envisioning the master from the Kill Bill flashbacks).

* Much like the character in the comics, Chen Hsu is not a good guy, he's a bad guy pretending not to be. He purposely leads the PCs to Zhang Tong because he is in league with them. The PCs may have discovered that if they had tried to investigate more.

* The joke about the cat soup is a play on the old-time stereotype about Chinese food.

* I tried to pick the best hell of the Yama Kings for the story I wanted to tell, coming up with the domain of Chu Chiang. I never intended to actually have Chiang be part of the story, that information is there to add color.

* It was funny seeing the Mulroney player get disappointed the magic items he picked up duplicated spells he already knew (I planned the items long before his character was created), but I reminded him he could use the magical items as a physical action so they still had a use for him.

* The clay-like warriors are meant to evoke the famous terracotta warriors from ancient China. In this case, they are deadly automatons who would have attacked if necessary.

* The giant metal thing was a very large robot, which the PCs wouldn't understand. It was based on Ultimo from the Iron Man comics.

* The black orb has a name and history behind it (again, based on the Iron Man comics) but it didn't come up in the game. It's what I use to explain how Zhang Tong communicates with his fellow conspirators across dimensions.

* The "I thought I would recognize you..." line is taken straight from the (underappreciated) film, The Devil's Advocate. In the film the meaning of the line isn't clear until much later in the story, which is sort-of what I'm using it for here.

* Zhang Tong believes Mulroney to be Arlo - the doppleganger who was killed(?) in my D&D 4e Shadows Over Fallcrest campaign. Similarly, Bragosani was also thrown through a portal at the end of that campaign, and the two were in league with each other as part of the Cult of Tharizdun. In this campaign, they appear to be working with Zhang Tong.

* Why does Zhang believe Mulroney is Arlo? Well, more on that later. Let's just say Mulroney isn't 100% Father Mulroney and leave it at that.

* The Pyramid of Shadows was a location in a D&D 4e module. I'm repurposing it for my campaign as a location in the Palladium world.

* Paldemar was also in the D&D 4e campaign - one of the conspirators at the Well of Demons.

* Nigel was a dragon member of the cult of the Lord of the Deep under Avaj Eroc during the Rifts campaign. Like Zhang Tong, he was more of an off-screen character.

* Zhang Tong's castle is "one of" Prester John's castles, as his main castle where he fought against the Lord of the Deep was in Africa. The detail is added here more for flavor than anything.

* The "dark lord" Zhang is referring to may or may not be the Lord of the Deep, but that's what I'm implying.

* The "old wizards" referenced by Zhang are also from the Rifts campaign, and will be entering the story soon enough.

* Nardig clearly arrives in the Al-Qadim world from that campaign. Pretty much everyone - the Blood Riders, Alknar, Jalil, and Snarg - are taken from that campaign as are Salazar's tower and the village of Zayir. Salazar himself was part of the D&D 4e campaign along with Sa'lid Dra'lah. Naveed is a new character.

* The references back to M'balz Al-Badassi are referring to the PCs and their adventures during that campaign.

* Alknar is a yak-man, though that still hasn't been revealed to the PCs per se. Every time the game gets anywhere near him, the PCs always seem to leave before meeting him. He wasn't originally envisioned as such a big bad, but now I'm kind of rolling with it (hence, Naveed having an almost Voldemort-like aversion to even saying his name).

* I used the same maps for the tower as during my D&D Al-Qadim campaign, but I looked at my maps wrong during the big chase scene with Nardig so his route doesn't really make a lot of sense compared to how I originally planned the tower.

* Side note - I have the hardest time making a chase scene seem interesting without just being a series of rolls.

* The room with all the pillows was Jalil's quarters. The chest was full of more jewelry.

* I had to give all three PC groups a way to get back to their home world when I first planned out the detours, so I decided one of them would be about Snarg being transported back to meet Akarios since I'd already set that up (Zhang was introduced to add mystery about Mulroney and add exposition, while Tickles' adventure will be a bit more action-oriented).

* The four of them emerging from their portals at the same place at the same time is twofold - one is rule of humor. The other is that both were sent back by members of the conspiracy, and the Beartooth cavern was the location of the circle Jalil had been using.

* I'm glad they haven't killed Snarg yet. I feel I can still get more mileage out of that character.

* Shoes isn't there because he is off with Tickles. Their adventures should be revealed next session.
Title: Session 11: The Center of the Multiverse
Post by: jgants on November 08, 2017, 09:56:24 AM
*** Session 11 - Cast of Characters ***

Yukiko Amagi (aka The Deadly Snow): A ten-year-old aberrant human girl; a major psychic trained as a secret assassin. She considers Tickles to be her father after he raised her as an orphan.

The Great Mulroney: A miscreant changeling witch who believes he is human and masquerades as a prestidigitator. He sold his soul to the devil prince Glebecar and has a devil familiar named Shoes.

Tickles: An anarchist coyle thief and minor psychic. He raised Yukiko from a little orphan girl into the assassin she is today so she could earn them money as a hardened killer.

Nardig: A miscreant hobgoblin mercenary exiled from his family for his evil deeds. He can control his tendencies for short periods of time to work with small groups, but will steal from them and turn on them with the slightest provocation.
Title: Actual Play - Palladium Fantasy: Warlords of the Wastelands
Post by: jgants on November 08, 2017, 10:00:10 AM
*** Session 11 - Scene 1 (of 8) ***

Tickles finds himself with Shoes, standing on some kind of circular, metal platform. He appears to be in a room made of metal, surrounded by what look like metal towers. He can't quite make out the ceiling of the room, as it appears to be brightly lit by some sort of magic light.

A strange-sounding voice calls out, telling Tickles to wait for a "visitor inspector" to be ready, whatever that is. Tickles responds to the unseen source of the voice that he will wait.

His patience is tried as no one shows up for quite some time. It feels like hours pass before he hears the voice again. As a metal door on one of the towers opens into a dark passage beyond, the voice tells Tickles to please proceed to the "visitor station".

Tickles walks through the door, with Shoes slowly sauntering behind him. He finds himself in a larger room with another door at the end of it. The door he passed through closes behind him as soon as Shoes enters.

Once they are in the room, it illuminates with a similar magic light as the previous room. Inside is a small squad of large humanoids of a race Tickles doesn't recognize. They are all seven to nine feet tall, with barrel-shaped chests, thick limbs, and round heads. They have a strange grayish-purple skin that appears like hardened stone. Their mouths are little more than thin slits, they have no noses, and their eyes are solid black beads.

Tickles also notices they are all wearing some type of armor and carrying strange-looking weapons that look like a long metal club but held like a crossbow. Intimidated by the creatures, the coyle tries to make it clear he isn't there to hurt anyone.

One of the humanoids attempts to speak to Tickles, but he can't understand whatever language the man is speaking. Tickles tries talking back in Gobbley. The creature then takes out a small tube-shaped object and holds it up to Tickles' neck. The coyle feels a sharp pinch from the device, and calls out "What the fuck?!"

The man then speaks in a language Tickles can understand, telling him not to be alarmed. He goes on to tell Tickles that he's injected him with a "nanomachine" that will allow him to communicate. Tickles has no idea what that means, but is glad that he can talk with them now.

After the man gives his name as Inspector Tassadar, Tickles greets him and gives his own name.

Tassadar tells Tickles to hold on a moment. Tickles asks if he is going to inject him with something else, but the man tells him to stay still. Tassadar produces a small, glowing piece of metal from his armor and waves it around Tickles.

Talking aloud as he reads something on the piece of metal, Tassadar tells Tickles he appears to be a coyle. He also says based on Tickles' "dimensional signature" he appears to be from the "Palladium world".

Tickles has no idea what that means. He asks if that is not the same as this world. Tassadar ignores the question and begins asking some of his own.

Tassadar asks a series of bewildering questions to Tickles, none of which make any sense to the thief. Where is his "Center identification card"? Is he a member of the "Consortium of Civilized Worlds", the "Transgalactic Empire", or the "United Worlds of Warlock"?

Tickles tells him he's asking a lot of questions and if he could have a glass of water. Tassadar again ignores the inquiry and asks if Tickles is now or has ever been associated with the "Wolfen Supremacy" movement. Tickles says no, since he doesn't know who that is. He also remarks to himself that he probably won't be getting that water either.

Tassadar tells Tickles to prepare his equipment for inspection. He stands back while the men look through all his equipment. Tickles asks if one of them can tell him where he is since he didn't expect to be there.

One of the other men is looking at the amulet he brought back from the Black Vault. He identifies it as magical, but not dangerous.

According to the creature, Tickles has no prohibited items but he is warned that any unacceptable use of his weapons will be met with swift justice. Tickles asks if there is a list of rules he can read.

Tickles also wants to know where he is. Tassadar explains he is in Center. Tickles finds that less than illuminating, and asks where Center is. Tassadar, talking down to him, slowly says Center is at the center of the multiverse. Tickles notes he didn't expect to find himself here.

The thief then asks how he can get back where he came from, and how he can leave the center of the multiverse. Tassadar says he can leave through the right "dimensional gateway", assuming he has the right number of "credits" (which Tickles wonders if is related to his note of credit from the bank).

Tassadar also says he could have some trouble without an official ID. He then tells Tickles to hold on as they need to scan his domestic animal, indicating Shoes.

Tickles says Shoes is just a cat, but then stops himself as he recalls he isn't sure it really is a cat. He asks Tassadar if the creature is a cat or not.

Tassadar doesn't respond but whispers quietly with his men. He then turns back to Tickles and tells him they'll need to be put into "isolation". Tickles is not thrilled he's going to be locked up with the cat.

The inspector goes on to explain that Shoes is an unauthorized creature there and cannot be let into the city. He says they'll need to go through "enhanced customs inspection". Tickles asks how long that would take, and offers he could just put Shoes in a sack and carry him around. Tassadar tells Tickles to follow the officers to the "enhanced discussion area".
Title: Actual Play - Palladium Fantasy: Warlords of the Wastelands
Post by: jgants on November 08, 2017, 10:00:59 AM
*** Session 11 - Scene 2 (of 8) ***

Tickles discovers the enhanced discussion area is just a euphemism for "jail cell", as he is stripped of his items and clothing and placed in a very small metal closet with Shoes.

Turning to the cat, Tickles tells him he's really done it this time. The cat hisses at him. He apologizes, saying he was just kidding and it isn't really the cat's fault. The cat continues to growl at Tickles, and ignores the coyle's attempts to talk to him.

The cell itself is very sparse with no furniture and no items in it except for a bucket. Tickles looks distastefully at the bucket, knowing the situation will get a lot more distasteful as time goes on.

With little to do but wait, Tickles spends the next several days or more in his cell, with little way to know the passage of time except for the occasional bowl of "intergalactic gruel" they feed him through the small slot in the bottom of the door.

He also attempts to pass the time by talking to Shoes and sees if he can get the cat to talk back or even walk in a circle for him to show he understands. Shoes does not respond to him, but there is a period where the cat meows for three straight hours, nearly driving Tickles insane. He's disappointed they are unable to bond during their "adventure" together.

One day, the guard comes up to the door and tells Tickles he has a visitor. He is instructed to move to the back wall while the door is opened, though Tickles sardonically remarks they haven't given him much of a cell to back up in.

Tickles complies, and the door opens. An older human in strange clothes enters. The man greets Tickles by name. Tickles asks him for his name, which he gives as "Matheson".

Matheson tells Tickles he is in a bit of trouble, which the thief says he already figured out. Tickles asks what is going on and Matheson asks how much he knows of his situation. The exasperated Tickles responds, "Nothing!"

Attempting to explain, Matheson tells Tickles he is in the city of Center on the planet known as Phase World, which is said to be in a dimension in the center of the multiverse. Tickles is marginally able to follow along, and notes he was already told some of this; that, and that he has a forbidden cat.

Tickles says he doesn't want any trouble, and says they can just send him back to his own world. Matheson says that would be the normal procedure with unauthorized visitors, however him being there with a deevil makes things more complicated. Tickles realizes he is referring to Shoes, meaning the cat is really a transformed devil.

Matheson asks if Tickles is aware of the war between the demons and the deevils. Tickles says he is not. The human tells him the war has recently had a lot of activity in the area with the battles of the demon fleets. He also says the demons have several agents in Center among the prometheans (apparently talking about the race of creatures that Tassadar belonged to).

Continuing his explanation, Matheson says it is likely Tickles will end up a slave laborer and Shoes killed. Tickles doesn't like the sound of either of those things.

Matheson tells Tickles it is lucky day. Tickles isn't so sure, noting he hasn't been very lucky so far. The man then says he has a deal for the thief.

Tickles isn't surprised at all, and asks if the deal could involve him getting his clothes back. Matheson says that is no problem.

Matheson explains he works for a small company known as Naruni Enterprises and that his boss, a man named Corbin Decker, has a certain amount of influence with the prometheans. The man speculates that influenced could be used to free Tickles from his confinement and perhaps even get him back to his own world. Of course, they'd need a small favor first.

Tickles is amenable to the idea of a favor if he can take the cat as well; he knows Mulroney is very tied to the creature and doesn't want to risk returning without him. Matheson assures him Decker has no problem with the deevils.

Matheson explains that the favor is to help the company get something. As independent proprietors of "defense equipment", they have heard about a new ship that has entered this dimension through a portal in space that is carrying an advanced weapon they wish to acquire. He refers to it as an "intelligent, thermostellar bomb".

Tickles has no idea what that is, but it doesn't sound good. He asks what they want with that. Matheson says it is apparently used to collapse unstable planets, which means it could be valuable to sell to one of the various factions in this area given their current conflicts.

For his role, Tickles is needed to assist a crew of "runners" who Naruni has hired to acquire the weapon. Unfortunately, the ship the weapon is on (the USS Dark Star) is deep within an area of space with active fighting between the Transgalactic Empire and the demon fleets, called the "Belasco system".

Matheson summarizes that the runners for the job will need to get to the Belasco system, avoid any entanglements with the demons or Transgalactic Empire forces, and manage to get the weapon away from the crew currently in control of it then bring it back.

Tickles asks if he needs to know how to operate one of these ships. Matheson tells him not to worry. Tickles says he's a little worried.

Matheson explains he's already hired a competent crew, but they need another hand. There will be five of them on a converted light freighter. Tickles tries to understand what the mission involves – he eventually comes to understand that he is being hired to help the crew of a ship that can travel through space to go steal another ship that can travel through space.

Overwhelmed by the amount of crazy magic this dimension contains, Tickles tries to follow as Matheson hands him a small metallic card of some kind with an image of him on it (which he explains has been "loaded with credits" along with his "monorail pass") and is given the direction of the monorail station and the "spaceport" where he's to meet up with the crew of a ship called the Cartesian Doubt (which Tickles finds to be very encouraging-sounding).

Tickles wants some help ("help me to help you") by getting some healing and his armor repaired. Matheson says he's confident Tickles can procure the services of an "autodoc" at the spaceport. Tickles says he is not at all sure of that.
Title: Actual Play - Palladium Fantasy: Warlords of the Wastelands
Post by: jgants on November 08, 2017, 10:02:17 AM
*** Session 11 - Scene 3 (of 8) ***

After regaining his possessions and walking through the various hallways of the strange building he's in, Tickles eventually makes his way to an exterior area where the monorail platform is said to be. Using that odd card they gave him, he holds it up to some sort of magical post like he sees others do, and it turns green and allows him onto a long platform where various humanoid (and not so humanoid) creatures are waiting.

The bizarre, motley mix of creatures surrounding Tickles causes him to become quite unsettled. While he's used to interacting with a mix of different races back in the Undermound, this is an entirely different situation with dozens of odd-looking creatures. He also finds it very strange to be outdoors, seeing a brightly-lit sky for the first time in a great many years.

He tries to find a schedule for how he can get to the spaceport, but can't read any of the languages the signs are posted in. However, he does listen to a strange voice call out the various stops for the monorail – the Royal Wing, the Gold Estates, Warlock Row, Holo-Town, Manor Condominiums, Domed Quarter, Musical Lake, Manor Park, and the Entertainment District are all located on what is being called "Level 1 – The Manors". Access to the spaceport, or Skyline Spaceport as the voice calls it, is located at the fourth step.

Eventually a long, magical wagon made of metal zooms in next to the platform. Metal doors open all along the metal tube and the crowds begin filing in. Tickles manages to avoid being trampled and crams himself into one of the wagon chambers with what seems like over a hundred of his fellow travelers.

Tickles makes sure to keep Shoes on his shoulders to avoid losing him and takes the opportunity to pickpocket one of the men exiting the train. It appears to be some kind of small metal rod; he puts it in his sack to examine more later.

Once the doors close, the tube he's in jets along quickly across the city sky. It appears to move by some sort of magic, as if it is flying through the air. Looking around, he sees the city is made of strange-looking buildings with magical lights and images he can barely comprehend.

At the fourth stop, Tickles gets off. He finds something called an "elevator" that looks like a large, metal closet. When he gets inside with the other passengers, the closet rushes straight up, magically delivering him to the spaceport level.

The spaceport is a massive, vast yard of vehicles of all different sizes. Tickles speculates these must be the ships that can travel into the sky that Matheson was talking about.

Realizing he will never find the ship on his own, Tickles looks for someone who appears to be in charge. He notices a strange-looking humanoid who moves from ship to ship, tapping on a glowing glass rectangle he's carrying.

Tickles walks over and asks the man for help. He tells the creature he is looking for a ship called the Cartesian Doubt. He taps his glass object a few times and tells him it is located at row 5, berth 54. He points out the location of row 5 to Tickles so he can find his destination.

The thief heads over to the location the harbormaster (or whatever he was) indicated. He approaches the Cartesian Doubt and finds a human performing some repairs on the outer hull.

Tickles tells the man to excuse his interruption, but asks if he is a crewman on this ship. The human gives his name as Schlomo Rabinowitsch and explains he is the pilot.

The thief explains he's reporting to serve on the crew as part of their runner mission for Naruni. Just as Schlomo is about to respond, another human exits the ship – the captain, James "Wreck" Deckard. Wreck greets the coyle, who he assumes is the one Matheson sent him the comm about.

Wreck thinks carefully about the deal he struck with the Naruni. It's been nearly four years that he and Schlomo have been marooned in this dimension and this might finally give them enough credits to get back.

He thinks back to the situation that brought them here. They were pursuing the German spy, Adolph Mueller. Mueller was posing as an old French hermit named Gagan Hubert until his treachery was revealed and he killed two of Wreck's closest friends, Jean Danielou and Burton Steele, during a survey mission they were on at Beta Canum-4. They later discovered Mueller was involved in a plot to bring a 21st century warlord named Vladimir Putin, the "tiger prince" of the Russian Empire, out of cryostasis and launch a new war for galactic supremacy using an army of advanced cyborg soldiers.

Mueller was headed for 6 Canum Venaticorum, and Wreck's ship (commanded by Captain Mador Miller), the Xanthidae, was posing as a transport ship to 9 Canum Venaticorum as they tried to follow him. Unfortunately, a saboteur among their passengers caused an explosion, rerouting them to the Moneyspider research station on Snobol in the Venturi system, where the ByChem Corporation was mining Cys-Dieropadyne and Meta-Trilphidone in the upper atmosphere.

While there, they discovered the station's robots had malfunctioned and they lost contact with much of the crew on the Jetsom platform in the upper atmosphere of Snobol. Wreck and Schlomo took a shuttle down to mount a rescue, but an ion storm damaged the shuttle and they were suddenly pulled into a wormhole.

Since then, the two performed odd jobs until Wreck maneuvered himself into a position as captain. They have been saving their credits to try and locate a way back to their dimension ever since. He wonders if they'll ever see his friends – Jasper Jenkins, Parker Shaw, Samuel "Flash" Gordon, and Laurel Brien – again…

Wreck makes some small talk with Tickles. Schlomo laments Wreck has lost his trademark Texan accent during his years here on Center.

Tickles gets on the ship after Wreck explains they have an autodoc on board. The captain does try to say there are no cats allowed on his ship, but Tickles insists the cat is key to the mission being successful. After Tickles carries on about the value of the cat, Wreck ultimately agrees to let him onboard but says if there is a single problem with it he will shove it out the airlock. Tickles believes that is a fair deal.
Title: Actual Play - Palladium Fantasy: Warlords of the Wastelands
Post by: jgants on November 08, 2017, 10:03:20 AM
*** Session 11 - Scene 4 (of 8) ***

Once he's onboard, Tickles is told he'll be a general helper around the ship, including working as a spare gunner. Tickles has no idea how the magical weapons on the ship work but Wreck gives him a crash course (telling him to simply point and move his finger) and says he'll do fine.

He also meets the rest of the crew – Sgt. Barrett, the catyr missile officer (a red-skinned humanoid), Cpl. Retann, a noro pyschic navigator (she has black eyes, is very slender, with six fingers on each hand and a spiked head), and Pvt. Fisker, a silhouette gunner (a jet-black humanoid).

Fisker and Tickles sit in the laser turrets. Tickles asks Fisker for any pointers, but the man gives him basically the same basic advice Deckard did. Tickles sarcastically remarks what a real friendly bunch they are.

The thief uses the autodoc to heal his injuries. He also uses a different device to repair his armor. While he does so, Retann asks Deckard if they want to take the more direct route through imperial space or if they want to skirt around the edges in the Emeric asteroid cluster. Deckard opts for the more direct route, feeling time is of the essence.

The trip starts off uneventfully as Tickles is amazed at the way the vehicle they are on flies through the darkness of the heavens.

On the bridge, a red light flashes on the control panel and Retann informs Captain Deckard that a Transgalactic Empire fighter on patrol has detected them and has adjusted its course to intercept. The computer brings up the holographic schematics of the enemy ship – a Kreeghor Flying Fang fighter.

Deckard knows the flying fang fighter has enough firepower to take out a frigate, much less their converted light freighter. He tells Schlomo to take evasive action and calls for everyone to move to battle stations.

The Cartesian Doubt has three laser turrets and two missile tubes capable of firing volleys of up to eight missiles each. Wreck has the gunners ready their cannons towards the aft – he wants Schlomo to take their ship a few parsecs past the fighter and have Barrett fire a volley of missiles.

Wreck remarks he wishes he still had Jean Danielou with him; he didn't like the old man but felt better having him around. Schlomo wistfully recalls the tasty blindeebuff burgers from the business the old man started with businessman Marcel Dupres.

Unfortunately, Schlomo's distraction leads to a delay in him maneuvering the ship and the fighter is coming in fast. He barely gets the engine running in time.

As the ship maneuvers past the fighter, Tickles and Fisker fire with the laser cannons but the fighter evades both shots. Wreck tells Barrett to fire the missiles with the maximum yield.

The fighter blasts away at the first volley but is hit by the second. It explodes in a spectacular blast. Wreck calls out a "woo-hoo" and Tickles tells him good job.
Title: Actual Play - Palladium Fantasy: Warlords of the Wastelands
Post by: jgants on November 08, 2017, 10:04:11 AM
*** Session 11 - Scene 5 (of 8) ***

After the brief battle, the Cartesian Doubt quickly makes its way to the Belasco system. It doesn't take long for Retann to detect the power signature of the Dark Star.

Unfortunately, it appears to be under attack by a star slayer demon. The large creature appears to be trying to eat it.

Wreck tries to think of what to do. Without any robots on board, he knows he'll need to sacrifice one of the crew in the ship's lifeboat shuttle. He calls for Tickles to report to the bridge.

When Tickles arrives, Wreck tells him he has a key mission for him and the cat. Tickles says he has the wrong guy for a key mission, but Wreck says he was impressed by the way Tickles handled himself in the battle and he's a key player on the team.

Wreck explains he'll need to put Tickles on the lifeboat shuttle and send him out towards the star slayer demon. He wants to use the lifeboat to distract the demon long enough for them to steal the ship.

Tickles isn't sure why the demon would be distracted by the shuttle. Wreck says the demon will know that the only reason they'd send out the shuttle is if they had a master plan for it. Tickles notes they don't have a master plan, but Wreck is unconcerned as the demon won't know that.

Wreck tells Tickles all he needs to do is pilot the lifeboat near the star slayer demon. Once they get control of the Dark Star, Wreck assures him they'll "beam him" back aboard.

Tickles isn't so sure about the plan. He asks if they have that kind of magical power on the ship, and Wreck assures him they do (though he knows they don't).

Suspicious, Tickles doesn't believe Wreck's story. He's fairly sure the man is lying to him and trying to get rid of him. He calls him out on it. Wreck asks if he would lie to him. Tickles says he's pretty sure he just did.

Wreck says he's offended and heads back over to the comm, calling Fisker up to the bridge and sends Tickles back to his turret.

When Fisker comes up, Wreck gives him the same explanation he told Tickles. He tells him he doesn't really need to do much, just "fly with confidence".

Fisker knows there is no transporter capability on the ship and tells Wreck as much. Wreck insists they installed one "last month" that is a "model mark-VII" with extra distance capabilities.

The gunner asks if they can come up with a better plan since he's not sure the device really exists. Wreck gives an alternate backup plan, saying he'll use a crossing path to confuse the creature and allow Fisker to redock with the ship if the transporter doesn't work for some reason, though he's confident that it will.

Wreck eventually tempts Fisker with an offer of some bonus credits for helping the mission. Fisker isn't sure Wreck will really give him much of an option, so agrees.

Fisker pilots the shuttle out towards the creature, but his coarse doesn't appear very confident. It does attract the demon's attention who goes after him.

While the creature moves after the shuttle, Wreck has Schlomo take the Cartesian Doubt in to get closer to the Dark Star. Once they do, Wreck calls Tickles back up to the bridge for a new key mission assignment.

This time, he wants Tickles to get into a space suit with Shoes. He plans to tether Tickles to the ship and have him space walk over to the Dark Star and use a "laser torch" to cut a hole in the ship's hull so he can enter and take the ship.

Tickles isn't so sure about the plan. Even after Wreck explains what the laser torch is and how it works, he's incredulous at the idea he can take control of the entire enemy ship himself. He asks the captain if he's ever actually led a mission before.

Wreck scoffs at Tickles' reluctance, thinking of how his old friend Flash could have easily taken control of the ship even with the five men aboard. Heck, he figures even Jean Danielou could have done it.

To help the coyle out, he gives him a "thermal detonator". He explains his plan to Tickles (that he saw in an old holo-movie once) about how he can press the button (warning him not to release it) to intimidate the other crew into giving him control of the ship so they can steal the thermostellar bomb.

The two argue about it for some time but Tickles ultimately agrees to the mission. He isn't thrilled with carrying a bomb onto a ship with an even bigger bomb; he tells the captain it is a shit plan. Wreck insists it is an excellent plan, and notes there are no two people he'd rather have on the enemy ship than Tickles and his cat.

Wreck tells Tickles the key is to have them fire all missiles at the star slayer demon. Once they kill it, they'll transfer the bomb to their ship and get out of there, after they beam over Fisker of course.
Title: Actual Play - Palladium Fantasy: Warlords of the Wastelands
Post by: jgants on November 08, 2017, 10:05:17 AM
*** Session 11 - Scene 6 (of 8) ***

Some distance away, the star slayer demon swallows the shuttle in its gaping maw. Fisker is slowly digested over the next five minutes, living out the remainder of his life in agonizing pain. He tries to contact the Cartesian Doubt, but isn't able to get out much more than some screams. Wreck quickly has the comms shut off, saying they must have lost the signal.

Tickles agrees to take the mission, not only does he not really have a choice but Wreck offers him Fisker's bonus. He puts on the space suit (with Shoes wrapped around his neck) as Schlomo carefully pulls the freighter up next to the other ship.

Wreck directs Tickles into the airlock – a separate room of some kind. When the outer door opens, Tickles is sucked out with all the air, attempting to maneuver himself in the zero gravity.

Tickles attempts to get over to the other ship but mostly flails around. Shoes doesn't seem to like this very much and begins digging his claws into the coyle's neck.

Wreck, seeing Tickles is in trouble, tries messaging over some encouraging words for the man. Tickles tells him to go fuck himself.

Since the encouragement angle isn't working, Wreck suggests Tickles use his emergency thrusters to maneuver himself over to the other ship. Tickles is upset the captain didn't tell him about that ahead of time, but Wreck insists he thought Tickles would figure that out for himself.

Wreck walks Tickles through activating the thrusters. Unfortunately, he finds himself thrown into the side of the other ship. His helmet cracks a bit, making him nervous.

Tickles talks to the captain over the comm, asking him where to cut the hole. He points out it is another key piece of information the captain forgot to tell him. Wreck directs him over to a spot that should be safe.

After he reaches the spot (which Wreck assures him will contain no people), he begins cutting into the side of the ship with the torch. Wreck tries sending some more inspiring thoughts over the comm, but Tickles tells him to be quiet so he can concentrate.

Once the cut is made, air starts rushing out. Tickles is hit by the section of the hull he cut out, causing his helmet to shatter. He flips end over end into space. Luckily, Shoes positions himself in front of Tickles' face to protect him.

Back in the Cartesian Doubt, Wreck sees the emergency depressurization alarm go off for Tickles' suit. He tells Schlomo to use the ship's thrusters to slam into the coyle's body to send him into the hole on the side of the Dark Star.

Schlomo moves the ship quickly, smacking into Tickles. The coyle's body is bruised by the force of the blow and it sends him flying back towards the other ship (which further injures him).

Feeling his way around, Tickles manages to crawl his way into the Dark Star just as its emergency seal patch is being applied. Shoes moves so he can breathe again as Wreck sends more messages of encouraging thoughts across the comm.
Title: Actual Play - Palladium Fantasy: Warlords of the Wastelands
Post by: jgants on November 08, 2017, 10:06:43 AM
*** Session 11 - Scene 7 (of 8) ***

As Tickles makes his way into the next room, he sees a cot along the wall with a man sitting in the bed. The man is dressed in undergarments and has a large, bushy beard. He appears to be holding some kind of thin book made of shiny paper.

The man asks Tickles who he is. Tickles gives his name, and asks the man if he'd like to help a traveler out on his luck. The man comes over to talk to Tickles, giving his name as Cpl. Boiler. Tickles sucker punches him with a swift strike of his hercules club and Boiler crashes to the floor.

Tickles searches the man but doesn't find anything. The book he was looking at appears to be full of pictures of naked human females. He puts it back in disgust.

To dispose of the body, Tickles cuts a small hole and shoves the body out. From the other ship, Wreck can see the body fly out as Tickles tells him over the comm that one is for him. Wreck calls Tickles a murderous bastard and tells him he loves him, then commands him to take the ship.

Other than a stack of those books of naked human female pictures that are now strewn across the room, Tickles finds little else in this room. He moves over to the other door in the room to listen, and hears a swooshing sound as the door automatically goes up into the ceiling.

The door opens to a dark hall. With his darkvision, Tickles catches a glimpse of some sort of spherical object moving across the hall in a side passageway that intersects the main hallway up ahead.

He creeps up to the intersection to get a better look. Suddenly, a ball-shaped creature with feet jumps at him as it makes a high-pitched squeaking sound.

Tickles manages to get out of the way in time to avoid being hit by the strange creature. He maneuvers his way around the corner and readies his hercules club.

Bouncing around, the ball-like creature comes straight at Tickles again. He tries to move out of the way but is still hit. He swings back it but misses.

When the ball comes in for another attack, the thief moves out of the way then hits the creature with a glancing blow. It lets out a shriek then bounces away down the other hallway.

Tickles lets the creature go and makes his way to the end of the hall. He makes sure not to get too close and uses his keen hearing. In the room beyond, he hears what sounds like two men arguing over being out of something called "toilet paper". He decides to go in the other direction.

When Tickles reaches the end of the other corridor, he hears a lot of equipment behind it. When he moves to make the door open, he finds himself at the bridge.

The man turns to say something about "Pinback, it's about time you got back…" when he notices Tickles. Tickles asks if he is the captain. The man gives his name as Lt. Doolittle, saying the captain is "indisposed". He asks who Tickles is.

Tickles tries saying he is a surprise inspector and asks to see Doolittle's identification as he walks towards him. Doolittle isn't buying it, but before he can react Tickles smashes him in the head with his club.

He falls over, smacking into one of the control panels. As Tickles ties the man up, one of the panels on the bridge starts flashing red.

Tickles tries pressing some buttons at random, causing one of the lights to turn green. A female voice calls out "Bomb… activated…"

Over the comm, Tickles tells Wreck the bomb has been activated, just as Wreck is receiving the same information from Barrett's sensor scans.

Wreck tells Tickles he didn't do what he told him to, so he needs to listen. As he's listening to Wreck, Tickles hears another announcement call out "Malfunction!" a couple of times.

Tickles tells Wreck the bomb must be broken so it's all good. Unfortunately, Barrett's scan reveals it is only the launching bay mechanism that is broken and the bomb will go off inside the ship.

Wreck tells Tickles to make his way down to the bomb bay. He explains the only way to deal with the intelligent bomb is to try and talk it out of exploding. Tickles has no idea what the captain is talking about.

After getting directions from Wreck, Tickles makes his way down to the bomb but he still isn't sure how he can talk to a bomb. Wreck insists the bomb is sentient, which Tickles has a hard time believing. Wreck says the bomb is at least as smart as Tickles, which Tickles points out is just being a dick about it.

When he gets down there, Tickles sees various flashing lights and a voice calling out about the malfunction. He calls out to ask if Bomb is there. Bomb responds that he is.

Tickles asks Bomb what he is doing and tells him he should be a good bomb and not explode. Bomb explains he has been activated and it is his mission to explode.

Asked how much time is left, Bomb informs Tickles there is two minutes left to detonation. Tickles orders Bomb to deactivate, but the bomb insists he cannot comply as he must perform his mission. Tickles tells him it is a stupid mission.

The thief looks around for some way to stop the bomb but can't read anything. He decides the next best thing is to use his cutting torch to get the bay doors open so the bomb will at least get sucked out into space before exploding.

Wreck calls over to Tickles to ask what he's doing, saying they need the bomb to complete their mission. Tickles doesn't believe Wreck that the bomb can be talked out of exploding but while he works he continues to talk to Bomb, appealing to the explosive to wait so the bomb can enjoy his golden years and his grandkids.

Bomb insists his purpose is to explode, despite Tickles' assertion that whoever gave him the order didn't have his best interests at heart.

Tickles, still cutting, tells Bomb not to let anyone else tell him his purpose. He continues on with a rambling story about how when he was growing up, his paw-paw told him he'd never be able to talk to bombs, but look at him now.

Bomb doesn't understand what Tickles is getting at. Tickles tries getting him to put the explosion on hold to give them a chance to have a nice talk for a minute. He tells Bomb he's free to still explode afterwards if he wants, but Bomb says he must perform his mission.

As the two argue over Bomb's ability (or lack thereof) to adjust his programming, Tickles continues to cut at the bay door. As he finishes the cut, the door comes loose and Tickles is sucked out with it. With Shoes covering his face (again), he rides out into space on the door, as if on some sort of board surfing through space…

Wreck sees the bizarre spectacle as the muffled voice of Tickles calls out to him over the comm to bring him aboard. Tickles claims the bomb is deactivated and everything is cool, but Wreck knows better.

Still, with few options, he has Schlomo move into position to grab Tickles and get out of there before the bomb explodes. Schlomo hits Tickles a little too hard to get him inside quickly, and notices the space slayer demon coming in at them.

Schlomo moves their ship away quickly, leaving the demon to eat the Dark Star. As it starts to swallow it, the bomb goes off, destroying the demon and the ship in its blast.

Once they are safely away, Wreck puts on one of the space suits to go out and rescue Tickles. He has a few issues with the emergency repair kit, screwing the new faceplate into Tickles' face a few times by mistake.

Their mission a failure, they argue all the way back to Center. Tickles takes his leave of the crew, telling Shoes he guesses they live there now. He heads with the cat to the entertainment district to use some of the credits he has before Matheson revokes them.
Title: Actual Play - Palladium Fantasy: Warlords of the Wastelands
Post by: jgants on November 08, 2017, 10:07:29 AM
*** Session 11 - Scene 8 (of 8) ***

Meanwhile, back in Beartooth, Deadly Snow, Mulroney, Nardig, and Snarg wait around but Shoes and Tickles never seem to show up. Snarg asks what they should do now.

Deadly Snow feels the best thing to do is head back to Rodemus to hunt some treasure. She invites Snarg to come with her, feeling the goblin would be sneaky enough to help. Nardig offers to go as well, but Mulroney is more hesitant as he still wants his cat.

Mulroney asks if his cat might be at the ruins. Nardig says probably not, but he doesn't trust Snarg alone with Deadly Snow. He says they can always come back later to check for Tickles and Shoes.

They eventually decide to leave. As they do so, Mulroney is a bit slower than the others as he still isn't sure it is a good idea.

When he is almost alone, he hears a giggle in the darkness and realizes Charno has found him again. Acting quickly, he uses a levitation spell to disable the killer just as he emerges from hiding in the shadows. Charno cries out that Mulroney is cheating again.

Hearing the commotion, Nardig and Deadly Snow come back and make short work of the madman. As they finish up, they notice a small group of figures in red robes and masks have approached them – the mages of the Scarlet Alliance.

One of the clandestine members steps forward, asking what they are doing there. Deadly Snow says they are looking for Mulroney's cat.

The man addresses Mulroney, saying they saw him use magic despite him pretending to be a prestidigitator. He then tells Mulroney he has done the alliance a great service, as the strange mutant had been hunting their members.

According to the man, Charno killed one of their men already – the wheelwright Akarios (not realizing it was Mulroney and his group who did that). Snarg starts to ask a question when Deadly Snow quickly covers his mouth to avoid him saying anything that could get them into trouble.

The man asks who Mulroney's companions are, and he introduces Deadly Snow and Nardig. As for Snarg, Mulroney insists he was a wandering drunk they found down here.

Asking suspiciously, the man asks more questions about what they were doing in the tunnels. He tries to get Mulroney to join the alliance, but he begs off (since he doesn't want them to discover he's actually a witch).

The man continues on that they are glad to have Charno dead, as he also killed several of their members in Rikki (apparently referring to the astrologer and perhaps others).

The wizard tells Mulroney the alliance owes him a great boon. Mulroney decides to call on that favor right away by having them return his cat to him. They use their magic to find Shoes (and Tickles), using a personal item of Tickles' that Deadly Snow grabs from their home.

Just as Tickles is sitting down to a long overdue meal, he is transported back to his home dimension, finding himself in the magic circle surrounded by the red wizards and his friends.

The wizards tell Mulroney the debt is paid, and instruct them all to leave and never return to the caves, for they are forbidden to non-members. The group agrees and leaves.

Once they are back up in town, Shoes communicates what occurred to Mulroney. He is grudgingly grateful to the coyle for his assistance with the familiar.

Tickles also pulls out the small rod device he stole. He tries examining it with the others, and Deadly Snow tries pressing some buttons. The device shocks her, causing her to drop it. Some sizzling sounds occur, and a small amount of smoke comes out. She tells Tickles it apparently didn't survive the trip.

Deadly Snow also points out Nardig may be the best choice to wear the Armor of the Exarch. Using his skills along with the help of the local alchemist, he is able to shape the armor so he can wear it over the next few days while everyone rests up.

Once they are done, they decide to head back to Rikki to deal with the Thieves of Harr-Ki, but since the Ruins of Rodemus are on the way, more or less, they decide they'll stop there first…
Title: Actual Play - Palladium Fantasy: Warlords of the Wastelands
Post by: jgants on November 08, 2017, 10:57:47 AM
*** Session 11 - Session Notes ***

This was a fun, if a bit shorter, session. We delayed a little getting started with getting Tickles leveled up (the players take forever trying to pick new skills when that happens) and then ended early because we were at a good stopping point (we might have gone on to Rodemus, but our Skype player is one time zone over and doesn't tend to want to go late).

I'd wanted to do a little side adventure in space for a while. For one thing, my GM ADD is kicking in and I'm just itching to run a Coriolis game. For another, I had already introduced the Minion War backdrop into the story and wanted to use more material from the Megaverse in Flames supplement for Rifts. Finally, I wanted an excuse to tie something in to my aborted Traveller: Rise of the Sathar campaign (which, ironically, ended before we ever got to the part where the Sathar became part of the plot).

I knew after last session that the other players wouldn't want to sit around for an hour or more waiting for Tickles' story to end, so I had come up with a side plot that allowed them to play other characters. Specifically, in this case, the Mulroney player got to play Wreck again and the Deadly Snow player got to play Schlomo again. The Nardig player could have played Jasper Jenkins again, but since that character wasn't very memorable (and the player wouldn't remember him anyway because he rarely remembers any details from past games) it was easier just to give him a random NPC.

It wasn't preordained that Tickles would blow the mission, but there was always a high chance so I had the backup planned of Charno attacking Mulroney again. Originally I wanted it to be a bit more dangerous; I thought Mulroney was out of PPE, but he had just enough left to cast his spell.

Anyway, the group is back together now and the plot moving forward. I'll probably let some of the other loose ends start to get tied up before introducing too much new - the poor players can't keep up with the giant list of open plot threads.

Other notes from the session:
* It was hard coming up with a way to describe things to Tickles in the way he would see them - not being familiar with any technology.

* To get around the language thing, I added the nanomachine universal translator injection. The effect, by the way, is intended to be temporary.

* Inspector Tassadar is named after the character from the StarCraft video game - because the prometheans are kind-of close to appearance to the protoss. At least, close enough for me to throw in the reference.

* I liked adding the question about the Wolfen Supremacy movement, intended to be a direct parody of the kind of anti-Communist questions from the 1950's.

* I was kind of surprised Tickles didn't try to talk them out of scanning the cat, since he was already pretty sure Shoes was more than just a cat.

* Tickles kept trying to talk to Shoes, but I wouldn't have him respond because the familiar rules are very clear that the familiar will only act differently towards the witch they are bonded to.

* Tickles was really unhappy when he realizes he was being "thrown in the hole".

* Matheson is named after author Richard Matheson, and the Belasco system and several of Wreck's crew are named after characters in his novel, Hell House.

* Part of the idea with Matheson is that Corbin Decker is an agent of the devils, so he's helping Tickles because it will help Shoes which helps Mulroney help Enilefil and ultimately helps the devil lord Glebecar. Naturally, Tickles doesn't know that.

* The Dark Star, its crew, the bomb, and the ball-shaped alien are all, of course, taken straight from John Carpenter's film, Dark Star.

* The Cartesian Doubt is named after the philosophical concept that the bomb in the film falls into, ultimately causing it to decide to explode.

* Tickles trip to the spaceport was a little more abbreviated during the actual session. I expanded it in the write-up to expand more on how the character would have felt encountering all these strange things.

* The item Tickles steals is a universal multi-tool. Sadly, Deadly Snow's attempts to decipher how to use it accidentally destroy it before he figures that out.

* Wreck's long flashback did not happen during the session as the players who played during it already knew what happened and the others wouldn't care. The flashback is a good summary of the Traveller campaign (as far as it got), including more or less where the final session ended (which I never finished a write-up for) - with a shuttle headed down to the Jetsom platform (the scenario was heavily-influenced by the A Bug in the System module for Star Frontiers). I can't say for sure it was actually Wreck and Schlomo in that session, but no one else would necessarily remember either so even if it is a retcon it is an easy change to make.

* The Mulroney player seems to have lost his taste for accents and didn't want to do Wreck's Texas drawl again.

* As previously mentioned, Wreck's crew is named after characters in Hell House. Barrett is named after Dr. Lionel Barrett, Retann is a play on Florence Tanner (one of the psychics), and Fisker on Benjamin Fischer.

* Wreck trying to get Tickles to do the suicide mission was funny. The player running Fisker not quite realizing it was definitely a suicide mission (he kept not catching that he was quickly eaten) was even funnier.

* Tickles mission over to the Dark Star was horribly inept, also a source of hilarity. The cat shielding his face and lungs from the vacuum of space strains credulity, but maybe the cat used a spell or something. In any event, I didn't want him to die and it was funny.

* Wreck is clearly using the plot from Return of the Jedi for his suggestion to Tickles on how to take control of the ship.

* Boiler's porn stash and the argument about being out of toilet paper also come straight from the movie.

* It was always planned the bomb would malfunction to add a complication to the mission, but I wanted to see what they'd do with it. Wreck was kind-of metagaming with getting Tickles to try and talk to the bomb, but we figured Wreck would know enough to try that.

* Tickles actually talked quite a bit more to Bomb in the actual session, but I condensed it down as most of it was fairly circular and didn't go anywhere.

* I wanted Charno pinned as the killer for Akarios to keep that from being a threat to the group, for now. Plus it gave a good excuse for that favor.
Title: Session 12: The Return to Rodemus
Post by: jgants on November 27, 2017, 09:16:26 AM
*** Session 12: Cast of Characters ***

 Yukiko Amagi (aka The Deadly Snow): A ten-year-old aberrant human girl; a major psychic trained as a secret assassin. She considers Tickles to be her father after he raised her as an orphan.

 The Great Mulroney: A miscreant changeling witch who believes he is human and masquerades as a prestidigitator. He sold his soul to the devil prince Glebecar and has a devil familiar named Shoes.

 Tickles: An anarchist coyle thief and minor psychic. He raised Yukiko from a little orphan girl into the assassin she is today so she could earn them money as a hardened killer.

 Nardig: A miscreant hobgoblin mercenary exiled from his family for his evil deeds. He can control his tendencies for short periods of time to work with small groups, but will steal from them and turn on them with the slightest provocation.
Title: Actual Play - Palladium Fantasy: Warlords of the Wastelands
Post by: jgants on November 27, 2017, 09:17:26 AM
*** Session 12 - Scene 1 (of 7) ***

After a day of traveling through the caverns of the Underdark, the group finally nears the ruins of the Rodemus. The trip itself is mostly uneventful, though somewhere along the way Snarg manages to sneak off from the group. Mulroney wonders when they'll cross paths with him again, as they still could use him to get to Sa'lid Dra'lah.

For the moment, they ignore the goblin and press on with their other missions. Since he has the heavy magic armor, Nardig takes the point position. Up ahead, he spots an orc performing as lookout. Nardig can tell the orc has spotted them. He quickly tells the others. From the back, Tickles steps around to get a better look around.

Tickles doesn't see anyone else around, but can tell the orc is someone he knows – Sirko, one of Doyle's men from the guild. He tells the others to hold on as the orc is an acquaintance of his. They begrudgingly comply, but are ready for action.

Sirko recognizes Tickles as well, and calls out to him. When the thief answers, Sirko asks what he is doing there, saying this is "our territory" now. Tickles asks who the "our" refers to, and the orc explains Doyle's crew now controls the ruins.

Tickles asks when this happened. Sirko says it was while he was gone, and asks where he's been. Tickles says he has quite the tale he could tell, but there's no time to go into it.

When asked if they've located the lost Rodem family treasure yet, Sirko says they have not. Apparently, they've been busy fighting off plague zombies in the area.

Sirko goes on to say they forced open the towers and found a large group of zombies in one of them. Mulroney takes the opportunity to get up close to the coyle and whisper the suggestion that Doyle's group doesn't seem very competent and may need new management.

Deadly Snow recalls the journal entry said something about Lady Rodem and the other survivors barricading themselves up in one of the towers; obviously they didn't survive.

Tickles asks who is in charge of the location. Sirko explains Doyle himself is here, as the whole gang has been staying out of Beartooth ever since the "falling out" with Materich. Tickles recalls to himself that Doyle wanted him in on that coup, but clearly the attempt failed. He asks Sirko if Doyle was officially kicked out of the guild, but Sirko describes the situation as still undergoing "aggressive diplomacy".

Trying to feel out who has the advantage, Tickles asks who has the bigger side. Sirko dodges the question by saying they are hoping to find something in the ruins that can help them (Tickles assumes he means either powerful magic items to aid in the fight, or money to hire mercenaries to assist them, but says nothing).

Tickles offers that his group could assist them in searching for the treasure. Sirko says that Tickles could join them, but not the others as they aren't in the guild. Tickles explains the others are his lackeys.

Sirko looks the others over. He knows Deadly Snow is Tickle's "daughter" and can see how the dumb-looking hobgoblin would be muscle, but has no idea what good the middle-aged human is good for. Mulroney begins acting like a simpleton to put on a show.

Tickles gives a story about how he saved the man's cat from a river and now the man follows him around. Sirko is excited about the possibility of having a simpleton around to perform a jester show for them, but Tickles tries to get him off that subject and focused back on taking them to see Doyle (particularly when he brings up the "fun game" of blindfolding Mulroney and kicking him from different directions). He also tries to keep Mulroney quiet as the man makes a passive-aggressive comment asking his master who the fat, ugly orc is.

Sirko says Doyle is over in the west tower. According to him, they found the zombies in the east tower; the west tower just had a large, strange-looking bat.

Tickles says he hopes they were able to manage that. Sirko notes it was a big bat, so all they managed to do was drive it off. He's confident it won't come back though.

As they continue to chat on the way over, Tickles learns the thieves have not yet ventured in the undercroft crypt he and the others spotted the door to the last time they were here. Sirko says they were being cautious, as they were worried about encountering too many zombies down there.
Title: Actual Play - Palladium Fantasy: Warlords of the Wastelands
Post by: jgants on November 27, 2017, 09:18:24 AM
*** Session 12 - Scene 2 (of 7) ***

On Sirko's advice, Tickles leaves the others to wait outside while he ventures into the tower. Inside, Sirko sits in a central part of the tower. He's surrounded by a few more of his men – the hobgoblin Novik and the two goblins, Viktor and Jurg.

Doyle greets Tickles as soon as he sees him. Tickles congratulates the man on his sort-of success. Doyle says they have their own guild now, in any event.

When asked if he's come to join them finally, Tickles agrees he's come to help him. He says he's there to help recover the Rodem family treasure.

Doyle is skeptical. He asks Tickles if he thinks he can come in after they've already done all the work with the zombies and just take the treasure.

Tickles assures him his team is an "elite strike force" and can take out the zombies. Doyle asks what kind of arrangement he has in mind, and Tickles says a straight 50/50 split.

Doyle agrees (more than happy to have Tickles and his companions go inside first), and tosses Tickles a small key ring. Tickles asks what it is, and Doyle explains he got the key off one of the plague zombies in the east tower. He says the zombie was dressed in heavy armor and could have been the captain of the guard so he thought it might be useful for getting somewhere important.

Tickles wonders why Doyle's men didn't try to use it to get into the crypt. Doyle explains after all the trouble they had with the east tower, he lacked the manpower to try and open it. When Tickles asks if he lost anyone, Doyle mentions he probably won't be seeing Flanko, Zayir, and Rumar again. Tickles says that is a shame.

Doyle says he can't afford to lose more men with Materich on the warpath. Tickles asks how upset Materich is, and Doyle says he didn't take kindly to almost having an accident back in town.

Tickles says it must not have gone off without a hitch then. Doyle grumbles something about subcontractors then says he could have really used that girl of his. Tickles says that sadly Deadly Snow was preoccupied at the time.

Doyle then asks Tickles where he has been. Tickles says "Oh, the tales I could tell…" then hands him the remains the metal rod he brought back from Center. When he asks what it is, Tickles says that is where he's been and asks Doyle if he wants to talk or get excavating the crypt. Doyle agrees it is time to get down to business.

As Tickles leaves, Doyle wishes him luck but notes that if all of Tickles' party don't make it back, that's just less treasure for him to split on his end. Tickles says that is how he sees the situation as well.
Title: Actual Play - Palladium Fantasy: Warlords of the Wastelands
Post by: jgants on November 27, 2017, 09:19:36 AM
*** Session 12 - Scene 3 (of 7) ***

When he comes out to the others, Tickles explains they are good to explore the crypt but he's pretty sure there are a bunch of zombies down there. Everyone agrees the reward is still worth the risk (though Tickles does not mention the split with Doyle).

Before they head down, Mulroney waits until they are away from Sirko and asks Tickles who Doyle is. Tickles explains about Doyle's attempt to overthrow Materich in the thieves' guild. Apparently, he already tried to kill Materich once and failed, leading to his group being in exile here.

Mulroney asks what it means for Tickles if his guild finds out he's working with Doyle. Tickles takes offense at the remark, saying he's not really working with Doyle. When Mulroney asks if the guild wouldn't want him to kill Doyle, Tickles says they are professional thieves and not murderers, asking the man how he dares make such a slanderous comment.

Tickles says he'll let the thieves' guild take care of the problem in their own way, ignoring Mulroney's scoffing comments about how they don't appear to be effective in dealing with treason in their ranks. He doesn't disagree with Mulroney, however, that a mutiny is a result of bad management.

Mulroney tells Tickles he seems to be a pretty solid guy, and praises his thieving abilities, his deadly skill with his grappling hook, and how effectively he raised Deadly Snow to be an assassin. After buttering the coyle up, Mulroney suggests perhaps the guild would be better off under Tickles' leadership.

Tickles is surprised at the recommendation, but says there is a lot of "paperwork" with the position and it is not the life for him. Mulroney suggests it would be easier with "solid helpers". Tickles says perhaps they can continue the conversation once they have the treasure and the current leadership crisis in the guild has resolved itself and they can see where things stand.

Mulroney agrees that makes sense, and is good thinking on Tickles' part. He also suggests that if one side were to be killed and it looked like the other side was at fault, the resulting conflict could weaken both sides to the point where new management was required.

Tickles feels it would be better if one side really did perform the act. Mulroney says he hopes Tickles stays out of the path of the civil war in the ranks in any case, as an "old man and his cat" probably couldn't help much in that situation. Tickles says he'll cross that bridge when they come to it.
Title: Actual Play - Palladium Fantasy: Warlords of the Wastelands
Post by: jgants on November 27, 2017, 09:21:13 AM
*** Session 12 - Scene 4 (of 7) ***

When they reach the door to the crypt, they find it locked. Using the key Doyle gave him, Tickles hands it to Nardig and tells him to try it on the door.

The stairs down to the crypt are narrow, and they can only head down one at a time. In this case, everyone else stays above and let Nardig head down the stairs by himself to open the door.

Before opening it, Nardig listens carefully at the door. From behind it, he can hear the faint sound of lit torches. Nardig tells the others, surprised that someone must already have been inside.

The hobgoblin then proceeds to use the key in the lock and open the door. As the door opens, he hears a faint chanting from a distance away. He tells the others to be quiet and keeps them informed about what he's heard.

Deadly Snow asks what they are chanting, but Tickles tells her to be quiet. Down in the stairwell, Nardig continues to open the door slowly. He sees the light from torches inside, but can't see anyone around. The initial room inside the lower level appears to be empty except for four sarcophagi, with the chanting coming from another chamber beyond.

Since he can't see the source of the chanting, Nardig starts heading inside for a closer look. He can see there is another attached room offset from the room he's in.
Deadly Snow and Tickles head down the stairs to back Nardig up. Mulroney elects to stay outside to guard the rear.

As Nardig attempts to make his way across the room to get a better look at the other chamber, he kicks a loose stone, making a loud noise. The chanting suddenly stops.

Up ahead, Nardig can see an alcove with an altar of some kind. In front of it are four armored knights, apparently kneeled in prayer. They start to get up and head over Nardig's way.

Nardig turns and tells the others they should get out of there. Tickles is confused what knights are doing down in the crypt, while Deadly Snow is annoyed at the idea of having to run from "this rabble".

Tickles begins walking up slowly. Nardig says they should lure them out to the doorway. Deadly Snow grudgingly agrees the tactic is sound.

Calling up to Mulorney, Tickles alerts him they are coming back out. He and Shoes get into position.

As Nardig is making his way back across the room, one of the knights calls out to him. Nardig can tell the knight is clearly someone he can trust and means him no harm. He knows the friendly knight just wants to talk to him, so he stops and waits for the man to approach.

From across the room, Deadly Snow spots Nardig stopping. She doesn't understand why he's doing that, as clearly a group of knights mysteriously locked up in a crypt, chanting, are reason for caution. She makes her way to the doorway and climbs above the doorway, ready to drop and attack anyone who comes out.

Back down in the crypt, Nardig's new friend gives his name as Knight Captain Havarr. Nardig introduces himself in turn. The captain asks Nardig what he is doing down there.

Nardig explains he and his group were just exploring to see what was down here. Havarr tells Nardig he should head back over to the altar, so he can give his respects to Rurga. Nardig feels that is a perfectly reasonable request and sees nothing odd about the knights being down there.

The knights walk Nardig back over to the altar. When he reaches it, Havarr suggests he should kneel with his head over the altar. Nardig complies, though although his friends are nowhere around, he knows these knights are far more trustworthy than his other companions.

As the hobgoblin begins to pledge his fealty at the altar, Havarr draws his sword. Nardig knows he is only doing so to make sure he stays safe while in prayer.

Just as Nardig is getting his head in position, he spots a blood stain on the altar. He starts to question why he's listening to these crazy knights who are locked down in the crypt for some reason.

In his moment of clarity, Nardig realizes he's been enchanted by the knight and they mean to kill him. He tries to make a run for it.
Title: Actual Play - Palladium Fantasy: Warlords of the Wastelands
Post by: jgants on November 27, 2017, 09:22:13 AM
*** Session 12 - Scene 5 (of 7) ***

The knights block Nardig's way. Since he is trying to flee, they strike out at his with their swords. He manages to parry half the blows, but is still struck by two of them. Luckily, both strikes hit his armor.

Nardig calls out for help, then stabs at the nearest knight with his long sword. The knight easily deflects his attack.

From above, Mulroney hears Nardig's call for help. He decides to head down the stairs to assist, getting into position on one side of the inside doorway. Shoes goes to the opposite side.

Tickles rushes down the stairs after them, heading into the middle of the room. He sees the knights fighting with Nardig and prepares to engage.

Deadly Snow drops down from her position and heads inside as well. But instead of helping out in the fight, she decides to check on one of the tombs. She notices it has the name of Havarr on it.

The knights press their attacks on Nardig. The mercenary fights back, but only manages to block one of the blows with his shield. One of the hits strikes his armor, but two slip by, striking into his flesh. Nardig strikes out again with his sword, but once again the knight easily parries his blow.

From the back, Mulroney notices Deadly Snow looking at one of the crypts. He attempts to lift off the lid of the sarcophagus nearest him to get a look inside, but strains under the weight of the stone lid.

Tickles sees what Mulroney is up to and decides to do the same. He easily rips off the lid of the crypt in front of him, but loses his grip and it lands on his foot. Inside, they see skeletal remains.

Deadly Snow is able to slide off the lid on the coffin in front of her. Looking inside, she sees it, too, is filled with skeletal remains.

Fearing he won't last much longer, Nardig charges ahead at one of the knights to knock him down. He charges straight through the knight, who turns insubstantial as soon as he approaches him, and slams into a nearby wall.

Meanwhile, Tickles decides to start smashing the remains in the crypt in front of him using his hercules club. Deadly Snow does the same at her crypt, hacking away with her battle axe.

As Tickles finishes smashing his remains, one of the knights cries out with an inhuman scream then dissipates. Tickles calls over to Nardig (who is still lying on the ground) telling him he's welcome for the help. Deadly Snow likewise destroys the bones she is smashing, causing the discorporation of Havarr.

Nardig takes the opportunity to pick himself up off the ground. As he does so, Shoes fires an energy bolt into the remains of the coffin Mulroney was able to open. Mulroney fires an energy bolt of his own, destroying the remains and ridding the chamber of a third knight.

Tickles moves over to the last crypt. He rips off the lid and throws it across the room. Before he can damage then, the knight moves in and attacks Mulroney, cutting into the witch's armor with his sword. Mulroney laughs at the knight's attempt to injure him.

Deadly Snow rushes over and strikes into the remains in front of Tickles with her battle axe. Nardig elects to attack the knight directly to get him away from Mulroney. Attacking the knight from behind, Nardig manages to hit the knight but can't penetrate his armor.

Tickles takes the opportunity to pulverize the bones, sending the last knight creature screaming into the abyss.
Title: Actual Play - Palladium Fantasy: Warlords of the Wastelands
Post by: jgants on November 27, 2017, 09:23:23 AM
*** Session 12 - Scene 6 (of 7) ***

With a chance to look around, the group notices there are a couple of doors leading out of the room. They decide to investigate the altar first.

Mulroney takes a closer look at the altar. It appears to be made of stone – either limestone or dolostone, he can't be sure. Deadly Snow takes a moment to defile the altar just in case.

The two doors leading out of the room are on the north side and the east side. Nardig and Mulroney move to listen at the east door, while Tickles and Deadly Snow take the north.

Nardig and Mulroney don't hear anything at their door, but Tickles and Deadly Snow hear the faint sound of gurgling water somewhere behind theirs.

Tickles tells the others what they heard and they all discuss which door to check out first. Deadly Snow wants to check out the north door first. She starts cracking it open slightly to get a better look.

When she looks inside, she can only see about half the room. It appears to be divided by a large pillar or wall in the center. On the far side of the room, she can just see a font of some kind with flowing water.

She and Tickles step inside to get a better look at the rest of the room. As they do so, they immediately see a skeletal warrior guarding the room. It has four arms, each holding a sword.

Tickles is temporarily frozen in horror at the sight of the creature. Deadly Snow reacts quicker, parrying back at its four strikes but still managing to get hit by three of them.

The young assassin strikes back at the skeletal guardian with a telekinetic kick. The strike hits home, but isn't enough to seriously damage the creature.

Meanwhile, Nardig and Mulroney hear the commotion from the fight in the other room. Nardig starts to run over to help, but Mulroney holds back. Once he's sure no one can see him, Mulroney opens the door to the other room.

Leaving Deadly Snow to fight the creature on her own, Tickles heads off towards the font. As he does so, the creature slices into Deadly Snow again with another couples of hits past her defenses.

When Nardig reaches the door, he sees the creature. He rushes in to help, striking at the skeleton with his sword but his blow is parried. Deadly Snow takes the opportunity to use a back flip to disengage from the fight.

Over at the font, Tickles splashes some water on his face and has a drink. He can immediately feel the effects of it healing his injuries. He calls out to the others to let them know about the water.

Nardig attempts to body block the skeleton to knock it over. He hits the creature just right, knocking it to the ground.

With the skeleton on the ground, Deadly Snow takes out her battle axe and hacks at it. But even on the ground, it manages to block one of her hits but is hit by the other.

Over in the other room, Mulroney looks over the room he has walked into. It is a large, L-shaped room with a door along the north wall on the part of the L he is at, and another door exiting to the northeast on the far part of the L.

Like the initial chamber they entered, this room also contains a set of four tombs but the walls here are painted in a great mosaic. The scene appears to depict Lord Rodem's death in battle with the demon Modeus. Mulroney also notices a band of hobgoblins with Modeus, but he doesn't recognize them.

Back at the font, Tickles notices the other side of the room has two doors – one on the east wall and one on the south wall. He decides to walk past his companions fighting the skeleton and head for the south door. He yells "Good job, guys!" as he goes by.

Deadly Snow tells Nardig they should press their attack. They both strike into him with their weapons. It is damaged by the attacks, but shrugs them off enough to stand back up.

Inside the other room, Mulrony and Shoes hear the clamor of battle and head towards the north door in the room. Just as they reach it, Tickles opens it from the other side.

Once again, Deadly Snow backflips away from the skeleton while Nardig attacks it. It manages to fend off Nardig's assault and strikes back with his swords. The mercenary blocks one of the hits but is struck by the other.

Mulroney calls for Tickles to get inside quickly. He complies as Deadly Snow runs around towards the font to get away from the skeleton. She quickly drinks some water and feels its healing power.

Meanwhile, Nardig body blocks the skeleton again and once again slams it to the ground. Deadly Snow heads back around to the prone skeleton and attacks, but it manages to block her attack.

Nardig takes the opportunity to head to the font himself. He quickly takes a drink of his own.

From the doorway, Mulroney calls for Deadly Snow to come in, but she doesn't want the skeleton following them. She attacks again, but is once again thwarted by the skeleton's great skill with its many swords. It then stands itself up again.

Inside the room, Tickles looks over the graves. He notices one of them is for Lord Rodem himself. Mulroney thinks about opening one of the crypts again, but can't get the lid to budge.

At the font, Nardig continues to drink but notices the healing effect does not reoccur.

Deadly Snow uses a telekinetic leap to jump back from the skeleton again, narrowly avoiding hitting one of the walls. The skeleton charges towards her in response.

Nearby, Tickles opens the tomb of Lord Rodem. Inside, he sees the skeletal remains dressed in his armor with his shield at his side.

Nardig heads back towards the door, spotting Deadly Snow still fighting the skeleton. She strikes into it with a strong blow of her axe then knocks him down with a charge and heads into the room with the others.

Inside the other room, Tickles opens another of the crypts. The one is marked as being for Sir Smedley, but Tickles doesn't recognize the name. He opens it to find another skeleton in armor, with a sword and shield at his sides.

Mulroney sees the skeleton from the doorway and uses an energy bolt to blow it up. He then heads over to the font in the other room to drink to see if it will restore his magical energy. It does not, and he says "Bah!" dismissively.
Title: Actual Play - Palladium Fantasy: Warlords of the Wastelands
Post by: jgants on November 27, 2017, 09:24:14 AM
*** Session 12 - Scene 7 (of 7) ***

The group discusses whether to defile these tombs, but Tickles doesn't see the point and wants to focus on finding the treasure.

Deadly Snow is injured from their previous fight and wants to rest but doesn't think doing so in the crypt would be wise. Tickles doesn't want to head back up, however, as he doesn't want Doyle to know what is going on.

While they discuss options, Mulroney looks through the tombs. The other two contain skeletons wearing armor with shields and swords.

Tickles finds it is curious that Lord Rodem's grave did not have a sword with it. Mulroney removes the remains from the coffin and drops them on the floor. Deadly Snow worries about what may happen and gets into a defensive position.

While Mulroney and Shoes defile the remains, Tickles looks inside the sarcophagus. He finds a hidden switch inside. He asks if he should press it, and Deadly Snow notes it clearly wasn't meant for a dead person to press.

When Tickles presses the hidden switch, it opens a hidden door along the east wall. The chamber beyond, unlike the rest of the undercroft, is dark.

Tickles asks Nardig to go take a look. When he enters, he sees there is a single tomb, marked with the name of Zarel. As he calls out the name to the others, no one recognizes it.

Nardig notices there are some items on the floor next to the tomb. He sees there are three scrolls and four bottles of liquid (two smaller and two larger).

Deadly Snow asks if anything else is in the room. From the dark room, Nardig tells them what he's seeing.

Mulroney has Shoes cast the eyes of Thoth spell on him then heads in to read the scrolls. He discovers the scrolls are spell scrolls containing the spells of fear, turn dead, and fire bolt. Mulroney is annoyed to once again discover magical items that duplicate magic he already knows.

The bottles aren't marked so they can't tell what they are. Mulroney makes an educated guess they are potions.

Tickles asks if this is all the treasure there is. Mulroney says it is part of the treasure, but he does not believe it is the entirety of the lost Rodem family treasure of the tales.

The group decides they should take a look inside the tomb, but are cautious about awakening something else they may need to fight. Mulroney takes a moment to cast some healing spells on Nardig and Deadly Snow.

After they are partially healed, the tomb is opened. Inside are another set of skeletal remains, this time wearing the tattered remains of priestly robes.

With no other immediate threats and nothing else to discover in the room, Mulroney suggests they seal themselves in this room to rest. Everyone decides that is a good idea and they lock themselves inside for the night.
Title: Actual Play - Palladium Fantasy: Warlords of the Wastelands
Post by: jgants on November 27, 2017, 10:47:39 AM
*** Session 12 - Session Notes ***

Twelve sessions in, and we finally get back to finishing out the dungeon that was the basis for the very first session. :)

So, time for a quick confession - I completely ret-conned this part of Rodemus from what I originally planned. In the original design, where I thought the PCs would take care of everything in one shot, the undercroft crypt was one single room with a ghoul in it and very little treasure; the treasure was originally going to be in the tower, with the idea that the Rodem family took it with them when they locked themselves away. The tower was designed as a series of three rooms filled with plague zombies. The other tower, as alluded to in the exposition with Sirko, housed a large bat carrying the plague.

But, since they took so long to get back there, I had the idea to have Doyle move in to the upper levels and move the treasure to a dungeon crypt with more rooms, which is more or less what the players were expecting in the first place. The dungeon I put together is adapted from parts of the D&D 4e Gardmore Abbey book (the knights are inspired by pale reavers and the skeleton by a bone fiend).

Hopefully next session they'll finish things up and be back on their way to Rikki so we can finish off a few plot points.

Other notes about the session:
* Snarg sneaking off on the way to Rodemus wasn't a GM fiat thing to keep the PCs from killing him, we all honestly forgot he was supposed to be there until about 3/4ths of the way through the session so it was the easiest adjustment to the story to make.

* Sirko and Doyle's other men are all named after characters from the season of Dexter where he takes on the Russian mob (season 6?)

* I wanted Doyle to take over the area, but give a plausible explanation why he hadn't located the treasure yet. The plague zombies depleting his forces made the most sense. And he's obviously motivated to still get the treasure since he's now at war with Materich.

* Part of the gang war storyline is giving Tickles a side story and conflict - which side (if either) will he choose? Or will he be able to stay out of it? The Mulroney character pressuring him to seize the opportunity to take over adds more dramatic tension, which I liked.

* Tickles is likely planning to double-cross Doyle about the treasure (and if he isn't, I'm sure Mulroney is planning to). I wonder if they suspect Doyle is planning to double-cross them as well...

* Tickles largely just says "the tales I could tell..." because the players never remember the sessions that well

* Deadly Snow is clearly quoting Tarkin from Star Wars when not wanting to flee from the knights

* Nardig failing his save (and nearly his head) with the knights was hilarious; but I kept wondering if the other PCs would intervene to save him

* Both the knight encounter and the skeleton encounter ended up much more dangerous than intended because the PCs split up, usually leaving only one or two to handle the fight

* It wasn't originally planned that destroying the bones would defeat the knights, but it was an inspired idea and they were in trouble in the fight, so I went with it

* The players kept calling the skeleton Goro in the game, referencing the Mortal Kombat character; we decided it must be his skeleton down there

* Lord Rodem's missing sword is intended as a plot point, though I had to mention it more than once for the players to take the hint

* Zarel has a backstory about being the priestess before Kandia, but its more to add flavor so it didn't come up
Title: Session 13: The Room
Post by: jgants on December 27, 2017, 10:47:19 PM
*** Session 13 - Cast of Characters ***

Yukiko Amagi (aka The Deadly Snow): A ten-year-old aberrant human girl; a major psychic trained as a secret assassin. She considers Tickles to be her father after he raised her as an orphan.

The Great Mulroney: A miscreant changeling witch who believes he is human and masquerades as a prestidigitator. He sold his soul to the devil prince Glebecar and has a devil familiar named Shoes.

Tickles: An anarchist coyle thief and minor psychic. He raised Yukiko from a little orphan girl into the assassin she is today so she could earn them money as a hardened killer.

Nardig: A miscreant hobgoblin mercenary exiled from his family for his evil deeds. He can control his tendencies for short periods of time to work with small groups, but will steal from them and turn on them with the slightest provocation.
Title: Actual Play - Palladium Fantasy: Warlords of the Wastelands
Post by: jgants on December 27, 2017, 10:48:08 PM
*** Session 13 - Scene 1 (of 5) ***

With the door sealed and everyone safely in the chamber, discussions start to mount about exactly how long they may need to barricade themselves in to rest and heal up. Mulroney suggests a couple of days may be needed.

Concerned about whether they have enough water, Deadly Snow decides to venture back out to the font to collect as much water as possible so they won't run out.

When she gets to the water and begins filling her water skin, Deadly Snow notices a strange mist begins to form nearby. She makes haste, quickly heading back to the secure room. The mist appears to slowly follow her.

She shuts the door behind her when she gets back but the mist begins seeping in through the cracks. When she tells the others what has happened, Mulroney notes that since there is only one way out of this room, they will have to deal with the mist (or any creature that may be inside it) at some point, either in the room or outside.

Tickles wonders if the mist coming is related to taking the water. Mulroney notes that they already drank the water before and didn't see the mist, but Tickles isn't sure whether that situation was the same or not since they didn't fill up a container that time. Mulroney agrees he may have a point.

Deadly Snow decides to place the water skin down near the door and back away. After a short while, the mist seeps back out of the room.

Testing a hypothesis, Mulroney goes and grabs the water. The mist does not reappear, vexing him.

Given the strange situation, Mulroney offers to use most of his remaining magic to heal everyone as much as he can. After reviewing everyone's injuries, he has Shoes heal Deadly Snow three times while he heals Tickles twice. He debates also healing Nardig, but wants to keep some magic in reserve in case it is needed for a fight.

Needing rest to recover their inner strength and potential psychic energy respectively, Deadly Snow and Mulroney elect to sleep for three hours while Mulroney tells Nardig he is in charge for the first watch. Tickles says he does not require rest either and can help.
Title: Actual Play - Palladium Fantasy: Warlords of the Wastelands
Post by: jgants on December 27, 2017, 10:48:50 PM
*** Session 13 - Scene 2 (of 5) ***

It isn't too long into the rest period when the mist begins seeping back into the room. Tickles takes the water skin from Mulroney and opens the door. Throwing the water skin out into the other room, he calls out "Sorry!" then closes the door again.

This mist goes away. But not even a half hour later, a soft knocking can be heard at the door.

Nardig immediately wakes everyone up to let them know. Mulroney is annoyed Nardig couldn't take care of it himself. He also notes he doesn't hear any knocking. Nardig insists he heard the knocking but it stopped as soon as he woke them up. He wonders (mostly to himself) if it could be Snarg returning to them.

Mulroney grumpily comments he wants to go back to sleep. Nardig opens the door slightly to look out, but doesn't see anything. Mulroney starts complaining they keep waking him up with all their nonsense opening and closing the door.

Tickles suggests they could stand guard outside. Deadly Snow says perhaps one should stand guard inside and one outside. In the end, Deadly Snow and Mulroney go back to sleep while Nardig and Tickles go back to guard (still staying inside the room).

Ten minutes later, the knocking sound returns. This time, Nardig resolves not to open the door. After a couple of minutes, the sound changes to sound more like a claw scraping against the door. Nardig still doesn't want to open it.

The scraping begins to increase in volume, but Nardig continues to try and ignore it. The scraping stops, but the mist begins seeping back into the room again.

The hobgoblin figures there is no real threat (and probably just an annoying poltergeist of some kind), so he ignores the mist as well. Tickles makes sure to stay back.

It doesn't take long before the situation escalates further. From a hole in the wall near the back, a rat enters the room. Followed by another. Then another. Suddenly, several more rats begin streaming into the room.

Nardig laughs at the situation, finding hilarity in the absurdity of it all. As he looks for something to plug up the hole, he notices the rats are heading for the sleeping members of the group to bite them.

Mulroney finds himself woken up by the sounds of the warrior smashing the rats with his weapon. As he looks over at the hobgoblin, Nardig tells him its OK to go back to sleep as he has this covered. Nevertheless, Mulroney instructs Shoes to make use of his natural form and play the "mouser".

Whacking away as the rats emerge, Nardig does his best but there are too many rats to keep up with. Mulroney says he has a feeling someone is working against them to make sure they don't get any rest.

Deadly Snow suggests they may want to head back up. Tickles isn't so sure he wants to head up yet, as he's hoping to stay down here long enough for Doyle to think he's dead so they don't have any need to share treasure with him (or take other actions).

Mulroney isn't so sure about that plan as Doyle is bound to catch sight of them back in Beartooth at some point. Tickles disagrees, saying Materich will keep him at the ruins for some time. In his best-case scenario, Tickles offers that Materich may end up killing Doyle for his attempted coup.

Just then, a loud banging starts at the door shaking it slightly. Tickles calls out to ask who it is, but no one answers.

Mulroney suggests they all stand back and throw the door open. Deadly Snow says there won't be anything out there (since she also believes it to be a ghost haunting them), but agrees to open the door when the witch points out they'll have to open it to get back to the surface anyway.

In a bit of irony, Deadly Snow now finds the door doesn't want to open. It appears to be stuck on something as she attempts to open it.
Title: Actual Play - Palladium Fantasy: Warlords of the Wastelands
Post by: jgants on December 27, 2017, 10:50:20 PM
*** Session 13 - Scene 3 (of 5) ***

Mulroney tells Nardig to use his strength to rush the door to knock it open. He says the alternative is to try and set it on fire.

Nardig shoves on the door, but it doesn't budge. Tickles tries to assist, but it still doesn't move. When Nardig tries to look under the door to see what is blocking it, the sliver is too small to see anything except a thin crack of light.

Apparently stuck in the room, Deadly Snow reviews their options. They could try to find another way out in the tomb, or possibly drink one of the potions they found to see if that would help somehow.

Deadly Snow suggests perhaps the smaller bottles cause one to become diminutive. She suggests Nardig should take one and see if he can go through the rat hole.

Nardig declines to try, so Mulroney grabs one of the small potions and drinks it. As he does so, he realizes he has just wasted a healing potion.

Mulroney gives the other small bottle to Nardig. He drinks it and feels slightly healed.

Tickles suggests the larger bottles might be more powerful healing potions. He says Nardig should drink one. The hobgoblin does so, and is further healed. Deadly Snow drinks the last large one herself to heal herself back further.

At this point, the mist seeps back under the door. Mulroney wonders if there could be any more hidden doors as an exit. They examine the area and the tomb further, but find nothing.

With a literal blanket of rats covering the floor by this point, Deadly Snow climbs on top of the tomb to sleep.

Mulroney wants to get out of the room. He'd like Nardig to do a running body block against the door, but the hobgoblin isn't so sure he wouldn't end up injured from the gambit.

Tickles has a much better idea – they can use the tomb lid as a battering ram against the door. Everyone likes the idea and they put it into motion. They debate letting Deadly Snow remain atop it like a palanquin, but she does ultimately get off.

After a couple of good smashes, the door breaks open. When they do so, they are greeted by a host of figures outside – four plague zombies, four skeletons, and a strange-looking man in back.

The man in back has very pale skin and wears dark clothes. His body is both gangly and muscled at the same time. His hair jet black with long, wild hair. He looks out at them with dark, sunken eyes.

From his strange appearance and odd mannerisms, everyone is certain he is a vampire. Mulroney vaguely recalls a tale about such a vampire in the area. According to the tales of Sestero the bard, his name was said to be Wi'zou…
Title: Actual Play - Palladium Fantasy: Warlords of the Wastelands
Post by: jgants on December 27, 2017, 10:51:14 PM
*** Session 13 - Scene 4 (of 5) ***

Nardig backs up into the room to give himself room to fight. The plan is to attack the zombies and skeletons one at a time as they enter the door, but the creatures move too quickly. As he draws his long sword, they move in.

Two of the plague zombies shove their way inside as another two move to bite Tickles. He attempts to block them with his hercules club, but can't swing it in time. One bites into his armor while another manages to find exposed flesh.

The skeletons quickly follow. They strike out at Mulroney (who manages to avoid them) and Deadly Snow (who manages to get hit in her armor).

Wi'zou advances slowly, going straight for Mulroney. He strikes out with the magic sword he's carrying, slicing deep into Mulroney's armor and cleaving straight through.

Back up against the wall, Tickles fights back with his club. He smashes one of the zombies, but the creatures prove resilient.

Deadly Snow believes the vampire is the key to winning the encounter. She uses her psionic abilities to alter her aura to make herself seem more powerful than she really is. The girl then calls out to Wi'zou, telling him to call off his warriors and let them pass. The creature just gives a strange laugh.

Mulroney has a more effective idea for getting rid of the strange man. He isn't sure if his globe of daylight will drive the creature off, but has a guess. He has Shoes cast the spell while he attempts to pick the creature's pocket.

The pick pocket attempt proves fruitless, but the globe of daylight is effective. Covering from the light, the vampire shrieks and drops his sword. He quickly turns into mist and rushes off.

Nardig cuts away at the skeleton in front of him with his sword. He hits the monster, but the blow only manages to break off a small piece.

The zombies press their attacks. The ones biting Tickles only manage to damage his armor, while the other two advance on Mulroney.

Deadly Snow bobs and weaves as the skeletons fighting her swing away with their swords, deflecting them with her daggers. Nardig has two to fend off as well, parrying both with his long sword.

Tickles attacks back with his hercules club. He gets a solid hit. The zombie is still active, but starting to look worse for wear.

Deadly Snow slashes away with her daggers. She scores a pair of hits, but unfortunately the weapons are ill-suited to taking on the hard bones of the skeletons. Meanwhile, Mulroney grabs the magic sword from the ground.

Swinging away, Nardig strikes into the skeleton and breaks off another piece. The skeletons strike back, with Nardig moving out of the way of one hit but the other penetrating his armor.

The zombies bite at Tickles, but he continues to fend them off with his club. Mulroney is also attacked, but is not able to block with his new sword and takes a couple of bite wounds.

Striking the zombie with his club, Tickles smashes in the head. As it goes down, he slams his club into the other one.

Deadly Snow blocks the skeletons fighting her. She responds by dropping her daggers and drawing her axe. With a couple of well-placed strikes, she manages to do a bit more damage to it.

Shoes blasts one of the zombies fighting Mulroney with an energy bolt. The witch follows it up with a swing of the sword, badly damaging it.

The skeletons continue to swing at Deadly Snow and Nardig. The young assassin manages to block the strikes, but Nardig's armor takes more damage.

Deadly Snow lunges forward with another axe strike, causing more minor damage to the skeleton. Nardig has similar luck fighting the skeletons on him.

Tickles has better luck with his club against the zombie he is fighting. As does Mulroney with his new sword.

The zombies attack back, with Mulroney fending off one of the attacks and getting bit with the other. As for the skeletons, Deadly Snow and Nardig easily parry their attacks.

As Deadly Snow chops into one of the skeletons again, Tickles takes out the other zombie fighting him.

Using tactical strikes, Nardig continues to strike away at the skeleton he is fighting. The skeletons fight back, with Nardig blocking them both. Deadly Snow avoids one attacking her and parries the other. She strikes back with another hit on the skeleton.

The remaining zombies press the attack against Mulroney. Using the sword, he fends them off. Tickles moves over to assist Mulroney, smashing down another of the zombies and striking into the other.

Nardig again strikes a glancing blow at the skeleton. Despite the odds, it continues to stand. Deadly Snow uses a couple of quick axe strikes to cut down one of the skeletons on her.

The remaining zombie bites at Tickles, who uses his club to force him back. He smashes it again in response.

Nearby, Nardig strikes into one of the skeletons again. They strike back, and he parries them both. The other skeleton strikes at Deadly Snow, who manages to fight them him as well.

With the zombie looking badly wounded, Mulroney gives a forceful kick to knock it back. The strike hits home, but isn't enough to kill the creature. Shoes assists by using a leaping strike with his claws, raking the zombie across the face and killing it.

Deadly Snow strikes her skeleton with another slice of her axe blade and counters when it tries to strike back.

Nardig hits his as well, breaking it into a dozen pieces. He blocks the other skeleton's attack with his shield.

Emboldened by his recent zombie killing. Mulroney rushes over and kicks the skeleton on Deadly Snow. Shoes also strikes out with his claws.

Pressing the attack, Deadly Snow hacks into the remaining skeleton on her with her axe. Nearby, Nardig gets in another solid hit on his skeleton as well. The skeletons lunge at Deadly Snow and Nardig, who easily fend them off.

Tickles assists Nardig with his skeleton, slamming into it with a couple of club strikes. Deadly Snow likewise scores a pair of hits on hers (along with another claw assist from Shoes). Seeing the skeleton is nearly destroyed, Deadly Snow does a high kick and finishes it off.

With the one skeleton left, Nardig strikes out with his sword. He chops away some more bones with the force of the blow. Tickles follows it up with a club smash.

Mulroney moves in to attack the skeleton with a kick, scoring a glancing strike. Shoes' claw attack finishes it off.
Title: Actual Play - Palladium Fantasy: Warlords of the Wastelands
Post by: jgants on December 27, 2017, 10:52:04 PM
*** Session 13 - Scene 5 (of 5) ***

After killing off the skeletons and zombies, the group discusses what to do next. Neither Mulroney nor Deadly Snow feel it is worth risking encountering the vampire again with Mulroney's depleted magical abilities.

But they are also way of Doyle and his men, and Mulroney doesn't want to share his new sword with anyone. He looks it over to see if it is distinctive, and notices there are rune carvings on it.

Using some of his remaining magical ability to read the runes, he decodes it. He discovers it is the magical sword Moonblade, an ancestral sword of the Rodemus family.

According to the runes, Mulroney also discovers the sword has an ability to teleport a short distance that can damage any undead or demonic creatures in the immediate area he teleports to.

As they consider their options, Mulroney mulls over how he can use this sword to turn the situation to his advantage…
Title: Actual Play - Palladium Fantasy: Warlords of the Wastelands
Post by: jgants on December 27, 2017, 11:15:04 PM
*** Session 13 - Session Notes ***

This session wasn't very good. I was coming down with a cold (which I still am trying to get rid of the cough for) and was tired at the end of the week. I was also distracted as my wife was recovering from surgery that morning (though getting in and out of the parkade at the hospital was far more stressful than any worries I may have had about her routine surgery).

On top of that, I made some key mistakes in planning the session for the night. First, my intent was to show the PCs that something had been alerted to their presence and was trying to harass them as part of a strategy. Instead, it was taken as "evil DM mode" where the DM was trying to prevent them from resting. I probably should have gone with my original plan, let them rest but when they wake discover they have been entombed in the room.

The second mistake was four skeletons and four zombies along with the vampire was way too many combatants for one Palladium fight. The fight in the fourth scene took up most of the entire session.

The final mistake was bothering to have a session right after Star Wars opened. The reason the 5th scene is so short is we basically stopped playing because the other guys started talking movies for the remaining 45 minutes of the session. I couldn't even participate as I hadn't actually watched it by then (I just watched it the other day; I like Star Wars well enough, but not enough to fight crowds; I'm content to wait a week or two after they come out).

We're off again this week because the Mulroney player is headed out of town, so the next session won't be until the new year. Hopefully by then we can finish up the Rodemus saga.

Other thoughts about the session:
* I named the session "The Room" because the Deadly Snow player joked at the end about the fact the whole session was spent in that room. Also, I had just watched The Disaster Artist (right after re-watching The Room again), so it was in mind. As a result, I gave the vampire the name in the write-up (in the game, I just said "there's a vampire in back") as an homage and added the part about the bard Sestero. When I originally wrote up the dungeon for Rodemus, I had named him Vadin (though I don't recall if that was after anyone or not).

* Deadly Snow only went to grab the water because I started hinting they may not have enough water. I was joking, but I think it would have been better if I wouldn't have said anything and just had the mist come in the room to begin with. I did think it was funny that it inadvertently made them think the water was haunted.

* Note that Nardig never gets healed and Mulroney keeps volunteering him for things. The Mulroney player partially does that to keep him involved in what's going on (since Nardig is playing over Skype), and part because he knows that player is never fully paying attention so he uses him as cannon fodder.

* To me, the mist and rats things were self-explanatory (vampires forming into mist or summoning rats is pretty common), but I had to spell it out to the players when they encountered him that he was the one messing with their attempts to sleep.

* It's good the PCs are keeping Doyle in mind and thinking how they can get one over on him. As I mentioned before, I just hope they realize Doyle is planning to do the same thing to them.

* Mulroney started kicking because when the player gets bored, he likes to get reckless. He also did it to mock Deadly Snow and Tickles, who he constantly berates in OOC jokes because his "old man and a cat" always end up more effective in combat than they are. He particularly mocks that first session where they were on the ground kicking at the orc. Tickles with his club is actually fairly deadly now that he isn't trying to use his grappling hook any more (which the Mulroney player mockingly refers to as "Buffalo Bill and his lariat").

*  There was an out of character joke about how Doyle wouldn't know the magic sword was from the crypt unless it said "Property of Rodemus". Then Mulroney read the runes about being the ancestral Rodem family sword.
Title: Session 14: Don't Lose Your Head
Post by: jgants on January 21, 2018, 08:43:30 AM
*** Session 14 - Cast of Characters ***

Yukiko Amagi (aka The Deadly Snow): A ten-year-old aberrant human girl; a major psychic trained as a secret assassin. She considers Tickles to be her father after he raised her as an orphan.

The Great Mulroney: A miscreant changeling witch who believes he is human and masquerades as a prestidigitator. He sold his soul to the devil prince Glebecar and has a devil familiar named Shoes.

Tickles: An anarchist coyle thief and minor psychic. He raised Yukiko from a little orphan girl into the assassin she is today so she could earn them money as a hardened killer.

Nardig: A miscreant hobgoblin mercenary exiled from his family for his evil deeds. He can control his tendencies for short periods of time to work with small groups, but will steal from them and turn on them with the slightest provocation.
Title: Actual Play - Palladium Fantasy: Warlords of the Wastelands
Post by: jgants on January 21, 2018, 08:45:00 AM
*** Session 14 - Scene 1 (of 4) ***

The group spends some time discussing what to do next. The Great Mulroney feels the most important thing is to get a couple of days of rest before continuing to explore the ruins as they are getting weak.

Mulroney and Nardig favor trying to find a way to rest in the crypt, while Deadly Snow and Tickles want to leave but rest in the tower with Doyle and his men. Mulroney is nervous about Doyle discovering the magic sword he's found and doesn't want to hand it over to the thief (or engage the thieves in battle); he figures it would make more sense to go back to Beartooth if they leave the crypts.

Various schemes are discussed to hide the sword, avoid Doyle, fight Doyle by bringing back Materich, and other ideas. Tickles wants to finish with the crypt before getting embroiled into the guild war. They ultimately decide they will head back up and try to get back to Beartooth, with the plan for Mulroney to use his silver tongue to talk them past Doyle if needed.

With the plan finalized, they decide to make a run for the main door leading to the stairs up to the surface. Mulroney sends Shoes ahead to scout and make sure the area is clear. The cat moves across the rooms and gets to the door at the next room without incident.

Tickles heads out next, attempting to move quickly and quietly. He manages to be quick, but not quiet. He stops to listen at the door, but hears nothing. He motions for the others to approach.

The scene repeats itself as Shoes heads to the main door up to the surface. Tickles again attempts to move quietly, but fails again. Mulroney notices the thief is actually getting louder as he continues.

Back across the room, Mulroney starts to notice some mist forming behind him. He tells Snarg and Deadly Snow to make a run for it.

Everyone begins charging for the door. Nardig is a little slower at moving than the others, and the vampire forms behind him. Giving the hobgoblin a glance, the vampire mesmerizes him as he tells him to look into his eyes.

Leaving Nardig to fend for himself, Deadly Snow and Mulroney run off. As they make their way towards the stairs, Mulroney turns and casts a globe of daylight. Wi'zou hisses and recoils behind his cape, but the light does not drive him off this time.

While still shielding himself from the globe of light, Wi'zou begins feeding on Nardig. As the blood drains from him, the hobgoblin has a feeling of euphoria.
Title: Actual Play - Palladium Fantasy: Warlords of the Wastelands
Post by: jgants on January 21, 2018, 08:45:53 AM
*** Session 14 - Scene 2 (of 4) ***

As Tickles runs up the stairs, he triggers a tripwire ringing a bell and firing off some crossbows. Two bolts fly out and hit him, but only one manages to penetrate his armor.

Downstairs, Nardig continues to be drained by the vampire while his companions leave him for dead.

Up at the top, Tickles sees a couple of Doyle's men running towards him. He tries telling them he needs their help to come gather the treasure (briefly considering heading back down into the crypts), but they don't seem to be in a friendly mood.

As Nardig falls into the embrace of sweet, sweet unconsciousness Sirko attacks Tickles with his club. Tickles parries back with his own club. He asks Sirko why he's attacking, saying he thought they were friends.

Two of the other thieves, Viktor and Jurg, are heading for Mulroney. The witch draws on Shoes' energy to cast a levitation spell on Sirko.

Shoes rushes over to Novik, jumping up to claw at his eye. The claw scratches the hobgoblin's face.

Deadly Snow sees Sirko in the air near Tickles, with Novik getting ready to attack him. Nearby, Viktor and Jurg are closing in on Mulroney. She decides the best way to help her companions is to attack the levitated Sirko, but the thief parries the blow. Sirko throws his club at Deadly Snow, hitting her.

Tickles attempts to fight Novik, but the thief parries his blow. He attacks back, but Tickles is also able to fend off his attack. Shoes attacks the thief's face again with his claws.

Viktor and Jurg attack Mulroney, both cutting into him with their daggers. Deadly Snow ignores the witch in trouble against the goblins, and starts pushing Sirko in the air towards the stairs so he can be food for Wi'zou should the vampire emerge.

Tickles presses the attack against Novik, striking him hard with his heavy club. Novik strikes back, sticking Tickles in the gut. Tickles swings again, smashing the thief's head into pulp.

The thief then moves over to take on Jurg. He hits the goblin with a powerful strike, badly wounding him.

Deadly Snow manages to get Sirko over to the stairs as he curses and threatens her along the way. Just as she finishes, Wi'zou emerges from the stairs. Seeing the snack left for him, he begins feeding on the thief.

With the emergence of the vampire, Tickles leaves Mulroney to fend for himself and makes a run for it. The two goblins press their attacks against Mulroney, he blocks one but the other cuts him.

Deadly Snow moves over to assist. Using a telekinetic kick, she slams her foot into Jurg. The force of the blow breaks his neck, killing him.

Mulroney decides to make a run for it as well. Viktor stabs him as he passes by and starts pursuing him. The witch points back at Wi'zou, warning Viktor. Viktor, terrified, runs off in another direction.

It doesn't take long for Wi'zou to drain Sirko. Once he's done, he transforms into a wolf and chases after Viktor.

Meanwhile, Tickles is running by the tower when Doyle emerges. He decides to head over to kill the thief. Mulroney and Deadly Snow start heading in that direction as well, as the tower is near the path leading back to Beartooth.

Doyle sees everything going on. He asks Tickles what is going on. Tickles says they did exactly what they planned, they looked for the treasure and released the vampire in the process. Doyle calls him an idiot and tries to make a run for it but Tickles attacks him from behind, hitting him in the head with his club.

Running towards Doyle, Deadly Snow hurls a dagger into him. Mulroney reads his firebolt scroll, casting the spell at Doyle. He is blasted by the beam of fire. Shoes adds insult to injury by clawing at his eye.

As Viktor screams off in the distance, Tickles crushes Doyle's skull, killing him. Tickles tries to make a witty comment to Doyle about "here's your cut!", which would have made more sense had the thief been using an edged weapon. He then searches the corpse, taking the 15 gold coins he finds.
Title: Actual Play - Palladium Fantasy: Warlords of the Wastelands
Post by: jgants on January 21, 2018, 08:46:59 AM
*** Session 14 - Scene 3 (of 4) ***

Not wanting to face the vampire, Tickles suggests they head back down into the crypt. Mulroney isn't so sure, but guesses dealing with Nardig will be safer than Wi'zou. Deadly Snow isn't so sure of their logic that the crypt will protect them, so she stays above in the tower to see if she can protect herself there.

Mulroney, Shoes, and Tickles head back down into the undercroft. Deadly Snow does her best to fortify her position in Doyle's tower.

When they get down into the crypts, Mulroney says he needs to cure Nardig. Unfastening the hobgoblin's breastplate, he quickly takes out his wooden stakes and mallet and hammers one into Nardig's chest. Then, using moonblade, he separates the creature's head from his body and burns both after making sure to collect all the mercenary's possessions.

Tickles can only watch in a state of shock and horror. As the remains burn, he wonders if the magical fountain water could have cured Nardig. But it is too late now…

Up on top, Deadly Snow looks around the tower but finds little other than Doyle's makeshift throne. She looks outside one of the windows, but all appears quiet now.

As she looks for any type of secret passage into the lower level, the assassin spots some movement out of the corner of her eye. She begins to wonder if it was a bat she saw.

Out of the shadows, Wi'zou emerges in his humanoid form. She instantly puts up her mind block to protect her from his mesmerism powers and puts on her child skull mask.

Wi'zou laughs. He tells the girl he likes her spirit and asks her to come closer. She steps ever so closer, and gives her name as the Deadly Snow. He shares his name as well, confirming he is indeed Wi'zou.

The assassin then offers the vampire he may feed on her, but she is small and has little blood. She says if he lets her live, she can let him back into the undercroft, where he will find a better meal waiting.

Wi'zou says he does not want to go back to the crypts, as he was trapped there for a long time. According to him, he was cursed to remain there after his master killed off the Rodem family long ago.

Deadly Snow asks after his master, but Wi'zou says he does not know where the man went. He mentions his master used magic to trap him in the crypts because he was getting too powerful.

The assassin offers to help find Wi'zou find his master for revenge. The vampire says he thinks he can locate the master, but is interested if she already has any helpful information.

The vampire scratches a jagged spiral symbol into the wall, asking if she knows it. Deadly Snow recognizes it as the symbol her group has seen before – it was in Lady Rodem's journal and associated with a necromancer responsible for the zombie plague (though Mulroney lied about recognizing as the symbol of a demon named Reedikus; the same fake demon name he used in Beartooth when talking to Zaladane). Unknown to her, Nardig had also encountered the symbol on the chest in the lair of the evil wizard Bargle, who was also suspected of having ties to the plague zombies.

Deadly Snow mentions seeing it in the journal. Wi'zou says it is the symbol of the god his master serves, though doesn't give the deity's name. She also says the journal mentioned a necromancer, who the vampire confirms is his master.

She asks if the necromancer controls other creatures. He simply says, "some" but notes most of them at Rodemus have already been eliminated by her and her group.

Wi'zou asks if she knows where the master is. She says she hasn't yet, but is confident as she has various connections including people in other dimensions.

Hearing the mention of other dimensions, Wi'zou is intrigued. He says the master also came from another dimension a long time ago before becoming an Immortalus. Deadly Snow isn't sure what that means.

She says one of her companions might know more, as he is better versed in magic than her. She says he is down in the crypt, but Wi'zou doesn't wish to go see him, saying he'd rather go search for himself.

Wi'zou tells the girls she intrigues him, and notes he's already fed quite a bit, so he agrees to let her live for now. He also is sympathetic to her due to her appealing skull mask.

Before turning into a bat and disappearing back into the darkness, Wi'zou tells the girl to keep an ear out in case she comes across any information on "Bragosani the Damned" and they meet again. She assumes Bragosani must be the name of the vampire's master.

After he's gone, the assassin realizes she recognizes the master's name – it appears to be the same name Zhang Tong gave to Mulroney as one of his allies when he believed Mulroney to be someone named "Arlo", and part of a larger conspiracy involving people named "Nigel" and "Paldemar". According to Zhang Tong, Bragosani was suggested to be located somewhere called the "Pyramid of Shadows".
Title: Actual Play - Palladium Fantasy: Warlords of the Wastelands
Post by: jgants on January 21, 2018, 08:47:52 AM
*** Session 14 - Scene 4 (of 4) ***

Back in the crypt, Tickles and Mulroney continue to explore the remainder of the crypt but find little outside of two more large rooms with sarcophagi in them. They spend a few hours to check all the graves, but find nothing of value.

Mapping the area out, Mulroney notices there appears to be a large space in the middle of several rooms. He and Tickles search around a particularly oddly-architected section of wall and the thief immediately finds a secret door there.

Tickles looks over the door carefully and notices it is coated with a deadly contact poison. Using the gloves he took off of Nardig, Mulroney gives them to Tickles so he can use them to carefully open the door.

Opening the secret door, there is a hidden room between the other rooms filled with six large chests. It appears to be the hidden treasury of the lost Rodem family fortune.

After confirming the chests appear safe, they open each in turn. The first chest holds 1,500 gold worth of jewelry, a map, and a special-looking amulet.

Tickles takes the map and the amulet. He notices the map appears to detail a hidden series of tunnels leading to a temple. A symbol next to the temple appears to be the same astrological symbol Deadly Snow was researching before – the Azure Dragon.

Mulroney examines the magical amulet, but isn't sure what it is. Tickles decides to put it in his pocket for now.

Moving on to the other chests, Mulroney finds the next three contain 500 gold coins each and the last two contain 500 silver coins each.

Since the treasure is too much for them to move by themselves, Mulroney suggests they go up to see if Deadly Snow survived against the vampire. He notes to Tickles they may need to "cure" her too, but the coyle won't hear of any such violence against his adopted daughter.

They head up just as Deadly Snow is leaving the tower to head back to town after a night of rest. She sees them before they see her, and uses her powers of levitation to float and ectoplasm to create a mist to try and fake being turned to a vampire.

Mulroney takes out his wooden cross to keep her at bay while Tickles says they don't want to kill her. Deadly Snow continues to float towards Mulroney, so he decides she is faking it. He tells her as much.

She drops the act, and Tickles tells her it wasn't funny. Deadly Snow then explains what Wi'zou said to her.

Mulroney doesn't want to spend too much time dwelling on her tale, as he is concerned with how to get the treasure back. She offers Nardig is strong and should be of help, but Tickles has to explain the hobgoblin is dead. Mulroney says something about the cure being too strong for him and goes into a melodramatic tale of Nardig's last words (which are fairly flattering towards himself).

They look around for anything to help them transport the treasure. Nearby, they find a mule used by Doyle's gang for transport. There is no wagon, but the mule does have saddlebags.

Mulroney's idea is to take some spare lumber lying around and construct a sled. They spend some time talking about whether to keep some of the treasure hidden at Rodemus. Mulroney eventually convinces them to take it all back to town (insisting that would be "what Nardig would have wanted").

Tickles gives the map with the symbol of the Azure Dragon to Deadly Snow. He also asks her about the amulet, but she suggests he just try putting it on.

When he does so, it transforms his appearance. Suddenly he appears to have beautiful long, blond hair and sparkling blue eyes along with softer, more feminine features. Mulroney finds the appearance very attractive, making him quite uncomfortable. He insists Tickles take the amulet off as he resists the urge to try and smell the coyle's hair. The reason he gives are that there are many magical amulets in the world but none should be taken lightly.

They manage to construct a sled for the mule, but don't want to head back to town before resting. They tie up the mule near the crypt stairs (as the mule will not go down into the crypts), and head into the undercroft to rest by sealing themselves in the treasury. The next couple of days are spend resting and healing up.

When they emerge, they find the mule dead and drained of blood. Mulroney quickly surmises it was attacked by the vampires of Viktor and Sirko, who he didn't think to destroy when he had the chance. He also wonders if he should have thought to have Shoes stay out there to keep watch.

Deciding it is time to head back to town, they leave half of the treasure sealed up under Rodemus while Mulroney takes the chest of jewelry and Deadly Snow and Tickles taking a chest of gold each. Then they head off into the caverns…
Title: Actual Play - Palladium Fantasy: Warlords of the Wastelands
Post by: jgants on January 21, 2018, 09:06:21 AM
*** Session 14 - Session Notes ***

The oddest thing about this session is how brief the write-up really is. The session itself was the same 2 1/2 hours or so our sessions usually are. There wasn't a lot of OOC talk not related to the game. The combat did take up a good chunk of time but wasn't nearly as involved in the previous session. Overall, it's was a fun session and moved the game forward. And yet, in the end, not a whole lot was there to be written up.

I record the audio for sessions then type it up. This was one of the only times I could do it without stopping the audio all that much (usually it takes me 5-6 hours to type up the notes for a session, I easily did it in 3 this time). The reason was the players took a very, very long time to make the few decisions they made. There was a ton of OOC debate on what the safest option to take would be and clearly not everyone always agreed (thus, the group splitting up).

My favorite part of the session was getting to throw down some exposition with Wi'zou. Usually the PCs don't let the villains talk long enough to get the plot points out.

My least favorite part was Nardig's (unnecessary) death. The problem is, that player requires a fair amount of hand-holding to get a new character up and running so it will be a mad dash to have something ready for next session.

Other notes about the session:
* The Mulroney player (correctly) foreshadowed in some of the IC/OOC chatter about where to rest that Doyle and his men were totally planning to murder the group to take whatever treasure they had found.

* I suppose it was in character to leave Nardig to fend for himself with the vampire, but still kind of a crappy thing to do. I gave the Nardig player multiple chances to try and break out of the super hypnosis, but he kept rolling terribly.

* Since Mulroney already used the globe of daylight on him once, I figured it wouldn't be as effective a second time. My problem with Palladium magic overall is that extremely effective spells have very low PPE requirements. Also, Kevin Seimbeida's rules are written for vampires are terrible and make them far too weak to be a real threat.

* I was totally going to let the fountain water keep Nardig alive. Failing that, I was ready to have Nardig stay in the game as a vampire. When I told the Mulroney player that after he killed / destroyed Nardig, he felt really bad.

* The PCs felt very threatened by the thieves, but honestly none of the thieves were remotely a real threat stats-wise. The real threat (which the PCs eventually figured out) from them was in delaying things long enough for the vampire to emerge.

* The Mulroney player kept insisting Shoes should be able to claw out the eye of his opponents. I'm not sure how serious he was.

* Everyone mocked the Tickles player for trying to use an action movie line that made no sense when he killed Doyle with the club.

* Hopefully Wi'zou's conversation with Deadly Snow will help the group start to put some of the plot thread pieces together. I sent out a separate "open plot threads" email to them as well as some other hints. While I understand my plots are purposely complex, sometimes I think the players don't take nearly enough time to even try to unravel what is going on.

* The players did a great job finding all the treasure. But I had to kill the mule after they foolishly forgot to dispose of the other new vampires (more on that next session).

* The players finally got a large cache of treasure. They expect to lose it on the way back to Beartooth, which is why I plan to surprise them next session by starting after they've already arrived back there safely.

* After this session, all three of the surviving characters have reached level 4 which should keep them fairly powerful. Given Palladium's XP tables, I assume this will be about as far as the PCs get in the campaign but who knows...
Title: Session 15: Trail of the Azure Dragon
Post by: jgants on January 28, 2018, 12:36:51 PM
*** Session 15 - Cast of Characters ***

Yukiko Amagi (aka The Deadly Snow): A ten-year-old aberrant human girl; a major psychic trained as a secret assassin. She considers Tickles to be her father after he raised her as an orphan.

The Great Mulroney: A miscreant changeling witch who believes he is human and masquerades as a prestidigitator. He sold his soul to the devil prince Glebecar and has a devil familiar named Shoes.

Viktor: A former thief working for Doyle. Turned into a secondary vampire by Wi'zou at Rodemus. Joined the group under his master's orders to keep an eye on them and their connection to Bragosani the Damned.
Title: Actual Play - Palladium Fantasy: Warlords of the Wastelands
Post by: jgants on January 28, 2018, 12:37:25 PM
*** Session 15 - Scene 1 (of 7) ***

Despite initial concerns, the group makes it back to Beartooth without any trouble. After selling off some of Nardig's unneeded goods and selling the jewels, the group is flush with gold. They take a week or so to recuperate and refresh their equipment.

The Great Mulroney uses their contacts with the Scarlet Alliance to get a couple of their magic items identified. The other amulet Tickles carries is identified as the Amulet of Rurga, which makes sense as the entry in Lady Lissa's journal specifically mentioned Kandia had left it behind when she went to find the Priests of Pah-Ma. It is said the amulet has the power to grant Rurga's beautiful visage on anyone who wears it.

As for the magical arrows Nardig took from the Rillietann elves (the Harlequins of the Cult of Cegaroch) at the Black Vault, those are said to be the Arrows of the Dark Reaper, capable of piercing any armor. Mulroney gives them to Deadly Snow, who purchases a small bow to use them with.

For himself, Mulroney keeps the Armor of the Exarch but elects not to spend the time and gold to have it fully repaired. Instead, he decides to spend the money on a horse for himself. But the limited availability and high costs of mounts leads him to purchase a rather rough-looking draft horse instead of the magnificent riding steed he envisioned. Despite this setback, he still thinks of himself as somewhat a knight riding his horse in plate armor and considers changing his nom de guerre to "The Grand Mulroney". For the horse, he wants to name it something absurd and comes up with "Gorn Clinker".

With Tickles busy for a while on guild business (particularly making sure to keep a close connection with Materich after killing Doyle, so as to not seem a threat), Mulroney and Deadly Snow discuss the various items on their to-do list to see if they can accomplish anything in the meantime. The list is getting rather long, and they are having trouble keeping track of what all they need to do between Bragosani, the Zombie Plague, and the Cross-Dimensional Conspiracy; Sa'lid Dra'lah and the Ebony Blade; Lorna, Ma'leese, and Charno; the Overlord of Rikki, the Thieves of Harr-Ki, and the Herald of the Giants; the thief and the Azure Dragon; Lady Lissa's mention of the lost temple of the Priests of Pah-Ma; the job Nardig set up with Theosius at the Inn of the Red Bull; and the dinner Jogores requested with them to discuss a business venture. After much deliberation, they decide the best thing to do is start with the map they found at Rodemus showing a hidden path through a series of tunnels leading to a temple with the mark of the Azure Dragon.

As the map begins at Rodemus, they decide to head back their first. Mulroney wants to grab the extra treasure from there, but Deadly Snow notes it would be best to get the treasure on their way back to Beartooth once they find the temple.
Title: Actual Play - Palladium Fantasy: Warlords of the Wastelands
Post by: jgants on January 28, 2018, 12:38:10 PM
*** Session 15 - Scene 2 (of 7) ***

For the past several days, the newly-vampiric Viktor has been waiting near the ruins of Rodemus. After being completely drained of blood, he remembers rising again to find himself under the mental control of the vampire who killed him – Wi'zou.

Wi'zou instructed the former thief to make contact with Tickles and his band of mercenaries (or whatever they were; Viktor was never sure, and it found it strange a group of mercenaries included an old man with a cat and a young human girl). His new master, speaking telepathically into his mind, wants Viktor to travel with them in case they encounter someone named Bragosani. From what Viktor understands, Bragosani is some kind of necromancer who is the former master of his master. It is all very confusing for the addled goblin's mind, particularly as he has trouble clearly remembering much of his mortal life despite dying only a few days ago.

Viktor has tried to make the most of it by enjoying his new powers. He particularly likes the ability to metamorphosis into a bat, wolf, or cloud of mist. He also finds his ability to see very far in the darkness to be quite useful. It is with this ability he first spots a man on a horse and a young girl approaching from in the distance. He's fairly sure these two are part of the group he seeks; while the coyle isn't with them, the little girl and the cat are uncommon enough that it would be quite a coincidence if these weren't Tickles' allies. He steps out into the light of their torch to get their attention.

Deadly Snow and the Great Mulroney see the pale goblin step out into the light. Mulroney recognizes him as Viktor, one of the thieves who previously attacked him. Between the goblin being pale, having slightly longer teeth, and the fact he's pretty sure Wi'zou got the goblin while in wolf form, Mulroney is fairly sure the man before them is a secondary vampire.

Deadly Snow asks who goes there in Gobbley to be safe. Viktor responds with his name, saying he has been sent to make contact with them by Wi'zou. Deadly Snow asks what kind of contact, worried he may be planning to drain their blood. Viktor tries to assure them he means no harm and is discussing forming an alliance with them. As they speak, the mention of the goblin "making contact" with the girl reminds Mulroney of the vile rapist Nasser, who was tortured and killed in the most heinous way by the tumbler's guild after his crimes were discovered. The memory of the well-deserved torture and death of the evil man warms Mulroney's heart.

The conversation between Deadly Snow and Viktor takes a while to get anywhere. The goblin does not reveal why Wi'zou wanted him to make contact with the group but doesn't say much more than Wi'zou is not in the area any more. Trying to cut the conversation to the quick, and considering how powerful a vampire ally could be, Mulroney asks Viktor if he is trying to say he wants to join their "merry band". Viktor agrees.

Deadly Snow tells Viktor they are on their way to find a hidden temple. She asks if he wants to accompany them since it would take him away from Rodemus (as she's still unclear if Wi'zou himself wants to see them). Viktor says he'll come along and notes he can always make contact with the master later.

The Great Mulroney asks Viktor why Wi'zou wanted to contact them. Viktor simply says the master didn't want anything except to make an alliance, being careful not to say anything about Bragosani.

Mulroney asks what Wi'zou is offering as part of the alliance. Viktor says his services, as well as a mutual non-aggression pact (phrased as "not trying to kill each other") and sharing information. Though after asking some questions, it quickly becomes clear to Mulroney that the vampire has no information to exchange ("at this moment", Viktor insists). Mulroney notes the alliance seems rather one-sided, but he's happy to have Viktor along as Tickles is currently indisposed (joking the coyle is off dealing with a case of mange). Anxious to get going, Deadly Snow has them get a move on following the map to the hidden tunnels nearby.
Title: Actual Play - Palladium Fantasy: Warlords of the Wastelands
Post by: jgants on January 28, 2018, 12:41:35 PM
*** Session 15 - Scene 3 (of 7) ***

As they travel, Deadly Snow explains how they are headed to a secret temple and asks the vampire if he's ever heard of it before. Viktor says has never heard of a temple of the Azure Dragon before. Mulroney sardonically notes this is more information the vampire doesn't have to share and that the alliance is already paying off big time.

Deadly Snow reads the map while Viktor uses his long-range night vision to scout ahead. He notes they are heading into the dangerous territory of the Zidhuran minotaurs who will capture and eat other humanoids if they find them. The vampire also says the minotaurs usually have patrols in the area.

Since it will take some time to get through the territory, Mulroney decides it is finally time to employ his shape-changing powers. He transforms himself to appear as a minotaur, explaining to the others he is using some of his more powerful magic as he fakes casting a spell. As they have little understanding of magic, neither Deadly Snow nor Viktor see through the subterfuge.

Deadly Snow considers trying to decide herself as a young minotaur. Mulroney feels having her pose as a prisoner would be a better deception. As for Viktor, the minotaurs won't try to eat him but may try to kill him so he'd be best to hide in plain sight as a bat.

After some talking, Mulroney convinces the girl to try and disguise herself as a plague victim. Her disguise is less than convincing when he looks it over, so he has Viktor collect some of Gorn Clinker's manure and spread it all over the girl, so she will smell offensively, and no one will want to get close. No one but Mulroney is happy with the plan (and Viktor tries asking if it is part of some kind of religious ceremony), but they go along with it anyway.

With Mulroney looking like a minotaur, Deadly Snow tied to a rope and covered in manure and fake plague sores, and Viktor as a bat, they head on. It doesn't take long before they come across a patrol of five minotaurs. Mulroney tugs at Deadly Snow's rope and grunts for effect while Viktor keeps a look out from the top of the cavern for any other patrols.

The leader of the patrol calls out to Mulroney in Giantese. Luckily, the witch knows that language and can understand. The minotaur asks Mulroney who he is and why is he hauling the smelly child along.

Mulroney sizes up the patrol, noting they all wear heavy armor and are carrying battle axes. Choosing his words carefully, he tells the creature he found the diseased human wandering into their territory and is attempting to lead it out before it gets all of them sick.

The leader looks at Mulroney suspiciously, asking who he is. Mulroney isn't sure what a good local minotaur name might be, so he gives his name as "Stan". The leader finds that name suspicious, giving his own name as Reztal of clan Raktar. He asks which clan Mulroney is with.

Since Mulroney is lacking in knowledge of racial histories, he isn't really sure what clan name to give. Instead, he claims to be an outcast. Mulroney goes on to say he and his mother were cast out because his father was accused of being a traitor. Mulroney stresses his father was falsely accused but killed just the same while the rest of the family was cast out.

Reztal's eyes narrow. He is horrified to learn that Stan's father, Randy, was accused of being a champion of light. Mulroney shows the right amount of sorrow as Reztal declares what shame his father brought upon them all and gives a tale of his father being drawn and quartered for punishment.

Saying his mother and brother subsequently died of the same plague the human is carrying, Mulroney says he lives at the edge of the territories and hopes for the day he can return home. Since he knows the horrors of the disease carried by the human he wants to get her out of the area as fast as possible.

Reztal isn't sure why they can't just kill the girl. Mulroney claims it is too dangerous to touch her, as the disease is very deadly. He said he had to use his special roping skills to get her tied up in the first place.

Mulroney goes on to say that one with the plague rots from the inside. He invites Reztal to smell the girl, as her rotting has already made her smell like feces. Reztal agrees what Mulroney says makes sense.

He commands Mulroney to take the smelly girl away from here. Reztal suggests if he comes across one of their cave witches to give the girl to her for sacrifice. He then wishes Mulroney well, telling him to go with Xy (one of the Old Ones worshipped by their kind). Mulroney gives a dark blessing in turn to the minotaur leader.
Title: Actual Play - Palladium Fantasy: Warlords of the Wastelands
Post by: jgants on January 28, 2018, 12:42:32 PM
*** Session 15 - Scene 4 (of 7) ***

Advancing further into the minotaur territory, the group eventually comes to a dead end in a tall chamber. Deadly Snow is momentarily confused as the map indicates they should be able to continue.

The girl asks the bat-man, Viktor, to fly up and check out the ceiling of the chamber. He does so and spots a metal trap door in the ceiling of the cave. A short chain drops down a couple of feet from the handle of the door.

Deadly Snow uses her rope and grappling hook to snag the end of the chain and pulls. The door at the top opens but appears to be connection to a tension spring; if she lets out any slack, the door will re-close into the ceiling.

They try to figure out what to do next. Viktor flies up into the door to get a better look. He relates back to the others that it leads to another tunnel continuing in the direction they were heading; clearly, they will need to find a way to get up and use the tunnel.

Deadly Snow doesn't want to leave her rope and grappling hook tied to the ground to keep the door open. After discussing with Mulroney for a few minutes, he feels the best thing is to jam something in the door to keep it wedged open.

Viktor flies up into the upper tunnel and grabs a rock. He jams it into the door to keep it open.

Mulroney discusses a plan with Deadly Snow on her to detach her grappling hook from the chain and get them all up to the upper chamber. After going into great detail, he realizes he forgot one crucial element – Gorn Clinker! There's no way he can think of to get the horse into the upper cavern.

Viktor offers to feed on the horse, but Mulroney does not like the idea of losing his new method of transportation; particularly after having only recently acquired it. He also doesn't want to risk leaving the horse behind to die of thirst, starvation, or being eaten by monsters.

Deliberating on the matter a while, Mulroney ultimately decides he has no choice but to stay behind with Gorn Clinker while the others continue to the temple. Deadly Snow is shocked at his putting the horse above their alliance, but only for a second.

The girl then has Viktor shimmy over and grab her as she climbs up. She manages to get to the upper chamber and get her grappling hook back out without falling. She and Viktor then continue on; she wishes Mulroney good luck in staying safe until they return.
Title: Actual Play - Palladium Fantasy: Warlords of the Wastelands
Post by: jgants on January 28, 2018, 12:43:30 PM
*** Session 15 - Scene 5 (of 7) ***

Sometime later, the cavern eventually leads to a fork. According to the map, either passage can be used to reach the temple. One way is identified with some kind of underground waterway that must be traversed. The other path appears to lead to some type of bridge over a large chasm.

As a vampire, Viktor knows running water can be deadly to him. He suggests they go to the bridge. Deadly Snow also feels the bridge is the safer route.

Meanwhile, some distance away in the other cavern, Mulroney spots another patrol coming his way. This group looks angrier and less tolerant of outcasts.

Thinking quickly, he approaches the men keeping Gorn Clinker at a slow walk. Just as he gets near and starts to greet them, he has Shoes cast a spell to cover the area in cloud of smoke while he has the horse break into a gallop, knocking his way past the men.

The gambit works, and he is able to escape. He decides it is too dangerous to stay in the area, so he leaves the minotaur territory to go get the remaining treasure at Rodemus and bring it back to Beartooth (if for nothing else, Mulroney believes he may need the money to pay for stable fees for Gorn since clearly the horse will not always be useful on their adventures).

Back at the bridge, Deadly Snow is thinking of her own way to overcome an obstacle. She doesn't trust the rickety bridge to hold if she tries to cross it (though Viktor won't have that issue since he can take the form of a bat) and the chasm appears to drop into the earth forever.

Using her psionic abilities, Deadly Snows makes herself float above the bridge without actually forcing her weight on it. Using the ropes on either side of the bridge, she pulls herself along.

When she gets about halfway across, a pair of ripper jack bats take interest in her. They swoop in to bite. Keeping one hand on the rope, she uses her other to draw a dagger. She manages to fend off one bat but is bit by the other.

Deadly Snow slashes back, but the bat moves out of the way. Swooping in using his own bat form, Viktor uses his claws to tear one of the ripper jacks in half.

The other bat attempts to bite Deadly Snow again, but she fends him off. Stabbing into him with her dagger, she kills it as well. With the threat of the bats eliminated, Deadly Snow pulls herself the rest of the way across and meets Viktor on the other side.
Title: Actual Play - Palladium Fantasy: Warlords of the Wastelands
Post by: jgants on January 28, 2018, 12:44:55 PM
*** Session 15 - Scene 6 (of 7) ***

For what seems like hours or even days, the map leads Deadly Snow and Viktor most of the way to the temple. But just as they near it, they find another split in the passageway that is not on the map.

Between the two passages leading on is a stone statue shaped like a ratskin tribesman. Next to him is a carved plaque in the rock with a riddle. It reads, "The paths before you each lead to the domain of a local ratskin tribe. One tribe is of good nature, always tells the truth, and guards our temple as faithful servants. The other tribe is of evil nature, always lies, and will surely kill and eat anyone who stumbles into their lair. Before you is a simulacrum of a member of one of the tribes, but which no one can say. You may ask but one question of it to determine which path to take."

Deadly Snow groans, noting how she hates riddles. Viktor mumbles something about not really being very good at them either.

She knows she's heard a version of this riddle before but can't remember what the answer was. The young assassin does recognize it is a logic puzzle and sets about carving decision trees into the dirt with her knife to work it out. She spends several hours ruminating on the logical math before coming to her answer.

Stepping up to the simulacrum, the girl asks it if his tribe likes the tribe who are found in the passage to the left. Her logically reasoning is that if the statue answers yes, the passage is safe (because the evil tribe would lie about liking the good tribe and the good tribe would like itself). Conversely, if it says no then the other path is safe. After she gets her answer and travels down the path she believes is safe, she realizes the easier way to ask the question would have been to have the simulacrum say which path its tribe was located down.
Title: Actual Play - Palladium Fantasy: Warlords of the Wastelands
Post by: jgants on January 28, 2018, 12:45:53 PM
*** Session 15 - Scene 7 (of 7) ***

At the end of the path is a small settlement of ratskins. A woman approaches Deadly Snow and greets her, saying her name is Ne'chi. She tells Deadly Snow she smells horribly, which the girl says is because of her leprosy.

Ne'chi asks what brings Deadly Snow there. She says she is looking for the temple of the Azure Dragon. The woman says that is the temple here, but only those who are not truly evil may enter it. Deadly Snow says she is not, but that her bat will need to remain there.

Approaching the temple, Ne'chi and Deadly Snow are greeted by the head custodian monk, a man named Tsering. Tsering and Deadly Snow exchange formal greetings.

Tsering says he can tell there is evil inside the girl, but also honor. He says he will allow her to enter the temple, but only if she gives her word of honor not to kill anyone or steal anything inside. She does so, saying she comes seeking only knowledge.

The monk allows her up the stairs and they pass through the temple gate. He says he will show her to her room, where she can rest and bathe (he emphasizes the bathing part). Before she heads in, she has the monk clarify that his order is the Priests of Pah-Ma.

Her quarters have a nice hot springs bath and she is given fresh new robes to wear. Tsering also delivers a small meal to her, and afterwards they head into a hidden courtyard in the center of the temple. The courtyard is a small forest, filled with various trees, faerie folk, and rare herbs. They spend some time meditating in the gardens and the girl is able to replenish her inner strength.

Once they are done meditating, Tsering asks Deadly Snow what has brought her to the temple. She says several things have brought her to the temple but starts by saying she wanted to check on the fate of Kandia, the priestess of Rurga from Rodemus.

Tsering relates that Kandia died of old age some time ago. He asks the girl if she is connected to the Rodemus family. She says she is seeking the return of several heirloom items from the family that Kandia brought with her.

The monk asks her to clarify she is seeking to return the objects to their rightful heirs. She says she is, and pledges on her honor to do so (as she and her companions are the rightful heirs due to the Rodemus family being killed off and their treasure the right of anyone who found it).

Tsering takes her to the vault of treasures, a room in the back of the temple. It is guarded by a large monk named Thubten. Thubten opens the locked gate and Tsering takes out three items from the many on the shelves, saying these are the items belonging to the Rodemus family.

The first item is a set of three healing potions, the remainder of what Kandia had left after her travels. The second was a ring Kandia wore, a magical ring of spell protection. Deadly Snow quickly puts the ring on for "safe-keeping".

As she puts on the ring, Tsering brings out a final item he calls the "silver scimitar", a magical blade with runes of Rurga on it. He says it is not an actual holy weapon but is an enchanted sword with a very sharp blade. Deadly Snow puts the sword in her waistband.

With the treasures recovered, Tsering asks the girl that since she is honorable, could he ask for her help in a different matter. She agrees to be of service if she can.

Tsering smiles, saying her coming is unusual and must have been aided by the gods to deal with their problem. He notes she is serendipitously qualified to assist. Deadly Snow agrees she has many skills.

The monk tells her to follow him. He takes her to the back of the temple and opens a secret passage. As they continue down the passageway, he tells her some time ago the ratskins guarding the temple found a blind man, badly injured and dying, in the tunnels nearby and brought him to the temple.

According to Tsering's tale, the man gave his name as "Brandt". Tsering says he and the other monks healed the man and spent several years training him in their martial arts so he would be able to defend himself despite his disability.

At the end of the secret passage is a dead end with a broken wall leading into a very small chamber that appears to have been bricked in as some point. Tsering explains one of their order, Hakushin, was an immured anchorite who lived in that chamber and protected a powerful artifact his order calls the Zalawad.

Deadly Snow asks what the Zalawad does. Tsering says he isn't exactly sure – it is a dark artifact from the Age of Darkness back when the Old Ones ruled the world. The monk says the word Zalawad is from an ancient language and literally translates to "The Darkness".

Continuing the tale, Tsering says that somehow Brandt managed to find the secret passageway, broke down the wall, killed Hakushin, and stole the Zalawad. The thief then disappeared into the night, which was several months ago.

What Tsering needs is for Deadly Snow to find Brandt and retrieve the artifact to bring it back to the temple. He says the only problem is, he doesn't know exactly what the artifact is or what it looks like, for only the immured anchorite was allowed near it.

The monk says what they do know is that it was contained in a 3' x 2' wooden box with special wards on it. He also recalls a set of verse passed down through their generations to warn about the object: "Value the world's many'd splendor; And keep it safe with your endeavor; For man's heart will grow as dark as beast; If this object ye do release."

Deadly Snow asks if they know anything else about Brandt. The monk says the man rarely talked about himself or where he was from. Brandt did mention a dead wife named Lua, and Tsering suspects he may have harbored thoughts of revenge related to her death.

Tsering hopes she can find the object, for it is not safe out in the world. Deadly Snow asks what they want done about Brandt, but the monk says that is of no concern to them. The girl also asks if they can teach her their special unarmed combat skills, but he tells her it would take many years.

Before she leaves, Deadly Snow tries to get some other answers. She discusses the hooded thief who uses the symbol of the Azure Dragon. The monk agrees the appearance of the man sounds like it could be Brandt, who is probably staying hooded to hide the fact he's blind.

Tsering isn't sure why Brandt would use the symbol of their temple. He says the constellation of the Azure Dragon has to do with their temples founding hundreds of years ago, back during the age of the Kingdom of Baalgor. According to their legends and writings, their order was formed to protect the world against the coming of a black dragon, a stalker from beyond the stars who is said to come to destroy the world.

Deadly Snow asks if it is a literal dragon, but Tsering says the current scholars are split on whether the tales are meant to be literal or metaphorical. Because they have been around so long, it is difficult to keep track of which of the teachings handed down over the centuries are meant to be literal truths and which ones are metaphors for larger messages.

The young assassin asks if Sa'lid Dra'lah or the Ebony Blade factor into their tales at all. Tsering says he has never heard of them.

He also asks about the zombie plague Kandia was escaping when she came there. Tsering explains they were unable to help Kandia with a cure for that.

Tsering offers some knowledge of the plague, that it was started by a necromancer named Bragosani the Damned. Deadly Snow asks if they know anything about Bragosani's whereabouts. The monk says they know he came through a portal from another dimension several hundred years ago and used dark arts to transform himself into a Mummy Immortalus, an undead creature of great power. As to his current whereabouts, they do not know.

Deadly Snow also asks about the Great Mulroney. Tsering says he has never heard the name and asks if he should have. The girl offers Mulroney himself would say they should have but he is probably not worth their time to know about.

Tsering can offer no help with Lorna or Ma'leese either. He has heard of the Thieves of Harr-Ki and their worship of the false god, the warrior bird Harr-Ki. Tsering is clearly not fond of the thieves, saying they lavish themselves in finery, lavishing in monuments to recreation instead of helping the poor.

After finishing up her conversation with the monk, Tsering wishes her well as she meets up with Viktor and they begin heading back to Beartooth to meet back up with Mulroney and Tickles.
Title: Actual Play - Palladium Fantasy: Warlords of the Wastelands
Post by: jgants on January 28, 2018, 01:20:00 PM
*** Session 15 - Session Notes ***

For once I've finished typing the game notes right away, so last session's notes and this session's are almost back to back. Friday's session started a little late (Panchero's was apparently taking a long time to make a burrito bowl to go for Deadly Snow) and ended late. And when we did start, it took at least a half hour or more to get characters leveled up (as Mulroney and Deadly Snow took forever to pick a new spell / new skills). Then there was the part where Deadly Snow took at least another half hour to solve the riddle (though to be fair, we got sidetracked when there was a debate over whether it was Randy Quaid or Dennis Quaid as Doc Holiday in the Wyatt Earp movie - IMDB solved it for us, it was Dennis).

Still, a very fun session overall with a mix of light combat, problem-solving, and character interaction. The Tickles player was out of town and missed it, but the Viktor player (formerly the Nardig player) was able to participate far better over Skype as he finally bought a new fucking webcam and is no longer using the best technology 2001 had to offer. Oddly, all of the video and audio connection issues seemed to just disappear when he upgraded that.

This session also finally knocked out another of the open plot threads I started way back in the beginning. It also introduces the new Viktor character, which I suggested to the Nardig player as a concept and he liked it. I think having a vampire in the group will prove fun but challenging for them.

Random notes about the session:
* I started the session after they already got all the money, recovered, and identified the magical items. It seemed easiest to handle all that "off-screen".

* Mulroney buying a horse took a while because Palladium is all over the place with where you can find that information (and things like the price of a saddle don't appear to be anywhere). It also revealed how inconsistent Palladium is with pricing - a simple mule is 1000 gold.

* I'm not really a fan that Mulroney chose to name the horse after a false name used in Cthulhubusters Crescent City. Frankly, I'm getting a little tired of his obsession with the Cthulhubusters campaigns.

* The giant list of open plot threads was once again given to the PCs ahead of the session (I even organized it for them this time). They are having an increasingly hard time keeping it all straight (which is sort of the point).

* I'm still not 100% sure if Viktor was purposely being cagey with the other PCs by not mentioning Bragosani, or if he just forgot was he was supposed to be doing. In the past, he's had a hard time with forgetting plot points from even a few minutes prior.

* The off-hand reference to "Nasser" may or may not be an homage to a real-life person with a similar name who may or may not deserve a similar fate. Nobody knows for sure.

* Mulroney did joke Tickles was out sick, but I added the part about it being mange.

* I've been waiting 15 sessions for Mulroney to finally use his changeling powers.

* Mulroney and I had far too much fun suggesting Deadly Snow needed to be smeared with horse manure in order for her disguise to be effective.

* I have no idea where Mulroney came up with the name Stan. I added his father's name as "Randy" in the write-up to make it a South Park reference.

* The ceiling trap door (and especially the path across the waterway they didn't take) were heavily inspired by the Dragon's Lair video game.

* My favorite part was when Mulroney suddenly figures out they can't possibly get the horse up there. We all had a large laugh, as the group rapidly losing all forms of newly-acquired conveyances when I'm the GM has been a running gag for over a decade (and across different groups of players). Mulroney kept the horse just to spite the trend (and me).

* The rickety bridge over a chasm is an oldie but goodie I use all the time. Because of the way they solved it, the planned bat encounter was little more than a minor inconvenience.

* The riddle about the ratskin tribes was adapted from an old riddle. The version I remembered hearing first was in some old Randy Quaid movie (hence, the debate about Wyatt Earp because that was suggested by Deadly Snow as one of his movies it may have came from).

* The Priests of Pah-Ma and Brandt, along with the suggestion of the Star Stalker, are adapted from the stories in the Avengers comics in the 1970's written by Steve Engleheart about Mantis and her father Libra.

* The actual monks and the Zalawad are adapted from the novel The Wheel of Darkness by Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child.
Title: Actual Play - Palladium Fantasy: Warlords of the Wastelands
Post by: jgants on March 10, 2018, 12:44:53 PM
So, it's been over a month since I last posted about this campaign so I'm going to wrap it up with this post.

Back on 2/10, we had the 16th session. And because the Mulroney player decided to throw a tantrum again, it killed the session and the gaming group.

It started off pretty straight-forward, the Mulroney player wanted to sell his horse back because he figured out it would be a liability more often than a help. Of course, the merchant only offered him half what he paid. So then he tried to use a spell on the guy. I pointed out his using magic would be obvious, so then he has Shoes cast it. The NPC makes the save, but then he wants to cast it again. What I should have done is just start using a rule that you can't cast the same spell against someone who already saved in the same day or whatever. Instead, I hinted to the Deadly Snow player that his character would, at best, be confused by what was going on (as he's made it clear in the past his character doesn't like it when the Mulroney character goes out of his way to commit petty theft or pointless murder). So, he plays that his character (the little girl) assumes the horse trader had a stroke or something and takes him to the priest for healing, which removes the confusion spell. When the merchant wants to know what is going on, Tickles and Deadly Snow have a humorous time trying to get out of the situation without fingering Mulroney.

Everyone else thought it was funny and added tension to the story. Unfortunately, the Mulroney player sees this as another example of the personal vendetta he now believes the Deadly Snow player has against him. He sits quiet and stews for the next 15 mins or so while they get supplies before heading out of town, but then launches into a diatribe about how the Deadly Snow player isn't playing his character's Aberrant alignment correctly (while at the same time insisting his own dysfunctional behavior in the group is justified because his character is Miscreant).

This is EXACTLY why I fucking hate alignment and when I use my own D&D ruleset I always get rid of it. 99.9% of the time, the only thing alignment does is give people permission to act like an ass at the gaming table or whine that another person isn't doing it right. What I should have done is houseruled alignment out of the game to begin with. Alignment is, without any doubt, my least favorite part of RPGs. I fucking, fucking, fucking hate it and believe it is one of the stupidest inventions Gary every made.

So the next hour is spent with the two arguing. I don't blame the Mulroney player 100%, but he's easily 90% of the problem in this case and was clearly overreacting (which he grudgingly admitted later, but feels he was entitled to do so because it was the "straw that broke the camel's back").

In the end, we tried ret-conning the whole part where Deadly Snow took the merchant to the priest to have never happened and continued on with the session for another hour or so, until they were nearly killed by some kelpies attempting to reach the Thieves of Harr-Ki, but it wasn't any fun. And by the time the next session was to come, I just sent an email saying I was ending the campaign for personal reasons.

Me, the Mulroney player, and the Deadly Snow player are all still pissed about the incident weeks later. The Tickles player just said the situation was crazy and doesn't want the drama. God only knows what our poor Skype player thought of all this.

Discussions have been attempted, but have gone nowhere. The Mulroney player is a close friend, but he's fucking stubborn as hell and gets really paranoid, so any attempts to discuss the situation won't work because he claims any problem we bring up with how he was playing the game is just an excuse and some deep-seated personal problem he insists the Deadly Snow player has is the real root of the issue. This enrages the Deadly Snow player, who also considers the Mulroney player a close friend but feels betrayed that a close friend won't take him at his word that he just finds his character obnoxious and there is no deeper personal issue.

For my part, I'm not sure I want to game with the Mulroney player any more. Over time, he made a lot of concerning comments that suggested he only wants to play violent, wacky criminal characters; which I wouldn't have such a problem with (though that does limit our gaming options), but then makes a huge issue when the actions have consequences (either daring me to kill him off, or insisting the other players have their characters ignore his behavior).

In the end, I feel he is playing in the way John Wick warns about in some of his books (he talks extensively about it in the 1st edition of 7th Sea) - where one player is trying to put his fun ahead of the groups. That just won't work. Especially when I have enough fucking nonsense to deal with my management job (which pays a hell of a lot better than running a RPG group).

Anyhow, I've talked with the Deadly Snow player about some other friends of his interested in gaming and I'm prepping some one-shots of games I want to try out - the second edition of 7th Sea, the classic RuneQuest, Numenera, Coriolis, and D&D 5e / Adventures in Middle Earth (that last one is more of the player's expressed interest; for my part I've never been a big Tolkein fan).