Game session on 20 November 2009
Episode three followed on the heels of the big battle in the core of the Mine of the Brain Lashers leaving our adventurers low on crossbow bolts, hit points and juice for Max’s Laser Pistol. The unfortunate Puccini, the intrepid Animal Mutie was unlucky enough to fall to a Brain Lasher’s Possession mutation resulting in his gruesome and untimely death. We were down two players due to real-life causes but were fortunate enough to have Doctor Joseph, one of our otherwise regular players, drop in unexpectedly at 10 pm. and play the role of two missing Normals.
The survivors of the harrowing fight in the core of the Brain Lashers’ mine regrouped in the aliens’ central chamber. Therein, they managed to learn just enough to functionally make the devices they retrieved work properly. Apart from these choice items was a long, heavy-set, coffin-like slab of smooth, extruded matter. Successful tech rolls and some interesting role playing revealed the controls which activated this construct (which turned out to be my version of a Regeneration Tank). Getting over their surprise when the construct began to speak to them in strangely accented Norte, our lads found themselves carrying on a conversation with the processing unit of a functioning pre-disaster Mark J Cybernetic Surgery Unit. Getting over their initial fear, our lads found themselves heeding the construct’s spiritual voice and taking turns lying in its coffin-like interior and pleasantly experiencing having their hit points restored to full capacity after a brief induced dreamless sleep.
Mutant Lord’s note: My Mark J resembles an autodoc unit from Larry Niven’s Known Space novels. Essentially, all you do is step in and it does all the work restoring you back to normal status. Otherwise, it produces the same effect a Regeneration Tank of the Mutant Future rules has on a character.
Finding themselves more whole in body, our adventurers now picked up two torches from wall their sconces and proceeded to explore the rest of the caves. Carefully working their way from darkened passages to dripping caves, they find nothing more of value, save a few wandering Homo Erectus who prove to be unresponsive to their repeated attempts at communication.
Mutant Lord’s note: I decided to depart from the map provided in the Mutant Future rules and decided to use my own based on some caves I personally walked/crawled/climbed into sometime in the past. Nonetheless, the map in the Mutant Future rules is a straightforward and solidly designed one which I may yet spring on my hapless minions sometime in a future game or ten…
Presently, they come upon a roughly-fashioned gate of twine and planks closing off what appears to be an entrance to the mine. Exiting from this, they are surprised by another pair of live laser drones, emplaced by the now-departed Brain Lashers. Left with no choice, the band attacks decisively, hacking away at the nearest while pelting the farther one with missiles and the odd laser beam. Apart from a few superficial burns, our party successfully destroys the drones swiftly.
Beyond the gate is an underground lake fed by a swiftly moving-river emptying from an adjoining cave. They find a narrow stone walkway at the edges of the cave walls which they follow in the darkness. A roll at this point provides a random critter encounter but our lads successfully evade the giant leeches that unsuccessfully attempt to drop in on them. The cave branches to the left and right with the right fork emerging into the sunlight. Still beyond, they can see the green shore and their moored boats.
They decide to take the left fork first and move in single file along the river’s banks, deeper into the caverns which seem to go one considerably farther. They pace off about two hundred feet and keep going, noting how the river appears to be moving swifter now. At about five hundred feet, the cavern still goes on without any signs of ending. After a hurried discussion, they opt to turn back to the sunlight and their waiting boats.
Mutant Lord’s note: Although my players came away with a respectable haul, they could have gotten even more. They just missed or opted to by-pass the other encounters I set up for them.
The trip back
The trip back south along with Lesser Azure is largely uneventful, save for an attack by a gigantic mutant crocodile that wandered into their camp in the dark that night. Clem, in particular, appeared to be awfully relieved for not being swallowed whole by their erstwhile reptilian attacker and, with the help of Clyde spent a few hours at daybreak beheading the crocodile’s corpse and skinning it as well. The croc’s gigantic head was then affixed by the group on the boat’s sloping bow thus providing it with an obscenely gaping figurehead.
Mutant Lord's note: this time the dice were with my players. the giant croc was 15HD but I rolled the lowest result in the Carcosa variable hit dice table giving it lower-than-expected HP. As expected, this boosted player morale considerably.
A hero’s return?
By late afternoon of the second day after leaving the Mine, our group returns to Sanly Bowitts, mooring their boats at the water’s edge on the town’s southern rampart. Naturally, they draw a gaping crowd especially with the bloody gaping saurian figurehead mounted on their riverboat. They turn the boats over to the militia and make a snap decision to donate the croc’s dismembered remains to the town’s University. The militia officer of the day gladly accepts on behalf of the Surgeon General and the Chief Resident. They now hope that this gets them remembered at the right time by those whose decisions count in this town.
The merchants who own the recovered boats are an altogether different kettle of fish, so to speak. As one, they demand the immediate return of their property from these wastelanders with nothing said about compensation. This prompts the Normals to raise the issue of ‘proper salvage rights’ (with Doc Joseph being the player arguing the loudest alongside a lot of bantering and laughter). On cue, the Muties vociferously add their voices to the argument (my player Henry who portrayed the two-headed Mutie Clem, ended up role-playing in two voices- how he does this without getting schizo is truly one of his talents). Trader Myles is then called in and, along with a Captain of the Militia, attempt to arbitrate the matter. This results in a lengthy and interesting role-playing session which took a large chunk of the night’s gaming. Eventually, all were prevailed upon to settle their differences amicably in the taproom of the Strontium Ninety with a salvor’s bounty negotiated at 900 gold pieces. This is witnessed and sanctified by two notarial clerks and the Militia Captain. Along with Trader Myles’ expected payment in gold, the group now has some disposable income to play with.
By the next day, our boyz are met by Trader Myles who claims he needs additional time to call in his debts and raise the money to fully pay them. They are not pleased with this news but later are considerably heartened when Myles instead offers to part with a rare, yet functioning device of apparent arcane construction. He shows them a longish, wood-framed object resembling a crossbow, save for the fact that the bow itself is missing and it’s muzzle terminates in a curious tube-like aperture, crowned by a curious rectangular fitting of shiny steel. Myles further demonstrates how a curving box-like object fits beneath the thing which he claims is actually a weapon of not-inconsiderable power. Making their tech rolls with the aid of the trader’s instruction they learn the weapon’s secrets and readily accept it as payment and call it quits. Zed is designated by the group as the weapon’s bearer.
Myles calls it a ‘jezail’, but it means little to the lads.
‘You need protecting from what?’
Later in the day, they wander the market and are approached by four weather-beaten men who are identified as farmers from a nearby village, about a day’s march from Sanly Bowitts. Their spokesman speaks in rough curiously-accented Norte and beseeches them for aid. He claims that their village is in need of protection as it is being menaced by what he describes as insect-men from the wilderness. He adds that their Mayor is prepared to pay generously for the services of a fearless band of plucky lads whose recent exploits have just become the talk of Sanly Bowitts. After all short discussion, Max announces to the farmers that they will help their village solve this problem with the so-called ‘insect-men’.
We ended the session at this point and were able to determine that all surviving characters managed to advance a level with points to spare. Not bad for a few days of adventuring!
Traveller – Julia Ecklar
12 hours ago