A Long Way Down
They lower down a rope and Puccini volunteers to rappel down. He goes down halfway without mishap but rolls a 1 (critical failure) on the second half of the descent. Up above, Max and the rest of the group manage to tighten their grip on the rope thereby ensuring that Puccini does not fall all the way down. However, the mishap causes the Animal Mutie to swing violently, causing him to strike the rock face of the chamber wall and making a ruckus in the cave.
Puccini safely hits the ground but sees two hulking primitive near-humans come into the chamber from the western exit. These are Homo Erectus guards armed with swords who burst in and attack. He successfully uses Empathy Sense on one of them and neutralizes him, but the other hacks at him savagely (dealing better than usual damage on a d12 due to my exceptionally good roll on the CVDT).
Unbeknownst to all, they had just stumbled into a stronghold of a group of Brain Lashers and their regressed Homo Erectus minions. This was then the start of the group’s first real “dungeon”-type adventure in Mutant Future as I used the sample scenario found in page 140 of the Mutant Future rulebook.
And what a fight it turned out to be.
Our first fatality
A hidden Brain Lasher lurking in an adjoining cave has been alerted to the intruders’ presence and hits Puccini with a Mental Thrust. The Mutie is stunned by the sudden mental attack and releases control of his attacker. With both Homo Erectus now hacking away at him, Max and Zed hurriedly rope to down to join the fight. They arrive too late as in the meantime, the Brain Slasher had already successfully taken mental possession of the hapless Puccini. The Mutie is then compelled to move towards the Brain Lasher’s cave. Zombie-like, Puccini shambles and then crawls into the tiny entrance of the Lasher’s cave, with Zed vainly pulling at him every step of the way. To be fair, I gave the players every chance to let Zed roll a test of strength against that of Puccini’s to restrain the Animal Mutie, but Zed kept failing his rolls spectacularly.
Now, more Homo Erectus minions flood into the chamber. Things are beginning to look grim and everyone else except Marcus Truman clambers down hurriedly to take on the onrushing savages. The cave floor becomes slick with blood and its’ stony walls echo with the sound of clashing steel. Truman keeps up a steady stream of bolts and he has no shortage of targets.
Meanwhile, the hapless Puccini remains under the Lasher’s control and inexorably moves puppet-like to his doom. The Mutie disappears into the Lasher’s cave whereupon he is promptly attacked by his tormentor. Steely claws slice into the Mutie’s temples as the alien abomination of another world efficiently siphons off his brain matter. Zed can only look on in horrified fury while Puccini breathes out his last in a strangled, final death rattle.
A desperate fight to the finish
This galvanizes Zed who puts a bolt through the gore-covered Brain Lasher doing a gratifying above-average d12 of damage on the CVDT. However, this is not enough and it is Zed who is now under the Slasher’s mental possession. Zombie-like, Zed helplessly follows in the wake of the deceased Puccini into the Slasher’s cave.
Seeing this, Max charges in with sword and laser pistol, leaving the rest to hold off the minions.
Max emerges into an eerily-lit chamber hacked out of the solid bedrock. Alien, arcane energies are alive in this place, flowing in an insane rhythm. At the far end are two alien metallic pylons standing twenty feet apart. Between these appears to be weird ultra-telluric field displaying a dark other-worldly vista: alien constellations, a disturbingly bleak skyline and the russet soil of another reality. It now appears that these abominations have succeeded in opening a gate into another world.
There are two other Brain Lashers are in the chamber.
Max fires at the nearest rolling a natural 20- a critical hit! He rolls low on the CVDT but still does a respectable 31 points of damage due to successive maximum rolls on the damage dice (my houserule allowing re-rolls of every maximum result on the damage dice from a critical hit).
Angered, the wounded Brain Lasher retaliates with Possession but fails spectacularly by rolling a natural 1! I make a snap ruling that the Lasher suffers psionic feedback and cannot attack for
the next 1d4 melee rounds. Unfortunately, Max misses his next shot and the other Slasher successfully puts him under mental possession!
At this point, my players have decided on a concerted attack on the Brain Lashers is the only way to end this and, leaving Clem to deal with the three remaining Homo Erectus, charge the Brain Lashers. In the meantime, the Homo Erectus, despite having sustained considerable damage, easily make their morale roll and continue to attack.
Marcus Truman and the poisonous Mutie Clyde arrive first, attacking the last unengaged Lasher who puts up a stiff fight. By now, most of the boyz are down on hit points, with Kendrick reduced to one single point left! The other Lashers mentally compel Max and Zed to shamble into Clyde in an attempt to get him to ‘rub off’ his poison on them. Clyde successfully dodges Max but Zed gets a dose of his intensity 7 poison.
The sorely wounded Kendrick and Marcus Truman keep up their fire at the Lashers, practically firing off all their bolts. Truman then draws sword and dagger and rushes the Lasher controlling Max. His incessant attacks succeeds in causing the alien to release his mental grip on Max. Now freed, Max aids in attacking the Lasher controlling Zed. The fight is in close quarters and now, the group’s numbers are an advantage. Zed is also freed and the Lashers are set upon by the group in deadly earnest.
This proves too much for them. One falls to combined attacks of laser, steel and poison. The other two fail their morale roll run out of the dimensional gate.
With the party looking very worse for wear, Zed and Marcus Truman begin search the rock wall behind the dimensional gateway (which eventually flickers off in a few minutes). They find a secret door built into the stone face of the chamber wall. Opening it, they enter a passage
that leads into a strangely shaped room filled with various goods and artifacts.
The characters eventually managed to find the relic healing technology provided as treasure in the sample scenario as stated in the rulebook. There was an interesting bit of role-playing as they struggled to get the relics to function. This and a series of successful tech rolls enabled our group to live to fight another day.
Traveller – Julia Ecklar
12 hours ago