Game session on 10 December 2009
We fortunately managed to get playing last Sunday even if people were unavoidably late. I had a bout of dyspepsia maybe due to tension from Coby's surgery but we did get started and what a game it was!
Dramatis Personae –
1. Clem- Human Mutie (Henry)
2. Clyde - Human Mutie (Henry)
3. Zed - Human Mutie (Doc Ben-g)
4. Albus - Human Mutie (Doc Ben-g)
5. Marcus Truman - Normal (JY)
6. Max Plissken - Normal (Nikos)
The adventurers ready themselves for a foray into the pits of the Buggems by drawing up a marching order while standing in the gloomy cellar of the Genser house. Clem takes point. He is followed by Max, armed with his ubiquitous Laser Pistol, poised to shoot over his mutie friend’s shoulder. Next come Albus, then Clyde, then Marcus Truman. The insect fearing mutie, Zed brings up the rear. Both Clem and Zed light the lamps they scavenged from the rooms above in the house.
Gingerly, they descend into the earthen tunnel dug out of the soft loam which gradually slopes downward. The tunnel twists and turns eerily underground but keeps veering towards the southwest. After almost thirty minutes of padding around in the dark, they see no end to the weirdly twisting earthen passage.
“We’re not in a tunnel,” quips Zed. “We’re inside a monster – these are his intestines we’re walking in”. Nervous laughter greets his half-hearted attempt at levity. And yet the passage stretches on in the dark.
Mutant Lord’s note: this would make a good idea for a future monster!
Eventually, they come upon an entrance to a wide earthen chamber, similarly hacked out of the soil. Clem stops the party. There is a muted hiss and clatter as weapons are drawn and readied. Clem tiptoes forward, leaving the rest behind. He reaches the entrance and slowly peeps inside. He sees a wide irregular earthen cavern with a low ceiling – only eight feet at the highest point. Numerous football-sized ovoids dripping in a translucent gooey sap hanging from the ceiling. All is bathed by a strange phosphorescent glow emanating from some odd moss-like fungus growing on the walls. He sees an exit nearby but is startled to come face to face with a monstrosity!
He is only ten feet away from a giant insect lying on the ground facing straight at him. The bug is longer than a man is tall, encased in a sickly grey chitinous shell with fibrous wings folded down. Its’ sword-like antennae are still and lying flaccid. To his horror, he realizes that this is a twin to the Parn they earlier slew up above. This one, is silent and still for now.
Mutant Lord’s note: for some reason Henry, the player did not ask the right questions and never suspected why the Parn was so inert. They assumed that the creature was alive which I think was the intent of Mr. Gygax when he put this in the module!
Clem backs up silently and a whispered conference ensues. The party decides on a swift, silent and sudden assault on the Parn. Zed, shaking nervously, is designated rearguard. He is under orders not to enter the chamber until the ‘All Clear’ signal is given. One of the lamps is passed to Clyde.
As one, they attack swiftly down the earthen passage –bursting into the eerily glowing cave and find the Parn to be – DEAD! This throws the party into confusion and only the Muties Clem and Albus notice something is terribly amiss.
A few of the sticky, sap-covered ovoids break open. From each swiftly climbs out a wet wriggling six-limbed insectoid, hissing menacingly. The insectoids are a blur as they leap forth from what now appear to be their egg-sacs and launch themselves upon the closest targets. As chance would have it, these turn out to be Clem and Albus.
Clem is burdened with three of the blood sucking little critters while another lands squarely on Albus’ shoulder blades. Although the Muties frantically hack away at them, the insectoids successfully latch on to their targets and disgustingly vampire-like, start draining away precious blood and bodily fluids.
The fight is cramped and in extremely close quarters. Only after much frantic and bloody efforts are the insects dislodged and killed. Again, Clem’s poisonous dermal poison takes a toll on his attackers.
The party members collectively catch their breath and a debate ensues on what to do with the remaining ovoids hanging from the ceiling. Max observes that these are smaller ones, reasoning that they are, perhaps immature versions of the ones that hatched. They make ready to burn the rest which emanate a curiously sweet and not-unpleasant smell. Clem douses the nearest with the entire contents of an oil flask but they all stop short of putting their plan into action. They reason that a fire may just end up choking them all to death, not to mention the chance of prematurely attracting more enraged critters.
Instead, they decide to try the nearby exit and explore the passage that leads beyond. By now, the lamps have both sputtered into darkness making Clem, Max and Zed to light torches.
The passage out widens and after some distance, branches into three separate passages- one to the front and one respectively to their right and left. The party takes the one immediately in front and after some minutes of steady progress, come upon a dead end. Searches for hidden exits turn up no results constraining the group to double back to the head of the three-way passage branch.
Next, they try the passage to their left. Treading gingerly Clem fails to see a treacherous pit in front of him and falls suddenly into the darkness. Only through a frantic and lucky effort does he narrowly avoid plunging into the bottom of the bell-shaped cavity beneath the pit- hanging on desperately on its crumbly edge. His torch is dropped into the watery bottom of the pit and is promptly extinguished. Max drops his torch (which, fortunately does not go out immediately) and grabs on to Clem. Carefully, they pull Clem up to safety.
New torches are lit. The party finds what appears to be stable ledges lining both sides of the watery pit and make their way across oh-so-carefully. They continue into the darkness.
They presently arrive at another earthen chamber, this one smaller than those seen previously. On the far side of the chamber, they espy a tunnel opening into a gradual incline and an exiting passage. The chamber’s earthen floor is filled with trash – odds and ends of wood, a bit of rotting leather. On the far end are two still forms covered in a sticky mucous-like layer. Children!
The group swiftly crosses into the room with Zed taking up rearguard once more, just outside the chamber. Max confirms that these are indeed, two children – unconscious by the looks of it, but alive and breathing. He hurriedly brushes off the sticky coating off one of them, and instantly regrets it as his vision blurs and his limbs buckle and shake.
Mutant Lord’s note: Nikos who played Max was pretty careless handling all those poison-coated kids without gloves. He consequently failed his poison save. Good thing it was not a save-or-die venom!
Just then, the group detects movement within the rubbish strewn about. From under the debris they see two swiftly advancing beetles –bright orange and five inches long. The beetles begin spitting wads of a sticky, sickly substance, narrowly missing the adventurers who now scramble out of their line of fire! In the meantime, Max weakly slumps to the floor, prone and unconscious.
Albus starts blasting away with the assault rifle – again and again until one of the beetles are shot into many tiny pieces. The others rush the beetle and hack it to pieces swiftly. Zed cowers just outside the entrance – not wanting to see what is going on.
Presently, as the shooting stops from within the room, Zed’s hackles rise and he senses he is not alone. He turns swiftly and is greeted with a blood chilling sight – three shiny insect men hissing and waving sharpened cutting weapons are fast approaching from the passageway.
This proves too much for the already edgy Mutie. With a scream of dread, Zed drops his torch and runs into the room. He rushes past his shocked companions, out the far exit, and up the inclined passage –away from the main fight. He then disappears from sight. His companions through, have little time to give chase. They have bigger problems on hand.
Mutant Lord’s note: Zed with his insect phobia ran off. I have a house rule which says Zed rolls a d4. A roll of 1-3 means he runs in fright per the rules. A roll of 4 means he goes berserk attacking wildly. I cobbled this up from Squad Leader when the Russian squad under fire rolls for morale and gets snake eyes which instead makes them go berserk instead of breaking.
The Buggems burst into the room, weapons raised and into attack mode. The party rushes forward and gives battle. The cramped, darkened interiors of the room, deep within the bowels of the earth become a desperate battleground resounding with the clash of steel and the occasional sound crack of an assault rifle.
Mutant Lord’s note: Albus rolled so badly he kept missing the Buggems despite having plusses from using an Ancient slug thrower against the attacking critters!
To make matters worse, the rear-most Buggem begins to excrete an unpleasant whitish mist that fills the chamber, blocking everyone’s sight. This affects everyone except Albus, who has the thermal vision mutation. Marcus Truman fights desperately with sword and dagger, hacking away at an unseen foe amidst the misty, swirling gas. Desperately, he leaves Clem to fend off the attacking Buggem, and turns to the unconscious form of Max. Hurriedly, he searches for the last remaining cylinder given by Mayor Frump – the one that contains the bug-killing gas. He fails to find it, and rejoins the others hacking away at the Buggems. It is a vicious fight until the Buggems are cut down bloodily.
With the fight over, the party quickly takes stock of the situation. Marcus Truman finds out that water easily washes away the slime covering the children. He rouses them but fails to get any intelligent response out of any of them. Max is also awakened. He is weak and groggy from the Zarn’s venom.
With everything secured, they head up the upward-sloping passage, after Zed. After minutes of following his trail, the passage emerges into the surface. They find themselves in a forested clearing, some distance away from Genser’s farm. The cool evening breeze under the night stars is a godsend after the claustrophobic pits below. Above, green Aleph and silver Bas, the twin moons are hurtling across Cyget Delta’s sky.
Some distance away, they find Zed, who has by now, considerably calmed down.
By now, they decide to head back to Jeffton first and see to the children’s safety before pressing on deeper in the pits below.
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