Our story continues:
In the gathering night gloom, the party makes its way cautiously back to the village of Jeffton.
Upon arrival they are taken to Mayor Frump's cabin. The villagers are vastly relieved and happy to find that the children have been returned to them. However, their happiness is short-lived as the village healer pronounces that the children have to be taken for treatment to Sanly Bowitts immediately. The zarns evidently injected the children with their insidious larvae and even now, these horrid creatures are maturing inside them. In about two days, at most, the healer says, the children will die a horrible, painful death as the larvae hatch.
In the meantime, Max and Marcus Truman set down to arranging some much needed healing for many in the party. First, they break out the Medi-spray and then later, the more arcane but effective Healing Pack much to the amazement of the gathered villagers. Max and Zed attempt to use the Healing Pack upon the children but nothing comes out of this. The village healer thanks them profusely but it is now apparent that a posse of villagers will have to be organized quickly to bring the children to Sanly Bowitts at first light.
As the red rays of dawn spread along the eastern sky, the posse leaves. Our group has a hurried breakfast and restock what supplies they can find before returning to the pits once more. Before leaving, the ever-fussy Max explains to the village smith and leatherworker his proposal for the construction of a weapon he had once seen in his travels in the wilds. While this leaves the artisans scratching their heads in bemusement, he persists, and, with Zed’s support, manages to secure a best-efforts promise from the artisans for them to begin work on Max’s “terror weapon”. With this, they take leave from the Mayor and village council, and march off towards the Genser farm.
With torches alight, they return through the sloping passage they had recently quitted. Once inside the gloomy, eerie confines of the earthen tunnels, the group makes its way back to the three-way branch they had come from. Max only delays long enough to pick up a fallen battle axe from one of their erstwhile Buggem foes. This time, there is only the right fork passage ahead of them remaining unexplored.
They file through and Clem calls for a sudden halt. He notices that the soil at their feet gradually takes on a more yellowish-grey hue. This coloration extends to about twelve feet ahead of them in the light of Clem’s flaming brand. Max is suspicious. They use the haft of the salvaged axe and begin prodding the floor before them, oh-so-gingerly. There is a popping sound and the soil crumbles ahead of them, exposing a pit covered up by a brittle, dried paste-like substance. Below it is a steep drop of about twenty feet into brackish stinking water and slime-covered rocks. They breath a sigh of relief.
Mutant Lord’s note: Maybe Henry got more careful this time as he really made his intelligence rolls and asked the right questions thereby avoiding oodles of potential damage!
They pass along the pit’s edges and into the roughly-hewn chamber beyond.
In the light of their guttering torches, they find the chamber otherwise deserted. Three exits: one in front, one to the left and another to the right. The group files in silently leaving Zed, as usual, outside (just out of sight and watching the rear).
Suddenly, Albus detects movement from the passage ahead. A swiftly crawling insect, three feet long and very much resembling some sickly mottled ladybug emerges. It moves swiftly- faster than they expected; and without warning, sprays forth a cloud of noxious droplets in their direction. Everyone frantically scatters, and although no-one is hit, they are dismayed to see the room’s very soil and bedrock boiling away from effects of the insect’s toxic spittle.
Mutant Lord’s note: unbeknownst to my players this was baby Herp only so its spittle was only (!) doing half damage. Even then, it creeped them all out as everyone had visions of the Alien’s ‘acid for blood’ attacks.
Albus lays covering fire with the assault rifle and the rest cut loose with a fusillade of bolts. Max considers that this is now the time to use the remaining insecticide gas bomb and pulls the pin. The Herp does not fall to the gas but retreats steadily. The group closes in and steel themselves for a long and bloody fight. They are perplexed to find the Herp dead after another two hits from Albus’ rifle.
Mutant Lord’s note: it was a baby Herp after all! The important thing is now, they’ve used their last remaining insecticide gas bomb on a critter they could’ve easily hacked to bits. Still, for the price of the gas bomb, no one got melted away/massively damaged by the Herp’s very potent acid spit, so I reckon the group still came out ahead in this encounter.
The group gets their bearings together and, after checking out the side passages, hurriedly decides to exit out of the right hand passage. Torches are replaced and in the guttering light of Clem’s brand, they come face to face with three more of the Buggems walking towards them. Both parties are not surprised and in the tight confines of a ten foot wide passage, another desperate fight ensues!
The two of the Buggems rush forth, attacking Clem and Marcus Truman who meet them with bared steel. Max holds off from using his Laser Pistol. Amidst the clash of arms the third Buggem fires a bolt from his crossbow, hitting Albus with an envenomed dart. Albus takes damage but remains on his feet, double-tapping the insectoid. Unfortunately, perhaps the venom makes his aim unsure and he misses all his shots. Now, the third Buggem begins to generate a familiar sickening whitish gas – but Albus, the Mutie is ready this time around. Albus steps back, concentrates and unleashes his psychic attack fully upon the Buggem. The Buggem staggers and is bewildered as it finds out it can’t make a gas attack anymore!
Mutant Lord’s note: Albus has the Ancestral Form mutation – and successfully makes his mental attack, thereby forcibly stripping away the Buggem’s gas generation mutation. It’s the first time Doc Ben-g tried this and we were all hoping he would succeed his mental attack roll so we get to see the mutation in action.
Also, it seems Max is now hoarding the last remaining shot of his laser!
At the back of the line, the sight of even more insidious insectoids attacking the group proves too much again for Zed. He screams in fear and shakes uncontrollably- then, to everyone’s surprise, his cries of fear turn into bellows of unrestrained fury. Ignoring all caution, Zed pushes his companions aside, swiftly making his way to the front of the line and falls upon one of the Buggems with berserk abandon!
Mutant Lord’s note: this is in relation to my phobia houserule which allows Zed a d4 roll. A roll of a 4 means he goes bonkers and his hysterical fear turns into unreasoning berserk fury. He did roll a 4 and another 4 to see how long his berserk fury lasts. He had a healthy plus to attack but a corresponding whopping minus to AC. Doc Ben-g didn’t seem to mind: as far as he was concerned, it was payback time for Zed.
Zed’s unstoppable rush proves too much for his adversary which falls to his sword. The other Buggem is likewise speedily dispatched as the rest break through and begin closing in on the remaining Buggem which, by now, starts backing away further into the passage. For a moment, only the irises of Zed’s eyes are all that can be seen and he breaks into another paroxysm of terror. His friends instinctively form around him, aiming to protect him at his moment of vulnerability – but the unexpected occurs. Zed leaps forward like a Mutie possessed and charges the remaining Buggem still caught in a berserk frenzy!
Mutant Lord’s note: it was time for Doc Ben-g to roll that d4 again and he rolled another 4 so Zed kept going berserk. Everyone had to stand back and hold fire while Zed pummeled the last Buggem. I think they were all rather scared Zed would turn on one of them if he ran out of enemies to fight…. Hmmmm.
“Hold fire!” bellows Max. “Hold fire everyone! He’s going apeshit!” (cue in uproarious collective player laughter at this point)
Zed swiftly catches up with the last Buggem and likewise deals and bloody end to the insectoid. He then sinks slowly to his knees, breathless and dizzy from exhaustion.
This was the end of our game session that day. What a way to end it too!
Traveller – Julia Ecklar
12 hours ago