|Ignore the whale penis.|
Ran The Belly of Gargantuel for two friends. They rolled up two characters each, a level 2 and a level 1. The game was set in the Baltic area in the 17th century, just as a basic historical background.
Characters: They are a small group of amoral con-artists: Isaiah Spielmann, the con-artist (Specialist 2), Klara Moroz, Isaiah's bodyguard (Fighter 1), Jebediah Smith, self-proclaimed prophet (Cleric 2), Pupa, Jebediah's discipline (Dwarf 1)
During their travels, they stopped in a small nameless village. In the morning, there saw the locals gathered before the inn. They were all listening to a small boy, who was telling about a gigantic dragon fish monster carcass which lays in the field. He found a valuable gold medallion in the monster's mouth, and saw some more treasures - but he had to retreat because of the rancid rotten smell. The village elder took away the gold ("this belongs in the orphan support fund!").
Jebediah Smith went into fire and brimstone mode, and proclaimed that the appearance of the carcass is the Devil's work, and must be investigated. Jebediah's miracle worker prophet cred was supported by Klara, who said that Jebediah healed her brother. In the end, a small mob of seven villagers joined the expedition.
The boy led the party to the rotting sea monster. However, they stench of decay was so overwhelming, that they couldn't even get close (vomiting and Constitution losses all around...). Jebediah Smith managed to improvise protective masks out of rags and various herbs - enough for eight people.
The PCs and four villagers approached the hulking mass of flesh from the side of its maw. They broke some teeth to create a gap to crawl through. Inside they searched the flotsam and produced some valuables, but decided against lingering for too long. They turned their attention to the "throat" instead. They found a fishing net which was clearly set up intentionally to block the opening.
A villager was the first to pass through the throat muscle... and got crushed by it to near-death. After some experiments, the players learned they can "trigger" the muscle from the safe distance (suing a scythe brought along by one of the villagers), then quickly jump through.
In the first belly, they found a copper tube with a tap inserted into the flesh of the creature. Jebediah opened the tap and gathered some of the oily substance into his palm... and gave it to Pupa to try. Ever-obedient Pupa tried it, but spit it out instantly, announcing it to be like lamp oil. The players used their vessels and waterskins to drain the contents of the oil cistern, with the intent to sell it later.
They proceeded to the next "room", and found that a huge gaping wound in the side of the creature was opening to this place - an entrance/exit point they haven't noticed earlier.
A big chest was found in the place. Instead of opening it, Klara began to haul it outside, but she got attacked by a kelp monster, which lay in ambush... One of the villagers panicked and ran out through the wound. The monster slashed open Klara's veins with its razor sharp leaves. The rest gang upon the weird monster and valiantly fought it. Isaiah fired his arquebus, almost deafening everybody in the vicinity... Jebediah panicked and fired his crossbow into the melee, and hit Klara, who collapsed to the ground. Pupa noticed that the creature had a single orifice on its body, and with a lucky roll buried his sword inside it. The monster hissed and died.
Klara was brought back to life by Jebediah's healing spell: but as they neglected to remove the crossbow bolt first, it essentially got fused with her body! The players found two more monsters, but in a dry and passive state.
The exploration of a third belly revealed more signs of habitation, including a hammock. Jebediah crawled into the hammock to rest, giving orders to the others to search the room. Isaiah spent some time reloading his arquebus.
Pupa found some muscly meaty flaps on one side of the belly, which could be folded back like curtains.
Behind them, there were hidden niches.
In the middle one, there was a treasure trove. When it was opened, crustacean creatures swarmed out of it! They climbed up on Pupa, and two of them even managed to crawl under his armor... and started slicing and cutting him with their claws. Pupa fell to the ground and started rolling over, trying to remove his armor or crush the crustaceans. Meanwhile, Klara and the villagers crushed a few more. Eventually the colony of creatures retreated into the shadows. Also, the meat of the crustaceans turned out to be edible.
The players continued exploring the hidden niches behind the belly's lining.
In the left one, they found a huge wooden statue depicting a siren: a figurehead, from a ship's nose. Although it was clearly something valuable, the players decided to leave it behind due to its great weight. However they did remove a golden crown from the statue.
Finally, they opened up the last compartment, and found a skeleton overgrown with corals, and a naked man with a long beard! The man held a harpoon and was shouting obscenities at the characters, calling them thieves and robbers. Pupa understood the language the man spoke, and tried to learn more about him. The man had lived in the belly of the monster (which he named Gargantuel) for many decades, and lost all memories prior to that time. His only companion was another man called Donato: the coral-encrusted skeleton was actually Donato, and the niche was a burial shrine. He objected strongly to the characters stealing his stuff, of course... but turned out that the highly amoral Jebediah Smith had an even viler plan! Jebediah decided to seize the man, and show him in a religious themed sideshow of sorts: come, see the modern Jonah, who lived in the belly of a whale for 40 years! Of course, he told the villagers, that freeing this man is a pious act... so they all quickly overpowered and bound the poor fellow.
The group left Gargantuel's carcass through the big wound. We decided to wrap it up at this point. Hopefully soon we will pick this up, and see whether they can get all the treasure or will be forced to donate it to the village's "orphan support fund".
I have to say, the players got extremely lucky with the encounter rolls. On the other hand, they did miss out on searching some parts of Gargantuel more thoroughly...
Overall, it was a fun little session.