Wednesday, March 17, 2021

[Mazes & Minotaurs Actual Play] Colonists & Chimeras! Session #14

Previous installments: Session #1Session #2Session #3Session #4Session #5Session #6Session #7Session #8Session #9Session #10Session #11Session #12, Session #13

Porphyra the Lyrist
Buff the Warrior
Meteora the Amazon
Romulus the semi-domesticated (at best) wolf of Porphyra
Henchmen: 2 Greek and 4 Phoenician warriors
& Donkey the donkey

Meteora finally caught up with the party. By now, the Amazon is unrecognizable as her previous self: her uncanny regenerative abilities and carousing with a Dionysian thiasus turned her into a monstrous thing with peacock feathers, scales and now even donkey ears...
But at least she was around, reinforcing the party with some much-needed fighting power.

(I'm very busy with work & life, so this report will be presented in bullet points)

  • The adventurers explored a small ruined building next to the mine's entrance. They found a staircase that led to a terrace cut into the rocky mountain-slope above the building. The edge of the terrace was lined with cyclops skulls... From the terrace, they also noticed some irregularities in the pavement of the room beneath them, and found a basement: six silver bars were their reward!
  • Next they moved into the mine. They put Buff and a Greek warrior in the first row, to form a shield wall, then Meteora and Porphyra, then Romulus, the donkey, and the rest of the warriors. And the squad carefully moved deeper. They arrived into a big chamber first, with lots of side passages.
  • The side passages were mostly dead-ends. Some bones were in one of them, and Buff theorized that this place might be used as a burial ground for the cyclops people.
  • A couple of the passages had some more branching tunnels, but eventually the party settled on exploring a tunnel that had a slight upward slant. Porphyra used her last oracular question, and this ensured them that taking that tunnel would eventually take them inside the volcano's caldera.
  • The journey was long. The tunnel felt almost infinite, going deeper and deeper into the mountain. The walls sparkled with silver veins. The adventurers lost track of time. They could only rely on their oil lamps to measure time. They were also very exhausted from tracking through the badlands the night before.
  • In one place in the passage, they were in for a nasty surprise. The veins of silver on the ceiling started moving, and then coagulated into drops, and silver rain came falling down on the party. Some were hit by the seering liquid silver.
  • After the "rain", they decided to rest, saying that as the drops had already fallen, this place was now relatively more "safe". They extinguished all their lights, and set watches.
  • During one of the watches, they heard something moving in their direction from ahead. They lit a lamp, and Buff and one Greek warrior formed a shield wall and charged ahead --- only to be met by the countercharge of a huge minotaur, made up entirely of the liquid silver!
  • A tough fight ensued in the narrow confines of the tunnel. Buff and the Warrior held their ground, and eventually Meteora managed to jump over their heads, and land behind the minotaur (she gained superhuman jumping and hopping powers back in the village of the frog people). The minotaur had regenerative powers, but was eventually defeated, and the remaining pools of liquid silver dispersed.
  • Then the party finally reached the end of this tunnel, and entered a gigantic cavern, which had a great silver lake in the middle.
  • A silver pillar rose from the middle of the lake, and everybody started hearing telepathic speech in their heads: "RISE, SLAVES! RISE AGAINST YOUR MASTERS! JOIN ME, IMPURE ONES, BECOME ONE WITH ME, AND I WILL PURIFY YOU!"
  • Attempts to circle around the lake were blocked by silver pseudo-pods. The telepathic manifesto countinued.
  • The adventurers first threw the silver bars into the lake, which seemed to please the entitty, but it continued to agitate some kind of "slaves" to rise against their masters.
  • At one point, Porphyra thought about gold, and this outraged the entity.
  • The adventurers caught on, that the entity is not really speaking to them, but to their metallic weapons and objects! They weren't keen on throwing those into the lake, so they took another way, and dumped a golden ear-ring into the pool.
  • When touched with gold, the entity got into an uncontrolled rage, and its pseudo-pods retreated, giving the party a chance to quickly run around the cavern and make it to the other side.
  • There the tunnel continued, and eventually led the party out into the lush jungle inside the caldera of the volcano! be continued......

Sunday, March 7, 2021

[Mazes & Minotaurs Actual Play] Colonists & Chimeras! Session #13

Previous installments: Session #1Session #2Session #3Session #4Session #5Session #6Session #7Session #8Session #9Session #10Session #11, Session #12

Porphyra the Lyrist
Buff the Warrior (elevated to player character status)
Romulus the semi-domesticated (at best) wolf of Porphyra

After the untimely demise of Ellipsis the Hunter (formerly the spearhead of the party and guide in the perilous wilderness), the small group of adventurers returned to the village. Ellipsis' player decided to play as Buff the Warrior.

After the burial ceremonies, they discussed their plans with the colony elder and the priestess of Hestia. The priestess was happy to learn about the existence of an oracular cave nearby, and wanted to visit right away, but this pilgrimage was postponed until the place becomes safer.

Suddenly, a man (of the the colony's fishers) came running back from the seashore. He told that a ship appeared, adorned with a horsehead. Many warriors disembarked from the vessel, took a villager hostage.

Buff and Porphyra quickly commanded the colonists to fortify themselves in the houses, then took six guards, and went down to the beach. There, indeed, they saw a big ship, and about two dozen foreign warriors.

They introduced themselves as Phoenicians, who came to visit their compatriots who founded a colony here. The adventurers explained, that those colonists had disappeared before the coming of the Greeks. Then they led a big group of Phoenicians back to the village. Luckily, Bal-Shazzar was there, who corroborated the adventurers' story, and told the other Phoenicians that the adventurers rescued him from monstrous cyclopes.

A long discussion followed. The Phoenicians still laid claim to the village, as belonging to them. Furthermore, they needed proof about their missing relatives. Buff and Porphyra explained their suspicion, that most of these missing people were now slaves of the vulture riders up north. The Phoenician captain agreed to give a couple of his men for a scouting mission.

Porphyra used her oracular powers and learned that a way to get into the volcano's caldera undetected lay through the abandoned silver mines: a tunnel entrance she spied earlier in her prophetic trance.

So the group (two adventurers, two warriors, and four Phoenicians) spent a day preparing, then set out once more into the wilderness. They managed to navigate the well-trodden path through the forest, and made it back to the river source without encounters. There they rested, and waited for the night to fall. They though their best bet was to move in the darkness, to avoid scorpion patrols and the vulture riders.

At night, they moved closer to the lumber camp (which was still very active), and staked it out from a hiding place during the day. They saw vulture riders come and go, and also a squad from the wasteland arriving there. During the next night, they tried to make their way through the wasteland, but the terrain proved to be very hard to traverse: a thin crust of hardened earth above a deep layer of volcanic dust. The dawn caught them out in the open wilderness. But a lucky break: the weather was overcast, cloudy, with bad visibility. This aided them on the last leg of their journey, and they reached the entrance of the abandoned mines.

This was just a short session, but quite eventful. To be continued!

Thursday, March 4, 2021

Set the stage like it's 1681!!! [Inspiration/Random Table]

 I won't rest until I've turned everything into a random table!

Today's offering comes from "Des Représentations en musique anciennes et modernes" by Claude-François Ménestrier (link to scan; the passages of interest begin here, pp. 171-174). Published in 1681, this is a treaties on musical and theatrical plays. It also includes a list of the various types of set decorations. Eleven individual entries, and a twelfth one for "capricci", so this makes a great d12 random table!

Useful for quick inspiration when setting a scene, or describing a painting's contents. Great for historical RPGs, but also for weird / mythological fantasy (John M. Stater's Bloody Basic: Weird Fantasy Edition springs to mind).

The Twelve Types of Scenery

  1. The Celestial; the assembly of gods, clouds, spheres, rainbows, the celestial firmament, sunrise or sunset, lightning and storms
  2. The Sacred; the temples, altars, sacrifices, sacred places, abodes of priests, augurs, vestals
  3. The Martial; the towns under siege, ramparts and walls manned with soldiers, artillery, war machines, weaponry, camps of tents, the General’s quarters, arm stores & arsenals, trophies, spoils of war, battlefields covered with corpses
  4. The Rustic; is endless, for it can represent rough landscapes, mountains, valleys, crags, camps, lonely, forlorn places, forests, grasslands, meadows, grottos, streams, groves, hills, shores, villages, hamlets, rustic festivals. According to the season, they can be covered with snow, flowers, greenery, fruits, vines
  5. The Maritime; the Sea, ships, galleys, ports & harbors, islands, reefs, storms, shipwrecks, sea monsters, naval battles
  6. The Royal; the palace, the throne, facades adorned with columns, statues and other embellishments, balconies, great halls, galleries, private chambers, cabinets, gardens, fountains, magnificent beds, stables full of prize horses, exquisite garments, treasuries
  7. The Civic; the city streets, shops of merchants, studios of painters & sculptors, workshops of artisans, markets & fairs, particular buildings, prisons, burning houses, edifices under construction, ruins
  8. The Historic; famed cities such as Rome, Athens, Constantinople, Thebes, certain locations of Greece and Thessaly, or Europe, where important events take place, such as the cave of the Sybil or the lair of Cacus
  9. The Poetic; the palace of the Sun, or the underwater abode of Thetys, the mansion of Aeolus, Keeper of Winds, the palace of Fortune and of Curiosity; the temples of Death, of Honor, of Fame. The dwellings of Homer, Virgil, Ariosto & Tasso
  10. The Magic; the enchanted isles & palaces, the Sabbath, the dreadful & forlorn abodes of Demons, Hell, Pluto’s Court, the Elysian Fields, Styx, Cocytus, Acheron, Avernus, the cavern of the Magician, where everything is dark and full of specters
  11. The Academic; the libraries, studies of scholars, the books & instruments of the mathematician, cabinet of antiquities & curiosities, school of painting
  12. Capriccio; which can infinitely diversify the appearance of the place [roll twice and mix]