Friday, September 14, 2012

HMS Apollyon Session VII - Brief Interviews with Hideous (dead) Men.

Last night was a heck of a session - Negotiation, discovery and some wild monster battles that went from deadly (at least I thought they would be) to benign thanks to player improvisation.  Having a 3rd level Cleric along sure helps with undead - though the Apollyon's dead are hard to turn (Not impossible it's just that they're wicked tough).

Another interesting Element was trying to adjudicate Elsjinn's abilities - as her character sheet was written as some beastly combination of 3rd and 4th edition that gives her wild power.  One new rule is that if playing a martial artist or pugilist if you give me a properly kung-fu movie name for your attack move you get a +1 Damage bonus.
Covetous eyes were cast at the fancy pistol of the Shame Revenant

The Desperate and Foolhardy Adventurers 

Quartle(Th/MU2) , Frogling water elementalist and former junkyard owner, with his familiar the Steam Beaver.

Vorning Vess (E1), Former member of the passenger class, exiled for necromancy.

Thalia (C2) - Death Priestess, now a 2' tall hobgoblin .

Sir the Fist of Uther (F3/MU3/C4) - A manthing of many talents.

Elsjinn (Monk 3) - Tiny marital artist and diplomat.

Bumphrey the Moleman (DW 1) - A sensitive bug wrangling Moleman from a whimsical apocalyptic future.

HENCHMEN: Pincip, Pikeman of Argos (Lvl 1 Fighter)

Their Monstrous Victims

The Rust Weird - 650 XP

1 x War Haint - 195 XP

10 x Skeletal Stewards - 290XP

1 x Reverent of Shame (defeated but escaped partial XP) -660 XP

Subtotal:1,795 XP

The Glorious Cargo Salvaged

Collection of Opera Records - Sells immediately to collector from uptown - 600 GP

10 x Stewards Silver Badges - Worth 20 GP Each - 200GP

Threadbare Fancy Rug - 100 GP

Outdated Penal Code - 15GP for the Set (sold as "Books by the foot")

Subtotal: 915 GP/XP

Mysterious Objects Recovered

Fingerprinting Technique Book - 10 GP, may make fingerprinting kit for 25 GP but will need to keep book if you feel like being Encyclopedia Brown.

Mess of Ghost Salt - When that War Haint went down you scrapped up the goo that was left.  Most of it melted away as ectoplasmic remains send to leaving the smell of sea ice and rotten meat.  What remains is grey salt, it's a bit magical and Magic Man offers 50 GP for it.  It might have other uses - he says it "needs refinement", but won't tell you more unless he's paid.

Fragment of Lesser Earth Elemental (The Rust Weird) -   a handful of rusted iron scrap full of a modicum of elemental power.  You're not sure what they'd be good for but Skeetum the Steam Beaver (himself a water elemental) seems darn interested.  In addition It's about a pound of magic iron. Magicman offers 150GP for it, says it "has uses".

Bag of Bones -The bones of various Stewards, shattered and smashed by slingstones and hurled office furniture.  Putting them to rest is still a good idea.  Vess discovers (with some trouble) that they were hunkered down in the rear of the substation, looting and having abandoned the refugees when the Stewards beyond the buried vault on "the square" apparently triggered the detonation of the roof early.  They presume the blast imploded their lungs and killed them.  They still aren't sure why there was a premature detonation.  Further investigation indicates that they mutinied and killed their sergeant after the captain killed himself.  One remembers hearing something come in on the communications telegraph prior to the Captain's suicide. 50 XP for secret finding and putting these dastards to rest.

Merrow Men's Package -  Once the skin wrapping is removed from the package, it is again a letter, this time formed of raised bumps on a sheet of translucent bone, and oddly beautiful.  The letter reads:

"Madam and Associates,

Your offer is generous, and while the People of the Bone Eye will never be slaves, we cannot stand in the way of your advance.  Some of us would welcome the opportunity to join you, especially the craftsmen and farmers.  If you pledge yourselves to my people's comfort and safety, my people will pledge themselves to your benefit. As you suggest, some among your tribe would rather have war, and deceptions are advisable.  By subterfuge I believe the Bone-eye you most seek, and the ones most in need of shelter can be brought within your walls until the flesh-eaters are eliminated. Two score youth, crafters and farmers will await your porters in the spot this letter was found.

- Speaker Red Water Flowing over Brittle Bones"

What's that all mean - what game is Bibi playing? 150 XP

Subtotal: 200XP


Found a way beyond the sealed Port side section hatch, opened way to Port Supply Depot. - 300 XP

Mapped and explored remainder of the Substation 1st floor and made a good start on the upper floor - 300 XP

Finally climbed the darn stairs, treated with the Buck Nakeds, discovered they have no knowledge of the Sons of Vanderdecken's whereabouts - 100 XP

Discovered the apparent lair of Kar' vatch the Indomitable - unknown entity - 100 XP

Conversation with the Steward Captain - You almost had him coming with you, and you did make a Revenant of Shame cry - 100 XP

Mapping XP - For the map of the Substation - 100 GP/XP for Each Mapper (200 for cartographers) for fining a way past the North hatch and finding the tunnels that lead beyond the buried're opening things up.


TOTAL: 3810 XP/915 GP

Per Surviving Party Member - 592 XP (Plus any mapping XP)/ 153 GP each
Per Henchman - 296 XP

The Competitors

The Exalted Gear Brothers of the Ship Spirits - 10 Effectives, Led by Brazen Gear (CL 2), Tried to oust the Buck Nakeds - forced way up stairs to 3rd level, Skulltaker apparently lives up to his name, but maybe should also be referred to as "Crude Explosives Filled with Ball Bearings Detonator".  Lost four men, the rest are injured.

Mysterious Criminal Strangers - No known leader, obvious Vory mafia toughs - Activities unknown, seem well heeled and nursing some cuts and bruises.  Leader is sporting new 1/2 suit of jet black armor that looks like plate, but appears flexible and fairly light. Overhead joking about "The worlds biggest damn, ugliest damn caterpillar."
The Grieg and Skulltaker Show
Deciding to find the Head of MR. Templeman - the leader of the Sons of Vanderdecken, missing and believed dead because the Merrowmen have offered a magic item in exchange for it.  The Adventurers (sometimes known as the iron crow, after their favorite tool and weapon) set out with a load of food and a case of arrack to try to buy the head off the Buck Nakeds, worried that the mysterious nudists (and alleged cannibals) have already eaten any remnants of Mr. Templeton.

The mushroom far is almost cheerful, now that two generators are working in the axillary power station, and the party arrives at the foot of the Southern stairs (where they have been instructed to leave tribute to the Buck Nakeds) without incident.  Quartle climbs the stairs and discovers that there is a landing about one story up before the stair climb higher to another story.  There are doors to the East and West of the landing and the party notices a great deal of graffiti on the Eastern door, crude obscene graffiti, in the signature red paste used by the Buck Nakeds.  The western door is free of graffiti, but has a single magical sigil engraved and inlaid in silver.  The party magicans recognize it with some effort as a name "Kar'Vatch the Indomitable."

Deciding to leave this Kar'Vatch alone for a bit, and wondering why the Buck Nakeds (not the most cautious folk) do, the party hollers up the stairs and is answered by a dunderhead buffoon named Grieg.  Grieg can't help but takes the gift left by the adventurers - he says he'll fetch his boss.  Several wandering monster checks later a man with a booming voice calls down and the party meets "Skulltaker" a large naked fellow wearing a skull helmet and carrying a big two handed cleaver sword.  Skull is happy to talk, invites the adventurers up if they'll leave their weapons and if fairly affable.  He tells the party he doesn't know anything about the Sons of Vanderdecken, and if they went up the North stairs he certainly wouldn't do that, and isn't suprised they disappeared.  He also reveals that Ka'Vatch is a truculent lady and not to be messed with.  Otherwise it's kind of a waste of 30 GP in booze and food.

Things get Dicey 

Feeling disappointed that they failed to garner more information the adventurers return to the Stewards' substation in the buried vault.  None of the previously explored rooms show signs of entry, but a note wrapped in living skin and obviously from the Merrow Men is resting on a seat in the station foyer.  Putting the package away the party travels Port and finds a t junction with a dogged hatch on the fore branch.  The adventures explore two small side rooms before proceeding and discover nothing in the small offices except a photo of a woman and child with the message "With Love, Jane" written on the back in faded ink.  Bumphrey, being a sentimental creature from a land that still believes in love, is saddened and sheds a stoic mole tear.

Beyond the dogged hatch is a narrow hall with labelled doors and a wheel operated hatch in the to the Starboard direction.  Quartle inspects the hatch and discovers it has something on the other side straining it.  After playing with it slightly the adventurers decide not to open it, and become doubly sure once they notice tha tby thier maps it would lead into the buried portion of the buried vault.

Heading Port and Aft the adventurers discover they are on the opposite side of a giant hatch they once believed they needed to blast open with a cannon.  The walls in the area appear pitted and rusted, as if with acid, but the levers beside the hatch open it with easy. Moving further port, the band enters a room with tracks emerging from large double doors to the Aft and three boxes on the near wall.  Sir tears into the first box with gusto and is rewarded when some sort of metal snake like creature punches a steel spike into his shoulder, through his magical plate armor, and the strikes him in the head as it flows over the side of the box.  Quartle in a fit of accuracy puts two bullets into the thing, now revealed to be a swirling vaguely serpantine cloud of floating scrap iron.  A few more blows and the creature collapses into shards, but Quartle can sense elemental strength gathering and the monster is pulled back together.  Again the snake is ready for battle but seems confused about where to strike.  Taking advantage of it's confusion Bumphrey grabs the wooden crate and manages to capture a good number of the elemental's chunks pinning them to the wall, where they flutter briefly and then deanimate.  The rest of the party again scatters the elemental's parts only to have it return a few rounds later.   Exhausting Vess's magic missile scroll and more shots the weird is dissipated again.   Looking beyond the doors Vess discovers a cavernous room, with an ominous pile of metal scrap in the center and the party decides to avoid a larger weird they believe is in the pile.  Quartle is intent on retreating with the fragments of the elemental, but as he kicks the crate down the hall they fly fry and the reformed creature charges.  Using machine oil holy to the ship spirits and the final charges from a mysterious laser wand owned by Sir, the party manages to destroy the strange elemental creature, and returns to open the other crates.  They find a mass of ancient, dried and rotted vegetables as well a case containing a large set of phonographic records.  

Deciding to investigate the rest of the Substation the party encounters a strange ecotplasmic figure that looks like Quartle's "Grandfather" (though froglings don't really have known parents and are adopted into pool castes).  The entity beckons to Quartle and his soul is filled with longing, but he manages to break free of the spell. Fist swings at the creature and misses, but it fails to strike him or Quartle. Vess is able to push the creature back with his protection from evil spell, and with a flury of blows kills the creature.

Back in the substation the party meets Elisjinn the gnome and Thalia returns to the gates. 

The Sorrowful Revenant 

The band starts to search the rest of the police station, heading up the hall into what was once a  workroom, full of desks and file cabinets.  It is also full of skeletons, at least seven are spotted, and Sir turns them after a good deal of Necromantic energy is detected.  The visible skeletons collapse and the bones slither into the back of the room as far from Uther's power as possible. Thinking the room safe when Vess enters one of the dead grabs his leg from under a desk.Elsijinn leaps forward shouting "elephant stomp" and lands on the arm bones of the reaching skeleton.  a shockwave of mystical energy courses up the shattered arm and the monster collapses with a rattle, destroyed.  Yet another Skeleton has emerged and leaps out onto Bumphrey's face, biting him but unable to pierce his armor effectively.  Quartle's sword soon puts an end to the creature and a perfect chop sends its head skittering off into the darkness.

The rest of the skeletons are destroyed with slingstones and thrown office chairs while they cower in the back of the room.  Vess can hear their strange undead cries as they babble vaguely law enforcement terms, a vague echo of thier former selves.  A search of the room reveals ten silver Steward's badges, and nothing else of value.

Heading upstairs the party discovers a door marked "Captain" and enters, finding a secretaries office with awards and pictures from a time long gone on the walls.  While searching a file cabinet fist sets off a spring gun trap, but avoids getting a pistol shot to the face by scant inches.  why someone would set a deadly trap in an abandoned filing cabinet is unclear and possibly a sign of insanity. There is nothing of value in the room and the adventures proceed into a lounge area where a threadbare but expensive rug rests with decaying chairs and a bookcase atop it.  The bookcase contains an ancient copy of the penal code and a book on fingerprinting technique.  Quartle rolls up the rug.  Moving through another door the party finds the Steward captain's office and the Steward captain... 

Having previously discovered the captain committed suicide the party finds his mummified revenant shuffling papers at his desk still wearing a uniform and carrying a fancy saber and rune engraved gold etched pistol.  Trying to speak to the revenant and encourage him to his final rest the party fails to convince the ancient thing to leave his post, but Vess's criticism of the Captain's handling of the refugees sends the monster into a recital of his shame at causing their deaths and the creature places its head in its hands as if to weep.

Seeing that they cannot convince the creature to depart or dissipate the party attacks and fist manages to turn the powerful undead.   The revenant retreats to a secret door and begins to escape through it peppered with silver bullets and holy water.  As it backs into a room beyond the revenant lets out an unearthly shriek and fills to adventurers with unholy terror.  Bumphrey and Vess run, dropping their weapons while the revenant has time to close the door behind himself.  Quartle tries to pursue, but finds that the creature is barricading the door with its unnatural strength.  Feeling good about thier explorations, the adventurers seek out Bumphrey and Vess who are shaken but have stopped running outside the substation.   The adventurers make the decision to return to Sterntown with their loot as though it is not especially great, the rug and record case are bulky.


  1. Gus, do you have an updated map post Session VII that you can reveal?

    1. Somewhere I'm sure, but it's likely drawn partially on bar napkins. That area isn't part of the game anymore, having been absorbed into Sterntown. This has the map prior:

    2. Yeah, that's the map I'm trying to "complete". I'm curious as to what the areas above the north and south sections look like (I assume this is the "animated furniture" area and "Buck Naked" lair as mentioned in the session reports), as well as the other unmapped areas...

      Also, what happened to session VIII? Does it exist, or are the sessions after VII simply numbered incorrectly?

      And lastly, how does the map of "lower Sterntown" jive with the HMS Apollyon Level 5 map (where the two sections of lower Sterntown are shown as one level?)

      P.S. maybe you should just publish this already! lol

    3. Well if I remember correctly the areas above the center hall before the Buried Vault were a large cathedral/former rec/ dining hall that was the Buck Naked (Cult of the Ravenous) ritual area. The rooms around it (above the mushroom farm had a 1/2 level containing an elderly passenger class witch and her diabolic thrall - She moved out later. The other side, above the power plant was ruined offices torn up totally and with some animated furniture and a mummified poltergeist bureaucrat in a chair running the show.

      I don't think those maps are around anymore. They were never well drawn.

      As to the sessions after the demise of Ghost Cop. The cannon was recovered, the party went off and started messing around in the Grottoes on the deck below, and doing jobs for Malchris the Rail Devil, including tangling with the forces Queen Moab of the Ash Plague and The Cult of the Ravenous Leadership (though that went poorly). At some point they pushed fore through the old Merrowman caves and broke a seal that was keeping the dead out of the buried vault in mass.

      No one has yet been past the Fore edge of Buried Vault, though there is a "Village of the damned in the next vault.

      Sterntown maps are inaccurate at this point, to a degree - but the Buried Vault Area is to the fore of the Rust Gate.

  2. Hey Gus, thanks for the insights! If you ever get around to finalizing the Sterntown map you should definitely post it.

    I forgot to ask how the Fetid Pit meshed with the dual-level lower Sterntown map, but it makes sense if the map isn't accurate. The Pit clearly fits into the Deck 5 map assuming I'm reading it right.

    The village of the damned thing sounds all kinds of creepy, and makes me want to run a campaign like this even more.

    Thanks again for posting this stuff...