VAARN ACTUAL PLAY: EPISODE 9

Last episode the party indulged in a barroom brawl, made a new fungal friend, and ventured into the dank depths of Gnomos in search of the Magician, a shadowy underworld figure who runs a ring of child pickpockets. What awaits them in the dark places of Vaarn this week? 

Our cast: 

  • Flim-Flam, a two-headed cacogen Adept. Proficient cook, fights with twin pistols. Owns a cyborg hawk named Midnight, who has been dispatched on a scouting mission.
  • Findus, a newbeast Mystic. Horse-man with mystical eye-lasers, a quicksilver spear, and a parasitic spirit entity. 
  • Crunk, a true-kin Warrior. Taciturn, impulsive. A lover and a fighter. 
  • Nephew (NPC), a mute and enthusiastic fungus-man. Able to fuse his flesh with dead creatures and take on their abilities.

We rejoined the players after a two-week break, finding them in combat with a pack of grey locust-like creatures that had dropped from the ceiling of the sewer chamber. The creatures spat a horrible sticky bile at the party, forcing CON checks against vomiting and disorientation. They dispatched the creatures without much difficulty, although Crunk was caught with an unlucky critical hit (the first time a monster has rolled a natural 20 during this campaign) and reduced to very low HP. 

With the locusts disposed of, Nephew fused his left hand with the head of one of the insects, giving him the ability to spray the same noxious bile. The party then debated which path to take, eventually deciding they favoured the direction the rank water was flowing. This led them to a chamber with a collapsed floor, filled with much deeper water. A rickety wood and rope bridge spanned this pit, leading to a doorway on the far side. Crunk boldly stepped onto the bridge to test its stability, but when he was halfway across, a child-sized figure in a grey robe darted through the doorway at the far end of the room and pulled a lever, tipping the bridge sideways and throwing Crunk into the watery pit. Making matters worse, he wasn’t alone: a pair of loathsome leech-like monsters surfaced and began to circle him, clearly keen to devour the true-kin warrior. 

The party acted quickly, severing the ropes that attached the bridge to their side of the pit, intending to use it as a swinging rope-ladder up to the far doorway. This worked, and Findus was soon positioned above the watery pit, in the doorway the grey-robed figure had vanished through. With support from Findus and Flim-Flam, Crunk defeated the two worm monsters and the party was able to climb up the rope-ladder and set off in pursuit of the grey-robed figure. 

The next challenge the party discovered was a room whose walls were coated with vicious spikes and shards of broken glass. The grey-robed child sprayed the floor with some kind of clear gel and fled. Experimentation proved that the gel had frictionless properties, turning the spike-laced room into a slippery deathtrap. Flim-Flam eased themselves into the room, attempting to cram their dagger into the cracks between the slippery flagstones and gain purchase on the floor that way. This worked fairly well, and the rest of the party decided to slide in and grab onto Flim-Flam, creating a human chain that would hopefully allow them to reach the opposite doorway. They accomplished this, with only minor injuries to Findus from collision with the spikes. At this point however the grey robed child returned and began shooting darts at the party while they were stranded in the middle of the slippery floor. 

Findus responded to this by shooting the child through both knees with his rifle, crippling them and dropping them to the ground. The party worked together to slide themselves over to the doorway where the body lay, and took down the figure’s hood to reveal a strange sight. 

The child’s face was made of two different faces, bisected down the middle and then sealed together into a new entity. The left half of the being’s face was a boy with blonde hair, and the right half was a girl with black hair. The party questioned the bisected child as to where the Magician could be found, and through squeals of pain the being told them the Magician was in the workshop. Nephew hoisted up the wounded child on his back, and it directed them into another room, a smoky kitchen/dormitory inhabited by more child pickpockets, although none of the others were bisected in the same fashion. The party quickly searched for anything useful, eventually discovering the tube of frictionless gel that the orphans had used to coat the spike trap floor. So equipped, they headed into the workshop to confront the Magician. 

The PCs found themselves in a large stone room with a pit filled with noxious chemicals in the middle. These chemicals seemed to be powering a variety of esoteric machinery, all of which connected with two hanging cages, in which were imprisoned Gorsk, Nashir’s barge boy, and Benjy, the former protege of the Magician, both of whom had gone missing last session. Standing with her back to the party was a grey-haired woman dressed in silk robes, which were decorated with hypergeometric sigils. There was an attempt to engage this figure – clearly the Magician – in conversation while Crunk crept up on her, but after a brief back-and-forth she pulled a lever attached to the machinery, sending bolts of energy arcing into the cages containing the two boys. The Magician then split in half, revealing herself to be two bisected halves of a woman that could act independently from one another – clearly the product of strange hypergeometric experimentation. The left-hand half of the Magician’s body vanished from sight, and battle commenced. 

The party found themselves fighting to free the two boys from their cages, while the Magician’s right-hand body half attacked them with psychic powers. Crunk took some heavy damage, causing permanent bloody injury to his teeth, and Flim-Flam grappled with the left-hand half of the Magician’s body, which had become invisible. Using Findus’ eye-lasers and Film-Flam’s pistols, they managed to free Gorsk and Benjy before the Magician’s machine did whatever it was built to do. They managed to kill the right-hand half of the Magician’s body, but as they were helping Gorsk from the wreckage of his cage, the Magician’s right hand side stood up again, ready to continue the fight. We had to end the session on this cliff-hanger, with the party feverishly speculating on what had allowed the Magician to cheat death.  

The Magician?

GM THOUGHTS- Quite an action-heavy episode, with three fights in quick succession. The frictionless floor trap was probably my favourite part of this week’s game, as it’s a simple but devilishly tricky situation. The party rolled really well this week, and were able to clear most of the traps without too much difficulty. The exception to this is Crunk’s NPC sidekick Nephew, who hilariously blew every roll he made in combat all night. He seems like he’s there for moral support rather than muscle at this point. 

The first phase of the Magician fight went about how I expected it would; they haven’t worked out the secret to stop her resurrecting yet, but it probably won’t be too hard to figure out now they know her deal. This is the first hostile psychic they’ve fought, and she dishes out some pretty nasty damage. They’ve freed her hostages, but can they escape with their lives? Find out next time…

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