VAARN ACTUAL PLAY: EPISODE 21

In the last episode, the party fought off a group of spider-women, went in search of a surgeon for Findus’ spider-egg problem, and lost Nephew in a bakery. What will happen this week?

Our cast:

  • Flim-Flam, a two-headed cacogen. Proficient cook. Fights with twin pistols. Owns a cyborg hawk named Midnight.
  • Findus, a newbeast. Horse-man with mystical powers. Inhabited by a parasitic spirit entity. 
  • Crunk, a true-kin warrior. Taciturn, impulsive. A lover and a fighter. Has a big sword.
  • Karak, a gaunt cyborg. Robed and hideous, machine supremacist.
  • Nephew (NPC), a mute and enthusiastic fungus-man. Able to fuse his flesh with dead creatures and take on their abilities.

We rejoined our heroes relaxing in a Gnomonian courtyard after a hard afternoon spent baking and ripping off a surgeon-synth, respectively. There was discussion about what to do next; the consensus was they should go looking for someone who would sell them healing items for the dungeon they were planning to tackle beneath the Water Baron’s keep. They set off for the Great Souk.

En-route, an alluring woman swathed in robes beckoned to Karak from a side-street. He followed her into a basement room, loudly asking if she knew where to find healing items. She proclaimed she had ‘the cure for all ailments’ and proceeded to strip off her robe, revealing herself not to be a comely temptress but rather three incredibly small potato-shaped mutants standing on one another’s shoulders. They threatened Karak with a laser-gun in an attempt to rob him, but the cyborg was saved by the rest of the party barging into the basement boudoir. The tiny mutants failed their Morale check when faced with a bigger threat than they had imagined and fled, vanishing through a tiny hole in the walls. The party searched the room but found nothing valuable.

In the Great Souk their search for healing items led them to the stall of a fabulously lazy sloth-man, who literally did not move a muscle except for his mouth during their entire conversation. He allowed them to purchase two ‘healing cylinders’ marked with an arcane symbol of the Long-Ago: a red cross on a white background. He also asked them repeatedly if they would pack his stall away for him and carry him to his lodgings, which they declined to do.

After a night’s rest at the Lemontree Boarding House, the party made their way to the Water Baron’s Keep, with No-Luck the engineer in tow. Within the keep, they were led to a room they’d never seen before: an inner courtyard where a large dark hole led into the depths of the Urth. A pair of newbeasts standing guard told the party that two previous engineering teams had failed to re-emerge from the depths below Gnomon. With this cheery warning ringing in their ears, the party climbed down a long rope and found themselves in the subterranean maze beneath the Baron’s keep.

The environment was dark and damp, the walls carved from some strange material that was neither metal nor stone but some mixture of both. No-Luck, who had been in these depths before, informed the party that it was necessary to reach the Diagnostics Console, so that he could work out where the problem with the water purification machinery was located. They followed his directions north, but discovered that the path was blocked because the room was flooded with stagnant water, and the heavy mechanical doors that led to the Diagnostics Console had locked to prevent further flooding. No-Luck informed them that the doors wouldn’t open unless the water in this room was drained somehow.

There was some discussion over how to proceed. Findus wanted to use his Burning Shadow Gift to evaporate the water, but was advised that there was too much water for this to be viable. No-Luck believed they could activate drainage protocols from a room that lay to their south; they elected to seek out this location. The party then headed west, and found themselves in another dark, damp room, this one filled with strange biomechanical egg-sacs that hung from the ceiling by strands of mucus. Crunk immediately slashed one open with his sword (to groans of despair from the other players), revealing a gestating centipede-like creature which he crushed with his boot. Deciding they had no wish to meet whatever animal had laid these biomechanical eggs, the party quickly headed south.

They found themselves faced with a bloody, decaying corpse wearing the livery of the Water Baron’s engineers. The party poked at the corpse with a spear, which caused a crudely made cage trap to fall from the ceiling, although it did not catch any of them. The trap’s activation caused commotion to their south; a group of extremely lanky, eyeless humanoids came rushing from a doorway to investigate. No-Luck called the creatures ‘Screech-men’, and as if on cue they began to screech deafeningly at the party, waving crude weapons in a threatening manner. At this point, with violence presumably imminent, we elected to end the session on a cliffhanger.

GM Thoughts

Back into a dungeon at long last! This was another brief session, but it was fun to switch from urban exploration back into a more structured, moment-by-moment walk-through of one location. This dungeon’s a fair bit larger than what they’ve seen previously, so I really don’t know how long we’ll be down in the depths of Gnomon for. So far they haven’t disappointed me, interacting with everything they came across and triggering an encounter.

I’m not entirely sure how I feel about No-Luck; he’s been into the depths a lot, so I worry his knowledge sucks some of the mystery out. At the same time, I didn’t see why the Water Baron would let them run around beneath his keep without anyone he trusted coming along with them. There is also the fact that the party are actually there to try and deactivate the Baron’s sabotage device, so I wanted them to have a companion NPC in the dungeon who wasn’t clued in to their actual mission. The players are already talking about killing No-Luck ‘by accident’, as they’ve taken a strong disliking to the little monkey-man, so this may not be something I have to worry about too much longer.

1 thought on “VAARN ACTUAL PLAY: EPISODE 21”

  1. […] Last time we saw them the crew had entered the dungeon underneath the Water Baron’s keep, ostensibly to find out why the water purification machine was malfunctioning and repair crews were not returning to the surface. However, they have a secret mission: to locate and disable the Water Baron’s sabotage device, and liberate Gnomon from his control! Guided by No-Luck the New-Monkey, they investigated a sealed door, broke open some strange eggs, and set off a trap that attracted the attention of some hostile subterranean shriekmen. […]

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