Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Strigastadt Play Report III

Another old session summary:

Last session was the party's initial foray across the river to the abandoned / quarantined Grey District, looking for loot. The party had just pulled off a heist on an arms warehouse of the Hargrave Guards, and wanted to make themselves scarce while patrols led by Sigga the Wolf scoured the borough for the culprits. Most the evening was spent cautiously exploring their selected landing spot, well away from the vaguely threatening group they had sold their ill-gotten arms to a couple days prior. After passing over the building overflowing with fungal blooms (party: 'Nope nope!') they entered a large dockside building with ratholes gnawed through the doors.



Predictably, the party immediately had to deal with a flood of rats. After the initial wave retreated, however, a small swarm of white mice entered the hallway ahead, running in concentric counter-rotating rings that began to mesmerize the onlookers. Fortunately Cecilly the Arsonist's immediate reaction to mice running in circles was to set them on fire, so before they were fully ensnared a bottle of oil saved the day. The singed survivors of the blaze retreated into the darkness and the party was thereafter constantly shadowed by gleaming eyes watching their every move. They cautiously proceeded...

Inside the group discovered a locked stairwell with a huge wasp nest inside (party: 'Nope nope!'), smashed terrariums with the empty gnawed shells of what was said to be subjects of vivimancy, a locked room with opium pipes and luminescent mushrooms growing within a rotten dresser (later discovered to be an alchemical ingredient), and a room where Barbarus nearly lost his fingers to a serrated disk trap. After being bandaged up to stop the bleeding Barbarus got good and soused to numb the pain (and restore lost Grit). They decided to retreat when they noticed the rats all withdrawing to the same room, from which drums began to sound. End of session: "We're gonna buy oil and a sack of cats, then come for the Rat King"

Monday, September 26, 2016

Strigastadt Play Report II

Continuing with my posting of month-old summaries to get the blog caught up:

Session recap:
Last session the group put on their strategist hats and drew up a plan of attack for a job Barbarus (Jackson) received from his contact with the Righteous Banner. Mork had requested he burn down a warehouse full of armaments owned by Lady Hargrave's guards, a callous but skilled group stationed on the upscale Glass Street. The Righteous Banner fears that, should the political situation turn violent, the ruthless Hargraves would be a serious existential threat to their people. Several plans of attack were drawn up, including convincing a waiter of an upscale tower-restaurant overlooking the building to conceal them after closing so they could descend unseen, but the party was split over the arson aspect of the plan since the warehouse was on the ground floor of a partially residential building, and a midnight burning would likely entail the deaths of bystanders. Barbarus argued they were rich folks anyhow, and therefore class enemies, but that failed to sway the other members of the party. Instead an alternate plan was drawn up to infiltrate from the warren of tunnels beneath the warehouse, steal the armaments, and use their contacts with the Blackbirds to smuggle them across the river for sale to their buyer in the Grey District. The Blackbirds have agreed to the plan on the condition no-one will know the party is working with the gang, since the Hargrave guards are widely feared for their ruthless suppression of criminals. In order to scout the layout of the warehouse, Chuck Chuckleston (JT) managed to win his way into a fresh batch of recruits via a violent try-out.

Meanwhile Zamara (Maybe??? Heather's character) glorified her deity by brawling in the fighting pits of Zig. She won the first couple rounds but when the tides changed she tried to press her luck, eager to win glory and egged on by the alleged pit veteran Chuck Chuckleston. She earned a broken arm for her troubles, and is now on the mend. Sling and all though she still helped win over adherents to their heist plan with her force of personality.

Delaying their plan a bit until everyone was in place, they decided to try and take on the rampaging shaggamaw (figuring the Blind Vipers were probably too much for them, even reduced as they were), putting together a trap and ambush in an alleyway near where it had been seen. The fisherman used rope to suspend a bundle of cobblestones and a barrel of rainwater above the alley, and tied up a net to prevent the beast's escape. The party lay in wait along the rooftop, with several folks down in the alley with some bloody rags to attract its attention. It unexpectedly came up through a different sewer grate, and the party hastily took down the net that was now preventing their own escape. Fortunately when it got to them the trap worked flawlessly, disorienting the beast and wounding it. It still managed to scoop Chuck Chuckleston into its mouth and was moments from biting off a leg when it was brought down by the sudden onrush of cudgel and sword wielding ambushers. The jerks from Lord Brinston's watch rewarded them for their effort surprisingly, and have hung the body from in front of their guard station to awe the populace.

Sunday, September 25, 2016

Strigastadt Play Report

This is like two months old at this point, but I'm gonna post up some older summaries I'd sent out to the group to get the blog caught up, and then start posting weekly summaries thereafter.

Background info: The group has now been back in Strigastadt for ten or so sessions, running a homebrew rule system I made based on WHFRP 1e and B/X, with other bits thrown in (variable spellcasting, advantage/disadvantage, etc). It's worked surprisingly well so far, with a few tweaks. They started out this foray to Strigastadt in a funnel, impressed into service in the sewer militia (a handy way to run a funnel in a city, sewer militia stolen from Heretic Werks). Each started with a secret objective, like half of which ended up unused but dangling hooks for later. With surprisingly few casualties they managed to escape.

Session recap 0.5:
In a shocking turn of events not a single person died! There was an encounter with what is now known as "grease dogs" which developed into a standoff situation, a surprisingly successful battle with luminescent beaked jellies, and an unfortunate discovery that another entrance to the depths had been breached and unseen (but apparently super sweaty) parties let through. While hunting for what they suspected was a party of deep dwarves, they ran into a large band of giggling feverlings who were initially scared off but continued to shadow the party's movements. They massed to attack when the party reached a dead-end shut by a bronze door with complicated mechanisms. Just before they swarmed, the locksmith figured it out and the party slipped through, finding a stairway up to a cellar with doors open to the night. Since they had heard noises indicating the infiltrators were not far ahead, they set off at a run to catch up. Things took a duplicitous turn when the lead party member mis-reported which alley they saw the escapees run down, and the hunted managed to escape into the night. A local group of watchmen was alerted and successfully convinced some awful monsters had escaped from the tunnels below, and a manhunt was begun. One unfortunate deep dwarf was caught out in an alley after collapsing exhausted from flight, and put to the question. In an antiquated dialect he claimed tens of thousands of deep dwarves were massing for an invasion and would attack should he not be released. He also mentioned something about enormous machines made to drive the populace insane. The party returned to their post below, and *someone* left the bronze door to the surface open as they passed...

A Deep Dwarf - illustration by the amazing Gary Chalk

Session recap 1:
Last session the party was released from the sewer militia after the corrupt judge was brought to justice, and returned to the streets above to seek out opportunities. Barbarus the linkboy [Jackson] got in deeper with the revolutionary Righteous Banner political party, offering to aid the cause in whatever way he could. Jafar the apprentice sorcerer [Mason] attempted to assassinate Barbarus' new political boss since he's more aligned with the traditional Strigastadt witch-nobility, but ultimately failed in the attempt (though he perhaps implicated the Blackbirds in the attempt). Garrett the smuggler [Alex] hit up his contact with the Blackbirds, a small gang that specializes in smuggling, who entreated them for aid in an upcoming rumble with the Blind Vipers.

A Blackbird
The Vipers, who each have pale blind snakes coiled around their necks and many rings on their fingers, had at least twice as many folks as the Blackbirds, so Garrett's contact Heleida was desperate for additional muscle. Garrett and Barbarus both offered to help, but Leonora the tobacconist [Bart] and Gin the fancy apprentice diabolist [Cambria] decided a better course of action would be to wait and break into the Viper's headquarters while they were distracted at the rumble. Through rumors the Blind Vipers had been connected to assassinations targeting the Righteous Banner, so Jafar decided he would side with them...

When the time came for the rumble on the bridge, Garrett and Barbarus bravely held the front line against the cudgels and blades of the Blind Vipers, but a party unknown assassinated their ally Heleida with yellowish bolts of corrosive energy from a darkened perch above. Leonora and Gin called off their plan when it became evident there were a few Blind Vipers left guarding their hideout, along with the rumor there may be a resident sorceress, instead winding up drinking at a tower bar overlooking the torchlit bridge throwdown, two of many curious faces watching from the buildings on either side. A bloody affair, Garrett proved his worth by repeatedly knocking opponents off the bridge to their deaths on the cobblestones below, until one Blind Viper managed to wrestle him off instead. The tides turned when the surprisingly staunch Blackbirds managed to down a full half of the Blind Vipers, including the lieutenant Billi, causing those remaining to retreat. Barbarus ended the fight winded and bruised, but luckily without any serious injury. While licking their wounds screams were heard in the streets below the bridge, and a cautious Leonora heard guttural noises and crunching from where the bodies had fallen... It seems the rumors of a marauding shaggamaw were not unfounded. Unfortunately, this meant recovering Garrett's body was an unwise proposition... Meanwhile things were escalating with the regrouped Blackbirds, where furious voices were raised against the drunken absentee leader, who hid from cowardice when the fight began. A coup against his authority may be staged at this rate.

Monday, September 12, 2016

A Graveyard Overflowing

One of the traditions I love best at our table is the graveyard - a place where notable PCs wind up when they die. Instead of fading into obscurity, we have a reminder of their awesomeness sitting next to the play table. They're fun to make and take a lot of the sting out of character deaths. Here's our graveyard, now full after almost a year and a half of play over several settings - it starts with Strigastadt, moves to the Forgotten Shore, goes to the Lost Pyramid, and finally returns to Strigastadt. With Chuck Chuckleston's death to a brutal combination of fungal hounds, grease dogs, and giant wasps recently, it looks like we need another expansion...

Open in new tab if you want it legible

Saturday, September 3, 2016

Mapping Strigastadt



Last time I ran Strigastadt I had a bit of trouble communicating vertical relationships of buildings to each-other - 99% of movement was done via streets since that's what was obvious on the 2D marker map. This time around I got some slate & travertine tiles which're working really well for me so far. Since there's only 3 shapes of tiles (plus the small towers), they're quick to grab and plop down as the party explores. Slate & travertine are also dark and light enough for colored chalks to show up on them, so we can mark up the map as we go. Plus it's much more fun to plan out a borough by physically placing tiles.

Material details if you're curious: