Friday, October 18, 2013

Bloodocalypse Mega Post

I promised a while back to post my session reports from the DCC campaign I run called Bloodocalypse. However I never got around to it! Since that time we've had a few more sessions. Before out session tonight I am resolving to get the readers caught up to where the party is as they explore the savage untamed wastelands.

Cast of Characters:

Initial Characters

Sagdar Holypaw - As a child traveled with his merchant father across the deadly wastelands, this got his father killed and eaten by barbarians but Northstar joined them. A barbarian merchant turned warrior after his experience in the arena of blood. Played by John.

Northstar Hammer - A Dwarven miner who survived a collapsed mine tunnel. He was sold into slavery by a corrupt Dwarven forman to cover the loss of expenses. Won his freedom in the arena of blood, as well as a blaster pistol. Played by John.

Proudcat Beastmane - A tovi tinkerer, once a poor pickpocket after being transported to the surface following an experiment with a strange device in the Underearth. Won his freedom in the arena of blood.

Second Session New Arrivals

Ricardo Eureka - Farmer who's string of bad luck landed him in the pits of the Arena of Blood, a sacrifice to the dark god Malsin who was rescued by the initial cast of characters, and decided to join them for revenge. Played by Kevin.

(Add once I have access to my notes) - Warrior played by Kevin.

Add once I have access to my notes) - A very lucky con artist who seems to survive by the skin of his teeth, who was lost as a young child and nearly eaten by Spider-Wolves before escaping. Missed session 3, but returned for session 4. Played by Josh.

Chakar - A barbarian warrior who was taken by force to the underpits of the arena, to be made into a sacrifice. He was released by the others, and fought to earn his place among them. Played by Josh.


Stars: Sparticus

Sesssion 1: The Arena of Blood

The various funnel characters are gathered together in the dark waiting chambers for the gladiators of the Arena of Blood. They are all there for different reasons. Some of them are slaves sold to the Arena to participate in the day of blood. Others were taken by force by the Acolytes of Malsin, the god of Murder and Blood. Still others were there by choice, hoping to earn gold and glory in the arena.

The roar of the crowd can be heard above them in the stands, causing dust to fall from the rafters of the ancient structure. The Acolytes explain that they have been chosen to participate in the highest of holy days for the God of blood. They are allowed to exchange any weapons they have, dropping them in the pile to be given another weapon on their way out to the arena. Many of the characters take the chance to get something else, though for some of them the choice ends up being worse than what they had.

I used the following table:


1
Two Daggers
6
Spear
2
Shortsword + Shield
7
Staff
3
Longsword
8
Battleaxe
4
Warhammer
9
Handaxe
5
Flail
10
Javelin
Heading out of the pits, they were paired up and sent into the bright hot light of the orange sun. The dome that usually protects Rotenstrad has been cracked severely above the Arena. At high noon it is impossible to see without going blind, but the arena games take place just after noon, which prevents blinding the crowd and the fighters. The PCs paired up with other player's PCs and were sent out to battle.

The PCs were given the choice to be anointed by the Acolytes of Blood. Those that took the blessing discovered they had a mechanical benefit later.

The High Priest of Malsin announced from his seat that this was the High Day of Blood, the most sacred holiday, and that today they would see the glory of blood and murder. As the crowd roared, more chunks of dangerous glass fell from the dome, landing in the blood soaked sand of the arena floor.

They fought in pairs against randomly generated other combatants. Some of them shaky-handed vat farmers without a clue, and others savage barbarians or murderers.

During the melee Sagdar Holypaw fumbled and his short sword went flying into the crowd - which drove the neighbor of the man hit to grab the blade and impale him repeatedly over and over while screaming in blood lust - Blood lust is a theme of the campaign.

One of the characters who didn't make it through the funnel, convinced a poor dwarven slave to turn on his partner and partner up with him. The dwarf ended up stabbing his companion in the back, only to get killed by the PC. Though he later dies to a beast in the second round.

All throughout the battle, shards of glass rain down from above. The Tovi Proudcat picks up a few handfuls to use as throwing weapons as he runs around the arena.

Once the pairs had been weened and the weak separated in blood from the strong, the Acolytes called the winners back. Their wounds were tended as the high Priest worked the crowd into another frenzy, he spoke of the Great Beasts of the betrayed Garrun (another god from the world) and how the heroes of Malsin would destroy the wicked agents of the mad god.

Now arrayed as teams, the PCs lined up as mutant beasts were released into the arena. Giant scorpions, Spider-Wolves, Ant-men, Dire Bear and a Black Tentacled Horror from the depths.

The Party faced off against the Black Tentacles Horror, some lucky blows and a critical hit dropped the thing before it was much of a threat. I made some checks and the other groups weren't doing so well. The battle was pitched, as the PCs moved to join other groups. Most of the other gladiators died gloriously for the blood of the blood god, but the PCs were much harder to kill. A few of them die to the Dire Bear, and another to the Spider-Wolves, but they kill the rest with the help of the other survivors. Now one hundred gladiators had been reduced to just a handful of the best.

Expecting their freedom, they were disappointed as the acolytes came over to tend to their wounds and enraged as the High Priest stood up to speak again.

"People of Rotenstrad! Let’s hear it for the blood spilled thus far! Malsin, the great and powerful, the master of blood, has saw fit to grant us with a special gift! These warriors tonight, will die for your entertainment!” The crowd roared with more blood lust - by this time the spectators were locked in an orgy of blood and sex. Totally losing themselves to the power of the arena.

The High Priest began chanting, and slit his wrist, mingling his blood with that of the soaked arena. A rift opened up, a bloody hole in reality, as a being stepped forth. Massive, covered in bloody spikes and chains. Armor as thick as plates and wielding a barbed spear. In place of a face, it had a mouth full of an endless series of teeth. It screamed and roared, and the crowd cheered.

Northstar notices that the Priest of Torrum, the God of Glory and the second most powerful faith in the city, tosses something into the sand near the podium. His religion fights with the Order of Malsin for control over the arena.

The Party engages the summoned demon, and quickly the thing impales one of them. Nearly killing him in one blow, and he knows the barbs will kill him. He grabs the spear tight to keep it in place. Northstar rushes over to the thing tossed in the sand and finds a wrapped up blaster pistol that was covered in rust, and was hot in his hand. As he pulled back the trigger it began to sizzle, hiss and hum. Then released a blinding hot blast that sounded like a high-pitched scream.

The blast severely wounds the demon. It turns and attempts to go for Sagdar, wielding the impaled Sagdar as a club, but misses. Northstar wins initiative and blasts again, this time the entire gun shakes as if it would fall apart or explode at any moment - it doesn't, but the blast melts right through the demon who collapses in a pile of burning meat.

The Crowd Cheers at the victory, and the high Priest looked pissed. He retreats into the depths of the arena, and the priest of Torrum speaks, granting them their freedom - though of course he has a job for them.

Session 2: Into the Sacrificial Pits of Blood

The crowd was still roaring, the blood lust was high. They were chanting for more. The Priest of Torrum takes the party into his chambers, congratulating them on a job well done. Not only did they survive the arena, but they have dealt a blow to the man responsible for their lives being offered up to Malsin. He wants them to finish the job. He tells them of the fortunes the cult of Malsin has gathered, and offers to give up a map to where he originally found the gun should they succeed in defeating him. They agree, and down they go into the sacrificial pits.

The secondary purpose of the Arena is to provide food to the city. It would be a waste to let all of that fresh meat go to waste. Beneath the arena is the butchery, and deeper still are the secret chambers recently re-purposed by the cult of Malsin. The party descends into the blood pits only to have a large stone seal the way behind them. They continue deeper and encounter a group of sacrifices chained to the walls of a room, being flayed by an acolyte.

After dispatching the torturer, they free the prisoners and help them equip themselves. Pushing further down the hall, they encounter another group of blood crazed priests, and a pitched battle results in a few deaths of the new comers, but also more equipment for the party to press on.

They soon come across another group of sacrifices and free them as well. All the while they are following the strange cracks in the floor that seep blood ever onward. Blood drips from the banked sand above their heads, through the thatching that keeps it up and down the walls. Finally, they come to a massive chamber with a pool of deep blood, ringed by acolytes. In the center on a dais sticking from the pool they see the high priest chanting.

The acolytes of blood turn to stop the characters, drawing their kris daggers. More of the newfound adventurers go down, others are wounded. The priest in the middle finishes his chanting and transforms into a bloody-demon thing himself. He leaps across the lajke of blood, just as Northstar Hammer was swimming across the lake to fight him. He lands and starts tearing up the PCs. Northstar gets to the island and pulls out his gun, firing off the last of his shots - Screeea! Screeea! and the demon is dispatched with a few final hacks from the PCs.

Buried in the pool of blood they find some gold and jewels. Among the High Priests things they find something amazing, checking on my table for random strange devices and - They discover another blaster pistol.

The PCs eventually discover the way to lift the blocks keeping them trapped inside, and return to the surface for their reward.

Session 3: The Bazaar Incomparable

The majority of this session was taken up with the PCs shopping. One of the house rules we are using, is that PCs gain XP from spending gold. Although they did not have much in the way of gold once it was split up seven different ways, they did have some things to sell and supplies to gather for their proposed trip.

The map they had acquired from the high priest of Torrum was a crude drawing showing a trek across the wasteland to a place known as the Cradle, where supposedly a large field of debris littered with ancient tech is located. A crashed sky ship from ages ago. They set out for the Bazaar Incomparable first for supplies.

Splitting up they go to several of the different shops. Some of the highlights, since this session was about three hours of shopping and one hour of adventure (I'm not complaining, all of the shopping was pretty heavy on the roleplaying. With lots of haggling over prices).

The first place they stop, Northstar ends up looking for battery cartridges for his pistols. He is told that they didn't have anything like that, but they would pay top dollar for the gun. They offer him 500gp, and he smiles and counters with 550gp. They immediately take the offer. He soon realizes he could of obtained quite a bit more for it. They buy some armor and move on.

Proudcat the Tovi finds a shop ran by another Tovi, and they end up haggling over some junk. Proudcat wants to help the owner identify the function of some of his newer stuff in exchange for a discount. Though in the bloodocalypse no one trusts anyone, and the Tovi ends up dismisssing him from his shop - not wanting to be robbed.

Ricardo stops by an herbalists shop and immediately begins insulting her wares. She kicks him out of her shop after his harsh bargaining, threatening to poison him if he comes back.

They stop by the "Not People Kitchen" but decide that the food is too expensive, and move on.

They eventually end up on Traders Bridge, buying the basic gear they will need to survive, including the goggles everyone needs if they go outside of the dome. They eventually head out the gates and out into the wastes for the first time.

They explore for a bit, heading along the poison river toward an area on their map known as the Fungal Pit. They see some shapes across the river near sunset, but decide to press further before camping. Eventually under the moon they set up camp in a hidden ridge. That night a shooting star flies right over head and crashes in the distance, making the earth tremble and shake. They decide to investigate it in the morning. Before sunrise they run into a man that is supposedly fleeing from the Fungal Pit.

He offers to sell them some information, they pass, so he volunteers that the boss of the town, a man named Otis that runs the inn, is a bastard that cheated him out of his share of something they found in the depths. He tells them to take it from Otis's dead corpse, and all he wants in exchange for the information is for them to make Otis suffer.

We end the session with them getting up from camp that morning.

Session 4: Falling Stars, Mutants and Gangland Murder

The next morning they decide to head out into the wastes in the direction of the falling star, believing that they can get their before any other scavengers. They head into the still active dust cloud and feel their skin begin to burn and tingle - soon some of them and some of their mounts are suffering from the effects of radiation, some mutations begin to appear.

The most obvious being that one of Ricardo's mules now has slime for skin and it can no longer function as a pack mule.

Pushing on they make it to the edge of the recently formed crated. The dust and smoke is so bad that they can't see more than a few feet. The PCs detect some movement and some gruff speech in the hole. They try to sneak down, but most of the party ends up slipping and rolling into the crater and drawing attention.

Fragments of metal jut from the ground here, and burning molten rock is scattered around. Bits of glowing stone are also seen here and there. Several huge hulking brutes each one different than the last - bug eyes, strange massive mouths, clawed hands. Mutants. They attempt to parlay, the mutants tell them to leave. Northstar leaps down on them with his Spider-Hound, a mount he paid a lot of coin for in Rotenstrad, and they all begin attacking the mutants. The battle doesn't go so well for Sagdar, who ends up getting his face smashed with a big radioactive rock and going down.

The dozen mutants turn out to be a challenging fight, but the "heroes" prevail here. They down the last of them and check on Sagdar Holypaw, who happens to have survived but took a bad wound, his ribs broken from the mutant that was thrown on top of his body in the fight.

They decide to head out and toward the town that on their map is marked as the Fungal Pit. From miles away they see the large column of steam rising up from the flat ground. As they get closer they see the adobe and ceramic buildings built up around a pit the steam leaks out of. Using the steam as cover from the sun, as well as collecting the moisture for drinking water.

The party is stopped by a group that rides out from the town, the leader of the band holding a laser rifle. He names himself Jed and asks their business. He asks to see their wares if they are trading, and the party decides that Jed is up to no good, and Northstar pulls his gun on the man. They have a stand off, with Northstar balking, thinking that Jed's gun can't even fire but his can. After some intimidation, the group rides off allowing the PCs to continue into town.

They make their way to the tavern owned by Otis, the man they were told about. Inside, the portly owner greets them and asks about their business. Offers them a couple different drinks, but most of them decide on water. Chakar takes some of the Cactus Gin he offers and they all settle down. Without warning, Northstar draws his pistol and blasts Otis dead, exploding his head in the middle of the bar.

Many of the patrons run and some others cheer. After some quick interrogation of the bar patrons, they discover that Otis and his brother Bertram run the town, and the gangs. That they send people down into the pit to recover the strange tech that is down there, and to pick the mushrooms for food.

Josh's thief, who's name escapes me, comes up with an idea. They know Bertram will be on his way to settle the score and they just need some time. He forges a document claiming that they were sent by Rotenstrad's Faceless Council to take over the bar and ensure that trade was secured. He knows it wont stop Bertram, but might make him think before blowing him away. Sagdar heads out back with some Tovi Party Bombs (Molotov Cocktails) and up onto a building to cut off any reinforcements. The rest wait inside for Bertram.

They don't have to wait long. Bertram and Jed, along with five others make their way up the streets. Bertram in a set of old, rusty and barely working power armor, but a chaingun on his arm that he seems not afraid to use. Jed has the ammo for his gun now, and they are ready for business.

There is a stand off, where Bertram demands the man who shot his brother. Josh's thief bluffs his way through it all, promising to hand the man over - he doesn't want involved in this, things just got out of hand too quickly. Eventually he manages to convince Bertram to come inside. Once in, Proudcat sneaks up and throws a Tovi Party Bomb under the feet of Bertram, and quickly grabs some hydrolic cables from the back of the power armor and sends Bertram to his knees, his legs crushed by the non-operation of the hydrolic servos.

This of course causes him to scream in pain, and begins firing his chaingun, sweeping across the bar and killing people. Trying to shoot Northstar - the damn Dwarf who killed his brother, and the Tovi who broke his legs.

The fight continues all around them, with Chakar drinking. Northstar takes out Jed with a blaster shot to the face. Sagdar takes out the encroaching reinforcements from the back with a couple of well placed firebombs, melting them in their tracks. Even with Bertram disabled and unable to move, his armor makes him neigh indestructible. Angered he pulls a grenade from his belt and tosses it at Northstar, blowing the dwarf into almost-goo, killing most of the men in the bar and wounding nearly everyone else.

Proudcat pops up from behind the bar and rushes over with some healing goo that they found in Otis' office earlier. He heals up Northstar who rises, winning initiative and shoots Bertram in the face, blowing his head off.

Spent and nearly dead, the PCs collect themselves and look upon the devastation they had caused.

Final Thoughts

I like the direction this campaign is going. Although it seems to be more science than originally intended, everyone seems to be having a blast and that's what matters. The PCs are embracing the chaotic nature of the setting and letting themselves cut lose. The last session really showed me that they can be chaotic when they choose to. I also have to give Josh props for using Forgery as a neutral thief, I haven't seen anyone else try and use it.

As a gory Science-Fantasy Hex Crawl, the campaign is thus far a success.
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