Thursday, October 11, 2018


This is the fourth (and probably penultimate) session of the SHIELDBREAKER campaign, although it's seeming increasingly likely that we're going to keep going after SHIELDBREAKER resolves. Below are the Play Reports for the previous sessions, as well as the NPC cards for reference:

Click here for the Session 1 Play Report!
Click here for the Session 2 Play Report!
Click here for the Session 3 Play Report!
Click here for the NPC Character Cards!

Additionally, I used this GLOG table of Minor Magic Items to give the party some extra toys to play with :).

I feel like these play reports end up being "this happened, then this happened, then this", and hopefully that's still interesting in itself, but this session was so much crazy fun and I know this post doesn't sufficiently capture the events as we experienced them.

Jim Casper: Tartarian-Mutant Specialist. Working in a storehouse in the Tartarian kingdom, he learned about a mysterious martial cult, and has since been attempting to learn more about it. Has a mutation, a slit on his body which must be fed ancient artifacts.
    -- Player: Z_bill

Razlow: Kobold Garlic Knight (Fighter). In the early stages of transforming into a Garlic Berserker. Was a soldier in the Dogu kingdom but deserted when he discovered he was turning into a garlic berserker.
    -- Player: Murdoc

Kail: Mimic Knight (Fighter). A bland-looking mutant with greyish skin and coal-black eyes, giving him a stone-like appearance. Seeking something to make him special, he chanced upon a mimic, and was able to arrange a symbiotic relationship. The mimic armor slithers over him, occasionally altering its appearance to various effect. With his armor, Kail now seeks adventure, and has joined the Pearl Panthers to get it.
    -- Player: David Horowitz

Ortega: Mutant Apoptomancer. The fools back at the academy turned a blind eye to the limitless potential of the immune system... but who's laughing now?? He got kicked out of the academy for a very, very uncontrolled experiment and is now on the run. 
    -- Player: Saker Tarsos

Xx_Slayer_Queen_69 (Slayer): Mutant Phreaker and thrillseeker. Goth cyberpunk hacker-type with a scarlet mohawk and a black jacket covered in spikes and red eyes to boot. She has an automagic PMC on one arm and she makes it look good. She also has a roth obsidian visor.
    -- Player: Michael Kennedy

Play Report
After fully decrypting the location of the SHIELD, the party met with Mr. Myce at an entrance node of the Grand Stable system. From their, a dungeon crawl through the labyrinthine network ensued!

  • The party walks down a hall, nearing a room. A SWORD bowls past them, agitating a bunch of frelin and gozen mounts in the first stable room, and they find themselves trapped between the SWORD and the animals. They use one of their magical meridian gems from the magi-slime cave last session, without knowing what it does, and by an amazing coincidence (I swear!) it happened to be an anti-animal shell spell, so they were able to force the animals back and escape (relatively) unharmed!
    • Frelin: A beast with a hyena-like body and frog-like face, and long, clawed appendages above their shoulder blades.
    • Gozen: Horse-sized, six spindly legs tipped with claw-like hooves that scuttle like a crustacean. Pink, worm-like skin underneath a furry, feathery, mossy layer of purple. Their skulls are like a raven with ox horns, and rest loosely at the end of a long, worm-like neck. If the skull is torn off, a lamprey-like mouth is revealed at the end of the neck.
    • SWORD: An Unliving nematode-like creature in a psionic cell. The psionic energy objectifies a sack of bio-tissue, plastic, and cybernetic parts. If punctured, the abstract concept of null inverts from its object-oriented form to that of a null-space.
  • They find a room full of drifters who were lured into the Grand Stable by someone named SOMA, who incidentally produces a drug from their body called soma. He leads them like a cult, but has recently gone missing. Of all the addicts they meet, the only reasonably coherent one is Serabia (see NPC card above), who accompanies the party to find SOMA.
  • They head down to another room, a storage closet. There are several magical trinkets, but they are being hoarded by an impossible impostor crab. It is immune to physical attacks and it's shell of absolute solid evokes feelings of ennui and anti-love, but the party convinces Mr. Myce to take the brunt of it and lift the crab up so they can snatch the treasure. He reveals his inner feelings in the process, and forces the party into a verbal contract to be his friend and keep in communication with him once a week for a year (I'm so bad at writing these things up but I swear this ended up being hilarious and everyone loved it!). They receive several items listed below, including a psycho-cell.
    • Impossible impostor crab: A hermit crab-like creature, wrapped in the discarded/dead absolute solid shell and claw/gauntlets of an impossible organism. Behaves like an exaggerated hermit crab, full of jealousy and spite. Not an impossible organism but has adapted to absolute solid.
    • Psycho-cell: A cylinder of astrium glass and anti-information, filled with an Unliving axol sibling-type preserved in impossigen of incalculable value. A priceless artifact.
    • A magical electrum coin (could not determine it's magical function, hopefully that's fine...).
    • A handful of sentient (and rebellious) glue.
    • A ring that makes your eyeball pop out.  This is not a problem, and you can continue to see through the eye just fine, like a spy-eye.  Reversible if the ring is removed.
  • They find another storage room, where a strung-out soma addict named Steve is tripping out. They manage to scare Steve off and gather more loot (I think this was just gold, or maybe some of those items above, I've gotten it mixed up now :/...). Serabia steals some soma off of him on his way off.
  • Mr. Myce takes them on a shortcut to the next area of the Grand Stable, but this is still a three-hour journey. Along the way they attempt to identify their new magical items, finally identify some of their old magical items, and do other miscellaneous things.
    • They discover that the potion from the first session temporarily provides +3 strength.
    • The partially digested frog carcass provides temporary ESP (as ESP spell).
    • They identify the other meridian gem as a Conjuration of Animals spell.
    • Ortega the apoptomancer metamorphs his dog-like companion Karchev into a smoke monster with a reflective stinger capable of turning air to water.
  • In the next area, they find a stable room full of mechanical vehicles, primarily the spider-legged clankers commonly found in Nova Arkham. They find two aquorum drones patrolling the vehicles, and if they get in close proximity the drones will attack. The drones are explosive, and if any of the clankers are damaged, it's coming out of the party's pay. They manage to take down the drones while only destroying one clanker, costing them 100 gold.
    • Aquorum: Amorphous blobs. Prokaryote-like impossible organisms, unstable in physical space. Clones sprout on its surface which explode on impact.
  • Ortega, wearing the ring, rolls one of his eyes under another door. Unfortunately, in this room is a hallucinogenic shit-shroom, which has alluring psycho-active properties which transmits from the eye to Ortega himself, drawing him (and then several of the other characters) into the room and confuses them.
    • Shit-Shroom: An unassuming patch of bioluminescent fungi, which is an impossible organism feeding off a pile of excrement of another impossible organism.
  • The shit-shroom makes the party either catatonic, or go berserk, and Kail fatally wounds Jim Casper. As soon as they gather their bearings, they rush out of the room with Jim's body. Ortega uses apoptomancy to turn Jim Casper into an Unliving.
  • In Jim's new form, his skin is albino-white. His brain grows substantially, breaking free of his skull, and contains powerful psionic energy. His skin is semi-translucent, revealing his cytoplasmic internals. His arms have been replaced with necrotic tentacles which spread rot. He levitates, his dead legs dangling inches above the ground. He is capable of producing spores which bud into clones. He has lost much of his intelligence and is in a child-like state. He eats several of the items through his artifact-eating orifice behind his knee (pre-Unliving metamorphosis feature 0.o), making him more powerful (increasing his HP). When he eats the eye-ring, his patella on the knee containing his artifact-eating hole becomes an eye-like organ grown from dentate cells that can detach from his body.
  • After heartfelt apologies, and everyone coming to terms with the horror of what just happened, Ortega sends in Karchev to smoke out the shit-shroom, and then they head to the next room, which contains a pneumatic tube. They send a few messages to the outside world.
  • They enter a room full of viscera. Destroyed aquorum drones; exploded frelin and gozen; violated soma addicts; broken psycho-cells with fetal nematode-like corpses. Patches of null-space around the plastic, cybernetic, bio-tissue remains of SWORD corpses. Rows of dead SHIELDS delicately placed on emergency tables. The room is surrounded by shadow and null- the entrance cannot be found. 
    • This is where we ended the session... *BUM BUM BUUUUUM*

The Breakdown
    I think the last session was where I was finally starting to hit my stride with OSR, but it's nice to see that with a full party and the difficulties of a dungeon crawl, I was able to keep it going. The funny thing is, other than a few minor adjustments given some of the particulars of OSR, I'm realizing that I can basically just run this the same way I run anything else- this session could just as easily have been part of my Numenera/Cypher Phantasmos campaign. 
    From talking with the group, it seems the highlights of the session were Mr. Myce, whom the group loved, and they felt that each encounter was unique and interesting and I avoided the pitfalls of boring dungeons. In terms of things that could have been better, they felt that I could have provided them with a better sense of spatial orientation (e.g. given them cardinal direction cues), and provided more environmental details, particularly when they encountered forking paths and wanted some kind of cue so that choosing a direction wasn't just a coin flip. I've never been a visuo-spatial person so that's always been difficult for me, but their suggestions were helpful and I will be keeping them in mind for the future.

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