Wednesday, January 27, 2021

Critter Gitters: Castle In The Clouds

 Continuing notes on the "Critter Gitters" sessions...

The most recent sessions have all been based around maps and concepts from Cloud Giant's Bargain (WotC 5e), as well as The Old God's Return (Goodman DCC).

As the Gitters return to Bitter Luck from their expedition to the Haunted Mills, they note two things: first, it's Thankstravaganza, a holiday, and everybody's partying; and secondly, a small fish-shaped zeppelin is parked at one end of town.

Stepping into the Roadrunner Saloon, they find their occasional patron Sir Reginald dining with a penguin in a pilot's cap, introduced as Kipper.  Over Thankstravaganza dinner, Sir Reginald and Kipper tell the tale of a supposed menace far to the north, in the Snowdeeps, where something old and dangerous has awakened.  In reaction to this rumored menace, Sir Reginald has received a communique from a sky-giant who wants to parley about working together against This Thing.  Pursuant to that, Sir Reg asks the Gitters to work with the two people he's hired and fly in Kipper's zeppelin to check out these sky-giants who are possible allies (or possibly full of crap).

Thus, we add two PCs:

Go-Boom, tortle artificer.  Stoic turtle-man with magisteampunk armor.

Josssshua, lizard-man wizard.  Raised by very stupid serpent cultists who thought he was a snake-man, Jossshua is now out on his own and seeking his fortune.

The Gitters hop in the mini-zep and hustle to the rendezvous.  They don't trust the sky-giants and resolve to poke around a bit first before introducing themselves.  On the approach to the castle, they leap from the zeppelin to free-fall toward the castle and use feather-fall runes at the last moment (this gimmick is in the published adventure and I love it).

The PCs skulk about one set of towers, encounter the kitchen-goblins (from whom they demand, and receive, lattes), then enrage a pair of hell-hounds who proceed to seriously kick their asses.  It isn't my fault, they were all stacked up and that makes breath weapons super nasty in any edition.  Fear-Not was KO'd, everybody was freaking out, they could hear giant guards approaching...and that's where we stopped that night.  END PART ONE!

The next session, the Gitters managed to evade the guards and make their way toward the throne room, where they met Prince Thunderful, did the exposition/discussion thing.  The giant's vizier is an infiltrator for the Horrible Ancient Thing, and turns traitor, triggering a combat in which Prince Thunderful is nearly killed (but then rescued by Go-Boom).  A squirming bag on the vizier's hip is cut open mid-combat, and out tumbles another PC, magical (call)girl Juniper Muffington (who participated in the Coalpepper Expedition and once teamed up with Gunsi the Squirrel).  he vizier escapes while the Gitters are trying not to be eaten by Thunderful's pet dragon-wolf.  Finally everything calms down, just in time for an immense flying iceberg (with a ziggurat at the center) to crash into the cloud-castle and send it careening toward the earth.  

The Gitters' party - now numbering seven PCs - just barely escapes into the mini-zeppelin and they get clear of the mess - they can see the cloud-castle crash into the badlands.  Rather than immediately investigate the (slow-moving, in the scheme of things) iceberg, they return to Bitter Luck (end of session).

They rest for the night, and the next day, Fear-Not, Okrem, Go-Boom, and Juniper are uhhh not around, so Hogan, Jossshua, and Pips think long and hard about whether they really want to brave the flying iceberg.  Deciding against it for now, they cajole local priest Father Rumsworth to join them in a search-and-rescue trip to the crashed cloud-castle.  While flying in the zeppelin, they see some jackalweres below, who they taunt, but the PCs fly on.  Once over the debris field, they find that Prince Thunderful is wounded but alive; sadly his naked grandpa has been crushed during the crash.  Father Rumsworth heals Thunderful as best he can and it makes a significant difference.  Thunderful repays the Gitters by telling them of some trophy weapons his grandparents took from would-be giant-slayers, which used to be on the walls of their dining hall.  The Gitters search diligently, eventually finding an enchanted shield, and later a magic blade of black meteoric iron.  They also locate a partially-intact tower from the castle and poke around in there for a while - engaging a damaged helmed horror in the process.

Bidding farewell to Prince Thunderful (who contentedly waits for pickup, having sent his dragonwolf to carry word to his father), the Critter Gitters return to Bitter Luck to round up some more hopes of besieging the flying iceberg!

Saturday, January 23, 2021

Critter Gitters

 Several months back, I got a new group of PCs going in Wampus Country, using 5e.  I'm not in love with 5e, but it's good to play with it to figure out what changes would be needed to get a Wampus feel out of pairing that ruleset with this setting.  That's the experiment!  Pleasingly, this group - eventually known as the Critter Gitters - plays on Fridays, just like the "classic" days of the Rat-House Bastards.  They also ended up as a multi-wizard group, too, but we're not there in the story yet.

The 'home base' for this run is the tumbleweed down of Bitter Luck, out on the edge of the badlands.  I used Bitter Luck once previously when I was attempting to run Dungeon of the Selenian Conclave, using 5e, a couple years back, but we only did one session of that before it fizzled.  Maybe Bitter Luck is the 5e town in Wampus Country?

Initially we had three PCs:

Okrem, a robgoblin (half-orc rogue).  Fleeing debts and rival gangsters in a larger town (probably River-Town, or potentially Thistlemarch), Okrem has made his way to Bitter Luck to start over.  He bills himself quite insistently as a locksmith, but he fools no-one with this protestation.

"Pips" Mulligan, a deadeye gunslinger (halfling fighter).  Pips fancies himself a gambler and a daredevil - regrettably he lacks the funds or reputation to support those assertions.  

Umberhulk Hogan, a bug-man wrestler (goliath barbarian).  Hogan is some sort of brawny insect-man from the desert; his chief life-goal is to get famous as a badass rassler.   Hogan carries a folding chair.

These three worthies gathered together in the Roadrunner Saloon in Bitter Luck, agreeing to work together to make some cash - and perhaps a name - out here in the badlands.

FIRST SESSION:  The PCs chat with various town NPCs to get the lay of things, and end up going out into the wilderness to hunt valuable creatures.  They end up killing some giant harmadillos and some other things and dragging them back into town to sell to local wizard The Amazing Flim-Flam for parts.  Whatever bits Flim-Flam doesn't want for magic/potion use, they sell to the tanner and butcher in town.  Thus do they gain their name...the Critter Gitters.  No quarry too big, no target too small.

At this point the Gitters add a fourth member: Fear-Not, a tiefling warlock.

SEVERAL FOLLOWING SESSIONS: The Gitters follow a rumor to investigate the ruined tower across the dry riverbed outside town.  For these sessions, I used The Ruined Tower of Zenopus - a great update and reimagining of the intro level from the Holmes rules.  Zach's update of this dungeon is fantastic, I've run it twice now - and that's pretty much the best compliment I can give an adventure!  The Critter Gitters cleared out most of the place, and clashed with the resident wizard, one Lord Halitosis.  In addition, they took over the wizard's house - y'know, like PCs do.  By the end of the several sessions, the Gitters were claiming the subterranean complex (and the house above) as their new HQ.  They've been living there since, despite a few corners of the place not quite being secured...  Somewhere in here, Fear-Not gets killed and resurrected with a mix of suspicious/janky potions, and although he comes back to life, he now has a tomato for a head.

HALLOWEEN EPISODE:  Just in time for Halloween, the Critter Gitters accepted an assignment from local rich-dog Sir Reginald Toiletwater to head north and investigate/reclaim The Haunted Mills.  I was glad to finally implement this goofy adventure idea, and as it turned out it took two sessions to get through it.  By the end, the Gitters had vanquished the threat - after nearly dying a couple times, as is only fair for a Halloween game - and the flaming blue ghost of Beau Barry had ascended to some more evil plane.  He'll be back, no doubt.

Next time: We'll catch up to today, as the Critter Gitters acquire a few more (associate?) members and investigate a flying castle.