In Part 1, I gave a short description of the Old School Fantasy Hack I was doing using the Leverage RPG as it’s basis. I also set the scene for a an adventure I recently played. Now let’s dive back in.
Dramatis Persona Prise Deux
Var: Beastmaster Ranger-acrobat.
Legodrtz Lolthklorian: Lofty Neutral greyish elf Arcane Sniper-Archer
Elvis the Swift: Chaotic Goo revivalist of the Church of the Holy Tentacle
Tue: Chill Neutral monk of the Boot to the Head Dojo
Valoooovia: Chaotic Horny Amazon psychic sex-mage
The Pre-Crawl: Research
Things started out with the adventurers splitting up to gather info on the temple, its background and its newest occupants. I was curious to see how well this would go.
Valoooovia went to look at various records and found out that the temple had had a great many different denominations over the last century, many Good, most Evil. Her presence didn’t go unnoticed as she attracted the attention of a lovelorn spirit that attached itself to her, incessantly flirting with her.
Elvis and Var went to track the temple’s current “landlord”, a minor burocrat who was more than happy to discuss opportunities with the young, charismatic Lovecraftian revivalist.
Real Estate ‘crat: Did you know there are extensive catacombs below the temple? Perfect for dark ceremonies and having “guests” over for extended stays.
Elvis: What about pools? Do you have a pool down there that could house, oh I don’t know, a few cubits of tentacles?
Real Estate ‘cra: Why yes, we do! In fact, if you could help us with the troublesome, late paying scum exploiting such prime space, we’d be happy to rent it to you at a premium rate!
By that time I was completely off script… not that I had much to begin with. I was enjoying this growing story with the bumbling Priest-Bard so I grabbed at the idea and went to town with it.
Real Estate ‘cra: Here’s a map indicating a secret access to the catacombs and the pool in question. Good luck.
Tue and Legodrzt prowled around the temple when night fell, following up on rumours that some hunting “mommies” were out at night. Turned out that there was a group of 6 or so mummified hunters prowling around the temple, coming out from its main entrance.
Tue went out and tried to kick a few to pieces (catching a bad case of “A Mummy’s Touch”, a rotting disease with creepy maternal overtones, in the process). He took down most of them but missed one.
Legodrtz followed the last one from rooftop to rooftop and invoked a magical tracking arrow-head to embed in his quarry. While he succeeded, he got struck by some sort of psycho-necrotic whiplash, opening his mind to some tenebrous consciousness.
Chatty: Just know that “The Dark Heart Suspects”…
Legodrtz’s player: Hum, okay?
He also witnessed the mummy jump on a hapless bystander, rip its heart out and carry it back to the temple…
The Crawl – Short and Tentacle-y
I was now certain that this could be a “split-the-party”-friendly game, as long as I didn’t go into fully fledged combat scenes with a subset of players. This fits with what I recall from my experiences with AD&D 1e, the core inspiration for my hack (sans all the subsystems).
Using the newly found map and tracking the tagged mummy, our characters explored the catacombs, heading deeper toward what they assumed was “the Dark Heart”. I had them roll one simple orientation challenge before reaching their destination. They succeeded so I set up a confrontation (using the newly minted combat rules my friend Yan and I developed ).
The heroes arrived on a U shaped ledge connected to a lower level through a slide-like stone outcropping. The place was crawling with spineless/headless zombies as were two animated snakes-like creatures, each made of a freshly discorporated human spine and skull. There was also a pair of those Tomb Stalker mummies.
At the extreme end of the ground floor rose a ghastly wall of putrid, pulsating flesh: The Dark Heart. This was an undead construct made of the hearts of all the slain souls in and around the temple these last few days which in turn controlled all the mindless undead of the complex (the Bone Snakes and Zombies).
The fight lasted a good 60-80 minutes. Among it’s highlights were:
- Var, going all dual-sword crazy, took down a bunch of zombies in one go
- Legodrtz made his embedded arrow explode just to have the mummy take it out and throw it among the zombies near it… splattering them all over the Dark Heart, earning him “The Dark Heart Beckons” complication.
- Elvis summoning a tentacle pod that embedded itself in his flesh, which kept growing throughout the fight
- Chucking monsters down the ledges onto others.
Once the monsters were vanquished, leaving only the Dark Heart behind, Elvis tried to weaken it by transplanting his increasingly worrisome tentacles from his flesh directly into the Heart.
Chatty: All right man, usually the tentacles would play against you but this is kinda cool and “it” wants that. They’ll help you (hands a d8) BUT for each “1” you roll, I can make them grow 2 dice levels. Once passed d12, you are consumed… you cool with that?
Elvis’ player: Oh yeah!
He rolled a one… and failed to weaken the Dark Heart enough…
Chatty: One more “growing”‘ and you’re tentacle compost friend.
Elvis: That was a bad move…
The situation was saved by Valoooovia who took out her wand of uncontrollable orgasms (I’m not making this up) and used it to summon the spirits of cheap doxies, slovenly trull, brazen strumpets and all the other shady characters featuring on page 192 of the the AD&D 1E DMG.
She sent them all to take down what was left of the Dark Heart.
Chatty: As the spirit-whore cries of enraptured bliss assault the mass of abandoned hearts, you feel a stony mass in the middle starting to tremble. One that hasn’t known such pleasure and abandon in centuries.
Chatty: Yeah, the middle of the Dark Heart is actually a Lich Sorceress’ phylactery. She hasn’t had “a good one” for so long that it basically explodes in orgasmic shards of sharp stones and pent-up arcane-energy. You win the scenario!
In hindsight, I feel I expedited the end a bit. I could have had the Lich-Sorceress come out during combat and create a race against time where the heroes would have to take the Heart down while the Lich blasted away. Yet, I hit the game’s core goal: successfully entertain a group of players for a few hours, including character generation. I’m quite happy.
The hack is a great success. It feels like a complete RPG. I just need to make a few final tweaks to the draft and it will be ready for editing.
Thanks for reading, I hope you enjoyed it. It feels good to be back!