Monday, September 17, 2018

Monday Recap: To the Moon!

Classic moon shot.
What's this?? A Monday Recap?? Oh yes.

After all of this Valley exploration gaming, we finally got together to play one of the remaining monthly story games. There are actually a few of those still happening, though I'm only running one of them right now.

Anyway, this ended up being a super-fun game for the chaos crew. Also, it ended up being my first foray into Science Fantasy, a staple of D&D going back to the Barrier Peaks. It was pretty fun!

This story is part 8 of a series. The campaign is complete.
Previous Campaign | Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5 | Part 6 | Part 7 | Part 8 | Part 9 |

Campaign of Chaos: To the Moon!

Cast of Characters
Jon: Dungeon Master
Shannon: Cressen Juhl, Fallen Aasimar Trickery Cleric of Ralishaz, hates their dad Pholtus
Cody: Myst, Tabaxi Rogue, likes the shiny and shoots the arrows
Quinn: Jakky, Darkling Shadow Monk, sneaks into places to do a murder
Wade: Agne, Kobold Warlock of the Great Old Ones, killed his family for creepy powers
Wes: Magic Man, Drow Transumation Wizard, kind of creepy, teaches magical life lessons
NPC: ArtoriusVoid Dragon Wyrmling, hangs out with Agne

When we last left the crew, they had gathered an arsenal of chaos-infused weaponry from an order of monks devoted to keeping the magic items away from the world. Jakky ended up with the Goblin-made throwing hammer Whelm, Anna got a greatsword called Blackrazor, and Mr. Lizard got a trident called Wave. They returned to their skyfortress, and Mr. Lizard suggested they head into space.

As the skyfortress lifted off from above Garton, the crew was shocked and unprepared for the experience of leaving the planet. Jakky and Agne, used to living underground or in shadows, were very upset by this turn of events. Magic Man was convinced they were growing in size, since the city and country below them were shrinking. Cressen watched the stars, and Myst had enough of this and decided to take a nap.

After a short time, they adjusted their direction and approached the moon. The surface shown brightly, causing the light-sensitive Jakky to shrink back in repulsion. Mr. Lizard suggested that he inspect this side of the moon, and the crew take the dark side for Jakky's sake. They were looking for signs of life, or a place to build an awesome moon base.

Mr. Lizard leapt out of the ship, floating down to the surface as if he had cast Feather Fall on himself. The group was very impressed, and realized they were all under the effect of the spell. They flew to the dark side of the moon and leapt out of the ship themselves, posing as they slowly descended. Their landing site was a strange structure they had seen from the air, which they were quite curious about.

(At this point, the players were very worried about being able to breathe on the moon. After I assured them they could, they asked how. I asked them if their characters would really question the presence of an atmosphere when they had lived their entire lives on the surface of a planet. Sometimes, you have to get the players to trust you, and using the story and world to do so is a great method.)

The group landed in front of the strange domed structure, which was made entirely of steel and had strange lights coming out of it. Behind them, the skyfortress descended, piloted by the many lackeys they had collected over their journey. They discussed what to do, all while continuing to hold their poses. However, before they could decide, the doors before them slid open.

Stumbling out of the door came a creature they recognized from stories back on Ahneria: a Mind Flayer. Agne, having encountered some of these creatures as a Kobold, was immediately on the defensive. However, the creature seemed to be expecting them, particularly Magic Man. It asked them to follow it into the building, claiming they were to meet with the leader of the Mind Flayer colony. Cressen, who was wearing a helm that blocked telepathy, was confused but followed the group.

They entered the building, being lead through steel tunnels dotted with glass windows. The group had never seen a building made entirely of steel before, and were quite impressed. Myst, using his chaos powers, realized that they had powerful magic here that could travel through the stars and even possibly through time. Magic Man transformed into an octopus and sat on Cressen's head to try to convince the Mind Flayers to like them and give them fun goodies.

The Mind Flayer explained that about 700 years ago, Magic Man had appeared to their colony and ordered a ship. The ship would be known as the skyfortress, and was to be buried on an island where a bunch of shark-elephant demons would appear. In return, Magic Man had brought materials for the ship and humanoids the Mind Flayers could use as slaves.

Break that classic timeline
The group was very confused by this, especially Magic Man. However, Agne suggested that perhaps some of the time-ravel technology the Mind Flayers use might send magic Man back in time at some point. That would allow him to place the order for the skyfortress without remembering doing so, because he hadn't done it yet. They started to discuss it further, but the Mind Flayer stopped as they arrived at the chambers of the Mind Flayer leader.

Inside, they sat at a large round table around a brine pool, eating the food that Magic Man had recommended for them 700 years ago when they would arrive. From the brine pool, a massive brain the size of a wagon rose up and began addressing them via telepathy. It called itself Orunmila, and spoke as if speaking for the entire colony. Its telepathy was so powerful that even Cressen, wearing a telepathy-blocking helmet, could hear the being speak.

The brain told them about the Mind Flayer (or Illithid, as they called themselves) colony, how they longed to explore the stars and were building spaceships, and how their studies had borne much interesting knowledge and technology. They had foreseen the arrival of the Chaos Crew, thanks to Magic Man's long-ago arrival, and were willing to help the group build their own moon base. They even knew the ritual to turn Jakky into a Darkling Elder, and wanted to share it. But they needed help with something first.

The colony was mining the moon for construction materials, using their slaves as manual labor. Things were progressing smoothly, until the slaves formed a pact with an eldritch entity to rise up against their masters. The slaves were transformed into mindless husks, immune to the psychic powers of the Illithids. Their leader, a being known as The Uncouth, retained some intelligence, and began to lead a resistance against the colony. The crew, being able to effectively fight creatures immune to psychic powers, were quite a boon to Orunmila.

Classic and sexy
The group decided to take up the offer, and the Illithid that lead them into the building now lead the out again. They saw their skyfortress was being moved into a dock-like area, with their many minions still on board. With a bit of a further walk, they arrived at the mine entrance, a dark tunnel leading down into the core of the moon. Their guide bid them farewell, and they began to descend.

As they entered the tunnel, Magic Man noticed figures hiding in the darkness in front of them. Myst casually shot one with an arrow, and the former cultists rushed forward. They had been horribly deformed by their servitude to the eldritch evil, now sporting six arms, blank white eyes, and far too many teeth. One rushed forward, and in a flurry of claws and teeth, tore into Myst with terrible fury.

The group disposed of the attacker, reformed and began their own assault, with Magic Man and Cressen unleashing arcane and divine magic from the rear while Myst and Jakky used their ranged weapons to strike the creatures from afar. Agne and Artorius, however, unleashed their new combination of magical effects to keep the cultists in place: grasping black tentacles combined with Artorius' Gravity Breath. The aberrations couldn't do so much as take a step forward while the restraining magic held them down. After that, the crew made quick work of them.

However, Cressen had been affected by Chaos magic during the battle, and began attacking Magic Man. Magic Man was surprised, but defended quite well until Cressen came to their senses. Cressen felt bad about attacking a fellow Chaos follower, and healed the wounds Magic Man had sustained from the spat. Magic Man was his usual incomprehensible self, and told Cressen there was no bad blood between them.

The group pressed forward, fighting through a large swarm of cultists that had transformed into stunted, smaller monsters with similar attributes as the entrance guards. The creatures seemed like mindless husks, no longer the humanoid workers that they must have once been. They simply seemed to attack anything that entered the mine and wasn't as monstrous as themselves. Though the Chaos crew was evil, they weren't anything like the monsters these beings had become.

Magnificent class
The crew finally found themselves in a sanctuary of sorts, with makeshift pillars lining a hall leading to an area carved out of different stone than the whitish-grey moon rock. The stone had many different carved images and words in it, in an ancient language that only Agne could decipher. However, before the crew could approach this strange slab, a massive cultist lurched into view.

Its eyes and teeth resembled the creatures they had fought before, but it was as tall as an ogre and had weirdly translucent hairless skin. As it caught sight of the group, it turned and charged towards them. It whirled its arms wildly, catching most of the group in its slamming attacks. The crew scattered, moving to unleash spells and weapons on the monster from their best location. Cressen, wielding their giant sword, fought toe-to -toe with the monster, and ended up taking the brunt of its crushing blows.

The crew pumped every attack they could into the beast, and soon enough it began to fall. In its final moments, Myst unleashed an arrow from his bow imbued with the power of magical energy. The arrow struck the monster directly in the head, causing it to sway, then topple to the ground. As it collapsed, Chaos magic caused it to grow a full head of very stylish hair.

Agne rushed forward to study this strange map, and discovered it was a record of an even more ancient civilization on the moon. They had created strange, soulless soldiers that could be infused with magic to fight. The group was interested in this idea, wondering what might happen if they infused the bodies with Chaos magic. Jakky and Ange even discovered a hidden passage that might lead down into the storerooms of the ancient civilization.

However, at that moment, the mine began to collapse, as if someone were trying to sabotage the group's mission. They turned and hightailed it back towards the entrance, dodging rocks and trying to figure out the best way back. Unfortunately, after hitting several dead ends, the collapse settled and they were trapped in a small section of cave. Magic Man shrugged and cast a spell to teleport them back to the skyfortress. They hadn't found The Uncouth yet, meaning their mission wasn't over yet, but the group needed to recoup and heal their wounds.

Wait, that's no moon! Classic.
But as they rested, the side of the ship began to tear open, and another of the giant hairless monsters broke through the side of the ship. Next to it, walking directly through the walls of the ship like a ghost, was a horrible creature with deformed limbs and stretched and twisted skin, holding a staff and peering at the group with those same blank eyes. The crew leapt up, grabbing their gear to attack these intruders.

Myst loosed a shot at the creature they assumed must be The Uncouth, but at the last instant the two aberrations swapped places. The hulking brute took the attack, and the cult leader was safely outside the walls of the skyfortress. Not only that, but Myst was then forcibly teleported right next to the huge creature by the cult leader, causing a wave of psychic energy that made the group clutch their heads in pain. Agne, also a devotee of an eldritch entity, actually managed to avoid the brunt of the attack and turn it back on the monsters.

The brutish beast reached forward to wail on Myst, but Cressen reached forward and unleashed a Banishment spell on it, sending it to a demiplane away from the fight. Meanwhile, Jakky and Magic Man leapt out of the hole that had been created in the side of the ship and began attacking The Uncouth. A volley of hammers, fire rays, and arrows quickly killed the cultist, and their task was complete. They only had two issues.

First, chaos magic had caused them to think this dead cultist was somebody other than the Uncouth. They kept guessing different people, but they couldn't figure out who they had just killed. It didn't really change their plans, though. They still needed to return to the colony and let them know about the mine collapse.

Second, the Banishment spell ended, and the brute returned. Fortunately, Agne and Artorius unleashed waves of magic on it until the crew could thoroughly demolish the beast.

The group went back to the colony, which was in a bit of disarray. Apparently, chaos magic had seeped into the colony and caused nearly 100 Illithids to abandon the colony and join the forces of chaos. Orunmila was annoyed, and they asked the crew to take the blueprints to a moon base and leave. The crew decided they had seen enough for now, and went back to the skyfortress.

A few hours later, Mr. Lizard showed up. Apparently, the other side of the moon was totally empty.

Name a classier trio. I'll wait.
And that's the game! We had a blast with all the different chaos effects that popped up during the game. I use this Huge Magic Surge table, if you're interested in doing so.

I think Chaos Quest will only have one or two more games before it's over. It's hard to top the moon, but I'm going to try. Then, we'll get to do a high-level quest resolving all of the chaos this game has caused! After all, they've killed quite a lot of people.

Thanks for reading!

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