So today I ran Perils of the Sunken City, by Purple Sorcerer Games for my current campaign group and the game master of my play group. (Check out his blog, Age of Ruins). I put down on the table five face down sheets with four pre-generated 0 level characters on them. After the picking process happened I had everyone roll up one 0 level so we could all go through the process. I let them choose one of the four 0s to cover over and off to funnelville we went.
I started them walking down into Mustertown, they quickly made their way to the Soiled Dove. After forming their Free company, they were sized up for gambling purposes by No Legs. The PCs placed some bets with No Legs about their survival. I also gave them a chance to buy any supplies they may have wanted and as a group they chipped in for a 50′ section of rope. As they were about to start down the path I added in a little girl that was selling bobbles that would provide good luck. The little girl is favored by the Lady, maybe a daughter or just a girl she likes (More on this later). Shark Tooth Nigel (halfling dyer) had his slave Ursala Rotmeat (slave) buy him a polished stone, Sleepy Bone Harding (dwarf chest maker) bought a twig that had the bark whittled off and was died red with swamp water, Smudge McUrchin (14 year old orphan) bought a broken Daisy.
So they set off down the path about half way between the start of a the path and the Lady’s hut another group of adventures were heading down the path. One of them spots a chest half buried in the muck of the swamp (again something I just threw in for flavor). He makes it out to the chest and from 10′ away a giant frog rises up out of the swamp. The giant frog’s tongue whipped out and sucked the unsuspecting fool to his death. The frog hopped away legs still dangling out of his mouth. Now his four remaining friends shocked turned and headed up the road.
After seeing this the PCs first thoughts weren’t maybe we should stay on the path no it was, hmmm what is in the chest. Enter the first unscripted chance to thin the herd. They begin to discuss ways to get the chest or distract the frogs with “bait.” They cry out to the party that just lost one party member. The guy at the end of the line turns as the PCs say they want to help him get revenge and the chest. He leaves his other friends and walks down to meet this group of 16 PCs. Murder-hobo mode engaged as Smudge McUrchin lethally clubs this stranger over the head to provide the bait the party needed. Smudge now declares his name to be Smudge Chump Slayer. The party ties up the body with the rope and and the four strongest all grab a limb and start swinging the corpse. They fling him out into the swamp and start reeling him in to catch a frog so they can make a play on the chest while it is distracted. Now the adventure mentions snakes, bigger snakes, crocodillos, two-tonged mud wumpers, and even the occasional shiny-spined turf-hurdler as swap creatures. Now I don’t know what a shiny-spined turf-hurdler is but me and the PCs where about to find out. No stats were provided so I just made it up as I went. I described a giant geyser of water erupting from the swamp and suddenly landing near the body the beast standing about 9 feet tall (6 feet of leg and an armless 3 foot body) it is covered in spins that are laying flat against its body. (Imagine a barrel with legs) It blinks its 3 eyes and and then screeches and flares out its spins.
No legs and the crowd come down the path and start placing bets on the party’s chances. Initiative is rolled and the party wins and they descend on it. In all about half of them go down to fight it. They are lumping it up critical hits are flying everywhere. The party strong man Jadongo (animal handler) yanks the rope with all his might and slams the body into the turf-hurdler and it gets stuck on the spines and before it can attack once it is stuck down. Two PCs run to the chest and pry it from the ground, one is bitten by a snake but makes his Fort save and lives to fight on. The check the turf-hurdler for loot but there is none they untie the body (which they never looted, tisk, tisk) they get back on dry land a start in on the chest. The crowd is pissed that no one died and disburses. A two tonged mud wumper surfaces briefly and swallows the bait corpse, and then I point out they never looted it. A massive group face palming occurs and the chest is busted open. They find a bag with 75 copper that have corroded together and a book that has turned to slop.
So the party has gone off book in the first hour of game play resulting in wild adventure, free form problem solving, murder hobo style attacks, fought a wild swamp spawn monster that had no stats forcing me to make it up on the fly. Damn I love this game, it has delivered everything I was hoping for and they haven’t even gotten to the “adventure” part of the module.
They get to the Lady’s hut now and see that it is surrounded by the bobbles the little girl was selling. As they approach closer the curtain style door is pushed open revealing the Lady’s beautiful body she swings her hair away revealing a withered hags face. The party’s nameless dwarf (dwarven stonemason) says to Sleepy Bone that they should attack her, now mind you the two are about 3′ apart. The Lady moves each eye independently so that one can look at each dwarf. This freaks them out and nameless dwarf says, that it would be a bad idea.
Shark Tooth Nigel offer up his bobble to the Lady she examines him poking his checks checking down his mouth and finally grabbing his crotch. She tells him he has more balls than most halfings and dots his forehead with with three ash marks in the shape of a triangle. Next she heads over to Sleepy Bones who is holding his twig out, she looks him over and takes the twig. She reaches in the ash pouch and swings her hand out slapping Sleepy Bones across the face. She now steps over to 14 year old orphan Smudge Chump Slayer she gently rubs his shoulder slides her hand down his back pulls the daisy from his back pocket and squeezes his ass. He looks at her and he sees her lips coat over with ash and she plants a long and disgusting kiss on him leaving Smudges lips and face covered with ash and spittle. Now Ishmael Ibn Ayshid (wizard apprentice) tosses her a copper and asks what is the fate of the party, Lady says they stand a good chance of finding their fate in the sunken city and that they are touched for the killed a shiny-spined turf-hurdler. She then places a hand his chest leaving an ashen mark.
The group now ventures down the path to the Sending Stone and Proving Stone and this is where we have our first death. As they gather around the stone and are observing it the Proving stone starts to crackle in energy as it prepares to return a group of adventures. After the first NPC appears form the proving stone, the nameless dwarf says he is going to ambush the next NPC that appears. Suddenly a bolt of lightning rips out of the Sending Stone vaporizing the nameless dwarf leaving behind is only his possessions. His death taught them that whatever makes these stones work doesn’t like ambushing those that use them for travel.
In part two I will pick up with their arrival at the Arena grounds.