Sweet Nell (innkeeper, 2nd level Warrior)
- played by Todd
- played by Cheryl
Session 8 - 11 Nov 2018
A week after the Demon Queen Hezzemuth was summoned to the mortal realm, and the town of Brimstone was in absolute chaos. New buildings were rising directly out of the ground, so tall they scraped the sky, tall like Chicago or New York, yet seemingly molded from clay or carved directly from the earth, rather than built by human hands.
This was the demon architecture of the demon ant queen! But as this new city flourished, Brimstone suffered. The town's old wooden buildings were destroyed as the new structures rose up. Townswomen Stella, Dagmar, Hellen, and Tess all lost their homes, but rather than move into the overcrowded campgrounds where so many townspeople were sheltering since their lives were destroyed by the demon, the four women sought out the help and advice of Nell, famous around town for trying to fight and oppose Hezzemuth.
They came, hats in hands, to the cabin at the edge of town that Nell shared with her other friends, and she led them on an errand to Pemberton Nimby's tent out in the campgrounds. The grounds were crowded with makeshift tents and lean-tos, and they had to pick their way carefully through bodies of people lying out in grass, trying to escape the crowding inside their shelters, drinking their cares away in the sun. Pemberton was overseeing a pair of hired hands packing away the contents of his tent. "OH," he said, in his creepy Peter Lorre voice, "so good to SEE you. I've been thinking of taking a little trip. The WEATHER, you see, it doesn't agree with me."
Nell agreed that heading out of town for awhile sounded like a good idea. She turned over two of the spellbooks they'd
Nell unhitched the party's horses, and Stella, Dagmar, Hellen, and Tess
They explored the town a bit. The buildings were all empty, half the doors had fallen off their hinges, half the windows were broken. The weeds grew tall and dust blew through the sand-covered streets. Nell guessed it had been empty for years, maybe decades. Her own mother told her that Gold Soul tall tale as a bedtime story.
With their pick of campsites, the group moved into the biggest saloon in town, and brought the horses inside with them. Searching for provisions, they found a few bottles with a finger or two of dregs left in their bottoms. Stella found a jar of pickled eggs, Dagmar found a cracker tin that was full of dusty powder, Hellen found a barrel of pickles that had all turned to slime, and Tess found a bag of dried beans. Nell found a side of salted beef that appeared to still be preserved, but after she ate some, it quickly poisoned her. The other women stuck to a dinner of pickled eggs and boiled beans. Between the rotted foodstuffs, Nell's illness, and the horses, their barroom campsite smelled foul by the morning.
Despite her stomach ache, Nell insisted that they head over to the mine entrance in the morning. They saw it was boarded up, though the boards were rotten and falling away. The weeds and grass were dead all around the mine entrance, and the few nearby trees were sickly, with emaciated branches and drooping yellow leaves.
Session 8 Gains
a new home-base in the ghost-town saloon
Session 8 Losses
the former home base (burned down)
the town of Brimstone (taken over by demons)
|Goldsoul Mine map by Martin O|
Session 9 Characters
Chaus Hussar (cavalryman, 1st level Wizard)
- played by Peter
Sweet Nell (innkeeper, 2nd level Warrior)
- played by Todd
Session 9 - 14 Dec 2018
Chaus Hussar remembered Nell's fairy tales about the fabled Gold Soul Mines, and so when Brimstone was ravaged and their cabin burnt down, he too rode out to the old ghost town to meet her there. While the newcomers improved the group's camp inside the grand saloon, Chaus and Nell went back to the mine entrance, marked as it was by dead grass and dying, yellow-leafed trees. Chaus cast a spell that allowed him to climb like a spider, and with Nell clinging to his back, descended into the pit of the mine.
Down the pit they arrived in a small cave where the floor was covered in rocks like skipping stones. They saw a crawlway leading out horizontally, and a hole in the floor, marked by graffiti reading "None Here Have Mercy". Deciding to heed the warning, they crawled through the shallow half-tunnel leading away to the right.
Halfway through their crawl, they began to hear stringed musicians playing "The Blue Danube" waltz on ukulele, banjo, and guitar. They hurried through the crawl and arrived in a slender, cylindrical cave with only a hole in the floor and the sound of a rushing underground river coming from below. As they stood there contemplating, the sound of the waltz grew louder, and a few moments later, a trio of ghostly musicians arrived. The ghosts were rude, demanding to know who Chaus and Nell were before immediately dismissing them, "Well I've never heard of you!" Chaus was unfailingly polite and convinced the ghosts to continue on their way, playing another refrain of waltz. The ghostly trio disappeared through the hole in the floor, while Chaus and Nell decided to crawl back to the first cave they'd entered.
Returning to their starting point, the pair decided to climb down through the hole in the floor. This led to a narrow shaft that they descended by bracing their bodies against the back wall. At the bottom, they reached a much larger cave, and shared some of Nell's chewing tobacco to help revive them from their fatigue. After their rest, they inspected three possible exits - another hole in the floor, another path leading off to the right, and a slope leading upward and to the left. They elected to go in a new direction, and waded through hip-deep gravel as they made their way up the slope to the next cave. Along the way, they passed a handful of picks and shovels, all with broken shafts and dented metal heads.
Practically swimming upstream by the end, the pair bellyflopped into a new cave with obvious, un-mined veins of gold lining the walls. Nell thought back on her mother's bedtime stories. She recalled that the miners allegedly turned to gold, and their ghosts haunted the townspeople, who then all ran away. None of the fresh gold in these walls bore a human silhouette, so Nell declared it safe to mine. Much to their chagrin though, neither she nor Chaus had much in the way of mining equipment. They'd been lucky to leave Brimstone with their lives, and hadn't had time to pack. They used some of their other gear as makeshift scraping tools and managed to get about $100 in gold dust and pebbles to break off the wall. They divvied up their find and slipped and slid back down to the lower cave. Once there, they did their best to pull more gravel down the slope to try to block off the room entrance, hoping to discourage anyone else who might come by from jumping their claim.
They took advantage of the narrow walls to make a relatively easy climb back up to the first cave in the mine, bracing themselves against the wall and then half-walking their way up. As they lay on the floor catching their breath though, a half dozen gold-soul ghosts flew into the room through the other shaft. The ghosts had been dead and trapped so long they forgot what it was like to be human, and looked more like blobs of gold-colored light, but Nell had no doubt these were the ghosts her mother's fairy tale had warned her about. Chaus Hussar cast his spider-climbing spell again, and carried Nell up and out with all alacrity. Bobbing along like jellyfish in the sea, the gold-soul ghosts followed, but couldn't catch up with them, and tonight, at least, came no further than the entrance to the mine.
Nell and Chaus made their way back to the saloon where they went to bed on empty stomachs, as the women maintaining the campsite had no luck finding more provisions. Over the next week, Nell, Chaus, and the others made a more systematic search of the houses in the ghost town, and managed to cobble together a decent set of camping supplies.
Session 9 Gains
$100 in gold dust
assorted rations and camping supplies
Session 9 Losses
none, for a change
Session 8 & 9 XP
Unfortunately for Cheryl, I don't think that Stella, Dagmar, Hellen, or Tess have done enough to read first level (sorry, Cheryl!) As for all the others, I decided that anyone who wanted to could simply level up, or start a new character at level 1 for Session 10.
Both these sessions were cut somewhat short by audio trouble. My regular online group uses Roll20 for our dice and maps, but we had trouble with the Roll20 audio early on, and set up a Discord channel to use just during our games. It's been sort of hit and miss. It was especially bad during Session 8, but still caused us a few problems in Session 9. Then we played an entirely separate mini-campaign (which hopefully I'll post about here soon) with no troubles at all. Then most recently, poor Discord audio threatened to ruin Session 10, but we switched back to Roll20's audio to good effect.
Probably the biggest difficulty in online play is getting everyone signed up and logged in on the same platform, and then getting that platform to function ... correctly ... for everybody ... at the same time. (I mean the BIGGEST biggest difficulty in online play is probably the same one as in-person play, just getting enough people together, period, to have a quorum so you can run the game. That problem is the reason I've played so few sessions between last fall and today. But functionality is still probably the biggest online-specific difficulty.)
As an aside, I was thinking the other day about the scene in Bladerunner where Deckerd is at a bar, and goes to a phonebooth to videocall Rachel. I was thinking about how that scene is like the very definition of the idea of retro-futurism. At the time, the possibility of placing a video call seemed SO futuristic that I doubted the technology would exist in my lifetime. Today, when everyone owns a mobile phone with a built in video camera, the same scene seems positively archaic. And the really quaint thing about it isn't that Deckerd still goes to place his call from a public, landline, payphone. No, what's really charmingly old-fashioned about it all is the idea that Deckerd would seek out even a modicum of privacy for his call, rather than just ringing up Rachel from right there at the bar, and shouting his intimate conversation at top volume, surrounded by a audience of strangers who were all doing the same thing.
Anyway, these sessions are kind of transitional. After the debacle in the Maw of Hezzemuth being summoned successfully, my players indicated that they were interested in moving on to some new adventuring sites. The random campaign event generator I've been using said that there was a fire in town that directly affected the player characters - which was about as perfect a coincidence as I could possibly ask for. Since they were leaving anyway, I decided to play up the destructive influence of Hezzemuth's presence, as she started erecting termite mound skyscrapers and generally remaking the town as she saw fit. If they ever decide to go back, Brimstone will be quite a different place than they left in.
In the meantime, my players' wish to visit some greener pastures meshed well with my desire to try running a few different pre-written adventures I've had my eye on, just reskinned to fit into this campaign. At the moment, running something as a DCC western adventure is currently the easiest way for me to run it. I feel full of new ideas, and I'm eager to try something different, but I don't have anything else finalized or ready yet. So for now, I'm enjoying trying out a few wish-list adventures as reskins.
The first up is Goodberry Monthly's Gold Soul Mines. We didn't make it very far in because of the aforementioned audio problems, and - spoiler alert - Session 10 takes place somewhere else, so I'm not sure if we'll be back. Gold Soul uses the Veins of the Earth cave generation rules and nomenclature, making it easily the most claustrophobic space the campaign has explored thus far. I think my players were pretty unnerved by the gold-soul ghosts as well, so I'm not sure how eager they'll be to return to the scene of this particular crime.