Sunday, January 22, 2017

The Most Dangerous Game in all of Xan Than Du

The adventures set in the land of Xan Than Du continue,

Previously the party had become stranded after an agonizingly long journey into the unknown, most of the party returned home a shambled mess becoming enslaved, injured, or mad in the process (as per this table).

One party member though  (The naval officer bard) had decided to build a crude raft with his henchman (including a Gorilla) and sail across treacherous waters to an island where lights had been spotted, hoping it would be a bastion of civilization (and prevent him from needing to roll on the table).  He was right...ish.

This game began with him finding the estate of the Dutch explorer Adriaan Van de Groot (after hiding his Gorilla in the Jungle).   He was fed and clothed and taken to the dinner hall with two shipwrecked Americans.  The players already knew what was about to happen and the character surmised based on his natural history skill the words on the empty plagues in the trophy room.  Over the course of dinner the Naval Officer attempted to convince Adriaan that he had met the truly most dangerous game ever,  the Lion Demon Dal-Ga.  This would have been an easy sell except the other two players decided to foil his plans by instead rushing to convince Adriaan that in fact they were the most potent specimens of health, intelligence, and daring and thus were far superior creatures to any supposed Lion.

So the party was set free at sunset, with just the clothes on their back to survive until the following sunset to win both freedom, and use of the estate for the naval officers expedition (which would be quite a win for the campaign, opening up new areas of the map).  

The island consisted of arid hills dotted with dragon trees and fields of agave (farmed by a village of servants),  a dense jungle, a reed filled saltwater marsh, and the remaining base of an ancient volcanic mountain spire.

The Officer quickly took command led the party to the jungle as the sun set, nearly falling down a ravine containing a black panther (though finding some garbage from the village containing part of a broken clay jug).  Their headlong rush into the dark was helped as they quickly found a trail...that lead through quicksand nearly drowning two party members before they were able to rescue them by cutting a vine (and thus leaving more evidence of their passing for their pursuers).  The trail they had stumbled upon lead them to a small back-filled cenote containing a graveyard they concluded to be "VooDoo of some sort", with raised bamboo platforms containing dried out bodies and a shed.  Looking inside they shed found a shovel, some matches and candles on a shrine, a mirror which they promptly broke (cursing one party member),  and a magical fetish-item for causing heart attacks on a victim.  Breaking the mirror defiled the shrine and caused several zombies to rise to attack.  The party had but one shovel to defend themselves.  One shovel and also a gorilla named Harambe who tore the zombies to pieces (after narrowly making his will check to not freak out).

Having some tools and light, they decided to move through the concealment of the jungle (hiding their light) at night towards the marsh (more concealment) and see if there were any caves in the spire they could hide in (one of the characters had geology as a skill and figured there were probably lava tubes).

As they moved through the marsh (it was now the darkest hours of early morning) they heard the baying of hounds.  They proceeded to rush,  but in doing so happened to stumble upon burned out primitive fishing village that looked to have been abandoned for years.  Weighing their options they decided to gamble on being caught and spend time searching.  They were rewarded with a bone harpoon, an easily repairable net, a fish knife, and the charred remnants of a wooden totem that held magical powers of fear.  They now had the hunter hot on their trails as they raced up the mountain side, nearly becoming trapped at one point if not for the helpful aide of their pet gorilla (which, kudos to having brought a gorilla and stashed it beforehand I guess).

And sure enough there was a lava tube, and (through burning their luck points) the party just barely managed to sneak inside without being caught in the open along a cliff face, exposed to gunfire.  Rushing inside one party member was mashed with a crude falling rock trap. Clearing the rubble the found the skeleton of a dead pirate,  clutching a loaded pistol and with a tattered sheepskin bag among his hip bones containing gems.

Now to cut away at this point,  I had it marked that there were lava tubes/caves,  but its a random seed table to where they go and its fairly likely to run into a dead end.  The party knows this because its not a random table used for just this adventure.  So they briefly decide if this is where they make their stand.  They now have one shot of a gun, and a harpoon, though they are low on luck as they spent it to avoid being spotted in the open.  Luck is also used to absorb damage (ie, its hitpoints). They decide to say screw it and see what lies further down the cave network as it will generally lead towards the shore.   So meandering through the tunnels (thankfully with candles) they spend a couple hours navigating, finding a massive cavern with a fungal forest (which they again debate using as an ambush point) they continue forward through incredibly narrow tunnels (nearly getting their gorilla stuck) until the generator spits out an unusual result.  Triple 1's.   The caves lead to the basement of a secret castle or tower is what the generator says.  There are no castles or towers...but there is the Van de Groot estate.   So they accidentally came face to face with his basement wall and break through to his basement.

The tables have turned.   They shove now burning furniture and garbage (and taxidermy chemicals) into the narrow tunnels to block access to anyone who isn't suicidal.  Close behind them they hear Van de Groot curse and the Naval Officer (as a bard) shouts a witty insult towards him  (draining the hunters luck points).    Tactically things are 180, it will take Van de Groot hours to get back.

The party sneaks upstairs and goes to get the most important thing first, they raid the liquor cabinet and have a few drinks.   One, this is funny, two it regains some luck points for them.  Then,  sneaking around the butler and house staff they break into their locked rooms and re-arm with their equipment (though this raises the alarm).  They break into Van de Groot's room and use Harambe to move a gunsafe in front of his door.

As the house servants (except the head butler) don't have guns, they fortify Van de Groot's room and wait.   Perhaps having expected his staff to have been better able to resist (he didn't know about the gorilla after all) Van de Groot, his dogs, and men marched back to the house only to get ambushed as they crossed an open field.  Bullets from repeaters slew many of his men and removed his remaining luck.   Alone in a field inside the sights of multiple repeated rifles in a fortified position,  Van de Groot conceded defeat in this greatest of games.

Seeing him as valuable (and wanting the greater XP that comes from capture) the party accepted his surrender and unlocked the settlement.

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