Wednesday, July 4, 2018

Blood In The Water, or, We're Gonna Need A Bigger Boat...

The party came prepared and fully equipped...

... ready to face the Giant Octopus...

,,, but the GM had her own laptop ready...

... and mayhem ensued.
Yes, I know it's blurry, but that's because I was laughing so hard.

So, as related in our last installment of the Saga of the Shieldmaidens, they'd gone for a swim to find and 'collect' a Mysterious Object, which was supposedly an Orb of Great Power. Being canny players, they had their Druid shape-change into one of the local sea creatures, and inquiries were made of the denizens of the deep as to the possible whereabouts of any magical objects that might be secreted in the Sunken City.

Their first lead, from a passing Giant Gulper Eel, resulted in some sort of magical object being detected in one of the large stone heads on the north side of the temple plaza. In order to investigate this, the party's Halfling was stuffed up the stone head's nose - it was the largest opening that the Halfling would fit into - and she passed the magical orb that she'd found out to the rest of the party. However, it wasn't the orb that they were looking for, so further searches were made as the players had realized that the temple pyramids were hollow and contained all sorts of useful goodies what their GM had thoughtfully rolled up and left scattered around as diversions away from the main prize; they were, as was pointed out, 'red herrings' - from which comment you might be able to determine the tone of this game session.

After much fooling around and sundry bits of looting, the party finally Got The Hint and looked into the one and only sand-colored temple pyramid guarded by the Giant Octopus. Said guardian objected to the perusal of the temple's contents, whereupon the Rogue in the party whipped up a set of fake IDs for the party to display which claimed that the party was on Official Business and had every right to have a look around the place.

(Fake IDs, by the way, also played a major part in the previous game session when the party arrived at the Tiki Bar and went to work. The party's Rogue has, I gather, a special kit for the making of these things; in this case, one of the magic users created an air bubble to house the little printing press while the Rogue worked.)

The Giant Octopus was not particularly convinced of the veracity of the party and their credentials, and trouble loomed.

(At this point, seeing how the current flowed, I went over to the next door fast food joint and got a fish sandwich for lunch; I wanted to beat the school of sharks to the buffet that was about to open, as it were.)

As could have been predicted by just about anyone, the party was attacked by the Giant Octopus and defended themselves. The GM was particularly delighted by this turn of events, as she'd been up all night lovingly crafting said Enormous Cephalopod out of various portions of the Monster Manual. Things looked grim for the party, as they were really kinda out-classed and out-armed by the thing.

I found the melee really fascinating, from a game design standpoint, and really gross, from the cleaning-up-the-mess standpoint. The players just waded in on the creature and - this is the important part to remember - used the three-dimensional nature of their surroundings to 'stack' their attacks, both for doing lots and lots of damage and for mutual support. The Octopus was surrounded by the poker-chip depth markers, indicating that all of the party was attacking on every melee round - the defending octopod was limited to one action per round, while the party could get in six to eight actions.

The party turned into hyper-active sushi chefs, and there was a lot of stuff for the surrounding sharks to snack on by the end of round two. Since the party were all in close contact, they could support each other, and things got very messy very quickly.

(It was at this point that one of the players noticed my lunch, and pointed it out to the rest of the party. there was a chorus of "EEEEeeeeuuuwww!" and they went back to slaughtering the Octopus. I tried to get photos, but I was laughing too hard.)

Eventually, the hapless cephalopod was no more, and the party proceeded to get into the Secret Chamber in the heart of the temple to collect the Orb that they were looking for. All in all, they thought it was quite the successful operation, and I thought that it was a very good game. We're back again next week for a little clean-up and detail looting - the party wants to make sure that they've gotten everything worth getting - and then they'll be back to dry land for more adventures.

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