Friday, 12 October 2018

Jungle Trek session 8 and last - why did it have to be snakes?

Last time on Jungle Trek, the players finally got info on the fortress of the snake cult that's been bugging them. This time, we agreed beforehand to wrap up the campaign and head for other sights. One session to wrap everything up...

My players excel at making choices. At the start of this last session in the ruined jungle city of Pra'Xirek, I asked them: what do you want to do?

  • hunt down the bastard Snake Rakshasa SixGlyph, who has been impersonating the Drow high priest Vulkoor? (success!)
  • try and find the holy Fang of the Sky Serpent / Stinger of Vulkoor Artifact? (not done, but one player moving in on the thing as we fade out)
  • track down the underground cult of snake themed abominations that is trying to piece together their broken demigod, the Sky Serpent? (they are dust)
  • fly back to the Giant sky fortress with its mutatomagic altar and depleted uranium teleportation drive (surely the original owner hasn't found a way to revive her clone by now)? (didn't make it there)
  • haul ass out of this crazy place and make for the safety of the flesh eating jungle? (one player manages to)
  • something completely different? (nope; thank god, they did something I actually prepped)

And players being players, their answer turned out to be "let's just tray to get all of this done in the next couple of hours". Thus said, thus attempted.

We time skipped our way through Pra'xirek's encounter tables. Quicky encounter with crab men trying to flood a section of underground city (ignored - it'll take longer to flood the underground than the players expect to be here). Back to the Drow camp to find the start of an underground river. Encounter with an underwater Chuul that paralyses Indy but gets blasted by Woody.

Primo: waste Rakshasa demon previously impersonating Drow high priest

Finding the temple of the Silver Flame, where self-flagellation visions say their Rakshasa quarry is hanging out. Standing in awe at the 20 meters high central pillar of demon binding fire, fed and reflected by gigantic mirrors at four corners of the cage. Whip-throwing a couple of snake-themed mooks and Drow-turned-snake-cultist into said purifying fire. Hauling ass when a section of wall opens and AZATH, a 40k year old mummy priest of the Silver Flame walks out - all 20 meters of cloud giant of the guy, who in a booming voice commences to cleanse his temple from all this FILTH. *stomp* ABOMINATION. *splatter* VILE. *smear*

Woody, catching their Rakshasa prey about to board a canoe and opening up with the maximum amount of hurt from his soul stealing dagger. How much damage for an empowered, maximized fireball anyway?

I take a page from Skerples and go narative to reward this reckless use of vulgar arcana. Hellfire runs wild and turns demon and attending Drow minion into so much ash, their canoe disappears as does a spherical section of water, walls crack and the surface briefly turns into lava.

Woody barely makes his save not to get sucked into hell on the spot. In the distance, Indy is catching up as Azath the mummy obliterates more mooks.

Part Deux: snake cult 

Where are these guys hiding out again? Interrogation of snake-armed spellcaster last session gave hints to the Songraa tribe of dino taming giants. They keep the Big Guy in a special pallisade - of course Woody and Indy work to break the not-fully-tamed T Rex free from its cage. Mauling commences as the beast wrecks the camp.

Meanwhile, inside the pallisade is an enormous granite block anchoring a chain with links the size of people, leading off down into the earth. Some exploration turns up the long sought Godforge, aninverted pyramid hanging from massive chains in an abyss, where the giants of Xen'drik tried to create their own custom demigods as an upgrade to the regular ones. It crawls with snake-themed abominations

The front entrance, you say? Let's just for this once try the other option. Bot and Gnoll sneak into a hanging balcony, lit from inside by purple-golden fire. And guarded by a patch of red sunflowers. Fuck, it's the telekinetic plants again. Another fireball takes care of half the crop, Indy and his stolen divine sword take care of the rest.

Inside the pyramid: a raging column of divine essence, churning away at its control crystals all the way since the fall of the giant empire. Gravity of the soul sucks at everyone who steps into the central chamber - the guys have wandered into relatively unguarded engineering section. Stairs lead up to the higher levels, but to get there they have to brave the pull of a naked singularity of godly essence.

Woody tries to spiderclimb the walls, gets ripped off laughably easy, and teleports to safety. Indy thinks ahead and uses a protection vs chaos spell to resist the pull on his soul.

In a truly bizarre twist, the group decides not to wreck the terribly exposed control crystals for the temple. Perhaps they're afraid of the pillar of divine fire breaking free?

In any case, this turns out to be the final area of the campaign. Mooks in the higher levels get either blasted or thrown directly into the raging godfire, until the team finds Das Big Bad of the cult - a mound of snakes in all colours that houses a chunk of essence of the dismembered Sky Serpent demigod project. The pile slowly levitates from its basin-throne and proceeds to throw mindmagic at the invaders.

It seems like I'll finally get to wack a player character - but it turns out that for all their resistances, reskinned Mindflayers are weak against one thing: overclocked hellfire to the face.

Wrap-up time 

It's getting late, so I invoke keystone army. The cult's snake abominations turn into regular (well, huge) snakes when their leader bites it, Woody snaps up a big snake scale the size of a pauldron which is the second of the three pieces of the Sky Serpent, and the group even get to free the real Drow high priest from the cult cells. Woody is now torn between serving his demon dagger and the voices of the Sky Serpent in his head, Indy makes a quick calculation and leaves the increasingly unstable wizard-golem to its fate.

In the background, a giant mummy is coming - fade-out time. It's been a fun run with characters that I am very happy will stay in the jungle instead of making their way back to poor, innocent civilisation.

Next up: I'm a player!

At least for as long as it takes Robert to either run a mini campaign of 20th level Pathfinder, or we high level retirees decide to cut our losses and lounge in my wizard's private demiplane-slash-tiki-bar.

Next on this blog:

More prep work for an upcoming Trail of Cthulhu adventure (5-7 sessions) and thoughts on merging 5e D&D with the Sunless Sea setting.

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