So TPK’s have been dogging me for a few weeks now. First, a TPK at PDX Age, then, Daron. But let’s start at the beginning.
Mike and Sue came to this game, and missed the last game, so we quickly changed over their character. Mike’s simian (ape) was converted to a hairy Welshman. Now before you complain about this, I figured that it made sense. Nobody understood what the simian was saying, and no one would obviously understand what a Welshman was saying. I ran the concept by a Scotsman that Mike and I work with and he thought it was perfectly reasonable, and in fact quite likely that a simian would become a hairy Welshman.
Sue’s synth character became a general badass construct. A finger wagging badass construct to be exact. I am thinking that the finger wag may need to have a special ability… We didn’t fully define what the construct would be, or exactly how the construct would feed but it didn’t seem to matter… more on that later.
The party continued on with the witch issue from the Face Snatchers episode of Savage Tales of Horror Volume 1. The party managed to convince the town, mayor and the priest that they had nothing to do at all with the disappearance of the old crone / witch… ahem, Daron!
Nobody thought it would be a good idea to explore the woods at night. The town thought that they had already suffered enough at the hands of the witch, and of course, the party was responsible for all of the trouble in the world to date, so the town convinced the party to go the next day and find the people who were taken.
Father Burkhard, the priest suggested that the party could come to the church, and get fed. The priest and his two acolytes fed the party with a delicious meal of porridge, cheeses, bread and mead. Mike (the hairy Welshman and previous simian) and Eric (the big head thumper) dug into the food and really made a name for themselves in the church.
Everyone else seemed to eat moderately, then when the priest started discussing the afterlife, transmutation and other metaphysical ideas, Mike and Eric went to sleep. Sue was very quick to start poking at the facilities of things like purchasing indulgences and so forth. Gavin seemed pretty happy. Daron looks at me and calmly says “it is done”.
Now “it” was a code word that Daron told me about earlier that week. You see, Daron was upset because Gavin smashed his teeth and broke his jaw previously. It didn’t matter that Daron now had some amazing chompers, it really mattered that Daron’s character was upset and seemed to think that things had to be “made right”. Once per day, if he failed his will save, he would upon a failed save, murder Gavin.
Now Gavin is my son. Really, he is my son. So what is a DM to do? Well, let it play out.
So after a while, everyone goes to sleep.
Eric wakes up a while later a bit hungry, and starts looking around the church for some more food. The priest had told Eric that they would have a feast tomorrow followed by breakfast. Eric was pretty jazzed about having a feast followed by breakfast, since after all, two meals were better than one.
Eric searched around, and eventually found up at the front of the church a small cabinet that had a box of plain wafer crackers and two bottles of wine. He consumed them all, leaving telltale cracker crumbs all over the floor and his clothing. The tasteless crackers were not terribly good, but they were filling. The wine did make the meal complete. The table at the front of the church had a nice long finely woven tablecloth which made a very nice napkin for Eric to clean up with.
And then bad things happened.
Someone started a fire in town. And people were walking in from around the forests and abducting the townspeople. Sue made her roll and woke up, and decided to go see if she could help. So did Mike. Mike became a part of the bucket crew. Gavin did not wake up, neither did Eric. Daron woke up, and figured out that this was his opportunity, he just had to figure out how to get rid of Eric, so he could murder Gavin in peace.
Daron woke up Eric, and had Eric go help, then walked over to the sleeping Gavin, and with his mechanical jaws, ripped open his neck and feasted on Gavin’s flesh. It was kind of awful. Gavin never had a chance. Daron then grabbed the body and stuffed it in a closet in the Priests quarters. Daron wasn’t particularly sneaky, so there was a pretty decent blood trail. Daron then went outside.
Every now and then, when things happened, Gavin would say “I wake up”, so I would have him roll a notice roll. “I got a 12”, nope, you don’t wake up. “I got a 5”, nope, you don’t wake up… I figured that eventually, if he rolled about a 78, he would rise from the dead, but that didn’t happen. Gavin also didn’t realize he was dead.
Mike was part of the bucket brigade, the townspeople decided that the house that was on fire was a total loss, but they could control the flames from spreading to other homes by wetting down the buildings and the thatch roofs.
Eric went looking for food.
Daron followed a couple of the abductors taking a compliant townsperson to the edge of the town. Two of the attackers touched Daron’s face and Daron lost all ability to move or resist. He was under their spell. They brought Daron to the old crone at the edge of the forest. Daron was freed from the spell observed the old crone he saved from the fire kneeling over a townsperson. She proceeded to peel the face off of the person, and place the face in her bag. The faceless townsperson got up, and started wandering back into the woods. The old crone looked at Daron, and said “You saved me, so I will let you go once. If I ever see you again, I will make you one of my slaves.”
Now Sue had one of the attackers try to touch her on the face, and she outright killed him. Eric killed another attacker. Daron came back and bit one of the faceless people also. Basically beheaded the poor guy in one bite. I am not sure how it happened, but when you roll a 28 on damage and the poor minion bastard’s toughness is 7, well, something bad happens.
They noticed that the attackers were dressed just like the townspeople, but they were covered in dirt and mud… just as if they had crawled out of their grave… and …. they had no faces…Then the attack was over. Several townspeople were taken.
With the attack over, several townspeople were looking around and noticed the two attackers killed by Eric and Sue. They were identified immediately as some of the people who have been missing. Even without faces, the townspeople recognized their own. One of the attackers was missing two fingers, which a goat had eaten when the person was a small child.
It was becoming light, and the townspeople were horrified. Nothing like this had ever happened in this quiet neck of the woods.
The priest decided to bring the town and party back to the church and have the feast, a communion to help strengthen the town. But there was a problem. The host was missing. Evidently, the faceless ones had taken the host, where was no host to convert to the body of Christ of blood of Christ. There were cracker crumbs all over, but no one could figure out how the faceless attackers had eaten the crackers. Eric was quiet.
Gavin piped in “I rolled a 9 to wake up”. I calmly say to him “you don’t wake up.”
Then someone noticed the blood trail. They followed it into the priests quarters, and found Gavin stuffed like a broken rag doll into a small closet. Once again, no one understood how the faceless people could have bit out Gavin’s neck.
Gavin suspected foul play, but his character was dead. He looked at Daron (the player, not the character) and said “J’accuse!” and I reminded him that as a dead PC, he could not say that, especially with his throat torn out. Daron looked innocent, and said “Who, me?”
Eric asked if the wound on Gavin’s corpse looks like the wound of the poor attacker who had his head bitten off. Eric, for having almost no investigation ability rolled really, really well. I mean almost godlike in his roll. So I had to give him something…
I explained that the neck looked like it was cut out, almost like it was a mechanical cut. The minion with the head that was missing was completely gone. However, he could see that Daron’ had some meat stuck in some of his metal teeth… no one thought to ask, where did Daron get the meat, since they had bread, cheese, porridge and wine the previous night.
So Gavin looked at me and said “So what happens to the 20 XP that I had earned on this character?” Hmmm. What to do? Maybe the lawn needs to be mowed? But I digress.
So Eric is stuck on this “feast” idea. He doesn’t want to listen to reason, that the feast is something that the community needs to feed their soul. So Eric decides to go out into the town and break into houses and eat the food. Mike goes also. Evidently, hairy Welshmen also need lots of food.
The first house that Eric comes into has a stew pot over a fire. Eric tries it, and it is too hot. So Eric goes to the next home, and finds that stew pot over the fire is too cold. But the third house, the stew pot is juuuuuuuuuuuuussssssssstttt right!. Eric and Mike consume it all, then go back to the other two homes and eat that too, even if it is too hot or cold.
Finally, the party is ready to move out.
They move to the edge of the woods, Gavin playing the priest NPC now. The faceless people didn’t try to hide their tracks. Either they were unaware of it, or maybe…. they wanted to be followed?
The party makes many successful tracking rolls. Eventually they find that the group that they are following has moved off the main track, and has gone on a less traveled trail to the right of the main trail.
After several more successful tracking rolls, the party ends up in a large clearing. They can see the tracks go into the field, then disappear. Each character stands at the edge of the field and stares. Then Mike goes in,to where the tracks end and notices…. nothing. He blew his roll.
So the rest of the party comes into the field and figures out that the tracks disappear into the ground. As Daron is slowly taking a stick and picking up a piece of turf, he sees a hole in the ground. A small hole that seems to be slowly collapsing. Everyone is looking at the hole as it is collapsing, and then… a big group of faceless people pour out of other holes in the ground and attack!
It wasn’t much of an attack. It really was more of a nuisance. The party quickly dispatched the faceless attackers, and a bunch of their chips. They counted noses, and realized that Gavin’s priest was gone. Completely gone. But that is what happens when you have a parry of 2.
The party looks at each other, and tries to figure out what to do. Mike goes in. He worms his way down one of the holes, and ends up in a subterranean maze. He can see the roots of the grass from above, and the roots are hanging down into the chamber, and all give off an eerie red glow, as if by magic.
Mike moves through the maze and comes to a T. Looking to the right, he can see four faceless townspeople guarding a group of townspeople with faces, along with the priest. There is an old crone crouched over one of the townspeople, and she pulls the face off him. Mike attacks. Now evidently, when Welshmen attack, they sound just like simians, whooping, cawing, and other such things. I was not aware of it, but Mike’s workstation is right next to the Scotsman’s workstation in the office. And evidently, Mike found out all about what Welshmen do from the Scotsman. Who could you trust more about how the Welsh act than a Scotsman, right?
The old crone looks up, casts a spell, and Mike was transfixed.
Now we all know that the first rule of playing RPG’s is never split the party, right?
After all it makes the DM work harder and that pisses off the DM, and even if he isn’t a complete ass, he will still kill at least half of the part to teach them a lesson. Err, rather, when you split the party, it turns out that the properly balanced encounter for he entire party is OP for the subparty.
Well, it doesn’t help when one member of the party goes super gonzo on another and murdilates another member.
Well, Sue and Daron go in. Rather Daron goes in, then Sue follows. Daron wiggles down the corridor, and finds he has to crouch quite a bit. It is really tight in here. He makes his way down to the T. He looks left and sees an old crone collapsed on the floor of the cavern. To his right, he sees four faceless people guarding a group of other villagers and the priest, and another old crone pulling the face off one of the villagers. Now, Daron has seen this before, so it is not particularly disturbing. But his attention is drawn to the crone to his right. He turns to help her, and she moans “she will kill everyone”, then reaches up and takes control over Daron by taking his face. Well, she did warn him at the edge of the village clearing.
Then Sue shows up, Daron’s faceless body attacks Sue. Sue kills Daron. Now Sue doesn’t just incapacitate Daron. She rolls so much damage that it completely blows through his shaken and like 60 wounds via raises in one attack. She went from having crappy rolls to being crowned Ms. Coup De Grace 2016 in one attack. I have never seen an underdog come from behind to win a title so soundly.
Gavin gleefully chortled, guffawed and he may have even stuck his tongue out at Daron after that. Gavin seemed to get some sort of inhuman pleasure out of that. But then, what comes around, goes around, then it comes around again just to go around again.
Mike stands still, facing the old crone in the middle of the room, not aware that Sue just eviscerated, mutilated and blenderized Daron. Somewhere in his hairy Welsh soul, he knew something massive had happened.
Daron wasn’t sure what happened. He went from “RAWR” to “um” in under one round of combat.
Eric was too busy crawling through the tunnel to know what happened.
Sue attacked the crone in the hall, next to the Daroncorpse. She failed. The crone took her over.
Eric showed up. His entry into the chamber fully placed a bookmark at the end of the idea to “never split the party”
Well, it was all over except the crying. Eric didn’t stand a chance.
As the DM, I could have done a complete TPK, but I decided that the party would wake up, with their faces… Well at least Sue, Mike and Eric. The old crone’s couldn’t figure out where the Welshman’s face started and the hair ended.
Daron and Gavin need to generate new characters.
Sue, Mike and Eric were given the opportunity to work for the old crones, or die. They quickly decided that they could subcontract to the old crones.
That means that I can get out the books for Solomon Kane and start running that one!!!!!!!!!