Monday, June 24, 2019

Worst Case Scenario #18: 'Time Machines, Cultists and Samurai - Oh My!'

Its been a while since we revisited our rollicking Strange Aeons campaign of manly, two-fisted adventure and cliff-hanging derring-do, so I dug up the character sheets and dusted off the pulp figures so we could play another chapter in our story.

To recap: It is 1937, and our team of stalwart adventurers, following a tenuous lead, are  in the midst of investigating a secret cave complex along the Basque coast of war-torn Spain. They have just vanquished a combined group of The Cult of the Yellow Hand and the Nazi Special Action Unit: ‘Dark Ocean’. At the end of that pitched melee, the heroes captured a Dark Ocean senior officer whom they questioned (using a touch of harsh language, it must be admitted). 

The Dark Ocean Officer, plotting his evil plan. (figure painted by Nick)
From that miserable cretin they gained intelligence that the tunnel complex continues much deeper, ultimately leading to a super-secret laboratory of vile, eldritch design.  With this knowledge they set off to find this strange lab.

Upon entering the final cavern, the heroes discover a large foreboding device with a group of Yellow Hand cultists and a Dark Ocean officer arrayed on its platform. The evil commander points towards the interlopers and barks out an order. Before the adventurers can respond, the alien engine glows bright and their enemies disappear in a flash of yellow-green light.

The cultists give the heroes the finger before whisking away.
So , something BIG is being planned by the forces of EVIL and our heroes will need to act with cleft-chin determination if they wish to foil the nefarious plans of The Yellow Hand and Dark Ocean!
How will this end? What unspeakable things are the villains planning? Well, let's find out.

The investigators examine the machine and after some poking around deduce that it is some sort of ethereal transporter! 

On the upper command platform they find the command instrumentation is set as follows:

Ein: 32/3/50.2303 x 131/2/55.5714 + 1447
Zwei: 27/34/25.3416 x 34/30/1.9686 - 1992
Drei: 35/54/7.041 x 14/31/4.821 + 1565
Vier: 19/52/1.8624 x -99/3/35.676 +1262
Fünf: 42/43/39.2046 x -81/2/34.3608 +1602

After puzzling it out, the heroes deduced that the machine has been calibrated to five locations around the world, vis-a-vis longitude and latitude coordinates. The four numbers at the end of each sequence eluded them (but it eventually became clear as we discover below).

Knowing that there was no time to waste, our adventurers, plus two faithful henchmen, calibrated the machine to the first set of coordinates, positioned themselves on the platform, and... they went.

This is the point where I had a bit of fun messing with the players.

The guys thought they would simply be travelling to another setting, playing as their normal, regular 1930s era characters. But instead what happened when I revealed the second play surface was that not only were they in another hemisphere and different time (15th century Japan), but they were also of a different race and the opposite sex! 

Here are the heroes when they left through the Ethereal Transporter

...and how they arrived on the other end(!). Yup, trippy.

So, what happened is that the Dark Ocean ethereal transporter zapped the player characters' bodies to The Dreamlands (one of the Outer Planes described in HP Lovecraft's mythos), while their souls continued onwards to their final destination, possessing bodies in that realm. Sheesh, simple really. 

And here are the Villains which were waiting for them on the other side.

The new body of the Dark Ocean officer. (figure painted by Sidney)

The villains were guarding a Japanese temple, with their leader chanting and chiming the gong. Yep, bad news. 

Undeterred, the heroes advance to make every effort to stop the ritual. Jeremy's character went up the left flank, Sylvain and the parties retainers on the right, and the rest drove up the center towards the temple.

Jeremy's female samurai quickly got stuck in with a mob of enemy ashigaru. While the first few rounds went well, with her killing several with her bow at close range, things turned for the ill and she was overwhelmed by sheer numbers.

Meanwhile on the opposing right flank, Sylvain cut a swath through the enemy minions with his character's naganata. The rest of the players also got caught up fighting the evil minions and time was slipping away...

At the temple the Villain had completed his dark ritual and turned to deal with the approaching heroes. A smile crossed his face as he knew what he had summoned. 

The Villain's body hideously contorted, inexplicably expanded, and finally exploded in a sheet of viscera (love that word, 'viscera' - a wonderful synonym for 'icky') to reveal that a nasty Japanese demon, Jorõgumo, had used his body as a gateway to emerge into this world. Ewww!

The heroes were initially horrified, but quickly recovered and put their heads down to attack the foul creature. In the pitched melee, the Jorõgumo tried to cast webs to ensnare the characters but they deftly dodged them (i.e. succeeded in a series of saving throws that defied belief). In the end it was getting a little tense as all the players were severely wounded by the demon. Nonetheless, Peter's female archer notched an enchanted arrow and managed to find a gap in the demon's defences to take down the foul beast. 

It was a fun night out, with the Daisho rules giving a great game. 

As to the characters and their unfolding adventure? It looks like their next destination will be ancient Egypt. 

Have a great week and stay tuned for the next chapter!