When last we met, the brave adventurers Garoc (Warrior), Pharos (Magus), Screwtail (Fox) and Balan (Bear) had successfully recovered the Dragonheart Emerald from the minions of the One Eyed God and were rest on their laurels in the wilderness town of F'ked
Whilst they were resting Garoc took his leave of the party to store their ill-gotten gains (the player could not attend the session) whilst the remainder drank and made merry. Their merriment was interrupted however by a massive explosion. Upon investigation the conflagration they discovered that the smithy had been totally destroyed. Smoking pair of shoes for the Blacksmith etc.
After some cursory investigation they were approached by an irate merchant who told them that the blacksmith was working some strange metal that he discovered off the Road of Broken Glass in the lands near the Crater of the Fallen God. The metal was pocked with gems and shone with a weird light and he was told by the smith that it could be made into an amazing set of armour. The merchant would gladly pay the adventurers an impressive amount of money if they were to travel to the smoking crater and retrieve more metal. How could they refuse.
Setting off they reached the Forest of the Lonely Druid by nightfall but after Screwtail pissed in the druids bed the last time they were there they decided they would camp out rather than visit. Sadly they were assailed by a pack of carnivorous semi-intelligent Iron Monkeys in the night but after a few scrapes saw them off and hightailed it out of the woods towards the crater.
They reached the crater at the dead of night but decided that they would press on, being determined adventurers - and blatantly mad. They scrambled over the rubble and pressed through the savage rocks for the rest of the night, coming across nothing except a few tribal carvings making groaning metal noises. Confused, they pressed on and at morning they reached the lip of the crater to look down and see a palace had been built there! A beautiful towering city built from strange materials and populated by genderless, featureless automatons.
They decided to approach the automatons but the workers scarpered and a ball of fire came to greet them. Sadly, Pharos had a sparker moment which the guard took as an attack, spawned into a fully fledged Fire Elemental and attacked them. There was a lot of Assisting from Screwtail and the elemental was seen off but they didn't have time to rest on their victory as they were being pressed by more guards so they barrelled into the palace, with singed tails for their troubles.
They descended down into the depths of the palace, where they encountered more automatons, weird technology and eventually an Air Elemental guard which they beat - oh, and a doorway with strange glowing lights around it. Curiosity overwhelmed the fox, who dived through causing his fellows to follow.
They appeared before more automatons - gold, silver and bronze ones - who they interrogated for a while about their purpose. They were aboard the Sky Chariot of the Great Hunter God Akuma! And yes, they were indeed, in space. Balan professed that there were no gods whilst Screwtail was adamant that the Fox god brought all good foxes a mate with many cubs. Before the philosophical debate could continue they were greeted by a human called Carin, who claimed to be the son of the Great Hunter God Akuma.
Carin explained that Akuma and his kin travelled the void hunting dragons and the Black Dragonlord Bazal had landed on this sphere. He was currently burying into the planet and when he reached a deep enough level he would lay his egg in the planet and leave. When the egg hatched the planet would be destroyed and a new dragon would be born! Akuma would stop Bezal before he could destroy the sphere. He had gone down to settle his palace and then gather forces to assault Bezal - much as Bezal would gather forces to defend his egg.
Slightly taken aback by all of this, the adventurers decided that they would leave. Fast. However Carin was quite taken with Screwtail - a species he had not seen before - and he wanted to examine him. Words like dissection were used. At this point everyone decided to fight their way out but Carin and his 20 mooks were beyond them and they were all KO'd. No-one died.
Later they were awoken to discover they Carin had examined Screwtail but he was so impressed by the Foxes art with the bow they he realised he was way beyond animal and didn't operate. Carin then confessed that he had not heard from Akuma for some time and he was concerned for his whereabouts. His sister, Darra, had decided to travel down to the sphere herself and carry on the hunt for Bezal but she would surely die.
He asked the players if THEY would find Akuma for him and tell him that his daughter had gone to finish the job he started. He promised the players riches beyond their wildest imaginations if they succeeded. Naturally, they agreed. Finally he gave them each a pendant to wear which would allow them in and out of the palace freely without troubling the elemental guards.
They travelled, with the metal they needed back to F'kd, collected their reward and then continued to the small village of Totalee. Totalee used to be part of F'kd until the Independent College of Invokers moved into it and F'ks shuffled across a little to get out of the way of the random magical explosions and sporadic mutations.
They visited the magical school (which is bigger on the outside than it is on the inside, after a particularly annoying mistake) looking for a scryer who could find the God Akuma. They went into the Scrying Tower (which is taller than it appears, but the College has never secured levitation funding). The Scrying team (wearing large lens arrays on their faces and looking through massive lens windows in their tower) placed in the rose-tinted filters and looked out for a god. Which they could not find. They looked everywhere for a number of things and could find nothing.
It was then that the players asked the scryers to look for the merchant they had been initially hired by and he was running from a giant black wyrm, attacking F'kd.
They were teleported back to F'kd (1 in 12 chance of losing a random stat for Teleport, I decided) and attacked the Wyrm, who was hammering home the message of the huge illusionary dragon in the middle of the town. 'All those who wish to live will join the army of the Black Dragonlord Bezal'
The Wyrm was a stern test of the team. Pharos couldn't hit the broadside of a barn. Screwtail lifted Balan and threw him onto the Wyrm. We had a small debate on whether a Bear with a Heavy Reach Club in a Wyrms maw was a Close or a Hazardous arena! The bear was chewed up and spat out. The Magus was clubbed down with a flick of the Wyrm's tail and finally it came to flying dogfight between Screwtail and The Wyrm, which the fox won... just.
Recovering from their injuries and watching the people of F'ked picking over the remains of the corpse, the heroes reflected on the fact that they are the only ones who know the truth about what is about to happen to their world...
Balan added +1 Size and gained Yari Mastery (to combine with his Heavy Reach Weapon ... ouch)Screwtail added +1 Eloquence and gained Commanding VoicePharos added +1 Stubborness and gained Enchantment
It's still very fun to play and the system melts into the background pretty well. I used the 'harm' rules more this time around and they worked a treat. Balancing the monsters is still a skill that you have to learn rather than something that happens easily. Both Carin the Godspawn and The Black Wyrm were really hard work for the players but we reckoned that with the Warrior present they would have been easily overpowered (Long Shadow allowing him to tank)
we do have a situation with one of the characters, who is Screwtail the Fox. He has now taken Strategist and Commanding Voice, which allows him to use Eloquence for Assists. He now gets +8 in total to his Assist which means he can never fail to add Awesome Tokens to his party. He will never ever get involved in a combat unless he is the last person and on average he is adding 4 tokens a turn, without fail. Additionally he can fly, which means that I have to come up with some quite curious methods for people to hit him... every time.
+1/+1 Awesome tokens work fine. No problem there. Inner Fire will have to be reworked so that it mirrors the nerfing of Awesome Tokens.
Finally the monster version of Blast doesn't have any additional damage on it, so it divides 1 between the adventurers that are hit. There should be some guidance (like 'round up' or minimum of 1). It only really became useful when the monster had Awesome Tokens.
I'd also like to see a Regeneration monster power. Just a simple 'The monster regains 1 HP at the beginning of each round of combat'