Friday, July 20, 2018

Play Report: Sleeping Place of the Space Swine

Ran myself a pick-up game last night: a level 0, two-man run of Logan Knight's Sleeping Place of the Feathered Swine, using my Danscape Spacejammer setting and 5-ish Hack rules.

Party consisted of:
  • Freebo, a gnomish hull-barnacle scraper
  • Dean, a goliath death-ray optics-polisher
(Occupations taken from the space dungeon backgrounds list via Hapless Henchman)
We open with the two unlucky chaps working on a mail ship in the outer system (Freebo was previously fired for being too honest with his boss, and Dean accidentally killed the prior mailman with one of the death-rays he was polishing and so felt honor-bound to replace him).

On their ship with them were some assorted NPC crew-members (read: backup PCs)
  • Basiera, a drow jacobin and pilot
  • Durran, a goliath forge-father
  • Jacques, a sea-elf formerly of the space-curry industry
  • Igor, a duergar mad scientist assistant and Time Cube devotee.

Basiera informed the crew that the asteroid settlement they were approaching hadn't been responding to any normal communication, but she was picking up a weak, intermittent distress beacon. The laws of space are quite clear, one must respond to distress signals and mysterious lacks of signals in equal measure, and so Freebo and Dean were selected as the away team. They in turn chose Durran (and his very impressive custom-built plasma rifle) to tag along with them, and head down to the planet.

(For a visual aid, the settlment consisted of several sealed-off craters which had had breathable atmosphere pumped into them and some basic vegetation transplanted.

In the abandoned arrival center, Freebo hacks himself some admin privileges and looks through the security footage: seems everyone packed up shop and left in the middle of the night before last. Lifesign detection is only picking up one other individual, somewhere outside.

On the crater floor the trio find that life form to be a harried thaumonaut named Felix. He explains that he was part of the security team that was sent in from the main settlement when the crater was sealed off night before last. He begs for help, claiming that his party was attacked shortly after entering a nearby cave by unknown beings. He's lost his spellbook and his friends, and still needs to find out what's going on.

Dean, being a big dumb earnest idiot with a heart of gold, manages to persuade him to come along with them. Felix, so shaken by his recent catastrophe, can't figure out if he's okay with this. Dean has more or less adopted the wizard at this point.

Upon entering the cave, Dean fashions a sling so as to more easily carry the traumatized Felix as one would a baby. The wizard does not complain.

The party quickly finds the remnants of a campfire and a pit of ooze. Freebo, in trying to investigate the shimmering rocks on the other side, loses his grip and falls into the pool, shlorbing down into a bigger cavern. Despite being able to call up to his friends, he is written off as dead by Dean with great melodrama.

On the lower level: Freebo stays far away from the snorning pink flab-hulk that is the feathered swine, finds some light-absorbing mushrooms, and manages to find a passage back up to the upper caves.

On the upper level: Dean, Felix, and Durran manage to avoid a perilous chasm. In a crack in the wall Dean finds a bloated, severed leg. Worms begin to eat into his hand - he calmly pulls out his space-lighter and burns them out.

Freebo rounds the corner then, and is discovered with great joy to be not dead. Being a gnome, he is able to fit into the crack and find the wounded Aspeth, one of Felix's compatriots. With the wizard, Freebo is able to get Aspeth down from her perch and into Dean's sling. She categorically refuses to be taken back to the ship for medical attention, and insists on killing the creatures in the cave before she dies. She gives the ampoules of sedative to Freebo.

In the next chamber, they find the worm tumors, feasting upon the remains of the security team. Durran (guided by Aspeth's advice) advances fires a shot off to smoke them out.

Combat is met, then: two of the tumors go after Durran, while the other four hold the entrance against the other two. Freebo manages to get two successful ampoules into them, allowing Dean and Aspeth to go aid Durran: alas, they are too slow and his aim is too poor in the melee to be much help. Durran's throat is torn out and he crushes the tumor's heart through the hole he shot in its chest.

Dean is infected again during the fight, and the infestation swiftly sweeps up his arm. Using his goliath resilience, Dean shrugs off the damage that lopping off his arm with Aspecth's axe causes, and cauterizes the stump with Freebo's laser-scraper. He picks up Durran's plasma rifle and slings it over his shoulder.

Investigation of the room reveals the leftover equipment of the dead security team. Freebo grabs the sphere from the pool, and the crew descend deeper. The monsters need to be rooted out.

In the burrow-room, Freebo manages to find three black firebombs in a hole in the wall. This is great, until a tumor slides out of another burrow and manages to get its claws onto Felix. The others manage to kill it quickly, but the wizard's spacesuit is ruined.

The crew enters now the great chamber of the feathered swine, queen and source of this infection. Dean, using his lighter, a scrap of cloth, and the bottle of windex he got as background equipment, fashions a crude molotov and tosses it at the swine. Freebo follows it up with a black firebomb.

The swine does not appreciate being set on fire and lets out a horrific screech, bull-rusing the group. Dean is struck down and killed. Aspeth rolls out of the sling and grabs the plasma rifle. Felix is crushed under the creature's bulk. Aspeth takes off half of its head with a green bolt but it's not enough to fell the beast.

"KILL THE FUCKER!" she screams.

Freebo, knowing that this is the only way to end the nightmare, dodges out of the way of the swine's burning beak and tosses a second grenade behind him.

The explosion is a glorious spray of chunky pork salsa. Aspeth's severed arm flies by, flipping off the swine's carcass. Dean's severed arm flies by, giving a thumbs up.

Freebo retreats to the ship, traumatized forever. Basiera dumps the packages off at the visitor center, declaring that if "they want their mail that bad, they can fucking get it themselves."