Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Better Than Any Man, UA edition Part 2: Never Bring an Antlion to a Robot Fight

We actually got into Better Than Any Man this time.

So, last time, some mysterious guy told them that they needed to deliver a note to someone in the past, and if they talked to a guy named Willibald Schwartz...

...that he would lead them where they needed to go.

At this point, my players seem to adopt the same strategy whenever a dungeon crawl/James Raggi adventure occurs and proceed very cautiously.  They have enough food for a couple of days, so they avoid towns.  They don't talk to anybody.  They meet some Swedish soldiers on the road, but Goffhilf — himself Swedish — manages to avoid any nasty entanglements.

The PCs find the Mound without incident, and having been warned about the oil pit, don't light themselves on fire.  They approach Willibald cautiously and courteously (more or less), and walk away with a time travel ritual and a lead on several ducats' worth of ruby ant statue for their trouble.

The caves and insect shire on Goblin Hill similarly go hilariously, because they avoid random encounters and have a map of the complex.  Once they're sure they have everything they need, the PCs cast Journey to the Past (rebranded as Song of Ancient Days, a UA-style ritual requiring enough significant charges that Goffhilf went whole hog and sacrificed his hand for a major charge).

Once in the past, everyone learned that Maksymilian is a clockworker, because his "bodyguard" Aleksy is actually a gear-powered robot.

Pitting one robot against a bunch of ineffectual prehistorical cultists went something like this:

Upon their return to the present, they managed to kill the antlion guarding the ruby ant statue through a combination of robot punches and magic.  Goffhilf dealt the killing blow with a critical hit blast spell, reducing the giant antlion to so much hemolymph.

As with most of my dungeon crawls, massive player casualties were avoided through luck and skill.  Also noteworthy is a trend I've noticed in supernatural games: weird things don't give the PCs any trouble (giant antlions, crazed sorcerers, etc.), but mundane things give the PCs major headaches (soldiers, constables, etc.).  It was like that in Deadlands, too; we tangled with a Rattler in one of our first sessions, and were routinely clashing with The Devil Himself, but we were terrified of being arrested.

Where will the intrepid time-displaced 1611 occultists end up next time?  Stay tuned.

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