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Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Baba Yaga's Dancing Hut - The Soviet JS-1 Tank

This is the second session of the adventure. You might want to read the first one in case you missed it. I am running the 1e Dragon Magazine version enhanced by the 4e version, which fills in details and has great maps.

The Store Was Very Loud and Annoying

We got through a bit more of Baba Yaga's Hut last Monday, but wow were there some problems.

Usually the game store that I run this campaign in is pretty full of Magic players going through a tournament. This time, there wasn't much Magic going on at all, but there were a lot of board games. Loud, loud board games.

It was brutal. I told them to be quiet, and they were for a few minutes, but then it went right back up again. I ended up just shutting the game down early as I couldn't take it any more.

The Dancing Hut is Too Sandbox-y
I had prepared the rest of the hut in the week leading up to the session. What I found was that this dungeon has a problem: It's too wide-open. A lot of the rooms just have a fun little note about a hag sweeping the floor, and not much else. The hut seems to be meant to be a place to send the PCs to go on a mission in. Exploring it like a normal dungeon is going to be very uneventful.

Plus, if you consider the fact that the PCs are probably being watched by Baba Yaga through her magic mirror, she could just pop up and destroy the PCs whenever she liked (her stats are insane - she is like a demigod).

The 4e version fixes this by expanding on it and making many of the rooms full blown encounter areas. This works for 4th edition, because that is what 4e does. 4e is all about encounters. I am running this for DCC RPG, however. I want some encounters, but also lots of exploration and tinkering with motivation.

Baba Yaga's Apprentice

I have set this scenario up with an evil double of a PC being an apprentice of Baba Yaga. Baba Yaga has allowed him to lure the PCs to the hut, and to use the hut to kill them. She is watching and finds the whole thing entertaining, as well as a test for her apprentice.

There is a pool in one of the final rooms of the hut that makes doubles. I have decided that the apprentice has mastered the pool, and can create doubles of himself that do his bidding. So basically, when PCs enter certain rooms, a double is waiting to do some nefarious deed. The PCs are going through the hut trying to find the real apprentice.

Room 6. Grand Throne Room

We left off in Baba Yaga's audience hall. A PC came very close to attacking her but decided against it. Baba Yaga explained to the PCs what was going on.

The heroes made their way to Room 6, which is a throne room. There's 4 giant skulls that shoot paralyzation beams, and a magic throne that has powers. It can create a prismatic sphere, cast rulership (I had this just dominate a lone PC) and creates a globe of invulnerability to protect the person sitting on it.

I had a double in the throne cackling as the PCs were pelted with skull lasers and a prismatic sphere. I did a gimmick where when a skull was destroyed, the globe flickered. PCs could ready and stab the double when a skull was destroyed. They caught on and eventually stuffed a barrier peaks grenade in his mouth and shot him with a laser pistol.

During this battle, the dwarf tried to use her pulse rifle and it malfunctioned. It blew up and almost killed her and a cleric.

Once people were healed (the cleric had to be rolled over... he made his luck check) the thief tried to pry a gem off the throne. Those gems are protected by a save or die effect! She pried one, seized up, but made her save. These crazy old school adventures and their instant death traps... good gawd.

Room 9. Fungus Gardens

There was some more exploring, and our heroes came to the fungus room. I like this one. It has a magic fountain that, when you drink from it, issues random magic effects. That is one of my favorite D&D tropes. The 1e version of the adventure leaves the effects up to the DM, but the 4e version has a fantastic list that I modified and used.

What ended up happening was that the PCs drank from the fountain and rolled very well. They kept getting the best result: one of their items becomes a sentient +1 magic item. The cleric had his sniper rifle (which he got when the heroes went to 1986 New York) enchanted. It was hilarious.

Room 10. Grand Museum
More exploring eventually led to one of the most memorable rooms in the whole dungeon: The museum. This room has a world war 2 soviet tank in it, as well as a steam-powered cannon taken from some steampunk world.

I had a double of the bad guy hiding in the tank. When the PCs entered and began exploring, the double fired an explosive shell at the PCs!

There was a massive explosion and the PCs were hurt really bad. I figured they would use the cannon, but instead they just kind of panicked (and remained in a clump, which made them great targets for a follow up blast.

The party thief bravely ran up to the tank, opened the hatch, and battled the double. This prevented him from firing again. He tried to hit her with force manipulation (the most feared spell in DCC RPG) but it fizzled. She stabbed him to death with Luna, the blood-drinking blade from Slaughtergrid.

The Breaking Point

It was at this point that it just got too loud in the store and I decided to just shut the game down for the night. The players were openly discussing playing this game somewhere else. I do not want to do that. I'll talk to the store about figuring out a way to move us to a quieter spot.

I think next session, if the PCs are amenable, I will have Vladmir the cat lead them to the notable rooms so we can bypass the uneventful rooms and get to the good stuff. There's so many doors and secret hatches that the constant choosing grinds the game to a halt.

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