Thursday, July 7, 2016

Little Encounters - The Daemonic Tricks of Ssisssuraaaaggg (DCC RPG's Portal Under The Stars)

I’m running a new table of DCC RPG – this time a physical one, with “real” players (Google Hangout really helped me to keep in touch with my players, but nothing beats actually running a game to a physically present group; it’s an entire different dynamic). So, I started with a Funnel through ‘The Portal Under the Stars’, as usual, and got the survivors through ‘Sailors in the Starless Seas’.

I learned a lot from my older DCC RPG group (via Hangout) and it was really interesting to run the same dungeons a second time (I never did that before). An example: the first group that got into The Portal Under the Stars never managed to finish the dungeon. They’re totally scared by the mortality rate of 0-level game and as soon as they figure it out that they had “enough” to go up to 1st level, their left the place. The new group was different. They took a heavy toll but they’re adamant about going to the end. The consequences were hilarious and coincidentally totally fortuitous – they won (literally) by greed. While half the party faced the terracotta army of the barbarian Wizard King, the other half was digging the pool for gems at the upper level. Those who played/read the adventure probably already figure it out what happened next.

OK, back to what matters. There’s a very cool S&S/Appendix N encounter with a snake demon at ‘The Portal Under the Stars’ and I really wanted to make it more unique/unexpected. So, here’s my take at ‘Ssisssuraaaaggg, The Immortal Demon-Snake!”.

I wanted a demon to be something different (and very traumatic) for the party, so I devised the idea that Ssisssuraaaaggg would implant different telepathic suggestions on each adventurer. I elaborated a table. Write the 6 messages on post cards and distribute it among your players (because this is a Funnel, each player controls 2-4 character, so pick the character with the lowest Luck Points to determine who gets the message).

A fifthly lie, the first poor bastard that kneel suffers a free attack from Ssisssuraaaaggg.
2. Know, o mortal, that I was invested with stewardship of this demesne. Only those that pay the Bloody Tithe due to Me in the space-time continuum may retain their four-dimensional structure”.
This player may inflict 1 point of damage to himself (in the form a bloodletting) to gain sanctuary against Ssisssuraaaaggg. However, if he attacks the snake demon, the effect is broken.
3. I warn thee that one of yours so called allies is in fact an extraplanar entity bent on extracting the eldritch secrets of this place. There It lies revealed, destroy the demon!”
The PC sees another PC shining with an evil red aura. The decision to attack or not the “demon” is entirely up to the PC that got the telepathic message. This can be a fun source of backstabbing, but I’m aware that not all groups enjoy it. In this case, you can do this: if the “demon” PC is killed,  Ssisssuraaaaggg was actually speaking the truth. The killed PC’s body turns to a corrupted demonic carcass and Ssisssuraaaaggg is freed from her Curse, becoming Sis’urech, the Elf (a 1st-level elf rolled normally, but with a free ‘16’ that can be placed in any stat). It is recommended that the killed PC gains Sis’urech, the Elf as prizing (for dying).
4. JOIN ME! Together we shall rule this dungeon!”
OK, if a PC is fool enough to accept this offer, he instantly suffers a Great Corruption (from the Wizard’s table).
5. The horn! The horn! They must not suspect my one weak spot!”
Another lie. If a PC grabs Ssisssuraaaaggg (possible suffering an attack) and succeed at a Strength check (DC 12), he must also succeed at a Will save (DC 12) or become dominated by the demon. If you’re feeling magnanimously you can allow the PC that survive this encounter, to use the horn as focus for a invoke patron (Azi Dahaka was my choice) and a good excuse for becoming a wizard after the Funnel. 
6. Oh no, adventurer… again”.
The luck fellow of the party. Grant this brave “hero” +1d3 bonus Luck Points. However, if he finishes the encounter with any bonus Luck Points remaining, reduce his remaining Luck Points by 1d6. He was granted a bless by the Gods of Mayhem! and they’d be offended if the pitiful mortal didn’t use their benediction.

The effects are intentionally contradictory (it’s a chaotic spirit after all).