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Unfathomable! Session 8

  Ye Dogs of Destiny bully a jerk, explore some ruins, and chat with an extraplanar entity.

The Campaign: Operation Unfathomable! and Odious Uplands!, both by Jason Sholtis

The Ruleset: 5e

Ye Dogs of Destiny:

  • Brother Ded, a monk/political shit-stirrer.
  • Mort, a fugitive from Imperial justice.
  • Greta, a baby-eating hag-turned-Citizen Lich. 
  • Ulther, a ranger and artifact smuggler. 
  • Zinee, a wooly neanderthal druid/cosmetologist. 
  • Toljin, a magical boy raised by pirates. 
  • Doloth, an unwilling-Citizen Lich.

The Story So Far

The PC Party, ye Dogs of Destiny, have entered the Underworld in pursuit of the fabulous Nul Rod. They have tussled with the local fauna, Shaggath-Ka's murder-crazed worm soldiers, and mutant mutineers. They are now exploring the ancient ruins of the Beetletown Welcome Center and Domiciles.

This Session

With their players back from Spring Break, Brother Ded, Greta, and Ulther emerged from the cloud of quantum possibility that they had disappeared into two sessions ago. The party took a long rest in a couple abandoned/ransacked Beetle domiciles. Greta spent some time casting Identify on the magic items looted from Goddard's corpse, and then jockeying over who got what. Greta, the wily hag, tried to claim at least one item wasn't magic at all and slip it into her pocket, but didn't get away with it. The opalescent armor was haggled over with some gusto—it is, after all, very good armor.

As this was wrapping up, noises were heard from outside, and the party found a strange-looking human and two armored companions harassing Dr. Ukrumus Flaughf, the depressed little mushroom guy,

The human turned out to be Professor Zabon Gormontine, missing scientist from the far-flung future of Omni-Cosmic University, and his armored companions are robots. The robots dug through Falughf's possessions, including his dissertation, which they dismissed as "without value."

Gormontine spoke with a positivity and gusto that was at odds with his rough handling of Flaughf. He assured the PCs that this was justified, if they only knew about the Science Fungoids as he did. Ye Dogs of Destiny took an immediate dislike to him, and began insulting him, purporting to reveal comments they'd overheard about the quality of his research when at the University. Since my players are mostly mid-career academics, these comments were extremely on-target. They know how to hurt.

Gormontine and his robots started to leave after the barrage of insults, but he dropped a reference to the Nul Rod that got everyone talking again. It was established that Gormontine has travelled to the past in order to secure the Nul Rod, but not for himself. He is desperate for it to be returned to King Syantides' treasure. If it isn't, it will cause a chain of events with dire implications for the future of the entire Universe! As this aligns with their own goal, the PCs decide he can tag along with them.

Their immediate goal is to find the Temple of Nul, which they believe to be Northwest of their current position. They headed off through the Ancient Beetle ruins in a north-ish direction. They found a dilapidated Beetle egg chamber filled with ancient eggs and petrified larvae. This room gave them the willies, so they skirted around the edges until they came to the first passage out, even though it led them to the East, in the opposite direction of where they want to go. 

Later, among the ruins, they found an apparatus that allowed them to view other planes of existence, and nearby enclosures that held creatures drawn from these planes. A few creatures were still alive, millenia after the extinction of their captors. One was a chatty cloud of shimmering gasses that could not exist outside its habitat, but insisted it was content (if starved for some decent conversation). They engaged with it for awhile, but its conversation kept turning to the mating habits of various corporeal beings. With the aid of Gormontine's robots, they dragged its habitat over to where it could watch another habitat: an miniature civilization of termites. "Oh, look!" it piped, "They've built a little airport!"

They were just about to leave the area when they spotted one more habitat in the back. They were surprised to find a living Ancient Beetle scientist, trapped and desperately gesticulating for them to let it out! They followed its hand-signals, and the habitat disassembled itself with a hissing outrush of steam and gasses to reveal not a Beetle scientist, but a hideous insectoid monster with antler-like antennae, grasping claws, and a razor sharp probiscus!

And on that cliff-hanger, we called it an early night, because I had early travel plans the next morning.

Next Session

I've already written up a conversion for the monster they've encountered, but I think I'll beef it up. It's one creature versus a party of seven plus three NPCs, so there's a real chance that it wouldn't last a single round. And I think the party could use a scare after this pretty mellow session. Since it's a psychic predator, maybe I'll give it the ability to dominate humanoids. That should help even the odds a smidge.

On another note, I've given out a lot of legitimately powerful magic items, so far. A ridiculous number for a second-level party. I wouldn't normally do that, but this is a very dangerous environment and a short campaign, and I want them to get to play with some pyrotechnics before it ends. That said, it's time to slow down with items that are just straight-forward good, and lean into more that are weird, situational, and require creative application.

Goblin Punch's d20 Magic Artifacts
Papers & Pencil d100 Wondrous Items
Bastionland d100 Interesting Magic Items: The first half. (I don't think the second half was ever completed?)
The Arcana from the first edition of Into the Odd.


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