Monday, October 1, 2012

HammerPatterns that might have been

As mentioned in some of my recent posts, last week I ran a impromptu RPG. The setting was influenced by Tolkien's Moria and dwarf-based fantasy in general, but also (and more strongly) by Dwarf Fortress. The system was cardX, a variant of the 6X RPG. My posts from Friday gave a detailed plot synopsis, and reprinted the cards that were drawn.

Since we had 6 players plus GM, for every card that was drawn, a great number more were created but never made it into play. These cards represent a number of "what if" scenarios, and actions that almost happened.  As is the danger with 6X, sometimes the best ideas for results just never happen, and sometimes the same idea will end up as a possible result again and again until it either happens or is abandoned. So there's a lot of redundancy here, but also some real gems

The cards got a little shuffled up on the way home, so I'm not 100% certain what order they went in. I've done my best to reconstruct the order they appeared in.  Since we allowed people to throw in 0 to 3 cards per event depending on how inspired they felt, some sections are much larger than others. The previous post will provide more context if my brief titles aren't clear enough.




Card Draw #1:  Burning the tree house.

Mad Oleg starts a fire and a bunch of intelligent orangoutangs attack us from the treehouse.

Elves. Drunk elves. Throwing pumpkins.

An elf hunting party dogs you all the way to the cog-encrusted bridges of HammerPatterned. The supply wagons are lost.

The trees are actually treants. They don't take kindly to being set afire. They attack Mad Oleg.





Card Draw #2: What happens when the bridge-lever is pulled?

Magma chutes open, filling the entire valley with fiery lava. Those on opposite bank will have a painful, but probably non-lethal, crossing.

The gears turn, opening a secret door in the other side (opposite the lever) of the bridge. Inside the secret door are kobolds.

Turns into a giant cogwork stone golem, and it is pissed! Attacks the party.

All the cogs star spinning and the bridge flips upside down. There is a warning of dire evil on the bottom.

The lever sets off a trap! Back on the side we came from there's an explosion and we see a cloud of dust and hear the sound of 1,000 hungry rats being released… RUNNN!!!

The cogs start turning on the bridge, and it starts migrating up the ravine.

Moves down to the lower entrance.




Card Draw #3:  What noise do they hear?

An orcish drum solo.

We hear a rumbling sound, as of volcanic activity. But the syrupbeards would never have built on a volcano!

The haunting wails of dozens of dwarves ghosts flow down the halls of the darkened, abandoned fortress.

It is the metallic sound of some eldritch machine being activated. No doubt created by a crazed inventor.

The sound of a giant, wild party.

It's the sound of pints being poured. Irresistable dwarf lure! (Or possibly a waterfall)

A thousand voices crying "Tusk!"




Card Draw #4: Oin jumps atop the 7-story jasper elephant

Oin lands on top of the elephant, and nothing bad happens. The judges award him a 9, 8 9, and 6 for the leap. (The elf judge was clearly biased.)

Oin reaches the elephants head. It becomes animated and tries to shake him off.

Oin slips, falls, and slides down the curved u-shaped jasper trunk, momentum carries him up the other side, and he disappears into a nostril.

A wind rises from below, blowing Oin to the other side of the gallery with its force. The elephants eyes start glowing.

Slips, slides down to the tusk, and rides it up into a lob into the air.




Card Draw #5: First round of the first combat. Barricade, door #2, ladder up and away, etc.

Moving the log into position too late, it burst through the door but impales itself on the massive timber.

We find the last stand of the dwarfs behind the door. The room is full of bodies stacked like cordwood.

As the dwarves run through the door, Oin remains behind, watching, hidden in the rubble. He's horrified to see Syrupbeard riding the mastodon with an electrum harness.

Army of kobolds in tusk-ivory armor.

The door opens into a shaft going down….

We find a room full of cats.

Brunhilda climbs partway up a ladder ready to pounce on whatever comes out and pound it with her hammer.

The door burst open. A small dwarf child stands on the other side. Naked except for a tusk necklace and a hat shaped like the houdah-tower that a war elephant would carry on it's back.

We find a dining room with only a few corpses.




Card Draw #6 :  Facing the ghost elephant, plus there's a noise behind the barricaded door,

FlameTrunk hurls Oredang (now on fire) across the room. Smashes into Brunhilda, knocking her off the ladder.

Bursts open and a deep demon mastodon strides forth, eyes ablaze!

Brunhilda makes it partway up the ladder when Oredang is flung at her. She manages to grab Oredang and help here onto the ladder. The living mastodon comes through the door and trumpets at the ghost.

Oredang closes the door.

Mammoth bursts through the door, shatters Mad Oleg's beam, and the splinters impale the fake elephant skeleton setting the entire contraption on fire.


Cog Clasphanks jumps in front of the skeletal beast and prostrates herself, taking heed of the engraved warning. The action appeases the elephant and it adopts Cog as a pet.





Card Draw #7-8 : Battling against what we think is a normal mastodon

The mastodon eyes the dwarves with an odd intelligence, then walks deeper into the dungeon.

Brunhilda jumps on the mastodon as it lurches back into the room. Another dwarf, crazed and cackling madly, is riding the mastodon with a silver harness.

The dwarves that run down the passage way that the mastodon came out of find the mastodon's mate and 2 calfs.

In the haste to avoid the beast one of the dwarves accidentally bumps a bucket into a deep well, causing a lot of noise. This wakes a hoard of goblins sleeping deep in the fortress. They're coming!

The mastodon chases us into the needlessly long, narrow staircases over the massive fall with no railing.

Brunhilda waits until the mastodon comes running under her and then jumps on it and batters it to unconsciousness with her hammer.

Draw twice. Both happen.

Brunhilda jumps onto the mastodon from the ladder. Lands on it's head. She proceeds to bludgeon it unconscious with her hammer.

Some dwarves retreat and find a catapult.

Cog prostrates herself to the mastodon. It recognizes this action as supplication, and accepts Cog as a pet. Her friends are freed, but now she must feed the mastodon - Quickly!

Detecting a vein of limestone, Mad Oleg yells at the mastodon getting it to follow him. He leads it to an area with a limestone ceiling and collapses it, trapping the beast.

Thugnar pulls himself along the tusk and smashes open the beast's skull! Then the sound of more mastodons thunders out!

Suddenly Oredang gets a fit of inspiration for an artifact. All the other players each name an item that could be within a few rooms of oredang. Then we do a series of cards to decide/define what she makes.




Card Draw #9: Cog was just swallowed

Covered with carving tools, she is not what you want in your guts. The mammoth starts to roll in agony, it's intestines are sliced open.

The were-mastodon reverts to human form. Cog is inside, and takes a lot of damage. The previously impaled dwarves fall to the ground.

The mastodon runs across a pit trap set up decades ago. It falls 10 levels down, to its death. The ghosts of Cog, Thugnar, and Oin son of Gloin son of Broins son of Droin son of Moain all rise.

Thugnar pulls himself along the tusk until he's eye to eye with the beast. He then head-butts the beast, knocking it silly!

Brunhilda leaps onto the mastodon. Also on its back is a crazed dwarf with a silver harness!

Brunhilda jumps from the ladder as the mastodon runs under. She lands on its head and beats it to death with her hammer.




Card Draw #10: Mecha-mastodon

Noticing that the eyes are gems, Mad Oleg leaps up, licks one, then pulls it out with his pickaxe, impaling a kobold as he does.

The mechamastodon swallows brunhilda. She lands in a cage next to Cog's cage. The kobold co-pilot pokes a bone spear out of the cockpit and impales Cog.

Cog throws her chisel and strikes some random bit of machinery. The mastodon's tusks retract, it's teeth grown, and it turns into a giant mastodon-textured tyrannosaur.

Thugnar pulls himself the beast's face, stares it in the eyes, and head-butts it. The head breaks open revealing the kobolds. Cog gets free, and Brunhilda crashes through the top!

Cog uses her engraving chisel and hammer to chip the grates out of their sockets. Freely moving she grabs the kobolds and 'jettisons' them out the rear, taking control of the mechanical mastodon




Card Draw #11: Oin's fate after impaling.

As he falls from the Beast, Oin son of Gloin crashes into a barrel of Golden Salve, one of the most precious elven plant extracts in the land. Realizing the healing properties immediately, he is forced to drink the barrel as it drains onto the floor. Blech…

Oin son of Gloin is dragged from the battlefield as Oredang opens up on the machine with a ballista. We find a pantry and barely treat his wounds with an ancient ale and fungus poultice.

Oin son of Etc shoves a large, medicinal loaf of bread in the wound! As the bread does its work, Thugnar kicks the other tusk loose and falls to the ground.

As Oin lies bleeding on the ground, he feels a tongs in his right hand. His spirit leaves his body and enters the tongs, where it survives many years longer than any of those other dwarves.

Looking for the hospital to try to help Oin, Mad Oleg finds another, unoccupied Mammoth vessel and gets it into operation.

Oredang goes into a fell mood! She claims a butcher's workshop. Then she comes back, stick a pick in Oin's head, and drags off his corpse.

Oin has landed in a pile of dwarf clothing. It's dirty and ripped, but he uses it to make a bandage so he won't bleed to death.




Card Draw # 12:  Groin's entrance

Oredang finds a mysterious artifact crossbow inlaid with cat bones, and decorated with spikes of jasper and bituminous coal. Someone yells "Anyone in there? Father..?"

Cog breaks the inner cage grates from their hinges, allowing her to kill the other kobold and take control of the mechanical mastodon. During the struggle to take control she smashes the beast through the front gate, opening the fortress up to Groin.

Groin, son of… opens the main doors by means mysterious. Meanwhile, Thugnar, bloody tired of being impaled on a tusk, grabs a hold of a column and yanks the tusk free of the mechamastodon.






Card Draw # 13: More mechamastodon melee

The remaining kobold gets tired of going in circles. It stops the mastodon and makes the head shake, causing Brunhilda to go flying and thugnar to fall off the tusk.

Mad Oleg swings Groin into the rear of the mammoth. THe tong-chain catches the mammoth and up-ends it, spilling Groin onto the kobold, who is now disarmed.

Brunhilda pulls levers at random. The mastodon trumpets, then tweets, then goes OOK OOK OOK. The kobold shoots Brunhilde in the arm and she drops her axe. The mastodon stops moving.

Brunhilda's weapon knocks aside the kobold's crossbow aim. His bolt ricochets, and hits Mad Oleg in the eye.

Brunhilda dodges the bolt, which then hits something vital to the mastodon's movement. It stops and she beats the other kobold to death.






Card Draw #14:  What next?

Mad Oleg is inspired. Each player names an item that could be found nearby. Then we make cards describing artifacts Mad Oleg could make from those items during this Strange Mood.

Elves attack.

The rat demon, previously held at bay by the elephant, he's scared of elephants, manifests.

A crazed dwarf comes running from the depths of the keep. He sees the stopped mastodon and hugs Mad Oleg, saying "Thank you for saving me from the elephants."

The sound of a kobold war triangle ominously chimes through the air! The sound of more mechamastodons echo through the chamber.

Thugnar dies on the tusk. Elves arrive to avenge their forest. Ghasts of Oin and Thugnar and the dead Yak rise up to haunt us.

There is no way that Oredang's yak should have been able to get into the fortress. It totally never shot crossbow bolts out of its mouth before, either.

The elves arrive to avenge the forest. Brunhilda kills the kobold and free Cog. Groin breaks the right tusk off the mastodon, dropping Thugnar to the ground in a bloody heap.




Card Draw #16 to 17: brewery battle


Many Kobolds die. The flaming trunk lights the elephant on fire. The dwarves flee the burning wreck which falls on and kills the remaining kobolds.

Oleg sets one of the vats of beer on fire, apparently someone added flammable liquid. The kobold was nearby is now running about on fire. Cog and Brunhilda manage to kill a number of kobolds.

Kobold massacre! A few dwarf losses too.. which means the remaining dwarves go insane and kill themselves. More brew for us!

Mad Oleg's flaming elephant-butt attack kills three kobolds but also sets the beer on fire. The fire is heating the still. The whole thing is nearly critical!

An old skinny dwarf elder setps forward. "We must not offend the Elephant Gods again, or we will all be cursed this time!" The poor enslaved dwarves assault you and overpower you since you dare not harm your kin. You wake in chains.



The battle rages on, mastodono-a-mastodono, for hours. Whicher player draws this card: their character is driven mad by hours of booze-withdrawal, and is now a homicidal villain.

The mechamastodons go into battle, but the kobolds don't expect Oleg with the flaming trunk. He sets the other mastodon on fire. It goes around setting kobolds on fire.

Groin son of Oin takes the beer hostage! "Drop your weapons and surrender to me, OR YOU'LL NEVER BE DRUNK AGAIN!"

Cog and Brunhilda charge the other mastodon and the two lock trunks. Oleg immolates a dozen kobolds! Thugnar grabs a beer!

The mechamastodons lock tusks in a fierce battle. The still is destroyed but the barrels are spared. The dwarves jump on top of the kobold mastodon and rip open the hatch, pulling kobolds out.


The PC who drew this card is shot in the eye by a kobold crossbow.

An elven army shows up to avenge the forest. A goblin army shows up to take the fortress. Kobold reinforcements arrive.

"You have to find the artifact," one of the captive dwarves whispers to Oredang. "The mastodon spirits are angry at the sacrilege."

The dwarves have been poisoning the beer in an act of rebellion. Your first clue is when Groin son of Oin doubles over after tasting it while on guard duty.

Thugnar, his French Bread glistening with kobold gore, strides into the brewery and pulls a pint, drinks deeply and sighs. And a bunch of stuff happens outside.

Booze casks are smashed open. The entire room is engulfed in fire. The PC who drew this card is the only one who _doesn't_ catch on fire.

Both elephants catch fire! Cog and Brunhilda are burned, but escape alive! The battle continues on foot. The kobolds are led by a kobold with an elephant mask.

The kobolds see that Mad Oleg came out of the mechamastodon and try to surround him, but he uses the trunk to set them on fire. Cog and Brunhilda manage to force the flaming mastodon out of the brewery.

The fighting mechamastodons spin into the brewery, imperiling the ale!




Card Draw #18: Battle above the abyss


The noise from the fighting mammoths was up a Forgotten Beast way down below -- the dwarves had dug too greedily and too deep… The beast rises up and devours the mammoths and kobold 'riders' and turns its gaze to the other dwarves.

The mastodon teeters on the brink! The flaming kobolds start leaping from the beast, making it tip! Thugnar strides forth into the brewery covered in gore and has an ale.  AAAAH!

The mastodon tips and almost falls into the abyss! It's hanging by the trunk. Burning kobolds jump into the control chamber! Will Cog and Brunhilda fight, flee, or drive the elephant?

The kobold guards rush the mammoths and shove them off. Several kobolds fall with it. Brunhilda and cog leap at the last moment landing amongst the remaining kobolds.

The flaming kobolds board your mechamastodon. Oredang is stabbed. Mad Oleg starts on fire. Brunhilda's pants leg gets caught in the gears of your mechamastodon.





Card Draw #19: Crazed Craftsdwarf

The crazy guy grabs one dwarf and drowns him in the beer. Oleg uses the trunk to set him on fire as a sacrifice to the elephant god.

Groin son of Oin smites the insane dwarf. "As your new nobleman," he shouts, "I demand PLATES!!!"

Thugnar drowns the crazy artisan dwarf in a hogshead of stale ale! Then thugnar has another beer… from a different keg.

The craftsdwarf is wearing another artifact, "Wombatdunked", a maple earring. It is bound in granite, adorned in dangling rings of green glass, and menaces with spikes of maple.  As he freaks out and fights, the artifact earring impales Cog, rupturing the eye and bruising her brain.






Card Draw #20:  Epilogue

Thugnar's wound begins to fester. A miasma erupts from his flesh. He dies, as does another PC (of John's choice) who contracts the infection. Then we add another round of cards to those already in the bag.

Brunhilda agrees to stay to build a new elephant statue for the dwarves. She finds a craftsman who make flames come out of the trunk, and they make it facing the front gate.

Groin son of Oin arranges for an epic funeral for his father Oin son of Gloin. A great statue is built which gives Oin's lineage to the sixth generation. The plaque on the statue claims that about half of them are elephants.

Cog crowns Mad Oleg as King. She names herself Baroness. She gives Groin son of Oin the title of Bookkeeper, as suits his appraisal skills. They take over the fortress.

Thugnar finally has enough beer.

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