Friday, September 10, 2021

Apex Session 8: To the Temple!

Our intrepid adventurers waited until dark, then snuck around the German camp. Archie, followed closely by Jungle Girl, snuck over to the experimental jet and took apart enough things to make it unusable. He also found a box connected to the engines labeled Kristallbeh√§lter. Fortunately, Archie does read German, and recognizing this as a crystal bin, decided it may make for a good jet pack. (note that in Apex, gadgets are ruled by level, and jet packs are not available to a level 1 gadgeteer. But he is planning...and thank goodness for on-line translators! Of course, I am still probably screwing up the German, but close enough for game purposes).

Then, Isla and Ace sneak into Dr. Mader's tent. Ilsa wants to convince her of the evils of the SS and the longer term plan to conquer the world We did some role playing, and I really should have had the player do a charisma check. I always remember too late! Anyway, she was convinced, and they snuck into the temple. They also put a tarp over the front hallway, to prevent any light leakage. A good idea as there is a patrol circling the camp, but not really paying enough attention. After all, there is no one else out here in the volcanic cauldron. 

Once in the temple, they start exploring. 

I used blocks to cover what they could not see, but I think there is a lot of room for improvement over a Skype channel for this. And I should have done a better narrative (and I point these things out to remind me of these things, not as a self-flagellation exercise). They go through the hallways and small chambers. Dr, Tong is ecstatic over the urns in the one chamber that have matching glyphs and images from the tower they stayed at. He took a lot of pictures (and so far has not failed any of the usage rolls: he must be carrying a LOT of film!).

There was a brief battle against a large feather dinosaur. Crystal swords swinging, and unfortunately for Jungle Girl and Archie, they tended to miss (I usually roll badly and the player behind Archie does as well. Reminds me of way back in college, my D&D monk somehow got an intelligent scythe during character generation. And even then I rolled badly: that scythe kept yelling at me to get used as a weapon and not just to cut the grasses. I missed a lot back then as well). Anyway, Ace kept swinging with his wrench (which we determined does 1d6 damage, as a club does 1d6-1 and this is a heavy metal wrench) and Dr. Tong seemed admirably fit to be hitting as much as he did with his sword. Again, only Ace managed to get hurt in this scuffle. Jungle Girl, who managed to leap astride the dino in round one, got broncod off, failed her dexterity roll despite being lithe, and fell on her butt in the spreading blood. It has not been her game for fighting. But after a few rounds the dinosaur was killed.

The room with the mummies was a bit different: there was the remains of a map that shared several aspects of the odd map they had found before. There was a match to Ilsa's coin, the Fifth Pentacle of Mercury:

I picked these as I actually have the 44 coins, and would have used them at the game table (and honestly, should get 2 sets, so that I can keep a full set and actually give the players the coins rather than getting them back at the end of each session...) Plus they seem interesting.

Putting the coins on the matching symbol on the wall did nothing. However - there was an indention fitting the coins under each of the three mummies! Putting her coin in the first one, there was a rumbling as the temple shook a bit, and the glyphs on the wall glowed yellow. Ilsa went to the wall to touch the glowing symbols. but to her surprise her wand went through the wall! She caught herself but managed to glimpse on the other side a bright green meadow in the middle of the day. Dr. Tong immediately wanted to see and leaned in, taking pictures. He also noticed that there were 2 suns in the sky. 

No one else wanted to look (and yes, caution does well because perhaps it is a 1-way trip, or the portal may fail and kill the character...). The next slot had the walls glowing blue. Tong leaned in to look but fell to his feet: the gravity was actually different on the other side, about 1.5 times what is Earth-normal. It was also dark other than a mass of glowing red eyes! Backing out quickly, the others saw a large spider claw reaching through. Quickly pulling the coin from the slot, the wall stopped glowing and the spider leg dropped to the ground. With a look of glee. Jungle Girl grabbed the claw and started peeling off the flesh. It was a very pointy claw. Tong also was successful in not dropping or breaking his camera.

While she was cleaning that and wrapping the talon with a leather thong for a handle, the last slot revealed a red glow. The other side was cold, cold enough to about freeze methane (it was the first chemical that came to mind...). Tong about had frostbite from the brief moment he was peering into this freezing hell. 

With no more slots, they also decided that this temple needed to be destroyed to prevent it from falling into the Nazi's hands. These are the good guys after all! And I am also not sure if I went too far in the weird worlds idea percolating in my brain. Probably need to concentrate on Nazis and dinosaurs first.

They did a bit more exploring and found a small flock of chicken-sized dinosaurs which were easily defeated. We left the group next to the hidden passage, which they had found, that lead to the upper floor of the temple as it was, for me at least, getting late.

Despite having more time to prepare, I actually did less preparation than normal. I think part of that is after 8 sessions I do tend to start flagging a bit for running games. And I also worry about the group having a good time. Next session they will hopefully get to the second level, and I do need to think about bringing the core ideas of the game back into focus as well. Not sure what will happen next session yet: the players have skirted around a few of the things I laid out, which is to be expected. But next session they will be at the top of the temple and maybe finding the secrets of the people who left it behind. Or just go out in a blaze of glory!

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