Tag Archive | oscar gordon

Those Oscar Gordon Days: Every Ghoul Has Her Day

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Adventure the Sixth: Every Ghoul Has Her Day

Fun fact: I’m lousy at doing voices and basically every one of my NPCs sounds like Tom Waits. And so this adventure…

The party was hired by a woman who sounded a lot like Tom Waits and planned on running off to the swamps to live with her ghoul boyfriend. Her family of course had other ideas, as did another family of ghouls that wanted to disrupt the marriage.

This was the only adventure without the core players of Oscar or Boulder. Instead it was Ahtera, Micah, Wilson (who at this point was almost full Wendigo), and new characters Fellborn and Ekniv. Fellborn’s player was the same guy who ran Nibless and Geth, and Ekniv’s player was the one that made me refer to an open table as one susceptible to pests as he was just there to heckle and annoy the Fellborn player. Without Oscar and Boulder the rest of the group didn’t really cohere (they were also the ones with the least game experience.).

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The swamp roads were full of all sorts of odd things, plus potential sites for dungeon-crawling if the party wanted to come back and do so. There was a mad hermit (who sounded like Tom Waits) and some weird slime tentacles all around. The party managed to avoid the girl’s family, but ran afoul of the hermit and the rival ghouls. There was a showdown on a bridge, and Wilson failed a saving throw against eating one the ghouls. His player was a sport about this, although never really followed up on what was going on.

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I did enjoy how Wilson’s arc was like some after school special about the small town boy who moves to the big city to fulfill dreams only to get transformed into a horrible flesh-eating monster.

But they reached the ghouls they wanted and the woman paid them and there was a wedding, but I don’t think anyone, except Wilson, stuck around for the reception once they saw what was on the menu.

Those Oscar Gordon Days: Our Dinner With Mancuzo

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Toddlerpede by Jon Beinart

Last adventure Oscar Gordon and crew escorted a box of bones across town and while doing so bumped into a drunk wizard named the Dread Mancuzo.

In this adventure, the Dread Mancuzo invited them over for dinner…

Adventure the fifth: Enter the Maddling!

So the Dread Mancuzo invited the party over to his tower for dinner, vaguely remembering meeting them but unsure of the circumstances. Oscar, Haragrin, Micah, Boulder, and Geth accepted.

Of course Mancuzo had another motive. He’d betrayed another wizard, Rendak the Absconder, and now feared Rendak’s revenge. Mancuzo hoped by having the party around they would give him some protection.

But before Rendak showed up the party hung out with Mancuzo and his aged mother, and they gave vague answers as to how they met each other. Finally after his mom went to bed Mancuzo took the party on a tour of his workroom. And it was there that Rendak showed up with his four-armed ape sidekick, the two of them riding giant bats. Not only was this bad, but Rendak had led the inter-dimensional monstrosity, the Maddling, straight to Mancuzo’s door.

The Maddllllllllllllllig!

I loved this adventure. Although it was less an adventure and simply a horrible situation with the party stuck between two feuding higher-leveled NPCs (Rendak and crew were there to steal a McGuffin from Mancuzo) while an horrendous beast rained destruction down upon everything. And while the Maddling was simply a reskinned white dragon very much in the PCs power range, I showed them that picture at the head of this post and they were terrified.

In the end the Maddling survived, Mancuzo fled in a metal orb, and Rendak and crew got whatever they came for, while Geth and Haragrin died and everyone else fled with Mancuzo’s valuables stuffed in their pockets. Fun times!

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Regarding reskinning, I’ve played with both GMs and players that won’t do it, because they think it’s unfair. In their minds: the players should know what they’re up against and all that. A white dragon should be a white dragon, and recognizable as such. Needless to say I don’t buy into that at all, but I can see the point of the counter-argument.

I don’t know, but if you have thoughts either way, I’d be interested in hearing them.

(But I mean, c’mon, when you see a picture like that at the top you have to stat it up!)

Those Oscar Gordon Days: Enter the Dread Mancuzo

Adventure the Fourth: Saint Atsun’s Day

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Boulder the Templar’s order needed him to escort the remains of Saint Atsun from the city docks to the small chapter house the order maintained elsewhere in the city, a task not only complicated by the threat of evil apostate knight, Sir Osric, but by the fact that getting a wagon across town can be a chore on the best of days.

Characters included Oscar Gordon, Wilson, Ahthera, Micah, Boulder, Geth (one of the Rogue/Mage playbooks – the Dilettante?), and Haragrin (a Young Warlord).

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I always wanted to run the old Slayers of Lankhmar module (actually more its sequel Avengers in Lankhmar) and this was my riff on that. Also I really like the Road Warrior. I handed the players the city map, showed them where the docks were and where they had to go, and sat back. For each district in between I had a series of timed encounters.  There was a whole bunch of possible events: a cult parade, a naval press gang looking to abduct crew, a belligerent band of barbarians searching for a lost companion (he’d been press ganged), a cursed pilgrim, and a belligerent drunk of a wizard named the Dread Mancuzo. Depending on time of day and which streets the players went down determined what they encountered.

The party avoided most of the above save for one trap by Sir Osric’s goons (Micah hopped on the horses when they bolted, removing his shirt in case any ladies might be watching), a pie eating contest (Wilson’s wendigo side manifested here when he won the contest, swallowed the contents of a garbage pail, and tried to eat one of the other pie-eating contestants), and the Dread Mancuzo who they found in a partially ruined tavern harassing a serving girl. He started to drunkenly lob fireballs about. Oscar knocked him out and Ahtera managed a well-placed kick to his nuts. Oscar then hired the harassed serving girl to help out around their headquarters.

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Of course Osric was waiting for them at the chapter house where there was a big showdown. No one died although Oscar took an arrow that put him out of the fight, and Mancuzo would return in the next adventure.

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Those Oscar Gordon Days: Part the 2

Oscar and crew fought a ghost, bought a house, and set up shop as monster-therapists.

Adventure the Second: Tooth Soup

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Oscar Gordon, Boulder, Ahtera, and Micah (now Micah) investigate the horrible deaths at a local bathhouse. They discover a secret passageway into the city sewers and learn the bad way that the tunnels serve as the lair for some magic-warped monstrosity. This adventure was a way to point towards the undercity as a potential area for dungeon-delving. The party encountered hints to other things such as a Midian-like community in the sewers, but never followed up on it. There was lots of running around, slipping into dank water, and jokes about poo gas. The monster was basically the creature from The Host. No one died.

Adventure the Third: The Mold Dwarf’s Due

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Arkady Volod

An Elfin prince exiled to the city hired Oscar Gordon to rescue his mortal child from the evil Volod Brothers, a trio of mold dwarfs. The Volod’s have plans on selling the child once they return to the Twilight Realm, and some ancient truce prevented the prince from openly stopping the dwarfs. The party consisted of Oscar Gordon, Boulder, Micah, Ahtera, Wilson, and Nibless (Nibbler?).

First the party had to enter the fairy realm via a portal in the city park (Micah got charmed by a dryad and had sex with a tree, when he wouldn’t leave the tree Boulder punched him out), then they had to traverse a corner of the Twilight Realm (Wilson the Village Hero ate some cursed food and unbeknownst to him slowly began to transform into a wendigo over the next few adventures). Finally they caught up with the Volod Brothers and their thrall-borne carriage. The kid was rescued but the Volod Brothers survived, and Nibless, got killed in the fight. I only remember this because the guy that played Nibless was two for three with his character fatalities.

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Also this was the adventure where the Beyond the Wall playbooks became tragic like an After School Special. Not that this was a bad thing.

Nibless and Wilson had the backstory of being childhood friends that had a small village adventure and now have come to the big city together. And what happens on their first adventure: Wilson gets cursed, and Nibbless killed (although I think his fate was even worse than that. He was incapacitated in the fight with the Volods, but had stabilized at 0 HP. Unfortunately he was too far away to be rescued when the rest of the party ran, so… it’s best not to think of his fate, left for dead and abandoned by his best friend in the Twilight World.)

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Those Oscar Gordon Days

I found my old notes from the game I ran back in the summer of 2014.

That’s like a century ago in RPG campaign years.

This game went on after the end of the Vaults of Ur game (Dennis Laffey at What a Horrible Night to Have a Curse did a great job documenting that game) and was a real live face-to-face game. Most of these players have left Korea since then, one of the problems with running a game for migrant workers expats. Trying to remember who played who from the initiative rosters scrawled in the margins has been fun.

THE SET-UP

We met once a week at a local coffee shop and used Beyond the Wall as our system. It was a city campaign and I riffed heavily on the 1st edition AD&D Lankhmar supplement, the map from the Mongoose supplement, and Trey Causey’s Weird Adventures. One of the regular players ran a cleric (Oscar Gordon) that wanted to be a therapist to monsters, and that provided the tone for the adventures: very episodic, monster-a-week flavored, using small self-contained dungeons. Sunday night, I’d post five potential clients offering Oscar Gordon and his crew various jobs, and they’d decide which one to take. Often a client or two stuck around for a week or two.

It was an open table game and I run hot and cold on that format since an open table isn’t really tenable as a format for a long term campaign. It’s more a stage the campaign goes through as it finds its legs. Ultimately, the game will coalesce around a core of regular players and the openness as a trait will fade away. Also, you’ll have situations where players who have invested time in the game over weeks will resent when one of the non-regular players shows up with a buddy, and the buddy spends the whole game being a pest for their own amusement. In the end we had two or three core players who showed up week-to-week and a roster of maybe five or six other potential players who would stop by if their schedules permitted.

The roster was something like this:

Oscar Gordon (a Devout Acolyte), Boulder (a Templar), Ahtera (The Nobleman’s Wild Daughter), Micah (the Young Woodsman), and Wilson (the Village Hero) were all fairly regular. Nibless, Geth, and Fellborn were all some variety of magic-user run by the same player who had awful luck, and Haragrin and Ekniv were fighter-types and random drop-ins for a session or two who were friends of other players.

As with everything else in life I’d do it differently now, but that said I’d resume this campaign next week if I could.

Anyway, over the next week or so I’ll post write-ups of the adventures we ran. They were a lot of fun.

Adventure the First: Every Haunted House, a Home

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Oscar Gordon, Boulder, Ahtera, and Micah (although he was named something else early on) arrive in the big city and decide to look into reports of a missing noble last seen exploring a haunted house. They spend half the adventure doing a careful room-by-room search of the house, find the noble (dead), and then accidentally activate the haunt when not-Micah tries to rob something. Neat gimmick with this adventure was to have the players explore the whole dungeon, encounter nothing at first, then have the monsters appear once they were deep into it (zombies, skeletons, a living statue, and the ghost of the necromancer who originally owned the place). Everyone survived, and Oscar Gordon used his reward money from the dead noble’s family to buy the house and set up shop as a monster-therapist in the city.

And so it began…