Chris’s scenario recap (Pcon 43)

My run was “The Cave of Wonder” a very simple poster in line with my art skills. 

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The actual name of my scenario was “Journey to the Center of the Mole People” for reasons that will become obvious around the second run. I offered chances to hunt for dinosaurs and other time lost creatures as well as crystal mutants, but my run was mostly centered on the meta plot about the changing of the Gods. 

My first run was with

Barry “Bare” Trap
Irwin Stevens, (Soon to be named Kangaroo Lizard Wrangler)
Jack “Lucky” Rabi
Our Heros ™ were tasked with exploring a newly discovered permanent teleport circle and bringing back any unusual animals found. After some brief preparation they were lead to hole in the ground with magical runic circle inside it. Some brief investigation discovered that the runes include the symbol of Magus a long lost god and the following statement in a long forgotten tongue “This is the door to my hiding place, to follow me is to die for I run from death”
On the other side of the teleport there is a cave covered with softly glowing pink crystals. After some investigation they manage to pull all the giant crystal spiders in a fight of about 10 rounds winning pretty easily and thereby avoid the ambush, backstabbing, webbing and slow poisons. More investigation they find a decapitated lizard the size of a horse filled with Rat/Snake hybrids. A nice swarm with weakness poison! This eats some AOE fire and none are recovered for the Menagerie. Finally they encounter the first big fight, a t-rex! 150HP, 2 attacks a round doing an average of 33 pts a hit! A nice fight, should really tax the party you’d think. If they were still poisoned might even lead to a fatality or two. Instead Irwin Stevens sits up straight, his eyes glowing “THIS IS WHAT I DESIGNED MY CHARACTER FOR!!” Yes, my big fight ran into a character specifically designed around winning that fight instantly. So now that fights over and Irwin is riding the T-rex as they exit the cave into the Land of the Mole People.
The Land is an oddly distorted underground cavern, the air is supersaturated with magic making detect magic trigger a con save or stun for 1d4 rounds. Distances do not match with travel times and there is a giant D12 shape glowing red in the sky. 
The players take all this in and go exploring a bit where they chance to find a fight in progress between some 7 ft tool naked mole rat barbarians and a pack of raptors lead by a mutant crystal raptor. They get a chance to watch the fight and learn that crystal powered mutants cancel spells, clerics of Magus are a thing and raptor packs with AOE magic defenses are nasty. After a brief debate they decide to help the more people looking side and jump into the fight. The remaining Mole People, having no idea what’s going on, bug out leaving one berserker to hold off the party if they turn out to be evil. However, they ignore him and instead whip out some AOE heals and he runs for it after the raptors go down. As a side effect of the heals, one of the down Mole People wakes back up and they manage to have a nice chat and arrange to meet the Speaks-with-God. 
So the party (which contains no clerics or people in armor higher than chain) wait around to see what happens. Lo and behold a group of Mole People approach with 2 barbarians for every PC, 2 wizards and a cleric of Magus. Just dripping with powerful magic items if they dare to take them. However, the players decline to take the bait and instead talk to the Mole People learning that magic is ridiculously empowered, the only god they know is Magus, they have no healing magic, they are fighting the “Hard Shells” who take them and use their bodies (“Aha, slavers! says the party”) and that the Mole People are able to learn new magic just by carefully observing it. 
Finally they learn the location of the city of the Hard Shells and make arrangements for to how signal peaceful intentions on meeting the Mole People (Drop all weapons and lay down on your back with your hands over your head) Sadly, this last piece of information doesn’t make it into the notes. 

My second run was with:

Arlahk Dawntusk
Bobbins Kettleblack
Malon aka Kit
Professor Paelias Galanodel

This group was more interested in the glowing dodecahedron in the sky and head that way with scouting by familiar. In this way they soon encounter a civilized looking naked mole rat named Vert in heavy armor that had been lost in the wilderness. No one remarks on how  Vert always keeps his teeth clenched while talking.  He treats the group as saviors, tells them he lost his mount and gear during a hunt and asks if they will escort him back to the city. Interested in getting a native guide, they agree and he activates an item that hastes everyone within 30 feet while in use. Under the affects of this they rush to the city with a very brief fight with some hasted raptors that they easily win. Once they reach the city Vert deactivates the item and they all receive 3 levels of exhaustion.
 Given the severe penalties from the exhaustion, the party is very cautious moving through the city, the citizens give them some odd looks but generally ignore the party with Vert. Many strange and wondrous devices are seen, boxes with moving pictures, clocks that fit on a wrist, large moving boxes on wheels to name just a few. They hole up at Vert’s house to try and recover, Vert suggests they take their feet off and get some rest, he is going to take a nap and then get a reward for them for saving him. He mentions that he might need to go for the Ritual of Renewal at the Temple of Magus. 
At this point, the players decide to split the party.
While most of the group tries to rest, Claw decides to search the house and the Professor and Dershawkin go to find the Temple of Magus that had been mentioned for the Ritual of Renewal. Utilizing care and diligence, the two external party members make it to the Temple without incident, discovering that it’s in the center of town and has a moat around it of some odd non-liquid. Meanwhile Claw has found that Vert’s is hanging in an empty room from two wooden rods on the wall with his head tilted back and mouth wide open. After some poking, it’s concluded that Vert is alive. In the next room is a giant tub of dirt with large holes in it which disgorges a giant millipede after being disturbed. The millipede asks in Verts voice why they are awake and suggests some food, then goes through a hole in the wall to the room with Vert is who soon walks out. 

At this point the party realizes that Vert is just a Meat Suit for a giant Millipede and that everyone in the city except them are actually giant millipedes that like to wear Meat Suits. 
The Professor and Dershawkin are met by a priest who starts pushing for them to have the Ritual of Renewal “You’ll feel like all new people!”, they decline and book it as soon they can, chased by the priest and some guards. They are able to evade with the help of invisibility and sneaking, but a sharp smell fills the air from the temple outward spread from each person as they smell it. 
Meanwhile the remainder of the party are lunching with Vert who has taken a liking to Claw and given him some of his favorite gear to wear. “Yeah, that fits nice. You’re going to be a good look. Here take these two weapons, why not get yourself used to pulling them out and putting them back, really build that into a reflex.” Claw is disturbed by the overtones, but likes the gear. 
There is some communication via sending, and the party reunites. Vert comments on the Alarm Scent filling the air, but is charmed into compliance and helps the party escape from the city. On the way back to Hunters Hall, they have a brief fight with a regular mole person and end up binding everyone  with rope and gags and delivering them to menagerie. 

My third run was with:

“Big Dick” Richard William Johnson
Diegona Godsteel

This time when the party teleports in they are met with a ring of heavily armed Mole People riding giant star nosed moles who demand the return of their kidnapped companion. This leads to a cross connection with Megan’s run as the players sneak into the menagerie using some connections to find and return the Mole Person without further complications. The party is somewhat fractious and has some “friends like these moments” when they decide to drop a magic grenade into the teleport circle that happens to have the side effect of causing unstable magical side effects blending things together. 
After returning the kidnapped Mole Person, the group is recruited into helping with the war that has broken out among the Mole People vs the City of the Hard Shells. Bolstered by the magics they had learned from the previous parties, the Mole People are laying siege to the city, while the Hard Shells fight back with magi-tech including giant battle mechs, self powered cannons and all manner of atrocity. The party uses several illusion spells to create a distraction and run through the gaps in the fight, taking some hits but overall getting through lightly scathed. Once behind the lines they get lucky with a magical surge to teleport to get inside the city after a brief fight with a fomorian giant.  Using stealth and magic the party heads to the Temple at the center of the city where the Mole People have told them lies the core of the Hard Shells power. Dodging patrols in the mostly empty city, they get to the temple without incident and sneak in. 
Inside they discover that the temple is a mostly a hollow shell with streams filled with large millipedes running down the sides in 4 streams of not-liquid and in the middle is a great pool of non-liquid acting like liquid that is filled with large millipedes turning into giant millipedes and floating in the middle of the room is a giant glowing red brick box shining down on the pool. The party reflects on the mysterious glowing box, the pool teeming with (brain eating body controlling parasites) and decides that they have successfully scouted, and it’s someone else problem to actual do the work.  
Bones: I run for it. 
Diegona: I run for it. 
Tenacity: I run a little way, but stop and hold my action.  
Richard Johnson:  I shoot the corner of the glowing brick box!   -  The brick falls out easily, releasing an even brighter glow! The giant millipedes (brain eating parasites) start to get bigger, the pool is frothing as the swarm is agitated! 
Ku: Ooooh, I use telekinises to try and throw a grenade into the open hole in the box! (hands over hotlisted magic grenade of merging effects that he threw in the middle of the land of magic empowerment) Oops, wild surge! (In the middle of the temple of the god of magic where literally a pool of liquid magic fills the floor)
Tenacity: I use my held action to fireball the box, I should be just outside the blast radius.
Everyone else still inside the blast radius: Wait, what?
Grenade is empowered by the ambient magic, swelling in size! Telekenisis warped by the wild surge goes wild! Fireball is empowered by the ambient magic swelling in size! Grenade absorbs fireball! Combined empowered mutating wild surged grenade fireball detonates!
Fade to black
Ku wakes up in an endless white room getting boomed at “WHAT DID YOU DO! YOU SHOULD NOT BE HERE! SOME OF YOU ARE DEVOTED TO MY FELLOW GODS!” Magus proceeds to drop all kinds of information on Ku about how the gods work, how they change every so often, the purpose of the contests, and what Magus specifically is looking for to win his long overdue contest. (a way to transfer bodies while keeping consciousness and all powers) Then the GOD OF MAGIC asks Ku what he wants, Ku has done him a service and is being granted a boon.
The rest of the party is not permitted to offer suggestions.
After some thought, Ku says “I would like to go to an Inn.” (THE REST OF THE PARTY IS REMINDED THEY AREN’T PRESENT FOR THE CONVERSATION) ”AN INN. YOUR WISH, YOUR HEARTS DESIRE IS TO GO TO AN INN.” (Shush! You can’t offer suggestions!) ”A good inn!” “GRANTED!!”
Fade in
Everyone is sitting around in the Inn they used as the base of operations for the heist at the start of the session. The room is otherwise empty. “YOUR REQUEST HAS BEEN GRANTED. I WILL NOT LEAVE YOU EMPTY HANDED. FOR YOUR SERVICE, I WILL RAIN TREASURE UPON YOU.” A shower of magic items falls from the air around Ku, clattering off the floor ( I play 52 pickup with a stack of magic items all over the players)

My fourth run was with:

Sent in to find out what happened to the last party since they didn’t come back via the teleport circle, this group walks into devastation. The Mole People have lost the war and are scattered in camps trying to protect themselves from the brain eating giant millipedes that want them for meat suits. They find one such camp and after some back and forth Adrie teaches them the ways of Aru making this the first true conversion of the Mole People who have been starving for true option for their faith. He is amazed at how easily they find the way to Aru and convert to being level 1 clerics.
The Mole People guide the party to the city where they discover that the wondrous machines no longer work along the way that the constant empowerment of magic is now more fickle. Dodging patrols and traps they make it into the temple in the middle of the city. Using stinking cloud to extremely good effect (millipedes cannot vomit) they are able to get past the ensuited (meat suited) guards and use magic to scout the temple finding that it is roughly 1/3 full of empty meat suits and chock full of giant (brain eating) millipedes as described in my previous run. However, this time there is no glowing brick box, but instead a number of glowing red blocks scattered around and a glowing humanoid figure at the bottom of the pool of not-liquid (swarming with giant (brain eating) millipedes. This time the millipedes are stirred up and notice the party, luckily the party realizes that some of the millipedes are swimming back up the streams on the walls to try and get to the meat suits. The party counters with area of effect attacks, alert fighting tracking the millipedes and summoned elementals that are empowered by the ambient magic and become both independent and amiable to the requests made. it’s
The elementals are used to bring up the glowing figure after some side effects from the pool and after some experimenting the party realizes that it matches the impression of the inside of the red blocks and the residue left from Magus’s shelter is successfully contained. Without the constant flow of excess magic, the pool of liquid magic starts to fade and the large millipedes stop mutating into giant (brain eating, intelligent) millipedes. The power of the Hard Shells is broken, the Mole People are saved!

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