Friday, 29 August 2014

AP: Doom-Cave of the Crystal-Headed Children

Finally got a game in! noisms was visiting, Patrick was around and so was David W, so finally after many long months we sat down and played something.

The guys all knew that they were playing DCCHC, but hadn't read it. They rolled up new characters, two each (ending with a party of six, two fighters, two MUs, a cleric and a specialist) and then found themselves a little way out of the town of Rookwood (there was a steakhouse out of the window of the cafe we were playing in with the same name, and it sounded good). A series of women of all ages approached and *SPOILERS* (if you've not read or played DCCHC and don't want to spoil anything, then don't click through; I will try to refer to things as sensitively as possible to avoid spoiling, but cannot promise I won't miss something).

Click through!

Women of all ages approached and told the same story; their sons were missing. And their sons all sounded as if they looked the same. All the same age and description. Weird... The mayor approached the players and said that a sort of hysteria had fallen on most of the women in the town - everyone else didn't know what they were talking about. A boy matching the description was spotted to the north, so they set off to look for a child (their thought being that they might be able to determine whose mother the boy really was if they could find him).

They saw several identical boys with strange crystals growing out of their heads and subsequently found themselves at a cave entrance...

Ten minutes later, after a kidnap attempt ended in the death of CHC, the party found themselves surrounded by CHCs with a crazy-sounding Magic User chasing them. Patrick had a clever idea (as he often does): he would cast Enlarge on his horse and then charge through at the MU, knocking CHCs over like bowling pins. The MU cast Sleep as he rode, causing both horse and rider to crash out (horse asleep, character on 0HP). A battle was waged; the CHCs were easily killed but there were always more of them coming. After another PC was knocked to 0HP and several more were on the verge of death, finally they started rolling lucky. TPK was avoided and the MU was finally killed; the CHCs ran away.

After some light wounds were cured, the party decided to investigate the caves. They found the source of the children (but none tried making any of their own...) and experimented with a crystal machine that tweaked the language centres of their brains, before finally opening three doors. The first lead downwards and they scouted a hundred feet or so of corridors before turning back. The next lead into a room with display cases and a strange instrument. The last had horrible flesh-eating creatures in...

Through a degree of cunning they killed one of the strongest creatures, but suffered the loss of a PC thanks to a strange alien device. Three more creatures remained, but they left the caves, eventually with the party in pursuit. Several more CHCs were killed, and they went back to Rookwood to find it under attack by two of the three creatures: again, not wishing to risk an open fight with horrible beasts they lured the slower creatures in to situations where they might set them on fire and burn them to death (DM's ruling: phlegm is flammable).

And that's where we left things: a crazy oneshot. Crazy, crazy times.

Random Thoughts
Sure the CHCs aren't "human", but I was surprised just how quickly the players were all "You cast Spider-climb to draw their attention, and we'll just walk behind them and stab them to death." "Ahh, they must be demons, just use your great axe on them."

A lot of fun was had in the languages room, I'm sure that they were doing it again and again to see whether it would randomly kill them...

I like the name Rookwood for a town or village. That's getting used again.

Just in case we ever follow this up, some calculations from records kept during play suggest the players accrued 1500XP - so 300XP each for the remaining PCs.

And there is still one of the monsters (the proto-CHCs, the brainy one) left out there. He was much too clever to be caught...


  1. Am in the middle of reading through DCCHC and thinking about running it. Was worried that my group will just shoot first, ask questions later resulting in drawn-out combat ending in a TPK. Thanks for sharing how your session went.

    1. No problem; my players usually veer wildly between "shoot first" and "softly, softly" so I had no idea how they would approach this. They were very cautious on the approach to the cave, but as soon as they saw that the CHCs were not immediately hostile they adopted a strategy of "How bad can it get?"