[Actual Play] Lost on Carcosa Pt. XI: Dreams of Empire & Voices Beyond

(Still have 1.5 sessions to report after this fuck me I am getting lazy)

I dream,
Of roads lined with pikes,
The rotting heads of chieftains upon them,
Girdling all Carcosa

I dream,
of great fires set alight,
in the polychromatic flesh,
of subjugated men.

I dream,
of castles razed and the dust of cities,
clinging to the sandals of legionairies.

I dream,
And I despair,
For I hear Carcosa laughing at my dreams.
– The Lord of All Carcosa.

Before we kick off this play-report I feel this is as good a place as any to dump some house-rules, since one of my Players looks very close to reaching level 2, and he is in fact a Sorcerer. The xp requirements for Sorcerers in Carcosa are harsh, even more harsh with my rules interpretation that gives Sorcerers Fighter HD and AB but not the ability to fight defensively or offensively as a fighter. Thus, I provide the following instead.

With each Sorcerer Level up, roll d8. Reroll any doubles.
1. The Unblinking Eye of Algol: The Sorcerer may cast Charm Person 1/level whilst making eye contact with the target. In a stressfull situation, like combat, the person must be in melee range for it to be effective. Will not work on a single randomly determined colour of human.
2. The Meditation of Bodily Excellence: By concentrating intensely for 1d10-level minutes, the Sorcerer may act as though he had 18 Str for a single encounter or feat of strength. The Sorcerer may use this ability up to 1 hour/level after the meditation.
3. The Curse of Lost Irem: With a withering glare and a shrieking exhortation the Sorcerer calls down the disfavour of the Old Ones upon the target, forcing him to make a saving throw vs spell or be cursed (as per bestow curse) until the next moonrise. The sorcerer may use this ability as often as he pleases but must make a saving throw vs spell or age 1d5 years as per a ritual. The Sorcerer needs to be within 30 feet of his target and chant for a full round to invoke the spiteful wrath of the petty deities of Carcosa.
4. The Tincture of Night: Provided the Sorcerer has access to certain rare herbs (bushcraft – 1 to locate them), 50 gp worth of powdered black opal and a pint of blood of a (roll randomly) man, he may concoct a brew that will either heal the recipient of 1d8 points of damage or act as deadly poison when ingested (+2 to saving throw). He must decide beforehand. The concoction requires a day of preparation.
5. The invocation of colourless fire: With but a word and a gesture, the Sorcerer conjures forth unearthly fires that burn in the cold hearts of alien stars. His weapon counts as though it hits the target with burning oil in addition to any normal damage (though the damage is considered to be cold damage, not fire damage). After the encounter is over, any normal weaponry is destroyed, supramundane weaponry gets a saving throw.
6. The Quickening: As a free action, the Sorcerer may accelerate his movements as per the haste spell for Sor lvl + 1d6 rounds. This counts as a ritual for purposes of aging. Afterward the Sorcerer must consume 1 ration per round of haste as or suffer penalties as though suffering for starvation.
7. The Hideous Wailing: The Sorcerer may emit a piercing shriek 1/day as a full action. Any humans under 4 HD within 30 feet must make a saving throw vs paralysis or be stunned for 1d4 rounds. It is possible to use this ability more then 1/day but the Sorcerer must consume a pound of human flesh to recharge his ability.
8. The Binding Mundane: As Hold person 1/day.

It was a red day on lost, doomed Carcosa. As our heroes fled the Citadel of the Valley and the wrath of the master, in persuit of the Green Sorcerer Agak as he sped towards the river, cackling maniacally, the eldritch statuette clasped in his hands. Behind them, a crackling like thunder announced the end of Noble Burlap, ended by the wrath of the Master.

Lo, it seemed all was lost upon that red day, for the Master did once more rule within the Valley. But there was hope. It was the voice of Ragnar the Black, Reluctant Sorcerer and Demagogue, that shattered the morning silence. Your sarcophagus is in flames, he spake, and your chair will follow it, and you will die, if you do not surrender. And the master did rage and moved into the castle, laying waste to his hunting apes with a fury seldom seen. When he did emerge from the fires, covered in blood not his own, he discovered Ragnar perched upon his chair, and he could not fire, for risk of damaging his chair. After a tense negotiation, the Master conceded that they were indeed worthy prey, and that he had been beaten, and bade them to leave the valley. And Ragnar did haggle and mutter that he could bring servants to the Great One, and a reluctant accord was reached indeed and he was let go.

The rest of our heroes chased Agak to the river, where he did chant and raised his idol aloft, and our merry band stared in mute stupefaction as dark clouds gathered above the valley, filled with emerald lightning. Drawn by the light of hideous sorcery, our heroes encountered two other travelers, who would soon be companions and fast friends. Satiros, Who Listens to the Voices from Beyond, a black man of great intellect and personal magnitism, gifted with the powers of the mind, and Hannibal, a fearless warrior and companion, who would not live to see the end of the week.

Agak, clutching the strange idol, did call forth from the sunken depths of the river-bottom a coterie of Deep Ones, and much conversation was had regarding subject matter unknown to our dashing do-gooders, for it was in the language of Deep Ones. Our heroes looked on and observed the matter with a stupefied obliviousness normally reserved for stegosaurs. It was perhaps unfortunate for Agak that Ragnar arrived, and great Ragnar was fluent in the language of Deep Ones indeed.

It appeared that Agak was most ungrateful, promising the lives of our brave companions in exchange for the conquest of the fortress. It was Ragnar who argued loudly and most tiresome, convincing the Deep Ones that this Sorcerer was a charlatan who could not deliver on the price he promised. It was Agak who then challanged Rangar to a duel, which Ragnar politely ignored. The Deep Ones, unwilling to serve an unworthy sorcerer, left. Several blows to the head and ribs later, Agak was bound and captured and the idol recovered. Huzzah!

Our heroes set out for the valley exit, but night fall would rob them of their newfound friend. It was the eyeless albino panthers, drawn by the magnetic ore, that came in the night, taking the captive sorcerer and eating his brain. Our heroes narrowly avoided death at the hands of two more the next night, slaying them and taking the black pearls inside their chests as prizes.

The climb up proceeded without incident, but the climb down was harrowing. With bad weather and the cold of the heights eating at our heroes, a sudden rockfall did take the life of Hannibal, already wounded, a stone splitting his skull. Asuz spared no time in descending, harvesting his golden teeth and cutting him loose, there to plummit for hundreds of metres and be a meal for the white cannibal man that was to be their next companion.

The death of their newfound black companion fresh on their minds, our noble heroes met up with their newest compatriot, Mordak, White warrior, who had met up with the other white refugees for mutual protection. A plan was made and the barges, taken from the vile ulfire slavers, were still intact, thus a plan was made to set course for the village of the White Men in the west, and to deliver these refugees from their plight.

The road was not without its obstacles, as they navigated the narrow and forked parts of the Great River, they were set upon by the Ulfire bandits once more. Battle most deadly took place, as four dozen assailed less then half that number. The Nameless man claimed ulfire men after ulfire men with a thousand arrows. Satiros cowered behind women and children as arrows flew around them, but by his mind-gift did he harm the bandit king. Asuz and Sago smote boarders. And Ragnar called in the debt he had with the creature from the sea. From the depths it arose, smiting the bandit lord and his bodyguard elite. The waters were stained ulfire that day, with only a handful of the white people slain.

A good Day on Carcosa. But the journey was not yet over. They would have to pass through the floating village of the cruel and wealthy Blue Men before they had any chance of reaching the village and thus, a small measure of safety.

Death toll: 17
[A] Rohnan (Specialist 1): Eaten by giant spiders
[B] Jaxxon Windwaker (Ftr 1) :  Impaled by Spawn of Shub-Niggurath
[C] Mongo the Red (Sor 1) :  Impaled by Spawn of Shub-Niggurath
[B] Klak (Specialist 1) : Skull crushed by Animate Snake-man statue
[B] Kristal (Ftr 1): Drowned in Quicksand
[D] Kakarot (Sor 1): Beheaded by Jale Berserker
[A] Midros (Sor 1): Bissected by Jale chieftain
[E] T’Click (Spec 1): Butchered by treacherous Ulfire men
[B] Kris (Spec 1): Gutted by Elite Yellow Temple Guardian
[D] Rake (Ftr 1): Devoured by Dolm Worm
[A] Sayeed (Ftr 1): Drowned in the Great River to be food for the creatures below
[A] Ronaan (Spec 1): Beheaded by the mighty Bone man champion in honourable single combat
[B] Jahlin (Spec 1): Taken by the invisble horror of the Great Canyon
[A] Menon (Spec 1) : Cut down by the vile and contemptible Ulfire Slavers
[B] Sarumon (Ftr 1): Mind-wiped by alien technology and imprinted with memory and personality of the Master.
[E] Speaker to Animals (Sor 1): Mind-wiped by alien technology and imprinted with memory and personality of the Master. Body Slain by Tellurium Beam Weapon.
[B] Hannibal (Ftr 1): Perished by the harsh clime and dangerous climb of the Tsaggasoth Peaks.

Compatriots & Henchmen: 1
Burlap – Cut down by the Master of the Valley.

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7 thoughts on “[Actual Play] Lost on Carcosa Pt. XI: Dreams of Empire & Voices Beyond

  1. I’d have made them all psychics by default and thus guaranteed the use of those rather nice mind powers from the book, but your table and its contents are stylish and thematically appropriate, so props.

    I bought Planescape Torment today, as something to do while my wargame of choice hovers in between-editions purgatory. It remains to be seen whether I have the acuity to grasp its merits or whether I sink without trace, desperate for something which will do my thinking for me.

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      1. I spent most of yesterday tooling around the Hive breaking thugs’ noses and wondering what’s up with a town where there are three harlots on every street corner but apparently nowhere to buy a vest.

        I am forced to admit that this is more Fantastic than anything else I’ve played this decade. I am also not sure why I took against it so on the first attempt. I must have been feeling aggressively thick that day.

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  2. That houserule sounds fun! It might also help obfuscate the fact that specialist is still by far the most useful class in the short run and the most survivable class in the long run. Between your overly merciful DM-style and a player group that’s more suited to My Little Pony RPG on retard difficulty (or DnD 5e), their low XP requirement makes surviving the meat grinder long enough to get those precious extra HD at least somewhat feasible. Not being able to fight defensively also helps because you won’t be expected to tank as often.

    Also Blue men aren’t cruel, just wealthy, handsome, rational, well educated, eloquent, totally in touch with the rest of society, on the right side of history and not delusional at all. But mostly just wealthy.

    I just looked up some shit on “kill all adventurers”. Came up with that witch from a Blue men University. Not sure if that’s your reference but I’ll address that case in order to set the record straight.

    Of course I condemn it as it is neither blue nor manly. The very foundations of Blue justice are Adventurers (Conan, Bilbo Baggins, Drizzt DoÚrden, Dora the Explorer, Odysseus) so I doubt that witch stands with us in the Blue justice movement. I guess this is the problem with sloppy, Ulfire labeling. It’s rhetorically useful to attribute outrageous members to a movement you (Carcossal) disagree with. I don’t think anybody I know in the Blue justice camp would back her either. I mean my brother could pass for an adventurer before he got eaten by a Dolm Worm, so it’d be a bit awkward if someone in our village had wanted to kill him in the name of a movement that holds adventuring as a central tenet.

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    1. Specialist is right, free d6 hit dice and the lowest xp requirement to level up? Sign me up! That last advantage is more of a meta-advantage, like the wizards low hit points will ensure that it wont ever be your turn to “check the hole” and anyone picking the cleric is automatically exempt from a lynching after he fingerbangs the GM’s girlfriend.

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