[Actual Play] The Dungeons of Kra’dumek Session 1 (Cha’alt)

So I figured while Venger’s Kickstarter has but mere days to go before he either ascends to the heavens on an incandescent pillar of purple flame to transform into a new and terrifying star or tearfully dismantles his purple reviewing truck with a sledgehammer under the stern glare of a dissapointed spouse, I’d give people a glimpse of what its like to actually play it. That is correct bitches, PrinceofNothing did Roll20 and it was…pretty cool actually.

Five of us answered the call. Sweaty, unwashed, autistic but filled with courage and murder lust. With nary a ruleset for guidance we wrote down our character concepts. Only four of us made it to the battlefield, with one dropping out because of a sudden onset of autism. Such are the ways of Cha’alt, a bleak world, baked under the light of alien suns.

Inspired by visions of neon-lit homoeroticism against a backdrop of cyclopean masonry, I conjured forth Nomad from the depths of my library of pop culture. A strapping warrior, armored in leather bracers and a loin cloth, with the cunning of a badger and the ferocity of a she-bear in heat.

Shirtless Red Men with bulging biceps are an integral component of the science fantasy genre or so Venger assured me.

Four of us toiled under twin alien suns for years, in psychic thrall to the Demon Worm. The courageous Red Man, Quintus (clone of the evil Archmagus Lothiq), the cowardly Bard Yuri and Ryan, the Jerk. Sudden like a thunderclap, our durance was ended. We were free men, our minds our own. Our escape was sudden, but the Priests of the Loathsome One were on their way. Vengeance would be ours.

Armed with nothing but stone we set out and entered the dungeon-complex beneath Kra’adumek, in search of gold, arms and the blood of sorcerers. A stone door barred our path, but by desperate might we overcame and made our way in. Ancient, cob-webbed stone gave way to a cavern, guarded only by corpses. No barracks this, but a charnel field. Whimpering, Yuri bade us turn and run with our tails tucked between our legs. “Better death then Slavery,” saith Nomad.

Armed with the weapons of dead men and weighed down by stolen gold, we faltered, daunted by many paths. In our indecision we were caught off guard, for it seemed not all of Kra’adumek was a tomb. Faltering, seeking cover among the dead, we heard his dreadful chants, his shrieking incantations. No sight of him, even in torchlight. The first sign of him was a torrent of purple eldritch flame.

“Ia! Yog-Sothoth! Ia! Shug-Niggurath! The Black Goat with a Thousand Young!”

Scorched and maimed, we turned upon the Sorcerer. Whether by foul enchantment or the devil’s own luck our blows hit nothing but air. Raising his clawed hand, he spat forth a second enchantment and felled our bard with sorcerous projectiles. Incensed, we redoubled our efforts, and captured the fiend, knocking him out cold. Yuri was still among the living, only knocked cold, but injured terribly by evil magicks.

Interrogating the creature gained us nothing but foul gibbering and obscenities, and our questions were quickly replaced with cold steel. After we had helped ourselves to his treasures and talismans, we left him to rot with the others. A scroll of daemonic conjuration and an eldritch ring of unknown origin were amongst the pickings. Yuri garbed himself in Sorcerer’s robes for fear of the dead necromancer’s companions. A cunning ruse.

A tunnel filled with sickly purple webbing seemed as good a place to turn to as any. For how long we travelled, who can say?

Purple webbing and lambent crystal formations presented a disturbing vista. An Elf, offspring of daemons and other, ancient, nameless things, we found amid the shapes, wrenching at some great crystal in the rock. Cautiously, we palavered, and muttered fearful lies. At the sound of chittering horrors further up in the dungeon, those wretches that have spent so long in darkness that they believe themselves arachnids, we bolted, only to find that Ryan, the Jerk, had vanished as though he were a mirage.

Our sylvan companion abandoned us, but not before he told us of the library of Cha’alt, that ancient place where all forbidden knowledge is gathered. At the mention of the dreaded Black Pyramid of Cha’alt, our turgid blood, turned to mud by the long captivity, ran like a crimson river within our breast. The elf departed, but we pressed on elsewhere, still not sated, still searching for vengeance, gold and answers.

cha'alt sandworm
The Black Pyramid of Cha’alt, deep in nameless, worm-haunted wastes, where all questions are answered…

Ill-fortune struck as we braved the next passage and found a body. Thinking it easy pickings, Nomad strode forward, only to find the hideous fungus that had claimed the creature’s guts. As purple tentacles leapt forth from the formless purple horror, we cried in terror and fear. Sword blows did little more then bleed the creature, but the Sorcery of Quietus, his cruel face bissected with V-shaped scars, did bring the creature low and banished it back to the dark corners of the world from whence it had come.

Nomad had not escaped unscathed however, for a lethal toxin was now pulsing within his veins. Mere hours were left until he would collapse on the ancient stone, his body consumed by purple fungus, a similar trap for incautious passersby…

To be continued…

Or at least it will be if Cha’alt gets funded. Its been a rocky road. After a stellar beginning the kickstarter is struggling. Now Venger is bringing his A-game, doing his maps like a big boy boss, commissioning the finest art and conjuring many a many-angled horror to impart him with dread knowledge of nightmarish realms beyond the stars, where amoeboid horrors dance hideously to the mad piping of and chiming of idiot gods.

I accepted a commission, a side-project, to help him out with Cha’alt, to make it as awesome as I can make it. To give it several consecutive PrinceofNothingReviews if you will. I believe in this project, and I hope I was able to show a little bit of that enthusiasm in my post.

We still have more then a thousand bucks to go and less then 5 days to get it. If you are on the fence, consider signing up for the PDF. If you have already done so (a wise choice my friend), there are worse things then having an rpg book filled with gorgeous art in your collection of elfgames. If you don’t buy softcovers, only 23 bucks get you Cha’alt and 3 Korthalis Publishing PDFs of your choice: Like this one, and this one and this one. Good shit. If you don’t have cash, that’s cool, consider telling your buds, your internet buckaroos or your CEO about Cha’alt. The Black Pyramid is DAMN CLOSE, so close we can almost feel the hot sand under our feet, glimpse the sickly rays of its twin suns clothe everything in lurid magenta hues and smell the syrupy stench of a thousand eldritch abominations.

Ring the bells, sound the horns. A Black Pyramid looms ominously upon a purple horizon. We need but say the word, and it will appear.

UPDATE: VICTORY! Iä! Ph’nwlmglafh Cha’alt wgah’nagl fhtagn!


11 thoughts on “[Actual Play] The Dungeons of Kra’dumek Session 1 (Cha’alt)

    1. Hey that ain’t a bad suggestion at all! For a moment I thought you were Spam until I saw Bögenhafen. It’s not bad, but I have some concerns about the demographic. Still, I’ll bookmark it.

      Edit: I see it’s good enough for Cory Doctorow. I’ll check it out!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I had a filter blocking me from answering faster. Good luck, was nice reading some of your reviews!


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