Tuesday, July 23, 2019

Ashes of Angels: Sessions 11, 12, 13 (We Change Systems!)

Between getting Draugr& Draculas finished and fulfilled, getting Leopard Women of Venus ready for public announcement, preparing for Gencon, getting Patreon underway and getting the new website set up, I haven’t had a chance to keep up on my session reports like I should have. We’ve had three sessions of Ashes of Angels since my last report, and there’s big some significant changes in both system and atmosphere. I’m going to touch on that and the hit the highlights of the last three sessions. After that we should be all caught up!

The big change is that we switched systems from Lamentations of the Flame Princess to Dungeon Crawl Classics. I ran LoftFP with a lot of house rules—some I made myself, others I stole from Cavegirl, 10-Foot Polemic, and Jeff’sGameblog. After 9 sessions I stepped back and looked at all the house rules I had added:
  • Rules to let characters survive at 0HP.
  • Rules to let fighters do cool fighter things.
  • Rules to remove spells-per-day restrictions on wizard and clerics, with magical backlash for failures.
  • Luck mechanics.
It occurred to me, all the rules I was adding were a subconscious effort to make LwoV more like
DCC, all while DCC was sitting right there on my shelf looking right at me. I also realized that what I really like about LotFP isn’t so much the system itself (although I do like it) but the adventures that go along with it. I think Scenic Dunnsmouth and Blood in the Chocolate will work just fine with DCC.

So we made the switch. We converted the PCs to DCC characters and continued the 17th Century campaign with no major changes in the narrative. My players have mostly enjoyed the switch. Non-fighters now actually hit in combat occasionally. Spellcasters feel like powerful (or at least useful) wizards. I even found a homebrew DCC adaptation of the Alice.

The tone of the campaign has also changed, but that was a more gradual change, and I’ve mentioned it before. I originally intended this game to be a bleak exploration of apocalyptic Europe with death and despair everywhere. I’m just not wired that way, and the campaign has slowly morphed into a Roger Corman-esque costume dramedy with goopy monsters and comical peasants. I wanted A Field in England and I got The Raven. Honestly I’m happy there.

So here’s what’s been going on:

Our “Heroes”
Belinda: Serpentblood 2 (re-skinned Elf), Midwife
Mortimer: Alice 2, librarian
Garritt: Warrior 2, soldier
Jacob: Cleric 2, cultist of Balor
Medline: Thief 2, grave robber

Ana Fischer: Witchy henchwoman, devotee of Lucifer, Wizard 1
Ekans and Arbok: Belinda’s doggos

The PCs decide that they need to take care of the Demon of Hegendorf before the witch hunters arrive. Of course, the witch hunters show up at the Abbey the very next morning, just in time for breakfast.

Meyer is a member of Der Hexenhammer, a powerful inter-faith coalition of witch hunters that the PCs have run afoul of in the past. Meyer is fire-scarred with a mad look in his eye. He’s armed with a blunderbuss and several fire-bombs. He has six men with him and two dogs. (Warrior 4, 6x 0-level men-at-arms, 2x 2HD dogs)

The PCs convince Meyer that they too have run afoul of witches and demons, and are eager to help the witch hunters. Jacob’s “Crazy old man to crazy old man” talk with Meyer helps seal the deal.
After breakfast the party heads out with Meyer’s crew for the 5-hour trip to Hegendorf. Before they leave, Mortimer sneaks into Meyer’s wagon and sabotages all his guns.

Half-way to Hegendorf, the PCs launch their surprise attack. Several of Meyer’s goons go down in the first round. When the goons fight back, several of their guns blow up in their faces. Jacob uses Word of Command on Meyer, telling him to “run!” The witch hunter spends the next several rounds running away from the conflict. Blades and bullets cut down the rest of Meyer’s crew.

Meyer finally breaks free of the Command, just in time for Belinda to hit him with Charm Person. The party easily convinces the charmed Meyer that his crew were really in league with Satan, and he’s lucky they were there to save his life. They take the charmed with hunter with them to go find the demon.

The party makes camp about an hour outside of Hegendorf, deep in the woods. Their plan is to lure the demon out then ambush it. Garritt makes some scouting rolls and finds a good kill-spot with several trees and boulders for cover. Belinda uses herself for bait. Madeline helps disguise her as a young girl, while Belinda makes some witchcraft rolls to mix up some demon-attracting poultices.

They wait, and around midnight they hear the weird theramin-sound of the demon’s wailing, and spot the eerie green witch-light of its glowing crystalline body.

Suddenly the demon is among them, appearing right beside the tree where Garritt was hiding! The fight is on! The PCs pelt the demon with arrows and bullets, but have trouble getting through its crystalline hide. One of Meyer’s fire bombs goes wide and light a tree on fire. Garritt uses his Mighty Deed of Arms (yay DCC!) to crack the demon’s armor, making it easier for his companions to land blows.

At last the demon is slain! Belinda takes one of its claws as trophies and proof of its destruction. The rest of the body melts into a puddle go radioactive sludge that sprouts deformed fungus in the tarry mud. “Let us all kneel and give thanks to the Lord!” shouts Meyer in triumph. The witch hunter kneels and prays his thanks, and the party uses this opportunity to hit him with two backstab attacks, one critical hit, and two normal attacks—just mercilessly beating him to death. It’s just goddam brutal.

The party makes their way into Hegendorf, where they tell the remaining villages of how they slew the demon, and how poor Meyer the witch hunter died a heroic death. “But the demon devoured his body, so don’t bother going to look for it.” The PCs are lauded as heroes, and there is much celebrating.

Eventually the party returns to the Abbey of St. Agnes and their loot cache in the hidden cellar. They are stunned to discover that a trio of Molemen have dug up into their hiding spot from the Veins of the Earth. The subterranean diggers are going through their loot! The party doesn’t stand for this, and the Molemen are brutally slain. (“Poor little guys were having a dungeon adventure and wandered into a treasure cache. Then they failed their wandering monster check and you guys showed up. TPK for those poor Molemanic adventurers.”)

With their stash-space compromised, the party decides to pack up and head south towards Berlin, where they can take care of some “city business.” They take a few days to recover, then pack up their wagon with their money, the Lucifer Mirror, the Baleful Spear, and other treasures.

It’s three days to Berlin. On the second day they are accosted by bandits and a fight ensues. Ana calls out to Lucifer to protect her (casting Invoke Patron, currently using Sezrekan as a stand in for Satan), and she is instantly teleported away.

The fight is brutal, but short, and the bandits are soon defeated. Mortimer is pretty badly battered, but the rest of the party comes out of it okay. Belinda sacrifices the surviving bandit to the Lucifer Mirror and finds out that Ana is somewhere in Berlin. Jacob heals Mortimer's wounds, and the party resumes their journey.

After another day of travel, the party bribes their way through the gates of Berlin. The city is currently occupied by Swedish forces, and has suffered greatly from the War. One-third of the city has been destroyed and half the populace is dead or gone.

Belinda uses some of Ana’s spare clothing to give her scent to Arbok, and sets the dog loose to go find the missing witch. After a short while, the party is reunited with their henchwoman, and they all go off in search of lodgings.

While Ana’s been slumming about Berlin the past couple of days, an attractive young man gave her a handbill for a puppet show called “The Court of Chaos.” Ana is excited about going, and the rest of the party is interested in attending as well.

Midnight finds the party in a deserted part of town, entering an old abandoned opera house. A garish puppet theater has been erected on the stage, and the party are the only people in attendance. As the strange shadow puppets begin their act, the building shakes, hellish light shines through the cracks in the walls, and the party experiences a sinking feeling of vertigo. The walls of the theater fly apart and the party finds themselves on an obsidian island in a sea of blood surrounded by misshapen demon giants. They have entered The Court of Chaos!


  1. Pour one out for the molemen. Lol

    1. MY players are usually inclined to talk. I was stunned by their sudden murder-lust. That's what happens when you mess with their loot!

  2. Do you have a copy of the DCC conversion of Alice? The link is dead.

    1. Yikes! I do not. Which might make things complicated when Mortimer levels up.