Session 2 Summary

Babylon Campaign Summary for Session 2 (18/3/2003)

by André Pang

The last session ended with our five valiant heroes mercenaries fighting to earn a place in the Thel’s Warriors, and they greatly impressed Thel and XXX by ripping their opponents to shreds whilst also smelling like minty freshness.

Thel Achila congratulated Amber and the party after the fight, and told them more about the Thel’s Warriors. She informed them that wounds suffered by any of the stable’s fighters are tended to by their healer named Papparasmus, a man not particularly known for his social skills, but was nevertheless good at what he does. Thel also mentioned that she was now in retirement because of the “Ankheg incident” —- several of her fighters were gored to death in an unpleasant manner in an ankheg pit during one of the fights. In fact, apart from the Ankheg incident, many of her warriors were dying during the middle of a fight in the veins; they would mysteriously keel over with no signs of warning. In particular, her greatest gladiator, a shambling mound who went by the name “The Golden Shambler”, died in this fashion. Thel wants the party to find out who or what is responsible for killing all her gladiators, and is offering a 1000 gp bounty to solve this puzzle. Thel suspects that a rival stable, the Sandnets, may have something to do with the deaths. Led by Vulpone Sandnet, a hulking minotaur who savagely cuts down almost all opposition, the Sandnets have never been on the best of terms with Thel’s Warriors. However, our heroes’ first intuition was to follow up on the strange minty smell that Torr picked up in the battle to prove themselves to Thel. Thel mentioned that Flug, the arena janitor, uses some cleaning fluid which may have been a bit minty.

After their conversation with Thel, the crew of five descended beneath the gladiatorial arena: the Underveins. The Underveins, featured on a very cool Dragon® map, was home to Papparasmus the healer. Papparasmus was about as pleasant to deal with as everybody suggested: that is, not very. He did do his job though, and healed everybody back up to their optimal health. One thing that our heroes managed to get out of Papparasmus was a name: Tiberius, apparently a master healer and cleric who was responsible for raising the dead.

The heroes then went to visit Thel again; upon asking Thel about Tiberius, Thel became defensive and refused to talk to the heroes about “her father”. Instead, she laid down the rules of gladiatorial combat in the Veins:

  1. No magical “buffs” before a match; e.g. no Mage Armour, no Protection From Normal Missiles and Other Pointy Things. It’s perfectly okay to cast those spells once you’ve started combat, though.
  2. There’s a 50gp entrance fee for each fight, and the 1st such fee is paid for by Thel. This fee can also be waived if you’re particularly (in)famous.
  3. One can take “raise dead insurance”, which costs (50gp + 10 * your fame score). Once you’ve taken the insurance, if you fall in combat, you will be raised for the mere price paid for the insurance.
  4. If you have no “raise dead insurance”, it costs 200gp to raise you lest you be decapitated, arrowed, sworded, or otherwise burninated (to the countryside).
  5. Winning a gladiatorial battle nets (50gp + 2 * your fame score). XXX: This doesn’t seem like much, given that the entrance fee takes 50gp out of that. Andrew?
  6. Good performance in battle and/or good crowd entertainment nets a gladiator more fame.
  7. A gladiator may appeal to the crowd with either a Charisma check or a skill check (DM determines difficulty), at their choice.
  8. Inflicting massive damage, such as one would expect from a critical hit from a scythe, increases a gladiator’s fame.
  9. Performing a Fatality to kill your foe(s) increases your fame.
  10. Having “spice” in a battle (and presumably winning that battle) increases your fame. “Spice” can be a number of things, such as having an ankheg pit present, a random basilisk peacefully wandering around the arena, or random landmines.
  11. Doing “cool things” in combat increases your fame, where “cool things” is subject to interpretation by Mr. Dungeon Master.
  12. To perform a Fatality, a gladiator must kill an opponent with a critical hit, or must kill an opponent with a -6 penalty to their attack roll.
  13. Once you hit 0 hitpoints in the arena, you’re gone. Dead. Burninated.

Armed with this valuable information, our astute heroes then took a one week break, with 45gp spending money courtesy of Thel, to prepare themselves before their first battle. The group separated for the week, and each mercenary had their own story to tell.

Kane and Arjanne were visited by the PsiCore: darkly-dressed people with scary-looking hoods. Fascinatingly, neither of the two could tell whether the PsiCore members were actually male or female. In fact, the PsiCore look quite … inhuman. They were taken to some sort of temple where they met the PsiCore leader, another average-looking PsiCore members who told the two psions to “side with them when the time comes”. After agreeing because they didn’t see much choice (being surrounded by about 50 PsiCore members at the time), they were escorted out of the temple and were immediately met in by other mysterious men, dressed in white, claiming to be part of a group called the “Freeminders”. The Freeminders, like the PsiCore tempted the two champions to join their side when the time came, and also said that the PsiCore were “corrupters”. Of course, since they were wearing white, Arjanne and Kane dismissed them as being pansies. Mind flayers The PsiCore are obviously much more fun to be allies with.

Amber couldn’t sleep for the week. Her sleep was being haunted with nightmares of ghosts, who kept telling her to “open the door”. When confused little Amber asked what-the-hell-door they were talking about, the “Earthbound” ghosts simply stated “There is only one door. Don’t you understand?” Obviously, Amber didn’t —- at least, not for now …

Our favourite drunken monk, Grasshopper, decided to talk to Rifius, the little boy with the large golden belt. Rifius ran an errand for Grasshopper and managed to get a jar of the cleaning fluid that Flug used to clean the arena; unfortunately, Grasshopper’s keen sense of vapours didn’t detect any minty freshness in the fluid. Grasshopper also met another girl in Thel’s Warriors named Stiletto, who at the moment seemed to be what meta-gamers call a “standard NPC”, but will no doubt turn out to be significant later on in the campaign a nice young lass. Grasshopper gained a fame point from saying Hi to the ladies, and also learnt that the commons hold a “Blood Bowl League” —- this week’s game was between Super Nashwan (of Xenon II fame) and Brutal Deluxe (of Speedball II fame), and it was looking like a good one. Bets are welcome!

Torr met a fellow named Mountain Musso who had some kind of “angry potion”, fought him in a wrestling match for it, and promptly lost. Stupid Torr.

After the one-week break taken by the heroes, they were approached by none other than Tiberius Achila. He looked like a very streetwise old man, and claimed that Thel was a criminal, and “stolen from Nathaniel” (whatever that means). Tiberius also warned the heroes that he’d be coming to take half of their arena winnings, and if the heroes refused, they’d be in for all sorts of trouble.

The leaderless heroes now needed a leader for their combat group, named “The Jackson Bitches” (with a 3-2 majority vote, thank you, drive through). In order to determine who would be their fearless leader, they diplomatically beat each other senseless until one was left standing. Of course, the Cleric won that fight (thanks in no small part to a small glowing celestial doggy); Amber now leads Torr, Grasshopper, Kane and Arjanne in their search for monsters to kill and stuff to take. Each of the heroes earned 200 XP in the gladiatorial challenge.

At this stage, the heroes relaxed for one more day before their first fight. In the day, they could visit the markets to buy some new equipment, or speak to Thel, Papparasmus or Flug about their investigation. At the end of the day, the heroes could then go to the Bloodbowl match to watch lots of humies beat the living crap out of each other. Hooray!

Most of the heroes decided to go to the markets, except for The Monk (XXX: is this correct?) Grasshopper talked to Thel and told her that the cleaning fluid wasn’t minty. Thel basically said “ahuh” in response to this. Upon asking Thel about her father Tiberius, Thel claimed that Tiberius and her were no longer blood relatives.

At the Bloodbowl stadium, our heroes learnt that the Orcland Raiders won last year, and in this match, the odds were 3 to 1 for Super Nashwan vs Brutal Deluxe. Brutal Deluxe ended up winning (XXX: is this right?); as a result, Kane lost 7gp, Arjanne lost 10gp, Amber won 12gp, Torr lost 10gp (stupid Torr), and Grasshopper lost 66.6666 silver pieces.

At this stage, life was suspended in the Babylon universe, and mundane daily life returned.

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