Lunchtime Lairs 3: Beetle Juiced

A quick recap. Temple, rescue daughter, guards, disease, fights, heads rolled, blood splattered, spell casting priest and a weird, monstrous, psychic, teleporting space beetle.

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This week the party’s Cleric, Romula (Clarky), made an appearance and the slaughter continued, with Blegrin (Alex) leading the way and Faqual the Sorcerer (Dave) adding to the carnage with his toblerone inspired molten chocolate magic missiles (both milk and white chocolate varieties).  All was going well until the space beetle, host of the Lunar Seed (you don’t need to know but can imagine) hugged Fean the Quick (James) to death.  If he’d been Fean the Strong he may have survived.  Putting the bad guys on the back foot having killed or mutilated all of the guards, the party pushed on through the temple to find an underground cavern, infested with pustulent fleshy growths clinging to pillars and a stink from the bowels of hell.  People who had been drawn into the temple were lying around, covered in the diseased growths, almost like human grow bags. It was here the bad guys, Elias Goldtongue and the beetle made their stand while the last guards fell upon our remaining heroes (saddened as they were by the loss of Fean).

v23bA plan was formed: block the corridor with a 2 man shield wall while Andromeda the Thief (Matt) and Faqual make Molotov cocktails with their oil flasks, then set the whole cavern on fire.  Great plan and all was going well until the beetle used it’s cosmic spray ability and Faqual failed his saving throw, falling into a euphoric daze and spilling the remaining contents of his oil flask on the floor where the party stand. It was about this point that they spotted Mina, the daughter of Olga they were there to save.

Most of the guards now out of the fight, Andromeda lashes her Molotov cocktail and starts setting the flesh and some of the poor, diseased supplicants on fire – a blaze which quickly spreads.  Romula and Belgrin run to rescue Mina while Andromeda tries to slap the idiotically drooling Faqual out of his daze.  And so we left it there…

The Black Hack thoughts

The OSR roots of the game started to show through this session. A few failed rolls and things can quickly turn bad, and once armour is depleted characters seemed far more vulnerable in combat.  At the beginning of the session Fean the Quick had full armour and hit points, but just a handful of failed rolls took the character out.  When a character is reduced to zero hit points they are ‘Out of Action’, unconscious and unable to contribute for the rest of the encounter.  After the encounter the player rolls on a d6 with results ranging from just knocked out to dead, with other results including penalties to dice rolls to disfigurement.

The Black Hack is far from a perfect system. Some of the ideas don’t make sense – the usage die for resources is a clever idea, but is perhaps too abstract.  If you wanted to buy two flasks of oil, that’s what you should do instead of one flask with a d6 usage die.  And there are gaps in the rules – how to make contested ability checks for example. But those issues aside it is great fit for Lunchtime Lairs – light, easy for players to pick up and it just works.  I suspect it may struggle with higher level characters.

Next week shall see a resolution to this adventure, The Curious Fane of the Lunar Seed, then it will be GM rotation time with Clarky up next.

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