DCC: Hubris Session 8
I changed this session up a bit. We’d done a lot of travelling and fighting, so I wanted to give them a political intrigue/mystery session. Had four players. When the weather is nice I always have less drop-ins, and it was beautiful in Vancouver that day. No gorgeous sunny day keeps me from running Hubris in a crowded, hot, comic store back area! Onto adventure!
-Provide a different gaming experience then usual.
-Introduce them to all the key players in the Shadowfall.
-Get them in that sweet Black Pool of Inexplicable Ecstasy.
The gang had just decimated the group of Fire Breath Goblins in the abandoned keep, and earned a well deserved rest. That night, the wizard had a prophetic dream where he was entwined with a woman with metal piercings sticking from her fingertips, her lips, nose, and wearing a metal headdress that was sliced through her skin. The wizard told his friends about his dream, and the gang thought it was weird.
The next day they approached the city of Shadowfall, a spiral metropolis set in a gigantic sinkhole. They were impressed by the prosperity of the surrounding farmlands and how much the locals praised their vampire leaders. Upon reaching the city they were asked their business by a suspicious guard and were told all the rules and religious customs. They spent a bit of time in the bustling surface market before heading down into the pit to find Malo’vince. Navigating the twisting halls in the circular pit they found Malo’vince’s townhouse dug into the side of the creator, along with hundreds of other really nice dwelling down in the darkness.
A polite butler answered the door and they were lead into the parlour to see Malo’vince. He came out dressed in fancy clothes and a mask. He had been invited to a masquerade ball that evening and was allowed to bring guests, so he bought the gang some fancy threads and they all went to their first royal party. Malo’vince had told the leader; The Vampire Lord, Depraved Genieva, and her Court of the Withered Hand, all about his adventures and how he was saved by the gang more than once. Depraved Genieva was most interested in meeting these heroes.
HOW: I pictured the Shadowfall as a feudal province. Where local lords would control parcels of land, but instead of living on that land all the vampires would have to live in the city itself, because of its perpetual twilight. The outside of the sinkhole would have all the human goings on, but all the good stuff would be in the pit. I pictured the sinkhole kind of like Blight town in Dark Souls, except it doesn’t look like shit. The entire ring would have multi levelled platforms and all the nice homes would be near the bottom. Entire neighbourhoods would be built vertically, or into the rock itself. I took some inspiration from “Gathox Vertical Slum”. For what would be happening I rolled a D7 on the “Hooks” section for the Shadowfall and got a “6”. The Masquerade ball where Depraved Genieva, would need their help. That option would work perfectly so I had Malo’vince (I fixed his name! I like it better) all dressed up ready to take them to her.
Upon reaching the masquerade ball they were entranced by the sights of sounds they heard. A full orchestra played vibrant, erotic music while vampires of all shapes and sizes danced and entertained each other. Malo’vince told the gang to stick to him closely. After a short while he moved them to the back of the hall and into a side room where, surrounded by guards, was Lord Depraved Genieva herself. She was the figure the wizard saw in his dreams. A hauntingly beautiful woman, mostly naked except for the metal headdress and numerous piercings throughout her body. She was happy to meet the heroes that had rescued Malo’vince and praised his work. She was a big fan of rare flora and Malo’vince was the best in the city. He had brought back many exotic plants for her garden. The gang asked her for her help with Shadowfall’s army in the upcoming battle against Eisenbar. Depraved Genieva was intrigued by this notion, especially when she learned that the Shrieking Princess herself had given them the quest. She knew Isabelle when she was alive, and was interested in helping. But in order to earn her support they needed to help her with a favour. There had been an attempt on her life, and she had evidence it was one of the members of her counsel that had made the attack. She wanted the hero’s to speak to the counsel members and find out who had done it.
HOW: Since the vampires all worshipped Yelsa the goddess of sex and violence, I pictured them always ready for either. Scantily clad, but with razor piercings in their skin, and the most dedicated ones would be chained with spikes being carried by their servants as a dedicated expression of pain and pleasure. Now, I had to generate some suspects. So I went to the NPC charts on page 237 and rolled them up. Here’s what I came up with
–Yaffenfurr Bloodyfingers: former cartographer, extremely beautiful and charismatic.
–Cavryth Xavier: former cook, kleptomaniac.
–Vickie Olva: former constable, a serial killer at night in the cold because she likes to see the steam rise from the bodies.
–Hudson Welvur: former messenger, swears a lot, nasty tick.
–Brick of the Yellow: former miner then Vicar of Yelsa. Has a prophecy raven living in his head.
–Hendrick Brabrank: former spy, has his own militia, believes the regular army is incompetent.
Well, with those options guess which one I picked? Yeah the serial killer.
The team spread out among the elders to determine who the prime suspect might be. Under the guise of being special visitors from out of town, the ruling immortals found the hero’s mostly interesting.
Yaffenfurr’s favour was earned by sharing stories of travels and the team was rewarded with a map of Hubris for their actions. Cavryth didn’t offer much and instead stole several items from the team out from under their noses. Hudson was a write off and the team didn’t suspect him at all of any foul play. Brick was the most strange meeting as he took a member of the team aside, and after a conversation about the power of prophecy, opened his head, and offered a vision of the future. This really weirded out the adventurer, who politely declined. Hendrick’s meeting also proved fruitful as one of the team members had been a soldier in the past and earned his respect and his militia’s support in the coming battle. Then one of the team members spoke to Vickie alone. With the adventurer being from out of town, a stranger, alone, and someone no one would miss, Vickie could not pass up the opportunity to try and kill him in the cold dark night. However this adventures was the teams wizard and was able to escape before getting killed by the crazed vampire lord.
With the true culprit now caught, Depraved Genieva rewarded Malo’vince with a seat on the counsel and the team with her armies support against Eisenbar. She suggested they rally some more forces from the other cities and the team chose to get mercs from Glasturbury to fill out the ranks. She also allowed them to bathe in the Black Pool of Inexplicable Ecstasy which made them stronger.
HOW: Having the players meet with each elder alone was a great chance to show off each NPC. The player talking to Brick was genuinely unsettled when I described him opening his head to show him a living raven inside it. Great job Mike, you freaked out a 12 year old boy with your game. The wizard meeting the serial killer was too tempting to pass up and he managed to escape with some excellent rolls and a well placed wall of force spell.
The pool was very generous to the team. Lots of stat +1’s and getting younger.
What they don’t know was that it was Malo’vince who tried to kill Depraved Genieva to cast suspicion on the counsel so he could get his seat. He knew that one of them was a killer, just not which one. The team played right into his hands. He might tell them one day, maybe.
EPILOGUE: The players really liked the change of pace from the usual travelling. I find that Hubris has a ton of support for travel encounters, but not details about the cities themselves. I think that’s the point though, and It gave me a chance to really flush out what the Shadowfall was really like for me. Another Judge’s Shadowfall might be different, and that’s ok. Everyone had a good time, and next session they will be heading across the plains to Glasturbury.
Music listened to: “The Social Network” Soundtrack by Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross
“Dance of The Knights” by Sergei Prokofiev
“Crimson Peak Soundtrack” by Fernando Velázquez
Dungeon Crawl Classics is published by Goodman Games and Hubris: A World of Visceral Adventure is written by Mike Evans.