Session Report: Night of the Slashers

Jeroboam, the slasher
This Halloween I ran Night of the Slashers as a one-shot that ended up becoming a 1.5-shot. Rather than keeping the 1980s setting I re-skinned it to fit in our regular Lamentations campaign. Thus, it was set in 17th century England during the English Civil War. The players were deserters from the Royalist forces.  Tired of being underprovisioned, unpaid, and watching their friends die, they decided to rob an unprotected garrison where they had heard there was silver, which they planned to take and disappear into new lives. Although the players were not aware of it, the NotS characters they were playing were part of the group of soldiers they encountered in the sessions preceding and following these ones.

Changes from the base game:

  • The archetypes were given new names: Athlete became Pikeman, Loner became Engineer, Prep became Rifleman, Rebel became Scout. They kept their original equipment with changes to make it period-appropriate and remove things that wouldn't be useful for a soldier, such as a floppy disk. 
  • Each player was given a Secret which they had to roleplay and hide from the others. A character who survived and kept their secret would receive a 250 xp reward for the player's normal character, and discovering another player's secret was worth 100 xp. Additionally, treasure recovered is worth xp for the normal charcters, to keep it LotFP and focused on adventuring and exploring.
Can one not post a link to Dead Skin Mask under these circumstances?




The Players:

Player
Secret
Bill, Pikeman
Uses a fake name because he is wanted for a capital crime. Has a brand kept hidden on their body, denoting his criminal status.
Arc, Rifleman
Is an alcoholic, and will suffer a -3 penalty to actions unless drunk.
Peter, Engineer
Has a relative/loved one in dire need of help, and will go to any lengths to help them by stealing for them/committing acts which will benefit them.
Ross, Engineer
Is secretly a spy for the Parliamentarians.
Nic, Scout
Loves/idolizes Ross and will do anything to help them. Does not know they are a spy.
Brady, Scout
Is a coward.Will be told to attempt to escape at a point determined by the Ref (after seeing an opportunity to escape that becomes unavailable).

The Session:

The stage was set- the players' company had been undersupplied, and they had heard information about a tower with stockpiles of supply and soldiers' pay, which they hadn't received for months. They planned to desert and rob the tower in the midst of a storm. They had a few short hours to prepare before heading to the tower, lest a larger garrison return and dash their plans.

Given that they had very poorly maintained supplies and little to no silver, they chose to hide their colors and steal gear from townsfolk. Peter, the engineer with a heart of gold, broke into a house and intimidated a man into giving up his savings under the pretense of tax collection. Bill the branded scout waylaid a traveler in an alleyway for an oiled, waterproof cloak. Nic loitered in a tailor's shop and stole cloth for a makeshift cloak of his own. Arc spent what little silver he had drinking. 

When the time drew nigh, the party traveled along the road to the coast where a cannon tower guarded the cliffs against attack. A heavy storm had kicked up, darkening the sky and covering noise, although it served to make our heroes even more miserable, with the exception of Bill and his new waterproof cloak.

They surveyed their target. Their information had been correct, it seemed to be garrisoned with only a skeleton crew. Arc posted himself on a small hill with his rifle ready. Nic snuck up behind a soldier on his way to take a piss from the top of the cliffs. He received a ventilated jugular courtesy of Nic's misericorde, and Nic stole his clothes. Due to an unlucky roll, the clothes had a slight smell of urine. Another soldier watched the tower door, but was concerned more with taking shelter from the rain than keeping a good watch.

Arc approached the watchman, hiding his face as best he could under his damaged cloak. Due to his Royalist colors, he was able to somewhat convincingly impersonate the soldier who had just left. He took a seat next to the watchman, grappled him, and tried to choke him into unconsciousness. His attempt failed, and Arc was forced to take the watchman's own pistol and blast him in the forehead. This soldier was also stripped and dumped from the cliff. Luckily, thunder had concealed the noise of the gunshot, and the party could enter the tower.

They found a sparse lower level, with only a staircase and a weapons rack, which was empty. Above, they heard a discussion taking place among some soldiers. The scouts listened closely, and heard one asking if they had considered Jeroboam's offer: something about a scheme to leave the army and join another group with a divine purpose and plenty of silver. Nic and Peter checked downstairs and found a trap door hidden beneath the weapon rack. Going below, they found an old underground structure, a long hallway filled with carved bas-reliefs of knights and ritual imagery. Alcoves to the side held statues, and a door to the front was decorated with knights holding shields carved from ivory. Peter searched the alcoves, finding an incredibly heavy ceremonial shield with decorative symbols that made Nic very nervous and suspicious that they had stumbled on a Templar hideout.

After experimentation, the two were able to open the door by pushing the shields. Inside was a small chapel-esque room with several pillars and an altar. They stole a bunch of draped tapestries, loading Peter down, and examined the altar, covered with thick cord and strips of something leathery. Behind them hung a desiccated corpse, chained to a pillar by manacles and partially flayed. They heard something scraping against the wall and hid in the alcoves in the hall.

The others, above ground, entered the tower and began ascending the stairs. The second level was drenched in blood, with a corpse of one of the guards laid on the table, head and spinal cord partially torn out and folded over, lying flat on their back. Arc checked to see if it's alive. Shockingly, it was not. Traveling higher to the top level, they found two more dismembered bodies. One, wedged between crenellations, was pulled downward the moment Arc arrived.

On the ground, a tall, cloaked figure was moving toward the tower entrance, dragging something behind it. They noticed it was wearing Royalist colors like the other soldiers. As it got close, they saw it was dragging a corpse on a sharpened hook and chain. Arc tried to take a shot, but missed. The others tried to scramble. For some reason, Bill couldn't get the door of the tower open, and was cornered in the doorframe and hoisted up by his throat.

Cut.

By which I mean this was the end of the first session. Because I hadn't told the players they were in a slasher movie, they had planned cautiously and sort of under the assumption that the pregens were just like their regular characters. Very methodical. So I told them about what game we were playing here, and that we'd finish up in another session.

Next session, we picked up where we left off. Bill took his small scout's lantern and prepared to smash it on his attacker, Jeroboam. Above, on the third level of the tower, Arc took one of the dead guard's lanterns and dumped its oil down the tower, mostly covering Jeroboam but some on Bill as well. Bill, either an altruist or perhaps just tired of life, smashed his lantern on Jeroboam, torching them both. Ross threw a powder horn rigged with a fuse from a salvaged matchlock, and blew the two to pieces.

I guess neither Rafael nor I really counted on characters having ready access to improvised grenades. Anyway, Bill is a puddle of melted gore, and Jeroboam is chunks. Ross moves in, gathers the pieces, and throws them down the cliff into the ocean. Surely, he is destroyed, and could not possibly return at a narratively appropriate moment.

Given a reprieve, the crew explored the tower. Peter and Nic had enough of the basement and lit a powderhorn to blow the trapdoor open again. Ross damn near stumbled right on top of it, but narrowly avoided being blown to pieces due to not paying attention to what his friends are doing.

On level 2, the group found a few barrels. Ross opened one, and saw seven metal vials of a golden liquid in the bottom. Reaching down, he grabbed them, causing the weighted bottom of the barrel to trigger its trap- one of the barrel's bands was in fact several disguised blades, which whipped out and chopped his arm off at the elbow. He bled out in seconds, before Arc could even get down the stairs to give aid. Not one to miss an opportunity, Brady checked to see if the trap still works, then grabbed the rest of the vials.

Opening the second barrel, they found a collection of trophies impaled on hooks hanging inside. A flesh mask, severed hand, etc. At this point, the decision is made that it's time to GTFO because for all they know Jeroboam could do all kinds of weird shit and probably wasn't dead.

This was the end of the session and for these characters, whose fate is unknown to the players. In continuity, they took their silver and other spoils and joined up with a larger group of deserters, later encountered by the party in sessions 7, 9 & 10, although the party was not explicitly aware of this.

So, how was it?
Running this game was a blast. It was a bit slower than I thought, and a bit surprising that the slasher went down so quickly, but I couldn't argue with a hand grenade. The die drop table came in really handy, and the character builds worked really well. Every one played differently and the players got into it. Integrating it into my campaign, stripping the 80s theme worked fine.
The additions I made with the secrets was fun, but didn't have a huge mechanical impact. It did give the players something to roleplay with an otherwise bare-bones pregen, though, so I think I'll write something up about the system. Look for that in a future post, as well as what the hell that golden liquid does.

Anyway, good job Rafael! It was awesome, and I would definitely run it again with any theme. This is a great supplement and I hope this inspires others to play it as well. And if anyone else made it this far into this beast of a post, let me know what you think and if you have plans to run one of your own. If you do one over G+, hit me up!


Happy late Halloween.


Comments

  1. This sounds like it was a lot of fun to run and play. I love the idea of these characters coming in to play in a regular game. That makes the one-shots have more impact and is a nice Easter egg.

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    Replies
    1. Yeah, it was great. I definitely plan on it connecting up to our campaign in an interesting way... but unfortunately I can't go into detail because the players read the campaign...
      Basically, Thulian Echoes gave me a good idea and I think it has the capacity to change roleplaying structure in huge ways. I plan on using it a lot. Kind of like a "flash-sideways" to enlarge the scope of the campaign and get all meta with it and throw in some chaos.

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