Firstly, I’m going to navel-gaze for a bit:
Sleeping Place of the Feathered Swine started life as an experiment in formatting my own prep notes (impression of the general area -> sensory/atmospheric information in BIG OBVIOUS TYPE -> everything else), which worked out great in my own game so I published it pretty much as-is, and the vast majority of feedback I’ve gotten is that it works great. For the most part you can just pick it up and go.
But something it DIDN’T do was use a lot of moving parts, or take into account where you came from; the descriptions all assume you’re following the most obvious route.
So moving on to new things, I could do what normally happens and make things more generic, get rid of the sensory build-up, so that you need to stop and reference the map to think about what order players see things/where they lie in front of them, OR I could do what I’ve done which is to write multiple entry descriptions for each area to cover every way you could get there including falling from the goddamn sky.
The experiment behind STEAL THE EYES OF YASHOGGHUH is seeing if I can make an adventure that’s just as easy to pick up and play as Feathered Swine, with the same atmosphere that builds when you can just keep going area to area, but with lots more moving parts that affect other areas of the map, tracked events, triggers, missing keys, possible NPC factions, all without being a nightmare to track. I want you to be able to flip to a page and just GO, I want all of the information you need to be there without having to stop and think.
Ultimately, the experiment behind it is to make a fairly complex and organic adventure that can not only be run easily by a brand new DM, without prep and possibly without even reading all of it beforehand, but be played by brand new players.
I want them to know that things are happening around them and that there may be unforseen consequences without it being overwhelming or frustratingly confusing, I want them to be able to solve problems without having to pixel-bitch across the whole map pulling levers and finding keys that give no indication that they’ve done the right thing, and shit, I want them to have a lot of fun.
WITH THAT SAID
FM Geist ran STEAL THE EYES OF YASHOGGHUH for her birthday and fuck me, the play report just makes me so happy, as does the feedback that keeps coming in from her players.
It also makes me exceedingly happy that she ran this while high from a PHONE, so I feel like I’ve done fairly well with those design goals.
ALSO she used my (new) magic rules, equipment packs, and NPCs, and the incident beginning with the removal of the golden spikes is the perfect culmination of everything I try to do with what I write.
Please, give it a read (then read it again, and again):
Play report for STEAL THE EYES OF YASHOGGHUH
I forgot to invite people to a thing because I have been on a lot of pain management drugs and just assume I have done things, so my PVD friends / visiting GF.
The Party Was:
Venn (played by W) an exceedingly androgynous blood wizard (CHA17) with absurdly good stats (STR & INT 15, DEX 14, WIS 11, CON 9)
Konrad Grossbart (sjb) a horrible solipsistic Sword Whore with a claymore & a pouch of finger bones
Percy (Daphne) and Shelly (the enraged Cat on a stick) an Adept who purchased the key (Golden Tadpole/Sperm Thing) & was absurdly interested in wealth acquisition and totally disinterested in helping the party—save that Lantern Boy be clean which was promptly forgotten
Plus Lantern Boy (who seems to horribly die every single time he is used as an NPC), Lulu Von Strang & Veruca Grift who were there to replace dead PCs.
Playtime: Roughly 4 Hours with a fairly long smoke break, 1 person had never played an RPG before and the other 2 hadn’t for at least a year [Logan’s Note: Daphne had never played before and after the game W let it slip that they actually hadn’t played since 1992]. Also, I also wound up laughing so hard I cried twice at the torment of Lantern Boy which made me lose my place.
How Far Did They Get: They Killed VALERIAN GAX & were about to STEAL THE EYES. (If not for the driving home thing we probably would have finished the dungeon… but they live like 2 hours away)
How did you run this: I used my iPhone with a laptop to reference the encounter tables and other stuff that is helpful to not have to fuck around with because of a printer issue.
Errata: I’m really bad at looking up Logan’s miscast table and just used a “Chaos Reigns” for a double 2 (with some… uhhhh… well weird results).
[Additionally: I got sort of high and had some slight scanning stuff but I actually wanna point out I smoked weed and ran this almost entirely from a phone]
They quickly got the door open (no one got weird ideas) and immediately pushed Lantern Boy ahead to scout—in what would become a pattern to looking for traps and/or danger by shoving Lantern Boy ahead. The party advanced down the stairs with Lantern Boy as lead while Konrad held his claymore to his (Lantern Boy’s) back and Percy dangled his enraged Cat over him for moral support (?) Venn took the rear with the meat shields. They found the clump of mushrooms and Konrad tried to poke at it with a sword. A horrible body totally infested with fruiting fungus sprung up and Konrad slipped in frog guts. Initiative was rolled (Lantern Boy failed morale and just stood in mute terror). Konrad tried to hack the infected off at the knee and got his sword lodged in the shin, Venn leapt to the front and disembowled the figure coating Lantern Boy and Konrad in fungus. The fungal figure tries to vomit into Konrad’s mouth and misses but coats Konrad and Lantern Boy in more infecting fungus. Percy hands his CatStick off to a retainer and tries to clean Lantern Boy for decorum reasons using a bunch of feathers tied together with human hair. The rearguard really doesn’t seem interested in helping in this fight/I forgot they existed as did the party. The next round sees the mound being split crotch to clavicle by Konrad—who I should probably mention has no interest in material wealth and works for the sheer joy in murder/believes he is the only human—covering him in more fungus. Everyone rolls to see if they are infected and passes—except Venn. Percy eats a wall mushroom in case it is expensive. It tastes awful and he decides not to eat more and passes another infection check.
Lantern Boy cries and pleads not to go down the fungal hallway so the party doesn’t—in an odd moment of kindness to Lantern Boy. Going into the hallway, Lantern Boy encounters some corpses that Percy won’t loot because only poor people can die(?)—Daphne invented a lot of weird beliefs for Percy who functionally didn’t do much other than demand people walk into rooms to test for traps and grab anything made of gold. Flies show up and are swiftly murdered by Konrad—who kills fucking everything and works for the sheer joy of murder and collecting finger bones—but vomit on Lantern Boy for 2 damage. Venn heals him with “Its Only Flesh” and Lantern Boys ruptured flesh bubbles out new flesh to fill the wound. After cutting the finger bones out of the corpses, Konrad smashes a barricaded door from its hinges and finds more bodies that no one searches but they wind up in the Feeding Chambers.
Percy uses Shelly to get the maggots off a mound and finds the horrible trunk being feasted on by maggots and regenerating and tears all the spikes out of its throat to get rich. The stump starts screaming, Percy tells Venn to use magic to seal the mouth shut. Venn obliges but rolls a double 2 while succeeding at “It’s Only Flesh”. I frantically look for the appropriate table and just say “fuck it roll Chaos Reigns”; Venn gets a 7 “The caster’s mind switches place with that of a random enemy,” & I rule the immortal corpse regenerator is an enemy. Venn’s Body starts screaming in mortal terror and relief and is promptly decapitated by Konrad who cuts out some finger bones as the body decays into fungus and passes another infection check. Venn uses what he assumes are his last words to tell Lantern Boy he will always love him—shattering his mind for the 3rd fucking time, 4 if you count being shoved into this room full of horrible maggot mounds that I forgot to roll any check on for. Konrad forces Veruca to explore the entrances where she repeats that there’s just more mounds, Venn politely asks for them to remove the stump covers which allow Venn to regrow his limbs. Venn is now basically immortal, a blood wizard, and is in what we ruled his mind has subtly transformed into a woman’s body since Venn would be happier—for convenience Venn’s finds that her new more satisfying body has the same stars. [Also “I will always love you” were the first words Venn spoke]
Percy is now convinced gold makes you immortal and tears the nails out of every throat of every mound (for something like 12 GP per mound; I don’t bother to tally because it’s backend math) and manages to not draw any really interesting encounters but Venn finds a shiny coin and Veruca finds an entry to the weird basin room and altar.
Venn wanders in beings the key back to Percy & then he and Konrad break their streak of murder by mercilessly failing to murder Harold (in total before he becomes completely mute to not encourage attempted murder: Konrad fails to smash Harold with a claymore 3 times, and has Venn empty both barrels of her pistol at him and rolled to reload but decided to wait and shoot him point blank when given the opportunity) he is sent over to inform them that the Chosen Ones should go fulfill their destiny and a maggot is inquired about. Lantern Boy is again threatened with murder and goes to fetch a maggot. He loses his thumb and Venn regrows it—it sort of sprouts out like stop motion photography so Lantern Boy has a clean thumb and spots that were dissolved by fly vomit but otherwise is pretty goddamn disgusting. I roll some dice and determine Lantern Boy functionally thinks that like Venn’s new body he is basically fucking immortal. He is quickly promoted to party negotiator because Venn & Konrad are convinced they cannot kill Harold but instinctively fucking hate him & the rest of the frog priests and would like them to never speak.
The priests learn Konrad doesn’t try to hit them with a claymore when they don’t talk so they use pointing and whispering to goad Lantern Boy into leading them to their destiny. The party explores the crystal room and Lantern Boy—convinced that there is great treasure up the stairs walks up to Gax & Yashogghuh’s room and promptly fails morale and is paralyzed with fear vomiting. Konrad rushes in; sees Gax and immediately charges trying to slash him, Combat gets sort of bad with the party continuing to string together misses. Percy lobs his grenade at Gax and it is a dud, Venn and Konrad engage in ineffectual stabbing and missing but only Konrad gets hit (3 damage for half of his HP from a claw attack from Gax). Percy tantrums at the hirelings to do more. Lulu runs in slides and jams the candle knife into Gax (rolling an 18 and a 3 for her gambit, I give Gax a free attack which immediately kills Lulu), Veruca rolls a 1 and falls on the floor flailing. Konrad decides to throw Lantern Boy at Gax so his oil skeins ignite and successfully gambits—Lantern Boy inexplicably survives and screams jovially that he cannot die as Gax takes serious damage for once. Gax then vomits on Lantern Boy for a critical and rolls really high melting everything but Lantern Boys terrified face, the soot highlighting his features of utter pain and betrayal. Percy gambits the grenade is not a dud and will fire his flaming arrow at it… and succeeds on both counts rolls for what the grenade is and gets… that a 6HD troll comes out. Gax vomits on the troll—which is made of hyper-compressed cartilage and is oozing out and expanding—for a ton of damage slagging it (thanks to random target rolling). Konrad rolls near max damage on a hit killing the burning Gax—who they in no way had to fight. He immediately tries to loot finger bones from the remains of Lantern Boy and vows to tell his parents how he died before murdering them to spare them the grief.
They then deal with the silent applause of the priests who point at the EYES OF YASHOGGHUH which they totally are giving away and we ended the session.
Did I mention I ran this almost entirely with an iPhone? The design is fucking great in hyperlinked PDF other than grabbing a few bits of information. The party had a really good time and an immortal blood wizard who can cast Enfold Subcutis in a now far more comforting gender is a horrifying combination of immortality and self discovery that the entire party was nonplussed about [I should probably mention my entire gaming group for this & myself are not cis].
I had fun running it although the decision to repeatedly attack the priests who were clearly trying not to fight was interesting and I am pretty sure that the party is going wind up trying to murder Yashogghuh the moment he wakes up. Also I barely got to roleplay any NPCs besides Lantern Boy’s terrified crying and screaming by the priests once before a flurry of ineffective murder.
The group had a lot of fun with the maggot rooms and with the temple in general and enjoyed playing amoral weirdos.
tbh I feel like I got slowed up a few times because of my phone screen locking (and having an overly complicated type out password) but nothing too major for first time running something I read once while high and ran using a hyperlinked PDF.
This should be out in hard bind and people should buy it.
AFTER THE GAME
The players have been writing odes to Lantern Boy.
From sjb / Konrad Grossbart:
with lantern in hand
and blade against spine,
he led the way,
undimmed and ever
surrounded by a halo
matched only by the sun,
his perfect teeth,
never to grow sallow and crook’d.
From W / Venn:
as if in flame
carry the burden
of our wounds-
revealing your face
(wreathed in light).
From Daphne / Percy:
The work is over, a stalwart beacon
An end to horror, seen first and quite
With naught but light, instructions dumb,
And deepest, blackest stench to plumb
May he be remembered,
Whole and drenched
From head to toe with
By this extant relic:
His dismembered thumb
Daphne also said: “Having never played an RPG before, I would play an RPG again; did I play an RPG right?”
Yes Daphne, yes you fucking did.