Friday, May 28, 2021

House of Worms, Sessions 225

Aíthfo, Grujúng, and Nebússa advanced on the Ssú standing between them and the passageway toward which they were headed. The Enemies of Man proved more skilled and resilient than expected, with Grujúng in particular finding his attacks against them less effective than he had hoped. However, as the battle raged on, the Tsolyáni regained their footing, aiding in no small part by Znayáshu and Chiyé's spells. With the Ssú warriors defeated, the characters continue to make their way through the lair.

The passageway ahead was quite narrow, forcing the Tsolyáni to travel single file. Winding their way through it, the characters heard sounds up ahead. Aíthfo, in the lead, saw that there was a large chamber up ahead, with multiple passages heading off in different directions. Guarding the chamber were five Ssú; there was also evidence of the Ssú "mines" the characters had encountered earlier. These mines were placed near the entrances of several of the passageways. 

The Ssú reacted immediately, rushing toward the passageway through which the characters were moving. Aíthfo quickly moved ahead to meet them, but Znayáshu cautioned him from doing so. Earlier, Kirktá had discovered an eye on the body of a dead Ssú sorcerer. Not knowing its function, he wished to test it on the Ssú. The eye had a small dial on it, with three settings; Znayáshu chose on setting, aimed it at the Ssú, and pressed the stud on the back. A greenish gas emerged from the eye and expanded to fill the chamber. Znayáshu was briefly elated, thinking he had come into the possession of an eye of the creeping fog of doom – a very potent device! Unfortunately, the Ssú didn't seem to be adversely affected by the gas. They continued their advance and attacked Aíthfo.

While Nebússa and Grujúng joined him, Aíthfo bore the brunt of the initial attack. He was struck several times and required healing from Keléno to ensure he did not fall in battle. At the same time, sounds were heard from the rear of the passage where the other characters waited. The guards with the characters reported that more Ssú were approaching, preparing to attack them from behind. Znayáshu squeezed past his comrades, adjusted the setting of the eye and tried again. This time, a yellowish gas emerged from the eye and, unlike the previous gas, it had a clear effect: one by one, the Ssú dropped to the ground, seemingly dead.

The battle in front waged on, with the characters staying away from the slowly expanding cloud of green gas. After some time, they prevailed against the Ssú but soon discovered that the two clouds of gas were no dissipating. The characters were effectively trapped between the two clouds, worried that they might die if they dared enter either. Rather than take the risk, they waited to see if there was evidence of the clouds shrinking in size. This happened, albeit very slowly. In the end, it took a little more than a half an hour to do so, during which time the group strategized. They could hear the distinctive chiming voices of the Ssú in the distance, suggesting the Enemies of Man were still nearby. However, none attacked them while they waited.

The clouds dissipated, they advanced again. Znayáshu, Chiyé, and Lady Srüna made use of their telekinesis spells to pick up and fling the "gems" resting atop the Ssú mines. These gems exploded down the passageways into which they were flung, followed by the sounds of more Ssú voices. When no more of their opponents appeared, Nebússa scouted to see which (if any) of the passages led to the area with evidence of Ancient architecture. He eventually discovered it and all the characters moved ahead cautiously. Passing evidence of dead Ssú, they found a lift like the ones they'd seen in other tubeway car stations. They made use of it, descending down a long shaft into what they immediately recognized as a darkened tubeway station.

The station seemed to lack most power, but there were lights on in a small building near a large car that sat waiting near it. Keléno fiddled with some of the controls, based on what he had learned from the Keeper beneath Miktatáin, and there was soon evidence that the tubeway car was now active. The characters piled into the car, inserted the disc given to them by Toneshkéthu, and watched as the car's door close, an unintelligible voice spoke, and a screen lit up, displaying a strange series of lines and other shapes. They felt the car move forward, with luck taking them to their desired destination: the fortress of Evú Nithóru located to the north of the capital city of Béy Sü.


  1. Heh. Always loved watching players (including myself) trying to figure out what any give Eye actually did. As much fun as watching a Gamma World/Metamorphosis Alpha character fiddle their way through those unknown tech flowcharts. :)

    Sounds like the PCs have got those ssu mines down pat - until they run into one without a TK spell available. They haven't tried just hitting one of the bomb-gems with a crossbow bolt or spear or something, have they?

    1. No, they have not tried touching or otherwise interacting with the gems except by magic.

  2. The Ssú command and control structure seems ineffective. I can imagine their surprise the first time the PCs used TK to throw those bombs at them, but I would have thought the immediate survivors would have sent back word by telepathy, or even a runner, to warn those below that they were under attack and the hated ones were using the gems against them.

    I would be interested to learn at some point what those gems are for and if the Ssú are even the ones who placed them.

    Kind of risky, trapping themselves between two clouds of gas. They would have been sitting ducks (or the Tékumel equivalent) for any ranged attacks. A good thing the Ssú didn’t learn to throw those gems.

    1. After a certain point, the characters observed that the Ssú did not seem to be putting up as strong a defense as they had earlier. I didn't mention it in the write-up (and probably should have) that they saw evidence that the Ssú were actively withdrawing from certain chambers and passageways, seemingly in order to leave a path clear for them to proceed. They surmised that they may have decided simply to let the characters through to their obvious destination (the tubeway car station) rather than continue to face off against them.