Topic: Hammers of the God convention play (GottaCon in Victoria, BC)

If you care about that sort of thing, possible spoilers. Maybe.

This past Sunday afternoon I ran Hammers of the God as a convention game at GottaCon, and though the player turnout was not huge (such is the curse of the Last Day of the Con), the players that did show really enjoyed it!

I decided to be generous when making my pre-generated characters (mostly for reasons of hit points), and started every character with 10,000 xp, which puts all classes at level 4, except the elves at level 3.

After a brief intro about the system (none had played it before, or anything else OSR, afaik), they selected characters: one dwarf, one magic user, and two specialists. The player with the magic user looked at the spell sheet I handed her and asked "what does summon do?"

I gave her some assigned reading and got the rest of them started. Fifteen minutes later, in response to endless giggles and downright maniacal laughter from the MU, her boyfriend the dwarf took his turn reading the Summon description, with much more subdued and possibly intimidated reactions.

Anyways, they marveled at the front door that they could see and their retainers could not, and then damn near called it a successful adventure and went home after they found the coat check. With some prodding, they ventured further, slowly uncovering the madness of the great hall, and the mind-boggling details therein. The dwarf appraised the bronze armor of the human corpses and nearly lost his shit at the discrepancy of soldiers in 2500 year old armor covered in fresh, as in 5 minutes ago fresh, blood.

Being strange-minded folk (I'm good friends with the MU and dwarf, and they definitely fit that description. especially her. you'll see), they managed to figure out the meteorite and secret door before ever even looking at the two CLEARLY VISIBLE doors. They found the fountains. They clearly expected more of the fountains, as they spent ~30 minutes examining and cautiously testing the waters of each fountain while trying to suss out the meanings of the phrases. Eventually they moved on.

The next room ate more than an hour of real time, and damn near the whole party! Along with the expected time spent exploring this oddity, there was also the first encounter with the sentinels, and of course the submarines themselves. The encounter went as you'd expect, mostly, with the dwarf making an exception by trying to make friends with fellow dwarves. Naturally that cost him a few hit points. At about this point, the two specialists had to vanish into the shadows due to a prior engagement at another game table, so they were converted into mindless crank-turners. It was at this point that they decided to check out the submarines. The first one was determined to be inoperable due to a fatal case of broken crank. The second one was also deemed inoperable due to an infestation of NOPE (sentinels). They sealed the hatch on the zombie sub and sent it down the tunnel (~100' down). They then decided to examine the middle crank, with its spooled out cable.

This is roughly the time when the zombie sub started to come back out of the water of it's own accord. The level of panic created with that realization was very satisfying. They quickly cranked it down another couple hundred feet, then started trying to bring up the middle sub. This went ok for a while, but ran into a bit of a snag when the middle sub jammed up underneath the zombie sub. Steeling themselves against imminent combat, they cranked the zombie sub back up, only to find it opened and the zombies replaced with water (yeah, the zombies climbed out and were waiting on the beach below big_smile ).

Once the way was clear, they brought up the middle sub, and popped the hatch to check inside and FOOM! Spores all up in their business! Some hilariously bad saving throws later, the dwarf and MU are stuck with 6 and 3 rounds of madness mold effects, respectively. Even better, the third round of the MU's madness was "dive in for more mold"... with torch in hand. Cue explosion and fire damage and EVEN MORE MADNESS!

So, nearly dead from friendly fire (literally), and completely naked after breaking all of their own equipment, they decided to retire back to camp for a day or three to recuperate and hire a cleric and a fighter.

On the return visit, they decided to finally check out the western, then eastern doors from the great hall. When they found the smouldering seeds, they assumed they had some inhibiting effect on the undead and decided to carry all three seeds with them at all times, making sure not to smother them. I was mildly disappointed. Then they found the ritual shaving room, and the dwarf completely lost his shit. It's still missing. At this time, my own girlfriend joined the table to play McPain the fighter.

The library sent the magic user into fits of academic orgasm, and the rune walls had a similar effect on the dwarf. Then they found the pool of "gems". I had known, about three hours prior to them entering this room, that my friend the MU would be utterly incapable of resisting the urge to grab at the "gems" in the pool, and had high hopes for this discovery. I was not disappointed.

-First grab: 19. The grasping character pulls out a rose with a caterpillar on it. The caterpillar is eating the rose. If the caterpillar is killed or removed from the rose, anything the rose is touching (such as the hand of the character holding it) grows to twice its size, permanently.
-MU watches the rose for about 8 seconds then tosses it aside.
-Second grab: 10. The essence of an alien sorcerer blasts through the hole and merges with the grasping character. Reroll all of the character’s ability scores, 3d6 down the line, except a random ability score will be 5d6, drop the best 2, and a different random ability score will be 5d6, drop the worst two.
-MU gets some hilariously bad new stats (but AWESOME strength, so not all bad eh?)
-Third grab: 5. A glowing butterfly comes through the wormhole and flutters about the PCs. It will remain with them until they return to the surface and until they meet a living being other than themselves after leaving this complex. At this point the butterfly will fly directly into the chest of the being and explode, killing the creature or person instantly. (this is my favorite one of all)
-Fourth grab: 12. A black hole comes through the portal. It is about a foot in diameter, floats at just about eye level, and destroys everything it touches. It will follow the PCs at half the normal speed of an unencumbered human.
-MU throws the rose and caterpillar into the black hole. Black hole doubles in size.
-MU gives in to the near-constant insisting of the dwarf to PLEASE STOP!
-McPain starts grabbing "gems"
-First grab: 10. The essence of an alien sorcerer blasts through the hole and merges with the grasping character. Reroll all of the character’s ability scores, 3d6 down the line, except a random ability score will be 5d6, drop the best 2, and a different random ability score will be 5d6, drop the worst two.
-McPain gets some hilariously bad new stats (but decent intelligence)
-Second grab: 11. A small pocket-size star comes through the wormhole. It is worth 1000gp.
-Third grab: 18. The character reaching through the wormhole grasps his own hand as in a mirror dimension he is reaching through the wormhole trying to get at a gem. The opening is too small to pull the arm further than the wrist. Any harm that comes to that hand also happens to the grasping character’s hand.
-McPain tries to cut off his own hand, but chickens out, whines at the dwarf to help.
-MU decides she's bored of the black hole following her around, decides to try and get the black hole to break McPain's grasp on himself.
-MU rethinks her plans and declares she wants to cast Summon at the black hole. Dwarf barely restrains himself from diving over the table, contents himself with yelling "NOOOOOO!!".
-MU rethinks her plans and casts Magic Missile at the darkness. In an effort to save time, I declare that the magic overloads the black hole and causes an explosion, everyone takes 3d8 damage and the rune walls in the pool room are completely destroyed.
-Dwarf yells "NOOOOOO!!" again and weeps quietly to himself, banning the MU or McPain from following him into other rune wall rooms.

Then we sorta ran out of time (we were 15 minutes PAST the official closing time of the convention at this point), so I quickly narrated a tour of the most likely places they would die in the unexplored areas of the temple. Gave one of my spare Rules & Magic books to MU and Dwarf, and they pledged their love of the system and declared intentions to buy many adventure modules!