One thing I’m liking about Endday is the framework we’ve laid down for it. We have a fixed number of sessions (30), and each session covers the events of a single day. This makes the campaign highly episodic with each session a single discrete chunk of the tale. Just like any TV show, that gives me wiggle room to experiment with the style of play. Sometimes it’ll work and other times it won’t, but as long as the players are having fun and the story moves forward it’s all good. Think of it like the X-Files (only with demons and magic). Some of the weirder episodes were great. Some were lousy. But hey, it’s still Mulder and Scully so it’s all good.
This session, I drop a little time-travel-flashbackness on the players’ asses.
Events begin just after midnight, immediately following on from the previous session. Our heroes are stood outside Los Angeles International Airport with an old skinny Vietnamese guy. He looks at the PCs and says; “It has begun again. The Endday is coming!”
They ask him what he means. He replies; “It means I’m thirsty. You’re buying. I will talk.” They end up in a coffee shop where Bao (for that is his name) reveals a little more:
“You, my friends, are the Glorious Warriors of this age. The angels have blessed you to lead the fight against the demons, just as they blessed us in our fight against the demons all those years ago. I fought alongside you Americans in Vietnam against the Viet Cong – at least, that is what the world believed. Our true enemies were the demons who plagued the jungles and threatened to end the world, just as they will try now. Only you can stop them.”
Bao is friendly enough and answers most of the player’s questions (though sometimes in riddles, of course). Just as they are about to leave he says; “I still sense your doubt. I show you.” They walk through the door and end up…… in Viet-frickin’-nam!
They’re right in the jungles, clad in US Army uniforms and there’s bombs going off all around them. By their side is Bao – a younger, fitter Bao – and he’s shouting “Come! Must run!” A couple of Reflex Saves to avoid flying debris (Annette misses one and it costs her a Healing Surge and -1 to Speed and -2 to Reflex Saves for the session), and they’re in a clearing where assorted troops and fighting a losing battle against a small group of demons.
Encounter level 3 (XP 725)
– 2 Gnaw Demons (level 5 skirmisher)
– 1 Dretch (level 2 brute)
– 4 Rupture Demons (level 5 minion soldiers)
This is a TOUGH encounter for Level 3s and it takes up a fair chunk of the session to play through. I’m using a battlemat this time around. The US/allied troops are minions who frankly don’t stand a chance against these dudes. The unfortunately named Rupture Demons are mechanically awesome in play. They’re demonic lumps of gloop that can envelop and Restrain a foe automatically, but that drops the demon to 0hp. That’s great for setting up a Gnaw Demon to chew on your ass. But that’s not all – when the Rupture Demon drops to 0hp it also… well, ruptures. If there’s another demon within 5 squares of it, that gloop (good word, gloop. Fun to type) gives them +5hp and +2 to damage. And it’s cumulative.
By the climax to the battle those 2 Gnaw Demons (and even one of the lowly Dretches) were gloop-coated damage dealing beasts from hell. Add in difficult jungle terrain, restrained victims and explosions going off all around and it made for a heck of a session. Rupture Demons: perfect for jungle encounters!
Thankfully, Our Heroes aren’t slouches when it comes to fightin’ demons. Annette Weber is a fire-wielding Wizard made of pure awesome, Caroline MacAulney is a Spiked Chain biker queen, Oscar Marcinelli is a Halberd-heftin’ Fighter/Sorcerer Marine (don’t ask) and Daniel Giddens is a Rogue Accountant. No, really. By now they’re all level three and comfortable in their roles. With two fighters on the team with a Rogue, flanking is a no-brainer. Combine Annette’s ability to summon a Fire Warrior (can a Fire Warrior grant combat advantage through flanking? We said yes) and it didn’t take long for the demons to be outnumbered, then defeated.
The only problem was that the players had taken their eyes off Bao. He was down, and dying. The reach him and curse their lack of Cleric. Hey, I warned ’em. He looks at them and says with his dying breath; “The Endday is coming. Mine has come.”
Fade to black.
The heroes are standing in an overgrown graveyard somewhere outside LA. It’s noon. In front of them is a weather-worn gravestone.
July 12 1951 – September 3 1969
Posthumously granted US Citizenship