Bookstore Barbarians vs. the Apemen

Wherein the Bookstore Boys (as I call the group for whom I occasionally run games at Ink Spell Books in Half Moon Bay) create new characters and test-drive the upcoming Barbarians of Lemuria: Mythic rules…

I decided to stick with the published Lemuria setting this time, since I’ve been hankering for sword & sorcery lately.  The Main Theme from Danny Elfman’s thrilling, percussive soundtrack to Tim Burton’s meh 2001 Planet of the Apes remake had already been on seemingly-endless repeat in my mind for a few days, undoubtedly left over from an OD&D adventure I ran a couple weeks earlier.  Said OD&D game provided the basis for this adventure, and the soundtrack definitely influenced my pre-game prep and in-game description…

The adventure began with the heroes — a Satarlan gladiator, Satarlan hunter, and Zaluti assassin — all in rags, clinging to flotsam after the prison galley in which they were being transported was blown off course and wrecked in a terrible storm.  The heroes managed to get to an uncharted island after seeing a shiny silver flash on the horizon.  Once ashore, the heroes scrambled to make weapons, find food, and prepare shelter before nightfall. [The boys ran wild with this, wanting to sew blankets, knap stone into blades, and craft other items…]  As twilight descended, the group heard the echo of drums in the distance…  After an uneventful night, the assassin decided the next morning to forego hunting, gathering, and crafting in favor of exploring — alone.  This led to an unintentionally-humorous sequence wherein the poorly-equipped hero narrowly escaped from a hungry tiger-lizard, slid down a muddy slope, fell into a rushing river, and was washed back out to the beach, at which point he slogged back along the coast to where his companions were cooking and eating the day’s kill.

[In their enthusiasm for crafting, the boys completely forgot about the mysterious silver flashing up in the hills.  They probably could have spent the entire 3-hour session puttering around on the beach, so I decided it was time to shake things up…]

During the second watch of the second night, the camp was set upon by a raiding party of Apemen wielding sleep-inducing poison darts.  The heroes were quickly captured, bound, and carried to the Ape village, where they were placed in a wooden stockade.  When the Ape drums started up and some cooking spits were erected over a large fire, the heroes knew they didn’t have much time to escape.  The Gladiator used his mighty strength to pull some of the logs of their prison out of the ground enough for the group to wiggle out.  Using her magic, the Assassin created an illusory demon that rose from the bonfire and terrified the Apes into temporary flight.  Taking advantage of the confusion, the group grabbed some Ape weapons (stone spears, stone daggers, javelins) and made a break for the jungle.  The Apes’ panic was short-lived, and soon the sound of drums and hunting horns echoed up the trail behind them.  Hotly pursued by Ape warriors hurling javelins and darts, the heroes (led by the Hunter) managed to make it back to their camp and mount a defense.  The PCs decimated the first wave of warriors and nearly slew their war-leader.  After the Apes retreated to regroup, the party decided their camp was unsafe and (finally!) decided to flee to the hills in search of the silver flash.

The Hunter (an expert jungle tracker) led the group unerringly through the dense foliage, out of the jungle and up into the hills.  Before long they found the source of the silver flash — a downed Satarlan sky-boat.  Omis, the pilot, rejoiced at meeting two fellow Satarlans, and explained his situation: he had completed the repairs as best he could, but needed some Blue Crystals to help power the engine.  His sensor device had located some nearby, but he was unable to retrieve them due to his injured leg.  The PCs eagerly agreed to help, and followed the sensor to a gaping hole in the ground 20′ wide and 200′ deep.  Hanging from a mighty tree overhead were a number of long vines stretching down into the darkness.  The heroes climbed down these and had to battle their way past a disturbed nest of carnivorous bats (as they were swinging from these vines before they could reach the crystals, carefully chip some out with hammers, and return to the ship.  The adventure concluded with the heroes and Omis flying north toward Satarla in the sky-boat…

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