Every Sunday night, I run my 20th level D&D 4e home campaign… but last night was my birthday so I wanted to do something a little more spectacular.
I’ve had the idea for a themed dinner adventure for a while; three encounters, three courses. My D&D camapaign is taking a turn toward the dark side as we enter into epic tier, so a dinner adventure would be out of place. My solution; Gamma World!
To plan this adventure, I had to start with something completely out of the norm; recipes. Scouring the net with search phrases like, “themed foods,” “scary treats,” & “halloween snacks,” turned up lots of options, but most had bats, mummies, and vampires in them. Then I stumbled across a swampy kids drink with a nice radioactive hue. This gave me an idea.
It’s the old, “someones poisoned the water hole” adventure, but with a twist… a lime twist.
Mayor Thompsoon once again seeks the aid of a group of heroes. He meets with them saying (in a Nixon voice),
“Thank goodness you’ve arrived, hopefully not too late. As Scuttlebutt was pouring my morning tea, he noticed something strange in the well water. Neon green we’re used to, but this? Every glass is the same, filled with this… muck (Pass out the drinks). Disgusting, no? I had called you here to seek out and destroy this problem… but that was six rounds ago. Now I say, we must find and capture whatever is causing this blessed phenomena! Hurry, to the water hole, before it’s too late!”
(Major Quest – Capture the Intoxicating Mystery) Reward – Free booze!
- 6 ounces light rum
- 12 mint sprigs, or spearmint, 8 roughly broken apart
- 6 tablespoons fresh lime juice
- 4 tablespoons sugar
- Club soda
- 4 slices lime
- 2 tablespoons tapioca pearls
- 1 swedish fish
- 2 gummy worms
Heat some water to a boil then dump in the tapioca you’re using all at once. Stir for about a minute then remove from heat and let soak in the water for another twenty minutes or so. During this time, add rum, sugar, and food coloring to absorb into the tapioca. Soak some with green and some with yellow food coloring for at least 1 hour. Place ice in beverage shaker then add in the rum, 8 broken up mint sprigs, lime juice and sugar. Shake well and serve over ice in a high ball glass. Top off each glass with a splash of club soda.
Garnish each with a slice of lime and a sprig of mint, tapioca pearls, swedish fish, and gummy worms.
The players may learn some useful information throughout the town, everybody seems in high “spirits” and more than willing to talk (if a little hard to understand).
Interaction (DC 9) – Outlying farmers who came with their morning goods report the “problem” is found only in the town’s well water.
Interaction (DC 15) – Some prude old ladies complain of the lack of water pressure while sipping their swampy water. “I pump and pump and get only one glass full, when I brought a bucket.”
Conspiracy (DC 12) – Sven, the barkeep has always paid good money for alcohol. When asked about his view of the “problem,” he becomes enraged… after calming down he then offers the players access to his back room if they “deal with the problem, permanently.”
(Minor Quest – Destroy the Intoxicating “Problem”) Reward – Omega Tech and Ammo
Down the Water Hole
As far as anyone knows, the only access point to the water hole is down the well. The rope and bucket is old and rotten, players can only safely climb down one at a time. Two on the rope and it gets a save to keep from breaking, three or more and the rope breaks. It is 5 squares to the bottom of the well. When the first person enters the hole, read:
The well opens up into a large cavern. The sloped walls are slick with slime and dome toward the well entrance, a hole in the middle of the cieling through which you dangle through. The water level is much lower than it should be, barely knee deep, covering the sodden floor. Small, prickly, sea-cucumber like creatures dot the floor.
As soon as the first player touches the ground in the well, the players roll initiative. Remember the rules for rope breakage as the encounter begins. Read:
As your feet deep into the cold water you see a score of tiny red fish flee from you. One passes a cucumber and with a splash the cucumber puffs up, skewering a handful of the writhing minnows. All around the cavern, tiny splashes erupt as more and more of the cucumbers puff to life. At the far end of the room a large pipe trickles a steady stream of clear water onto the shallow floor. There, some much larger cucumbers pop up and start advancing toward you!
Recipe: 1 large Sharp Cheddar Cheese Ball and lots of pretzel sticks!
The only “feature” in this area is the pipe flowing clean water. Players stepping into or starting their turn in the stream gain an automatic save vs the ongoing acid damage that is so prevalent in this encounter.
This cavern only has two exits, the well into town or the large straight pipe containing a small stream of water. After an hour of travel, the players start to notice more and more slimy eggs covering the stream bed within the pipe. After an hour, they’re ankle-deep in the eggs and come to a dead-end. A large hatch is closed, barely a foot off the ground, barring access beyond.
By the way, there are no skill challenges in Gamma World.
Luckily, there are skills in Gamma World. Even more luckily (for the players), there is a broken computer terminal, with a control box holding some faulty wiring next to the door. Some teamwork; mechanics, science, and athletics check gets the door open with a success. Brute force (Athletics – DC 26) can succeed too which allows for the party to manhandle their way through if necessary, but this is counted as a fail (all “lifting” characters start encounter prone if they fail a save). Read:
Before you, three tiers of feeble waterfalls step down toward you, all covered by slimy yellow toads. Their chorus joins the creaking door as they see an exit at last. In their excitement, more of the slimy secretion oozes off of them as they try to jump all over each other.
Encounter 2: 24 x Shieldbots (pg. 127)
The toads go first in initiative, consider it a surprise round for all the groaning of the door. They all flood toward the tiny exit, but can’t escape (players are in the way) so they begin to attack. The “shieldbots” deal acid instead of electricity damage, and since there is no “bloodied” in this encounter, alter the shieldbots to shift 1 (with no attack) if an ally within 2 dies. This keeps the corridor flooded with toads as often as possible. The goal is for the players to get out of the toads way, somehow. The toads only seek escape, but they attack all blocking their path.
At the top tier of the filtration room is another pipe, like the one they crawled through before, but only 15 feet long this time. It exits into The Mother Toad’s Lair.
Encounter 3: The Mother Toad, 6 x Shiledbots (pg. 127, 3 at a=start of encounter, 3 more when Mother Toad is bloodied).
Consequently, there is a contest over at brainclouds.net that fit well into the encounter I was planning anyway… here’s my submission.
Exiting the tube, your nostrils are assaulted by a wretched stench. The water here is thick with slime and with every step you take hundreds of toadlings squish beneath your feet. Rounding the corner, you see a mountain of toad eggs piled high into the far corner of the cavern. The largest, ugliest toad you have ever seen sits in the middle atop a lake of her young and roars at your arrival. While most of the toads are premature at best, a few remain in defense of their mother.
Now, in Gamma World things hit a lot harder than in D&D. It’s not uncommon to see a level 1 character deal out 5d8 + 10 damage with a successful overcharge. In Gamma World, she has 148 hit points, but in D&D she should have around 128.
The crystals add 4 damage to any creature who hits with a bio attack while adjacent. The toads are all bio attacks.
The neon green pond upon which the frog sits is full of her eggs. The pond is difficult terrain and any creature that enters into the pond is slowed until exit. Creatures, other than toads, who start their turn within the pond take 10 acid damage.
Mother Toad protects her young until she’s bloodied, at which point she retreats to the upper levels of her lair and attacks characters wading through the pond with her sticky tongue. When she has fewer than 30 hit points remaining, then she either flees or cowers in submission.
The shieldbot “toads” unthinkingly assault the nearest enemy. Three more appear from under the eggs when Mother Toad becomes bloodied.
Every square that is green is difficult terrain due to an overwhelming number of slimy toad eggs.
The streaming water is thick with slime as well. Any creature that moves through more than 2 squares of water must make an acrobatics check (DC 12) or fall prone.
And I can’t forget the main course!
Recipe: Bagels, pizza sauce, cheese, pepperoni, red pepper (tongue), and olives (eyes).
Create your pizzas and bake at around 350 for 15 minutes or so. When finished, place the red pepper tongue and lean the other bagel pizza on top of it at an angle. Toothpicks help hold it in place, then the olives cover the toothpicks. Ala cuisine!