Panic In Pluckley
A Review of a Mad Playtest
Part 2: TheWandering
Warning this contains spoilers for The Wandering: Panic in Pluckley, which I will be releasing on PDF.
The last time I left off my review of my recent play test, the players had arrived at the mysterious red lake, where villagers had been disappearing, with their captive priestess. She raised her arms to the dark heavens and howled at the moon. Before the players, the red lake rippled and parted to reveal an ominous staircase twisting down into the black earth.
Unfortunately, two of our players had to take their leave of the game; our burial obsessed Cleric and our Mad Magic User.
Luckily, two new players dived into the fray. Renford the Dwarf and The Drunk Cleric. Renford had been hiding by the lake after visiting Pluckley with his wife and their nine children. All of whom had wandered the night before into the lake. The Fighter (Scott!) pointed out that a nearby bush had a beard and appeared to be talking at which point Renford revealed himself.
On holiday, our Drunk Cleric hoisted himself up from where he had been drinking and smoking in the moonlight and decided to wobble after the party out of pissed curiosity.
Thus, the players tossed some stones down the staircase and then unwisely decided to run down after Dawn Ingbert who they had drugged in the previous game.
I failed my even number roll four times which meant that the lake did not close over the stairs before the players could get down there and possible drown or dissolve a few of the players.
They were greeted by a squat elf called Dave who sat at a desk writing in a book in a reception room with massive intricately designed doors behind him. He handed all of the players keys apart from The Fighter, who he identified as a werewolf and suggested that the queen had a rather horrible punishment for him instead. He mocked the werewolf and told the players that they were not able to leave. They had homes now and could make any complaints directly to the queen. After insulting The Fighter, The Fighter decided that his character had had enough of the annoying elf and attempted to kill him, three times, and each time failed. Dave the elf ended up cowering beneath the desk and told the players to visit the queen.
No one noticed that Dawn Ingbert had been dragged off by the guards.
The players the doors behind Dave's desk. It revealed a gargantuan banquet hall with a full table of rich food. The beautiful silver haired queen sat lounging on her throne. Several nobles wandered about the hall and wolfish elf guards (dubbed Welfs by the players) stood along the hall guarding them all.
The queen greeted them and found the players amusing. The dwarf confronted her about stealing his wife and was exceptionally rude. She laughed in his face and informed him his wife was quite happy with her children in her house which he had the key too.
The players questioned the weird powerful queen who told them she was looking for a new groom. Little did the players know, her grooms always ended up horribly killed on the wedding night. Immediately the Halfling and Mortimer the Specialist leapt to be her husband. Mortimer went onto his knees to pledge his worthiness. The Drunk Cleric hiccuped and decided to join in and the Elf also threw in his hat for her hand, although the queen was confused by his gender she said she did not mind bedding a woman, much to the Elf's embarrassment.
She gave them three tasks, to bring her a gift, prove their loyalty and offer a sacrifice.
The players decided to visit their houses first in case there was something useful. There were two doors leading out of the palace "The Door that takes you to where you Want to Go" and "The Door that takes you to where you Need to Go". The players went for the latter door. The Halfling threw it open and stared into a strange black void which he decided to stick his hand into. His hand disappeared as if it had never existed. The players mage a Save Vs. Magic role to see if they remembered that the Halfling had lost his hand via the door or if they could never remember him having a hand in the first place.
The Halfling then grabbed a Welf guard and shoved him in, all but the Welf's hand. The hand became disembodied and moved of its own accord much like the Addams family favorite, Thing. They kept it as a mascot. It occasionally made obscene gestures.
Bored and alarmed by the void door they went to the other door to view their homes. The Halfling had a wonderful miniature home within a hill, bordering on a beautiful forest, which had lots of places to sneak and hide. Mortimer had a intricately locked Tavern full of at least 97 naked women who were washing themselves in a variety of warm bubble baths on the grassy lawn. He brought one out with him and seemed to struggle with the temptations of all of the women, who had only existed for twenty three minutes. The halfling shoved her back in and slammed the door to save Mortimer of his "temptations". The Drunk Cleric had a forest full of colorful mushrooms and hallucinogenic plants as well as a massive winery. The Elf had a wonderful intricately decorated home in the woods. The Fighter ended up with a dark room with shackles and silver torture instruments. The Dwarf opened his door to find his Wife shouting at him for being late with nine kids around her. He quickly shut the door.
The players then began to explore the castle. They spent a long time working through the mirror puzzle. Stepping into the mirrors and messing up the poor denizens of the world, including getting a small boy in one of the mirrors beaten to death by a bunch of guards. They realised they could put the mirrors on the table and special items would fall out. Here, The Fighter gained the magical cloak The Skin of Lycoan, they also received the Gift of Meliboea, a golden apple and a lute which lulled people into a state of calm happiness.
The players then went into the Egg room, where they gave their blood loyally to bring to life the disturbing undead horror that was the queens broodling.
We were running out of time, so the players tried one more room which was the Bath Room with the three muses washing themselves. Immediately, the players decided they all wanted to jump in and swim with the naked women except, they decided that it seemed a bit fishy. Mortimer beckoned a lady over and groped her. He failed a westle role and she through him into the pool. He dissolved horribly into a clean white skeleton (which the dwarf decided to carry around on his back). The women smiled sweetly and said "Thank you for your sacrifice".
The players returned to the queen and she informed them they had passed. They each gave a speech on why they were worthy and she picked The Drunk Cleric to be her husband.
The Fighter was given his own home, as she was reminded of her son when she was given the Gift of Meliboea. He decided to stay as it revealed a constant full moon, deer and sheep to hunt, and a huge barbaric fighting arena on the hill.
The Dwarf took his wife and children away from The Wandering to return to his home in the real world. The Elf decided to stay for the wedding and play music outside of the queens bedroom on his lute. The Halfling escaped with his treasures and Mortimer remained a skeleton.
Once The Drunk Cleric had married the queen she took him to her bedroom where she split him open, consumed his inside and laid her undead offspring in his corpse to form a new egg for the Egg room.
The Elf opened the door, saw this, screamed and ran back to the real world with his Lute.
The players seemed to really enjoy the second half and there was a lot of laughing involved. There was so much to cover it was a shame we could not get to it all. If I had more time, I may have stretched this out over three sessions so the players could fully explore all of the rooms in the castle.
Thanks for reading! I will let you know when the PDF is ready and available for download.