“Some construction workers digging up a foundation hit an old sealed pocket of swamp gas. Nawlins is built on a swamp you know, and the concentrated fumes has emerged and ignited. Now I’m getting some unconfirmed reports that the initial blast ruptured a city gas line, exacerbating the problem…”
An unearthly sound, somewhat like a roar interrupts the spiel.
“…and that a bear or two managed to escape the zoo in the confusion.”
– PR Office Sgt. Marlin Doucet holding a press conference at the barricades
On Sunday I finished running my 21st episodes of SINS. It was the end of a two-part finale for Season 2 of my test game. The players faced off against the “god” worshiped by a pack of cultists that had been the major thorn in the team’s side since the start of the season. Among other things, it was my first time running a massive tough monster in Savage Worlds. It was a blast.
The god, once awakened, turned out to be an ancient french dragon called Garguiem. For a change-up, I made dragons a unique kind of supernatural entity in SINS. They don’t conform to the standard rules for demons, nature spirits, etc. A major change being that they leave behind a body when destroyed. The cult itself was able to reawaken the dragon by completing a ritual on its skull, the only part of the dragon that didn’t burn after it was defeated hundreds of years ago. For its stats and abilities I used the Dragon from the Savage Worlds Deluxe handbook, but added the SINS “Resistant to Normal Weapons,” which made it only take half damage from normal weapons unless they were it’s weakness. I wanted to avoid using silver or wrought iron as a weakness, so as to make dragons something more potent, so I took a page from the Peluda myth, and made the dragon’s tail it’s weakness. Called shots to the tail inflicted full damage, as did attacks with magic weapons, or unarmed or natural weapons. Of course the dragon’s impressive 20 Toughness and Hardy features remained intact so even with these weaknesses in place, hurting the dragon was no easy task.
To deal with the beast, the players talked their way into the SWAT unit’s stores of gear and picked up anything and everything they thought they could make use of: sniper rifles, grenade launchers, ballistic shields, and everything else that wasn’t nailed down. To be honest, I was a little surprised they didn’t take the SWAT unit’s armored car. I suspect they just didn’t think of it.
In addition, the team was also packing a pair of magic weapons. The Scythe of the Harvest Lord, and magic rapier taken from a witch hunter, also probably a (previously looted) fairy weapon. Detective Lagneux, interestingly enough not the physical combat expert, managed to awaken the scythe while battling cultists and had empowered it to a D10 Magic Die before the encounter. As a weapon of a grim reaper like fairy lord of the harvest season, it was empowered through being used to kill, or reap, foes, and had quickly gained strength as the players fought through groups of crazed cultists. The other magic blade, the name of which the players never figured out, took longer to activate. As a rapier it proved helpful in deflecting attacks, and it was the act of successfully making a parrying attack that awoke and empowered that blade.
Of course that still left 2 police officers without magic weapons. Detective Caine, and expert in guns, took his not-department-legal AK-47 and the borrowed SWAT grenade launcher. Sgt. Mike took a pump-action shotgun and a SWAT Marksman rifle. He attempted to take the large-caliber sniper rifle, but it proved too heavy to manage. Jake the police dog opted for his usually canines and good looks.
Initially the players decided to try to first slay the dragon, then deal with the cultists that had raised it. They drove into the evacuated part of town where the dragon was rampaging, found a pair of tall buildings that weren’t already on fire, climbed to the top, and had loud mouth detective Lagneux taunt the dragon through a bullhorn until it showed up. The players knew they were dealing with a large fire-breathing lizard, but the scale of the dragon and it’s impressive deadly form managed to momentarily overwhelm some of the unit with fear.
The dragon proved highly durable to their attacks, shrugging off a called shot to the face by grenade launcher, and being only momentarily stunned by an incredibly well placed shot to the eye by a sniper rifle. It was, however, frequently confused by the silver-tongued banter of detective Lagnuex and the grappling actions of Jake the police dog. Jake’s strength was not sufficient to maintain a hold on the dragon’s throat for long, but his skill at fighting meant he frequently was able to grab hold, forcing the dragon to take a multi-action penalty each turn to dislodge the dog before making attacks, also with a multiaction penalty. Detective Tohbi actually climbed onto the dragon’s back to attack its tail with her double blades.
The players eventually figured out that the members of the group with magic blades should be making called shots to the eyes, while those with normal weapons should be attacking the tail. The called shots to the eyes suffered a -6 penalty (made easier by the +4 size bonus), did +4 damage, and avoided 4 points of scale armor. Shots at the tail with normal weapons suffered a -2 penalty (turning into a +2 bonus after size) and did full damage instead of half and were getting their full AP value as dragon scales are not made of Kevlar. The players eventually managed a solid hit on the dragon, inflicting a single wound thanks to the AP of a large rifle. The dragon, at this point, managed to shake off the police and dogs attached to it, and took to the smoke darkened night sky.
The players decided at this point that they should go deal with the cultists. After fighting through waves of ritual knife and SMG wielding cultists, they entered the old tomb where the dragon had been re-awoken and faced off against the spellslinging cult leader and his pack of crazed minions. His pack of minions included two cultists in a machine-gun nest with a belt fed 50 cal. Thanks to the lovely layout of a map I found online, I was able to conceal the gun from the players until they strayed into its sights. Between the gun, a cultist with an SMG, and the cult leader’s fireball, the team almost didn’t make it.
Once the cult leader was slain, the dragon/god responded by arriving to eat the interlopers. The players once again tried for their ploy of attacking tail & eyes while the dog distracted the dragon. It was detective Caine on the 50 cal that manged to get the killing blow on the dragon. This last battle with the dragon went a bit smoother for the players largely do to bad rolling on behalf of the dragon. In one cringe worth round, the dragon drew a Red Joker for initiative but only rolled a 7 (after the +2 for joker and penalty for wounds) on its spirit roll, meaning it didn’t get any actions… wasting its chance to deal serious pain to player. As GM I was already out of bennies at that point, so there was no helping it.
All in all, the was fun episode and a great way to end the season.