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SCRPG Limited Run: Hades Issue Two: It's All Uphill From Here

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Cult of Gloom
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SCRPG Limited Run: Hades Issue Two: It's All Uphill From Here

MODERATE SPOILERS FOR THE GAME HADES

Issue Structure

After Lord Hades refused the heroes his permission to return and a battle with a distrustful Prince Zagreus in order to make us of his unsecured window, our heroes find themselves out of the God of the Dead’s House and into the wider underworld at large. More specifically, into the twisting and ever changing dungeons of Tartarus  the abode of the wretched dead who had performed vile, treacherous, and blasphemous deeds in their life. The heroes might just run into some old enemies they personally sent down here.

This objective for this issue is going to be the same as the next three: Make your way through the perils of the underworld to ascend to the next level always working towards the surface. In function, this issue will be the most similar to the experience of actually playing the video game and is broken up into two action scenes. The first, a running battle moving chamber by chamber through Tartarus and the second a climactic battle with the chef guardians of this floor: the Fury Sisters.

Along the way the heroes will encounter Sisyphus: A dead king punished to roll a rock up a hill for eternity for his misconduct in life, including his attempt to cheat death. He serves as a grim picture of the fate the heroes might face if they should fail in their escape attempt, or when they inevitably return. The heroes have the option to aid him, and may gain his help against the fury sisters if they do so, but the cost of time might be greater than they wish to make with Cerberus hot on their trail.

The Maze of Tartarus

The Situation

While he has expressed disdain and derision at his son for his repeated attempts to reach the surface, Lord Hades does possess some level of love for Prince Zagreus and has allowed him to continue confident in his defenses ability to keep him contained. He has no such love for the heroes, and is less inclined to either hold back or allow for second chances. Cerberus will be sent to retrieve the heroes as soon as their attempt is made known to the God of the Dead, and will catch up with them if the scene tracker runs out.

With the hound of hell behind them, the heroes find chambers infested with the wretched dead in front. Each time they enter a chamber, there is a new threat waiting for them and a sealed door. The door will open when the room’s threat is completely defeated, however with the time limit it could be that they don’t have time to do that. Each door can also be open with an overcome check to smash it, find a hidden lever, or preform some other kind of feat to get past it. Doing so does mean the number of threats will pile up so the heroes will need to strike the right balance.

Halfway through the maze the heroes will find Sisyphus, currently nursing an injured leg. Having come to terms with his fate the fallen king reacts with his now customary good cheer, but does ask the heroes if they could please roll the giant stone all the way up to the top of the hill for him, since he is one away from his quota for the day and will suffer the lash of the Furies if he doesn’t meet it.  They could off course instead simply exit the room with an overcome on the door, but freeing Sisyphus so he can get back to his routine earns them a reward.

Running The Scene

Scene Tracker: G G Y Y Y Y R R

Room One: H number of Wretched Thug minions

Room Two: H number of Brimstone minions

Room Three: ½ (round up)  H number Numskull minions and a Skull Pile Lieutenant

Room Four: Sisyphus and his three box challenge to Roll the Boulder

Room Five: One Wretched Sneak Lieutenant.

Room Six: ½ H(round up) Wretched Louts and a Spike Trap Challenge

Room Seventh: H number of Wretched Thug minions and ½ H (rounded up) Wretched Pest minions

Room Eight: One Doomstone Lieutenant

Room Nine: Fountain Room. The last room contains no new threats, and any remaining threats in the scene fear to come so close to the Fury sisters. Each hero may drink from the fountain to heal half of the damage they have taken so far before moving to fight the sisters.

Environment: Tartarus

Wretched Dead: D8

Trap Filled: d8

Ever Changing: d8

Green Twists

Treasure Trove: A sparkling chest looms in the darkness. The heroes may ignore it, or open it with a single overcome check. In addition to any twist earned, doing so summons 2 Wretched Thug minions. The chest contains H number of Obols, useful later in the underworld.

Numbskull Patrol: Add 1/2H Numbskull minions to the scene

Suddenly Spikes!: The spikes in that floor were particularly well hidden and nasty. Roll the scene dice and attack one hero with the mid die and hinder that same hero with the min die

Major Twist: Rocks Fall: The coming of Cerberus is making the roof star to tremble and rocks are constantly falling. Hinder all actions by 2 until something is done to stabilize the maze.

Yellow Twists

Brimstone Patrol: Add two Brimstone minions to the scene

Tortured Screams: The sounds of some damned soul being tormented echo down the hallway. Roll the environment dice and hinder each target with the Max die as they contemplate what failure means.

Cut off!:  A previously opened door slams closed, cutting off anyone who has not moved into the current chamber. They’ll have to perform an overcome action to open the door.

Major Twist: Cerberus Grows Near!: Advance the scene tracker one space. Note, only use if the heroes are making good time!

Red Twists

Lout Patrol: Add one Lout minion to the scene

Mimic Treasure Trove: A second sparkling chest loom in the darkness, but this one is a monster. If a hero attempts an overcome to open it, stop the roll and add a d8 mimic minion which makes a free attack as a reaction. Then allow the hero to take a different action

Oops all Spikes: A spike shoots out of ever surface! Outch! Roll the environment dice and attack all hero targets with the Max die.

Major Twist: Back to Start: The earth shakes and there is a bright flash, and when the light clears the players have found themselves all the way back to the start! This seeming devastating turn of events is merely an illusion though. It will need to be dispelled to move forward.

Dispel illusion

[ ] [ ] until this challenge is overcome you can’t move forward.

 

Challenges

Roll the Boulder

Description: The shade of Sisyphus has somehow managed to injury his leg, and he was just one more roll up the hill before meeting today’s quota too. It’s a big rock(pic) that’s for sure, but it can’t be that much of a problem for the heroes to get it to the top of the hill right? If they aren’t in too much of a hurry that is.

Resolution: [ ] roll the boulder halfway up the hill

[ ] struggle through the weight of all of your sins and failures in life being laid bare on your shoulders

[ ] roll the boulder the rest of the way up the hill

Outcome: Should the heroes fail to complete the task, then Sisyphus will be punished for slacking off by the Furies. He tries to play this off as being no big deal, he has endured it for centuries at this point, but his voice betrays a little bit of fear at the prospect. Should the heroes help him out, however, he is over joyed and gives them a keepsake. They gain a Favor from Contact alternate reward (page 248) as though they had spent five hero points useable at any point during this issue. Likely this favor will be something accomplishable by a boulder falling from the sky, such as smashing open a door or trying to squish a Fury.  

Spike Trap

Description: The floor of this room is spiked! Also spikes shoot out of the statues mouths. Too many spikes to shake a stick at because a spike has impaled the stick

Resolution: [ ] disable ground bases spikes

[ ] disable statue based spikes

Outcome: Until the ground base spikes are take care of, heroes taking actions on the ground suffer a -1 based hinder to all actions. Until the statue based spikes have been disabled, the proved supporting fire boosts all enemy minion attacks by +1. These traps continue for the rest of the maze, but shutting them down in one room shuts them down in all rooms.

Threats

Wretched Thugs d8 minion

Description: Hulking brutes who were murderers in life armed with crude clubs

Abilities: Overhead Smash, brutes add +1 when they attack

Tactics: They spread out in an attempt to evenly engage enemies

Brimstone, d6 minion

Description: The crystalized malice of lost souls looking to attack vengeance

Abilities: Continued Fire: Brimstones add +2 when they attack the same enemy they attacked last turn

Tactics: They pick a target and stick with it, becoming very dangerous if ignored

Numbskull, d4 minion

Description: These chattering heads are all that remains of those not given a proper burial due to their dishonor in life

Abilities: Nyyyeh!: Numbskulls add +1 when making a hindering action

Tactics: will spread out and hinder the heroes to the best of their ability, only taking the attack action if they are the only threat in the scene

Skull Pile, d8 Lieutenant

Description: Since no one much likes the numbskulls, they are forced to band together if they want company

Abilities: Numbskulls, head out!: As an action, roll the skull pile’s die and add that many numbskulls to the scene

Tactics: It’s just a big pile of skulls, its gonna sit there and spit out more skulls. Stick to what you know, skull pile says.

Wretched Sneak, d8 Lieutenant

Description: A cowardly backstabbing assassin in life, the sneak is not much changed in death

Abilities: Poof: When the sneak’s die size decreases, it disappears in a puff of smoke and cannot be targeted again until after its next turn.

Tactics: The sneak is going to stick around awhile, popping in and out to hit the heroes then retreat when it’s struck back

Wretched Louts, d10 minion

Description: Those who overindulged and were greedy in life continue to consume all they can in death, even though it brings no satisfaction.

Abilities: Clumsy Bulk: The Lout must roll its die twice and accept the lower result when taking an action, however it gains +2 on its saves

Tactics: The louts lumber around and fill in whatever roll is needed, attacking if a lot of hinders are being done and hindering if there are a lot of attackers.

 

Wretched Pests, d6 minions

Description: Ancient urns filled with barely sentient ghosts of vermin

Abilities: Area barrage: The ghosts inside the urns spit out blinding, defeating explosives, but are firing blindly. They subtract -1 to hinder rolls but can hinder two close by targets

Tactics: Spray and pray, the pests will fire out there hinders and hope for the best

 

Doomstone, d10 Lieutenant

Description: A bunch of brimstone glued together by melted gold and malice

Abilities: Continued Fire: The Doomstone add +2 when they attack the same enemy they attacked last turn

Fragmentary: When the Doomstone is knocked down a die size, it produces both a Brimstone minion and an Obol(pic) coin the party can use later

Tactics: Being encountered in the last room, it is easy for the heroes to simply run passed this enemy, so play up the sparkling coins the heroes might be able to beat out of it if they linger

Aftermath

If the scene tracker should run out before the heroes reach the fountain room or if all the heroes should become incapacitated, it means that Cerberus has reached them. All of the other shades flee at the thought that the Hound of Hell might wish to play with them. Cerberus is perhaps the most fearsome guardian of the underworld besides Lord Hades himself, but he has become used to letting Zagreus go and the heroes have a chance to perform an overcome to send him back to the House without them. Food is the most successful bribe. Any attempt to battle him at this juncture results in a quick death, and the heroes need to start over.

If the heroes successfully make it to the Fountain room, all of the other shades and Cerberus himself back off not wanting to risk the ire of the Furies. The heroes have a brief moment to catch their breaths before facing their final challenge in Tartarus

 


Remember, don't turn that frown upside down! Turn it into Eldritch Power to summon our Dark Master to Spite a world that has wronged you.

Cult of Gloom
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Hell Hath Three Furies

The Situation

Good News and Bad News time. The good news is that there is just one room between the heroes and the way out of Tartarus. The bad news is that it’s the Fury’s Torture Chamber. The situation is simple enough: defeat the Furies and move on. But simple does not in this case mean easy.

Depending on the number of heroes, their collection level, and their general health you may decide to run this scene in a number of ways. You could have them simply fight one Fury, fight one Fury backed up by the other two as lieutenants. Or fight all three sisters as full-fledged villains at once. You could also consider removing the H x 5 health bonus that villains typically receive. Anyway you run it this is a straight forward boss fight brawl.

 

Running the Scene

G G Y Y Y Y R R

Environment Fury’s Torture Chamber

Spikes: D8

Unstable: D8

Screams: D10

Green Twists

Reinforcement: Two Wretched Thugs are called up by Meg to help fight the heroes

Spike Trap: Roll the environment dice and do Mid die damage to the character who handed off to the environment

Tortured Moans: The wails of prisoner’s waiting to face the Furies’ punishment echoes up from the cells in a demoralizing cacophony. Roll the environment dice and hinder each hero with the Max die.

Major Twist: Vision of Future: The actor who passed to the environment sees the grim punishment that awaits them should they fail here in the cells of Tartarus. Roll the environment dice and hinder that actor with the mid die. That penalty is persistent and exclusive

 

Yellow Twists

Sisters Support Each Other: Each active Fury preforms a boost action on another Fury

Enrage! The Furies are getting tired of this. Boost one fury using the last amount of damage she took. That boost is persistent and exclusive

More Reinforcements: Alecto calls in a Wretched Lout to help fight the heroes

Major Twist: Confiscation: The Furies use their whips to seize materials that shades should not have. Any bonus represented by an item is destroyed, one hero loses access to a Hallmark Weapon or Gadgets power until they can steal the item back with an overcome check.  

Red Twists

Room Shrinks: The Furies are tied to this chamber, and as their rage builds the chamber reacts! In a flash of light the chamber shrinks from a wide open battlefield to a cramped murder hole making spreading out impossible. Any hidden characters are revealed by the change

Iron Maiden: A macabre decoration turns out to be a lot more functional. The character who passed to the environment is trapped inside an iron maiden and can only take an overcome action to escape until they get out.

Major Twist: Sisters Beyond Death: Add a defeated Fury back to the fight as a Lieutenant

Threats

Megaera sheet here

Bio: Megaera is the most professional and dedicated of the Fury sisters and, as the only one allowed to linger within the House of Hades, the main link between the God of the Dead and his first floor guardians. She is tasked with the punishment of oath breakers and thieves and can sense those who have committed the sin of betrayal. She will single out any hero who was a lair in life, or who has betrayed any underworld resident since arriving.

Alecto sheet here

Bio: Alecto takes the most joy in her work of causing pain, and is in charge of punishing those who have committed crimes of passion. She has the most sinners to punish as her mandate is the most broad, but it might be true what they say that if you do something you like you’ll never actually have to work a day in your afterlife. That she herself is often possessed by the same rage as those she punishes is an irony that seems lost on her, and thus far no one has dared to bring it up.

Tisiphone sheet here

Bio: Tisiphone is the Fury sister who punishes murderers, and at some point in the eternity she has spent in their company something inside her snapped. The only word she can speak is an accusatory “murderer” and she seems incapable of believing anyone could be innocent of the charge she lays at them. If one of her sisters should be defeated, she will focus on the hero who landed the killing blow exclusively until they are defeated in turn.

Fury, D8 Lieutenant

Description: This Lieutenant can stand in for a full villain Fury to act as backup

Ability: Building Fury: The Fury attacks and then boosts itself with the same roo

Tactics: Focuses on the Hero with the highest health and tries to bring them down

 

Aftermath

If the scene tracker runs out before the heroes defeat the Furies, then Cerberus has been persuaded to continue his chase and bounds into the room in all his enthusiastic destructiveness causing the roof to collapse, sending both the heroes and the fury sisters back to the pool of blood.

If the heroes are defeated, whether by the lashes of the Furies or the collapse of the chamber, they find themselves back in the House of Hades with a none too happy God of the Dead and his minions waiting for them. They will have to figure out some way to avoid his wrath or escape his dungeon to start the quest all over again. It is up to the GM to decide if they wish to redo the entire issue in true rogue-like fashion or skip through the first scene as a montage

If the heroes manage to defeat the Furies, they are rewarded with a few scathing remarks and an open path towards Asphodel the second layer of the Underworld. Hades’s voice will berate them for getting this far and promise worse things to come. For now though, the heroes can savor the taste of victory before turning up the heat in Issue Three: Love is Like a Burning River!

Thank you so much for reading, feel free to leave any comments or suggestions below and if anyone is actually running these I would love to hear about it!  

 

 


Remember, don't turn that frown upside down! Turn it into Eldritch Power to summon our Dark Master to Spite a world that has wronged you.