Sunday, November 17, 2013

Tayxis: Hell's Honky-Tonk

Not this one
Note: many of the pictures included in this post have been taken from the excellent blog, City of Dust.  It's awesome, and you should check it out.

Ages ago, there was a town.  Nobody remembers the name of the town anymore, but one thing is certain - it was a Gawd-fearing town.  Every Sunday morning, every single inhabitant would gather together in a small church downtown and sing their praises to Gawd.  

It was a happy town.

Then oil was discovered in the area, and outsiders began to show up.  Offers were made to the landowners to buy the rights to the oil beneath their land, but the people of the town were happy with things as they were, content with their land and neighbors and faith.

Evil men were not content with these answers, and one Sunday, with the entire population packed into their little church, a fire broke out, and the building burned to the ground, killing all within.  As he burned, the pastor cursed the town, promising that none would ever profit from their deaths.

It didn't take long for the Big Oil Men to move in, and they rebuilt the downtown area that had been damaged by the fire.  Rough men came to the town to begin drilling.  On the site of the church, a bar was built, to entertain the men on their off hours.  Whores were trucked in, and a brothel set up on the second floor.  A neon sign was planted at the top of the building, a hot pink stake through the heart of the town.  

The oil field continued to expand, as did the town, and the bar got bigger, swallowing up surrounding buildings and adding their square footage to its own.  Word got around, and some of the greatest country-western and blues acts began to appear at the bar.  

Less than a year after the church burned, there came a fateful Saturday evening.  The bar was packed, the
bordello was sold out with reservations for hours.  One of the great forgotten Tayxin Outlaw Singers held the stage, and it was midway through his second set that the fire started.  Nobody knows for sure how many people were inside that bar, but stories range from hundreds to thousands.  Supposedly the doors had been built to swing inwards, and when the panic struck, the bodies pressed against the doors, sealing the crowd inside, where they burned alive.  The fire spread, and somehow got into the oil below the town, and for days, the entire area was a singular inferno.

When the fires finally died down, every living thing within a mile of the town was dead.  An acrid black smoke hung above the ruins, and only  a single building remained - the church that became a bar. No matter what they offered, Big Oil Men were unable to find anyone to go back to the town to work the oil fields, and the town was deserted.

The twin tragedies attracted the notice of the demonic Powers, and now, those who practice evilconverge upon this scar upon the face of Tayxis to relax, drink a cold beer and listen to the best damned music ever.

By day, the bar juts out of the center of a vast swath of pitch black, burnt earth.  If seen by the light of day, it appears to be the ruins of an old church.  Debris is scattered throughout the building, and if anything is disturbed without care, there is a 1 in 10 chance that a part of the ceiling will collapse, doing 1d6 points of damage to anyone who fails a Dexterity check.

When the sun goes down, the building undergoes a horrific transformation.  Flames erupt from the foundation, burning away the illusion of the church, and revealing the demonic reality - pitch black walls, with bright orange veins running throughout.  The building stabs the sky, seeming to loom above any who stand before it.  Windows on the above ground floors are thrown open, and the screams of the damned erupt outwards as succubi lean outwards, flaunting their wares.

In order to gain entrance, they must get past Gressil, the bouncer.  Gressil is a lout - he looks intimidating, but is too lazy to be a real threat, unless someone directly challenges him.  Massively overweight, he leans heavily on a giant club and by and large, he will simply pass along anyone who approaches.  If roused to combat, however, he can be a formidable foe.

Geryon (Demon)AC 2; MV 6; HP 55; Dmg 1d12 (Giant Club); Str 16 Con 12 Dex 8 Int 8 Wis 6 Cha 8; Alignment Neutral Evil; THAC0 11; Earthshaker: Geryon brings his club down on the ground, and everyone within 10' must make a Dexterity check or fall to the ground and spend a full round regaining their feet.

Once inside the walls, there is only one rule - no killing allowed.  Of course, there is also the corollary to that rule - if you do kill, don't get caught.  Bouncer demons wander the saloon to ensure that no-one - demonic, human or otherwise - is molested during their stay.  They can't be everywhere, though, and any violence that erupts will continue for 1d4 rounds before they arrive to break it up.  

Bouncers (Demons): No. Appearing: 2d4; AC 5; MV 12; HP 22; Dmg 1d6 (Sap); Str 16 Con 14 Dex 12 Int 18 Wis 8 Cha 3; Alignment Lawful Evil; THAC0 14; 

Upon entering, visitors find themselves in a large vestibule with a door on the right and the left, with a sweeping staircase leading up.  To the right lies the Watering Hole, to the left the Main Stage, and up to the Bordello.  

The Watering Hole - Saloon doors are all that bars you from a night of drunken debauchery at the best Diabolic Dive you'll ever find.  Stepping into the bar is like diving into a whirlpool.  Bodies press against bodies, the noise is deafening, and it reeks of sweat, vomit, stale beer and brimstone.  For every turn spent in the Watering Hole, there is a cumulative 5% chance of a fight breaking out within the characters' general vicinity.  This chance resets once the fight occurs.                                                                    
Generic Bar Patron: No. Appearing: 2d4 AC 6; MV 12; HP 12; Dmg 1d4; Str 11 Con 11 Dex 11 Int 11 Wis 11 Cha 11; Alignment Neutral Evil; THAC0 18; 

Once inside, the characters learn that this truly is the Bar From Hell: there are never any tables available, and while you see wait staff moving through the crowd, they never acknowledge the characters, nor can the the characters tell who they are serving.  Access to the bar is impossible due to the crowd pressing up against its length.  However, a successful Strength check will allow them to muscle their way through the crowd.  Even if they make it, however, they will find themselves ignored by the bartender without a successful Charisma check.  Nothing but the strongest spirits and beer are sold, and a Constitution check must be passed after each drink to avoid vomiting.  Anyone who fails three checks passes out, and awakes the next morning with a horrific hangover (-2 to all attributes for 24 hours)

Incidentally, this would be an excellent place to make use of Jeff Rients' Carousing Rules.

The Bordello: Upon rounding flight of stairs, they find themselves in a waiting room.   Lush furniture, overstuffed and luridly colored, packs every inch of the room.  The walls are painted a shocking red that seems to undulate if someone stares too long at them, and everything seems to be encrusted with precious metals and gems.  

Gaudy would be one word for it, ostentatious would be another. 

Upon the couches, love seats and chaise lounges lie consorts of every type imaginable.  Every perversion imaginable is not only catered to, but encouraged.  Once a consort is arranged, a room is selected, and the "fun" begins.  Any talk of payment is waived off as something to be "discussed later". 

Courtesans (Demonic): No. Appearing: 2d4; AC 9; MV 12; HP 6; Dmg 1d4 (Dagger), Sleep; Str 8 Con 8 Dex 14 Int 11 Wis 8 Cha 16; Alignment Neutral; THAC0 18; Sleep: These demonic concubines can cause their victims to enter a magical sleep from which they will not awaken for 1d4 rounds if the victim does not pass a Wisdom check at a -2 penalty.  During the period of unconsciousness, the Courtesan feeds on the victim, draining them of their vital fluids.  For each round uncounscious, the Courtesan will drain 1d3 hit points, which will be added to their own total.  This can exceed their maximum hit points as listed above.  In addition, those who succumb awaken from their slumber with only the vaguest memories of a night of intense pleasure, but a Constitution check will be required to avoid contracting a wasting disease.  This disease drains the character of 1 point of Strength, Dexterity and Constitution per week until one hits zero, at which point the character dies.  Further, any who succumbs to the Sleep spell suffers a -1 penalty to subsequent exposures.  This penalty is cumulative.

The Bordello is managed by a demon known as Lillith.  Whether she is the actual Lillith or just a pretender is unknown, and the heads of those who have inquired are rumored to adorn the walls of her office.  Appearing as a middle aged woman of exceptional physical qualities, she wears conservative clothing that still manage to hide very little.  She avoids combat whenever possible, preferring to converse and seduce.  If a fight breaks out in the Bordello, she will be aware within 1d6 rounds, at which point she will summon the bouncers, as above.

Lillith (Demon)AC 2; MV 6; HP 55; Dmg 1d4 (Giant Club), Special; Str 11 Con 12 Dex 16 Int 14 Wis 11 Cha 18; Alignment Neutral Evil; THAC0 14; Poisoned nails: Lillith strikes with her nails, attempting to scratch the face of any who attack her.  Any thus struck must pass a Constitution check at a -2 or be wracked with debilitating pain, taking an additional 1d6 points of damage per round for the next 3d4 rounds.  Charm Person: Lillith can attempt to charm one person every 10 rounds, simply by making eye contact.  A successful Wisdom check will prevent the charm.  

The Main Stage: Imagine Janis Joplin singing a duet with Buddy Holly.  Johnny Winter strumming while Townes Van Zandt sings the blues.  Stevie Ray Vaughan and Lightnin' Hopkins trading licks.  

That's a Monday night at the Main Stage.  

Impossible though it may seem, the Main Stage is even more crowded than the Watering Hole.  There are seats, but they are stood upon rather than sat in.  As a result, there's no such thing as a good place to see.  No matter where the characters stand, something obstructs their view.  The sound is always too loud and the crowd is always rowdy.

Rules from the Watering Hole apply here as well, but fights are twice as likely to break out, and the bouncers take twice as long to break it up.  Further, there is a 10% chance that a passing crowd surfer will kick a character in the head, which can be checked at the GM's discretion.  Attempting to go to any place in particular requires a Strength for every 5'.  Any failure means they are pushed 10' in another direction (roll 1d12 and assume the result corresponds to the number on a clock, and use that as the direction.  If the direction rolled is the direction intended, reroll).  While there is a small bar located inside the venue, no amount of pushing, pleading or cajoling will get the characters anywhere near the bartender.

Anyone looking can see a balcony which appears to be empty, but no amount of searching can reveal a way to get there.  In the center of the music hall stands the sound booth, where the owner of the entire establishment can typically be found - Amdusias.  He has the body of a man, the claws of a lion and the head of a unicorn.  He carries a trumpet with him at all times, and sometimes jumps up on stage to perform an impromptu accompaniment. If confronted by characters, he will be pleasant and conversational, remarking upon the outstanding talent of whoever happens to be playing that night.  He will defend himself if attacked, but given the choice, he'd rather sit back and watch the show.

Amdusias (Demon)AC 2; MV 12; HP 55; Dmg 1d6/1d6 (Claws), 1d8 (Horn), Special; Str 14 Con 10 Dex 13 Int 11 Wis 10 Cha 16; Alignment Neutral Evil; THAC0 12; Trumpet: Amdusius can blow his trumpet once every 10 rounds, with explosive force.  Any caught within the 10' cone are knocked off their feet unless they pass a Constitution check at -2.  The next round will be spent incapacitated, and a second round will be required to regain their feet.  This will also affect others at the concert, who will turn on the characters upon regaining their feet.  Call - Amdusias can mentally call the bouncers, and will do so immediately upon being attacked.

Generic Concert-Goer: No. Appearing: 2d4 AC 6; MV 12; HP 12; Dmg 1d4; Str 11 Con 11 Dex 11 Int 11 Wis 11 Cha 11; Alignment Neutral Evil; THAC0 18; 

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