Adventure 9: The Mushroom Kingdom. Part Six: Monster Mountain
After restoring their energies with another rest in Toad Town the adventurers headed to Monster Mountain to face what they believed was to be their final challenge.
They arrived near a Toad village. As before the Toads were afraid and confused. Their protection barrier had failed and Goombahs were raiding their supplies.
The barrier generator was soon fixed by Lee who was now practised in such things and the Toads, somewhat relieved, told of how one of them, Poogie, had been working on a plan to thwart the Goombas for good by luring Big Wiggler down from the heights to devour them all.
Unfortunately Poogie had not returned from his last excursion several days ago and the Toads feared the worst. Only Poogie’s discarded map held any clue to his whereabouts.
The heroes set off to locate Poogie and soon found him surrounded by Goombas.
It was the work of a few seconds to teleport Poogie to safety and send a couple of fireballs into the midst of his tormentors.
Most of the Goombas were incinerated immediately. The remaining few, led by stronger and bigger Galoombas, charged the party in a frenzy. They were met by the fighters and Poogie who moved forward to meet them and they were soon killed.
Poogie explained that (despite seeming to be a large pig in a striped body stocking) he was a Monster Hunter and spent his days slaying the monsters of Monster Mountain who wished to prey on the Toads.
His plan had been to lure Big Wiggler from the summit and get it to devour the Goombas then defeat Big Wiggler himself thus killing two birds with one stone. Big Wiggler lurked at the top of the mountain guarding the STAR gate that the Sage had mentioned.
Realising that they needed to access the STAR gate to find the missing princess the heroes decided to find Big Wiggler and slay it themselves. Poogie agreed to go with them and together they made their way up the mountain.
Poogie had formed a cunning plan to defeat Big Wiggler who could only be harmed by attacking its vulnerable underbelly which involved manipulating the derelict underground irrigation system that previously watered Monster Mountain. It was a brilliant plan but the heroes decided to try brute force as their first option.
It wasn’t long before Big Wiggler sensed their presence and came to investigate.
Seemingly enraged by the heroes’ very presence Big Wiggler charged.
The fighters met his charge but were trampled. Shields were sundered and a 1up mushroom was popped to avoid the massive damage that Big Wiggler inflicted on the warriors.
Big Wiggler then charged down the rest of the party who scattered, many seeking refuge in the heights.
Several magical barriers were erected to try and stop or slow the behemoth but Big Wiggler destroyed them all as if they were tissue paper. Nothing seemed to harm it.
Eventually a well placed earth elemental erupting from the ground directly underneath the speeding monster caused it to lose its footing and topple sideways.
Immediately the fighters and other summoned elementals set to work hacking and beating the writhing monster as it struggled to regain its feet.
Finally it succumbed, it’s belly splitting open to reveal a STAR which Toad collected.
Poogie stripped part of Big Wiggler’s hide and stuffed it inside his body stocking to add to his armour in true Monster Hunter style.
The party moved on up the mountain to the STAR gate. They found it near the summit- four transparent STAR shapes forming a diamond pattern in the air.
There was a moment of consternation when they realised they only had three STARS but Tonkatsu worked out that they had found a STAR in every location they had visited except Toad Town, there must be a hidden STAR there.
Adventure 9: The Mushroom Kingdom. Part Seven: Kirby’s Prison
The heroes returned to Toad Town and with Toad’s key entered the Princess’ castle.
Inside amongst the rich wall hangings and paintings was a disturbing framed picture of a tentacled beast. This proved to be a portal to a demon realm which the heroes entered.
They emerged into a void with floating platforms hovering above an unsettling blackness. On a far platform the tentacled thing in the picture stood surrounded by shadows. A strange ink thing was chained to the platform next to it. Other shadows occupied other platforms.
Where the shadows were was darkness. As the heroes arrived the shadows nearest them moved forward, flitting to other platforms. The darkness came with them accompanied by a sense of dread.
Poogie, sensing monsters that needed hunting, leapt to the attack but his snapping teeth could find no purchase on the insubstantial creatures.
He was soon joined by the fighters who found their magical weapons had a small effect. Meanwhile the wizards managed to obliterate some of the shadows with fireballs. Wherever the shadows were destroyed the light returned.
The warriors made their way to the platform with the tentacled thing which was generating more shadows every minute in attempt to stem the tide of darkness.
Things got worse for the party as the thing took control of Hugh and set him to attacking Hungry Joe.
With the battle threatening to turn against them the wizards found themselves hurling fireballs at platforms containing shadows even if their comrades would be caught in the blast. More spells were used to stop Hugh from further harming his friends.
Eventually Hugh’s mind was freed from the demon’s control and he was able to bring the full force of Frostfire, his demon slaying sword, to bear on the problem.
The Demon decided to head to a safer place and winked out of this reality taking the remaining shadows with him.
Adventure 9: The Mushroom Kingdom. Part Eight: The Platforms of Peril
Returning to Monster Mountain the heroes activated the STAR gate with their four stars and passed through the portal.
On the far side they emerged onto a set of platforms and paths suspended above a void and bordered by an unsettling emptiness.
Ahead of them Goombas patrolled the pathway.
As their vision adapted to the strange surroundings they found they could make out more distant objects. Piranha plants loomed nearby and cannons lurked menacingly at the edge of their perception.
Fearing the Piranha plants could sweep the paths with their fire the wizards dealt with them first. A couple of sleep spells removed the threat.
With their flanks secured the fighters moved forward to engage the Goombas.
The fight was brutal and one sided and the Goombas were dispatched swiftly. The fighters decided to explore the pipe before engaging the rest of the Goombas to ensure they didn’t get any nasty surprises emerging behind them when they moved forward.
The pipe took them to a room containing some blocks and some Toads. There was a grid on the floor like the ones in the Tunnels of Testing and a diagram on the wall. Arranging the blocks to match the diagram didn’t take long and the adventurers were rewarded with the gift of a magic hammer for their trouble.
They returned to the platforms and immediately tested the hammer out on the next set of Goombas and some ambushing ones that dropped from the darkness above.
It worked well and with the platforms clear of enemies the whole party advanced.
Since their arrival the adventurers had been aware of a small platform moving backwards and forwards on its own off to the side. Milo decided to jump across to it and see where it went. He reached a small area with a button on the floor which he activated. The button caused a set of torches to appear on another platform. Milo ignited them with some fire arrows and heard rather than saw a set of steps rise into position away to his left.
Returning to the party Milo again took the lead and jumped across to see what was on the Piranha plants’ platform. Doing so made him visible to the cannons and two homing missiles headed his way.
He was saved by the quick acting wizards who opened dimension doors in front of the missiles and sent them to explode against the Demon braziers hoping to kill two birds with one stone. Unfortunately the explosions just woke the braziers up and they flamed into life.
Milo had spotted a button on the Piranha platform and he resolved to activate it trusting to the wizards to keep him safe from further missiles.
Everything went to plan. The button made another set of torches appear and a fireball from one of the wizards ignited them. In response a platform swung around extending the walkway the heroes were on so that it joined with the next one.
Yohane went across first and activated another button. This started the small platform with one of the Demon braziers on it moving back and forth between the party’s platform and a set of steps.
Tonkatsu and Hugh entered the pipe and solved the block puzzle in a second Toad room. They received a magic cloak as a reward.
As they returned to the rest of the party an angry stone block fell from above catching Yohane unawares and knocking her down. It then rumbled its way towards the other heroes threatening to sweep them from the platform.
Poogie shouted that they must try to anger the block so that it would try to crush them by falling, it would then be vulnerable to attack. Lee stepped forward and goaded the block so it threw itself forward at him. Unfortunately he didn’t manage to avoid the falling monstrosity and was crushed beneath it.
As Lee crawled out from under the now vulnerable block Poogie and Joe set about transforming it into harmless rubble.
Backed up by a summoned water elemental the heroes attacked the first of the four Demon braziers. They made short work of it and the two fighters leapt onto its moving platform to engage the second.
They suffered greatly from the combined fire attacks of all three remaining braziers but eventually, with a lot of help and healing from the priests, they got close enough to engage the second brazier. Hugh’s demon slaying sword made short work of it and the two fighters were able to finish off the brazier and jump into the next pipe before the next flame attacks arrived from the remaining ones.
Whilst the fighters took some time in the Toad room to heal up, fix their armour and solve the block puzzle the rest of the heroes destroyed the last of the Demon braziers with spells and missiles.
Now nothing stood between the heroes and rescuing Princess Persikka except the fearsome Bob-omb…
Poogie led the charge onto the final platform and the fight was on. The fuse on top of Bob-omb sparked into life and began to burn down. The Heroes didn’t have long.
As Bob-omb lashed out with his feet dealing heavy blows to left and right the fighters attacked him frontally and the thieves moved in behind.
Spells exploded against the huge creature and the priests were kept busy making sure the fighters could withstand the kicking they were getting.
The fuse continued to burn down but Bob-omb was weakening.
Finally, with about an inch of fuse left to go, Bob-omb faded from existence leaving the heroes battered but triumphant.
Introductions were exchanged with the princess and stories were told of the threats to her kingdom that the heroes had overcome. In return the princess detailed the strange events that had led her to seek out Bob-omb who seemed to be at the centre of the disturbances.
She revealed a giant cannon she had found which the heroes tentatively identified as the entrance to the next Izvoreni tomb.
With the thanks of Princess Persikka ringing in their ears the heroes climbed into the cannon and lit the fuse...
Adventure 9: The Mushroom Kingdom. Part Nine: The Tomb
Nothing happened. Looking out of the cannon mouth the heroes found they'd changed location proving that the cannon was the entrance to the tomb.
They were in a jungle with randomly scattered blocks and ruins. A bizarre platform world caused by the magic reality of the Mushroom Kingdom interacting with the alien technologies of the tomb.
The place was infested with Goombas which were soon put to the sword and incinerated.
The party moved onwards until they found the massive cube that housed the entrance to the inner tomb.
Inside the cube a massive image of Rufflod's head wearing a jester's hood stood on the plinth. Behind it a stone face waited to be unlocked to allow access to the inner tomb.
As the adventurers advanced into the room Rufflod shouted,
"It's all a joke, a whimsy, a world for children. Well the children are dead and their rotting nightmares run free!"
Carnival organ music began to play as Rufflod's head started to revolve on the plinth getting faster and faster. Crazy coloured flashing lights filled the chamber and Rufflod sang his songs. Rufflod sang songs of hate and misery that sapped the will to live and twisted the souls of all who heard them.
Friend attacked friend whilst others just wept. One hero was laughing so hard that their sides literally split and their organs began to spill from their body.
Eventually though the head was destroyed and the songs were silenced.
The mouth of the face in the wall cracked open and the path to the inner tomb awaited.
The jungle that had filled the outer tomb was gone, replaced with an empty barrenness that was strangely disconcerting. It was almost as if the tomb couldn't cope with the influence of the Mushroom Kingdom around it.
Ahead of them the heroes spied an unconvincing replica of Boo's Mansion surrounded by scarecrows which were shambling around under the watchful gaze of a floating, tentacled eye.
The fight was swiftly over. The scare crows proved vulnerable to fire and the two fighters destroyed the eye monster despite the barrage of magic missiles that it launched from its darting eye stalks.
Inside its corpse they found a golden key. The mansion proved to be just a textured block with no way to get inside.
After a short journey the party came across an equally unconvincing representation of the crematorium they'd found on Yoshi's Island. Bulbous creatures patrolled around it overshadowed by the bulk of two giants that seemed to be made of chains, perhaps a visible reminder of our lives of servitude?
Things looked tough but, as the party decided on the best way to approach the situation, Tonkatsu stepped forward and cast an earthquake spell. As the ground rumbled and shook violently all but one of the lumpy workers and both chain giants disappeared into the crevasse that opened beneath them.
As the tremors subsided and the crevasse resealed itself the last remaining worker looked bemusedly looked around for its missing companions.
As the fighters sliced it up a golden key dropped from its corpse.
Resolutely moving forward the party marched through steadily rising ground that became ever more rocky.
Without warning a pair of huge scorpions scuttled out of the rocks and attacked.
One was instantly teleported far up into the air and left to fall. As it split apart on landing its insides showered the heroes, messy but harmless.
The other was killed by the fighters who took only minor damage and avoided getting poisoned.
The rest of the party was suddenly engulfed by a shower of earth as a massive worm erupted from the ground beneath them. Things got a bit frantic as various heroes were in danger of being swallowed whole but eventually Lee climbed the back of the worm and killed it.
As it died the worm spat out a golden key.
Moving on the party came to a castle tower on top of a hill. It had a door with three golden locks. The tomb was having quite a bit of trouble assimilating the influence of the Mushroom Kingdom even here at its very heart. Nobody was impressed (quite rightly) with its poor attempt to implement the tropes of Princess Persikka's world.
The heroes used the keys to unlock the disguised Starcophagus and the Izvoreni emerged. It looked like a giant floating eye and was more fearsome than it had any right to be.
Most of the party was paralysed with fear but those that could act did their best to attack.
The wizards summoned elementals, the thieves worked their way into the eye's blind spot and Poogie and Binja engaged it frontally whilst the two fighters cowered at the back.
It was tough going but eventually the Izvoreni was destroyed once the fear effect had been removed from the fighters and they could join in the slaughter.
The triumphant heroes retraced their steps back to the Mushroom Kingdom, from there to the pocket universe of the Helix world and finally to their world and the city of Romplaxar VI.
Only one Izvoreni remains.
Maps and diagrams for Poogie's cunning plan which was ultimately not required.
We played this game on National Tabletop day (2018) and both Sylvester and Felix participated fully.
Felix even stayed for the game of Port Royal that we finished of the evening with.
An addendum from Mark, one of the fighter players, just to clarify matters:
Nice write up, although the reference to the fighters is wrong. Not 'cowering at the back' but 'observing from a neutral space how the party dealt with an opponent when lacking fighter cover, the better to inform future planning and provide essential evidence for setting personal development objectives for the coming year. All party members now have access to bespoke online training programmes and should complete these before proceeding'
The complete Mushroom Kingdom Adventure is detailed in the document below: