Trapped in a lunar dream-broadcasting station with frigid cold outside and an incarnated nightmare stalking the station's halls, the cadre of wizards in our long-running Olde School Wizardry game were in desperate need of a plan!
How to cross the hundred yard or so of icy, barren terrain, surviving the thin, bitter air long enough to reach the inactive portal generator, somehow power it up, and escape the moon while carrying the ancient sedan chair that they had come here to recover?
My players came up with The Amazing Thirteen Step Plan of Maximum Excellence:
1. Magically restore vision to Dwitemore Vart, the moderately deranged Fog wizard who was recently struck blind by drinking "soul-juice" and being exposed to psychic emanations from the moon. None of the wizards actually have the proper magical Formula for restoring sight ... but they figure that if they keep wildcasting the Restore Rune, they'll eventually fix something.
2. Create food. Food has been in short supply on the moon, and their wicked elven foes only consume protein-paste in small quantities, so this is beginning to become a serious problem. Fortunately, one of the wizards has Flesh Science, so magically creating enough to sustain them shouldn't be too much of an issue as long as no one gets squeamish.
3. Barricade the tube-halls inside the dream station so that the nightmare doesn't catch them. Okay, this just seems like a bad idea. As Midmir the Pale pointed out to his fellow wizards, "Building a barricade virtually ensures that the nightmare will either break through or that we'll find out that it was actually in here with us the whole time--that's what happens in nightmares!" Still, this step made the list.
4. Magically create a pocket of breathable air inside the bubble cart docked on the far side of the dream station.
5. Send Xo the Mutant, a wicked, psychic elf who has betrayed his own kind and thrown in with the wizards (for now), out onto the lunar surface to board the bubble cart, patch the crack in its bubble with his magical poncho, chop up the vat giant corpse that is obstructing the controls with his vibro epee, and pilot the bubble cart around to the near side of the station. Everyone feels confident that if Xo could reactivate the portal generator himself, he would abandon the wizards at this point, so they are counting on his incompetence to some degree ... a fact he knows quite well ... because he's psychic.
6. Apply the (forbidden) "leechmark" formula to the "neurodent," a super-smart ganglia-festooned mouse, magically created in an early episode. Mooreshank Whine hopes that, if he can mark the little beast, he will be able to draw considerable quintessence from it to power his spells. The fact that the neurodent appears to be smarter than he is, and probably sees this move coming, has not dissuaded him in the least.
7. Get clothing. Owing their recent adventures, half of the party of wizards is now clad in rags and loincloths rather than proper robes or anything else warm enough to help them survive the moon's surface. Nobody knows cloth science, so this could be tricky.
8. Xo the Mutant cuts open the metallic wall of the dream station using his vibro epee so that the ancient, land-whale scrimshaw sedan chair can be removed (it won't fit through the station's exterior hatch). Once he cuts the wall open, the warm, pressurized air will start rushing out of course, so they'll need to move quickly after this point.
9. Use dream-transmission cables to lash the sedan chair to the bubble cart so it can be dragged to the portal generator. This step seems strangely practical and doesn't involve casting a spell, so it seems likely to be stricken from the list at some point.
10. Magically create a metal dome or tubeway to trap additional breathable air on the lunar surface. This step felt a bit vague. Sure, Quistram Ulp knows metal science, but the strain of generating enough to form some kind of dome would probably blow the left side of his brain all over the nearest wall.
11. Magically create additional time to get the portal generator reprogrammed more rapidly, before the wizards can freeze. One of the wizards knows a little Chronomancy ... just enough to get into trouble with.
12. Use orgone energy from the bubble cart, combined with the wizards' own quintessence to reactivate the inert portal generator. This operation is strictly hypothetical ... they've never done anything like it and don't even know if it is possible. Fortunately Mooreshank Whine's primary area of expertise is in "luck science," so he just fumbles his way through this type of operation routinely.
13. Escape the Moon!
What could possibly go wrong?
Olde School Wizardry is written to encourage exactly this kind of madcap, swingy, creativity that plays out a bit like a British comic-caper (the word "fiasco" comes to mind), and the rules-lite format encourage it.
I wonder, do other folks enjoy this style of play, or does my group just have fairly unique tastes among role-players?