Twenty-first Session (9 page pdf) – “Voodoo Man” – As the party departs the ruins of Viperwall, the voodoo bokor Glapion catches up with them. He summons forces from the spirit world to destroy them; in an epic battle they defeat him by main force and a little voodoo of their own. Then it’s back to Magnimar where they meet up with some old friends!
The fight with Glapion took about three hours. He kept summoning shadows and shadow creatures, and the players fought and fought. It was an excellent endurance fight. I did some voodoo research to prepare for the big event; he invoked various Petro loas during the battle (like Kalfou, Samedi, and various Simbi loa) to trigger appropriate powers.
Here’s Glapion’s character sheet. I wanted him to be able to summon shadow spirits, as that’s one of the themes of the campaign, so I made him an Oracle of Bones (from the Paizo Advanced Player’s Guide preview) with levels in the 3.5e prestige class “Master of Shrouds.”
I think he came off very well. Even though the spark of inspiration, I will admit, was from seeing Disney’s “Princess and the Frog” with my daughter, this is how he appeared (the art is from a comic called Doctor Voodoo). Reskinning foes is so easy, you can find the core of an idea and then hang whatever visuals you want on it. I made him very exotic, from his hunga munga to his gunpowder-infused bottle of rum.
Once he reached the end of his powers and the shadow demon came into play, things got hairy. It magic jarred Tommy and started to telekinetically toss around other PCs. That was entertaining.
Then the rest of the session was travel and roleplay. They went back to the interracial-friendly town of Nybor and interacted with their semi-insane gnomish swamp guide, then went back to Magnimar where they met their good old buddy, Thalios Dondrel, son of Mordekai!
There was also an important development with Sindawe. He had an Angel Heart-esque sexual encounter (walls bleeding, snakes writhing, etc.) with a kava store clerk who turned out to be Mama Watanna, the “old voodoo mambo” from the ship in the tree at the beginning of their foray into Viperwall. This is also courtesy of my research; Mama Watanna is effectively a Golarion-ized aspect of Mami Wata, well-known African water deity. Mami Wata is known to take lovers, and give them good luck in exchange for their fidelity; that’s basically what happened to Sindawe.
Sindawe is Mwangi (Golarion’s Africa) and venerates Shimye-Magalla, a janiform deity that is also partially goddess of the water, but he hasn’t put 2 and 2 together on that yet.
You know, there’s a lot of people out there apparently, grown adults, that don’t do any kind of adult themes or “icky sex” in their games. And that’s their huge loss. The vast majority of real world myth, fiction, etc. strongly incorporates sex/love/romance, human frailties, the horrors that men do, etc. – that’s what gives them their impact. I mean, if you just want to “play casual” and kick down doors and kill orcs, fine, but I got over that after my first ten years of playing RPGs…
Anyway, the session went really well – hardcore combat, hardcore roleplay. Can you believe it’s 21 sessions? We’re nearly at a year. As I keep telling them, “you’ll be done with the first chapter of Second Darkness any session now…”