Thursday, January 18, 2018

Game log 14 January 2018: Idols need to redecorate

Dramatis personae

Kim, thief (John)
Ash, squire (John)
Xóran, fox-man scout (Roman)
Grymálkus, war cleric (Roman)
Caleb, wizard (Roman)
Mayhem, barbarian (NPC under John)
Áttikos, holy warrior (NPC under Roman)
Kôštē, cleric (NPC)

Quid occurrit

As they moved past the giant toads, they heard a skittering of claws down the hallway they had just left. Regardless, they kept going down the hallway, and, after some twists and turns, came to another room. This one had a stone chair with no back (though it still had slits for wooden slats for one), with a jade idol on it.

Upon seeing this, Grymálkus said, “We are here to clear the tomb, not raid it. Touch no valuables until all the monsters are destroyed, lest the wrath of Punšástor be upon you."

Everyone else rolled his or her eyes.

A loud, Wizard-of-Oz-behind-the-curtain-like voice came from the idol: "Bring me the workdesk from the scriptorium, and I shall ward your necks."

Grymálkus, without any bidding from or chatter among the others, said the group would bring it the idol. Everyone else groaned.

The idol spoke again: "The penalty for breaking your word is body-wracking pain of the gods."

This seemed like fun to no one, but now that they had chosen to bring the workdesk to the idol, they set out to find it, taking the only other way out of the room.

After walking down the hallway for some time, Kim saw that the wall on the right side was odd. After a few pushes, the wall opened. They walked down the hallway beyond the door, which ran alongside the hallway in which they had been, until it slowly sloped downwards.

The hallway opened into a room, and, rather than keep walking through the other side of the room, they chose to turn and walk a bit outside. After some wandering through the tightly-packed rooms (the rooms before had long hallways between them), they found themselves in a room whose only way inside was the door through which they had came.

In the room were some small holes, and scratch marks about knee-high on the walls. Xóran took a sniff, and found that he did not know the smells in the room or in the holes. So there they chose to make camp. In the middle of the night (or whenever it was), Xóran heard some odd bumping and buzzing on the door. He woke the others and watched the door, but it did not open.

The next day they opened the door and twisted through a few rooms, then went into a room with two small children, albeit with wide eyes and squashed mugs. Upon seeing the murderhoboes, the doomchildren rushed them with knives.

The blows missed Kim and Xóran, but when Xóran slashed one with his sword, it blew up, with its sharp bone shards flying at everyone, including the other doomchild, which also blew up and had its bone shards cut the group; Kim and Xóran also got singed a bit.

The gang took a short time to heal each other, though Grymálkus's Minor Healing spell on Kôštē fizzled, leaving their good healer in pain from bone shards. Kim took the cheap knives of the doomchildren.

After healing up, they set forth again, and found themselves at a door. Kim heard nothing, though Xóran smelled carbon. As two doomchildren had blown up not long ago, they thought nothing of it, and opened the door.

Behind the door was a room with no other doors or ways out, and two doomchildren.

Kim shut the door again. The gang set itself up near the door, and sure enough, they could hear the doomchildren walk up to the door and pull the handle.

What happened was much the same as the last time they saw doomchildren: the demons blew up, and the bone shards wounded the group. Both Kôštē and Kim fell from their wounds, but this time,Grymálkus's Minor Healing spell went off and healed Kôštē. She was able to heal everyone else, but for all of them, she said that later healing wouldn't work as well. Caleb spent the time binding Kôštē's wounds as well, to not much help.

They left the room, and walked over to another nearby room. After hearing and smelling nothing beyond the door, they opened it, and saw an empty room. Kim and Caleb went into the room to look for traps, and found none, though in the far corner each could hear a loud whisper: "I was once a dwarf like you but I wandered too deep in these halls!” They could find no spring from which this whisper came, but, as it called them each a "dwarf," they knew it lacked eyes.

Rather than keep going onward, they chose to backtrack. Stumbling back towards the room where they spent the night, they came upon two big centipedes. The gang made quick work of them, but the din of fighting brought a grey goo, flickering in and out of the world.

Xóran and Kim peppered the pudding with arrows and Caleb smacked it with a Fireball, but all passed through it. So the gang fled. The pudding kept up for a bit, but stopped to become solid and eat the doomchild knives, which Kim dropped.

Res aliae

Three points. Maybe a little high, though at this point, I'd rather have characters that can handle things. I'm starting to appreciate a higher starting total, though 250 is still too rich for my blood; 150 might be best. In spite of the array of characters, I'm one for one character a person, though folks seem to be able to pull this off. Roman argues with himself; Xóran doesn't like Grymálkus.

The players are starting to hoard points for bigger-ticket powers. Mayhem and Caleb are nearing 250 points, so it’s time to bring their supporting attributes in line with the big boys.

I really should have had the pudding drop on them, but I didn’t think of it until I had already said they could see it. Of course, that’s a TPK, so maybe I shouldn’t have done that, or stuck with a black pudding. Kudos to John for thinking out of the original Dungeon Masters Guide and dropping the knives to throw off the pudding. It failed its IQ check to not stop and eat.

I've been fiddling with a new way of handling dynamics in the dungeon. Instead of saying there are 8 doomchildren in a room when you get there, I say this is the lair of 8 doomchildren and when they get there, there will be something like 2d-4. If it's less than 1, they're all out wandering (and my wandering monster tables have rooms of origin). If it's a lone monster, it's there on a 4 or less on 1d.

I've also taken to rolling for wandering monsters each turn, which I define about 10 minutes, moving through rooms at turn at a time. They show up on a 6 or less on 3d, with a 7 a clue if moving.

I’m off on the 28th for a 12-year-old’s birthday party. My daughter picked Snapology, which is nerdy enough and lets her play with Legos and robotics (a love of hers). Roman will run Rifts while I’m out.

Tuesday, January 2, 2018

Game logs for 12/3 and 12/31: Oooh, that smell

Dramatis personae

Kim, thief (John)
Ash, squire (John)
Xóran, fox-man scout (Roman)
Grymálkus, war cleric (Roman, 12/31 only)
Caleb, wizard (Roman)
Mayhem, barbarian (12/3 NPC, 12/31 Steph)
Áttikos, holy warrior (Joe)
Kôštē, cleric (NPC)
Villûdē, guide (NPC, 12/3 only)

Quid occurrit

The next day, they set forth. In the morning, they saw the black cloud of the evil turkeys far in the sky, but nothing bothered their trek. They set up camp for the night, and the night was quiet. Some of them munched on snake meat as the moon came into the clear sky.

The next morning? Not so quiet or clear.

The killer turkeys showed up not long after the gang set forth. They kept to the air, and swooped in and out. In spite of the hurt the turkeys did, they didn’t have too much trouble with them, mostly from Caleb cooking them in midair.

That night, they stayed in the village of Pranrés, in the home of Gummátōr, the daughter of the chief of the Dragon Claw Clan. Xóran looked for a jeweler, but found none. The morning after telling their tales of blondes and turkeys, found the ground under where their horses were sleeping had dropped, and their horses were in a hole. Caleb Levitated them out in about a half-hour, and they set forth for town, as they understood that they could reach Mīstássun by dusk if they didn’t stop. The only choice was which bridge they took—north or south.

They took the north. Near the north bridge, Xóran’s nose smelled something bad. Everyone took a guess as to what he smelled.

Xóran thought, with some buffs, he could take a troll. So he told Caleb to cast Flaming Weapon on his swords and on Mayhem’s greataxe. And so, he went up to the bridge.

And, after a second, Mayhem and Ash pulled his unconscious body away so they could bolt for the south bridge with Xóran on a horse.

They made it back to town, healed up Xóran, and tallied up their riches. They hung around for a week, drinking at the Pantry and other taverns, staying out of the rain. Kim heard tales about riches in the Battlefield of Ālkólanon in the Áos Hills to the northwest, west of the Dragon Claw Clan’s wintering grounds. Ash heard tales about riches in a temple in the Eldalîvā Woods to the southeast. Mayhem heard about riches in a dwarf tomb in the Védē Hills to the southwest. Indeed, through loose chatter and that he had been in the Dumenrôn Swamp, he gathered that the tomb was a few miles to the west of the swamp, and only a few miles into the hills. Caleb checked a few old books, and found that the dwarves buried a king in that tomb with Blôtos’s Cloak, which disguised its wearer with an illusion of another fellow.

So, after seven nights, they chose to set forth the next day for the Védē Hills, without Villûdē, as they were not going into the swamp, but with Grymálkus, a drunken cleric of the war god Punšástōr, and Áttikos, a quiet holy warrior of the sun god Saundīvós. It was a slow but steady three-day trek, as it was mostly through civilized lands, though Áttikos wasn’t big enough to bear all his armor.

Mayhem had no trouble finding the opening to the dungeon, which was a worked circlet of metal that he turned to show the door. While he pushed on it, Áttikos prayed to Saundīvós, who told him to beware his neck. What that meant, he didn’t know.

Anyways, they went down the stairs, and found themselves in a big eight-sided room. There were seven hallways out, and Xóran led the gang down each one until it forked, scratched the wall to mark where they had been, then brought them back to the big room to try the next one. One led to a small room that gave Mayhem and Kim a nasty zap; Caleb undid the trap while Kôštē and Grymálkus healed them.

After checking out each hallway, they went back to that small room to which two hallways had led, and went out its third way out. After hitting a fork and taking it, they stumbled into a small room with two other ways out and 15 goblins.

Xóran stunned some goblins with a roar, and the rest took off to the south after watching Mayhem and Ash taking down one of their stunned fellows. As Xóran, Kim, Mayhem, and Ash killed the stunned goblins, Grymálkus and Áttikos heard a snort behind them. They turned and saw a big boar watching them. After a second, Grymálkus stepped towards the boar, which turned and ran.

After the short fight, the everyone talked about what had happened. Xóran, hearing the deeds of the boar, said, “Someone knows we’re here.” However, as the boar had ran too fast, he couldn’t take a shot at it.

So they started looking around again. First they went to the north and made it to a fork which they had marked earlier. Instead of taking the other hallway from the fork, they instead went back to the room where they had fought the goblins and took the hallway to the south. After a few feet that hall forked, so they went east, where they had heard the goblins scamper.

Xóran easily picked up their smell, and they followed it past a few other hallways, one of which wrankled Xóran’s fox nose. After a few minutes, they reached a room with four other ways out, besides the hallway to the west through which they had come in: two hallways to the north, one to the south, and a hole to the east that was in the top of the wall. They climbed into the hole and crawled a bit, then came to the outside. Xóran popped his head out the hole, and saw the goblins, catching their breath. He greeted them with a roar. It didn't stun any of them, but they fled.

So, where to next? Mayhem had an idea: “Let’s go see where it smells bad!” Only murderhoboes. So they went back down the hallway and took the branch to the south where Xóran had smelled the bad smell, and saw two toads as big as horses in the room. Behind them was a small wooden chest. Mayhem called them “Frogs that smell like butt!,” and someone else said, “Let’s hop to it!”

The toads didn't do much, and Kim easily slipped past them. She didn't see a trap on the chest, but didn't trust it after the magically-trapped room, so she called for Caleb. Mayhem croaked at the toads, and they croaked back at him, so Caleb walked past them, and turned off the trap. In it was a measly 60 copper farthings.

There was one other way out of the room, to the west, and they took it.

Res aliae

We broke there. Two character points for the first session, four for the second. Five for Mayhem for the second, since croaking at the toads was cool as well as a little messed up. Obviously, since Joe didn't make it on 12/3, we didn't have the two new characters link up after all.

This dungeon was a little less polished since I had three such I was making, and I didn't know which one they'd pick. However, this is the one for which my wife and daughters made the maps, so I put it out as the one about which Mayhem heard on his critical success on Carousing.

There was wild speculation about what the boar was doing. Roman thinks it's someone's familiar. As the computer said in Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, "I won't tell, that would be cheating."