Jeffro's Space Gaming Blog

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AD&D Session 23: The Ogre-Manticore-Centipede Trifecta

So this game, I came in not too excited to play through another one of my one page dungeons. After playing 18 sessions with little to no prep, I just was not enjoying running games where (a) I knew every single thing that would be relevant to the session and (b) having to put up with the players playing completely “wrong” either one way or the other– by either following the overcautious algorithm searching for the path of least danger or else COMPLETELY DOMINATING my little original scenarios with little or no challenge. Of course, the players don’t mind the latter especially if the loot is good. There is some satisfaction in the campaign progressing even if an individual scenario is not the greatest.

Anyway, this session the players very quickly selected my “farmers in town looking for help to rescue their daughters from goblins” hook. They latched on this one so hard I could not review the many loose threads that the campaign has managed to produce. On the other hand, this hook has been on the table for many weeks. The daughters that could be rescued are likely either dead or else pregnant with goblin babies by now. Time combined with genuine player autonomy has a way of corroding the usual adventure premises. One more reason why a megadungeon is the natural outgrowth of how Gygax conceived of the game. Nothing else sticks! Real campaigns chew up anything approaching story type elements and just spit them out. A monster dungeon that exists for no real reason is the only thing that truly derives from the rules!

(Side note: Fagor wanted to look for henchmen, which I had largely handwaved as being largely automatic. The DMG has specific rules covering this, though. I read out the options for how he could pursue this and then rolled a percentage chance adjusted by his local noteriety. He spent like 219 gold to FAIL to find a henchman. Wah!)

(Side note 2: Due to time dilation effects, Fluid the Druid was working out a deal to get some Strength 18/00 potions from Zanzel Malecthones. Chaz was out training Druggo Hairycock to be a second level thief. This combination of events led to a session with no thief and no heavy hitting spellcaster!)

So the players start asking about this weeks old adventure hook. But now we’ve worked through using the Gygaxian wilderness travel rules with multiple wandering monster checks per day and the chance for getting lost to boot. The players are really concerned about going on another journey that lasts 14+ days which ends up putting their new characters out of play or maybe even forking the campaign. People are so alarmed by real AD&D timekeeping and its consquences that this is seen as practically as bad as a total party kill. I love the timekeeping stuff, though. So I place the farmer’s village southwest on the other side of the Mountains of Madness. It’s a five day journey, so this group of chracters will miss the next week’s session if they manage to go there and back again in a single session.

The players take a bunch of rations and head out. I roll for wandering monsters at the civilized and plains frequencies/chances. On the evening of their first day’s travels I get 200 goblins with 20 wolves. Why this encounter on the very day we decide to take the goblin themed adventure hook? And what does it mean?

The players do a little reconnaissance. I figure this is early morning for the goblins and make up a table to determine their reaction at this time. The alarm is not sounded and the players are not run down by goblins riding the 20 wolves. The party marches on into the dark giving the goblins wide berth and set camp a reasonable distance away. There does not seem to be any pursuit.

The next day in the sparsely populated hills, the players encounter four Ogres. The players got surprise and then opted to just let them pass. They then decided to follow their tracks back to where they came from– hopefully to a lair with lot of treasure. They come to a keep and I make up another random table to determine if it was a lair or if the Ogres were just passing through here. [DM note: 1-9 Lair, 10-11 Just passing through, 12 Dungeon!] It’s a lair. But it is also time to check for wandering monsters again, which just so happen to occur. So four manticores are flying out of the ruined keep directly at the players!

I roll the encounter distance and the players declare they are running to the keep to take cover right under the manticores. We look at the movement rates compared to the distance and I (probably incorrectly) rule that the manticores get 1/4th of their normal ranged attacks. (Probably should have been all or nothing.) A couple of characters get hit for negligible damage and the players are inside.

The manticores decide not to rush the players due to the confined environent. They are waiting outside to rain manticore spikes down on them should they try to leave. Besides, the Ogres should be back soon anyway, so either way, hilariaty should ensue on way or the other!

The players explore the ruined bailey they are in and discover a huge penny jar, a large cauldron, and a size forty-seven shoe. They also find what would be a mousehole to the keep’s inhabitants but which to the players is a large passageway. [DM note: 1-9 small exit down, 10-11 large passage down, 12 nothing! Also, 1-9 no secret door, 10-11 secret passage, 12 secret passage to manticore “nest”!] They players opt to explore and I roll up a single room on the random dungeon generator. I get monster + treasure, level 2 monster, ten centipeeds, 1000 silver, and 100 platinum. The players get initiative and handily defeat these low level monsters. When they realize that these “snakepede” looking creatures are likely poisonous, they concoct a plan.

They head back to the cauldron and brew up the poisonous bits of the centipedes and then dip all their arrows into it. [DM note: the Ogres arrive while the PC’s are cooking on a natural 12 on d12– didn’t happen!] There are lotsa rules on this in the DMG about who can and who can’t use poison, but it’s after 9pm so I tell the players that I stop consulting the rules when it is this late. They send three people up the tower to snipe at the manticores while the rest of the players make a barricade in order to force any charging manticores to enter the keep one at a time.

The players hit with three ranged attacks and one manticore fails a save versus poison. The overconfident manticores charge inside. A tremendous brawl ensues with the manticores taking heavy damage. Their claw/claw/bite routine should be pretty good against first level characters, but I keep rolling ones for damage when they do hit.

The dust settles and somehow the players have taken no casualties and made off with a fairly decent treasure haul. They debate whether to continue on to the farmer’s village, but if they go back to town a few of them can level. Yet another session concludes with the players all back in town.

I really liked this session because it was pure AD&D, entirely derived from the random tables in the DMG– ie, wilderness encounter checks and random wilderness encounters modified by time of day,surprise, and encounter distance. The random dungeon generation sequence which is rote after making many one page dungeon was there to do what it was meant to do: allow play to continue with barely a pause when the players went outside of my prep and the game called for a new dungeon to be created on the fly. The best of our early sessions were way more fun than my recent one page dungeon exercises because high risk / high reward situations are intrinsically more exciting. Also, we got back to more of the freewheeling, wahoo! improvisation that we hadn’t really seen as much of since way back in “Schewerpunk of the Pig Men.”

It is very gratifying to see the actual game system support and enhance the style of play that I think the group collectively prefers even while being faithful to the implied milieu of many of the game rules. The longer the game goes on, the more important it is that I have a consistent, well thought out, and fair way to adjudicate the bread and butter situations of the game. AD&D really seems shine in that regard. The more of the obscure rules your incorporate, the less work it is to manage the game world for whatever greedy and craven band of yahoos it is that decide to show up on a Thursday night!Cast o’ Characters:

Treasure and Experience:

5000 cp, 3 pieces of jewelry worth 800 gp each, 1000 sp, and 100 pp. Total gold value is 2975 gp; divided 9.5 ways this is 330.5 gold each with 165 each for the henchmen. 4 manticores, 10 centipedes, and 4 ogres (which were killed later when they came back and ate the manticore meat) total up to 3658 xp. Adding in the gold it is 6633. Divided 9.5 ways, this comes out to 698 for player characters and 349 for henchmen.

Cast o’ Characters:

Sauterelle — Human Novice (Session 22 and 23) 1517 + 698 = 2215 XP and 1376 + 330.5 = 1706.5 gold. [Can’t level this time because monks don’t get prime requisite bonuses!]

Roofus — Human Acolyte (Session 22 and 23) Frozen at level 1 until he levels! 1376 + 330.5 = 1706.5 gold. (looks like buff george carlin)

Malbert the Veteran (9 hits) [Delves 2, 3a, 3b, 8, 20, 21, and 23] XP: 122 + 753 + 351 + 0 + 239 + 400 + 698 = FROZEN AT LEVEL 1 UNTIL HE LEVELS. Potion of Strength 18/00. +330.5 gold from session 23.

Brother Parvus the Wayward — Human Acoylte (Delves 19[F], 22[F], and 23.) FROZEN AT LEVEL 1 UNTIL HE LEVELS! 1439 + 330.5 = 1769.5 gold. [Can’t level this time because he would need 3500 gold to level right now. Simpings and nudy magazines come at a high price!]

Fagor the Half-Orc Swordsman— Level three fighter. [Delves 3a, 3b, 4, 5, 6, 6b, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 17, 19, 20, and 23] — 4000 + 1816 + 106 + 239 + 698 = 6859 XP. His horns have grown incredibly large. Looks frightening and diabolical. Cloven hooves His name means “astonishing hero” in orcish. Member of the Order of the Knights of Trollopulous. (330.5 gold in session 23.)

Logan — [Delve 12, 13, 14, 15, 17, 19, 20, and 23] Plate mail and shortswords. 333 + 70 + 76 + 875 + 31 + 80 + 165 = 1630 gold and 362 + 35 + 95 + 264 + 908 + 53 + 119 + 349 = FROZEN AT LEVEL 1 UNTIL THEY LEVEL!

Nasty and Dernhelm — [Delve 12, 14, 15, 19, 20, and 23] Just a codpiece and a spear. 333 + 70 + 76 + 875 + 31 + 80 + 165 = 1630 gold and 362 + 95 + 264 + 908 + 53 + 119 + 349 = FROZEN AT LEVEL 1 UNTIL THEY LEVEL! (Trained for dedicated grappling)

Peero the Sweeper — [Delve 19 only] 53 + 119 + 349 = 521 XP and 31 + 80 + 165 = 276 gold. [Note 15 strength and seven hit points!] Has antique monocle from 5th aeon.

Bob Dobs — Human Veteran/Acolyte (Session 22 and 23) XP at 758 + 349 = 1107 for each of Fighter and Cleric classes. 1376 + 330.5 = 1706.5 gold.

Tree Fingers the Ranger (Session 23 only) 698 XP and 330.5 gold.

AD&D Session 22: Crypt of the Ghoulcromancer

Due to Fluid the Druid and friends being on a fourteen day wilderness adventure, we had an almost completely new lineup this week. The players, inspired by my recent professed boredom with regards to the campaign, opted to explore a crypt in the undead quarter which they have been terrified of for months.

First rank: Pedoface and Droopyboobs (elf henchmen of Chaz)
Second Rank: Rubiest (Cleric), Bob Dobs (Half-elf Fighter/Cleric), Brother Parvus the Wayward (Cleric)
Third Rank: Drizzle Pizzle (elite elf henchman of Chaz), Chaz, Druggo Hairycock
Last Rank: New Monk Character

This session was as close to running an original module as I have ever come during this campaign. The situation was devised just after the players first entered the Undean Quarter many sessions ago. I revised my preparations a bit more when I undertook my big one page dungeon project.

The players went in to the this particular crypt after grilling me for clues about it. They wanted to go to the easier location of two choices and I finally had to just stonewall them on this. I think they were pretending to be pathetic and weak and confused just to trip me up and break the fourth wall as it were. Not this time!

They went in and explored some crypts. They disturbed them because, well, I guess these players will NEVER pass by a known monster because they refuse to leave anything in their wake that can complicate their eventual need to exit.

Anyway, some skeletons come out and and the clerics all try to turn them. All of them fail! The skeletons attack and drop one of the clerics. His player immediately rolls up… a new cleric to replace him with.

The party fights on and soon the skeletons are beaten back. They fail a morale check and back up to a wall, twist a sconce to 90 degrees and the entire wall flips around, Scooby Doo style.

The thieves search the coffins and find a hidden bottom. Inside is a single gold piece. The party searches all the other coffins and finds 25 gold peices in each of the others. WEIRD!

The party heads inside the secret passage and comes to an intersection. They send Druggo Hairycock to explore north and the New Monk to the east. Druggo walks around the corner and overhears voices in a room: “Our outer defense has been breached, master, but I’ll show them! I am warming up the ghouls even as we speak!” Meanwhile the monk finds a room with a weird insectoid idol. The players ask if it has jewels for eyes and I say no, I have already used that trick.

I think both scouts reported back. So maybe Druggo went forward quick again? Maybe I got confused I dunno.

Anyway, Druggo lobs a flaming oil vial and hits this dude that looks like Gargamel dead on. Druggo runs away with this other guy that looks like Eyegore hot on his heels. Initiative is rolled and Eyegore bites it before he even gets to do anything. Gargamel gets charged after this and he buys it while trying to cast a spell. The players’ initiative rolls were just too good this night!

There is a machine with some kind of countdown on it nearby. The players mess with it and/or break it. They then find six ghoul chambers in some kind of lock down. The clerics all go for the turn and one of them makes it this time. The turned and restrained ghouls are now trivially easy to dispatch.

They search around and find Gargamel’s man cave. It is furnished with shag carpet, bean bags, and stripper poles. They find a book case with a book by Marion R. R. Jemison-Delaney that gives a SCIENTIFIC procedure to produce ghouls. One of the clerics pour a vial of holy water on it, but some busybody manages two sell it to Zansel Melancthones for 10,000 gp making this one of the greatest treasure hauls for the least trouble that I have ever done in this campaign.

What was I thinking?!

Eh, well let’s just say the next lair will be designed a little differently. That said, the players hit everything just right this time when in other games they hit everything just wrong. The dice went their way, too. But mainly… having three clerics and two thieves just so happened to completely neutralize the challenge I had prepared many months ago when the players were markedly less elite in their overall play skill.

That’s how it goes. Honestly, if nothing surprising ever happens you’re probably doing it wrong.

The players searched the idol room and found another secret passage that looped back to the main entryway. It was obvious that this dungeon was both designed to fit on one page AND that it was pointlessly and unnecessarily Jaquayed. This was a very good mistake to have my face rubbed in. My takeaway is that this is a good example of why authentic megadungeons sprout large numbers of sublevels as actual play continues.

Very disappointing for me but also very instructive. The players calculated xp values immediately after the game and were pleased to discover that they now had many second level characters to serve as backups for their main characters. Or so they thought, anyway!

Treasure and Experience:

1055 XP for killing monsters. 10326 gold is the take which also counts for XP. (However, somehow Chaz and Drugg each end up with 14 additional XP and gold. No idea how this happened!) I count six PC’s and three henchmen, so the shares are divided by 7.5 with henchmen getting half what the PC’s get. 1376 gold for the players and 688 for the henchmen. 1517 XP for the players and 758 XP for the henchmen.

Cast o’ Characters:

  • Rubiest — Human Acolyte (Session 22 only) Frozen at level 1 until he levels! 1376 gold.
  • Bob Dobs — Human Veteran/Acolyte (Session 22 only) XP at 758/758 with 1376 gold.
  • Brother Parvus the Wayward — Human Acoylte (Delves 19[*F] and 22[*F] only.) Frozen at level 1 until he levels! and 1439 gold.
  • New Monk Character — Human Novice (Session 22 only) 1517 XP and 1376 gold.
  • Chaz the Elven Footpad — Level two thief. [Delve 11, 12, 13, 15, 16, and 19, and 22] 1250 + 30 + 528 + 362 + 106 + 239 + 1531 = FROZEN AT 2500 XP UNTIL HE LEVELS. Member of the Order of the Knights of Trollopulous. +1390 gold in session 22.
  • Druggo Hairycock — Halfling Rogue. (Delve 22 only) FROZEN AT 1250 XP UNTIL HE LEVELS. 1390 gold.
  • Pedoface and Droopyboobs — Elf dweebs (Delve 22 only) FROZEN AT 750 XP UNTIL HE BECOMES A LEVEL ONE ROGUE
  • Drizzle Pizzle — Elite elf (Delves 20 and 22only ) FROZEN AT 750 XP UNTIL HE BECOMES A LEVEL ONE ROGUE

If my numbers are right, the clerics are short on cash to do their training. Of course Parvus is so weak, he must pay additional tithes and offerings for his well known errors. Bob Dobs has training penalties due to his bizarre sect. (I am willing to count gold spent on spell research as counting for this.)

Druggo could level if Chaz is willing to take the time to train him AND if he is willing to accept less than the usual 1500 gold fee.

Chaz requires 6000 gold for self-training costs. This is tremendous. However, he can spend three weeks game time training his henchmen up to level one thieves, presumably taking 2250 gold from them for the priviledge in the process.

Chaz player suggested the following right after the game: “So Chaz has turned the living room of our spooky house into a thief training facility. Locks and dummy traps for us to pick/spring until they break down from use. Different lighting source types and shadow shapes to practice hiding in. Different textures of walls placed on the outside walls to practice climbing. All items breakdown and have to be rebuilt and re-purchased, using up Chaz’s self training cash. We only go there during the day then leave the undead district for town. The peaceful protests slow down since Chaz isnt around less to rile them up. Chaz will attempt to make a friendship with his necromancer neighbor by offering the trogs to him as servants. And having tea at the necro’s house when he’s taking a break from training.”

Fluid, Rhedegar, Malbert, and Malalip all return to town on the day before the next scheduled session. Time paradox totally avoided!

AD&D Session 21: “You’re Gonna Owe Me One for This”

This session opened with me a bit bored. You know I felt guilty for running this campaign for eighteen sessions without sitting down a creating a real dungeon the way that Gygax said to do in the opening of original D&D and the way that Ken St. Andre said to do in the opening of Tunnels & Trolls. It’s weird, but… man, I just liked winging it. Playing every session like it was going to be the last one. Cranking the awesome, the stupid, and the dangerous far beyond what I could guess could actually be managed.

Sitting on top of fifteen one page dungeons, I was just plain BORED. For one thing, I knew everything that was likely to happen. For another… the players’ collective penchant for pursuing low risk, low reward adventure options resulted in a baffling path through all my preparations: the least heroic, least romantic path through everything I had worked to create! The players had got the exact game they had demanded… but with the low payoffs from the past two sessions and a pretty high body count for henchmen, I couldn’t help but think that they weren’t too happy with it, either.

Maybe that had something to do with several key players just suddenly having something else to do on a Thursday night. At any rate, we started the session with nobody but Fluid the third level Druid, Rhedegar the second level fighter, Malbert the first level fighter, and Malalip the second level Monk. I had this idea that arbitrarily pushing time forward to search for henchmen and men-at-arms was against Gygax’s intent for the game, so I told them they had to run with what they had and THAT’S IT.

I went through and briefly described again each of the major prepared adventure locations in my composition book. Strangely enough, the players opted to go check out the spiritualism exhibit on the first floor of the Tower of Ultimate Darkness. This was by far the most stupid of all the adventure options. And after the near-TPK there a few sessions back, nobody had been inclined to go back. I think I mentioned this time that the fifth floor of this place was literally the assassin’s guild from the John Wick movies.

Anyway, the four player characters roll into this place a bit gingerly. They meet a goodwife on the ground floor that told them that the exhibit was VERY INFORMATIVE and to be sure to get a souvenir replica Ouija Board from the gift shop. The players took the elevator to the first floor and we got confused describing the map to each other. We suck at this for some reason. Finally they go through the exhibit, which has magic mouths that gab away at each station when you push a button. Lots of information about the fabled 5th Aeon of Trollopulous. It was incredible!

The players decided to go check out the Trollopulean Spiritualism Historical Society reading room and the Trollopulean Spiritualism Special Collection. Fluid the Druid tried to charm the librarian and then cast detect magic. Many of the books here glowed blue! Fluid the Druid asked for information on how to contact the Great Druid Getafix. He found the perfect “Dummies” guide for Basic Level spiritualism and soon found himself under some kind of weird compulsion. Or maybe this was just how Fluid the Druid normally behaves.

They go to get their souvenir replica 5th Aeon Ouija Board and find a room with a GIANT SIZE replica Ouija Board. Nobody but Fluid wants to get on it. Fluid, Petnuia the dog, and some Cheap Trollop Fluid had picked up with a Charm Mammal spell get up on it and hold hands. Before long, Fluid is talking to the spirit of Getafix the Great Druid! He asks for the recipe for a POTION OF STRENGTH 18/00. This voice gives him detailed instructions including the location of two rare plants that are necessary to make this work. Before getting off Ouija arrow, the voice from beyond tells them, “you’re going to owe me one for this.” Fluid is nonplussed.

The players decide to go get these ingredients. They saddle up and head towards the Mountains of Madness. On their way out of town they pass a merchant caravan bringing in a fresh batch of trollops to replenish the city’s supplies. This time I am carefully using the AD&D wilderness rules adjudicate all this. This includes lower chance for encounters, but more rolls per day and different odds depending on how close to civilization the players are. The players end up getting lost and find themselves at the Sea of Perdition. They are confused about how they can get lost when they have such a clear landmark to head for and I sternly lecture them about how getting lost in this situation would totally make sense in, say, The King of Elfland’s Daughter.

They finally find the plant for this potion and they head back to town, not running into any monsters along the way. This was not terribly exciting. Didn’t really matter because the players could just keep on travelling. (And yes, this game suddenly did feel like a pretty decent Traveller session.) They got more supplies in Trollopuluous and then headed into the jungles. Before the druid could cast Find Plants or whatever, this weird, fungus-filled zombie dinosaur came crashing through the woods requiring them to roll for initiative!

Fluid had this idea to cast cure disease or something on this thing. The party deals out ranged weapons, barely scratching the thing. Fluid walks up and touches the thing and… nothing happens. I did give this a slight chance of success and the dice didn’t roll with it. Now fluid is facing a claw/claw/bite routine. I started to make up this thing about the jaw of this beast popping open or something but everyone told me not to pull my punches. I retconned the idea out of existence and let Fluid take the full routine. Seven hits! Could have been worse, too.

Fluid then pulled a Homer Simpson and faded into the underbrush without a trace. The party elected to fight on, this time with Malbert taking some hits. His armor shrugged off a lot of this, but he still took some significant damage over the course of two rounds. Then Fluid came back and cast insect swarm, which debilitated the monster for a few rounds. (Can fungoid driven zombie dinosaurs get irritated/distracted by a swarm of insects? I say yes.)

The party finished the thing off, collected their potion ingredient and then headed over to Fluid’s treehouse. They rested there for the night and decided to check out the huge ruined pile while they were in the vicinity. They headed in that direction and then heard a lion roar. I explain to Fluid that it is signaling a warning that they are violating a DOMAIN. Then our meeting software shut down and it took forever to find an alternative.

We almost got to find out what would happen if you STOPPED THE GAME WHILE THE PLAYERS WERE STILL DOING SOMETHING OUTSIDE OF TOWN! But then we found another platform, the players declared they were going back to Trollopulous, and I checked for random encounters and got nothing else, so the game once again ended with the players back in town. Close call!

This adventure took fourteen game days to be played out. That means these four player characters are now out of play for the next two weeks in real time, too. Time to work up those alternate player characters!

Treasure and Experience:

The players pick up 100 XP each for killing a zombie fungus-infused dinosaur. Looking into the druid and potion manufacture rules, I am ruling that each of these players will be given a complementary strength potion twelve days after they return to town. Those are worth 300 XP each. (Though the proprietor of Ye Old Magic Shoppe suggests that they do something awesome with them rather than selling them on the open market for the 750 gp they would bring.)

Cast o’ Characters:

Malbert the Veteran (9 hits) [Delves 2, 3a, 3b, 8, 20, and 21] XP: 122 + 753 + 351 + 0 + 239 + 400 = 1865. Potion of Strength 18/00.

Fluid the Druid, Initiate of the 2nd Circle — Level three druid. [Delve 9, 10, 11, 14, 15, 17, 19, 20, and 21] 4000 + 106 + 369 + 400 = 4875 XP. Should be broke from training. 63 gold last time and 160 this time. Procurer of the fabled Boobs of Opar. Potion of Strength 18/00.

Malalip the Initiate — Level two monk. [Sessions 18, 19, and 21] 2250 + 106 + 400 XP. All saving spent on training. 63 gold this time. Sole survivor of level 10 of The Tower of Ultimate Darkness. Potion of Strength 18/00.

Rhedgar the Swordsman — Level two fighter. [Delve 15, 16, 17, 19, and 21] 2000 + 106 + 400 XP. Should be broke from training. 63 gold this time. Procurer of the fabled Boobs of Opar. Potion of Strength 18/00.

Time:

Day 1: The Hole in the Sky

Day 2: The Thing in the Sewer

Day 7: The Big Score part I

Day 8: The Big Score part II

(Day 9-14 — player characters all carousing¹; Keebler Khan fully recovered) <—- I day of real world time = one day of game time!)

Day 15: The Drums of the Dog People

(Day 16-21: More carousing, fasting, panhandling.)

Day 22-25: Altar of the Beast-women

(Day 26-31: Resting)

Day 32-33: The Pugs of Slaughter

(Day 34-39: Resting)

Day 40: The Overbearing of the Crystal Men

(Day 41-46: Resting)

Days 47-48: The Song of Fàgor

(Day 49-70: In shock from an awesomely weird adventure. Sad!)

Day 71: The Woman in the Ice

(Day 72-76: Resting)

Day 78-79: The Return to Trollopulous

(Day 80-85: Carousing in a besieged Trollopulous.)

Day 86: “You Just Ruined My Story Arc”

(Day 87-92: Utterly exhausted!)

Day 93-95: The Schwérpunkt of the Pig-Men

(Day 96-101: Carousing)

Day 102: A Night in the Autonomous Zone

(Days 103-108: In Trollopulous)

Day 109: The Rave of the Monkey Goddess

(Day 110-115: Scouting out jungle and undead quarter)

Day 116: Snakepede Legion

(Day 117-122: Fagor leveling; Chaz protesting)

Day 123-126: Return to Sorceress Mountain

(Day 127-132: Narjhan leveling. Rhedgar researching sorceress woman.)

Day 133-137: The Boobs of Opar

(Day 138-143: Fluid the Druid, Narjhan, and Rhedgar all training)

Day 144: Spirit Cooking of the Rich and Famous

(Day 145-172: Fagor acquires Peero the sweeper)

Day 173: In Search of the Level Appropriate

(Day 174-179: Some first level cleric spent 200 gold to look for the men-at-arms he could take down to up to the third level.)

Day 180: Lizardache’s Den of Instinkquity

(Day 181-186: Nothing much.)

Day 187 (Sept 24, 2020): Group A (Fluid, Rhedegar, Malbert, and Malalip) 14 day journey for potion of strength 18/00 ingredients. 12 days after return they get the potions.

The graveyard:

Dorkorus — Half-elf fighter/magic-user/thief — [Half brother to Keebler Khan, talked with a lisp!] Killed by a pug-man in the sewers of Trolopulous.

Dairage — Elf fighter/magic-user — Killed with his shield spell on, valiantly taking down the leader of the pug-men so that the party could have a chance to escape certain death!

9 Hapless men-at-arms! — Killed by the pug-men in the sewers of Trollopulous!

Arthur the Gallant (7 hits) [Delves 2, 3a, 3b, 4, 5, 6a, 6b, 7, 8, and 9] XP: 122 + 753 + 351 + 54 + 766 + 8 + 80 + 255 + 0 + 195 = 2584 [Looked like a member of ZZ Top] — Killed in the sewers of Trollopulous while bashing a baby wererat with his shield.

Catskinner the thug — Smashed to a pulp by a white ape in the swamps near Trollopulous.

Aulis Martel the Adept (8 hits) [Delves 3a, 3b, 4, 5, 6a, 7, and 13] XP: 753 + 351 + 54 + 766 + 8 + 255 => Just leveled up at 1500 XP. Reduced to idiocy by a Guild Navigator in the basement of the party’s autonomous zone in the undead quarter of Trollopulous.

Torin the Strider — [Delves 3a, 3b, 4, 5, 6, 6b, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, and 16] 2250 + 800 + 734 + 70 + 191 + 362 = 4407 xp (levels at 4500) [Looks like a member of ZZ Top] +666 gold from session 12, +141 gold from session 14, +338 gold from session 16 [Member of the Order of the Knights of Trollopulous] Killed by by giant bombardier beetles in the Jungles of Opar.

Simon the Thug Henchman — [Delve 12, 13, 14, and 15] Studded Leather and shortswords. 333 + 70 + 76 = 479 gold and 362 + 35 + 95 + 264 = 756 XP. Cut down by a six armed snake woman in the temple in the crevasse at Sorceress Mountain.

Hans Franzen the Swoleceror — (3 hits, Burning hands, Jump, Message, Read Magic, Zilifant’s Effervescent Protein Bomb, Bigby’s Discomforting Wedgy) [Delves 3a, 3b, 4, 5, 6a, 6b, 8, 11, 12, 13, and 14] 2500 + 734 + 70 + 191 = 3495 XP. (Levels at 5000) [Looks like a member of ZZ Top], [Member of the Order of the Knights of Trollopulous] 1336 + 141 = 1477 Gold. Killed by a “Bone” devil as he opened the door to the Fire Escape.

Brother Pain the Acolyte [Delve 3b, 7, 8, 9, 10, and 14] [Looks like a member of ZZ Top] XP: 1500 + 191 = 1691, +141 gold from session 14. Killed by a “Bone” devil as he attempted to free innocent looking little girls from evil spirit cooking people.

Bill Murray the Prestidigitator — [Delve 16 only] Gold 338 and 362 XP. Killed by a “Bone” devil in the den of the spirit cookers.

Dronal the Bravo — Killed by a “Bone” devil in the den of the spirit cookers.

Biff the Bold the “Veteran” — Pinned to an ice wall by a “Bone” devil in the den of the spirit cookers.

Kathars the Veteran — Welcomed into the pits of hell by Mephistopheles.

Doogie and Loogie the dwarfs — [Delve 16 only] 169 gold and 181 XP each. Killed by beastmen in the underground complex.

Half-Beard the Veteran — [Delve 12, 13, 14 and 15] 666 +141 + 152 = 1009 gold, 734 + 70 + 191 + 528 = 1523 XP. [Member of the Order of the Knights of Trollopulous] Killed by a lizard man in the caves underneath the underground complex.

Gilgalad — [Delve 12, 13, 14, 15, 17, and 19] Plate mail and shortswords. 333 + 70 + 76 + 875 + 31 = 1385 gold and 362 + 35 + 95 + 264 + 908 + 53 = 1717 XP each! Killed by a troglodyte in Lizardache’s Den of Instinkquity.

AD&D Session 20: Lizardache’s Den of Instinkquity

This game opened up with the return of Malbert . Everyone that this guy had been adventuring with before is dead now except for Fagor. While not a whole lot seems to happen in any one session, the changes sure do seem to add up. It’s a completely different game now!

Updating the him to the current situation following on from last session was much harder than I expected. The rough player map was completely wrong. My wizard duel that set off an explosion on the southwest side of city had gotten changed in the players’ minds into a meteor strike on the southeast side of the city. Everything was confused! When the players went into the dungeon, nothing was where they’d thought it was, even after I carefully gave out exact lengths for were doors were, turns, and passageways.

One thing was clear, though. Going across the electric shock line created by the blue rocks in the trenches was completely OUT. The players would rather go several levels down into the dungeon than each suffer a guaranteed one hit of damage. Color me shocked!

Fagor’s player had previously complained about the high price of information. Chaz’s player (ever the devil’s advocate against whatever bee is in my bonnet at any given time) had begged for slightly more conventional, un-awesome low-level play areas. The thirteen one page dungeons I created for the campaign in the past few weeks (and incorporating the sketchy notes from my binder) were devised specifically to deal with these two minority criticisms. My theory was that the players as a group would OF COURSE choose awesome over dull. The reality is…. well, I guess we’ll see more of that as the campaign continues to unfold.

The players had captured a LIZARD MAN last session and opted to engage in enhanced interrogation during their six days of down time. When Fluid the Druid selected “lizard man” for his new language he abruptly found out that it didn’t do him any good with this thing. Doh! (Should have taken Green Dragon instead, man!) The new magic-user got lucky on his random spell rolls, though and got to select “Comprehend Languages” for his utility spell. The party finds out that there are more of whatever these things are down in the cave area beyond the sinkhole.

So the group this week elects to go to the cave area and ties a 50′ rope around a stalagmite. Peero goes down and checks things out, then tugs the rope to signal that all is clear. Then the party wonders how they can know if it really is Peero on the other end or not.

They go down and check the place out. Then they cover each of the three entrances to that room while Chaz the Footpad tries to hammer in 14 iron spikes into the sinkhole leading down to it. Naturally this causes so much noise that some monsters come to investigate what is going on.

We have a great big fight. Reading from my one page dungeon map, I accidently say the word “troglodyte” when describing the situation. OOPS! The mystery of why Fluid’s Lizard Man language didn’t work is accidentally revealed!

The ensuing battle was pretty epic in all the ways that the sages of old school gaming proscribed. Chaz climbed down into the battle zone and then traversed to a position above the “lizard men”. He rained darts down upon them from his perch. Note that if I had stopped the game to sketch out the encounter map and set up figures, this probably couldn’t have happened unless I had planned in advance to ALLOW for this very thing– not likely given my lack of creativity and shoddy preparations! “Theater of the mind” (ie, fantasy role-playing) leaves the door open to the players subtly influencing the nature of the actual situations. Players contribute to establishing the individual combat scenes just as surely as the influence the broader campaign.

Chaz was going to jump down on one of the lizard men, probably for a back stab. It would have been awesome, but the morale of the monsters broke before that could be effected. The magic-user had held back his sleep spell. Instead he wanted to toss flaming oil. This wasn’t actually prepared in advance due to lack of funds on his part. I ruled he had to spend an entire one minute combat turn getting set up while the battle raged.

The fighters on the front line took some hits. I remember Malbert got knocked down a good six points. Dangerous! The druid healed him during the conflict after I think casting bark skin on himself. Jerelek the magic-user scored two direct hits on lizard men, fully combusting them and scoring splash damage on their pals. Fagor lead his shield wall (which we later determined was not actually a shield wall) to bypass one of the jewelry-wearing lizard men. There behind the front rank, his two sumo henchmen overbore him, gaining a leglock and bringing him to his knees. Peero then rushed up and thrust a torch in the dude’s face. The following round, the AD&D Grappling Rules dictated that an astonishing suplex reduced the thing to unconsciousness.

At the end there were only three of these things left. They won initiative on the round that they got a fighting retreat result. They steadily backed down the hallway away from the chaos. I ruled that the players did not get their usual free parting attacks because of this. I did rule that Fagor had time to switch to his bow and get of some ranged attacks. It was far from enough damage to eliminate the survivors.

Now was the moment that really was the entire point of the session, though. What do the players do NOW?

They are deep in the dungeon, in a relatively dangerous area. They still have a sleep spell ready and can potentially take out a significant number of monsters with that if they can get it in position. (The first time in 20 sessions that we even had a sleep spell in the game. Incredible!) They have lost an EXTREMELY VALUABLE HENCHMAN who was (amazingly) just on the verge of leveling. (Most people just make them die for no reason.) The previous session they had an incredibly paltry take. WHAT DO THEY DO?

Well it might be because the party is overcautious and it might be that they just know better than the DM. It might just be that it was getting late. But the players pretty well all agreed that they should take the wrought gold and wrought silver jewelry and get the heck out of there before the monsters came back with reinforcements. Perhaps due to the intel of their being near a full fledged lair, they seemed to just assume they’d get overwhelmed. Sleep spell or no sleep spell!

Fluid the Druid had other ideas. The other players recoiled in horror. Face palms. Cringe. Not again!

The players take the treasure and get up the sinkhole. Fluid does, too. He wants to wait and see if the lizard men pursue them. The other players aren’t having it. They just leave him there. Fagor’s player declares to everyone else that “he needs to learn.”

Fluid the Druid waits a while and then… sure enough. The lizard men are coming up the sinkhole. He wants them to chase him and is going about it all wrong, though. Jerelek’s player (who wasn’t in a position to advise) tells him he needs to go the full Bre’r Rabbit: “oh know! They’re coming! Eeeeek!!!”

Fluid races out of the dungeon and back to the wizard duel crater with the lizard men trailing him. Before the session he had announced that he had taken Call Lightning as his spell specifically because it was raining where the DM was and this would be a rare chance to use it. He cackles with glee because he is about to turn the tables on the monsters, but then he consults the rule book. Uh oh. It takes a full ten minutes to call down lightning. THIS IS NOT GOING TO WORK.

Fluid switches to plan B. He jumps onto Bison Buddy and declares he is CHARGING the twelve lizard men that are coming for him. (“Are you sure you want to do this when you could simply just ride away?” Hey, it’s Fluid!) I have no idea how to adjudicate this. Complicating things, the lizard men have the initiative. Which doesn’t really make sense. How is this even supposed to work?

Well… I suggest that the charge would likely take effect first and that in the aftermath on it, I could only imagine at most four of these things getting attacks off on Fluid. Fluid could totally just ride away safely, but he INSISTS on living dangerously. He rolls into the mass of lizard men. The charge and trample is incredible, killing outright three or four of these things. But how does AD&D combat even work? Is there anything that prevents all of the surviving monsters from taking a swipe at him? Fluid’s player reminds me of one thing that does: the ruling I had already made prevents them from doing just that.

Fluid now faces a stone axe, a stone morning star, and two claw/claw/bite routines. He takes a significant but not overwhelming amount of damage. A few key misses made all the difference. Of course, if all of them had an attack it he would have had NO chance at all.

But seriously. What is the correct way to adjudicate a crazed scimitar-wielding druid charging a bunch of lizard men on bison? Was this fair? Was the ruling good enough? Everyone wanted to see the resolution of the fight. We were also pretty well out of time. Was it the right thing? How can you know???

Anyway, with the battle going like it did, the players were now seeing things a little bit differently. Why didn’t you tell us you had a plan?! I shut that right down. “You didn’t have time to plan. You were 100% sure he was committing suicide. This is exactly what should have happened.” Well, given I had ruled at all reasonably on the charge. The charge that NO ONE had really planned for.

Note that the two more of the lizard men in the group Fluid fought had those fancy “Lizardache” style wrought jewelry on. They had a reasonable chance to double their take, but left it in the crater.

Back in town, Chaz takes their items to the gnomish jeweler for appraisal. He ends up getting 1200 gp for BOTH. And most certainly does not succeed in tricking the DM into switching the offer to 1200 gp for EACH at the last second.

The players take a masochistic pleasure in the grades given out for play. This time the magic-user gets downgraded to a merely “Superior” rating for failing to cast his spell at all.

Chaz the Footpad got enough XP to level but did not have the gold in order to pay for training costs. Previously I had ruled that Chaz had to pay full training costs due to racism at the Trollopulean thieves’ guild. It’s a hefty 3000 gold pieces this time. Note that if he was training himself, this would be doubled to 6000! (Note the other thief– a human one– I’d ruled that he’d only have to pay a 40% cut of all his treasure hauls in order to preserve the rapid leveling of the thief class.

Either way, though. Every other game just gives away this leveling stuff. AD&D says, naw. GO EARN MORE MONEY! It’s not XP for gold. It’s levels for gold. And the XP amounts for monsters are really irrelevant. What to do!

Ah, one more thing came out at the end. Fluid the Druid noted that he had some kind of water breathing spell now that he was at third level. He could go explore that underground lake if the rest of the party would go for it. Come to think of it, he could organize his own party by himself he felt like he would rather spend gold on finding his on henchmen. The capacity of old school campaigns to support MANY competing play groups simultaneously is just one of their many features that so resilient in the face of WHATEVER the players end up throwing at it.

Oh, one last footnote. At some point I revealed that Stoogie the Dwarf had stood Chaz up this time, possibly due to poor treatment. Chaz literally never noticed that he wasn’t there. Which reminds me that the deal I had offered Chaz on leveling as an elf when the thieves’ guild was racist against elves… it was that though he would have to pay training costs (possibly at the double rate given what the rules say), he would be able make a lot of that back by being the person that the demi-humans paid to train THEM as thieves. NOW it’s coming back. So yeah, ticking Stoogie off and killing Doogie and Loogie was not a good idea if that is what we were doing!

Treasure and Experience:

Treasure shares came out to 160 gold each. Experience shares were 239 each with 119 for the henchmen. Fluid the Druid gets extra XP for the fight this time. His xp share is 368… with Bison Buddy picking up 64.

Cast o’ Characters:

Malbert the Veteran (9 hits) [Delves 2, 3a, 3b, and 8] XP: 122 + 753 + 351 + 0 + 239 = 1465

Fluid the Druid, Initiate of the 2nd Circle — Level three druid. [Delve 9, 10, 11, 14, 15, 17, and 19] 4000 + 106 + 369 = 4475 XP. Should be broke from training. 63 gold last time and 160 this time. Procurer of the fabled Boobs of Opar.

Bison Buddy — [Delve 17 and 20] 64 XP.

Fagor the Half-Orc Swordsman— Level three fighter. [Delves 3a, 3b, 4, 5, 6, 6b, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 17, 19, and 20] — 4000 + 1816 + 106 + 239 = 6161 XP. His horns have grown incredibly large. Looks frightening and diabolical. Cloven hooves His name means “astonishing hero” in orcish. Member of the Order of the Knights of Trollopulous.

Logan — [Delve 12, 13, 14, 15, 17, 19, and 20] Plate mail and shortswords. 333 + 70 + 76 + 875 + 31 + 80 = 1465 gold and 362 + 35 + 95 + 264 + 908 + 53 + 119 = 1836 XP!

Nasty and Dernhelm — [Delve 12, 14, 15, 19, and 20] Just a codpiece and a spear. 333 + 70 + 76 + 875 + 31 + 80 = 1465 gold and 362 + 95 + 264 + 908 + 53 + 119 = 1801 XP each! (Trained for dedicated grappling)

Peero the Sweeper — [Delve 19 only] 53 + 119 = 172 XP and 31 + 80 = 111 gold. [Note 15 strength and seven hit points!] Has antique monocle from 5th aeon.

Chaz the Elven Footpad — Level two thief. [Delve 11, 12, 13, 15, 16, and 19] 1250 + 30 + 528 + 362 + 106 + 239 = FROZEN AT 2500 XP UNTIL HE LEVELS. Member of the Order of the Knights of Trollopulous.

Drizzle Pizzle the Elf — [Delve 20[*S] only] 119 XP and 80 gold.

Jelerak — Level one magic-user. [Delve 20 only.] 239 XP and 160 gold.

Time:

Day 1: The Hole in the Sky

Day 2: The Thing in the Sewer

Day 7: The Big Score part I

Day 8: The Big Score part II

(Day 9-14 — player characters all carousing¹; Keebler Khan fully recovered) <—- I day of real world time = one day of game time!)

Day 15: The Drums of the Dog People

(Day 16-21: More carousing, fasting, panhandling.)

Day 22-25: Altar of the Beast-women

(Day 26-31: Resting)

Day 32-33: The Pugs of Slaughter

(Day 34-39: Resting)

Day 40: The Overbearing of the Crystal Men

(Day 41-46: Resting)

Days 47-48: The Song of Fàgor

(Day 49-70: In shock from an awesomely weird adventure. Sad!)

Day 71: The Woman in the Ice

(Day 72-76: Resting)

Day 78-79: The Return to Trollopulous

(Day 80-85: Carousing in a besieged Trollopulous.)

Day 86: “You Just Ruined My Story Arc”

(Day 87-92: Utterly exhausted!)

Day 93-95: The Schwérpunkt of the Pig-Men

(Day 96-101: Carousing)

Day 102: A Night in the Autonomous Zone

(Days 103-108: In Trollopulous)

Day 109: The Rave of the Monkey Goddess

(Day 110-115: Scouting out jungle and undead quarter)

Day 116: Snakepede Legion

(Day 117-122: Fagor leveling; Chaz protesting)

Day 123-126: Return to Sorceress Mountain

(Day 127-132: Narjhan leveling. Rhedgar researching sorceress woman.)

Day 133-137: The Boobs of Opar

(Day 138-143: Fluid the Druid, Narjhan, and Rhedgar all training)

Day 144: Spirit Cooking of the Rich and Famous

(Day 145-172: Fagor acquires Peero the sweeper)

Day 173: In Search of the Level Appropriate

(Day 174-179: Some first level cleric spent 200 gold to look for the men-at-arms he could take down to up to the third level.)

Day 180: Lizardache’s Den of Instinkquity

The graveyard:

Dorkorus — Half-elf fighter/magic-user/thief — [Half brother to Keebler Khan, talked with a lisp!] Killed by a pug-man in the sewers of Trolopulous.

Dairage — Elf fighter/magic-user — Killed with his shield spell on, valiantly taking down the leader of the pug-men so that the party could have a chance to escape certain death!

9 Hapless men-at-arms! — Killed by the pug-men in the sewers of Trollopulous!

Arthur the Gallant (7 hits) [Delves 2, 3a, 3b, 4, 5, 6a, 6b, 7, 8, and 9] XP: 122 + 753 + 351 + 54 + 766 + 8 + 80 + 255 + 0 + 195 = 2584 [Looked like a member of ZZ Top] — Killed in the sewers of Trollopulous while bashing a baby wererat with his shield.

Catskinner the thug — Smashed to a pulp by a white ape in the swamps near Trollopulous.

Aulis Martel the Adept (8 hits) [Delves 3a, 3b, 4, 5, 6a, 7, and 13] XP: 753 + 351 + 54 + 766 + 8 + 255 => Just leveled up at 1500 XP. Reduced to idiocy by a Guild Navigator in the basement of the party’s autonomous zone in the undead quarter of Trollopulous.

Torin the Strider — [Delves 3a, 3b, 4, 5, 6, 6b, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, and 16] 2250 + 800 + 734 + 70 + 191 + 362 = 4407 xp (levels at 4500) [Looks like a member of ZZ Top] +666 gold from session 12, +141 gold from session 14, +338 gold from session 16 [Member of the Order of the Knights of Trollopulous] Killed by by giant bombardier beetles in the Jungles of Opar.

Simon the Thug Henchman — [Delve 12, 13, 14, and 15] Studded Leather and shortswords. 333 + 70 + 76 = 479 gold and 362 + 35 + 95 + 264 = 756 XP. Cut down by a six armed snake woman in the temple in the crevasse at Sorceress Mountain.

Hans Franzen the Swoleceror — (3 hits, Burning hands, Jump, Message, Read Magic, Zilifant’s Effervescent Protein Bomb, Bigby’s Discomforting Wedgy) [Delves 3a, 3b, 4, 5, 6a, 6b, 8, 11, 12, 13, and 14] 2500 + 734 + 70 + 191 = 3495 XP. (Levels at 5000) [Looks like a member of ZZ Top], [Member of the Order of the Knights of Trollopulous] 1336 + 141 = 1477 Gold. Killed by a “Bone” devil as he opened the door to the Fire Escape.

Brother Pain the Acolyte [Delve 3b, 7, 8, 9, 10, and 14] [Looks like a member of ZZ Top] XP: 1500 + 191 = 1691, +141 gold from session 14. Killed by a “Bone” devil as he attempted to free innocent looking little girls from evil spirit cooking people.

Bill Murray the Prestidigitator — [Delve 16 only] Gold 338 and 362 XP. Killed by a “Bone” devil in the den of the spirit cookers.

Dronal the Bravo — Killed by a “Bone” devil in the den of the spirit cookers.

Biff the Bold the “Veteran” — Pinned to an ice wall by a “Bone” devil in the den of the spirit cookers.

Kathars the Veteran — Welcomed into the pits of hell by Mephistopheles.

Doogie and Loogie the dwarfs — [Delve 16 only] 169 gold and 181 XP each. Killed by beastmen in the underground complex.

Half-Beard the Veteran — [Delve 12, 13, 14 and 15] 666 +141 + 152 = 1009 gold, 734 + 70 + 191 + 528 = 1523 XP. [Member of the Order of the Knights of Trollopulous] Killed by a lizard man in the caves underneath the underground complex.

Gilgalad — [Delve 12, 13, 14, 15, 17, and 19] Plate mail and shortswords. 333 + 70 + 76 + 875 + 31 = 1385 gold and 362 + 35 + 95 + 264 + 908 + 53 = 1717 XP each! Killed by a troglodyte in Lizardache’s Den of Instinkquity.

 

AD&D Session 19: In Search of the Level Appropriate

I opened this session with a deluge of adventure hooks:

  • Some farmers come into town begging for help. Goblins have abducted their daughters. Won’t someone help?
  • A wizard duel on the outskirts of town created a massive crater that revealed a tunnel with a partially open iris valve.
  • An exhibition at the Tower of Ultimate Darkness has recently opened that highlights the contributions to Trollopulean culture by early second Aeon spiritualists.
  • Chaz has a map to two crypt locations in the Undead Quarter marked “Monster Group A” and “Monster Group B”. (DM Note: the intensity level of that area might drop low enough that spending the night in the party’s house there would not be so ludicrous.)
  • Way back there was a moderately high level swoleceror that disappeared into the sewers. He took his super nifty spell book down there and never returned. It might still be there!
  • I didn’t mention the ruins of Opar in the jungles or Mt. Glovermore, but there are of course still around waiting for the players to return.

Hours and hours of work went in to drawing up the twelve one page dungeons in each of these areas. But the players can only choose one to explore this session.

One of the clerics suggested rescuing the farmers’ daughters and then selling them to a pimp. The Undead Quarter was deemed to be too challenging to face right now and the lure of the swoleceror spellbook held no sway. Tower of Ultimate Darkness was so horrific last game the players had no interest in even a level appropriate variation of that theme. A fresh and newly opened dungeon environment seemed to the players to be the safest way to pick up some gold and experience points.

This was a much bigger group of players. Strangely, this cut down on the chit chat. There must have been some kind of behind the scenes coordination I was not privy to. One new player showed up wanting to run a cleric. I gave him my standard advice that he should play some shade of lawful and/or good and that playing as part of a real Catholic-like institution was the way to go. He went with this with zero push-back.

I tried to tighten the ship a little, having the players dump their flaming oil, torches, rations, and attributes into the chat. I never got around to reading it, though. The party’s caller took care of tracking time and torch expenditures in the dungeons which was a big help. Time and movement rates matter a lot in this game, but wouldn’t so much in this particular session.

The players go into the dungeon very quickly. It took less than half an hour to organize the delve. This is extraordinary for this campaign.

The iris valve at the entrance flummoxed the caller. He used his psionic strength to direct some clairvoyance at it. Finally he was persuaded that proceeding in was safe. As safe as dungeons can be, anyway.

Proverbs of Trollopulous: “Don’t go to the tenth floor when you’re only first level.”

They come to a door with a strange symbol emblazoned upon it. Lots of interaction here. The druid used shape earth to open up a passage around the door, shaping a statue of an owlbear in the process. There were monsters on the other side. The caller used his psionic powers to scout out the room– five tough looking creeps in there! Chaz sent his three dwarfs in there. This should have required some kind of loyalty check, but I handwaved it because these dwarfs had experienced nothing but fabulous amounts of win with this party so far. They go in, roll for initiative, and only Stoogie makes it out alive.

The players expect the monsters to open the door but they do not. Stoogie could not discover any mechanism on the other side that could open it. The players are concerned about leaving a potential threat to their rear but end up finally deciding to move on.

They come to a room with a trench filled with glowing blue rocks. The monk and the druid jump across it, taking one point of damage each. The druid totally wants to Leroy Jenkins this dungeon, but the rest of the party shouts him down. Everyone taking one hit of damage on the way in and one more on the way out just seems like a tremendous risk. The monk jumps back and the druid ends up circling around, finding another trench in the next room over.

The players find another strange door. Chaz the Elven Cutpurse successfully unlocks it somewhat. It shifts upward about an inch or two. Next every single character in the party rolls for bend bars / lift gates. Finally the monk is successful. In side the room is three zombies and no treasure. The players lose initiative and I am worried that the monk is going to just die right here bearing the brunt of these things’ attacks. Fortunately for him, the zombies always go last. The cleric successfully turned them and the party was able to light them up at a safe distance.

At this point, it was getting towards the end of the session and there was nothing really awesome that had happened. I handwaved the exploration of the rooms south of the blue trenches– many more similar doors as the the other two monster rooms. Also a stairway down. The players did not want to do down a level– they were committed to staying in a level appropriate area if they could help it. But boredom (and fear of the weird blue trenches) finally persuaded them to give the stairs a try.

They roll down there and I ask for a d6 roll. They tie with the monsters– it’s a mutual surprise situation. Some kind of lizard men. Things devolve into a melee once a couple of players get their dart attacks off. The druid cast flesh to bark, I think. Half-Beard the veteran manages to cast a net onto one of the lizard men. Half-beard was killed when the monsters got their licks in, though. All twenty of his vials of oil broke when he fell. (The players did not opt to light him up.) The next round, one of Fagor’s Orko-Turkish Wrestlers overbear’d the thing, knocking it down and stunning it. Enough lizard men got killed in the scuffle that they had to check morale. As they fled toward a sinkhole, the party cut them all down.

There is a chest of coins there. Man, I shudder to think what would have happened had there not been one. This had to get interacted with at length as well, resulting in a poison dart flying away into the air. Inside were 500 gold and 2000 silver. Low risk equals low reward!

The players make their way out of the dungeon settling for this extremely modest treasure haul. Two henchmen and a first level player character was deemed to be acceptable losses for this paltry sum.

Performance grading: Nothing stuck out this time due to the players being all business. However upon reflection, Parvis should be given only a “Fair” rating due to behavior unbecoming to a cleric. I considered a downgrade for the entire party due to overly cautious play, but the pitiful treasure haul seems to be a sufficient deterrent going forward.

Downtime Declarations:

  • Fluid the Druid: Training Petunia the Pitbull on subduing enemies
  • Parvis the Acoylte: Simping for the trollops.
  • Chaz: Engaging in enhanced interrogation of the captured lizard man; staging peaceful protests near the Undead Quarter
  • Minghoul Hightenmeyer: Borrowed 200 gold from Fluid the Druid in order to seek out a level zero henchman of some sort.
  • Rhedgar: Continues his job as a mall cop.

Treasure and Experience:

Dividing everything up, the shares came out to 63 gold each and 106 xp each with henchmen getting half that, of course.

Cast o’ Characters:

Malalip the Initiate — Level two monk. [Sessions 18 and 19] 2250 + 106 XP. All saving spent on training. 63 gold this time. Sole survivor of level 10 of The Tower of Ultimate Darkness.

Rhedgar the Swordsman — Level three fighter. [Delve 15, 16, 17, an 19] 4000 + 106 XP. Should be broke from training. 63 gold this time. Procurer of the fabled Boobs of Opar.

Fluid the Druid, Initiate of the 2nd Circle — Level three druid. [Delve 9, 10, 11, 14, 15, 17, and 19] 4000 + 106 XP. Should be broke from training. 63 gold this time. Procurer of the fabled Boobs of Opar.

Fagor the Half-Orc Swordsman— Level three fighter. [Delves 3a, 3b, 4, 5, 6, 6b, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 17, and 19] — 4000 + 1816 + 106 = 5922 XP. His horns have grown incredibly large. Looks frightening and diabolical. Cloven hooves His name means “astonishing hero” in orcish. Member of the Order of the Knights of Trollopulous.

Gilgalad and Logan — [Delve 12, 13, 14, 15, 17, and 19] Plate mail and shortswords. 333 + 70 + 76 + 875 + 31 = 1385 gold and 362 + 35 + 95 + 264 + 908 + 53 = 1717 XP each!

Nasty and Dernhelm — [Delve 12, 14, 15, and 19] Just a codpiece and a spear. 333 + 70 + 76 + 875 + 31 = 1385 gold and 362 + 95 + 264 + 908 + 53 = 1682 XP each! (Trained for dedicated grappling)

Peero the Sweeper– [Delve 19 only] 53 XP and 31 gold. [Note 15 strength!] Has antique monocle from 5th aeon.

Chaz the Elven Footpad — Level two thief. [Delve 11, 12, 13, 15, 16, and 19] 1250 + 30 + 528 + 362 + 106 = 2276 xp (levels at 2500) Member of the Order of the Knights of Trollopulous.

Stoogie the Dwarf — [Delve 16 and 19] 181 + 53 = 234 XP. 169 + 31 = 200 gold.

Parvis the Wayward — Level one cleric. [Delve 19[*F] only.] 106 XP and 63 gold.

Incredible Psionic Dude — Level one magic-user. [Delve 19 only.] 106 XP and 63 gold.

Minghoul Hightenmeyer — Level one cleric. [Delve 19 only.] 106 XP and 63 gold.

Time:

Day 1: The Hole in the Sky

Day 2: The Thing in the Sewer

Day 7: The Big Score part I

Day 8: The Big Score part II

(Day 9-14 — player characters all carousing¹; Keebler Khan fully recovered) <—- I day of real world time = one day of game time!)

Day 15: The Drums of the Dog People

(Day 16-21: More carousing, fasting, panhandling.)

Day 22-25: Altar of the Beast-women

(Day 26-31: Resting)

Day 32-33: The Pugs of Slaughter

(Day 34-39: Resting)

Day 40: The Overbearing of the Crystal Men

(Day 41-46: Resting)

Days 47-48: The Song of Fàgor

(Day 49-70: In shock from an awesomely weird adventure. Sad!)

Day 71: The Woman in the Ice

(Day 72-76: Resting)

Day 78-79: The Return to Trollopulous

(Day 80-85: Carousing in a besieged Trollopulous.)

Day 86: “You Just Ruined My Story Arc”

(Day 87-92: Utterly exhausted!)

Day 93-95: The Schwérpunkt of the Pig-Men

(Day 96-101: Carousing)

Day 102: A Night in the Autonomous Zone

(Days 103-108: In Trollopulous)

Day 109: The Rave of the Monkey Goddess

(Day 110-115: Scouting out jungle and undead quarter)

Day 116: Snakepede Legion

(Day 117-122: Fagor leveling; Chaz protesting)

Day 123-126: Return to Sorceress Mountain

(Day 127-132: Narjhan leveling. Rhedgar researching sorceress woman.)

Day 133-137: The Boobs of Opar

(Day 138-143: Fluid the Druid, Narjhan, and Rhedgar all training)

Day 144: Spirit Cooking of the Rich and Famous

(Day 145-172: Fagor acquires Peero the sweeper)

Day 173: In Search of the Level Appropriate

The graveyard:

Dorkorus — Half-elf fighter/magic-user/thief — [Half brother to Keebler Khan, talked with a lisp!] Killed by a pug-man in the sewers of Trolopulous.

Dairage — Elf fighter/magic-user — Killed with his shield spell on, valiantly taking down the leader of the pug-men so that the party could have a chance to escape certain death!

9 Hapless men-at-arms! — Killed by the pug-men in the sewers of Trollopulous!

Arthur the Gallant (7 hits) [Delves 2, 3a, 3b, 4, 5, 6a, 6b, 7, 8, and 9] XP: 122 + 753 + 351 + 54 + 766 + 8 + 80 + 255 + 0 + 195 = 2584 [Looked like a member of ZZ Top] — Killed in the sewers of Trollopulous while bashing a baby wererat with his shield.

Catskinner the thug — Smashed to a pulp by a white ape in the swamps near Trollopulous.

Aulis Martel the Adept (8 hits) [Delves 3a, 3b, 4, 5, 6a, 7, and 13] XP: 753 + 351 + 54 + 766 + 8 + 255 => Just leveled up at 1500 XP. Reduced to idiocy by a Guild Navigator in the basement of the party’s autonomous zone in the undead quarter of Trollopulous.

Torin the Strider — [Delves 3a, 3b, 4, 5, 6, 6b, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, and 16] 2250 + 800 + 734 + 70 + 191 + 362 = 4407 xp (levels at 4500) [Looks like a member of ZZ Top] +666 gold from session 12, +141 gold from session 14, +338 gold from session 16 [Member of the Order of the Knights of Trollopulous] Killed by by giant bombardier beetles in the Jungles of Opar.

Simon the Thug Henchman — [Delve 12, 13, 14, and 15] Studded Leather and shortswords. 333 + 70 + 76 = 479 gold and 362 + 35 + 95 + 264 = 756 XP. Cut down by a six armed snake woman in the temple in the crevasse at Sorceress Mountain.

Hans Franzen the Swoleceror — (3 hits, Burning hands, Jump, Message, Read Magic, Zilifant’s Effervescent Protein Bomb, Bigby’s Discomforting Wedgy) [Delves 3a, 3b, 4, 5, 6a, 6b, 8, 11, 12, 13, and 14] 2500 + 734 + 70 + 191 = 3495 XP. (Levels at 5000) [Looks like a member of ZZ Top], [Member of the Order of the Knights of Trollopulous] 1336 + 141 = 1477 Gold. Killed by a “Bone” devil as he opened the door to the Fire Escape.

Brother Pain the Acolyte [Delve 3b, 7, 8, 9, 10, and 14] [Looks like a member of ZZ Top] XP: 1500 + 191 = 1691, +141 gold from session 14. Killed by a “Bone” devil as he attempted to free innocent looking little girls from evil spirit cooking people.

Bill Murray the Prestidigitator — [Delve 16 only] Gold 338 and 362 XP. Killed by a “Bone” devil in the den of the spirit cookers.

Dronal the Bravo — Killed by a “Bone” devil in the den of the spirit cookers.

Biff the Bold the “Veteran” — Pinned to an ice wall by a “Bone” devil in the den of the spirit cookers.

Kathars the Veteran — Welcomed into the pits of hell by Mephistopheles.

Doogie and Loogie the dwarfs — [Delve 16 only] 169 gold and 181 XP each. Killed by beastmen in the underground complex.

Half-Beard the Veteran — [Delve 12, 13, 14 and 15] 666 +141 + 152 = 1009 gold, 734 + 70 + 191 + 528 = 1523 XP. [Member of the Order of the Knights of Trollopulous] Killed by a lizard man in the caves underneath the underground complex.