Jeffro's Space Gaming Blog

Microgames, Monster Games, and Role Playing Games

Madicon 22: Exploring the Isle of Dread, session one

(SPOILER WARNING: If you intend to play the Isle of Dread, you probably shouldn’t read any further!)

The players set out from the peaceful village of Tanaroa. None of the natives would dare to go with them. The party went through a special passage in the Rube Goldberg conglomeration of defensive tar pits and palisades and started down the jungle trail. On that first day, the players soon heard a sound like thunder… and whatever it was was headed right towards them. They braced themselves for battle. Crashing though the trees, the players found themselves overrun by a group of phororhacosi– some kind of six foot tall, flightless birds.

I ruled that due to the jungle hex, visibility was limited. The players would not be able to react until the birds were right on top of them. Glancing at the monster description, I decided that these creatures were big, fast, and stupid. I imagined that they were like Guineas… just careening around almost randomly at blinding speeds. The players didn’t think to hide or climb trees, or else they might have avoided combat altogether. As it was, the creatures burst in among the players, randomly assailing them. One guy attacked and rolled a natural twenty. There’s nothing special about that in Basic D&D, but I decided on the spot that due to the rule of awesome, it must have cut the bird’s head clean off. The flock of “sword beaks” then continued on as if nothing had happened.

That night they heard huge stomping sounds along with a rumbling trumpeting call. The characters on watch frantically woke up the rest of the party, but the creature seemed to just veer around the camp site. The same sort of thing happened again on the following night. The players relaxed a little and let everyone sleep, I think. On the third night, the watchmen were alarmed when they saw over a dozen pairs of large, round eyes at varying distances and heights. They immediately woke everyone up that time. The players attempted to communicate with whatever they were, but the eyes maintained their distance. The players tried several off the wall things without success. Not even swinging the phororhacos head around. Most things the players did would just cause the eyes to disappear and then reappear again further away, but at randomly distributed heights.

On the fourth day, the players sighted giant elk. The players opted to give them wide berth and continued to the end of the jungle trail. The snail-paced progress was slowed even further as they chose to go straight through the swamp area between the tar pits and the lake. Their second day into it they sighted a peaceful looking grangeri– sort of a cross between a giraffe and a rhinoceros, but huge. (I decided that this must be an old school lost world where the dinosaur type things preferred the swamp so that it would be easier for them to stand up.)

On the party’s fourth night in the swamp (the eight night of their journey), the watchmen heard a disturbing growl of a rumble followed by a thunder-like sound that was headed straight for them. It was a triceratops! The female fighter Justina got charged and just barely rolled the 3d6 damage as less than her hit points. The cleric immediately healed her back up to full strength. The players all wailed away at the creature with their melee weapons, but the thick hide of the beast was almost impervious to them. The magic-user Tirantus Blackhawk cast web on the beast, and this slowed it down temporarily. The dwarf Otis lit the web on fire for some extra damage. Everyone fought on, but finally the triceratops managed to gore the elf named Rex-tum. Alas, the damage rolled was far greater than his seven hit points and he died– the first casualty of the game. In another round, the players managed to drop the aggressive creature. (One player questioned the fact that a vegetarian animal would do this, but another answered that mere hippopotami could be similarly dangerous.)

On the ninth day of the journey, they finally left the swamps. They headed north as best as they could into the hill country. On the tenth day, they sighted the Rakasta camp. The thief Han Yolo went ahead to scout it out and came back to report that there were humanoid cat-men there. The fighter Justina offered to go alone and attempt to communicate with the tribe. The warriors of the tribe met her as she arrived– they came out in a wide, intimidating line to demonstrate their strength. While Justina gave them gifts of a silver cross, iron rations, and a gold coin, Han Yolo went around behind them to prepare for a sneak attack. The magic-user Lemmy snuck to their flank… and cast a sleep spell on the Rakasta warriors! Several fell over asleep… and Justina froze with horror for a moment… but then… decided to fall over “asleep” as well. The Rakasta did not actually get violent at this point, but actually seemed more interested in trade– though things were noticeably more tense.

Justina called the rest of the party in and Lemmey redeemed his error by successfully hiring two Rakasta warriors as guides and spearmen. (He had the idea, he mimed out the request, and he had the highest intelligence and charisma out of the entire group. No skill roll required!) A feast was held… and there was much music and dancing. The party left early the next morning and traveled for a few more days through the hill country. On the fourteenth day of the journey  they sighted a hydra about two hundred yards away. The party paused to see what the Rakasta would do… and the hydra bounded right towards them. The Rakasta scratched the hydra under its chins and fed it some kind of dinosaur-jerky snacks.

(This is where we ended the first four hour session of the Madicon Isle of Dread game.)

4 responses to “Madicon 22: Exploring the Isle of Dread, session one

  1. PeterD April 1, 2013 at 10:06 am

    Three cheers for the rule of awesome!

    And yeah, maybe they could have avoided the fight. But really, in a con game, and in a game you’re playing for the first time, the last thing you want to do is avoid the first fight that comes along. You want to know how good you are or aren’t, and how the GM is, and how fun it is, and heck, maybe the game will drag to a halt before combat #2. Seize your fun by the horns and plunge a sword into it!

  2. Pingback: Revisiting Matt Finch’s Zen Moments of Old School Gaming | Jeffro's Space Gaming Blog

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