Jeffro's Space Gaming Blog

Microgames, Monster Games, and Role Playing Games

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.

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