Sunday, December 20, 2009

This is why we play in my kitchen

And also why we don't wear weird occult costumes... 

And, yes, that's a friend of mine (Josh, you know him too...).

And, yes, he's quite insane.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Session 7: "Skullface, I Don't Think We Have To Fight This Goo!"

From Ronson's notes, only very slightly edited by the DM:

After their first unsuccessful attempt at rescuing Skullface's little boy Terry from the dungeon, the adventurers return to find the town of Acornloaf apprehensive and afrighted, with the street and fields deserted, and some windows boarded up. The next day, they meet with Skullface to return to the dungeon, consoling Skullface's distraught wife, reassuring her that they will bring both Skullface and Terry back unharmed, or at least alive. Halfway to the dungeon, the adventurers encounter their friend the Pink Slime along the road, dried up and looking quite dead (apparently it had followed them that far). They elect to bring the slime back to the dungeon with them in the hopes that the damp dungeon air will resuscitate it. Upon entering the dungeon, they find flame burning in the fire-bowl held by the statue, and someone (Stonk?) thinks he hears windchimes. They open the portcullis to "room 14" by lifting it enough to crawl underneath. The pink slime is then "laid to rest" in this room. They go through the door to the north and find themselves in a room strewn about with junk, including a throne, a bed some other stuff. Oh, and 2 goblins and 4 skeletons. 

The skeletons are easily turned by Bolin, and after damage is taken on both sides, the Goblins are dispatched. But halfway through the battle, a figure rises from the throne, the evil Frog Priestess the adventurers have been hearing about! Ronson casts magic missle, and although rolling maximum damage, the preistess sighs in irritation at the attack. She fills the room with a magical darkness and Stonk is badly wounded. The only visible light in the room is Skullface's flaming sword, but it is unclear whether is is being wielded by Skullface himself or the priestess, Bolin considers attacking the wielder thinking that perhaps the evil Priestess has wrested it away from Skullface somehow, but can't decide - before he himself appears to be attacked by the bearer of the flaming sword - but not by the sword itself. Suspense builds, until the priestess gets frustrated and lifts the spell (and is revealed to indeed be brandishing the flaming sword, an unconscious Skullface found on the floor later on). Bolin and the priestess engage in combat, neither connecting. Ronson throws a snake-venom encrusted dagger at the priestess, connects, and though only doing one point of damage, the poison finds its way to the evil priestess' heart and kills her. 

While searching the room and the bodies within, finding keys, gems, other treasures including a magical (?) silver dagger, the adventurers find a secret door leading to a hallway and a dungeon. Inside, Lert, their long lost hireling, is chained to the floor. They unlock and re-hire him, though he is understandably trepidatious. He also knows nothing of Terry. Further along the hallway, there is a door with no lock or handle, only a face with an elongated lower jaw. They feed the gargoyle-lock a few drops of blood and the door opens. Inside there is a beautiful room with a mysterious magical fountain in the center. Flying orbs orbit the fountain, exuding a blue light. Someone (Stonk?) tosses a few coins into the water and the surface turns opaque and mirrored. They ask the fountain where they can find Terry and the fountain shows them flashes of their future path: a cave, a tunnel, something pink, a boy's face!

On their way to the 2nd basement level, they encounter the pink slime, totally rejuvenated! They allow it to follow them downstairs, through the cave and the winding tunnel. Finally, a large chamber opens up, showing the adventurers a giant pink slime shaped into many forms including a what resembles a children's playhouse (or "bounce-house"), inside of which is a captive Terry! On second glance, however, it appears the slime is actually protecting Terry from four stirges (giant mosquito-like monsters). Skullface, upon seeing his trapped son, immediately runs toward him, flaming sword in hand, to free him from the "bounce-house". Stonk yells out to him, "Skullface, I don't think we have to fight this goo!" fearing for the health of the giant pink slime. The party dispatches the stirges and afterwards have a bit of trouble communicating with the giant slime. Difficulty that lasts, however, only as long as it takes for the adventurers' small pink slime friend to merge with the larger slime. A path forms through the slime and Skullface rushes out to grab his son. A dark pool in one corner of the cave bubbles and froths, and the adventurers decide not to face whatever lurks beneath its surface (the Frog God?). They are not hassled by anything else on their hurried way out of the dungeon. The three companions now all feel more experienced and knowledgeable.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Session 6: "How wide is our pink friend, and how deep?"

Last week's adventure started off with the PCs already in-dungeon. Bolin was drunk, due to the effects of a gaseous (and stinky) false-door trap the previous session. But they forged ahead anyway, continuing to explore the 2nd level of the dungeon, finding more friendly pink slime. After some slapstick antics (i.e. Bolin and Ronson trying to jump over the 2nd pink jelly and instead landing IN it, getting temporarily stuck), it joined up with the 1st pink jelly into one larger jelly which continued to follow the party through the dungeon. 

The PCs eventually entered a chamber lit with candles in gold sconces on the wall. One candle was mounted upside down - and burned that way, with the flame pointing straight down, and the wax dripping upwards. Some thought was given to perhaps removing the candle or blowing it out, but they chose to be cautious and left it alone, for now. Later, they found a dead-end corridor with a mysterious spigot at the end. Again, in an excess of caution, they resisted the urge to turn the handle of the spigot and see what might come out. 

Further exploration resulted in a battle with a giant snake (the PCs won, with Ronson happily adding its venom to his supply of poison: "If we kill it, I can milk it!"). And there was an encounter with a black slime.... then, a brave yet nervous Skullface showed up in the dungeon, looking for his son Terry, brandishing a flaming sword (which had belonged to his great-great-great grandfather). With the aid of the flaming sword, the black slime was killed. Later, the PCs encountered a roomful of gnolls, and murder them all. Ronson was nearly killed too, though, only surviving thanks to being force fed the rest of the magic hamburger by Danth. 

Exit dungeon.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Sessions 3-5

We're playing session six right NOW! Stonk, Ronson, Bolin are in the dungeon. Live bloggin' here.
Let's catch up with the preceding 3 sessions...

Session #3: Iommi is cured of spider poison via disgusting peasant remedy provided by Skullface (Bolin procures the cat's blood, Skullface's cute son Terry collects the pig shit and horse urine...) and/or Fingersnark's expensive potion they purchased. Then back in dungeon Iommi is impaled and killed by goblins. Then Ronson stabs goblin in face. End of session. 

Session #4: Statues and wererats. Stonk, human fighter, introduced.

Session #5: Terry, Skullface's son is abducted by goblins. Townsfolk are upset, blame party. Party returns to dungeon to look for treasure / rescue Terry. Ambushed by goblins, including one riding giant centipede. Centipede goes berserk, turns on goblins. Party enters second level. Oh and Bolin levelled up at beginning of session. Have discussion with fish in pool. Briefly explore some tunnels, meet seemingly benign pink jelly who begins following party, recovers magical hamburger from chest buried under fallen pillars, finds bottles of urine, Bolin falls victim to false door trap and is drunk and stinky. 

Session #6.... here we go

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Adventure update(s) coming soon, but first...

How come our gaming sessions can't look this cool??

Let's step it up, next week!

Sunday, September 27, 2009

House Rule Dep't: Shields, splinters

During session 3 (report upcoming), I suggested we use the "Shields Shall Be Splintered" rule as presented in Fight On! 'zine issue 2. 

Basically, if you're using a shield, in addition to the AC bonus (-1) you also have the option, when hit, of allowing your shield to be destroyed instead of taking the damage yourself. 

Nick immediately had a question that I don't think was addressed in that Fight On! article. He wanted to know if you had to declare your "shield sacrifice" before damage was rolled. We decided, yes, you did, that made it more interesting, more of a gamble. And when we it came up in the game (as it did several times that session), of course we rolled (hypothetical) damage after a shield was splintered, just to see what the damage "would have been", like, were they gonna roll just a "1" anyway?

Another question about this house rule that came up during our game was, what happens when you've been hit by someone (or something) who rolled a natural 20 (a critical hit)? In those cases, should it really be just as easy to evoke this "shields shall be splintered" rule and take no damage? During the session, we decided that would be unfair to person who rolled the crit, and made an ad hoc decision that there was only a 50/50 chance that the shield could take the hit and absorb the damage.

Thinking about it now, I've come up with a more complex solution, that also makes the special shield rule a bit less powerful vs. crits. How 'bout the attacker has to roll again to hit (a "confirmation roll" in 3e as I recall), and if they fail, the shield-splintering rule works as advertised. If they hit, they do normal damage (no roll on the Arduin critical hit chart, which we've been using in lieu of double damage), but the shield in question is also destroyed. And if they manage to roll another 20, it's a crit hit as usual, no damage to the shield however. Oh, and if they get a 1 on this second roll it's just a normal miss, not a fumble. Sound good? [Later edit: this IS what we decided, not the following.]

Or (I just thought of this) a much simpler additional rule re: crits would be that you CAN declare your shield is being splintered vs. a crit, and it always works (no 50/50 roll or "confirmation roll" or anything), BUT you also lose your next action as well as your shield. So the nat-20-rolling attacker gets a benefit, but you do too. 

I guess we'll decide next session. I'll also have to figure out just how many shields an adventurer can carry...

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Second session report

With our 3rd session upcoming tonight, better get the write up of last week's game posted! (Before we forget all the details). 

Josh was sick or malingering, so he couldn't make it, leaving just Heather (Iommi the dwarf) and Nick (Ronson the M-U) to brave the dungeon alone.... well I let Nick run Josh's character (Bolin the cleric) as well (and he managed not to get him killed). Also, the party hired two 0-level torch bearer types to help out. 

That hireling hiring process took up the beginning of the session, played out at the local tavern, The Toothless Troll, in the small village of Acornloaf that is the home base of the campaign (for now).

Spending some gp on booze to attract the attention of the various ne'er-do-wells hanging out in the bar who might be interested in employment. They ended up interviewing two prospects: an out of work day laborer named Danth, who had no particular skills but seemed both eager and fairly hardy, and also a more educated type named Lert, who turned out to have once been a student in the clerical order of the god Uli. Both were hired, for a fee of 2 gp per day for Danth and 2.5 for Lert (who drove a bargain based on his possible prayer/healing skills), plus a small percentage of the treasure hall (coins only). 

Iommi and Ronson also spent some time talking to two other tavern patrons. Iommi bought a drink for a man known (for obvious reasons) as Skullface, and Ronson chatted up a rough-looking hobbit named Fingersnark. Neither had much to say about the nearby dungeon, but still made interesting conversation.

Then, the next morning at the hour after sunrise, it was off to the dungeon. Well, hour and half after, because Lert slept in. Once in the dungeon, the PCs discovered the same columned chamber with scary statue and flaming bowl of fire that the previous group of PCs had also found. From there, they went in the opposite direction, though, going west through a door into a hallway and another room, where having crossed through one archway, a heavy iron portcullis dropped from the ceiling blocking their exit. Try as they might, they couldn't budge it, so onward they went, further to the west, into a room where they met up with a half-dozen animated skeleton guardians with swords and shields! Fortunately, the cleric in the party, Bolin, was able to "turn" them. Several fled to the north, two more into one corner of the room where they scrambled and scratched ineffectively at the wall, and were soon destroyed by the PCs.

Next investigating the passage to the north, the party found themselves in an odd shaped room with some sort of winch mechanism mounted on the wall. Also a door to the north where presumably the fleeing skeletons had gone. Examining the winch, they speculated that perhaps it was connected to the portcullis. To test this theory, after turning it, they sent Bolin and Danth back to see if it had moved. Minutes later, Ronson, Iommi and Lert heard Bolin and Danth shouting for help, and went back to themselves to assist... The portcullis had indeed been raised, but oozing through (and blocking) that archway now was a huge, cube-shaped gelatinous monster!! Which the party decided to call a gelatinous cube. Somewhat surprisingly, they succeeded in killing it with nobody getting hurt. Danth even helped out with dagger and torch. Burning the gelatinous remains (stinky!) out of the way, the party found 100 gp and a bunch of trash inside the monster (adding to the treasure of swords and shields they had obtained from the skeletons).

Back to the winch room they went, where they listened at that door in the north. Hearing something that didn't sound like just skeletons... muttering weird voices and some sort of chanting or prayer. The party decided not to try to open this door just yet, and instead went back to the first room of the dungeon to explore in a different direction. The door to the north in that chamber (at which they couldn't hear anything) opened into a dusty, cobwebby room. A (unanimated) skeleton and another seemingly dead body lay on the floor. Ronson and Iommi went in to investigate, leaving Bolin to watch the exit and both the hirelings to shiver in the doorway.

Despite the cobweb clue, the PCs forgot to look up when they went in, and thus were surprised by the giant spider lurking on the ceiling. A battle ensued, the spider being slain but not before it bit Iommi, who failed her save versus poison and lapsed into frothing convulsions. But thankfully, a prayer to Uli courtesty of Lert seemed to have some effect and the unconscious Iommi didn't quite die (yet).

Treasure = 1 gp.

Time to leave the dungeon. However, Ronson insisted on dragging the giant spider's corpse out with them, so that he could try to "milk" it of its remaining venom. Which he did once out of the dungeon, with some difficulty, while Danth and Bolin carried the comatose, at-death's-door Iommi back to Acornloaf, hoping to find some healing help.

Next session: tonight!

Sunday, September 13, 2009

First session report: TPK! (almost, basically)

Our first "get together, roll up characters, and maybe get into the dungeon" session was this past Tuesday, and it was pretty great, right people?! We all had fun, even if maybe the characters didn't...

We didn't exactly end up playing OD&D as advertised. Because of various time factors (such as making this blog instead of working on the actual game), I felt woefully underprepared as DM, and thus decided at the last minute not to run "real" OD&D using the LBBs, but instead used the Swords & Wizardry Quick Start rules instead 'cause I thought it would be a bit easier on everyone (myself included) this first time around. And using S&WQS went pretty well, though we'll probably switch to pure OD&D at some point soon, after a bit more study... certainly I think everybody agreed it would be nice to have more than one saving throw number on the character sheet.

The players (Nick, Heather, and Josh) rolled up their characters fairly quickly, though 3d6-in-order was almost too much for Nick, who insisted on scrapping his first try after getting, like, a 5, a 6, and another 5 on the first three stats... Nick had been planning on playing a Magic-User but his (eventual) best roll was for Wisdom so he ended up as the party's Cleric, while Josh made an M-U and Heather rolled up a Dwarf.

So, the party consisted of 3 brave/foolhardy adventurers. The dwarf veteran Mustaine. The cleric acolyte Hammett. The magic-user medium Holdsworth. All of 'em lawful of alignment. We were ready to play!

Originally, I was going to run Jeff Rients' Under Xylarthen's Tower module (which I had run my friends Mike and Giancarlo through a portion of some months previous) but 'cause of opting for the S&WQS rules, I used the starter dungeon in there instead.

Hearing rumors about great treasure lost in the darkness at the bottom of these mysterious, ruined stone stairs out on the nearby haunted moor, the party set out for adventure...

They descended the spiral staircase into the large, columned chamber (smelling vaguely of coffee) where they were confronted with a large statue of a bulbous horned creature holding a bowl of flaming fire, standing in the southern end of the room. The party declined to investigate the statue closely, wary of supernatural danger, but instead listened at the several (3) doors out of the room, W, N, E. Didn't hear anything (I was rolling behind the DM's screen) so, they opted to head through the eastern door.

That took them into a N-S hallway, with a door directly across from them down another short passageway. Their torches sputtering in the dank darkness, they could see the hall to the north turned a corner going east, and went that way... which led them to a 30' x 20' chamber where they encountered a group of apparently cowering goblins! Both parties were surprised, the players won initiative, and decided to attack rather than parley. Or, at least Hammett decided to attack, attempting to smash the nearest goblin with his mace. Mustaine followed suit, and soon two of the five goblins had gone down. But then it was the goblins' turn, and the tables soon turned. Mustaine was felled by one of the goblins (taken to negative 1 hit point, bleeding to death, as I decided that we should use the common house rule of unconsciousness at zero HP, death when below negative one's level in HP). If someone got to him soon to bind his wound, he might survive... but the battle was still on. One of the goblins proved to be some sort of shaman, and followed up a magic missile with a charm person spell, that resulted in a note being passed to Josh telling him that "you like this goblin, you don't want him to die". Hammett was about to attack the shaman, so Holdsworth tried to trip him up and spoiled his attack... Then Hammett was hit and also went down. Things weren't looking too good for the party at that point. Holdsworth, although he was charmed into protecting the shaman, hadn't yet been told not to attack anyone else, so he sneakily sent a magic missile at one of the other goblins, hitting him in the back of the head but not killing him. Then realizing the didn't have many options left, he tried to supplicate himself to the goblin shaman - allowing the goblin he'd just attacked a chance to return the favor, with a sword in the back! Negative HP for Holdsworth ensued.

The goblins proved surprisingly merciful though, and some hours later the entire party awoke, stripped of their possessions, naked and tied up to one another in the room with the scary statue, which now smelled of sulphur. Each character was back up to 1 hit point apiece, and realized that they'd better get out of there asap. Managing with some difficulty (as they were not a dextrous bunch) to stand and hop/drag themselves over to the fire pit, where they managed to free themselves by rubbing the rope binding them on the edge of the flaming bowl. Off they went embarrassedly back to the village where they'd started off earlier that afternoon, where they knew they could find some old barrels in an alleyway to wear...

Since this bunch was entirely destitute and dispirited, we decided to make a new set of characters who would return to brave the dungeon. Rolls went better than the first time, and this Mk. II party consists of another dwarf, as yet unnamed (Heather), a neutral human cleric named Allan Bolin (Josh), and a neutral human magic-user named Ronson (Nick, now finally getting the M-U he wanted).

After the debacle of the original party's excursion into the dungeon (for all intents and purposes a TPK in the second room, after less than an hour game-time of exploration) there's now some interest in acquiring hirelings to beef up the party, so I'll post some rules info on that next, before the next play session, scheduled for this coming Wednesday.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

So, tell me more about OD&D

Well, I will. But in the meantime, you could go here and really learn a lot.

Monday, August 31, 2009

What we're (going to be) playing

Original Dungeons & Dragons, aka OD&D, aka the LBBs (Little Brown Booklets), aka White Box D&D, aka 0e. The original rules for "Fantastic Medieval Wargame Campaigns Playable with Paper and Pencil and Miniature Figures" by Gary Gygax and Dave Arneson, copyright 1974. My copy (not actually the scan above, maybe I'll scan mine and replace it) is the white box, "Original Collector's Edition" (or OCC) set, the game's sixth printing circa 1977-1979. I paid about $100 for it on eBay a couple years ago, fortunately before the passing of Gygax and more recently Arneson helped drive the price up considerably...

We might or might not use additional rules (the thief class, for instance - we'll discuss) from the original D&D supplements. I have Greyhawk and Blackmoor, but not Eldritch Wizardry. I also might bring in some rules (or not) from the Arduin Grimoire, of which I possess the original trilogy. In addition, it may prove useful to use the retro-clone game Swords & Wizardry as a rules reference as well, when the OD&D is (particularly) ambiguous or confusing. It'll certainly be a source for ideas for all the house-ruling that I'm sure we'll have to do.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

First session date (tentative)

Nick (player #1) and I were thinking of having our initial session of the campaign on Tuesday night, September 8th, at my place. Characters could get rolled up, and hopefully we could also get the first adventure underway that night too.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Getting started

I've created this blog as the "online presence" of our nascent D&D campaign, as Dungeon Master I'll be able to post about house rules, make notes on each adventuring session (with comments from the players) and also provide info on the game-world, important NPCs, etc. To get started, I'm just going to post a bunch of images that I find inspirational for the sort of D&D I'd like to play, to help establish the mood I'm going for with this, I guess. Mostly taken from old school gaming materials, in particular artwork by (of course) the genius Erol Otus and his modern-day simulacra, Pete Mullen (a drawing, "The Entrance", by whom I stole for the blog header above, and who did the two color pieces below - click on them for the full images).

By the way, I named the blog Dungeon Trippers but that's not necessarily the name of the campaign, I figured we'd come up with that later as a group if we want. Or we'll just name it after the campaign locale once I decide on that. Actually Dungeon Trippers is really the name I came up with for the retro-clone of The Fantasy Trip that I hope someone will do. (With Starship Trippers as the sci-fi version). Plus even if this campaign doesn't work out I could still keep blogging here about FRP using that name I suppose...