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Buttmonkey's Home Game 
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Greater Lore Drake
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Post Buttmonkey's Home Game
Session 1 – May 3, 2013

Players:

Don – Level 1 human barbarian – Gung
Josh – Level 1 elf wizard – Antiquitis Riverwind
Bryan – Level 1 human monk – Shadar Howling-Fist

If my players are reading this, they should stop. There will be spoilers ahead.

After a long, multi-year break following a disastrous previous face to face game, I started up a new face to face C&C game on May 3rd. It was surprisingly easy to get players this time around. Josh is my fiancée’s nephew. He has a lot of experience with video games and some Pathfinder experience. He brought a buddy, Bryan to the game. Bryan seems to have significant Pathfinder experience. Don is my dad and he has lots of 0E and 1E experience back in the day, but hasn’t really played much since the mid-80s. I’ve got another friend, Drew, who will be joining us next week and possibly bringing a friend with him. My fiancée has a coworker whose husband is a gamer and may join us down the road. It all just fell together without a lot of effort on my part. I should have a stable of at least 4 steady players. Yay me!

We started off the night with an overview of C&C and the SIEGE engine. Two of the guys really struggled with the independence of high attributes and primes. I didn’t do a very good job of explaining the distinction, but I think they eventually figured it out. The players opted to roll up a barbarian, wizard, and monk. I planned on starting them out with A0 – The Rising Knight. It’s got some tough encounters, so I didn’t trust its recommendation of 3-6 first level PCs. 3 PCs would probably get wiped out unless they played really well, so I told the group they could bring along an NPC of any class to bolster the party for the night. They wanted a healbot, so I quickly slapped together Boris, a first level cleric of the Almighty Hypnotoad. I let the players decide whether he took 2 CLWs or 1 CLW and 1 Soundburst. They opted for 2 CLWs.

I gave the wizard a defective wand of magic missiles to give him a little more to do when his spells run out. The want holds just 2 charges of magic missiles. I didn’t think it would be unbalancing and I felt like it worked well in play.

Since I wasn’t sure what direction we are going to take the campaign (I offered them a straight fantasy game or the Anomalous Subsurface Environment), I just dropped them at the entrance to the dungeon rather than deal with encountering NPCs and plot hooks in town first. My main goal was to get them adventuring and killing things ASAP.

I couldn’t remember the module’s description of the dungeon entrance, but what I improvised was damn near identical to the module, so that worked out fine. I played up the moodiness of the temple ruins (it’s quiet, too quiet; no birds or animal noises). The players started down the stairs, waited a minute, them popped their heads back up to see if anything was tracking them (there wasn’t). They proceeded down the stairs and saw a hallway leading into a dimly lit chamber with a demonic statue in the middle. They weren’t particularly noisy, so I ruled the two sleeping goblins in the chamber were still asleep. For some reason, the party decided to walk straight up to the statue without determining if there was anything else in the room. Suicidal, but okay.

So the party entered the room and immediately encountered one of the goblins rolling dice against a wall. 2 more were asleep and a third was drunk in the corner. Neither side was surprised, so we rolled initiative and had at it. The party made easy work of the goblins due to my bad rolls. The alert goblin dropped immediately while the drunk goblin spent a round barfing on himself and then charging to his death. The sleeping goblins woke up in time to die pointlessly. The party emerged unscathed.

I ended up rolling all of my to-hit and damage rolls in the open. I hadn’t planned on doing that or really given it much thought, but just did it without thinking. I think it added to the tension, but I’m not sure I want to continue doing it. The party nearly had a TPK later in the evening and I really wanted to avoid it if possible (a TPK is a rough way to introduce new players to a system). Rolling in the open took away any opportunity to fudge. I found a different way to save them as discussed below.

The party swiped the blood-crusted golden bowl in front of the statue and started to head west out of the chamber. That caused the statue to start moaning. The module doesn’t say how long it moans, so I stopped it after awhile. The party tried toppling the statue first (our first SIEGE check), but that didn’t affect anything. Once the statue stopped moaning, the party couldn’t come up with a plan and managed to slightly split the party. 2 guys headed down the hallway west while the other 2 waited in the chamber. When the two wanderers reached a door on the north wall, the monk decided to knock on the door three times (he must be a Sheldon fan). That resulted in 3 nice echoing booms. The party realized something bad was probably going to come their way, so they gathered in the first chamber to wait for the monsters to respond to all of the news.

The module says eh moaning idol will alert some goblins, so I looked at the map to see where the nearest goblins were located. The closest seemed to be the 4 goblins and a dog in room 8, so I decided three of them would take the dog and investigate while the alerted the stablemaster in room 3A (which would result in the release of the wolves shortly).

The party could hear the goblins approaching through the door to the east, so the barbarian waited until the doorknob started to turn, then slammed into the door to bash it into the oncoming goblins (another strength check). The party made quick work of the first responders and Fido, then hunkered down for the next wave of bad things. They decided to set up a gauntlet at the doorway so anything coming through would get attacked from two sides. The party heard the pitter-patter of wolf paws and growling, then six wolves started to stream toward the door. The first one got jammed in the gauntlet. Unlike the goblins, the wolves rolled very well to hit and for damage. The fighting was pretty brutal on both sides. Without the doorway to restrict the oncoming wolves, the party would have been quickly overwhelmed.

The wizard thought about casting sleep at the rear of the line of wolves. I explained that it’s impossible for a wizard to know exact distances, so he had a choice. He could place the sleep spell conservatively and avoid hitting the party, but he wouldn’t be able to get all of the wolves. Or, he could drop the sleep a lot closer to the party so that it would hit all of the wolves, but there was a risk he would also hit the barbarian and monk. The other players talked the wizard out of even trying the sleep spell. I was never clear what their reasoning was other than maybe they didn’t want him to “waste” the spell if he couldn’t get a lot of the wolves. That was really bad reasoning as the spell might have avoided a TPK all on its own. The party was seriously overmatched by the wolves (3 PCs recommended, really?). There is a room on the second level with something like 15 goblins that also looks to be a killer unless the party uses really good play. Anyway, the wizard held off on the sleep spell and the party took its chances.

4 of the wolves ultimately made it through the door and started eating the party. The party dropped 3 of the wolves and the wolves took out the wizard and the monk. When the 3rd wolf dropped, I decided the remaining 2 wolves who hadn’t made it into melee would bug out. It would have been a TPK otherwise. The barbarian and cleric finished off the last wolf, then the cleric healed the monk and wizard up and the party fled the dungeon.

We finished with the party camped a few hours away from the dungeon.

Overall, the quality of play was really uneven. They used some good tactics like the gauntlet at the door, but made some really bad choices like splitting the party, banging on the door, and talking the wizard out of casting a party-saving sleep spell. I’m hoping they learn from their mistakes. I’m going to talk with the wizard’s player about trusting his gut some more.

Next week we will add in one or two more PCs, but the wizard can’t make it. I’m thinking Gritznak will either lead a raiding party to ambush the players or else dig a pit trap just inside the dungeon and try to ambush the party there. Maybe he’ll send Slissas and the kobolds to do the ambush away from the dungeon instead of going himself.

Kills: 6 goblins, 4 wolves, 1 dog
Gains: 1 blood-crusted golden bowl
Losses: None.

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tylermo wrote:
Your efforts are greatly appreciated, Buttmonkey. Can't believe I said that with a straight face.


Sun May 05, 2013 4:12 pm
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Lore Drake
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Post Re: Buttmonkey's Home Game
Good stuff, Monkey. I'm putting together a group myself and plan on using Rising Knight. Thanks for sharing. I hope to have a group of 5 players, but your warnings will come in handy regardless.

I will be using the intro since all of my players have experience playing, but I look forward to their finding the temple.

_________________
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"Knowledge, logic, reason, and common sense serve better than a dozen rule books."

"Rules not understood should have appropriate questions directed to the publisher; disputes with the Dungeon Master are another matter entirely. THE REFEREE IS THE FINAL ARBITER OF ALL AFFAIRS OF HIS OR HER CAMPAIGN."
-- E. Gary Gygax


Sun May 05, 2013 4:26 pm
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Greater Lore Drake
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Post Re: Buttmonkey's Home Game
Zudrak wrote:
I will be using the intro since all of my players have experience playing, but I look forward to their finding the temple.

I normally would have, too, but we had spent about 2 hours on chargen and discussing the rules, so I wanted to get them into the action immediately. I'm also not sure if we'll finish the module or jump right into a different campaign setting by the next session, so it didn't seem to make much sense developing the village to start out.

Good luck with your game! I'd forgotten how hard it is to run a game. My players seemed to enjoy it, so I must have been doing something right. It's a real challenge coming up with interesting encounters and keeping the game exciting. I've played with a lot of great GMs over the years and learned a lot, but I've got a long way to go.

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tylermo wrote:
Your efforts are greatly appreciated, Buttmonkey. Can't believe I said that with a straight face.


Sun May 05, 2013 4:30 pm
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Lore Drake
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Post Re: Buttmonkey's Home Game
Buttmonkey wrote:
Zudrak wrote:
I will be using the intro since all of my players have experience playing, but I look forward to their finding the temple.

I normally would have, too, but we had spent about 2 hours on chargen and discussing the rules, so I wanted to get them into the action immediately. I'm also not sure if we'll finish the module or jump right into a different campaign setting by the next session, so it didn't seem to make much sense developing the village to start out.

Good luck with your game! I'd forgotten how hard it is to run a game. My players seemed to enjoy it, so I must have been doing something right. It's a real challenge coming up with interesting encounters and keeping the game exciting. I've played with a lot of great GMs over the years and learned a lot, but I've got a long way to go.

Oh, I fully understood your reasoning for omitting the intro. Whatever happens next session, I hope you all have fun. :)

My own hope is that I'll have some of the players over at a time to discuss the rules and create their PC's so that the first time we play, we can get right to it. I sent a looooong email to all involved last night to stoke the fire, so to speak. I sent the invite, what I'd like to do, who I thought would play what sort of character but asked for clarification if I was incorrect, etc. and then put in the intro to the module with adjustments due to my placing it in the World of Greyhawk near where I have placed the Keep on the Borderlands -- in the contested region between the Pomarj and the Principality of Ulek. I'm setting Blacktooth Ridge in the Lortmils, per my idea of about six [EDIT: *eight!*] years ago on Dragonsfoot:

Omote wrote:
Zudrak wrote:
I just bought AoBR this weekend, but as a Greyhawk-phile, I would suggest using the Suss Forest's southwest border with the Lortmils. That way, it's in an area close to many humanoids (The Pomarj), making it believable that a great number of humanoids could be skulking there. Also, it puts the characters in Greyhawk City's backyard, almost. A lot closer than the Great Kingdom.


Actually that is a great, well thought out place to put AoBR. Hmm, maybe this module can be ported easily over to GH.

.................................................Omote
FPQ


I felt I had to quote Omote since he's still around, too. :D

As to running the game, I had to be the DM out of the box (1981 Moldvay Basic Set of D&D) so my brother and I could play. I know that I've never become as good a DM/CK as say, Steve Chenault (whom I got to watch in action at TrollCon East) or Frank Mentzer (whose few video appearances on YouTube are a treat) but as long as everyone has fun, the mission is accomplished.

_________________
Psalm 73:26

"Knowledge, logic, reason, and common sense serve better than a dozen rule books."

"Rules not understood should have appropriate questions directed to the publisher; disputes with the Dungeon Master are another matter entirely. THE REFEREE IS THE FINAL ARBITER OF ALL AFFAIRS OF HIS OR HER CAMPAIGN."
-- E. Gary Gygax


Sun May 05, 2013 8:57 pm
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Battle Stag
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Post Re: Buttmonkey's Home Game
Awesome stuff BMonkey. Sometimes, the best of adventures are as tough as nails. But always remember this, "let the wookie(s) win." All the best. Look forward to more updates. Thank you.

~O

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>> Omote's Advanced C&C stuff <<


Wed May 08, 2013 1:11 am
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Unkbartig
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Post Re: Buttmonkey's Home Game
Sounds like you had overall a good experience. Depending on the guys you have running your characters towns can have some of the most fun experiences you have in the game too. I know this past weekend the 6 of us gaming, 5 players and the GM were crying from laughing so hard from just exploring a town, but what makes a game fun comes down to who you have playing the game and running the game.


Wed May 08, 2013 1:50 pm
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Greater Lore Drake
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Post Re: Buttmonkey's Home Game
One of my players just txted me that he bought the PHB and is working on a digital character sheet that will automate all of the dice rolls for chargen. It warms my grognard heart. :-) As a GM, you can't ask for more than enthusiastic players.

I think the key for the long-term health of the campaign is going to be me producing original adventures. It's hard to get as excited about published modules. I'm going to steal ideas from stuff, but I also need to step up and write my own material. I've got a notebook where I'm jotting down ideas whenever I have them. Time to hunker down and make adventure babies.

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tylermo wrote:
Your efforts are greatly appreciated, Buttmonkey. Can't believe I said that with a straight face.


Wed May 08, 2013 3:55 pm
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Mogrl

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Post Re: Buttmonkey's Home Game
If he is willing, I'd love a copy of the "form fillable" sheet.

I thought you did a good job with the brief stint of our on line game, so I am sure your going to do a great job for this group. Still, running games is always a learning experience. So just be open to those experiences, and do your best to change for the better, and you should be just fine.

_________________
Since its 20,000 I suggest "Captain Nemo" as his title. Beyond the obvious connection, he is one who sails on his own terms and ignores those he doesn't agree with...confident in his journey and goals.
Sounds obvious to me! -Gm Michael

Grand Knight Commander of the Society.


Wed May 08, 2013 8:28 pm
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Unkbartig
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Post Re: Buttmonkey's Home Game
What Tree said and just remember to have fun in everything possible ;) thats what Gary started this amazing adventure for in the first place.


Thu May 09, 2013 1:16 pm
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Greater Lore Drake
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Post Re: Buttmonkey's Home Game
I had initially thought about using Airdhe wholesale, but it became too much homework. So now I'm whipping up a homebrew setting on the fly with some Airdhe elements. I'm swiping Unklar and I like the idea of the Winter's Dark, so the campaign will be set 100-200 years after Unklar's reign of evil was overthrown and he was banished from the world. Now the bigwigs who overthrew Unklar are fighting for control of the regions with valuable resources. I'm going to use a host of high level NPCs who are antiheroic (like the Taken from the Black Company novels) who are running things and fighting each other. I like the idea that the people who overthrew Unklar weren't necessarily a bunch of lawful good types. Mostly, they are powerful types who didn't want to exist under Unklar's rule, so they teamed up to save the world, then turned on each other. The PCs are starting out in an area that isn't particularly resource-rich, so the wars ravaging other areas are a distant rumor. For now.

I'm going to have the usual cults trying to restore Unklar. I'm also going to introduce a nice, generic evil deity known as the Pain God. The Pain God's followers will at times fight and cooperate with Unklar's people. I'm going to stick a cleric of the Pain God in the dungeon the party is currently exploring to introduce them to this new threat.

I chucked alignment as one of my house rules. We haven't gotten far enough into the campaign to get a feel for the PCs' personalities. I'm not sure if they are going to be basically good guys or cynical rat bastards. Their reactions to the evil cults should be interesting.

For the high end wizards fighting for dominance, I'm going to use some of the DCC charts for spell failure to mess them up a bit. That fits with the Black Company esthetic. The party will get sucked into their machinations eventually. Having their patron be mutated through risky use of magic should be nicely flavorful. When the guy you work for has rotting flesh or a face growing out of the back of his head, you know you're involved with something interesting.

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tylermo wrote:
Your efforts are greatly appreciated, Buttmonkey. Can't believe I said that with a straight face.


Thu May 09, 2013 10:03 pm
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Post Re: Buttmonkey's Home Game
I think I'll have the Pain God's cleric be a prisoner in the Rising Knight dungeon. I figure Grishnak (or whatever the gnoll's name is) wouldn't use the PG cleric as a sacrifice because he doesn't want to piss off the Pain God. Maybe he's holding the cleric for ransom. Assuming the party frees the PG cleric, he can get up to all sorts of mischief before the party realizes he's evil. Maybe he can convince the party to escort him back to his temple (where bad things for the party will ensue).

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tylermo wrote:
Your efforts are greatly appreciated, Buttmonkey. Can't believe I said that with a straight face.


Thu May 09, 2013 10:06 pm
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Mogrl

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Post Re: Buttmonkey's Home Game
IF you use the "A" series as your "core" using Aihrde becomes much easier because you only research what you need, as you need it. So just use the area map Peter did up to show all the major locations and geography of the A series area and let it grow from there. Heck, the maps went so long without getting further defined I turned Aihrde into part of Greyhawk. Unklar has the people of Greyhawk thinking there is a "Sea of Dust" to the West of the mountains, while the truth, for my campaign world, is Aihrde and GH are one and the same. Most of GH became inhabited by the people running from a "Great Cataclysm" called Unklar and The Winter Dark.

With Unklar gone the illusions (of a great desert) and disinformation (false names and events) he spread have failed and the truth is becoming known.

_________________
Since its 20,000 I suggest "Captain Nemo" as his title. Beyond the obvious connection, he is one who sails on his own terms and ignores those he doesn't agree with...confident in his journey and goals.
Sounds obvious to me! -Gm Michael

Grand Knight Commander of the Society.


Thu May 09, 2013 11:13 pm
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Greater Lore Drake
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Post Re: Buttmonkey's Home Game
I'm thinking of giving the Pain God's favored clerics and warriors a special ability. They can designate a target during combat and then, whenever they hit one of the target's allies, the target takes the damage (not the ally that was hit). I think that would play out nicely over the table. The party enters a chamber with a bunch of Pain God followers. The big, nasty cleric in the back points at one of the PCs with his sword and laughs. Maybe the party wizard hiding in the back. Then, the cleric bops one of the front-line fighters and I get to tell the wizard he just took 8 points of damage. That should be dramatic and scary.

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tylermo wrote:
Your efforts are greatly appreciated, Buttmonkey. Can't believe I said that with a straight face.


Fri May 10, 2013 1:17 pm
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Unkbartig
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Post Re: Buttmonkey's Home Game
Buttmonkey wrote:
I'm thinking of giving the Pain God's favored clerics and warriors a special ability. They can designate a target during combat and then, whenever they hit one of the target's allies, the target takes the damage (not the ally that was hit). I think that would play out nicely over the table. The party enters a chamber with a bunch of Pain God followers. The big, nasty cleric in the back points at one of the PCs with his sword and laughs. Maybe the party wizard hiding in the back. Then, the cleric bops one of the front-line fighters and I get to tell the wizard he just took 8 points of damage. That should be dramatic and scary.


The wizards takes 8 points of damage then proceeds to start bleeding out lol.


Fri May 10, 2013 7:55 pm
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Greater Lore Drake
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Post Re: Buttmonkey's Home Game
Scheduling game sessions has been frustrating. We were supposed to play last Friday, but had to cancel when one of the players had something come up. We were supposed to play this Friday, but have the same problem. It looks like people's schedules will be safer after Memorial Day, so I'm setting the next session for May 31st. I hate to lose momentum, but I think we're going to be okay. I've got one rabidly-interested newbie and my dad is retired with nothing else going on on game night, so I've got a core to work with. 2 new guys can join after Memorial Day, so I think I've got 5 solid players going forward.

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tylermo wrote:
Your efforts are greatly appreciated, Buttmonkey. Can't believe I said that with a straight face.


Wed May 15, 2013 4:42 pm
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Unkbartig
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Post Re: Buttmonkey's Home Game
Yeah depression sank in this week when I came to the realization that I wont be able to game for the next three weeks


Wed May 15, 2013 5:36 pm
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Post Re: Buttmonkey's Home Game
You'll almost never have a full table of gamers in today's hectic society. My advice, play with even as few as one player from time to time. That way, you will potentially entice players to play when they here that so-and-so played last week even when so-and-so couldn't show up. I'm not a huge fan of one-on-one games, but if it helps break up a slump, so be it.

~O

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>> Omote's Advanced C&C stuff <<


Wed May 15, 2013 5:53 pm
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Mogrl

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Post Re: Buttmonkey's Home Game
Hmmm... guess this is another case of being lucky more often than not. Most of my games have no problem "keeping the table full", or at least full enough (4 players), so usually, the only time the game gets cancelled is when the CK/GM cannot make it. Every once in a long while, couple of times per year, the established games may get cancelled because of not enough players showing up. New groups I don't count, because that has more to do with people wanting to play the game, or deciding they don't. So there is always a period of players coming, and some going, until you get the committed players.

Like my Monday group sometimes has problems, but that is because I am doing my best to keep places at the "table" for one who is working two jobs, and looking to take on a third, and the other is starting up his own law practice. Realistically I think I am going to have to ask them to give up their spots, but that is hard to do when you have gamed with them for 4 to 6 years.

_________________
Since its 20,000 I suggest "Captain Nemo" as his title. Beyond the obvious connection, he is one who sails on his own terms and ignores those he doesn't agree with...confident in his journey and goals.
Sounds obvious to me! -Gm Michael

Grand Knight Commander of the Society.


Wed May 15, 2013 6:51 pm
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Unkbartig
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Post Re: Buttmonkey's Home Game
I know with our big group we have 8 players when everyone shows up. We are higher up in level and have a helm of teleporting with 4 different characters able to use it amd our own building in our home town, so when we go on long adventures we can set it up so that if some players who normally make it, can't make it we are set up for them to join later, we do metagame that part a little bit just to keep everyone involved as oftern as possible and keep playing even when we just have the core group there


Wed May 15, 2013 7:10 pm
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Greater Lore Drake
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Post Re: Buttmonkey's Home Game
Session 2 – May 31, 2013

Players:

Don – Level 1 human barbarian – Gung
Dave – Level 1 half-elf fighter – Gurgus
Drew – Level 1 gnome illusionist – Shylock Banquo

The game was back on last night after a 4 week layoff. Scheduling was brutal in May, but it looks like we’ll be able to play much more steadily going forward. Two of the players from session 1 (Josh and Bryan) couldn’t make it for session 2 and 2 new players (Drew and Dave) joined the group. It actually worked out nicely that Josh and Bryan missed the session since I had to go through character generation and C&C basics all over again with the new guys.

Dave is more or less new to RPGs. He played D&D briefly back in the 80s (about 15 minutes before the game imploded due to party infighting). Drew has a lot more experience and is a WarCrack addict. I was thrilled to see Drew wanted to play an illusionist. C&C did a lot to refine illusionists from their 1E origins. A lot of the vague elements of the class and spells have been clarified and a bunch of new spells added. He took color spray, dragon image, and charm person for his 1st level spells. (I throw in read magic for free.) I also gave him a defective wand of dragon image. It works much like the defective wand of magic missile I gave the party wizard last time, except I gave the dragon image wand 3 charges since there is a saving throw involved.

We started the game up the day after the party fled the dungeon last session. Since Josh and Bryan couldn’t make it, I decided their characters headed back to town to pick up spell components and the new guys met up with the party in the woods and decided to join up. I planned a set encounter where the party is attacked by raiders from the dungeon overnight, so I told the players it was evening and they should give me their watch schedule. A quick d4 roll later and the raid was on for the second watch (Shylock’s watch).

Shylock failed a wisdom check, so he didn’t hear the approaching kobolds and spiders. His first hint that something bad was going down was when he was hit by 4 blow darts for 4 hp of damage. Fortunately, he had 5 hit points to start. He ran screaming from the edge of camp to the fire to wake the others. In the meantime, two spiders ran up behind him to gnaw on the sleeping PCs. Everyone woke up and the fight was on. I allowed the barbarian to sleep in his armor, she was in pretty good shape, but the fighter and cleric were relying on just shields for armor. The crappy ACs made an otherwise run-of-the-mill fight exciting. The party made quick work of the 4 kobolds and 2 spiders, but one kobold escaped. The illusionist chucked a dagger at the fleeing kobold and hit, but only rolled 1 for damage and he had a -1 strength bonus. I ruled the dagger hit the kobold limply and bounced off the kobold without doing any damage. I’m pretty sure BTB the dagger should have done 1 hp of damage despite the strength “bonus,” but the lame dagger throw was more fun.

The party hunkered down for the rest of the night. Due to the overnight disruption, it took the spellcasters until about noon to regain spells. The party then marched back to the dungeon for another crawl.

The ruined temple grounds were just like last time, except for the pit trap the bad guys installed in front of the entrance. The players have neglected to fill the thief role, so I’m willing to go a little old school and let anyone detect traps if they describe how they are searching. Sadly for the players, they haven’t bothered to look for traps. The barbarian triggered the pit trap, but a successful dex check kept him out of harm’s way.

The party headed down the stairs into the dungeon. When the reached the bottom, they discovered some goblins had barricaded the entrance to the initial chamber with a couple of overturned tables. The goblins fired short bows while the barbarian and cleric charged and tried to knock back the tables. The barbarian and cleric failed SIEGE checks to push back the table during the first round of combat. I figured 2 of the goblins were tied up bracing the tables and the other two continued with ineffectual bow fire. The fighter advanced to the barricade while the illusionist burned off charges on his wand of dragon image. The wand was very effective since 1 HD goblins don’t make mental saves easily.

During the second round, the barbarian dug deep and flipped both tables over, knocking two of the goblins to the ground. This revealed 2 nasty war dogs who had been waiting for an opportunity to eat something. The dogs latched onto the barbarian and the fighter and did some fairly nasty damage before going down (thank you Monsters & Treasures of Airdhe for the war dog stats). The barbarian was briefly taken down to 0 hit points before Boris the Cleric got him back up to 4 hit points. The fight was generally going the party’s way, but the party was low on hit points and spells with 3 goblins to go. The illusionist fired off a color spray into melee combat. This knocked out the barbarian and two of the goblins, although Boris made his save. Gurgus finished off the last standing goblin and Shylock performed some nice throat slitting to end the fight.

The party decided to drag the barbarian out of the dungeon and retreat to their base camp to recover before heading back down next session.

It was a short delve due to a late start and spending quite a bit of time doing chargen and rules explanation, but we all had a ton of fun.

Next session should have all 5 players in attendance. Josh has another guy who wants to join, but I’m going to hold off on bringing more people on board until we have a session or 2 with all 5 players under our belts. I’m also going to try to do chargen with new players on a different night so we can dive right into the game during the regular sessions.

I’ll keep you posted.

Kills: 3 kobolds, 2 spiders, 4 goblins, and 2 war dogs
Gains: None
Losses: None

_________________
tylermo wrote:
Your efforts are greatly appreciated, Buttmonkey. Can't believe I said that with a straight face.


Sat Jun 01, 2013 9:12 pm
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Unkbartig
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Post Re: Buttmonkey's Home Game
Sounds like overall a fun game


Mon Jun 03, 2013 2:14 pm
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Greater Lore Drake
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Post Re: Buttmonkey's Home Game
So the next session is Friday night. I've been pondering what to throw at the PCs now that they have made 2 forays into the entrance chamber to the dungeon. I want to flesh out the region around the dungeon. I've got some general ideas for the campaign world, but I haven't had time to really flesh things out (stupid wedding). I've planned on just winging if necessary. I know there is a village 3 or 4 days south of the dungeon. The whole area is on the fringe of civilization. The region was under Unklar's dominion in the bad old days, but eventually reconquered by humans and demihumans when Unklar was overthrown. Some villages have sprouted up, but the region is far from the center of human and demihuman power. Civilized territory is to the east and south. The civilized areas are scary since there is a massive power grab going on in the wake of Unklar's defeat. Powerful wizards are fighting for control of territory. The region the PCs are in has little in the way of resources or population, so it has been overlooked by the powers that be. I'm stealing a lot of ideas from the Black Company novels, including the idea that the people who overthrew Unklar aren't strictly speaking good guys. They are for the most part quite selfish and in some cases evil. They simply did not want to live under Unklar's thumb and thus led the resistance. Now the world gets to suffer under them for a change. None of the civillized regions or the powerful NPCs are detailed, although I have a list of names to use for the uber-wizards and names for city-states. I'm going to have to place a reasonably populous city somewhere nearby so the PCs have access to training and markets for treasure recovered from dungeons. Presumably that city will also be fringe enough that it is in firmly-conquered territory so that the PCs can avoid diving into the war if they want to.

All of that detailing work is ahead of me and won’t be scratched before Friday. My players seem quite obedient and unlikely to abandon the dungeon crawl they are currently on. So, the question is how to flesh out the immediate environs.

I’m going to have a confused/insane beholder wandering the wilderness near the dungeon. There’s something wrong with it so that it behaves like it has a head injury. It won’t be particularly hostile toward the party so long as the party leaves it alone. Assuming the party exposes itself, the beholder will kind of stare at the party in passing.

I think I’m also going to have Grishnak arriving back at the dungeon with a raiding party when the PCs get back to the ruins. It will give them something to chew on. Attack? (Bad idea probably given the numbers, but maybe they’ll get lucky with a sleep spell.) Wait and then follow the monsters into the dungeon? (But how long should they wait?) On the other hand, I don’t want to scare the party off. They may freak if they see a gnoll, 2 wolves, and 15 goblins coming home.

If they go back to the village, the party will learn that a couple village children have been captured by the monsters. This will give the party a chance to define itself. Are they going to get all goody-goody and launch a rescue mission immediately? Will they ask for a reward before doing something? Will they even care?

I need to introduce the Pain God to the party somehow. I’ve thought about having a Pain God cleric taken captive by the gnoll. The cleric may have come to demand tribute and gotten a poor reception. This leads to the classic motif of one of the prisoners actually being evil. If the PCs don’t pick up on this, the evil cleric will betray the party at some point. The PCs might find a written warning from the Pain God higher ups to the Grishnak that could give the PCs a clue as to where to find a Pain God hideout (yay, adventure!). On the other hand, I might have the Pain God cleric be an observer at Grishnak’s human sacrifice ritual. Decisions, decisions…

_________________
tylermo wrote:
Your efforts are greatly appreciated, Buttmonkey. Can't believe I said that with a straight face.


Wed Jun 05, 2013 12:25 am
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Unkbartig
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Post Re: Buttmonkey's Home Game
Buttmonkey wrote:
So the next session is Friday night. I've been pondering what to throw at the PCs now that they have made 2 forays into the entrance chamber to the dungeon. I want to flesh out the region around the dungeon. I've got some general ideas for the campaign world, but I haven't had time to really flesh things out (stupid wedding). I've planned on just winging if necessary. I know there is a village 3 or 4 days south of the dungeon. The whole area is on the fringe of civilization. The region was under Unklar's dominion in the bad old days, but eventually reconquered by humans and demihumans when Unklar was overthrown. Some villages have sprouted up, but the region is far from the center of human and demihuman power. Civilized territory is to the east and south. The civilized areas are scary since there is a massive power grab going on in the wake of Unklar's defeat. Powerful wizards are fighting for control of territory. The region the PCs are in has little in the way of resources or population, so it has been overlooked by the powers that be. I'm stealing a lot of ideas from the Black Company novels, including the idea that the people who overthrew Unklar aren't strictly speaking good guys. They are for the most part quite selfish and in some cases evil. They simply did not want to live under Unklar's thumb and thus led the resistance. Now the world gets to suffer under them for a change. None of the civillized regions or the powerful NPCs are detailed, although I have a list of names to use for the uber-wizards and names for city-states. I'm going to have to place a reasonably populous city somewhere nearby so the PCs have access to training and markets for treasure recovered from dungeons. Presumably that city will also be fringe enough that it is in firmly-conquered territory so that the PCs can avoid diving into the war if they want to.

All of that detailing work is ahead of me and won’t be scratched before Friday. My players seem quite obedient and unlikely to abandon the dungeon crawl they are currently on. So, the question is how to flesh out the immediate environs.

I’m going to have a confused/insane beholder wandering the wilderness near the dungeon. There’s something wrong with it so that it behaves like it has a head injury. It won’t be particularly hostile toward the party so long as the party leaves it alone. Assuming the party exposes itself, the beholder will kind of stare at the party in passing.

I think I’m also going to have Grishnak arriving back at the dungeon with a raiding party when the PCs get back to the ruins. It will give them something to chew on. Attack? (Bad idea probably given the numbers, but maybe they’ll get lucky with a sleep spell.) Wait and then follow the monsters into the dungeon? (But how long should they wait?) On the other hand, I don’t want to scare the party off. They may freak if they see a gnoll, 2 wolves, and 15 goblins coming home.

If they go back to the village, the party will learn that a couple village children have been captured by the monsters. This will give the party a chance to define itself. Are they going to get all goody-goody and launch a rescue mission immediately? Will they ask for a reward before doing something? Will they even care?

I need to introduce the Pain God to the party somehow. I’ve thought about having a Pain God cleric taken captive by the gnoll. The cleric may have come to demand tribute and gotten a poor reception. This leads to the classic motif of one of the prisoners actually being evil. If the PCs don’t pick up on this, the evil cleric will betray the party at some point. The PCs might find a written warning from the Pain God higher ups to the Grishnak that could give the PCs a clue as to where to find a Pain God hideout (yay, adventure!). On the other hand, I might have the Pain God cleric be an observer at Grishnak’s human sacrifice ritual. Decisions, decisions…


One idea I like is having the dungeon not being completely explored by those using it now. You can burry treasure and monster deeper in, old murals with paintings of the Pain God, or Unklar motiffs.

One thing you could do is have a second secret entrance to the dungeon that the current residents don't know about because it leads to a half of the dungeon seperated by a trap door deep down and have the party stumble across the hallway that the door is in and let them hear muffled voices and open the door interrupting a ritual, a worship session or a sacrifice to the Pain God by some clerics and that can give you a nice encounter and a chance to see how the party reacts to two forces dwelling, unaware of each other, in the same dungeon that would be at odds of each other, maybe have the party accidentally run into the trap door while being chased by Grishnak and his band of raiders bursting into a ritual sacrifice allowing you to have three warring parties and can give divine intervention to the adventurers from the GM by shifting focus from Grishnak and the Clerics of the Pain God away from the party at the outset by having them focus on each other instead.


Wed Jun 05, 2013 2:53 pm
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Greater Lore Drake
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Post Re: Buttmonkey's Home Game
I slapped together the beginnings of a regional map this week, stealing a bit from the A series. I have my own version of Botkinburg, Drunderry River, and Blacktooth Ridge. To the north of the current dungeon is the Black Keep – no idea what it is, but I’ll figure it out as I go forward. I detailed a village to the west along the Drunderry and still need to flesh out the party’s current home base a few days south of the current dungeon.

Rather than work on the Black Keep or another dungeon site, I’ve decided to tack some original material onto the A0 dungeon. I’m basing it on the conflict between Unklar’s followers and the mysterious new Pain God. The Pain God’s people have secretly constructed their own dungeon nearby. They have tunneled into Unklar’s dungeon in the beginning stages of a takeover attempt. As noted in A0, Unklar’s dungeon is a living thing capable of altering its structure and communicating with Gritnzak. Unfortunately for Unklar’s dungeon, it isn’t powerful enough to fight off the Pain God’s incursions. On the other hand, the Pain God’s people aren’t strong enough to crush Gritznak and company. Things are balanced at the moment. There is a tunnel leading from the Pain God’s dungeon to Unklar’s. To keep things interesting, the Pain God’s followers have sent some carrion crawlers down the tunnel toward Unklarville. The Unklar dungeon can’t seal off the tunnel, but it has been able to mount swords all around the rim of the corridor pointing toward the Pain God’s side of the tunnel to act as a barrier. So long as Gritznak tosses in the occasional meal, the carrion crawlers won’t try to crawl past the blade barrier.

When the party encounters the tunnel, they will see the sword barrier and smell the odor of rotting flesh coming from the darkness of the tunnel. If they decide to go down the tunnel, they’ll run into one of crawlers. I may only have one of them laired in the tunnel at the moment, since multiple crawlers would be a very bad thing for a low level party. Just one crawler could lead to our first PC death pretty easily. Assuming the party gets past the crawler lair, it will reach a door leading into the Pain God’s dungeon. The Pain God’s followers will be smaller and currently weaker than Gritznak’s outfit, but better organized and literate (allowing me to stick in maps and letters referring to other Pain God installations or non-affiliated dungeon locations).

_________________
tylermo wrote:
Your efforts are greatly appreciated, Buttmonkey. Can't believe I said that with a straight face.


Thu Jun 06, 2013 9:23 pm
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Unkbartig
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Post Re: Buttmonkey's Home Game
Buttmonkey wrote:
I slapped together the beginnings of a regional map this week, stealing a bit from the A series. I have my own version of Botkinburg, Drunderry River, and Blacktooth Ridge. To the north of the current dungeon is the Black Keep – no idea what it is, but I’ll figure it out as I go forward. I detailed a village to the west along the Drunderry and still need to flesh out the party’s current home base a few days south of the current dungeon.

Rather than work on the Black Keep or another dungeon site, I’ve decided to tack some original material onto the A0 dungeon. I’m basing it on the conflict between Unklar’s followers and the mysterious new Pain God. The Pain God’s people have secretly constructed their own dungeon nearby. They have tunneled into Unklar’s dungeon in the beginning stages of a takeover attempt. As noted in A0, Unklar’s dungeon is a living thing capable of altering its structure and communicating with Gritnzak. Unfortunately for Unklar’s dungeon, it isn’t powerful enough to fight off the Pain God’s incursions. On the other hand, the Pain God’s people aren’t strong enough to crush Gritznak and company. Things are balanced at the moment. There is a tunnel leading from the Pain God’s dungeon to Unklar’s. To keep things interesting, the Pain God’s followers have sent some carrion crawlers down the tunnel toward Unklarville. The Unklar dungeon can’t seal off the tunnel, but it has been able to mount swords all around the rim of the corridor pointing toward the Pain God’s side of the tunnel to act as a barrier. So long as Gritznak tosses in the occasional meal, the carrion crawlers won’t try to crawl past the blade barrier.

When the party encounters the tunnel, they will see the sword barrier and smell the odor of rotting flesh coming from the darkness of the tunnel. If they decide to go down the tunnel, they’ll run into one of crawlers. I may only have one of them laired in the tunnel at the moment, since multiple crawlers would be a very bad thing for a low level party. Just one crawler could lead to our first PC death pretty easily. Assuming the party gets past the crawler lair, it will reach a door leading into the Pain God’s dungeon. The Pain God’s followers will be smaller and currently weaker than Gritznak’s outfit, but better organized and literate (allowing me to stick in maps and letters referring to other Pain God installations or non-affiliated dungeon locations).


Sounda like fun, you will have to let us know


Fri Jun 07, 2013 1:37 pm
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Greater Lore Drake
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Post Re: Buttmonkey's Home Game
Session 3 – June 7, 2013

The Party:

Gung – Level 1 human barbarian played by Don
Gurgus – Level 1 half-elf fighter played by Dave
Shylock Banquo – Level 1 gnome illusionist played by Drew
Antiquitis Riverwind – Level 1 elf wizard played by Josh
Shadar Howling-First – Level 1 human monk played by Bryan
Boris – Level 1 human cleric NPC

The game resumed on Game Date June 6th. Antiquitis and Shadar were back with the party after running back to town for spell components. Finally at full strength, the party is heading back to the dungeon to do some real damage.

A few hours into the march to the dungeon through dense woods, the party heard a strange, short, warbling sound ahead and to the right. Several deer ran across the party’s trail from the source of the sound. The party sent Gurgus to investigate.

Gurgus crept toward the sound, quickly dropping out of sight of the rest of the party. Looking around a tree, he saw a beholder calmly munching on a fresh deer carcass. While it continued to chew, the beholder slowly rotated upright and turned to stare at Gurgus. In an astounding act of bravery, Gurgus slowly raised his crossbow to take a shot at the beholder’s great eye. Just as he was about to fire, he suddenly realized he and the beholder were BFFs. I had originally planned for Bennie to be under the effects of some sort of confusion so that he would not be hostile or otherwise dangerous to the party so long as the party behaved in a non-threatening manner. That all went out the window when I started to roll play the encounter with Gurgus. I’m not sure what Bennie’s issue with. He is definitely dangerous, but pretty much neutral and non-hostile for some reason I will come up with later.

Beholder: Hi! I’m Bennie.
Gurgus: Hey. I’m Gurgus. You’re pretty cool.
Bennie: I know, right? Say, do you know where we are?
(I was still sticking with the confusion theme.)
Gurgus: We’re about 3 and a half days north of the village Malforten and about an hour south of a dungeon.
Bennie: Oh. Do you know what would be a great idea?
Gurgus: No, what?
Bennie: You should put all of your gear on the ground and take off all of your clothes.
Gurgus: I don’t think so.
Bennie: I really think you should.
(One failed saving throw later…)
Gurgus: All right.
(Gurgus dropped everything to the ground and stood naked in the forest.)
Bennie: Okay, that’s great. Why don’t you go play with your friends?
Gurgus: Okay. Bye.

Gurgus came back to the party naked and unarmed. The party was understandably freaked when Gurgus told them about his new bestie. They decided to head north for 5-10 minutes, then wait for the beholder to move on before going back to get Gurgus’s gear.

After waiting a bit, Shylock starting looking around for a small burrowing mammal to chat with. He quickly found a rabbit and asked the rabbit to go take a look down south for Gurgus’s gear. The rabbit bounded south into the woods and the party watched the trail anxiously for the rabbit to come back. Eventually, it hopped back toward the party, but stopped suddenly and froze.

Bennie: (from behind the party) Well, hey guys, watcha doin’?
Gung: We were just leaving. Bye.
Bennie: Okay. Bye.

Bennie floated off and the party retrieved Gurgus’s gear, then headed for the dungeon.

When they reached the edge of the forest by the temple ruins, they heard a large group of goblins up ahead. The party creeped up to the very edge of the woods and spied two large gnolls, at least a dozen goblins, and two wolves (one wearing chain armor!) leading some downtrodden prisoners through the upper ruins toward the dungeon entrance.

The party debated attacking the much larger group of bad guys and never came to a consensus. Shylock used a ghost sound spell to create the sound of swords clashing to the west of the dungeon entrance (the humanoids were coming from the east) in the hope of splitting up the monster group to make easier pickings. The gnoll sent two of the goblins and one of the wolves to investigate. The scouts didn’t find anything, so they all headed down into the dungeon.

The party waited 10 minutes, then headed in after them. Shadar went ahead to scout. When he got to the base of the stairs, he could hear a few goblins in the entrance chamber and saw at least two cross in front of the entrance. The monsters had evidently abandoned the barricade defense approach from last time.

The party charged as Antiquitis dropped a sleep spell on the center of the chamber. Two goblins dropped and the party quickly dispatched the two that were still alive. There was a new golden bowl with fresh blood on it at the base of the horned god statue. Shylock snagged it and the party headed east. Leaving the chamber triggered the low wailing from the statute (the party still hasn’t figured out what is triggering it, let alone how to prevent it). The wailing failed to attract any wandering hostiles and the party eventually pushed into the dungeon for the first time.

They peered around some corners and mapped a little to the east and south before deciding to head north. They came to the door to the well room and went inside. They found a 30x30 room with a well in the center of it. I’m ashamed to admit it warmed my evil CK heart when Shylock decided to walk up to the well with a torch and look inside. Is there anything better than when 1st level spell-casters decide to behave like brave meat shields?

I don’t think anyone was surprised when something big launched itself out of the well, grabbed Shylock, and pulled him back inside the well.

Gung ran up and jumped into the well while ran up and attached a grappling hook to the lip of the well. Boris cast a light spell on the rim of the well so the party could see now that the torch had been swiped by the face hugger.

Gung landed on top of the giant wolf spider that was bracing itself partway down the well while trying to eat Shylock. The spider rolled horribly on his bite attacks and only managed to get one successful bite on Shylock. Shylock made his poison save, then set the spider on fire with his torch. He quickly realized being attached to a burning spider was dangerous. His player, Drew, jokingly yelled for someone to pee on it, so Boris obliged him from the top of the well. As usual, some of the best times gaming revolve around low-brow humor.

Shadar tossed down the rope while Gung, standing on top of the spider, finished it off with some nice hits with his bastard sword and a magic missile assist from Antiquitis. Sadly, the spider dropped Shylock first. Shylock failed his Dex check and was unable to grab the rope. The fall knocked him down to -2 hit points. When the spider fell, Gung rolled better and caught onto the rope, then lowered himself down and tied Shylock’s body to the rope. He also failed his Con save and became diseased (something he was unaware of until 15 hours later). The party got Shylock out of the well, then Shadar and Gurgus searched the muck at the bottom for treasure. They finally recovered something worth having (the humanoids up until now have just had copper). Total loot for the well came to 25 gp, 37 sp, a rusted chain hauberk, and a jeweled necklace (worth 150 gp, although the party doesn’t know that yet). Poor Gurgus also contracted wolf spider fever.

Boris dumped both of his CLWs into Shylock and got the illusionist back on his feet. The party decided to press on despite repeated warnings from Boris that he was out of healing for the day.

The party didn’t have to go far before it came to more gobliny death. At the next corridor they found 4 goblins, the 2 wolves the party saw earlier, and the Stable Master (a massive gnoll) coming their way. No one was surprised, so the fight was on. The monsters were about 30 feet down the cross corridor with only the fighter and barbarian able to see the monsters. Shylock quickly stuck his head around the corner and fired a color spray. The spell took out the two wolves and one of the goblins. The fighter and barbarian charged, but went after the unconscious wolves rather than the upright opponents.

Color spray is a confusing spell. For low hit dice targets, they are knkocked unconscious for a number of rounds. They get a saving throw to shrug off the spell, but if they fail, it’s unclear if anything could wake the targets up short of the spell expiring. Striking the target of a sleep spell can wake it up, but color spray doesn’t appear to allow for that. That makes for a very powerful 1st level spell. I decided to give the targets ongoing saving throws to wake up, but I may change that ruling since I don’t want to nerf the illusionist.

The fighter and barbarian rolled horribly, but managed to kill the wolves within a couple rounds due to the bonus to hit prone and defenseless opponents. Shadar rolled amazingly on a Dex and Con check and managed to jump over the fighter, barbarian, and goblins so that he was face to face with the Stable Master.

Several round of melee later and the monsters were dead, although the wizard and illusionist got bored during the fight and decided to approach the melee to help out. One of them (I can’t recall which), got knocked unconscious. The party looted the Stable Master and fled the dungeon and retreated to base camp so Boris can heal up the half-dead spellcaster. Gung and Gurgus discovered overnight that they were seriously sick. We broke for the night at that point. Gung’s player is nicely freaked out by the fact the party is in the middle of nowhere and Boris is 4 levels shy of being able to cast remove disease.

Kills: 8 goblins, giant wolf spider, 2 giant wolves, and a Stable Master
Gains: 43 gp, 69 sp, a rusted chain hauberk, the Stable Master’s chain hauberk shirt, a necklace with gems on it (150 gp), and a BFF for Gurgus.
Losses: Gung and Gurgus are diseased. One of the spellcasters is heavily wounded and unconscious.

_________________
tylermo wrote:
Your efforts are greatly appreciated, Buttmonkey. Can't believe I said that with a straight face.


Sat Jun 08, 2013 3:17 pm
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Unkbartig
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Post Re: Buttmonkey's Home Game
Color spray is a decisively deadly early game spell and is good for Omote or I think Seleran decide that you are now fighting a 100 kobolds a level 6 illusionist can given amazing rolls can I'm 10 rounds have the whole field asleep in 15 rounds rolling 1s can have all 100 asleep so a well rounded team could make it out alive


Sat Jun 08, 2013 5:13 pm
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Hlobane Orc
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Post Re: Buttmonkey's Home Game
I love your idea of your confused Beholder so much, I think I might steal it for my next session :)

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Mon Jun 10, 2013 3:17 pm
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Greater Lore Drake
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Post Re: Buttmonkey's Home Game
Greyblade wrote:
I love your idea of your confused Beholder so much, I think I might steal it for my next session :)

Go for it! At least half of what I'm doing in my game is stolen from other sources. Probably more like 80-90%. How it is all woven together is my bit of "creativity." Bennie the Beholder was all mine, though. :-) He's going to show up periodically to interact with the party. He may even start following them against their wishes.

_________________
tylermo wrote:
Your efforts are greatly appreciated, Buttmonkey. Can't believe I said that with a straight face.


Mon Jun 10, 2013 3:59 pm
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Unkbartig
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Post Re: Buttmonkey's Home Game
Buttmonkey wrote:
Greyblade wrote:
I love your idea of your confused Beholder so much, I think I might steal it for my next session :)

Go for it! At least half of what I'm doing in my game is stolen from other sources. Probably more like 80-90%. How it is all woven together is my bit of "creativity." Bennie the Beholder was all mine, though. :-) He's going to show up periodically to interact with the party. He may even start following them against their wishes.


He can be their "unofficial" adventuring Mascot with threats of alignment change and other not nice stuff for damage done to the rather (for the moment at least) harmless beholder


Mon Jun 10, 2013 4:16 pm
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