Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Dungeon of the Shepard's Crook- play report

The Dungeon of the Shepard's Crook was not just an off the cuff dungeon made for this blog; it was actually used in play! Here's what happened.

The Game One

After a basic rules explanation, and a very short diatribe about the Red God- the players go rolling for stats. Mostly average stats- but the Wizard had a -2 to strength and had a tiny load of 6. I tell them to just pick any race they can think of if they want to, based on their stats, because I'm not giving bonuses this time. The players create a Halfling Rogue, whose name I don't remember, and a Gnome Wizard named Igor, and we decide that the starting town would therefore be mostly populated by members of that race.

I tell them the situation. Their Dungeon Goal is to recover a magical item called The Shepard's Crook. It's one of those curved sticks that shepherds use to control sheep, but its also a great symbol of luck and the magic of the springtime in the village. Along with that, a halfling girl has gone missing about a month ago which may be related.

They begin play at the dungeon already, starting at the bottom left and working their way right. They make their way past the fish bone corridor, after the Wizard player wastes a mana point casting a flare that only lasts one minute when he thought he could use it for a whole turn. After that, the magician rests to recover 1 mana point by reading his spellbook while the Rogue knocks away all the bones to make it easy to pass by silently. They enter room 11 which they name the fabric room, for me basically implying there are tents in there.

They hear chittering voices and the Rogue player lights a tent on fire. I count this as a sneak attack. I roll 1d8 and get a 5. With both his Rogue sneak attack bonus + the Galcialics huge weakness to fire, the first one dies in the confusion, then Initiative is rolled.

The party fights, using both fire magic and the Rogue's claw weapon + torch to attack the little icy goblins. The party is quickly overwhelmed after killing 3 of them, 5 was obviously too many for a party size of only two members.

Because it happened so quickly into the game, and because we were still in the middle of laughing our asses off at the combat, the players quickly roll up two new characters. This time a human Wizard named Glassman, equipped with an iron helmet that looks like giant pair of sunglasses and Igor 2, a gnome warrior here to avenge his father/brother's death.

 The Game Two

Because of the first game's rapid death spiral and huge damage from all enemies, the players wisely invest in a lot of armor this time. They are the second group that are coming after the first two didn't return a few weeks ago.

They enter the dungeon and this time charge down the fish hallway at d. They roll for a wandering encounter check due to the noise, but end up getting a high number for Unaware Monster result. Turns out one of the Glacialics has their back turned to the door, and they stab him in the back, killing

Despite it clearly only working on smaller objects then this, the Wizard casts the 1 mana telekinesis spell to make the corpse dance like a puppet with the shortsword still stuck in it. I roll the monsters morale and they bolt. They break the door from 11 leading to c hallway and one of the players smartly lays down on the ground and notices that one of the tiles is raised higher then the others. They deduce it is a trap and move past it without triggering it.

Entering room 9 I roll a d4 and on a roll of 1, that means the shaman is there, not noticing the party due to looking at the mana potion. The Wizard performs a very funny sneak attack; direct fire bolt to the monster's icicle head and then smashing him with a sack of marbles. The shaman goes down without getting a single attack or turn in. They loot the room and find the porcelain coin underneath the pillow before going north to 6.

They peer into the door and decide to turn back, possibly because they were worried about some kind of magical trap or something. They ignore 12 completely and go up b hallway, and when they reach 5 they see little shit-smear footprints leading deeper in. They don't go in there and instead go north to 3. They take the south hallway and see it loops back through the cold room, then they pick the locked door successful with an easy Skill Check and head to 4.

They hear the heavy loud pacing of the monster Pacer and Igor the Gnome Fighter goes to fight it instantly. I'm not sure if the players had a death wish or if they were just trying to kill everything in the dungeon lickety split. They end up waiting for Pacer to come by and the Wizard spreads marbles on the ground to trip it up. Despite Pacer being quite large I gave him a saving throw as well, which he made. He crushed one of the marbles with his bulk and then stared at the party, revealing his ugly teeth. The fighter drops the torch and does a downwards uppercut with his sword, only dealing two damage. Then the Wizard picks up the torch and throws it into Pacer's mouth, and he chews it to dust in seconds, but the fire deals 1 damage.

Pacer slams the Fighter and actually knocks him to 0 HP. The Wizard uses 1 mana point to revive the other character, a close call but allowing the fighter to recover.

Unbeknownst to them, despite being a 2 HD creature, Pacer only rolled 4 health points. He was almost dead at this point. Regardless, they led the beast all the way to the trap in c and let the lumbering monster activate it, which finished it off. They lock themselves into the shaman's room to rest for two turns, recovering both mana and 2 hp. Despite not having brought a first aid kit I just let them have it as though they did; they just made bandages from the bedsheets instead.

Coming down from c and room 11, they go up north on the split from d hallway and find 10. Breaking down the door at 10, they find the altar and take the coin and are excited to have found the shepard's crook. They still explore the dungeon instead of leaving though.

They go through the other locked door to 8, and find a bunch of bones and such the glacialics were probably going to feed to Pacer. They also find a chisel that they take with them. They then reach 2, where they find the gargoyle head. They deduce it is probably trapped and they destroy the gargoyle's teeth, so I adjudicate that if it bites it will now only deal 1 damage. The Fighter who took the necklace only had one health, but miraculously he made his Hazard save. The Magician looks it over and wears the necklace to be used as a mana store.

Finally they decide to go investigate 12. However as they enter 11 the remaining two icy goblins, who were hiding in the waste area at 5, found them. Instead of rolling for a reaction check or anything, we just initiate combat instead, the fighter charges in and attacks. On the monster's retaliation, it rolls a 1 to hit the fighter so I let him trip or disarm the glacialic for free and he does so, now pinning him down with his foot. The Magician uses a 2 mana fireblast spell to hit the standing glacialic and kills it.

Surprise, the pinned glacialic makes a save and bobs the fighter in the kneecap with his spear, letting him get back up and make an attack. In the next round the icy goblin kills the fighter, and then the magician uses up the mana store necklace to blast the goblin to death with his fire bolt. After dragging his companion out of the dungeon, he rescues the girl at 12 who may be returning as a replacment PC for my player who died at the last moments of the dungeon. Despite the girl telling them about hearing coins being dragged in a heavy bag, the magician doesn't stick around and they leave.

The character are treated to a nice epilogue of returning to town. Along the way, the flowers bloom and the clouds part. Sheep just off the side of the road suddenly stop and turn their attention, following the returning mage holding the shepard's crook back to town, the magic within it still potent and untarnished by the grasp of the evil Red God. Finally, I told the human wizard that one of his hands over the next few days turns red, as though stained by wine permanently, the price from stealing from the Red God.

Feedback & Conclusion
Since both my players were also fellow dungeon masters in the past, I thought I could get good feedback out of them. They described the experience as fun, fast and loose was enjoyable to them, but more consistency with the rules would have been preferred. I agree with this, because I know I forgot to use a lot of mechanics, and had unfinished rules when it came to initiative and encumbrance penalties; the dead fighter didn't even know about getting a bonus to his to-hit at first level!

Both being DM's though, they weren't expecting my brand of OSR creativity and random content. They had no idea what monsters they were facing despite having good gameplay grasps, and both of them thought that was a great part of it too. Personally I enjoyed myself despite thinking I could have done a better job next time. We'll see if Igor the third makes a return, or if Glassman goes anywhere in life.

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