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Author Topic: (AP, D&D B/X) Adventurers for Profit and Fun  (Read 527 times)

Coffee Zombie

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(AP, D&D B/X) Adventurers for Profit and Fun
« on: June 20, 2014, 09:52:15 AM »
I know this is a play by post forum, but I thought I'd begin posting a play log up here. I'll post it on my blog as well (http://purplebagsofdice.blogspot.ca/).

We are playing Dungeons & Dragons Basic, Moldvay edition (B/X). I was going to run a LBB campaign originally, but then I scored an Expert book on Ebay and felt the simplicity of the two books was just ideal to get my gaming group back on track. We've been playing a lot of complex, story focused games over the past few years (Exalted, Pathfinder, WitchCraft, Star Wars Saga). Having come to a pause point because of some erratic attendance, I thought getting back to a simpler, direct game might do the group some good. Departing from structured plots and just letting play happen is my goal.

To begin, a little introduction. I am Ian, long time GM, RPing for 25+ years. I have an extensive game collection, and have run a lot of different games. My GMing style was, until recently, very focused on character development and interweaving characters with a metaplot. I've now come to feel that the burnout I get is because these plots get too dense, too complex and begin to strip players of choice. So I'm focusing on presenting options in a sandbox, and making the game fun and engaging. I have made it clear to the players I expect them to buy into the concept - they're adventurers, out for money, power, fame or something. Beyond that? Their choice.

My players, three at the moment, are each playing two characters. I'll give them nicknames to preserve their privacy. J is a long time friend of mine. M is a very enthusiastic player, known him a few years. G I've known for the least amount of time.

G has read the Misadventures in B/X D&D Thread over on Big Purple, and enjoyed reading it. While we've agreed the game isn't going to be quite so meta/gonzo as in that thread, we've both been chatting about wanting to run or play in a game that style for quite some time. Everyone at the table has D&D experience, but of the three I think the only one who has direct old school D&D experience is J.

To begin I presented what few house rules I'm using in the game. Ability scores are rolled straight 3D6 in order. I'm using the Prime Requisite reallocation rules in the Basic book. As well, with a nod to the "unplayable characters" paragraph in that book, any character with two scores 8 or under, the player has the option of scrapping. Hit Points at 1st level, by the option in the book, get rerolled until a result higher than 1 or 2 is scored. Not using variable weapon damage, but I did give Two Handed Weapons a +2 to damage, and ruled daggers are -2 to damage. Not using Alignment languages.

I had everyone roll up three characters. The stats are at home (I'm posting at work), so I'm going from memory with these. People play two characters at a time, with always one character made in backup for quick insertion.

J rolled up a Dwarf, good stats overall, an 18 Strength! He got a good roll for gear as well, so the Dwarf is fully armoured, and wields a warhammer. He's a beer drinking stereotype. When searching for a name, I suggested it would be fun if we named all Dwarves after brands of beer (there's a lot of craft breweries up here in Canada). So the Dwarf is "Rickard the Red". His second character was a solid score in Abilities, with the exception of a 6 Charisma. Ouch. So he made an Elf, Lord Pomponius. I had him random roll his spell, got Magic Missile. His third character had... STR 9 DEX 9 CON 9 INT 9 WIS 9 CHA 8. We all laughed at him. He's "Joe Blow the Average", a Thief who will likely never amount to much. J is playing Rickard and Lord Pomponius to start.

M created Thug the Fighter (decent stats, low Int), Shade the Wizard (okay Int, kinda wimpy) and a third Fighter whose name I don't recall. The third Fighter scored all right on stats, but rolled a 3 on his d8 Hit Die. Ouch. M's characters usually take a while to show personality (just his style), so there wasn't much to go on at first.

G rolled up the worst Halfling I've ever seen. We immediately started laughing and talking about Fatty Bolger (from the Misadventures thread). He's got a Con of 16, but his STR and DEX are both.... 6! He could have thrown the character aside, but G decided he was gonna play him. Named him Hefty Bolger, nicknamed "Hapless". Second character is a Cleric, average stats, named Tumeric (I think he looked at the spices on the counter behind us). I told the group we were using our old Exalted characters as the deities of this world (which ends up with some wacky and fun, and truly mythical feeling gods). Tumeric is a Cleric of Chino, the God of Running, Healing and Clever Lies. Chino believes that we make our own truth, and believe in it despite any outside worldly concerns. Tumeric is Lawful. His third character is a Thief, I don't recall the name right now. Nothing special.

Characters generated, people added in details as I set up the game. They figured out some likes and dislikes, made some personality and noted it on their sheets. Everyone picked Gods, and we got to play.

They are in the city of Waterside. I decided to make their environment a recreation of my own city, with the features the same. So Waterside stands in place of Kitchener/Waterloo, in Ontario, Canada. I'm not telling them this, or dropping hints, I'll just use it as my own "easy mapping cheat". It's a walled city, on the Great River (in place of the Grand River). Lot of textiles, ship trade and farming. I told them they had all met through serendipity in search of fortune, and had heard of a haunted keep to the north called "Lodestone Keep". Rumour had it that Lord Lodestone, over 100 years ago, was a powerful knight who kept the kingdom safe. He grew old, and turned to dark magics. The place became dark and gained a sinister reputation. Also, it was said to have been erected on a huge hill, a hill that was once the lair of an evil witch. The keep was abandoned after Lord Lodestone died, and his sword, said to be magical, was never found.

The players split up to gather rumours. Rickard, Thug and Hefty went to hit the taverns. I mentioned there were two taverns in the city. The upscale Golden Maiden, and the dockside Bloody Nipple. To the Bloody Nipple they went. In amidst the sweat, ale and reek, they were directed to talk to old Bill. Old Bill was in the corner, an aged sailor with a beard you could loose a badger in. Rickard challenged Bill to a drinking game to loosen his lips... and lost! However, Bill seemed to like drinking period, and told them what he knew about the keep. It was one a witches lair, but he reckoned the witches just built in a Dark Man's hole. He also knew it was up the old road to the North, into the swamps where only poor people dwelt.

Dark Men. I noted there had been an old race of Men who lived below the ground, an ancient civilization of power that died out.... leaving all these complexes in the earth behind them.

Shade and Lord Pomponious found the sheriff, Walter, arresting someone, and asked for salvage rights to the keep. The Sheriff told them to meet him in an hour at his office. The Sheriff was willing to let them march to their deaths, but wanted to know how many of them there were, names, etc. He agreed to let them keep what they found, and promised that if they returned with plunder (ie: if they ever returned at all), he would have work for them. He had a weasly scribe working with him, Neville. The Sheriff also asked that if they found the corpse of a village man, Gaston, that they return his ring to the Sheriff to return to Gaston's distraught mother. Gaston had gone to the keep months ago looking for glory, and never returned.

No one fights like Gaston, no one dies like Gaston. No one has rings returned to his mom like Gaston! sang G.

Tumeric hit the markets looking for Temples, but found that this particular city had a temple of Luanna, which meant worshippers of Chino were persecuted. Luanna is the goddess of beauty, healing and magic, but her woshippers are notorious meddlers and zealouts. After foiling a pickpocketing attempt on him, Chino was approached by a priest of Meriselle. Meriselle is one of the death gods, and promised to lead Tumeric to some Chinoites if he met him at midnight in the square.

Tumeric did, but wisely brought along Rickard and Thug. They were ambushed by five "priests" of Meriselle (I had all of them as just unarmoured humans with basic weapons, not Clerics). They killed most of them, one fled, and the leader, the priest who had encountered Tumeric that afternoon, was at exactly 0 Hit Points, so I ruled he was wounded and downed, but still awake. Rickard emptied his bladder on him (still recovering from his drinking game earlier), but Tumeric put the priest to task and forced a conversion on him. Had Tumeric do an Ability check (3d6 = or under Cha), and passed... in panic, the priest converted. Tumeric noted he'd probably die of blood loss, but felt confident that since he'd converted before he died, Tumeric had done his duty.

Rickard then insisted on going to a local whorehouse, and found himself some comfort for the night. We moved onto the next day. They hired a guide, Kyle, to shave some time off their journey. I had a group of men on hand at the inn as well, lounging around "looking for work"... loudly. Figuring a few hired hands would be ideal, Shade went to the biggest (I named him Biff, after Biff Tannen from Back to the Future), and offered to pay him 1 gp a day to carry Shade, so that the wizard wouldn't have to walk. Biff said "uh... sure!".

Lord Pomponious also hired four hirelings, negotiating with them to carry him on a chair for 1 gp a day each! He wanted them to fight, but they demanded to be equipped. He gave them each clubs, but got the impression they would not likely serve as bodyguards. The four were named John, Paul, George and Ringo.

Finally, they departed. Kyle took them north, avoiding the road and making good time. When they got to their destination, they saw a huge hill with ruins atop it. Kyle told them this was as far a he went, but he was going to linger a week and hunt in the area, and keep a camp. The Beatles rolled morale (Lord Pomponious Charisma used as a base, since he hired them)... failed, and refused to go any further. Biff, serving Shade (who also had a low Cha), managed to pass his morale check, and agreed to press on.

They went up the hill, found that the ruins were open to the sky and empty. There was a stairway heading down through moss and hanging lichen, and signs some traffic used the stairs. Biff, who I ruled had to pass a morale check to descend into the dungeon, failed. He shook his head, put Shade down and said "Nope," then turned to leave.

Laughing at how useless their hirelings were (and how funny it was the low CHA characters had control of them), the party descended into the dungeon.

Continued in Part Two...
Check out my adventure for Mythras: Classic Fantasy N1: The Valley of the Mad Wizard

Coffee Zombie

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(AP, D&D B/X) Adventurers for Profit and Fun (part two)
« Reply #1 on: June 20, 2014, 10:38:46 AM »
Note: I forgot to mention what spell Shade started with. I allowed wizards to choose their spell, so Shade took Charm. I also noted that human magic worked best with no clothes on, and wizards had to enchant clothing to function. The reason for no armour was because the special chemicals and powders to allow clothing to be worn didn't soak into the armour. This also explains why many wizards and sorcerers go around in such skimpy outfits. The players dug it.

The party descended into the dungeon. They saw that the dungeon was dark and slimy. Many of the doors were broken and rotten. They were in a hallway, with a passage to their left that ended in a T-intersection, a bit behind them a broken door, ahead another broken door at the end of a 40' passage, and on the right two sets of doors in various states of decay.

J asked if mapping was okay, I told him I was fine with them mapping, but I wasn't going to be overly precise or wait for maps to be drawn. They liked it. I offered up graph paper, but they declined. Awesome! M offered to keep track of torches and gold, while G was going to keep track of other details. I also asked that they use a Caller to keep the game flow going fast, with J basically acting as that role anyways.

They decided to take the nearest room to the right, and entered into a room full of a foul stench. It was long, with three doors on their right wall - two at the far end of the room, closed, and one closer that was smashed open. There was a kind of scum covering most of the floor, and the body of a dead, bloated goblin.

Lord Pomponious suggested someone go search the Goblin, and Thug was elected to go search. He came over and kicked the goblin over, and out sprung a poisonous snake! It was a trap, essentially, I did roll to see if Thug might notice the snake (didn't). I even rolled for the snake to hit the Fighter (it's room one, I wanted to go a little easy to start). The less than 1 Hit Die snake hit the Fighter in AC2. Thug failed his save vs. poison, I noted he felt sick. Searching the golbin yielded a handful of electrum pieces.

Thug, feeling woozy, returned to the group (he killed the snake), and they pressed on to the open door. The next room had some grass pushing up through the cracked floor, and a statue in the middle of the room. It looked like a Dark Man warrior, with sword and shield.

Thug fell dead from the poison, which I rolled a 2 to see how many Turns it killed him in. The players laughed and clapped their hands, and G began a "Roll of the Slain" list in his book.

Thug, Fighter 1, slain by poison snake in 1st room of first dungeon.

They had Rickard drag Thug's body (after taking his pack and rations) back to the nearby exit, while Shade read an inscription on the shield of the statue. It was in the language of the Dark Men (I allowed bonus languages to be selected after character gen, on the spot). It read "Heronious, protector of the dead." They assumed this was a Dark Man tomb. Rickard returned (I rolled wandering monster checks seperately), and they pressed on. There were several doors in this room, and to aid their mapping I began giving them the room numbers. Since I used a fairly scattered numbering system in my key, knowing the room numbers doesn't help them much.

They found a small passageway that just looped back into the same room. Complaining it didn't make sense, they searched for a secret door. I noted that the elf felt some breeze in the room, and reasoned this small passageway had something to do with bringing fresh air into the dungeon. The players were satisfied with my bullshitting abilities, and decided the party would rest (it was Turn 6 in the dungeon). They notched off a torch use, no Wandering Monster check, so they rested for a turn.

Moving on, they pressed through a door, looping back towards the entrance. This room was small, 30' x 30', with a single hole in the middle of the floor. There was a grate covering the hole, and the sound of whimpering and raspy breathing coming from it.

A moment of silence passed over the table. No one wanted to approach it. I suggested the party was just frozen in the door, looking inside speechless! Finally they elected that Rickard go forward and looking. He spoke in Goblin, and the being inside the hole replied in Goblin. It whined that the witches had put it in the hole, chaining it there. It assured the dwarf that it had treasure at it's feet, and wanted release. Switching to common, it pleaded with the party to be set free... all the time in a raspy, Gollum-esque voice. They couldn't see it clearly, but could see it was humanoid, emaciated, and gave them the creeps (it was a Ghoul). Lord Pomponious took out his bow and shot at it (I gave the Ghould AC9, it was chained in the hole after all), but missed! At this the Ghould freaked and tried to reach for Rickard, missing. They used crossbow and arrows to kill it (no exp for this guy). Pulling the ghoul's corpse out (and hacking at it), then found 300 sp and 40 gp at the bottom of the hole.. and a hatch to a lower level.

Rickard fashioned a bit of the grate to keep the hatch shut, and they moved on. This room had doors in every direction. They guessed the door to the north went back to the original entry hallway. They knew the statue room was behind them. So they turned south, and opened to...

A long hallway, over 100' long. In the distance they could see a doorway on the right, and the hall turn a corner after that. But, with a grin on my face, I mentioned that each tile on the floor was in a checkerboard pattern, with some dark grey, the others light grey.

Once more, they stood in the door and thought. Then they looked at Hefty, and sent him in to investigate.

"We'll wait here," they assured him.

Creeping forward, Hefty toed along on side. I of course know this room isn't trapped, but I ask for details on how Hefty was proceeding just to keep them on edge. Hefty sees that the door on the right is a portculis, and beyond is a vast room with shuffling noises. Around the corner, the passage went only 20' before turning south to another door. Turning around, he called the all clear...

Then I rolled 1 on the wandering monster roll. Awesome. 5 Stirges swarmed out of muck covered vents in near the hall ceiling. By random roll, three came after Hefty, the other two after the rest of the party. A melee broke out - the stirges won initiative.

Incredible, while three attacked Hefty, with his lousy AC (he rolled 3 on his equipment roll, so I think he was in leather only, AC 8), only one hit (and they had a +2 to hit first round!). The stirge landed in his shoulder, doing 1 Hit Point, but was now stuck in and would draw blood each round!

One attacked Rickard, and despite his AWESOME AC of 1, hit him. I noted it lanced into his cheek, doing 2 damage. The third attacked Lord Pomponious, but missed.

In retaliation, Shade closed the door on the rest of the party, leaving him and the elf in the Ghoul room to fight one stirge. They killed it in short order.

Hefty, howling in terror at the Stirge on his shoulder, tried to burn it off with his torch. Here is where I loved the non-variable damage in Basic. The torch is just another weapon, and it fit the scene perfectly. Hefty hit, but the Stirge remained on, down to 1 Hit Point. Tumeric slew a Stirge, as did Rickard. The next round, the Stirges won initiative again. Another, incredible, hit Rickard, lancing him once more. The Stirge on Hefty drew more blood.. 2 hit points of damage! Rickard was running out of Hit points fast! In the end the Stirge got one more 3 point suck out of Rickard before they slew them all.

Agreeing that they needed to leave the dungeon and recover, the party walked back the same way they came in (not wanting to take chances of another room encounter)... they were about to leave at Turn 12, and I rolled for Wandering Monster. A 1! I cheered, the players groaned in amusement.

Gnomes. 5 Gnomes? The reaction roll, based on Rickard (who spoke Gnome), was an 11, +1 with his Reaction Adjustment. The gnomes were friendly! Concerned about their slain comrade, the gnomes offered to help carry Thug out and guarded the party as they exited. I noted the gnomes were looking for a lost friend in the witche's lair.

M decided that Biff was now the name of his backup Fighter character, and Biff had equipped himself with some of Thug's gear. Rickard was going to rest in Kyle's camp, so we said the Joe Blow must have followed the group from Waterside, and joined up. It was late, so we wrapped up for the night. Not much xp yet - they haven't found the good treasure yet.

I have enough xp on the first level of the dungeon to raise most of them off level one (not the elf). As well, I hand out 25 exp for really good RP moments that fit the character. Everyone was excited about the game, had a good time, and was looking forward to playing the next session. Mission accomplished!

We play weekly, so I'll update next week.
Check out my adventure for Mythras: Classic Fantasy N1: The Valley of the Mad Wizard