Monday, May 28, 2012

D&D B/X: The Annwyn Investigations - Sessions 1-3

I'm three sessions into my new D&D b/x "campaign". So far, it's strange playing D&D basic as an investigative game rather than hacking and slashing my way to death or glory. I'm not going to give up on this experiment yet, just saying it feels more than a little odd at times.

If write-ups of RPG sessions put you off, just skip this post.

Vandal (2nd level Thief) and Father McDougal (2nd level Cleric) have been hired by a man named Jorix, to find out just why the elven Lady Bana would want the teeth of Serpent of the Nulbizar Spires. She's hired him to go retrieve them and he has been offered a sizable sum to return them to someone else instead. He needs to know what he's selling.

I decided to investigate Jorix as well as the Serpent's teeth - can't be too careful.

McDougal saw Jorix at the open temple wearing a key of the Temple Guardians. The keys are only given to qualified priests - either he got it from someone else, or he's one of the Guardians.

On his way to The Gray Hand (an inn located near the wall between Upper and Lower Annwyn, in well-to-do section of Lower Annwyn where Jorix had told the characters he could be found) to try to dig up some info on Jorix (preferably a room number so he could break in and snoop around later), Vandal ran into one of the barmaids (Mythic interrupt!) from The Sleeping Beggar that he was on friendly terms with- she had been beaten, but would only say she fell off a ladder. McDougal suspected her husband, a member of the town watch, had given her the black eye and bruises, but without confirmation it was just a hunch, one that would merit follow up.

Vandal struck out at the inn - the innkeeper's daughter didn't buy Vandal's story that he was to meet his friend but couldn't remember the room number.  He needed a drink and a moment to think, so he stopped in at a nearby watering hole, where he ran into a rather annoyed Jorix. A chance exchange with the bartender revealed that Jorix had been seen there often with an elfish looking woman named Lady Bana, but that she had left recently with another man. The bartender implied this was the cause of the foul mood. Upon further questioning the bartender seemed to realize he had been saying too much and clammed up. A bribe was attempted but the bartender's asking price was too high.

On day 2 of the investigation, McDougal and Vandal went to the magical ingredients and book shop of one of the known sages in Lower Annwyn, renowned for the owner's personal library. The intent was to try and learn something about the Serpent's teeth. They arrived to find the sage dead, and the assailants still there. A fight ensued and one of the thieves was killed which caused the other two to flee - one got away, but the other was captured.

The prisoner sang like a canary and the characters learned the thieves had been hired by an elfish woman in fine clothes to steal a copy of "The Demonic Esoterica of Milli" The sage was killed because he had tried to stop them. Unfortunately, the escaped thief had the book and was headed to the buyer. They knocked the prisoner out after binding and gagging him, leaving him for the town watch who make regular checks of the local businesses and then scrammed out the back just in case someone saw them go in and then would assume they were the killers.

I made one adjustment to my initial characters before I started the first scene - made them 2nd level, but with 0 XP. Not knowing what this type of campaign might bring, it felt right to hedge my bet a bit.

I'm using Mythic as written - perhaps for the first time in years. I'm impressed by the effect of the altered setups and interrupted scenes. At this point I have no idea what's going to happen next and there are several threads for additional exploration beyond the main objective of this investigation.

Finally, in Mythic terms, this write-up covers just 6 scenes.


  1. Really good! B/X investigations take me back...

    How long did the 6 scenes take to complete, and how often did you find yourself asking questions of the Fate Chart?

    Also, do you have a particular world setting in mind? (Looks Greyhawk-ish)

  2. Not counting time spent going back and editing my notes for readability, I've spent around 4 hours playing so far. The first session included some book keeping for the characters and significant studying of Mythic for each scene. Unfortunately, I still find myself reviewing examples when a modified scene comes up (5 out of the 6 were modified).

    I'm trying to take the suggestion in Mythic GME to know when to use the fate chart and when not to. So, I use it only when I need the kick-start of inspiration, I really just don't have any idea (which i usually set at 50/50 then) or I need to make an important decision for an NPC. I've checked it at least once per scene, and in one case around 10 times (that was during the questioning of the prisoner - for each question I asked the prisoner, I rolled on the fate chart to see if he answered or suddenly clammed up).

    As for setting, I'm probably subconsciously working with Greyhawk, only because it's the only complete campaign setting I've ever spent any time with. But, consciously, I hadn't even considered that. My only goal is to try something I've never done before, which is go for an over the top mixture of humans and humanoids within the town, rather than have the humanoids only encountered "out there". So I anticipate NPCs like a goblin jewler, an ogre black smith, a sea-faring gnome as acting captain of a large cargo ship, shady characters, human and humanoid, loitering about the docks, etc.

    For lower Annwyn specifically, I picture a rough and tumble place where law and order is a fragile veneer at best. It's my version of a fantasy Mos Eisley. In any case, I've left the exact details of the town/city to be determined in play - that way, I'm playing at world building, and discovering the world, much as a player in a GM'd game might.

    1. Sounds perfect! It'll be very enjoyable to watch it all unfold.