On their way in, they discovered a faulty snare-trap that must have been placed only after they exited - the hasty setup accounted for the trap's failure. In any case, something or someone had followed them.
Feldspar requested B scout ahead, with Fargle "The Hungry Clown" carrying the torch. The rest of the party would follow at the torch light's edge.
[As the party passed through rooms previously visited, I asked Mythic, "Is anyone here?" Just outside the room that has caused them more problems than not, goblins, a giant spider, and a bugbear, I got No, but rolled a random NPC event, bestow fame. I apologize to the reader for what follows.]
Perceval was the first to hear the approach - coming around the bend, he heard the sound of someone running and then a man cried out “wait wait! i have something for you!”
Even when Perceval could clearly see the thin older man with a shaggy grey beard, dressed all in black and carrying a mandolin, he still kept out his sword. The rest of the party spread out.
“I have written you a song, to spread the tale of how you slayed those hellish creatures which plagued our town!” He began to tune the mandolin.
“Some other time please, Roderick. It's not safe in here.”
Perceval recognized the man as a musician who had come to town long ago and never left. He was renowned for his skill and played his mandolin at all of the town’s festivals. If anything negative might be said about him, it is that he is often described as "a bit touched." While Perceval would agree the man was quite talented, the truth of the latter became apparent - now was neither time nor place for a concert.
|DH(6) by RayMorris1 on Flickr|
Ok, it's not a mandolin,but he has the right look.
[roll initiative, Roderick 3, Party 1]
The man began to sing and Perceval rushed forward to quiet him, but Roderick proved deceptively nimble and dodged out of the way.
[Roll initiative, Roderick goes first]
He belted out the first verse of the tune and side stepped Perceval’s next rush.
Fargle Blim came forward and begged Roderick to stop. And again he side stepped Perceval’s attempt. By chance, he started to cough about 3/4s of the way through the verse.
That interruption came too late.
Distracted by the sheer chaos of a musician playing loudly in the dungeon, no one noticed the large hairy goblinoid moving stealthily to sidle up behind B and attack her.
His club landed but she was protected in part by her armor (2 points of damage 1/3 of her HP!). When given the chance, B fell back to protect Fargle and the cowering mandolin-er, who had curled into a wailing bal when the fighting began.
In the ensuing melee with the bugbear, The Mysterious Trulhammar Gax and Feldspar suffered serious wounds (5 HP and 6 HP respectively) and Perceval was lightly wounded (2HP). Although the bugbear had begun a fighting withdrawal, the party was able to overcome him before he exited the room to summon any others.
Sister Linkat, who had accidentally flung her mace across the room during combat and had thus been spared engaging the bugbear, surveyed the battered party. Who to heal? Feldspar's wounds seemed most serious, but he declined healing and insisted Sister Linkat heal Trulhammar (for a whopping 2 points. Apparently the Hedonistic Lumberjack wasn't feeling too generous today).
Meanwhile, Perceval calmly informed Roderick that if he ever again acted so senseless, he would personally see to it that he would never play the mandolin, or any instrument, or even feed himself, again.
The party retreated from the dungeon in good order and without incident but hey all had the same thought: "This isn't working. We need a new tactic. But what?"
The answer would come soon enough.
Stay tuned for The Ever Expanding Dungeon: Session 8, Part II (posting later today)
This was the first fight I ran using the new method. Each time the bugbear was hit, I rolled 3d8 + 1 (Bugbears are 3HD +1 monsters) and compared the result to the total damage. If the result of the HD roll was greater than the total damage, he was still standing. I definitely prefer this method for NPCs and monsters - I have no idea how strong they might be and it's simple to implement.
I also used it for the characters - but only as a test in their case - comparing the results of the standard method vs. the new and found them to give very nearly the same results.
I am torn here.
There is a nice tension achieved in watching your hit points dwindle, on the other hand, not knowing how badly you are injured means that even with heavy damage, you might still manage to survive - against nearly all odds. The latter is a good bit more heroic.
I can't say the PCs might live longer or not if I go with the new method, as they die with such frequency as to make it difficult to measure with certainty.