Monday, October 21, 2013

A Post-Mortem on the Most Recent Ever Expanding Dungeon Sessions

As I mentioned in my replies to comments on the previous entry (Session 24), my fixation on some sort of heroic redemption on Dleggit (D: 2) was the cause of not only his demise, but 2 NPCs and the near death of my longest surviving character.

What Went Wrong

  • I split the party. It made sense in my head, as I had dreams of glory for Dleggit. In practice, it was the one thing had I done different that would have changed the whole outcome.
  • The pit - It wasn't that the pit was too dangerous on its own, but its depth. I used Mythic but I really shouldn't have set the odds at 50/50, once I knew it wasn't 10' deep. The party's average level, including NPCs but excluding the mule, was 1.4. Even if I just rolled a total of 3 HP of damage, that would be enough to kill the NPCs outright, 75% of the time (if they had no CON bonus). Since my PCs start with max HP, at least the magic-user survived the fall, barely. Of course, had I not tested DEX for everyone with a D20, but used 3d6, they would have had better odds as well.
  • Maybe instead of a DEX save for Dleggit to throw the rope over the beam, it should have been an attack on an AC 5 or some such.
  • Dleggit had terrible dice rolling during the combat - even with a +2 berserker bonus and a +2 strength bonus he never landed a blow. In fact he rolled a natural 1 on his first attack, which is how he ended up with the mantis between him and the party when they arrived.
  • Conversely, even though the mantis were only 1 HD and Dleggit has an AC 1, they were scoring way more hits than I would have thought.
  • White Eyes's magic-missile was a game changer - had he gotten 2nd casting off, he could have TPK'd the party.

What Went Right

  • The Five Room Model - including linking two of them together. I really like this method as it means something is always happening to increase tension/force choices, thematically its all connected, and it's easily resolved within a short time. What it isn't, is a crawl, as resources aren't really an issue. To me, torches, food, spells, missiles are all part of the enjoyable pressure on the party during exploration.
  • The use of the d6 for decision making Yes And, Yes, But, No, But, No And. I've used this a lot before, but I thought I'd mention it.
  • Bringing back a recurring villain - he's a danger and provided sufficient motivation.
  • Staying true to the dice. I could have re-rolled or give Dleggit or Waldu other advantage, but i stuck to the honest roll of the dice and took my lumps. That to me is required for solo gaming, an ethical minimum even. As I've mentioned before, if the results directly impact the character, the dice must remain sacrosanct.


  1. Love that d6 decision making tree. I am going to write that up and paste it to the inside of my DM screen. Clever indeed, sir!

    1. Hi Christian,
      I can't take credit for that d6 decision tree. I've seen similar things in several places, but the one I got the idea from first is:

      I also just found this one which is a little more weighted towards success:


  2. I agree, John. And while I'm disappointed that Dleggit's run is over, sometimes it happens that way . . . and yes, one must not fudge the dice.

    It was a very exciting write-up by the way.

    -- Jeff

  3. Okay, here's my first set of dice rolls for a new character. She is an acolyte the Hedonistic Lumberjack sent to aid and assist Sister Linkat.

    Sylana has been equipped with a Mace, Chainmail and Shield (and little else except food and her Holy Symbol). It is equally possible that the head temple sent her out to help Sister Linkat OR to get rid of her since she not the brightest acolyte but she can be incredibly stubborn.

    Her stats are:

    STR -- 14
    INT -- 9
    WIS -- 16
    DEX -- 17
    CON -- 14
    CHAR -- 11

    Sylana is dark-haired, rather short but "big-boned" and quite broad. A bit buxom, but with a rather plain roundish face. She grew up in a family with five brothers and was very used to fighting and wrestling with them. She grew up as a fighter, not a "girly" girl, so sought the militant branch of the church of the Hedonistic Lumberjack.

    Anyway, John, use her if you like; don't if you've already got other plans.

    -- Jeff

    1. Sylana will definitely make her debut in the next session!

      Thanks again!

  4. I'm sorry to see Dleggit perish, but you stayed true to the character and to the story, as well as to the rules you set out. It was a risk, but it did seem in character.

    1. Thanks, FItz-Badger. Now that some time has passed, I feel better about the decision. From a game point of view, he should have waited, from a story point of view, his going in alone (more or less) was exciting and made for a good story - with the potential for a big pay off. I realize now that neither was more right than the other, but just a function of where I was focused at that moment.