Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Last Night, on the Ever Expanding Dungeon (S&W Whitebox edition)

So, last night after finishing up a project I was working on, I had a little time and wanted to get in some gaming. I grabbed my quick gaming kit for the Ever Expanding Dungeon and decided to just play one scene. This write up is a little different than my usual session summaries.

I am playing around with the 5-Room Dungeon model as my scene framing method device, and because the party had just spent several days resting, the first scene would be Room 1, Guardian.

After six days rest, during which they met Maglom the Dwarf, little sister of the late Gutzom, and immediately accepted her into the party, the group set out for the dungeon.

Now, guardian can be anything that prevents / restricts access to the remainder of the "5-Room Dungeon." Ordinarily I'll roll on a stocking table and then work with the results, but, lately, I've wanted something that moved me away from what's in the tables in the various books and more into what's in my head. Rory's Cubes to the rescue -  story, action and voyages (one of each to set the scene). 

I got: tent, reaching for something, and a lock. 

Ahah! A bandit camp where the bandits were trying to pry open a large chest they had scored from the last caravan they knocked off. I rolled and found seven bandits. 

Possibly the least interesting interpretation, but it was late, so I'll give myself a pass. 

I set the Chaos Factor to 5, rolled an 8, which meant the scene would stay as is.


"The party traipsed through the woods, all thoughts on the impending danger of the infamous dungeon which, thus far, hadn't been too terrible. Of course, the death of luminaries Perceval and Sister Linkat were the elephant in the living room. If any of them could afford to own a house, let alone a living room. 

Ygg halted the group when he spotted figures in the woods seated around a campfire, while others struggled with a large wooden chest." 

My party consists of seven characters. I don't like those odds. I took on the roll of the GM and asked Mythic GME (now acting as a Player Emulator), do you have any real reason, beyond some alignment duty, to get involved? and got a No. I then felt compelled to check if they were going to sneak by, or just be nonchalant and hope for the best. 

They went with the latter. 

"'Act natural everyone!" said Ygg. And he, and his band of heavily armed and armored adventurers attempted to walk along as if they had seen nothing.

Except, unfortunately, I also then had to check to see how the bandits would react.

S&W Whitebox has no reaction table like b/x and other games; here was an opportunity to play it NOT as b/x, but as its own game. 

I used Featherstone's method of assigning percentages to different possible reactions and, after the dice came to a stop, the bandit leader would confront them with clear hostility:

"Halt! How dare you trespass through our camp!" called out the obvious leader, dressed in his black leather and outrageously cliche cloak.

Despite Ygg trying to explain that the party just wanted to pass peacefully, the bandits didn't buy it (another percentile check), and their archers opened fire (the party was surprised by the call to arms and had to endure missile fire without being able to do anything of their own).  

 *thwip* *thwip* *thwip* *thwip* *thud* *thud* *thud*

And damn, they were quite the good shots, who rolled freakishly consistently high on their damage dice.

I thought for sure I was looking at a TPK. Or at least losing the majority of the party. Right about here, i started to consider if maybe I shouldn't have just read a comic book or something instead of playing a game.

The first round of combat after surprise continued the bloodshed,  as the melee bandits advanced into contact. Fortunately, the PCs got to slug it out a bit, finally dropping 3 of the bandits but not before they had dealt out more damage. A strategic fall back, so Lykidas could cast sleep, ended the violence. 

Here's how bad it was by the numbers: 

  • Leegand suffered 10 HP of damage, and was reduced to -2 HP (I'm using the optional rule for HP loss : a PC can drop to -Level HP before death). Fast application of bandages and cleaning of the wounds brought him back up to 1 HP. 
  • Zilliniy took 11 HP of damage and dropped to 1 but she only regained 1 as a result of binding her wounds. 
  • Ygg had lost 1 and was restored to his full 6 HP. 
  • Eomond had taken 6 HP of damage which dropped him to 4, but he regained 1. 

In no shape to continue to the dungeon, the party looted the bandits, and opted to bring the chest back to town in case the owner was there and offering a reward.

Runolf and Maglom carried the chest; the surviving bandits were bound and escorted back to town to be turned over to the Sheriff. 

That was all I had time for. Frankly, it was quite enough!


  1. Eomond lives to fight another day !. Its rather ridiculous how attached I've become to an RPG player in a game I'm not playing.


  2. I know what you mean, Jacko. Just creating a character and having them inserted into the game gives me a sense of involvement and attachment.
    Well, so much for trying to avoid confrontation and remain neutral, eh?!
    Does your description mean Runolf and Maglom were unharmed? (this time)

  3. Yikes! So much for minding one's own business. At least we got the best of those rascals in the end. Next time, Leegand will mind his own business a little further away from the rest of the party....

    And @Jacko and Fitz-Badger, I feel exactly the same way.

  4. What they said. I had a momentary panic when I read that Zilliniy took 11 damage, as I didn't remember how many HP she even had.

  5. A great read! Even if it was short and sweet...and bloody. :)

  6. Thanks all!

    I have already played the follow up to this - just need to write it up. It seems when I do have the time to write, I find myself playing instead.

    But it is coming soon!