Tuesday, March 12, 2013

The Ever Expanding Dungeon: Session 14

Back in town, the party opted to rest for a few days. Sister Linkat had her duties to the townsfolk, in the name of the Hedonistic Lumberjack, to tend to and Perceval needed to heal a bit.

As luck, fate, chance, the mysterious workings of an uncaring universe would have it, etc.,  one night at the tavern, Perceval and Dleggit were chatting with some of the regulars when they noticed a stranger at the end of the bar. A few pints and some hearty laughs later, the lanky, but nimble, Kroyden (T:1), formerly of the Fiery Mines, was invited to join the party.

Sister Linkat approached Waldu about coming with them again to carry torches if needed and to handle the mule. He agreed, for a greater price: 10 gp up front, and 10 gp on his return and twice that to be paid to his family in the event of his death: a fortune for a commoner, but not unreasonable given the risk. Sister Linkat agreed, and bought him a club and shield for his personal protection and as an act of good will.

While reviewing the map, Perceval noticed a corridor that the party had missed. It was an obvious choice for the next expedition, as was the decision to enter the dungeon via the entrance immediately adjoining the passage.


Setting off at dawn (as usual) the party arrived at the dungeon and organized themselves to emphasize caution - Kroyden, relatively unencumbered in his leather armor, would scout ahead, report back to the group and a decision would be made - at which point, the party would advance and Kroyden would scout still further ahead. When the metal-armored party members and mule advanced, Perceval would tap ahead with the 10' pole - in case Kroyden missed a pit trap that his light weight wouldn't trip.

At the first door they encountered, Kroyden searched it for traps and did not find any [I then checked to see if the door was trapped and it wasn't. 

How did I do this? I made up a new table as I find the D30 DM's Companion a bit confusing:

1- Unlocked, not trapped

2-3 Unlocked but stuck
4-5 Locked , not trapped
6 Locked and trapped

I rolled a 5. So he then tried to pick the lock. Another fail.

After struggling with the lock, Kroyden admitted defeat and the party switched into door-smashing order, with Dleggit and Perceval in the front. When the door flew open, the party was surprised by the sight of 3 gnolls [d30 DM Companion] in the process of setting up a monument to dead warriors of their clan, mixing up red paint to throw on the pile of armor and bones. [Rolled Rory's cubes: scarab beetle, helm, knocking over a beaker]

[Reaction: 11, unfriendly, may attack. Rolled action die: Exiting/entering a room]

The gnolls appeared angered by the intrusion, but ducked quickly out a door in the northeast corner of the room.

Kroyden searched the pile of bones and armor while the others guarded the entrances . The haul was a whopping 8 gp and 4 ep.

Perceval suggested they avoid following the gnolls as it could be a trap, but Dleggit, being an adventurous sort, wanted to chase down the gnolls before they had a chance to alert any comrades to the party's presence.

Sister Linkat and Kroyden sided with Perceval [resolved group decision using the method presented in a previous post, and got an exceptional No, which I took to mean the party would not venture through that door anytime soon] and the party used the paint to mark the door the gnolls exited through, for future reference.

Some time later, after finding a set of stairs up and a dead end, at another door, Kroyden heard sounds emanating from behind it. Rather than spend time lock picking, the party again assumed door-smashing order and proceeded to force open the door.

They would have preferred to have seen the gnolls.

With a snarl, a large owl bear, apparently being used to prevent access to the doors opposite the party, lunged towards them. Fortunately its chain prevented it from following the party as they fell back.

There was still one more door in the "gnoll shrine room" to explore and so they doubled back there. Unfortunately, the gnolls were there again and more than a little ticked off that the party had stolen the coins from their shrine.

It was a slogging match between the three gnolls on one side and Perceval, Dleggit and Sister Linkat on the other (Kroyden was tasked with maneuvering Waldu and the mule to a safe spot and protecting them). When it was over, Dleggit was down to 4 HP and Sister Linkat was down to 6 HP.

She opted to heal Dleggit but felt her wounds weren't serious enough. A thought she'd come to regret in a few moments, when, a giant crab spider hoping for an easy meal dropped onto her from the ceiling above.

With total surprise achieved, it struck her first, and it's bite manged to find an opening. The Hedonistic Lumberjack was on her side that day as she made her save [thanks to the +2 bonus on the save].

What happened next is an embarrassment to all concerned.

The spider struck Sister Linkat again, but this time could not find a place to sink its mandibles. Sister Linkat for her part, tried to throw the spider off her but could not pry it loose. Perceval rushed over to try and pull it off of her, but his grip slipped and he fell backwards some 5 feet before landing on his back. Dleggit, who had been planning to attack the spider once the others had gotten it on the ground, stopped himself mid stride, turned to attack and managed to send his shield clattering across the ground.

[that's right, two fumbles]

Perceval managed to tear the spider from Sister Linkat and hurl it to a corner. Immediately Dleggit charged it and swinging wildly, managed to wound himself! [yet another fumble. for 3 points of damage to himself!]

Fortunately, both the dwarf and the fighter redeemed themselves somewhat by killing the giant arachnid. Eventually.

Sister Linkat healed Dleggit again, and suggested that perhaps they should abandon today's expedition.

Perceval agreed with her [she was down to 6 hit points, less than half of her starting]
Kroyden was OK with it either way and Dleggit had seen enough for today [I figured since he needed two Cure Light Wounds, and would be dead if not for Sister Linkat, he wouldn't object].

On the way back, a thought occurred to Perceval, "What if we hire some folks to travel to the other towns nearby and post that we're hiring some mercenaries?"

The party made little head-way, and while there was no real test of it, I think the extra caution they're showing will greatly improve their chance of survival.

I do need to tweak my XP award method. Sister Linkat has reached 3rd level and Perceval is knocking on its door. Dleggit is about halfway to 2nd level after two sessions. 

I used Basic Fantasy for the room stocking this time around, just to change things up.

The idea for the mercenaries was inspired by a chance reading of the page on wages for mercenaries.

Lady Shadowmoss is out of town this week, so I will have a chance to play session 15 sooner rather than later.


  1. At least they all survived.

    By the way, you wrote in an earlier post that you gave your characters max hit points to start. I had not done so with Dleggit, but rolled for it . . . so he might be eligible for another hit point or two (I know that I didn't roll max).

    I look forward to reading of more delves.

    -- Jeff

    1. Hi Jeff,

      I find myself breathing a sigh of relief every time they survive a round of combat!

      I had not noticed that Dleggit was actually short HP. I've adjusted accordingly!



  2. Ah, they're learning. With the fumbling and damage a strategic withdrawal was wise, methinks.

    1. Hi Fitz-Badger,

      I was doing some reading and saw it suggested that old school dungeon crawls often consisted of going into the dungeon, making your way to the first trap or combat encounter, and then returning to town to lick your wounds before going back in. I don't know how true that was, but it certainly seems to work!


  3. How do you handle traps, by the way? When do you check if there is one, and how do you check if the party sees it?

    Great writeup as always.

    1. Hi Rush,

      Thanks for the compliment!

      For lock traps, I'm still working on a method that I like enough to use more than once or twice. I do let the party check for traps BEFORE i know if there is one there or not. I also declare (type into my notes) whether or not the thief, if there is one, will attempt to pick the lock. Then I roll their detect traps.

      I then roll on a table that tells me if there is a trap there or not. If there is, and they successfully detected a trap, they find it. If there isn't and they were successful, they know for sure there isn't. Otherwise, the thief tries to pick the lock - they can't NOT pick it, after all, that would be metagaming.

      In session 15, which I'll post soon (or it may be up already by the time you see this), I rolled the type of trap as well. Before they were all poison - needles or clouds typically. Now I've got poison, alarms, magic and physically damaging types (explosions, blades that chop off digits, etc.).

      For hall traps, I know if there is one because my dungeon generator tells me (any draw of a 3 of any suit). I also know if it's a pit trap or another kind of trap from the same generator. Once I know the trap type, I come up with a specific type, then I roll 1d6 for each PC, going in marching order. The first to roll a 1, trips the trap (it's possible no one does, but that hasn't happened yet) and suffers the damage.

      I handle room traps the same way.


    2. Thanks for the answer; I'll try that next time I take my heroes down a randomly-generated dungeon.

      Actually, room traps were what I was especially wondering about, since unlike a hallway or door, a room's non-linear. Do you roll for a trap each new square covered, or something else?

    3. In order to simplify things for room traps, I use the same "did they set off the trap?" roll, but everyone who would have entered the room ahead of the character that trips the trap is considered eligible for the trap's effect as well. My marching orders - I have several: normal, lock picking, door smashing - are written on a sheet of paper, so I always know who is where.

      I then pick some possible traps (I always include poison gas on there, thus ensuring I'll probably kill at least 1 PC. I'm not sure why I do that), roll to select and apply the results.

      If it's something like poison gas, where maybe the effect wouldn't be immediate, I'll ask Mythic or another system if successive party members had made it into the room before someone noticed something was wrong.

      It's not perfect, but it works well enough.