Wednesday, April 24, 2013

The Ever Expanding Dungeon: Session 18

Back in the village to rest and recuperate, the party makes the acquaintance of a wandering magic-user, Manchiver Mugg (M-U: 1), most recently from Heretic's Garden. He had been keeping a low profile, given the fairly recent regional distrust of magic, but he heard of the party and approached them with an offer to lend his talents in exchange for an equal share of treasure and glory. When the risk of the venture was posed to him, he replied that he seeks to obtain the "Steel Thunder of the Crimson Claw" at whatever the cost, which led to some shrugged shoulders and confused looks, and an acceptance of his offer.

[After rolling up Manchiver the Magic User, I checked the result of the recruitment efforts by rolling 1d6 and I rolled a 2-Roll to see if applicants arrived, no further checks without advertising. I rolled 1d6 for my target number and rolled 1. As an odd number, I had to roll equal to or less than a 1 on 2d6-1. 

In other words, it wasn't very likely. 

And sure enough, not a single NPC arrived]

Given the lack of response, the party invested again in advertising and successfully hired the riders again.

Meanwhile, rather than wait for a result, the party decided to head to the dungeon to return to level A and continue exploring the area beyond the room where they met the Dwarves. At the door up to level A, they found a human skull and spinal column nailed to the door - covered in dried blood. What remained of the human's guts had been clearly eaten, at least in large part.

[I asked an online Mythic App, does the party encounter anything unusual? And got "disturbing violence, celebrating past victories". I decided at that point to stick with offline Mythic for the most part, primarily because it didn't offer me a clear Yes or No. 

At each door I came to, I checked to see if it was locked or not, followed with a check to see if it was trapped in the needle - which given all doors would be forced open, meant it didn't cause them harm - and finally I'd check to see if the door was a trigger using my traps method. ]

At one door, as Perceval forced the door open and was about to charge in, a scythe swooshed down inches from his face. 

[Prior to opening the door, I had determined it was a trap trigger. Then i checked to see what kind, and it was a Physical trap. I created a quick list of possible traps and got the ubiquitous scythe blade swinging down from the ceiling. I rolled that it would attack as F:2 and it missed. ]

The room was otherwise uninteresting other than a door opposite, which proved to be stuck, not locked. Given the location on the map, the party opted to check for a secret door to an adjacent room.

They failed to account for the possibility that something might find them and so, with clear hostility and malicious intent, the stuck door flew open and a grey skinned white haired beast with a mouth full of fangs, raged into the room. 

[Wandering monster. Ghoul. Initiative 5, party 1.]

Sister Linkat was closest to the ghoul and the object of the first attack. Raked by a claw [for 4 points of damage], Sister Linkat managed to avoid the paralysis often attendant in such instances [rolled a 19 for her save.].  

Perceval stepped up and felled the beast in a single blow! 

He suggested the party spike that door shut, but Sister Linkat argued that if there are more ghouls, she needed to destroy them to protect the village.

 [Here I used the party decision making method, and all were against Sister Linkat which lead to a modifier of -21 on the die roll. I figured that those in favor of spiking would win handily. Then, I rolled a 94. Even -21, it was a clear No. ]

Her argument was persuasive and the party agreed to explore beyond the door, which lead to the discovery of a stair well down 3 levels. The party was not ready for that ,and so ended up spiking the door anyway.

The threat from ghouls may not have come from that stair well, as later, farther from the steps and from a different direction, two more ghouls attacked the party  [again, wandering monsters]

[initiative was a tie and rather than re-roll as I often do, I decided to do it simultaneous, all attacks would be made and the results applied after]

A fierce clash of claws and steel and stone [war hammer] ensued. Dleggit was raked and bitten by one of the assailants, but as a hearty dwarf he easily avoided paralysis. Sister Linkat was able to bring the power of the Hedonistic Lumberjack to bear and drove the ghouls off.

She followed that act with healing Dleggit. It wasn't surprising when she then indicated she wanted to pursue the ghouls.

[Again, i used the group decision making method, but this time Manchiver and Dleggit persuade the party to explore further rather than chase them. Perceval spiked the door.]

On their way back to the door they wanted to check out, they encountered four dwarves coming from the direction of that room. [reaction: neutral. what are they doing: hungry/hunting]

Dleggit hails them and he and Perceval (who are both in front), throw the clan sign they learned last session [I give them a bonus of -2 on the reaction check and roll and 11, which yields a 9 and still isn't good.]

To the party's surprise, the dwarves became rather unfriendly and hollered back, "How have thieves come to be gifted the sign?" [The dialog was produced by rolling 3 Rory's Story Cubes - amulet, giving a gift, fish. The latter i interpreted as "something's fishy"]

Dleggit explained the story [Mythic: Have these dwarves heard this story?, 50/50, 95, Exceptional No]

Not only had they not been informed of this, they didn't believe it.

Dleggit continued to assert the truth of the story and that the party means no harm. In fact, he stated, the party was simply there to protect the nearby village from the foul undead that prowl these stone halls. That and to knock those pesky goblins down a peg or two.

[I checked reaction, giving a -1 bonus for the mention of the goblins, but fully expecting a battle. I rolled a 6, so a 5 which meant essentially a neutral reaction]

"You may pass this time, but we will verify your story. And if it be false, we will meet again, and you will pay for your lie."

That crisis resolved, the party proceeded to explore.

And then Manchiver fell in a 10' pit. [Fortunately he saved vs. his DEX for 1/2 damage. Which still ended up being 2 points of his total of 4.]

After hauling him out, Sister Linkat healed him back to full. And, as last time, with no more healing left, the party existed the dungeon to regroup in town.

[I decided to ask if the trip to down was uneventful. Mythic decided the answer was no.]

Some ghouls, perhaps the same turned earlier, had other ideas and attacked the party.

[Initiative: Ghouls 3, Party 6]

Perceval struck one ghoul for 3 points, while Dleggit struck the other dead in one crushing blow of his hammer.

[The ghouls failed on their attacks and the party won the next round 6 to 3]

With a thrust of his sword, Perceval dropped the second ghoul and the party quickly burned the bodies. 

The rest of the way back to town was, after that, especially uneventful.

The party explored 3 new rooms, found 2 stair wells and killed 3 ghouls - not bad for 90 or so minutes of play.

Everyone survived and Dleggit made his way to 2nd level. And then rolled poorly on his new HD.

The conversation with the dwarves was perhaps my favorite part. The Story Cubes (I use all three sets) really help it feel less like writing and more like a game.

I look forward to getting the party back into the dungeon - although I need to be more careful now that I don't have a thief to act as a scout.


  1. Regarding Dleggit's new HD, I hope that you remembered his 16 CON bonus of +2.

    I'm looking forward to future crawls.

    -- Jeff

    1. Hi Jeff,

      I remembered, but I only rolled a 2. So he has 14 points, He can survive at least one hit and in most cases, 2, without requiring healing.


  2. Another interesting post in this series. I want to try some gaming along these lines "one of these days". Still working out how I want to go about it, which rules, what kind of setup, etc. And collecting ideas, so posts like thes are a great source of inspiration for me as well.

    1. Hi Fitz-Badger,

      I played a ton of solo crawls (and one investigation-type game) in a variety of formats, before I settled on using Labyrinth Lord, random dungeon generator, and a mish-mash of whatever other systems catch my eye.

      May I heartily recommend just diving in with whatever you have at hand?

      It's not for everybody, I had to make up a lot on the fly (I still do, now that I think about it), but I found those games were great fun (some of which I documented here) and helped me zero in on what I wanted to do "the next time."

      In fact, I find that to be true from session to session of the Ever Expanding Dungeon. One of the many joys of playing solo is that, even mid-campaign you can throw whatever rules you started with and pick up an entirely different set at your whim and no one will grumble.


  3. I don't have the "story cubes" but see that I might need to get them . . .

    And, while I DO have Mythic, I don't really know how to use it . . . so I need to study it.

    -- Jeff

    1. Hi Jeff,

      The Story Cubes are a fun addition to gaming, if you like to roll dice. If not, there are similar tools available in card format and even apps that provide a similar function. They're usually lumped under creativity or writing tools.

      I have played entire adventures using only the Story Cubes to generate the content of the game world (depending on the genre, I used different rule sets for combat, character gen. etc.).

      The Voyages and the Actions cubes are well worth the purchase as well. JF over on SoloNexus has a write up on generating NPCs with the story cubes and a second article posted on GnomeStew demonstrating his method.

      As for Mythic, I use it when I need it in this crawl, but it's not strictly speaking "by the book." This post I did, follows the guidelines presented in Mythic as written:


  4. I've been doing some marathon reading of your excellent blog. Wonderful stuff! It's really inspirational, you're doing the sort of solo gaming I've been wanting to try but never knew how to start. I'm "borrowing" a lot of your ideas. Really enjoyable reading, too.

    When you use Mythic, how do you account for the Chaos level? When you just roll a 50/50 question, do you use the mid point or something else?

    And while I have the original Story Cubes, I didn't know there were other sets too. I just plunked for them from Amazon: $15.70 for the Action and Voyages! Keep up the good work!

    1. Hi Kelroy Was Here,

      Thank you for the compliments!

      For Mythic, at least with The Ever Expanding Dungeon, I don't account for the Chaos Level - I just leave it set to 5 (the mid-point). In the dungeon, I suspect it'd always be closer to 9 than not, if I tracked it!

      I continue to use random events on doubles and exceptional Yes and exceptional No.

      I don't use modified setups or scene interupts in the Ever Expanding Dungeon, because so much is random anyway that I don't have a preconceived notion of what's going to happen. Although I have been contemplating trying it anyway, because I do like the effect it has on the narrative.

      I have used Mythic as written in my Annwyn Investigations B/X game ( It was a great deal of fun and Mythic lead me down all sorts of unexpected paths.

      You won't regret the additional Rory's cubes. They add quite a lot of useful images - I'm finding the Action cubes make a great random trap generator.