Tuesday, 21 August 2012

Caverns of Ekim the Lawful

Last Saturday we got some face to face gaming in; rolling dice, pushing mini’s and making juvenile jokes at the npcs expense. It was a whole lot of fun. I haven’t run a face to face game since the play test for Rot Tower so was feeling rusty and a little nervous; which is stupid because I was gaming with guys I’ve been friends with for almost a decade. Mike was back in town and we managed to get a game going with another friend Adam. I’m an old school DM at heart and, as I’d volunteered to run a game, we agreed on AD&D.

Once game day was confirmed I had two evenings to write something. With the internet and my D&D obsession I was spoilt for resources. In the end I used a few really good ones to put the game together. I took B1 ‘In Search of the Unknown’ and used it as a shell. The original map of the dungeon is not great and so I replaced it with a redesign found at the Dragonsfoot forum. I wrote it out in a DMing friendly format as –C talks about here so that the adventure would fit on two pages. I then took some interesting elements and random table results to spice up the dungeon from the Yavin award winning and free Secret Santicore, and the excellent Dungeon Alphabet. Finally I gave the rival humanoid tribes in the dungeon an extra spark by using the 'Random Orc Generator' in Knockspell 6 and Monster Business. Alternative magic items were supplied by a post from Beyond the Black Gate.

The revised B1 map from Dragonsfoot
Character generation went smoothly though Adam and Mike were unfamiliar with the AD&D books. 4d6 drop 1 down the line. Adam rolled incredibly well and almost qualified for a Paladin. In the end he settled on a Dwarf Fighter/Cleric with amazing saves thanks to a constitution score of 19. The dice were crueller to Mike who ended up with no characteristic bonuses. Mike decided to play a Dwarven fighter. As there were only two players they started at second level with an impressive AC provided by plate mail and shields. They also had 7 pre-generated hirelings to order around thanks to Meatshields!

As we started the game I asked the character’s names. Mike was Bill. I rolled my eyes and rather foolishly suggested Adam call his dwarf Ted. Adam agreed and so Bill and Ted went off on their excellent adventure. I can't seem to run a serious adventure to save myself and so this set the tone for the afternoon. I'm not so worried as the lighter the tone the more fun I have. While the hirelings had names no one took the time to find out what they were. We all knew they weren’t going to last long.

Among the highlights of the session were:
  • A showdown in the entrance hall where the band was surrounded by goblins. The goblins were routed but all attempts at parley and surrender were met with dwarven axe and hammer. Racial hatreds die hard.
  • Dungeon chicken. I let players choose 6 things from the equipment list. Mike picked a chicken which he used to check for traps by flinging it at suspicious objects and tunnels. Dungeon chicken may have saved them from a fireball trap by unmasking the illusion that hid it. Amazingly dungeon chicken survived and was joined by a second, more intelligent chicken (see gnomes below).
  • The group got involved in a loot off, racing to secure as much loot as they could while a rival gnomish adventuring group attempted the same. The gnomes greed got the better of them and they turned on the party only to be soundly defeated. A surviving gnome braved the transformation pool hoping to transform into something powerful to seek his revenge. The dice determined that he would become a chicken and so Ted ended up doubling the number of chickens he owned by the end of the adventure. Profit.
  •  The gnomes were playing with the decapitated heads of their goblinoid foes when the adventurers met them. This rapidly degenerated into a ‘head’ jokes and related innuendo at the gnomes expense. Good fun.
  • Hireling's were ordered not to call Bill and Ted 'milord' else the monsters realise the dwarves were important and target them.
  • Hirelings encouraged to carry bright torches into dangerous situations, despite the dwarves not needing light to see. They were further encouraged to serve as distractions by being gifted 'bedazzled' cloaks and 'shiny' armour to wear.
  • The party rescued a blink dog who was trapped in a jar by the owner of the dungeon Ekim the Lawful. On a sidenote Ekim seemed misnamed, as his lair was full of nasty evil things. Thanks to me only having one dog 'voice', the blink dog was dubbed Scooby.
  • The party had found some contact poison which they exploited used to good effect against an ogre. Acting simultaneously, Bill struck the ogre with a vial of poison hurled from his sling. The brute failed it’s save and died but just prior to its projectile vomiting death it plunged the legendary ‘bleeding spear’ into Bill. The dwarf came close to dying but made a mad dash to a pool of healing which he collapsed in at -3 HP. 
That was great fun. We played for close to 4 hours and by the end I was spent. It reminded me how much I miss face to face gaming. The old groups have broken up with people moving, falling out or having family commitments. I’ve gamed with perhaps a dozen people over the years and it would be great to put a group together again. For now I make do with the weekly Google+ game.

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