Tuesday, June 28, 2022

Dubzaron Session 60: Aqualung!

Session was played on 05/25/22 and PCs can take actions again on 05/27/22 and after.

Foreword

Sixty sessions. Wow. Thank you to all players and patrons who helped make this possible. 


Session Report

The party was back to Lamalla's Temple. An unholy place sealed by the Tower of Knowledge in Turos Orn. The Patron in charge of Orn, Palatine Drakon, was pushing for PCs to clear out level 1 so he could have the Tower mages press the warding magic deeper and kind of clear out the place.

As such, the party explored around level one of this kilodungeon. Mapping as best they could. In the altar room near the front of the dungeon entrance they killed some fire beetles. Beyond that was a passage way behind a balcony that delved deeper and twisted around to be under the pit trap Daria had fallen into some weeks before. 

The party climbed out of the pit and continued down the natural cavernway that led to the aqualung room, a room with a music pool that is always playing the hit song "aqualung". Some watery looking beastmen were investigating the pool and were hostile. They were short and crazy but the party found they could only be hit by magical weapons!

It was Xanthos (PC Cleric Level 6) primarily who smashed these guys into weird gory puddles. 

The party explored down a north passage from there going down a 5 foot wide hallway for about 20 minutes before it opened into a dried up zaharan baths. The party carefully skirted around the dried bathing pool, assuming it may be trapped or magic or something?

This room had a double doors on the north wall which the party came to realize was locked with magic. There was some debate at this point about whether Xanthos should use the Scepter of Ammonar before tyring to cast Dispel Magic. The scepter is a powerful magic item the party found in the Nethercity some weeks back. Upon use it gives its divine casting wielder +4 levels for the purpose of casting spells once per day. This would make the Dispel Magic on the door much more likely.

Here is where the party was debating the risk/reward calculations. One can maybe assume there would be more treasure or interesting things beyond a wizard locked door. Their main goal was to "clear" and map level 1 of this dungeon but it doesn't mean the PCs didn't want to get paid. They decided Xanthos should spend his once per day magic resource and we rolled to see if the door lock was dispelled. It was! Much cheering on the mics.

 They went north down the hallway beyond and found an archway leading into a chamber, no door. A scythe trap came down in slices Mugsy (someone's henchman I think?) seemingly in half. Acton (PC Cleric level ???) realized it was just a flesh wound and Mugsy would only need 1 night of bed rest to be back on his feet. But he was through contributing to this particular delve.

The party continued past the scythe trap and now we were into a rat filled portion of the dungeon. Gross.

The first room had 10 giant rats eating a corpse; the party killed these. The next room has 13 rats just chilling but not hostile to the party; the party bypassed these. 

Finally the party came to a very large chamber which had stucco paintings of classic zaharan (evil) celebrities. There were also two more exits out of this room and the party realized they had about 6 directions they uncovered on Level 1 of the dungeon which they previously had not. Clearing out and mapping all these wasn't going to be workable by the end of this session, it was decided. So they decided they'd end at this room and turn around to go back the way they came.

Try again next time.

On the way out the party was attacked again in the aqualung room (a very busy place it seems!) by 5 lizardmen and a champion. The champion hit Egam (Hench mage to Daria) killing the nerd. Conor (PC Barbarian level 1) was surrounded by spear wielding lizardmen and stabbed down to the floor, receiving a mortal wounds to his legs. Martin (hench fighter for xanthos) was also killed but I don't remember the details of that.

The party escaped the dungeon with not much to show for it and were kind of bummed. It was a bit anti-climatic for a big session number like 60.

Afterword

I am generating this dungeon semi-randomly. I have bespoke random encounter tables and most of the floor plan worked out. It's been very interesting and engaging for me to generate some things on the fly and/or come up with story reasons for the various random things I placed in the dungeon but didn't really explain. I figured the explanation would come in play as needed.

Additionally, restocking on the fly has really changed things up as we go. Level 1 does not have a high re-stocking chance but even small things like those beetles in the altar room have helped give the dungeon life. The place isn't a video game dungeon with nothing happening when the PCs are away. It's always in motion.

Restocking gives an illusion of this when I don't have time to play out the dungeon like in real time like some sort of wargame. But there are real things I'm making decisions on week to week about what major bosses and such in the dungeon might be up to. Shiela the Dragon, which the pcs discovered some weeks back is a big one. Also the chief of the main beastmen the party has been killing has his own plans and goals which I'm making random determinations for now and then.

I'd advise DMs interested to do things this way, to have living dungeons which are primarily randomized, that it's not really that time consuming. You'd find that reading a module dungeon of this same size enough to understand it takes the same or more time.

As far as the anti-climax of session 60? It was indeed a bummer but things in the campaign have been very interesting these days. With a Patron player (and major NPC) instigating a lockdown on the main city of Dubzaron so they might hunt out chthonic activity there. Stay tuned for more on this!

Deceased

Dama (L1 Venturer) played by RR.  Current total xp: 75. DECEASED. Poison gas in Session 3.

Darius LeVay (L1 Assassin) played by JB. Current Total XP:451. DECEASED. Poison gas in Session 3.

Donald the Guardsman (L1 Fighter) played by MP. Current Total XP:570. DECEASED. Intra-party justice in Session 3.

Felix (L1 Thief) played by Nicholas. Current Total XP:431. DECEASED. Poison gas in Session 3.

Hektor (L1 Paladin) played by Moai. DECEASED. Cause of Death: goblin warg rider throat removal surgery in Session 2

Leonidas the Inquisitor (L1 Cleric) played by RR.Current Total XP:498  DECEASED. Frozen undead blistering cold aura left his skin frostbitten and broken in Session 6. Body not recovered.

Mard the Mage (L1 Mage) played by Nicholas. DECEASED. Frozen undead blistering cold aura left his skin frostbitten and broken in Session 6. Body not recovered.

Yolo Baggins "My friends call me Swaggins" (L1 Gnomish Trickster) played by J. DECEASED. Paralyzed and eaten by ghouls in Session 12. Body not recovered.

Jack Filcher (L1 Thief) played by C. DECEASED. Shot full of arrows by Inthorn's brigands in Session 12. Body not recovered.

Swoleous Maximus (L1 Paladin). DECEASED. Captured then drawn and quartered by Inthorn the Brigand warlord in Session 12. Posthumously named "Petty Hero of Turos Tem" by Legate Valerian. Ashes offered a place of pride in the Hospital.

Damianus (L1 Cleric). DECEASED. Captured and beheaded by Inthorn the Brigand warlord in Session 12. Posthumously named "Petty Hero of Turos Tem" by Legate Valerian. Ashes offered a place of pride in the Hospital.

Bucky (L1 Barbarian). DECEASED. Became a illegal pit fighter during his downtime. Had two bouts to the death, winning the first and losing the second. Was killed by Young Jack Sparrow who sashayed into the ring, drank rum, and mogged on Bucky before putting a dagger into his ribs, killing him. This happened during downtime between Session 17 and 18.

Broll Wolf-Eater (L1 Barbarian). Current total XP: 1079. DECEASED. Carried off by harpies after falling for their enchanting song in Session 19.

Brother Franklin (L1 Cleric). DECEASED. Decapitated by a mad cultist of a Lovecraftian slime thing in Session 19.

Felix the Elder (L1 Bard). Total XP 825. DECEASED. Captured by mad cultists and fed to a Lovecraftian slime monster in Session 19.

Templar Flavius Africanus (L1 Cleric). Total XP 7. Killed by the claws and beak of mad harpies in Session 19.

Xendi (L1 Explorer). Total XP 6. DECEASED. Carried off by harpies after falling for their enchanting song in Session 19.

Yllmeeton (L3 Shaman). Total XP 4,563. Bludgeoned by the corpse of a bowmen by Rosie Odonnel hag in Session 21.

Longinus (L2 Assassin). Total XP 2,036. Had his face ripped off by Rosie Odonnel hag in Session 21.

Mandonio (L3 Fighter). Total XP 4,779. Charred to a leprous crisp by diseased Dragon breath in Session 22.

Corydon (L1 Joker). Total XP: 0. Burnt to a crisp by chimera breath so thoroughly his corpse wasn't even fit for the crows. Died with a smile on his face and a song in his heart. that's life and as funny as it seems... some people get their kicks, stomping on a dream... In Session 25.

Donny Keebler (L1 Elven Spellsword). Total XP 2,238. Had his legs burned completely off by chimera fire breath in Session 25.

Marina (L2 Fighter). Total XP: 2,204. Burnt into ash by a chimera fire breath in Session 25.

Gundro (L2 Gnomish Trickster). Total XP: 2,575. Had his mouth and tongue bitten off by a lizardman ambusher in the dank sewers below Cyfaraun in Session 26.

Polydoros (L1 Fighter). Total XP: 0. Had his legs ripped off and eaten by Akira monsters in the dark canopy of the Viaspen Forest in Session 28.

Odrum (L1 Explorer). Total XP: 287. Javelin to the heart from the hands of weird vine goblins hidden in the walls of Ferigno's lair in Session 30.

Garvin the Nutless Wonder (L1 Mage). Total XP: 0. Fell off the side of Ferigno's lair 20 feet to his death in Session 30.

Blackmoon (L1 Assassin). Total XP: 768. Choked to death by BOB from Twin Peaks while stealing treasure from Ferigno's dragon horde in Session 30.

Xanthus (L2 Cleric). Total XP: 2,364. Choked to death by BOB from Twin Peaks while hanging out on the roof of Ferigno's lair in Session 30.

Lord Zyklon (L1 Elven Spellsword). Total XP: 0. LORD ZYKLON DISEMBOWLED LORD ZYKLON upon finding himself on the losing side of the Desolation of Turos Tem.

Turin (L1 Cleric). Total XP: 0. Eaten by Wargs in Session 32.

Rat Face (L2 Thief) Total XP: 1,577. Seemingly grabbed in the dark by a Xenomorph in Session 36. In a sinkhole your party can hear you scream! 

Smarticus (L1 Mage) Total XP: 0. Captured by a Xenomorph in Session 36 for all the party to witness. Taken deep into a sinkhole.

Hearticus (L1 Cleric) Total XP: 0. Gored to death by giant horned beetles in Session 39 after projectile vomiting all over himself from the stink of sewer sludge.

Mickey Mouser (L1 Thief) Total XP: 0. Gored to death by giant horned beetles in Session 39 in the happiest place on earth: the Cyfaraun sewer!

Aenes (Level 1 Paladin) Total XP: 62. Swarmed by giant flies in the sewer beneath Cyfaraun in Session 40.

Acianus (Level 1 Mage) Total XP: 0. Chopped to pieces in Session 42 by a six armed demon statue from behind and quickly forgotten about by his compatriots who saved MadEye and lamented Hardar instead. But I'll never forget you Acinanu nanu...nanite... nananaa...

Hardar (Level 2 Mage) Total XP: 2,832. Chopped up in Session 42 by a six armed demon statue as he held his Darth Vader Choking Grip spell long enough for his compatriots to escape an unwinnable battle. His dream to become the most evil being in the universe suffers eternally the indignity of being remembered for self sacrifice and laying his life down for his friends.

Nubbs (Level 3 Thief) Total XP: 4,017. Swarmed by scarabs which bored into his ears and brain in Session 45.

Grummz (Level 1 Dwarven Vaultgard) Total XP: 0. Ripped limb from limb by a throng of skeletons and their undead golem leaders in Session 46.

Grommzs (Level 1 Dwarven Vaultguard) Total XP: 2,168. Torn to bits and eaten by trolls in session 48

Rapunzel (Level 4 Priestess) Total XP: 11,540. Torn to bits and eaten by trolls in Session 48.

Schizo (Level 1 Mage): Total XP: 0. Frozen to death by an assassin's guild ruffian bard wielding a Wand of Cold in session 54.

Marteen (Level 1 Thief): Total XP: 0. Fell to his death in Lamalla's Temple upon a pile of dragon horde gold. Corpse eaten by Sheila the Beautiful, an Ancient Blue Dragon in session 56.

Alexa this is so sad play "Aqualung" again and again and again

Wednesday, June 8, 2022

Dubzaron Session 59: When Wererats attack!

This session was played on 05/20/22 delving on this same day. PCs need one day or rest and can commence actions on 05/22/22. 

Session Report

This session was a re-uniting of Team A, in a way. Most of the PCs from the early campaign's main group had been off doing solo downtime adventures and things since about January. Gaius (PC Fighter Level ???) was given Turos Tem (now called New Cyfaraun) to oversee. BriarWhisper (PC Elven Ranger Level ???) has been running various scouting ops in downtime around the region for Patrons and himself. Timur (PC Barbarian Level ???) traveled a bazillion miles to the capital of the Empire to fight in the big arena. Finally Laru (PC Thief Level ???) has been doing thieves guild kind of stuff around Dubzaron getting himself established. 


Laru's player was also the substitute DM when I took a 6 week-ish long hiatus from session DMing. This is the type of thing #BROSR campaigns can do which other styles of campaign structure simply can not.

So anyway all of these mid to name-level PCs were back in session play. What had them so riled up, anyway, where they'd put their big important duties aside? Leonard Smalls!

MadEye (PC Venturer Level ???) who, strangely, didn't participate in session play, was still big mad about Smalls trying to blackmail him or kill his henchman or steal Mandonio's Relic Spear or whatever. Additionally Acton (PC Cleric level ???) has some snitches I mean informants who he tasks with keeping an eye out for chaotic cult behavior around town and they heard it from them streetz that Smalls was hiding out with the were-rats in the sewers!

MadEye rumormonged with his people then and learned the general location of the wererat's lair. He handed these high level PCs the map and went back to his shop or caravans or something. Good luck guys!

While the party was breaking open a sewer grate just behind the Merchant's Guildhouse some foppish merchants noticed Gaius and Daria (PC Bladedancer, mid level) and wondered aloud about why folks of such high station would be mucking about in the sewer. Gaius said something rude/prideful to the NPC merchants and Daria was mostly just confused as is her way. The party climbed into the sewer.

Traveling down the thin passageway along the sewer sludge the party trudged along. I rolled a random encounter for, wouldn't you guess it, wererats! The distance rolled was like 120 feet away and the reaction was Neutral. I ruled since the passageway was a straight line that each group could see the others torchlight from 120' away with darkness between and get a general idea of numbers and what the other group was up to. Neither side had Surprise.

The wererats were in human form and checking walls for secret doors. The PCs do this sort of thing all the time so I thought it fair they'd know what such a task looked like even from a distance. 

PCs probably figured these were the wererats but they were playing their generally Lawful alignment well enough to not just launch arrows into dudes who might simply be sewer hobos. They tasked a Cleric with casting Detect Magic and they wanted to get 60 feet (I think) away to see if these dudes showed as "evil". Wererats most certainly would, by definition. 

The wererats seemed to see the PCs were approaching and could maybe tell there were clerics among the party so they doused their torches and fled away from the party into the darkness. There was some wrangling with players about distances and action economy on how fast they could cast the spell or something (zzzz) but eventually they came to the location the "hobos" were when they first saw them. No sign of them now and certainly out of vision with the PCs' torch light.

BriarWhisper tracked the ground and rolled quite well so it was obvious the wererats went directly away from the party in the only apparent direction. Tracking thus proved they didn't slip into a secret door or jump in the sludge or something to hide. Some 60' or so following the tracks and BriarWhisper noticed the footprints turned into claw prints like huge rats. Oh no!

At this point they pretty much knew they had seen wererats and they took chase. Briar lost the tracks after a bit and Billy (PC Explorer low mid level) tried tracking to no avail. Sorry newb!

The party eventually came to the spot that MadEye's map/info led them to believe was the entrance to the wererat lair. It was a bunch of debris, broken furniture and stuff in a sewer alcove which hid a secret door. They took to clearing it out and I checked for random encounters, getting none.

Beyond the debris was a rat infested mini-dungeon of sorts of the caller tasked Laru and his rogueish henchmen with scouting ahead here and there. In one room a swarm of rats was hiding in the debris and came rushing out knocking down and biting up one of Laru's henchmen. 

Further into the small facility was a four way intersection with one exit leading directly into an empty barracks. Laru and Co found some chests there and were tasked with doing their thief thing on the chests (unlock, traps, etc) and got to it. The rest of the party covered the intersection. No small task considering enemies could come from 3 sides.

At some point their heard sounds like an earthquake coming from the northeast passage and Gaius and Timur posted up on the threshold to "hold the line" in case something came. Daria was in the second rank. What came was a big stone man like 12 feet tall the PCs eventually realized was an earth elemental.

It began beating Timur down pretty well and appeared to be avoiding attacking Gaius, possibly intelligent enough to realize Timur was an easier target (at least by appearances). Acton and Brian (PC Wonderworker Level 1) spaced out in the intersection to cast Protection from Evil which prevents summoned evil creatures from approaching the area effected. Both of them would have to stand around and concentrate on that the rest of the fight so the elemental couldn't get into the mass of the party and make attacks on lower level and lower AC PCs. 

A big hydra arrived the next round of combat but it also couldn't approach the softer targets since it was apparently summoned as well. 

Under ACKS rules if an PCs attack from the Protection from Evil ward the whole thing collapses and monsters are no longer warded from approach. But the PCs tonight were dealing with a ruling the substitute DM made in a previous session which is that PCs on the OTHER SIDE of the ward bubble could make missile attacks and not pop said bubble.

I ruled this was fine within the letter of the rules I saw but I'm beginning to see why the "mummy hunts" the PCs were getting into week after week while I was on hiatus were not particularly dangerous. I'm guessing they employed this bubble tactic quite a bit.

It was working well for them this session but Timur did get damaged enough to where he wanted to back out of combat and get healed. The earth elemental punched him below the belt and he didn't like that, not one bit. Daria took his place in the line but the hydra and earth elemental beat her down to within 2 hit points and she was scrambling out to get healzz too. 

In combat magical healing is quite difficult to achieve in ACKS since you can't move and cast. Healing spells then are more of a strategic concern in old school dnd and not a tactical one in most cases.

After the Hydra died some wererats came storming into the room and tried to attack Acton and Brian to break their concentration and make them drop the protection bubble(s) but by that point it was too late and the PCs were in mopping up mode. The leader of the bad guys should have sent the wererats in sooner. I need to up my monster-tactics game to #WinAtRPGS !

The PCs killed the earth elemental and mopped up the wererats and moved deeper into the complex. They came upon a wererat who had apparently killed a ranking mage member of the Tower of Knowledge. We moved through this really quickly because it was late af. Some PCs said "screw that guy" and wanted to loot him and the more Lawful sorts wanted to bring his body and items to the Tower. 

In downtime they split the difference by casting Speak with Dead on the mage and learning he was in league with the wererats and was himself a wererat so the PCs figured it was fair to strip his items before giving his body to the Tower.

Leonard Smalls was not found during the delve. The search continues!

As the party exited the sewer the NPC Merchants who saw Gaius and Daria enter the place had brought chairs and an entourage to watch and wait for the PCs to come back up. Upon seeing all the party members alive and well the merchants and their cronies applauded "good show, legate!"

Daria was confused again.

Afterword

This session had a ton of players (9) and they brought many henchmen (7 total). It was a bit cumbersome to run the combat itself which is quite a shame since BROSR DND prides itself on being able to handle very large tables of drop-in/drop-out players. 

I'd say the main culprit for cumbersome play here is that ACKS proper uses individual initiative. Counting down and needing to stop what amounts to 17 times (plus each monster) gets a bit mentally taxing. When the PCs wanted to post up to do the Protection from Evil scheme that took a bit of time to work out timing of since this PC had to wait for that PC to move here or there first etc etc.

The healing spell question mentioned above as also confounded by individual initiative. PC 1 needs to move here first in round 1 so he can catch the heal spell in round 2 and all the while the PC healer and healee are wrangling with initiative count to try and time it right. Not fun.

I'm pondering changing my campaign over to group initiative but, much like 3e, so much of game design is hooked in together and changing one thing like this leads to a cascading effect. If I can crack the code about this cascade and how to fairly address it for both PCs and monsters I'll certainly pull to trigger on moving to group initiative. Worry not players, if and when this happens there will be a month or more of warning for you to play in individual init until such time.

The session ran late partially because of combat being so slow but also because the players came to the session still working out some of their gameplan for the delve. I can't blame them for this they had 9 total PC voices that must needs have their say about what they'd be doing tonight. I didn't rush them at this point because I enjoy hearing players make plans and schemes. Perhaps I should have lit a fire under them earlier.

One thing I liked about this session, however, was how the mission came about thanks to downtime and Patron play. Smalls himself is a Patron on the run, of sorts, thanks to PCs knocking out his syndicate so he moved to hide with the wererats. It was a pretty good fit but sadly the rats didn't have what it took to hold off the mid to high level PCs on Team A. 

Where he is now is anyone's guess but the PCs, in downtime, are already trying to figure it out. I'm not sure why they hate (or fear?) this guy so much but player guided hooks like this are certainly much more interesting than the standard module hooks of "go kill guy bc npc said so and u get 500 gp pls thanku".

Deceased

Dama (L1 Venturer) played by RR.  Current total xp: 75. DECEASED. Poison gas in Session 3.

Darius LeVay (L1 Assassin) played by JB. Current Total XP:451. DECEASED. Poison gas in Session 3.

Donald the Guardsman (L1 Fighter) played by MP. Current Total XP:570. DECEASED. Intra-party justice in Session 3.

Felix (L1 Thief) played by Nicholas. Current Total XP:431. DECEASED. Poison gas in Session 3.

Hektor (L1 Paladin) played by Moai. DECEASED. Cause of Death: goblin warg rider throat removal surgery in Session 2

Leonidas the Inquisitor (L1 Cleric) played by RR.Current Total XP:498  DECEASED. Frozen undead blistering cold aura left his skin frostbitten and broken in Session 6. Body not recovered.

Mard the Mage (L1 Mage) played by Nicholas. DECEASED. Frozen undead blistering cold aura left his skin frostbitten and broken in Session 6. Body not recovered.

Yolo Baggins "My friends call me Swaggins" (L1 Gnomish Trickster) played by J. DECEASED. Paralyzed and eaten by ghouls in Session 12. Body not recovered.

Jack Filcher (L1 Thief) played by C. DECEASED. Shot full of arrows by Inthorn's brigands in Session 12. Body not recovered.

Swoleous Maximus (L1 Paladin). DECEASED. Captured then drawn and quartered by Inthorn the Brigand warlord in Session 12. Posthumously named "Petty Hero of Turos Tem" by Legate Valerian. Ashes offered a place of pride in the Hospital.

Damianus (L1 Cleric). DECEASED. Captured and beheaded by Inthorn the Brigand warlord in Session 12. Posthumously named "Petty Hero of Turos Tem" by Legate Valerian. Ashes offered a place of pride in the Hospital.

Bucky (L1 Barbarian). DECEASED. Became a illegal pit fighter during his downtime. Had two bouts to the death, winning the first and losing the second. Was killed by Young Jack Sparrow who sashayed into the ring, drank rum, and mogged on Bucky before putting a dagger into his ribs, killing him. This happened during downtime between Session 17 and 18.

Broll Wolf-Eater (L1 Barbarian). Current total XP: 1079. DECEASED. Carried off by harpies after falling for their enchanting song in Session 19.

Brother Franklin (L1 Cleric). DECEASED. Decapitated by a mad cultist of a Lovecraftian slime thing in Session 19.

Felix the Elder (L1 Bard). Total XP 825. DECEASED. Captured by mad cultists and fed to a Lovecraftian slime monster in Session 19.

Templar Flavius Africanus (L1 Cleric). Total XP 7. Killed by the claws and beak of mad harpies in Session 19.

Xendi (L1 Explorer). Total XP 6. DECEASED. Carried off by harpies after falling for their enchanting song in Session 19.

Yllmeeton (L3 Shaman). Total XP 4,563. Bludgeoned by the corpse of a bowmen by Rosie Odonnel hag in Session 21.

Longinus (L2 Assassin). Total XP 2,036. Had his face ripped off by Rosie Odonnel hag in Session 21.

Mandonio (L3 Fighter). Total XP 4,779. Charred to a leprous crisp by diseased Dragon breath in Session 22.

Corydon (L1 Joker). Total XP: 0. Burnt to a crisp by chimera breath so thoroughly his corpse wasn't even fit for the crows. Died with a smile on his face and a song in his heart. that's life and as funny as it seems... some people get their kicks, stomping on a dream... In Session 25.

Donny Keebler (L1 Elven Spellsword). Total XP 2,238. Had his legs burned completely off by chimera fire breath in Session 25.

Marina (L2 Fighter). Total XP: 2,204. Burnt into ash by a chimera fire breath in Session 25.

Gundro (L2 Gnomish Trickster). Total XP: 2,575. Had his mouth and tongue bitten off by a lizardman ambusher in the dank sewers below Cyfaraun in Session 26.

Polydoros (L1 Fighter). Total XP: 0. Had his legs ripped off and eaten by Akira monsters in the dark canopy of the Viaspen Forest in Session 28.

Odrum (L1 Explorer). Total XP: 287. Javelin to the heart from the hands of weird vine goblins hidden in the walls of Ferigno's lair in Session 30.

Garvin the Nutless Wonder (L1 Mage). Total XP: 0. Fell off the side of Ferigno's lair 20 feet to his death in Session 30.

Blackmoon (L1 Assassin). Total XP: 768. Choked to death by BOB from Twin Peaks while stealing treasure from Ferigno's dragon horde in Session 30.

Xanthus (L2 Cleric). Total XP: 2,364. Choked to death by BOB from Twin Peaks while hanging out on the roof of Ferigno's lair in Session 30.

Lord Zyklon (L1 Elven Spellsword). Total XP: 0. LORD ZYKLON DISEMBOWLED LORD ZYKLON upon finding himself on the losing side of the Desolation of Turos Tem.

Turin (L1 Cleric). Total XP: 0. Eaten by Wargs in Session 32.

Rat Face (L2 Thief) Total XP: 1,577. Seemingly grabbed in the dark by a Xenomorph in Session 36. In a sinkhole your party can hear you scream! 

Smarticus (L1 Mage) Total XP: 0. Captured by a Xenomorph in Session 36 for all the party to witness. Taken deep into a sinkhole.

Hearticus (L1 Cleric) Total XP: 0. Gored to death by giant horned beetles in Session 39 after projectile vomiting all over himself from the stink of sewer sludge.

Mickey Mouser (L1 Thief) Total XP: 0. Gored to death by giant horned beetles in Session 39 in the happiest place on earth: the Cyfaraun sewer!

Aenes (Level 1 Paladin) Total XP: 62. Swarmed by giant flies in the sewer beneath Cyfaraun in Session 40.

Acianus (Level 1 Mage) Total XP: 0. Chopped to pieces in Session 42 by a six armed demon statue from behind and quickly forgotten about by his compatriots who saved MadEye and lamented Hardar instead. But I'll never forget you Acinanu nanu...nanite... nananaa...

Hardar (Level 2 Mage) Total XP: 2,832. Chopped up in Session 42 by a six armed demon statue as he held his Darth Vader Choking Grip spell long enough for his compatriots to escape an unwinnable battle. His dream to become the most evil being in the universe suffers eternally the indignity of being remembered for self sacrifice and laying his life down for his friends.

Nubbs (Level 3 Thief) Total XP: 4,017. Swarmed by scarabs which bored into his ears and brain in Session 45.

Grummz (Level 1 Dwarven Vaultgard) Total XP: 0. Ripped limb from limb by a throng of skeletons and their undead golem leaders in Session 46.

Grommzs (Level 1 Dwarven Vaultguard) Total XP: 2,168. Torn to bits and eaten by trolls in session 48

Rapunzel (Level 4 Priestess) Total XP: 11,540. Torn to bits and eaten by trolls in Session 48.

Schizo (Level 1 Mage): Total XP: 0. Frozen to death by an assassin's guild ruffian bard wielding a Wand of Cold in session 54.

Marteen (Level 1 Thief): Total XP: 0. Fell to his death in Lamalla's Temple upon a pile of dragon horde gold. Corpse eaten by Sheila the Beautiful, an Ancient Blue Dragon in session 56.

Alexa this is so sad play "Bullet with Butterfly Wings" by the smashing pumpkins

Friday, May 27, 2022

Dubzaron Session 58: Shock Spider Soiree (how to make a megadungeon)

This session was played on 05/11/22 using 1 day. Actions can be taken on 05/13/22 after a day of rest.

Foreword

The saddest words of tongue or pen are "Jeffro was right, again."

Session Report

This session the PCs returned to Lamalla's Temple beneath the Patron controlled town of Turos Orn. This dungeon is my homebrew "kilo" dungeon. Kilodungeon is a word Alexander Macris, the creator of ACKS, coined for dungeons that are pretty big but not quite mega size. His own published dungeon Secrets of the Nethercity is his example of a kilodungeon. 


We have played Nethercity a great deal this campaign and the players, once they understood its layout and what sorts of doors and rooms signal big scores, began to enjoy that it was a somewhat reliable source of big treasure (thus XP) gains. I took a 5 week hiatus from DMing session play and this is primarily where the PCs had the substitute DM run them.

The substitute DM, however, began to balk at DMing "another mummy hunt". Some players privately implied that the sessions, despite being profitable, kind of ran together and were perhaps not that fun.

So on my return to the DM chair I dropped this new kilodungeon into the world, one that I had written up some months back but hadn't pushed for. It was given some new hooks thanks to the nearby Patron and players jumped in.

Now I can't say for sure if players are having more fun in this dungeon than the Nethercity, but I'm certainly having more fun running it. I'll elaborate in this session report.

The Party's plan, upon entering the dungeon, was to explore and clear level 1 of the dungeon. Palatine Drakon (Patron Fighter level ???) wants to claim level 1 of the dungeon with the warding spells the Tower of Knowledge was using to seal off the entry door entirely. He seems to have the plan of pushing the ward down down down level by level as the PCs "clear" the place.


So they took to scouring level 1 of the place. They passed through the magic music pool that plays "Aqualung" going down some natural 5 feet wide hallways. Down this passageway they came upon a mated pair of Giant Toads who (as per a goofy joke from a player) were licking eachother's back to get high. The party let arrows loose killing the female toad. The male toad was distraught and crying about his lost lady, his queen! But was killed upon charging (or hopping angrily) towards the party proper. With his dying croaks he reached out and took his queen's hand.

The narrow hallway went on for over 100 feet but eventually opened into a natural cavern with a mosaic depicting a woman on an unending beach. The same figure stood as a 12' tall statute in the center of the room with valuable rare feathers as her hair and pearls for eyes. The party had some scheme to use rope to topple the statue like a tripline with a PC on either side, assuming the statue would come to life.

Instead, upon being fiddle with, the statue shot laser eyes to try and disintegrate Kortes (PC Explorer level ???). Kortes made his save vs death and is quickly becoming the master of saving throws in this campaign.

It seemed the trap was a 1 time thing and the party plucked the feathers and pearls from the statue, copping solid treasure gains. 

The next room over had a tiled drowning pool and Acton (PC Cleric level ???) offered his henchman  Swolus Noginus 50 gp to drink from it. The fellow shrugged and figured why not and was then laid out on the floor screaming and grabbing his throat in pain. Seems the water from the evil drowning pool of a forgotten cult level drained him. Go figure. I asked if any other Players wanted to give it a sip but they decline. Sad.

After a bit the party came upon a small crypt where 24 skeletons climbed out of wall graves. Conor (PC Barbarian level 1) stormed into the room to wreck them with his bearded axe but was surrounded by like 10 of the skeletons and scratched up with angry boney claws. The party clerics rolled their eyes and easilly Turned Undead on the skeletons (with Xanthos the Cleric actually destroying them!). The wall graves were looted.

Delving deeper through natural cave hallways Xanthos fell into a crude pit trap with poisoned stakes at the bottom. He took some fall damage but saved vs poison and didn't die. Xanthos is one of the highest level PCs and dying in such a way would have been quite a setback for the party indeed! It would have been a bummer.

The natural hallways beyond the pit weaved and wound along but came to no other rooms. At a dead end the party checked for secret doors but found none. One their way back past the pit trap they found 2 giant spiders investigating the pit to perhaps make a nice nest there. 

The party had surprise on the spiders and softened them up before the melee engaged. As the fight raged on their realized these spiders coursed with electricity and each time they were hit in melee or bit someone in melee there would be a shock causing damage. The darkness lit up with electricity and Swolus the henchman fell before the spiders could be killed.

At some point the party also fought 5 iguanamen that are in my notes but I don't remember the details of when or how.

The party made about 3,000 gp in treasure from the feathers and pearls so for a level 1 dungeon this was a pretty good take.

Afterword

Jeffro and I argued all of summer of 2020 about whether or not a DM should use modules. I argued it was good and useful for an Elite DM who could put his stamp on the material. I still believe this to be the case but I concede that I much prefer running  Lamalla's Temple (homebrew) dungeon more than Nethercity (module) dungeon. It's simply MORE FUN.

Cynical PCs might claim this is because I didn't like that PCs were "leveling easily" with the Nethercity, that I'm having more fun because PCs aren't GETTIN PAID. Untrue. I'm fine with easy wins for PCs, earned or unearned. That's up to the dice. 

But there is something to putting some two word ideas onto a hastily drawn dungeon grid map of your own devising that gives you more claim to it. And gives it more of a real feeling in ones mind's-eye. It also gives PCs more claim to it. 

This was proven last session when a PC was killed by an electrical robot glove which he then grafted onto his own arm to become Power Fist Cleric. Sure this could happen in a published module but most DMs (myself included most of the time) would not let such a thing play out unless it was specifically spelled out in the module. What did I write directly onto the map for that room and encounter? "Shocking robot hand". That's it. That's all the prep you need for a great D&D memory.

So I promised in the title to touch you how to make a megadungeon and it's this simple. You can make a quick maze a few levels deep and not even stock it before the session. But what you really need is a bespoke random encounter chart. These will give the place personality and even if you randomly generate most of the dungeon before the session or even live in play the monsters will give the place flavor.

Also a simple theme will help you toss out ideas for all those "Unique"s that pop up when you're randomly rolling room contents. Lamalla's Temple is water themed because Lamalla is the evil goddess of tidal waves and such. So when I'm not sure what unique is in a room I just think of a statue of her, or a cult altar, or a drowning pool or something.

You can do the same. Come up with a theme, a bespoke random encounter table that goes 6 to 9 levels deep, draw a couple quick maps, and you're ready for PCs to create a megadungeon with you live in play.


Jeffro mentioned this in some private chats that a side view of the megadungeon but not laying out the grid for each level is the way to go. This could work I think. If you have a side cutout view of the megadungeon and a quick them scribbled on it for each level/section then you have a good enough idea about what is there and will have some conception about what is just below and above the level the PCs are on. Will help you be able to improv something when a monster from those levels arrives. 

Like the osr I hate admitting Jeffro was right. Unlike the osr I am honest enough to do so. He was. 

This time anyway.

Surviving PCs Present

Acton (Cleric)

Billy (Explorer)

Conor (Barbarian)

Kortes (Explorer)

Xanthos (Cleric)


Deceased

Dama (L1 Venturer) played by RR.  Current total xp: 75. DECEASED. Poison gas in Session 3.

Darius LeVay (L1 Assassin) played by JB. Current Total XP:451. DECEASED. Poison gas in Session 3.

Donald the Guardsman (L1 Fighter) played by MP. Current Total XP:570. DECEASED. Intra-party justice in Session 3.

Felix (L1 Thief) played by Nicholas. Current Total XP:431. DECEASED. Poison gas in Session 3.

Hektor (L1 Paladin) played by Moai. DECEASED. Cause of Death: goblin warg rider throat removal surgery in Session 2

Leonidas the Inquisitor (L1 Cleric) played by RR.Current Total XP:498  DECEASED. Frozen undead blistering cold aura left his skin frostbitten and broken in Session 6. Body not recovered.

Mard the Mage (L1 Mage) played by Nicholas. DECEASED. Frozen undead blistering cold aura left his skin frostbitten and broken in Session 6. Body not recovered.

Yolo Baggins "My friends call me Swaggins" (L1 Gnomish Trickster) played by J. DECEASED. Paralyzed and eaten by ghouls in Session 12. Body not recovered.

Jack Filcher (L1 Thief) played by C. DECEASED. Shot full of arrows by Inthorn's brigands in Session 12. Body not recovered.

Swoleous Maximus (L1 Paladin). DECEASED. Captured then drawn and quartered by Inthorn the Brigand warlord in Session 12. Posthumously named "Petty Hero of Turos Tem" by Legate Valerian. Ashes offered a place of pride in the Hospital.

Damianus (L1 Cleric). DECEASED. Captured and beheaded by Inthorn the Brigand warlord in Session 12. Posthumously named "Petty Hero of Turos Tem" by Legate Valerian. Ashes offered a place of pride in the Hospital.

Bucky (L1 Barbarian). DECEASED. Became a illegal pit fighter during his downtime. Had two bouts to the death, winning the first and losing the second. Was killed by Young Jack Sparrow who sashayed into the ring, drank rum, and mogged on Bucky before putting a dagger into his ribs, killing him. This happened during downtime between Session 17 and 18.

Broll Wolf-Eater (L1 Barbarian). Current total XP: 1079. DECEASED. Carried off by harpies after falling for their enchanting song in Session 19.

Brother Franklin (L1 Cleric). DECEASED. Decapitated by a mad cultist of a Lovecraftian slime thing in Session 19.

Felix the Elder (L1 Bard). Total XP 825. DECEASED. Captured by mad cultists and fed to a Lovecraftian slime monster in Session 19.

Templar Flavius Africanus (L1 Cleric). Total XP 7. Killed by the claws and beak of mad harpies in Session 19.

Xendi (L1 Explorer). Total XP 6. DECEASED. Carried off by harpies after falling for their enchanting song in Session 19.

Yllmeeton (L3 Shaman). Total XP 4,563. Bludgeoned by the corpse of a bowmen by Rosie Odonnel hag in Session 21.

Longinus (L2 Assassin). Total XP 2,036. Had his face ripped off by Rosie Odonnel hag in Session 21.

Mandonio (L3 Fighter). Total XP 4,779. Charred to a leprous crisp by diseased Dragon breath in Session 22.

Corydon (L1 Joker). Total XP: 0. Burnt to a crisp by chimera breath so thoroughly his corpse wasn't even fit for the crows. Died with a smile on his face and a song in his heart. that's life and as funny as it seems... some people get their kicks, stomping on a dream... In Session 25.

Donny Keebler (L1 Elven Spellsword). Total XP 2,238. Had his legs burned completely off by chimera fire breath in Session 25.

Marina (L2 Fighter). Total XP: 2,204. Burnt into ash by a chimera fire breath in Session 25.

Gundro (L2 Gnomish Trickster). Total XP: 2,575. Had his mouth and tongue bitten off by a lizardman ambusher in the dank sewers below Cyfaraun in Session 26.

Polydoros (L1 Fighter). Total XP: 0. Had his legs ripped off and eaten by Akira monsters in the dark canopy of the Viaspen Forest in Session 28.

Odrum (L1 Explorer). Total XP: 287. Javelin to the heart from the hands of weird vine goblins hidden in the walls of Ferigno's lair in Session 30.

Garvin the Nutless Wonder (L1 Mage). Total XP: 0. Fell off the side of Ferigno's lair 20 feet to his death in Session 30.

Blackmoon (L1 Assassin). Total XP: 768. Choked to death by BOB from Twin Peaks while stealing treasure from Ferigno's dragon horde in Session 30.

Xanthus (L2 Cleric). Total XP: 2,364. Choked to death by BOB from Twin Peaks while hanging out on the roof of Ferigno's lair in Session 30.

Lord Zyklon (L1 Elven Spellsword). Total XP: 0. LORD ZYKLON DISEMBOWLED LORD ZYKLON upon finding himself on the losing side of the Desolation of Turos Tem.

Turin (L1 Cleric). Total XP: 0. Eaten by Wargs in Session 32.

Rat Face (L2 Thief) Total XP: 1,577. Seemingly grabbed in the dark by a Xenomorph in Session 36. In a sinkhole your party can hear you scream! 

Smarticus (L1 Mage) Total XP: 0. Captured by a Xenomorph in Session 36 for all the party to witness. Taken deep into a sinkhole.

Hearticus (L1 Cleric) Total XP: 0. Gored to death by giant horned beetles in Session 39 after projectile vomiting all over himself from the stink of sewer sludge.

Mickey Mouser (L1 Thief) Total XP: 0. Gored to death by giant horned beetles in Session 39 in the happiest place on earth: the Cyfaraun sewer!

Aenes (Level 1 Paladin) Total XP: 62. Swarmed by giant flies in the sewer beneath Cyfaraun in Session 40.

Acianus (Level 1 Mage) Total XP: 0. Chopped to pieces in Session 42 by a six armed demon statue from behind and quickly forgotten about by his compatriots who saved MadEye and lamented Hardar instead. But I'll never forget you Acinanu nanu...nanite... nananaa...

Hardar (Level 2 Mage) Total XP: 2,832. Chopped up in Session 42 by a six armed demon statue as he held his Darth Vader Choking Grip spell long enough for his compatriots to escape an unwinnable battle. His dream to become the most evil being in the universe suffers eternally the indignity of being remembered for self sacrifice and laying his life down for his friends.

Nubbs (Level 3 Thief) Total XP: 4,017. Swarmed by scarabs which bored into his ears and brain in Session 45.

Grummz (Level 1 Dwarven Vaultgard) Total XP: 0. Ripped limb from limb by a throng of skeletons and their undead golem leaders in Session 46.

Grommzs (Level 1 Dwarven Vaultguard) Total XP: 2,168. Torn to bits and eaten by trolls in session 48

Rapunzel (Level 4 Priestess) Total XP: 11,540. Torn to bits and eaten by trolls in Session 48.

Schizo (Level 1 Mage): Total XP: 0. Frozen to death by an assassin's guild ruffian bard wielding a Wand of Cold in session 54.

Marteen (Level 1 Thief): Total XP: 0. Fell to his death in Lamalla's Temple upon a pile of dragon horde gold. Corpse eaten by Sheila the Beautiful, an Ancient Blue Dragon in session 56.

Alexa this is so sad play "In Your Eyes" by Peter Gabriel

Wednesday, May 18, 2022

Dubzaron Session 57: Ambrose gets a Power Fist

This session was played on 05/04/22 wherein the PCs delved for 1 day. Needing 1 day of rest as per ACKS rules the PCs can engage in actions again starting on 05/06/22.

Session Report

The Party returned to the sealed Temple of Lamalla beneath the Tower of Knowledge in Turos Orn. Drakon (Patron Palatine Fighter level ???) charged the party this week with a goal to "clear" level 1 of the dungeon so he could have the Tower mages extend the magic ward across level 1 and thus "claim" that portion of the dungeon. 

boom

As a reminder this is my homebrew dungeon. PCs are aware that it has many levels because last week they fell down a hole into a very deep level indeed onto the blue dragon lair of Sheila the Beautiful. Before the session kicked off a few of the players mentioned on the mics they wanted to look into how they might attack or heist Sheila's spot. I'm also sure there was much private PC scheming about such things between sessions. Yet they came on tonight ready for a more modest goal of "clear level 1".

Did they?

The 1e AD&D Player's Handbook advice on PC play encourages players to stick to their session goal (1e PHB page 107-109). In this section Gygax gives some of the following advice:

-"avoid unnecessary encounters"

-"do not be sidetracked"

-"likewise, there are times when objectives must be abandoned"

Eventually the players voted on doing the 3rd thing lol

But I'm getting ahead of myself.

The party entered the sealed temple with the warded door closing with a creak behind them. They went back through a nearby room with a whales/fish themed bas relief and came to a room filled with rubble as if the back corner had collapsed. Sticking out of the rubble was a Blue Metal Robot hand thing.

Daria cast Detect Magic and claimed it was indeed magic.

Ambrose (PC Cleric level 1) decided to investigate. He took hold of the hand to see if he might pull a golem from the rubble or something but there was a flash of lightning as we was shocked and sent flying across the room, seemingly dead.

Acton (PC Cleric level ???) and Daria (PC BladeDancer level ???) hurried to apply healing and Ambrose did indeed barely survive, but his arms were all seared and destroyed by the harsh shock. He'd never use them again. His Mortal Wound, as per ACKS rules, deemed he'd need 4 weeks of rest to adventure again. He was done for tonight.

The party carried Ambrose body about 50' back to the dungeon entrance and left him lying there next to the blue robot hand. They didn't want to open the door out of the dungeon because the Tower mages claimed they'd only open the wards twice per week. Once to enter and once to exit. The party refused to end their delve after 20 minutes so, sorry Ambrose you can sit here and wait for us to get back.

On the way past the bas relief the party had a weird strike of luck and Daria's Detect Magic was still going. They had been through this room the previous week but didn't detect magic in it. The bas relief of the whales and fish were showing as magical. 

Brian (PC Wonderworker Level 1) guessed this meant the whale(s) must talk of course and strangely enough that's what was in my notes. The whale spoke Ancient Zaharan and it said "ask me a question". Brian asked "where is the treasure horde" and the whale described the location of a secret door near a canal and the party was pretty sure, based on last week's delve to level 2, they knew where it was.

They kept looking around level 1 of the dungeon, however, and discovered a small pool with magic music playing from it. Specifically it was playing the song "Aqua Lung" by Grammy award winning heavy metal artist Jethro Tull. Swolus (hench fighter to Acton) noticed a small tunnel in the pool that went directly down.

While I took a break to grab a drink apparently the PCs debated/argued/decided this "clear level 1" mission wasn't cutting it; they wanted the treasure horde the bas relief whale told them about! Off they went.

On their way they came upon some fishmen at the altar the party destroyed last week. The fishmen appeared bummed the altar was gone. The party had surprise on the fishy fellows and dispatched them without too much trouble. However when dead the fishmen turned into humans. The party was confused but didn't linger to investigate long.

Down on level 2 they fought some translucent skin igauna kind of creatures. The party surprised them too and only Olivier (PC Paladin level ???) took a hit. Crossing a bridge over the nearby canal they came to a barracks room they killed a bunch of iganuamen in last week. The whale's directions seemed to lead here and the party spent a few turns searching for secret doors. Kortes (PC Explorer level ???) found one. Beyond it was indeed a chest.

Acton picked up the chest and went straight back to the dungeon entrance. With no encounters on the way it was a pretty short night for the delve proper. There was about 2,500 GP worth of treasure and thus XP in the chest so it was a decent take for a session. Not extraordinary but nothing to scoff at.

Were they wrong to get sidetracked, ignoring Gygaxian "Successful Adventures" best method by not sticking to the "clear level 1" goal? Next week actually answers the question!

I had some time left to hang out on the mic after the delve. Most of the players had logged off but Amrbose and some other players were curious about the Blue Metal Robot Hand. They started asking the Tower mages all about it. Somehow Doc Brownstone, the dwarven machinist patron player based on of Dubzaron was there. He had even hopped on the mic to hang out after session I think. When the Tower mages (NPC) started advising the PCs chop of Ambrose's hand and shove the robot fist on it, Brownstone was aghast. Calling them crazy idiots, nerds, and the like.

Conor (PC Barbarian level 1), however, had a bearded axe. Right there. In his hand... I mean, can you blame him?

Some wires were wiggling around on the robot fist and the tower mages, including Seth Rogen the Burned Out (NPC Mage level ???), were like "go go go! do it!"

Conor chopped off Ambrose's arm in the basement of the Tower of Knowledge. Science!

Once it was decided the arm was coming off I typed up some crazy odds on what might happen and shared them in the chat room. It was like 1 in 3 chance the fist would attach to Ambrose and work. 1 in 3 chance nothing would happen and he'd simply bleed out and die. 1 in 3 chance the fist would come to life and choke him out and he'd die. Not great odds for our hero.

Ambrose rolled the dice in the chat and ... the fist worked! The metal fist hooked onto his stump.

Ambrose the Cleric now has a Power Fist. It gives him extra strength, it gives him the ability to shock people now and then, but it may also haywire and shut down. Real D&D is quite unpredictable. 

it has other side effects

Ambrose stated simply "a power fist is worth dying for". Amen, friend.

Deceased

Dama (L1 Venturer) played by RR.  Current total xp: 75. DECEASED. Poison gas in Session 3.

Darius LeVay (L1 Assassin) played by JB. Current Total XP:451. DECEASED. Poison gas in Session 3.

Donald the Guardsman (L1 Fighter) played by MP. Current Total XP:570. DECEASED. Intra-party justice in Session 3.

Felix (L1 Thief) played by Nicholas. Current Total XP:431. DECEASED. Poison gas in Session 3.

Hektor (L1 Paladin) played by Moai. DECEASED. Cause of Death: goblin warg rider throat removal surgery in Session 2

Leonidas the Inquisitor (L1 Cleric) played by RR.Current Total XP:498  DECEASED. Frozen undead blistering cold aura left his skin frostbitten and broken in Session 6. Body not recovered.

Mard the Mage (L1 Mage) played by Nicholas. DECEASED. Frozen undead blistering cold aura left his skin frostbitten and broken in Session 6. Body not recovered.

Yolo Baggins "My friends call me Swaggins" (L1 Gnomish Trickster) played by J. DECEASED. Paralyzed and eaten by ghouls in Session 12. Body not recovered.

Jack Filcher (L1 Thief) played by C. DECEASED. Shot full of arrows by Inthorn's brigands in Session 12. Body not recovered.

Swoleous Maximus (L1 Paladin). DECEASED. Captured then drawn and quartered by Inthorn the Brigand warlord in Session 12. Posthumously named "Petty Hero of Turos Tem" by Legate Valerian. Ashes offered a place of pride in the Hospital.

Damianus (L1 Cleric). DECEASED. Captured and beheaded by Inthorn the Brigand warlord in Session 12. Posthumously named "Petty Hero of Turos Tem" by Legate Valerian. Ashes offered a place of pride in the Hospital.

Bucky (L1 Barbarian). DECEASED. Became a illegal pit fighter during his downtime. Had two bouts to the death, winning the first and losing the second. Was killed by Young Jack Sparrow who sashayed into the ring, drank rum, and mogged on Bucky before putting a dagger into his ribs, killing him. This happened during downtime between Session 17 and 18.

Broll Wolf-Eater (L1 Barbarian). Current total XP: 1079. DECEASED. Carried off by harpies after falling for their enchanting song in Session 19.

Brother Franklin (L1 Cleric). DECEASED. Decapitated by a mad cultist of a Lovecraftian slime thing in Session 19.

Felix the Elder (L1 Bard). Total XP 825. DECEASED. Captured by mad cultists and fed to a Lovecraftian slime monster in Session 19.

Templar Flavius Africanus (L1 Cleric). Total XP 7. Killed by the claws and beak of mad harpies in Session 19.

Xendi (L1 Explorer). Total XP 6. DECEASED. Carried off by harpies after falling for their enchanting song in Session 19.

Yllmeeton (L3 Shaman). Total XP 4,563. Bludgeoned by the corpse of a bowmen by Rosie Odonnel hag in Session 21.

Longinus (L2 Assassin). Total XP 2,036. Had his face ripped off by Rosie Odonnel hag in Session 21.

Mandonio (L3 Fighter). Total XP 4,779. Charred to a leprous crisp by diseased Dragon breath in Session 22.

Corydon (L1 Joker). Total XP: 0. Burnt to a crisp by chimera breath so thoroughly his corpse wasn't even fit for the crows. Died with a smile on his face and a song in his heart. that's life and as funny as it seems... some people get their kicks, stomping on a dream... In Session 25.

Donny Keebler (L1 Elven Spellsword). Total XP 2,238. Had his legs burned completely off by chimera fire breath in Session 25.

Marina (L2 Fighter). Total XP: 2,204. Burnt into ash by a chimera fire breath in Session 25.

Gundro (L2 Gnomish Trickster). Total XP: 2,575. Had his mouth and tongue bitten off by a lizardman ambusher in the dank sewers below Cyfaraun in Session 26.

Polydoros (L1 Fighter). Total XP: 0. Had his legs ripped off and eaten by Akira monsters in the dark canopy of the Viaspen Forest in Session 28.

Odrum (L1 Explorer). Total XP: 287. Javelin to the heart from the hands of weird vine goblins hidden in the walls of Ferigno's lair in Session 30.

Garvin the Nutless Wonder (L1 Mage). Total XP: 0. Fell off the side of Ferigno's lair 20 feet to his death in Session 30.

Blackmoon (L1 Assassin). Total XP: 768. Choked to death by BOB from Twin Peaks while stealing treasure from Ferigno's dragon horde in Session 30.

Xanthus (L2 Cleric). Total XP: 2,364. Choked to death by BOB from Twin Peaks while hanging out on the roof of Ferigno's lair in Session 30.

Lord Zyklon (L1 Elven Spellsword). Total XP: 0. LORD ZYKLON DISEMBOWLED LORD ZYKLON upon finding himself on the losing side of the Desolation of Turos Tem.

Turin (L1 Cleric). Total XP: 0. Eaten by Wargs in Session 32.

Rat Face (L2 Thief) Total XP: 1,577. Seemingly grabbed in the dark by a Xenomorph in Session 36. In a sinkhole your party can hear you scream! 

Smarticus (L1 Mage) Total XP: 0. Captured by a Xenomorph in Session 36 for all the party to witness. Taken deep into a sinkhole.

Hearticus (L1 Cleric) Total XP: 0. Gored to death by giant horned beetles in Session 39 after projectile vomiting all over himself from the stink of sewer sludge.

Mickey Mouser (L1 Thief) Total XP: 0. Gored to death by giant horned beetles in Session 39 in the happiest place on earth: the Cyfaraun sewer!

Aenes (Level 1 Paladin) Total XP: 62. Swarmed by giant flies in the sewer beneath Cyfaraun in Session 40.

Acianus (Level 1 Mage) Total XP: 0. Chopped to pieces in Session 42 by a six armed demon statue from behind and quickly forgotten about by his compatriots who saved MadEye and lamented Hardar instead. But I'll never forget you Acinanu nanu...nanite... nananaa...

Hardar (Level 2 Mage) Total XP: 2,832. Chopped up in Session 42 by a six armed demon statue as he held his Darth Vader Choking Grip spell long enough for his compatriots to escape an unwinnable battle. His dream to become the most evil being in the universe suffers eternally the indignity of being remembered for self sacrifice and laying his life down for his friends.

Nubbs (Level 3 Thief) Total XP: 4,017. Swarmed by scarabs which bored into his ears and brain in Session 45.

Grummz (Level 1 Dwarven Vaultgard) Total XP: 0. Ripped limb from limb by a throng of skeletons and their undead golem leaders in Session 46.

Grommzs (Level 1 Dwarven Vaultguard) Total XP: 2,168. Torn to bits and eaten by trolls in session 48

Rapunzel (Level 4 Priestess) Total XP: 11,540. Torn to bits and eaten by trolls in Session 48.

Schizo (Level 1 Mage): Total XP: 0. Frozen to death by an assassin's guild ruffian bard wielding a Wand of Cold in session 54.

Marteen (Level 1 Thief): Total XP: 0. Fell to his death in Lamalla's Temple upon a pile of dragon horde gold. Corpse eaten by Sheila the Beautiful, an Ancient Blue Dragon in session 56.

Alexa this is so sad play "Robot Rock" by Daft Punk.


Friday, May 13, 2022

Dubzaron Session 56: Dragon Horde Dead Drop

This session was played on 04/27/22. After rest PCs can take actions on 04/29/22.

Session Report

The PCs delved a brand new dungeon this session, one that I made myself homebrew. The dungeon was an ancient Temple of Lamalla and it has been sealed for centuries by the Mages of the Tower of Knowledge in Turos Orn. Why open it, you ask? Well Palatine Drakon (Patron Palatine Fighter level ???) had a treasure map pointing to what claimed to be a pretty substantial amount of cash in the form of the Platinum Shoulder pads of Contemplation of Jalako the Great. Also there were "water gems" there. 

she looks friendly right?

That was the PC reason for delving the dungeon. The Patron player Drakon wanted the PCs to delve and gave them a side mission to look for an entrance to the Black Lodge that was rumored to be in the Lamalla temple. The Black Lodge is a weirding place the PCs passed through some sessions back to travel to Las Vegas; a wormhole of sorts for use of teleportation. Drakon's hope was that such a place right under his town could be used to transport troops quickly.

In the basement of the Tower of Knowledge the Party found a mage named Seth Rogen who was "the keeper of the seals". He found the work boring and felt like maybe he has wasted his life getting high and watching a sealed door for decades. Maybe! The Tower and Seth refuse to open the sealed door but twice per week. Once to let PCs in then once to let them out. The PCs had a code phrase to get the door open and a secret knock as well and the Mages were going to watch the dungeon side of the door with Clairvoyance for a time.

Clearly, the mages took seriously their duty to not let ...whatever is in the dungeon... to raid into the Empire and Turos Orn. 

Palatine Drakon forced any PCs delving the dungeon to sign a contract with him before they were allowed inside, since the dungeon is on his property. He was taking a cut of the PCs treasure gains but I don't know the specifics; certainly less than the 50% demanded by the Prefect of the city of Dubzaron for delving the Nethercity. Such a huge cut has had the PCs annoyed with NPC Prefect Dubzillo (and me, the DM, assuming I added the tax to screw them over) for weeks now.

The Party entered the dungeon going down some steps and coming to a long 20' wide hallway with a door to one side and small natural cave passage on the other. The walls were painted blue with whales with a concrete floor. Or something. The place has a water/ocean theme because Lamalla is the Chaotic goddess of tidal waves and the like.

Of Marteen, part 1
by Dari's Player

The traveled down the wide hall and came to an octagon room with a chaotic altar. A handful of beastmen that would only be described as looking like geckos were there worshipping at the altar. The party easily killed them iirc and took one of the geckomen prisoners for questioning. Xanthos (PC Cleric level ???) happened to speak geckoman and he was interpreting for Olivier (PC Paladin level ???) and Acton (PC Cleric level ???). 

Olivier was playing good cop, telling the geckoman it's all good and such and Acton was playing bad cop, starting a fire to "burn the heretic" for worshipping at a chaos altar. At one point Olivier gave the geckoman a cigarette and as he was about to puff it Acton slapped it out of his lizard lips and said "tell me what you know!"

It was a fun scene that had the table cracking up. I think the Intimidation Reaction Check, however, decided the geckoman was happy to die for his chaos gods without giving info to the party. Acton gave him his wish, burning him on a pyre.

Later while Olivier was trying to push a badly stuck door open a random encounter of a giant toad hit and it came hopping at the party. The whole party was surprised except for Kortes (PC Explorer Level ???) since explorers have an ability that makes them a bit harder to surprise. For the second (third?) time, Kortes killed a creature that snuck up on the party in a surprise round before the party could even reaction. Olivier, carefully jiggling the handle and telling Marteen (PC Thief Level 1) things like "ok here's the trick to a stuck door" never even knew the toad had attacked the party. Later he played up the gag when the party passed through the room again and was like "how did this toad corpse get here?!" 

Olivier's player was in rare comedic form.

One room over from the octagon altar room the party came upon a room with some ancient zaharan writing on the wall, a sort of side altar to the major one they just passed. Brian happened to know how to read the language and it told them the code word to open the big double doors behind the high altar. 

After destroying the chaotic high altar they passed through those magic doors using the code word and found stairs leading down to level 2 of the dungeon. Descending down the explored level 2 a bit since that's apparently the direction of their treasure map. 

A massive battle began with a lair of Igaunamen near a canal and a bridge. They party attacked a guard room and the champion Igaunamen there put out a call for reinforcements which came storming across the bridge over the canal, some swimming the canal to try and flank the party. 

Of Marteen, part 2
by Daro's player

The Iganuamen didn't fight to the least "man", about half of them failed morale and jumped in the canal to swim away. All in all, despite the massive numbers of the beastmen and the long play time this battle took, no PCs or henchmen died and the party was able to heal up their injuries. 

The crossed the canal, which the treasure map seemed to indicate they do and turned west (map seeming to indicate same) but were stymied when the hallway/room the map seemed to indicate they travel down had at some point suffered a cave-in.

PCs at this point were like "what idiot drew this map?!" and they began discussing what the next goal should be. One player mentioned afterwards that it seems "treasure maps are not 100% [and] information changes PC goals pretty wildly". 

Marteen for his part discovered a dead drop trap in the cave in room. A spot where the cave-in was quite precarious and would drop the PCs down like 15' to what they assumed was the next level of the dungeon.

The PCs decided to set up a rope and Marteen, Xanthos, Kortes and Daria (PC BladeDancer Level ???) rappelled down the pit Marteen had found and began exploring there. The rest of the party stayed up top to guard the hole if the Igaunamen regrouped and came back. This was all happening only about 50' from where the big battle had just taken place.

The away team explored around on the lower level finding some natural caves that pierced into a weird big chamber with a balcony and pews facing some sort of high altar built into another balcony. They also came across some massive insect creatures digging holes around the walls of a natural cavern room. Thankfully the insects weren't hostile so the away team dipped out.

Daria decided this was getting a bit too dangerous for an away team and the launch party up top might get attacked again at any time so the away team went back to the rope to climb back up. Then all hell broke loose.

There was yet ANOTHER dead drop pit trap precariously holding on due to the rubble that had fallen from above. Each time the party passed through the room at the bottom of the rope they were rappelling I was checking to see if it gave out on 1 or 2 on a 1d6. The first time they passed through the room it didn't. But when they came back oh yes yes it did.

The floor collapsed underneath them and Kortes just barely grabbed onto the rope, saving himself from a very far fall. Marteen, Xanthos, and Daria however did not grab onto the rope and they fell into the abyss below.

The fall was at least 50 feet but Daria and Xanthos had levels and solid hit point pools. They survived the fall but just barely.  

But poor Marteen, a player in his first session of Dubzaron splatted at the bottom. His bones and gore was cast across the massive chamber the away team (sans Kortes) fell into. "Welcome to the campaign, newb," I vaguely recall some other player saying.

But what's this his gore was splashed across a massive pile of gold. A pile in which a very massive and extremely old dragon was lounging upon. She was very awake and, as per the Reaction check of the dice, bemused at the arrival of the PCs.

This was all randomly generated. At this point I didn't have this level of the dungeon drawn or laid out. What I did have was a bespoke random encounter table and the ACKS random room contents chart. This randomly was determined as a monster. I randomly rolled it was a dragon. I randomly rolled it was her lair. And that's how Sheila the great and powerful Blue Dragon came to exist in the Dubzaron campaign just under the town of Turos Orn.

Of Marteen, final part
by Darko's player

Daria's player said later of this development: "after a year and a half this campaign still surprises [...] I wasn't expecting a multi-level drop into something that tricky. It sort of felt like being level 1 all over again". 

Daria was very hurt so Sheila could have easily killed her and Xanthos; thus eliminating 2 of the high level PCs in the campaign and destroying their year long plus XP progress.

Daria began to sputter compliments and praise on the lizard: "why yes Ms. Dragon you're just so pretty and magnificent. Of course I love the way you smell. Eat me? Nah there's hardly any meat on my bones. Let me find you a proper snack." 

Marteen's corpse was offered as the proper snack and Sheila laughed and agreed. Daria also handed the dragon some cash as a bribe to not kill her and Xanthos. For her part Sheila revealed that many years ago a cult was in this temple that used to worship her. "They were quite stupid but it was nice to be pampered". She also mentioned "water giants" being in the dungeon somewhere as well, also a source for cultists sometime in the ancient past.

Sheila picked up Xanthos and Daria and climbed up the hole back to the top of the Party's rope while Daria was yelling out to the party to "not attack". This was all due to the Reaction Checks for Sheila coming up quite a bit in the Party's favor. Sheila ascended the top of the pit just as the Igaunamen were about to make another assault on the party and she roared at them. Then pondered aloud about bringing the Igaunamen under her service.

After this the party escaped the dungeon and the doors into the place were sealed and warded again. Marteen was eaten at Sheila's leisure.

Afterword

As I wrote above, this was a homebrew dungeon and some of it simply wasn't created yet. I made it months ago and put in things like the dead drop to a MUCH deeper level as a sort of challenge (or screw you?) to myself. I was sort of daring myself to deal with the possibility of randomly determining what some things were or what they meant. 

Later Daria's player stated the "area we're in already had quite a few problems to worry about. But then the nature of the game changes on a dime because now there's this friggin' dragon too". So true so true.

I'm certain PCs, likely RIGHT AFTER the session, were scheming secretly among themselves about how to heist the dragon's treasure. Or how one might kill a dragon knowing where it was. Some were probably advising more caution. Palatine Drakon was probably face palming and rubbing his temples with a headache at such a problem beneath his town. On and on. All because of some random rolls.

This is the type of thing that I believes keeps this kind of gaming fresh. I didn't know this would happen tonight, I was discovering some of the dungeon with the players as the delve went on. So I certainly wasn't bored. 

One might say "well the party and patron would have been better off if they never delved, Sheila the dragon wouldn't exist". But as Gygax says this is an ADVENTURE game. If you simple want to sit around safely doing nothing then D&D isn't really your game. There should always be tons of things happening at once in a real D&D campaign world. 

A game world is better if there's never a dull moment. Deadly, the Dubzaron Campaign may be, yet dull it is not.

Deceased

Dama (L1 Venturer) played by RR.  Current total xp: 75. DECEASED. Poison gas in Session 3.

Darius LeVay (L1 Assassin) played by JB. Current Total XP:451. DECEASED. Poison gas in Session 3.

Donald the Guardsman (L1 Fighter) played by MP. Current Total XP:570. DECEASED. Intra-party justice in Session 3.

Felix (L1 Thief) played by Nicholas. Current Total XP:431. DECEASED. Poison gas in Session 3.

Hektor (L1 Paladin) played by Moai. DECEASED. Cause of Death: goblin warg rider throat removal surgery in Session 2

Leonidas the Inquisitor (L1 Cleric) played by RR.Current Total XP:498  DECEASED. Frozen undead blistering cold aura left his skin frostbitten and broken in Session 6. Body not recovered.

Mard the Mage (L1 Mage) played by Nicholas. DECEASED. Frozen undead blistering cold aura left his skin frostbitten and broken in Session 6. Body not recovered.

Yolo Baggins "My friends call me Swaggins" (L1 Gnomish Trickster) played by J. DECEASED. Paralyzed and eaten by ghouls in Session 12. Body not recovered.

Jack Filcher (L1 Thief) played by C. DECEASED. Shot full of arrows by Inthorn's brigands in Session 12. Body not recovered.

Swoleous Maximus (L1 Paladin). DECEASED. Captured then drawn and quartered by Inthorn the Brigand warlord in Session 12. Posthumously named "Petty Hero of Turos Tem" by Legate Valerian. Ashes offered a place of pride in the Hospital.

Damianus (L1 Cleric). DECEASED. Captured and beheaded by Inthorn the Brigand warlord in Session 12. Posthumously named "Petty Hero of Turos Tem" by Legate Valerian. Ashes offered a place of pride in the Hospital.

Bucky (L1 Barbarian). DECEASED. Became a illegal pit fighter during his downtime. Had two bouts to the death, winning the first and losing the second. Was killed by Young Jack Sparrow who sashayed into the ring, drank rum, and mogged on Bucky before putting a dagger into his ribs, killing him. This happened during downtime between Session 17 and 18.

Broll Wolf-Eater (L1 Barbarian). Current total XP: 1079. DECEASED. Carried off by harpies after falling for their enchanting song in Session 19.

Brother Franklin (L1 Cleric). DECEASED. Decapitated by a mad cultist of a Lovecraftian slime thing in Session 19.

Felix the Elder (L1 Bard). Total XP 825. DECEASED. Captured by mad cultists and fed to a Lovecraftian slime monster in Session 19.

Templar Flavius Africanus (L1 Cleric). Total XP 7. Killed by the claws and beak of mad harpies in Session 19.

Xendi (L1 Explorer). Total XP 6. DECEASED. Carried off by harpies after falling for their enchanting song in Session 19.

Yllmeeton (L3 Shaman). Total XP 4,563. Bludgeoned by the corpse of a bowmen by Rosie Odonnel hag in Session 21.

Longinus (L2 Assassin). Total XP 2,036. Had his face ripped off by Rosie Odonnel hag in Session 21.

Mandonio (L3 Fighter). Total XP 4,779. Charred to a leprous crisp by diseased Dragon breath in Session 22.

Corydon (L1 Joker). Total XP: 0. Burnt to a crisp by chimera breath so thoroughly his corpse wasn't even fit for the crows. Died with a smile on his face and a song in his heart. that's life and as funny as it seems... some people get their kicks, stomping on a dream... In Session 25.

Donny Keebler (L1 Elven Spellsword). Total XP 2,238. Had his legs burned completely off by chimera fire breath in Session 25.

Marina (L2 Fighter). Total XP: 2,204. Burnt into ash by a chimera fire breath in Session 25.

Gundro (L2 Gnomish Trickster). Total XP: 2,575. Had his mouth and tongue bitten off by a lizardman ambusher in the dank sewers below Cyfaraun in Session 26.

Polydoros (L1 Fighter). Total XP: 0. Had his legs ripped off and eaten by Akira monsters in the dark canopy of the Viaspen Forest in Session 28.

Odrum (L1 Explorer). Total XP: 287. Javelin to the heart from the hands of weird vine goblins hidden in the walls of Ferigno's lair in Session 30.

Garvin the Nutless Wonder (L1 Mage). Total XP: 0. Fell off the side of Ferigno's lair 20 feet to his death in Session 30.

Blackmoon (L1 Assassin). Total XP: 768. Choked to death by BOB from Twin Peaks while stealing treasure from Ferigno's dragon horde in Session 30.

Xanthus (L2 Cleric). Total XP: 2,364. Choked to death by BOB from Twin Peaks while hanging out on the roof of Ferigno's lair in Session 30.

Lord Zyklon (L1 Elven Spellsword). Total XP: 0. LORD ZYKLON DISEMBOWLED LORD ZYKLON upon finding himself on the losing side of the Desolation of Turos Tem.

Turin (L1 Cleric). Total XP: 0. Eaten by Wargs in Session 32.

Rat Face (L2 Thief) Total XP: 1,577. Seemingly grabbed in the dark by a Xenomorph in Session 36. In a sinkhole your party can hear you scream! 

Smarticus (L1 Mage) Total XP: 0. Captured by a Xenomorph in Session 36 for all the party to witness. Taken deep into a sinkhole.

Hearticus (L1 Cleric) Total XP: 0. Gored to death by giant horned beetles in Session 39 after projectile vomiting all over himself from the stink of sewer sludge.

Mickey Mouser (L1 Thief) Total XP: 0. Gored to death by giant horned beetles in Session 39 in the happiest place on earth: the Cyfaraun sewer!

Aenes (Level 1 Paladin) Total XP: 62. Swarmed by giant flies in the sewer beneath Cyfaraun in Session 40.

Acianus (Level 1 Mage) Total XP: 0. Chopped to pieces in Session 42 by a six armed demon statue from behind and quickly forgotten about by his compatriots who saved MadEye and lamented Hardar instead. But I'll never forget you Acinanu nanu...nanite... nananaa...

Hardar (Level 2 Mage) Total XP: 2,832. Chopped up in Session 42 by a six armed demon statue as he held his Darth Vader Choking Grip spell long enough for his compatriots to escape an unwinnable battle. His dream to become the most evil being in the universe suffers eternally the indignity of being remembered for self sacrifice and laying his life down for his friends.

Nubbs (Level 3 Thief) Total XP: 4,017. Swarmed by scarabs which bored into his ears and brain in Session 45.

Grummz (Level 1 Dwarven Vaultgard) Total XP: 0. Ripped limb from limb by a throng of skeletons and their undead golem leaders in Session 46.

Grommzs (Level 1 Dwarven Vaultguard) Total XP: 2,168. Torn to bits and eaten by trolls in session 48

Rapunzel (Level 4 Priestess) Total XP: 11,540. Torn to bits and eaten by trolls in Session 48.

Schizo (Level 1 Mage): Total XP: 0. Frozen to death by an assassin's guild ruffian bard wielding a Wand of Cold in session 54.

Marteen (Level 1 Thief): Total XP: 0. Fell to his death in Lamalla's Temple upon a pile of dragon horde gold. Corpse eaten by Sheila the Beautiful, an Ancient Blue Dragon in session 56.

Alexa this is so sad play "Free Fallin'" by the Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers

Wednesday, May 4, 2022

Dubzaron Session 54: No Small Victory

This session was played on 04/14/22 with PCs needing one day of rest; able to adventure again on and after 0416/22.

Foreword

I took four weeks off of DMing sessions of my much celebrated and influential ACKS. But play did not stop! A good friend stepped into the role of DM during that time and four sessions were played without my involvement. BROSR campaigns abide. 

Patron Assassin Leonard Smalls

I hope said "Dubs-titute DM" will do a guest post about the experience at some point or perhaps blog about it on his own outstanding blog here. If he does so I'll be sure to let you know!

During downtime in the month or so leading up to Session 54 a Patron assassin's guild big boss named Leonard Smalls ran a burglary of MadEye's emporium (PC Venturer level idk). Smalls was hoping to get an easy score ripping off the PCs who were flush with cash from the recent successful adventuring of the Nethercity with Dubs-titute DM.

Smalls did alright on the op, grabbing some coin but one of his operatives was caught by the guards during the heist. The operative was apparently a chthonic cultist and ran off at the mouth about the coming Awakening and how Smalls was going to lead the charge here in the city etc etc. 

MadEye was curious about Smalls but he was also angry the Mandonio's Spear (Deceased PC Fighter Level 5) was copped from the heist. MadEye sent retainers to look into Smalls and where his hideout might be. Yet MadEye's guy was grabbed. Smalls sent word of blackmail. MadEye refused so Smalls cut off the prisoner's thumb and sent it back to MadEye. 

All this downtime stuff happened on the day I was set to return to the DM chair; session day. It was entirely the Oracular Power of the Dice at play colored by Patron and PC decisions. As a DM you just sit there during these moments and marvel at how much better a story you're getting than if you tried to dream up a hook for PCs as per more common DND approaches.

I thought I was going to have an easy evening returning to DMing a dungeon delve on a homebrewed dungeon I had introduced to the campaign via a treasure map a few days prior. No. PCs wanted to use their session time to ATTACK THE PATRON ASSASSINS GUILD LEADER.

Session Report

I expected a sort of sneaky session but the PCs had like 60 heavy infantry mercenaries to bring to bare against the assassin's guild hideout. MadEye had rumormonged that Smalls' spot was at an abandoned orphanage in the Temple District. So it would take about an hour to march all the troops over there.

The Party decided to sent BillyBob (PC Explorer level 1) and Wesley (PC Thief level 3 I think...?) over there to check the place out first. They found it to be a single floor big mansion sort of place and BillyBob scouted to check out the possibility of rooftop access for himself or the syndicate members trying to escape that way. 

Wesley knocked on the door to the hideout and pretended to want to join the syndicate as a new member so he could get a look inside. I rolled some reaction checks and the door was answered by a mid level bard syndicate sort who wasn't hostile but was sorry to say that Smalls wasn't hiring. From the doorway Wesley saw about a half dozen ruffians in the foyer playing cards and such. Rough looking fellas. And they gave off the vibe of some sort of weird cult.

Wesley and BillyBob decided to cut their losses and assumed this was about as much as they could learn from recon.

When I looked at the numbers and the fact the PCs intended to simply attack the building with mercenaries, I decided to run this operation and session as a Mass Combat. Since we play ACKS we used the ACKS Domains at War: Campaigns book for mass combat resolution. You must needs a mass combat resolution system to play Real D&D. Running this with like 120 d20 rolls per round for attacks would not have been feasible or fun.

Xanthos (PC Cleric level 5) was the General of the mercenaries because the only other PC qualified for the task without some sort of negative would be Daria (PC BladeDancer Level 6). PCs realized that Daria, being dumb as a rock, would have a negative to her Strategic roll if I ruled the need for some sort of opposed strategy roll between the PC platoon and the assassin's guild forces. Didn't want to risk it.

When the PCs marched their platoon of heavy infantry across the city I made a Reaction Check for each district they passed through to see if the local guards would take umbrage to this private little army or at least ask "oi where is your private army license?" 

The guards didn't care.

I then made a check to see if Small's saw the little army coming and what he would think of it. When you run Patrons in session you kind of have to run them like NPCs wherein you have a bit of a better idea of what sorts of things the NPC might do since you either know the Patron player since he's one of your friends or you get to know him and his style through play. 

Smalls was actually online and chatting with me here or there during the session but his responses weren't fast enough for me to apply many of them to the session play itself.

So the dice ruled that Smalls' people and ruffians who watch the neighborhood saw the PCs and their mercs coming. Smalls was ready to fight back when the PCs got to his hideout. 

Mass Combat commenced at the abandoned orphanage and assassins's guild hideout. 

ACKS Mass Combat allows something called Heroic Forays where the PCs can "zoom in" on the mass combat with what their PCs are doing in a standard DND skirmish fight most of us are familiar with. The d20 rolls, spell slinging back and forth stuff. The PCs decided to do a Foray against the 20 or so ruffians that were guarding the foyer of the house.

Daria got super buffed with many divine spells before the fight and she was a major force just slicing through tons of ruffians. The PCs and their hench generally didn't have too much trouble with this Heroic Foray. I don't remember many details except on of Smalls' bards had a Wand of Cold and was able to pop it off at the middle ranks of the PCs' marching order. Xanthos's 3 war dog hench-pets were killed and he's sense decided to stop bring hench animals into fights since "it seems cruel".

Schizo (PC Mage Level 1) was a new player who I'm sure was confounded by all this mass combat stuff also got got by the cone of cold. Sorry newb! One of the veteran players said "welcome to the campaign!"

Some other henchmen died from the cone of cold as well, including Bridget (Xanthos henchlady) and  Durasmon (Acton's hench). I don't know who these folks are since they were apparently brought into the campaign while I was on my break.

After the Heroic Foray we ran some Mass Combat attacks and the PCs mercs gave about as much as they got from the swarm of syndicate ruffians. As the mass battle raged on the PCs tried to figure out what section of the house Leonard Smalls was hiding in so they could push their forces in that direction. The ruffians were fighting them back from room to room and the place was becoming a mess of bodies and broken furniture. 

Xanthos made his Strategy Roll vs Smalls and I ruled that winning this allowed the PCs to figure out the general direction Smalls was hiding. We ran another Mass Combat phase and the PC's mercs did better this time, taking few losses in a kitchen leading into a "planning room". 

Once the PCs pushed and fought their way into Smalls' planning room they found most of his commanders and such there but they were ready to surrender after failing a Morale Check. Smalls himself slipped out a secret door behind the chimney just before the PCs busted into his room. I made a Wilderness Evasion roll for Smalls to see if he escaped into the throng of the city and asked PCs if they wanted to pursue him now or just tied up all the ruffian prisoners and wrap up the session. They chose the latter.

So Smalls the high level Assassin Patron is still out there somewhere...

MadEye's henchmen that was taken prisoner the previous day was found dead and stuffed in a chimney, his throat cut. Mandonio's Spear (a holy relic) was found burned in the fireplace as per the Patron's decision made earlier that day. 

There was quite a bit of treasure there but as per the ACKS Domains at War rules most of the XP value of that went to the General of the platoons used in the action. Xanthos gained thousands of XP and leveled and most of the other PCs got a few hundred for the Heroic Foray which gives XP the same as normal DND style combat.

It was getting quite late so we wrapped up here.

Afterword

The biggest take away from this session for me was that it was possible to quickly throw together a scenario based on the oracular power dice and the Patron's notes. Within about 10 minutes I went from "oh... you want to do WHAT?!" to "ok I'm ready". It's important Patrons have a clear list of their manpower, resources, and floor plan of their spot if applicable. I also advise Patrons to have some list of contingencies for a DM to use if PCs come to their land or attack their house or whatever. 

Having most of this handy made throwing this session together relatively easy.

One player mentioned this session made it clear that Pcs shouldn't underestimate the resources a Patron has. Perhaps the PCs assumed there would be many fewer men in site and their heavy infantry would easily take the hideout down. It's not that the PCs or their mercs lost but it certainly wasn't easy. So I agree PCs should always be careful when dealing with Patrons and combat.

Another player mentioned that "domain play starts at level 1". Very true. My more veteran players jump their new Level 1 PCs into downtime play quickly and advise the new PCs joining the campaign lately to do the same. This ends up being Domain play insomuch as it's rarely too early to begin engaging with the world outside of session play. 

Lastly there were critiques from some players in the days following this session that Patrons are unfair insomuch as they get "free XP" and "free resources" or something. Also, that they can read these session reports and know where PCs are and what their goals are and he like.

The OSR sorts who signal against BROSR folks such as myself say similar things.

I'll field some of these critiques and give a bit of theory about Patrons v PCs.

Firstly regarding session reports: I've begun writing and releasing session reports a few weeks after the session proper so much of the info will be out of date to the campaign state and Patrons who may be antagonistic to PCs. I don't think Patrons reading this will get much actionable info in these reports that they couldn't spend a couple of days in downtime getting. Something like the PCs taking 60 mercs into the Temple district and attacking the assassins guild would be common knowledge throughout the city in like 2 days and throughout the region in like a week. So hearing about it hear on the blog 3 weeks later is fine.

PCs have asked why should a Patron assassin be able to exist in secret. They didn't know about Smalls until this session and that didn't seem fair especially since the Patron ran a burglary against them. Interesting critique to be sure but it falls flat with me. As far as the story element is concerned why should PCs treat a Patron any different than an NPC? The BROSR has well documented this phenomenon that PCs are more scared or respectful of Patrons than NPCs due to the fact that it's a time honored tradition in DND play to insult and belittle a DMs NPCs. But it really shouldn't be the case anyway. 

"But Patron adversaries are more likely to run ops against PCS!" Ok perhaps. But in practice I haven't actually found this to be the case. If I was running Smalls as an NPC Assassin that had a beefr against the PCs I'd have had him assassinate one of them, not burgle. So honestly he was kinder and gentler than I'd have been.

So in theory I get what PCs are saying but in practice it's not been an issue. And the BROSR is about actual play not theoretical ponderings.

As far as Patrons getting "free resources" or "free XP" I find this to be a silly critique based on jealousy or resentment. I'd direct such critiques to Mr Wargaming's video where he explains that BROSR gaming is about trust and serving the campaign as a whole; not just your own PC or play. 

Additionally, there's nothing stopping a PC from quitting session play and instead becoming a Patron player. Some in my campaign have due to time concerns or simply preferring the play style. Session 54 indeed proved that Session Play is very powerful indeed. Being able to slow down and zoom in on the campaign world and hit a goal in a more focused way than Patrons makes PCs a force to be reckoned with now and then. 

On top of that Session Play is simply good fun and Patrons can't do it. For now....

Deceased

Dama (L1 Venturer) played by RR.  Current total xp: 75. DECEASED. Poison gas in Session 3.

Darius LeVay (L1 Assassin) played by JB. Current Total XP:451. DECEASED. Poison gas in Session 3.

Donald the Guardsman (L1 Fighter) played by MP. Current Total XP:570. DECEASED. Intra-party justice in Session 3.

Felix (L1 Thief) played by Nicholas. Current Total XP:431. DECEASED. Poison gas in Session 3.

Hektor (L1 Paladin) played by Moai. DECEASED. Cause of Death: goblin warg rider throat removal surgery in Session 2

Leonidas the Inquisitor (L1 Cleric) played by RR.Current Total XP:498  DECEASED. Frozen undead blistering cold aura left his skin frostbitten and broken in Session 6. Body not recovered.

Mard the Mage (L1 Mage) played by Nicholas. DECEASED. Frozen undead blistering cold aura left his skin frostbitten and broken in Session 6. Body not recovered.

Yolo Baggins "My friends call me Swaggins" (L1 Gnomish Trickster) played by J. DECEASED. Paralyzed and eaten by ghouls in Session 12. Body not recovered.

Jack Filcher (L1 Thief) played by C. DECEASED. Shot full of arrows by Inthorn's brigands in Session 12. Body not recovered.

Swoleous Maximus (L1 Paladin). DECEASED. Captured then drawn and quartered by Inthorn the Brigand warlord in Session 12. Posthumously named "Petty Hero of Turos Tem" by Legate Valerian. Ashes offered a place of pride in the Hospital.

Damianus (L1 Cleric). DECEASED. Captured and beheaded by Inthorn the Brigand warlord in Session 12. Posthumously named "Petty Hero of Turos Tem" by Legate Valerian. Ashes offered a place of pride in the Hospital.

Bucky (L1 Barbarian). DECEASED. Became a illegal pit fighter during his downtime. Had two bouts to the death, winning the first and losing the second. Was killed by Young Jack Sparrow who sashayed into the ring, drank rum, and mogged on Bucky before putting a dagger into his ribs, killing him. This happened during downtime between Session 17 and 18.

Broll Wolf-Eater (L1 Barbarian). Current total XP: 1079. DECEASED. Carried off by harpies after falling for their enchanting song in Session 19.

Brother Franklin (L1 Cleric). DECEASED. Decapitated by a mad cultist of a Lovecraftian slime thing in Session 19.

Felix the Elder (L1 Bard). Total XP 825. DECEASED. Captured by mad cultists and fed to a Lovecraftian slime monster in Session 19.

Templar Flavius Africanus (L1 Cleric). Total XP 7. Killed by the claws and beak of mad harpies in Session 19.

Xendi (L1 Explorer). Total XP 6. DECEASED. Carried off by harpies after falling for their enchanting song in Session 19.

Yllmeeton (L3 Shaman). Total XP 4,563. Bludgeoned by the corpse of a bowmen by Rosie Odonnel hag in Session 21.

Longinus (L2 Assassin). Total XP 2,036. Had his face ripped off by Rosie Odonnel hag in Session 21.

Mandonio (L3 Fighter). Total XP 4,779. Charred to a leprous crisp by diseased Dragon breath in Session 22.

Corydon (L1 Joker). Total XP: 0. Burnt to a crisp by chimera breath so thoroughly his corpse wasn't even fit for the crows. Died with a smile on his face and a song in his heart. that's life and as funny as it seems... some people get their kicks, stomping on a dream... In Session 25.

Donny Keebler (L1 Elven Spellsword). Total XP 2,238. Had his legs burned completely off by chimera fire breath in Session 25.

Marina (L2 Fighter). Total XP: 2,204. Burnt into ash by a chimera fire breath in Session 25.

Gundro (L2 Gnomish Trickster). Total XP: 2,575. Had his mouth and tongue bitten off by a lizardman ambusher in the dank sewers below Cyfaraun in Session 26.

Polydoros (L1 Fighter). Total XP: 0. Had his legs ripped off and eaten by Akira monsters in the dark canopy of the Viaspen Forest in Session 28.

Odrum (L1 Explorer). Total XP: 287. Javelin to the heart from the hands of weird vine goblins hidden in the walls of Ferigno's lair in Session 30.

Garvin the Nutless Wonder (L1 Mage). Total XP: 0. Fell off the side of Ferigno's lair 20 feet to his death in Session 30.

Blackmoon (L1 Assassin). Total XP: 768. Choked to death by BOB from Twin Peaks while stealing treasure from Ferigno's dragon horde in Session 30.

Xanthus (L2 Cleric). Total XP: 2,364. Choked to death by BOB from Twin Peaks while hanging out on the roof of Ferigno's lair in Session 30.

Lord Zyklon (L1 Elven Spellsword). Total XP: 0. LORD ZYKLON DISEMBOWLED LORD ZYKLON upon finding himself on the losing side of the Desolation of Turos Tem.

Turin (L1 Cleric). Total XP: 0. Eaten by Wargs in Session 32.

Rat Face (L2 Thief) Total XP: 1,577. Seemingly grabbed in the dark by a Xenomorph in Session 36. In a sinkhole your party can hear you scream! 

Smarticus (L1 Mage) Total XP: 0. Captured by a Xenomorph in Session 36 for all the party to witness. Taken deep into a sinkhole.

Hearticus (L1 Cleric) Total XP: 0. Gored to death by giant horned beetles in Session 39 after projectile vomiting all over himself from the stink of sewer sludge.

Mickey Mouser (L1 Thief) Total XP: 0. Gored to death by giant horned beetles in Session 39 in the happiest place on earth: the Cyfaraun sewer!

Aenes (Level 1 Paladin) Total XP: 62. Swarmed by giant flies in the sewer beneath Cyfaraun in Session 40.

Acianus (Level 1 Mage) Total XP: 0. Chopped to pieces in Session 42 by a six armed demon statue from behind and quickly forgotten about by his compatriots who saved MadEye and lamented Hardar instead. But I'll never forget you Acinanu nanu...nanite... nananaa...

Hardar (Level 2 Mage) Total XP: 2,832. Chopped up in Session 42 by a six armed demon statue as he held his Darth Vader Choking Grip spell long enough for his compatriots to escape an unwinnable battle. His dream to become the most evil being in the universe suffers eternally the indignity of being remembered for self sacrifice and laying his life down for his friends.

Nubbs (Level 3 Thief) Total XP: 4,017. Swarmed by scarabs which bored into his ears and brain in Session 45.

Grummz (Level 1 Dwarven Vaultgard) Total XP: 0. Ripped limb from limb by a throng of skeletons and their undead golem leaders in Session 46.

Grommzs (Level 1 Dwarven Vaultguard) Total XP: 2,168. Torn to bits and eaten by trolls in session 48

Rapunzel (Level 4 Priestess) Total XP: 11,540. Torn to bits and eaten by trolls in Session 48.

Schizo (Level 1 Mage): Total XP: 0. Frozen to death by an assassin's guild ruffian bard wielding a Wand of Cold in session 54.

Alexa this is so sad play "Down in the Willow Garden" by the Everly Brothers


Dubzaron Session 60: Aqualung!

Session was played on 05/25/22 and PCs can take actions again on 05/27/22 and after. Foreword Sixty sessions. Wow. Thank you to all players ...