Monday, August 28, 2023

Session 111: Damsels in Absentia


Once again DM Brig steps up while yours truly, Best Friend Dubs at tw11ter dot com, was away doing very important things. I love the session reports in this dwarf vault dungeon because it shows an experienced DM (and his PCs)giving a dungeon life with the most basic of ingredients. It’s just ogres and centipedes and harlots. The most basic of all enemies in the random encounter charts. You will find that after you’ve DMed dozens of low prep sessions in the brosr style you can do this too. 
Myself and Brig recently offered to give you lessons in becoming Elite tier DMs so hit us up on the social medias I’d you would like to take us up on that. Don’t reach out to Jeffro he’ll just call you a gross nerd and then go off about 1:1 time and mass combat or swing dancing or something. I am advise avoid! 
But a brosr session report of ACKS? I am advise read! -DMDubs 08/28/23
 
5/17/23-5/18/23, rest 5/19, active 5/20

PCs: Brolly (Explorer), Miles (Paladin), Aelways (Machinist), Nezra (Sporecaster) 

Henches: Bob #ACKS 

After last week’s delve, the party rescued a handful of fair maidens of varying racial stock and snuck them into Azen Radokh while still chained together. The gate guards were confused and a little concerned but the group was able to convince them to look the other way.

When the group woke up, the damsels were gone! Brolly tracked around and found the chains and manacles lying seemingly untampered with. They asked some questions and the house frau of the inn that they were staying in mentioned a group of drunks stumbling out in the wee hours that none of the staff could remember serving. They left peacefully enough so no one thought anything of it. Confused and a little concerned since the ‘girls’ detected as chaotic, (DubsNote: Which broads don’t detect as chaotic?) the crew spent a little time asking around town, rumormongering, etc. They got no real hits though and decided that this wasn’t what they wanted to do for the session so they bounced, heading back to the dungeon, a cursed dwarven vault that had been abandoned some time ago. They ran across an ominous lair on a shelf above their heads during their travel, but they sneaked by and arrived with no further issue.

They made entry much like before, with the beef up front, and descended the wide stairway into the dungeon. The first room still had the giant monitor lizards coiled together in the center and the party was happy to hear that the lizards still weren’t particularly concerned by them. Once they skirted that room, they proceeded through the dungeon back to the place where they rescued the damsels. It was a very large chamber with poor quality rugs, cushions, and couches haphazardly occupying the space. They went south through a previously unexplored door and discovered another entry into the space where they fought and killed a gray worm the previous session. It was all laid out and decomposing, smelling up the joint.

They had Aelways checking their doors as they proceeded and this time he heard the kind of wretched sobbing that only comes from countless hours of despair through the next one. They debated what to do about it but ultimately decided to confront it in case it was another damsel in distress. This door opened into a long dining hall with a massive stone table dominating the center of the room. Whatever seating had been there before was smashed to bits and strewn all over. There was a giant fireplace in the center of the western wall that was lit and burning brightly. Above the mantle was a strange abstract painting of a roughly humanoid shape that emitted the weeping sounds.

The party looked around while Miles detected evil. They discovered the fireplace logs did not pop or crack like wood and were not being consumed. They also discovered other doors leading into the room further down the hall. Miles did not detect any chaotic energy or harmful intent from the area around the portrait.

Nezra stepped up to the plate like Kramer taking notes from Newman about talking to the ladies, Aelways making dumb suggestions and having them repeated to much laughter. Once we settled down, they got some info out of the portrait lady. They were supposed to have had a new clan here, a safe and happy place to live, but they released something from below. Oh the horror, oh the madness, oh the vague tales of terror. Her senses were compromised and dulled, she wasn’t quite sure how long she’d been there, etc. As this discussion went on, some sounds of entry alerted the players to visitors in the southern portion of the room, where an ogre and his buddies were bumbling through one of the doors and chit chatting among themselves. Ogres ain’t particularly worried about alarming anything ahead of them, particularly when there are seven of them.

Discord was all aflutter with RUN and RUN? And RUN!, but the party pushed someone out front, I think Nezra again with the charisma, to make nice with the meat pulverizers. Marvel of marvels, the big dudes weren’t hostile at all, more shocked to see the group than anything else. They chit chatted for a bit where the party tried to learn about the dungeon. Og the ogre put his hand out in expectation of a bribe of some kind, which they joked about throwing a copper piece at and running but Brolly ponied up 100gp which did the trick. Og put it into the douchy shoulder-slung fanny pack that the ogres were all wearing. (DubsNote: LOL.)

The ogres knew about the ‘damsels’ which they apparently had been visiting on the regular, (DubsNote: Gross.) but they said they were mean and showed scratches and claw marks on their arms and legs from previous interactions. They were in fact heading there now and were disappointed to learn of the escape. The ogres didn’t know anything about any scrolls unsurprisingly, but said deeper in there was nerd stuff like that. They didn’t go that way much, with the ladies being present on this level. Of key significance, they told the group they were going the wrong way if they wanted to go deeper. The stairs were the other way. This is when Brolly offered to hire them and for 400gp they did so, with Og agreeing to escort them to the stairway down and guard that room “for a while”.

So off they went, with the ogres insisting the party lead the way. When they got to the gray worm corpse the ogres stopped to poke around, obviously looking for the treasure known to be within the creatures. They got in a fist fight when there was none and made quite the ruckus and wasted some time while the party looked on uncomfortably. (DubsNote: This is masterful DMing making the PCs pay a time and random encounter roll chance for teaming up with stupid ogres.) 

Eventually they settled and moved on to a room with a portcullis and the picked over remains of humanoids. The party recognized this room as having giant centipedes in it on their first trip and were glad the creatures were gone. Brolly stepped up to the portcullis to show the ogres how strong he was and failed to lift it, which they all chuckled at. Og lifted it for them and held it in place while they staked it open, then sat back with his boys to wait for the party’s return. The crew descended the stairs just beyond the portcullis onto a landing carved with a maddening labyrinth along the floor, walls, and ceiling. Miles detected for evil and found none, but his training and experience told him this carving was the antithesis of Law and Order. The longer he looked at it the more offensive it became, but the group didn’t want to spend the time to deface it now, claiming that they would do so on the way out.

They carefully crossed the pattern and didn’t burst into flames, coming to an archway. This one was still masterfully worked, but carved in a much more severe fashion than those on the level above, with sharper angles and fiercer strokes of chisel. It opened into an empty room that had a couple of doors, one west and one north. They picked the northern one and after a while Aelways was able to pick the lock, opening into a larger chamber with curtains hung horizontally along the ceiling and billowing with the new activity. Tracking revealed to Brolly that there was quite a bit of traffic here, specifically some large slithering trail leading towards one door. They didn’t like the smell of slithering things so they went another way, through an archway carved with various laughing faces and into an empty room with another couple of exits. Mental fatigue was wearing on the theater of the mind session with the many options being available in each room causing a bit of headache for the caller. (DubsNote: PWNED.)

In this room they could hear a faint knocking against the southern wall with no discernible pattern to it. They listened for a bit then moved on, into another large room, this one strewn with much debris in the corners. Brolly tracked again, picking up more slithering trails leading to an archway to the southeast and also hearing the knocking sound. The party wanted no part of it so they went west, pulling open a stuck door to reveal two fierce chickens with lizard tails that were not happy to see them. The experienced players groaned and hollered to close the door, but the group had to win initiative to do so. Fortunately the front liners won, Brolly able to slam the door shut just as the cockatrice barreled towards him and slammed its beak into the door. They even staked that door shut for good measure.

It was getting late and they hadn’t found a lick of loot so I think their next decision was “f*ck it, let’s go look at the noise where the slithering trails are that we’ve been avoiding all night.” That might be paraphrasing. Looking into that room, they discovered two hideous giant grub creatures with wildly flailing feelers coming from their heads. One was pointed in their direction, drawn by their activity, the other was banging the armored corpse of a dwarf against the northern wall in that same chaotic cadence. It apparently was getting some catharsis from the dwarf’s helmet ringing from the stones.

The fight was on and Miles the Paladin stood tall in the doorway with the rest of the party intending to shoot or fight from over his shoulder with spears. The first one rushed him and flailed at him with his feelers, missing all eight of its attacks. The party responded by stabbing it and shooting around it towards the one in the back. When shot with an arrow, the wounded creature started banging the dwarf’s head against the wall more rapidly as if saying, “ow ow ow!”

Miles was eventually paralyzed by the creature’s feelers, but the party was able to stab it to death before it bit his head off. They defeated the other one after it threw the dwarf corpse at them and closed. They used their healing potion to restore Miles to action and searched the room over, finding a very fine dwarven foreman’s chain in a pile of disgusting remains. It was getting late so they backed out, heading up to the first level and the waiting Og. The ogres were sitting around playing slap-fight championship. Coming as no surprise to really anyone, Og demanded another payment to let them leave which Brolly balked at. Reaction checks went the PCs way so Og said, “If you big bad, you slap. If you survive you can leave.” Brolly, not being a little b*tch, stepped up and took the first slap which Og grinned at. Og reared back and decked the much smaller Explorer, but Brolly was not in fact killed so the ogres cheered and congratulated the adventurers for not being punks.

The party was able to return to Azen Radokh with no further encounters and plan for their next delve with quite a bit of downtime as far as these things go.


Xp from Kills: 270
Xp from Loot: 900
Total XP: 1170
Cuts: 9
PC: 0% 260 5% 273 10% 286 Hench: 0% 130 5% 137 10% 143

Friday, August 25, 2023

Dubzaron Session 110: Damsels in Distress

This session was ran by DM Brigadine and I was not present. The dungeon had a lot of flavor and it’s my understanding Brig created it with a random only roller a couple hours prior. The party kept delving the place in subsequent weeks to get the big magic item prize but I believe they also enjoyed the vibe of a lost dwarven vault. While reading the session report you can feel the creepiness of the place. 

It was an interesting session wherein the party were able to secure the bag (loot) which was actually a chain gang of tr0llops. This is very un-pc and problematic and probably a thought crime and I’m sorry to the players who were uncomfortable and that DM Brig, shamefully, did not have an X card available for those who may have been triggered. Just kidding idgaf. -DM Dubs 08/25/23

5/10/23-5/13/23, rest 5/14, active 5/15PCs: Brolly (Explorer), Miles (Paladin), Aelways (Machinist), Nezra (Sporecaster) Henches: Alejandro, Bob #ACKS

Edelweiss the Mage (PC) spends a lot of downtime playing solitaire. With the always on nature of the campaign, that player has gathered enough resources to recruit some mercs and venturers and such and has a network across several markets. In Azen Radokh, primary home of the dwarves in Dubzaron, she tripped over a rumor during one of her passes through town.


Davian, her hench Machinist, won an arm wrestling match against a drunken Delver who couldn’t really pay up in coin but offered the location of a cursed dwarven vault that he scribbled on the back of a napkin. It was said that the dwarves who were building it out ran across some other construction that might have held a library or something. They continued their original plans for their vault with the intent to explore the discovered area later but were stricken with misfortune, death, and even inefficiency, the cruelest calamity to a dwarven endeavor. This location was tied to another rumor that Edelweiss had of a scroll with ever-changing script. This was enough for the curious mage and while in Dubzaron training for her next level, she put out the call to adventurers to investigate for her and the other players answered. For gold, of course, this ain’t no charity.

Some of the boys from the Fishton and Guido sessions were out of training, new and improved and big swole, so they signed on. Add in a 1st level and a few henches and you’ve got a party. They touched base with the Delver in Azen Radokh, felt alright about the info that they gathered, and off they went.

The entrance to the vault was dwarven construction with warding runes of protection around the edges, relatively new in dwarf terms but they might have realized this had been around longer than it seemed. Dwarves ain’t on a normal timeline. There was some talk about making the 0 level henchmen open all the doors in the dungeon but they realized that wasn’t really gonna work out loyalty wise, so one of the dwarves pushed it open, revealing a wide entry chamber and a stairway leading down.

The first door told them a little about the place, a finely crafted archway that some stoneworker took great pride in. The door itself was plain stone that opened away from them into a room with three giant monitor lizards vibing in a pile in the center. The lizards looked at them and squinted a little in their light, but otherwise were not aggressive or overly concerned about the group. Brolly, tonight’s caller, decided to try to hug the wall and avoid a confrontation. The dice cooperated and they exited through a doorless, finely crafted archway to the south into a T intersection.

West led to another door which they fiddled with and established an SOP for tackling, with the machinist investigating for traps and such. Brolly slid this door open once it was cleared and narrowly dodged a poison dart trap that bounced harmlessly off of Miles’ shield, who blinked once and chuckled. Brolly would not open another door the rest of the evening without some contrivance to avoid poison darts. This was a large chamber that had several giant centipedes nomming on the corpses of humanoids. They barely seemed to notice the party who carefully closed the door and backed away. East turned south and the party spotted several humanoid shapes laid flat against the corridor walls in front of them as though hiding from the light.

They watched a minute with no change to the situation while Miles detected evil because Paladin. Nothing registered so they approached cautiously, realizing that these were the withered bodies of various humanoids staked to the wall by an unnecessary number of iron spikes. Dark pools underneath showed where the captives had bled and drained away over time. Gross. The crew kept on, turning back west and arriving at a locked door. It took a while but John Aelways was able to pick the lock eventually, revealing a massive chamber that had to be some kind of great hall or something. It was cluttered with rugs, carpets, pillows, couches, all of poor quality, and lit by hooded lanterns with red cloths thrown over them giving the place a very red light district vibe.

It became immediately apparent that there were people here, chained to the floor and distraught. Once it was clear that the party were not monsters, they started pleading for freedom. There were five females, one human, two elves, and two dwarves, scantily clad and looking quite the worse for wear. Miles the Paladin detected evil again and all five of these captives radiated with Chaotic energy. After some discussion, the party determined that these ladies were probably cursed or something. They were going to free them but didn’t really trust them either. Brolly of the Big Strength flexed a little and stepped up to pull their chains loose from the ground, but groan and pull and yank as he might he couldn’t make headway. Aelways, on the other hand, quickly freed the bolted chains with some nearly magical application of tools and dwarven bullshittery, quickly becoming the hero to the ladies despite his low charisma. The group made sure the manacles stayed on, leaving the girls like a weird chain gang following the party. (DubsNote: When did this become Trollopulous?)

The girls told them about some loot that “wolf men” came and stowed away in the room but the party didn’t seem to care much. They also told them about a secret entrance that their captors used, which the dwarves and Brolly found pretty quickly. They opened the secret door which swiveled from the middle, making a little awkward doorway on either side to fit through. The chain gang was apparently Miles’ responsibility so he led them carefully into the next room which was pretty large and floored in finely crafted hexagonal tiles that the Machinist appreciated professionally. 

On the eastern wall were more humanoid corpses staked to the wall, three on either side of another arched doorway. Brolly rigged a rope to the pull ring so that he could open it from a distance and this time his big strength mattered, having to tug the stuck door open. It revealed another room nearly identical to this one, except the tiled floor had been smashed and churned to rubble in a big circle. As they proceeded through the doorway, BAM surprise attack!

So they failed to check these corpses on the wall at all which would have revealed them as zombies. They were going to trigger like a trap and happened to trigger while the chain gang was being led through the door. Meanwhile, in the next room, the rubble began to rumble and out popped a Caecilian. Now, I’m an uncultured swine who does good to talk like real people, so pronouncing that during session play ain’t happenin’. That there’s a Gray Worm. Party is now split with Brolly, Miles, and the gals in the room with the gray worm and the rest blocked off by zombies. Miles protects the ladies while Brolly stabs the worm. The henchmen and dwarves in the back engage the zombies and it’s a real fight. Miles joins in once the ladies are tucked in a corner, the worm beats on Brolly until he backs out to play with zombies instead, and then Miles gets swallowed whole!

Meanwhile, the henchmen are hangin’ in there with the zombies, the dwarves getting in some shots here and there. Alejandro goes down, but Bob weathers the storm while Brolly starts killing them from behind. Eventually the zombies are dead, but the worm attacks the girls in the corner! Now, Brolly doesn’t really care about the girls but he wants to save his homie that got nommed, so he charges back in. Nezra the Sporecaster animates some of the defeated zombies and sends them in and the party is able to beat the worm down and extract Miles, who had succumbed to the digestive juices of the creature. With some solid mortal wounds rolls, the fallen paladin and henchman are able to get to walking wounded status. None of the girls were eaten thankfully, and the human girl even had worm goo under her fingernails like she fought back. Fierce. The group knows they’re out of steam so they cut open the worm and pull out some loot, scoop up the loot the girls told them about in a hidden compartment in the red room, and are able to escape with no further complications.

They limp into Azen Radokh with a string of chained women
and talk their way past the guards, crashing with exhaustion for the night. They got decent loot and saved some damsels in distress, so I’d call that a win if I was them, but they did not find the target of the search, the mysterious scroll.


Thursday, August 24, 2023

Dubzaron Session 107: Played 19 April '23

DM Dubs here again. Reporting to you from the internet with a new session report from Dubzaron. I was not present for this session so I am reading it same as you; lost! 

What I can tell you is DM Vince McMaximus DMed this wild sounding session. It’s funny that DM VM, despite being the most moral guy among the regular players/patrons of Dubzaron, has been tasked with being the co-dm in charge of adjudicatingcrime based downtime stuff (thieves guild things) and was tasked with DMing the evil party. 

You’ll notice there are quite a few session report numbers missing from the last report. Those DMs didn’t write good reports. Shame! And you’ll notice some of these evil PCs were running with my elven enchanter doing the Guido’s Fort stuff. Well DM JD was taking a break so Guido’s Fort was abandoned as an adventuring locale (for now) and these evil bastards went out to find a Bugbear Camp to make their safe parking place between adventures. This camp is near and dear to DM VM’s heart since it is tied in with the story of his favorite henchman Smokey the Bugbear. 

Smokey has had many adventures including going to BROVenloft with Vince and losing his gf (what a shame). In so doing Vince replaced my own DM Dubs concept of bugbears being the South Park inspired “manbearpig” and players instead embraced the Smokey version of bugbears. Lovable but dangerous and very angry if you don’t put out your campfire! That’s how the cream rises to the top in a BROSR campaign (and multiverse!) Learn more about Smokey here

As far as game theory goes I will point out that the DM loved running a zero prep session and leaning on reaction checks and random encounters. This really is the way to make a world come alive and work with the players to allow real player autonomy in your d&d campaign. Try it right aaay if you haven’t! -DMDubs 08/24/23

In game dates covered: 4/12 - 4/22: Characters available for downtime action on 4/23 

PCs Present: 
-Sage Possumhaw L2 Halfling Burglar 
-Altair L1 Nosferatu 
-Hunter L1 Barbarian 
-Jefe L1 Elven Nightblade


the crew, which had previously been hanging out with a group of goblins at a place called “Guido’s Fort” somewhere along the Blood River, at the frontier of the Borderlands, caught a rumor from the goblins of mysterious happenings in the west. Because beastmen are chaotic, they’re notorious gossips - a particularly nasty trait - and so the rumor traveled among the gossip networks and bing bam boom, our group of creepy ne'er do wells had a quest. The rumor was that a group of beastmen, hiding somewhere in the Miniri Mountains, was looking for an artifact connected to a mysterious prophecy. Unsure of much more than that, the creeps listed above said, “Let’s do it!” They traveled across the map, using the beautiful Auran roads they despise so much, avoiding many encounters, and eventually arrive at Turos Telle, glittering in its rather recently wished back into existence by the Prefect Drakon who seems to have a solution for everything. All they knew was to head upriver - which is south - with the hopes of finding signs of bugbears. Like scat or something? Hard to say. The rocky hills offered few places for cover in the shadow of the Miniri Mountains, save for the occasional grove of large cedar trees. They got VERY lucky and avoided a few encounters that surely woulda killed them. First the purple worms that were resting, coiled around a small ruin, and then there were centaurs they surprised while they were grazing among the hills.


After a hard day’s travel their sleep was interrupted by some clumsy kobolds. Someone speaks kobold so they parlayed. Immediately these kobolds thought the PCs to be cool dudes so they shared some bug cakes and it turns out, these kobolds work for the guys who work for the guys looking for the artifact. So off they went. The PCs entered the village and bribed their way to the tent of Chief Durr of the Bugbears. Someone made a friendship bracelet for chief Durr but one of the bugbear guards tried to steal it. Hunter wants to fight that bugbear for the friendship bracelet…yet to be determined how that plays out.


Durr tells the crew how to find the artifact - he thinks - but also gives the PCs the chance to go on a vision quest! What does this entail? We’ll have to find out! Durr’s kobold slaves escort the PCs to where they think the cave holding the artifact is. On the way the meet a lone figure at a campfire and plot to kill him. Just before they attack, the mysterious figure turns into a red dragon somehow! The dragon charges and by stroke of luck Jefe hits it with his first bow shot. The dragon disappears. Hunter, being impetuous, charged at the last location of the man who turned into a dragon. Somehow he landed a strike and killed the man in one blow. That was a weird encounter. He had a ring and a funky medallion that Hunter put on and started hearing voices so he took it off. There was also a blank parchment. Well that was that and they kept moving.


In a valley, in the shadow of the mountains, they next met a troop of about 45 goblins on the march. The PCs attempted parlay. Successful! The leader and 2 body guards came out to parlay. Conversations were actually going well until someone - Sage the halfling I think - whispered to Hunter “Kill this fool” or something. Hunter, being impetuous and easily manipulated by peer pressure, cut the goblin chief’s head off in one stroke. I ruled he had surprise cuz even I, your handsome DM, was surprised. Hunter cleaved the bodyguard and nearly got the 2nd bodyguard as well. During the round the goblin was easily dispatched. Despite outnumbering the PCs and kobolds 2:1, the goblins failed their morale check miserably and withdrew from the field. Sheesh.


Eventually the party found a cave entrance on the side of a mountain. At this point it was basically pretty late and really the best thing to do, after ascertaining that this cave was probably the right one, the PCs went back to the village to prep for a future cave delve where they hope to recover the artifact and see how it helps the Bugbears find their missing prophet.


Grades: Everyone gets an E cuz no one acted out of character really. The closest to getting docked would have been the Nosferatu, Altair, because he drank the dead guy’s blood and that seems un-vampire-like and more like some gross bird or something. But the idea of this dude being extra skeezy is funny to me, so I wouldn’t want to discourage that. We are amused.


DM Grade: I dunno, C I guess. We didn’t know who was DM’ing until we got on the mic’s so I had nothing prepped except that there was an artifact. I ran everything off the dice and basically made only 1, maybe 2, decisions myself the whole night and this was relating to things that just kinda had to be done related to the hooks. LOTS of reaction rolls, lots of encounter charts…it was GREAT. As a DM I had a ton of fun just making up stuff that the dice and tables were giving me. I hope the players had as much fun. I did do some stupid things like blurt out the names of some monsters encountered instead of describing them. Once a creature type is established this doesn’t matter but I like how it keeps people in game if you say, “there’s a dozen half man, half horse things in the ravine” as opposed to “you see 12 centaurs, what do?” So I woulda given myself an F for minor errors but I’m very handsome so that A averages the F out to a C.


P: Xp from Kills: 75 Xp from Loot: 21875 Total XP: 21950 Cuts: 4 PC: 0% 5469 5% 5742 10% 6016

Wednesday, August 23, 2023

Dubzaron Session 103: What is Love?

Happy Wednesday dear readers, it is I BDubs1776 yet again. I'm still trying to catch up with Session Reports done since last spring when I had to take a break from DMing Dubzaron. You may notice that some session numbers are being skipped. This is because some of the co-DMs were lax in doing session breakdowns; either not doing them at all or just dropping a quick paragraph about the general nature of the session. Neither is useful for putting up session reports like this on a blog. So I didn't and won't.

I think you can still follow the blog and get the general thrust of the campaign evolution and feel during this time frame. 

Below you will find DM Brigadine of Brigadungeon fame back in the DMing chair. And you'll find your favorite BROSR DM and social media gadfly (me) as a PC Thief known as Scamicus the Trustworthy.
For fun I'm going to not put a great deal of thoughts in this intro but instead jump into Brig's useful reporting with my stupid and irreverent thoughts from the PC perspective. Enjoy! -DM Dubs 08/23/23


Time: 3/22/23-3/23/23, rest 3/24/23, active 3/25/23Pcs: Samson, Tuck, GC, Guvnor, Scamicus, George, Lyros Henches: Scamora, Scaman 

Downtime talk was about hitting Muppetlantis with Scamicus the Thief interested in trying to find a big score. Cue the session and we’re covered up with PCs and everyone seems to be in agreement that Muppetlantis, the acid trip induced combination of Muppet Treasure Island, Atlantis, Barbarians of Kanahu, and other things I can’t recall, is the target of interest. The PCs had moved themselves in downtime to the closest civilized location to launch from and were ready to go pretty quickly. Muppetlantis is designed to be a randomly generated dungeon using AD&D’s Appendix A. This is advantageous for a few reasons. First, it is truly random. Second, it helps test a theory that Bdubs has about passing a single dungeon off to multiple DMs. If the next DM picks up where the first left off, generating everything randomly, then it’s a fresh run for everyone involved. If you’re looking for bespoke plot devices or contrived hooks and such, this ain’t that.
(DubsNote: We have found that Muppetlantis is a useful dungeon for allowing multiple DMs a place to take turns delving. You can’t know what’s there, even as a dm, if it’s randomly generated. However as you’ll see below the scores are kind of meh and have led to the place not really grabbing the zeitgeist of the campaign or the interest of most PCs.)


The party checked out of Turos Tem and headed along the road that had been established towards Krak de Chevalier, formally Fort Apache, by Madeye and Gaius during the development of Tem and the New Badlands. They ran across a handful of mules that through some coaxing George was able to bring on board. “Every party needs mules for all the loot we’re going to get!” No one ever got saddlebags or packs for the mules and I was eager to spring that on them if it came up. Next they found an icy patch on the road and in the badlands/muddy area. Now, it’s not summer or anything but there’s no way it should be frosty so they knew something was amiss. After some consideration they opted to skirt the area which was wise, as three frost salamanders burst from the mud and attempted to ambush where the party should have been. Because the big lizards were surprised, they didn’t catch on that the party had skirted them and were easily evaded. Our stout adventurers continued on, next dodging a pair of Manticores that were engaged in some kind of play or mating ritual in the air. Again the enemy was surprised so the party was able to skeedaddle. They made it safely to Krak de Chevalier and introduced themselves to the corporal on duty. Some of the party had been through before and Scamicus greased the skids with a bit of Dilbert’s whiskey and soon enough they were cozied up for the night. They convinced the guards to let them leave their livestock at the fort and determined to go on foot to the dungeon.


The next day they set out early for Muppetlantis and hit the search rolls right off the rip. Basically walked right to the place like they never left. A big 20’ wide 30’ tall cavern mouth descended into the ground, flanked by worn columns of indeterminate architectural origin. They set up marching order and light and whatnot and in they went. They followed a 20’ wide hallway covered in algae and slime from being in a swamp for ages to a T intersection where they discussed where they thought maybe they had killed some kobolds. They knew that some kobolds escaped with loot previously and endeavored to try to follow them. They found a big room filled with rats eating kobold corpses, but George of the Jungle was able to navigate the party through the delicate social situation to the door in the back where they knew kobolds had fled to. They searched the end of a dead end hallway until accidentally triggering a trapdoor that dumped them on a ramp and into the room below. (DubsNote: totally on purpose.) 

This is where new generation of the dungeon started, giving the party a few exits in the form of doors and a hallway. Scamicus stopped to listen and rolled very well, hearing no bad guys but a high frequency piercing kind of noise just at the edge of human perception that set his teeth on edge. Direction wasn’t clear so they picked the hallway and off they went.

And went. And went. Turn, hallway, intersection, more hallway. Rest. No random encounters. Repeat. As they traveled, they realized the hallways were lined with columns that popped and sparked randomly but otherwise were not seeing anything threatening or more importantly valuable.
They came to a stream crossing one hallway with a rope set to swing across so George, you know, of the Jungle, swung across. It was exhilarating. But the party decided to take a door on their side of the drink, so he had to swing back. (DubsNote: Scamicus enjoyed giving George a nice gold clap then saying “yeah so come back to us, dummy”.)

Dissatisfied with the door leading to yet another long hallway, they back-tracked and eventually found an unusual door, solid metal that dropped from the ceiling as though used in defense. Samson on the first rank easily raised the door high overhead where it clicked into the ceiling, revealing a cavernous room that seemed to eat their light, reducing it to only its brightest radius. The dim light they’d normally get was gone. A squeaky, pubescent voice addressed them from the shadows demanding to know why they were here. Like adventurers do, they lied. Oh we’re just passing through, got turned around, no big deal. Squeakers told them to leave a bag of gold on their way out, or else. This was accompanied by a gaggle of laughing voices from the darkness. Scamicus threw a torch at them and it was on. 

Now, humanoids in Muppetlantis are muppets. Yep, those ones. Felt puppets. So the party got into a deadly serious fight with 5 felt puppets that looked like Rizzo and the boys. Blows were exchanged, fire was hurled, Lyros was bitten, and ultimately the party prevailed, tackling one of them after convincing him to surrender. While they interrogated him, they realized that the “slain” muppets were gone. Eh? Whatever, there’s no gold in that. Squeakers had a coin in his uh, cavity, that Scamicus eagerly went elbow deep in to search for. It was a Kennedy half dollar, each side showing heads but one scratched up. He bit the coin because that’s what you do. Squeakers told them that if they flipped the coin dramatically in the air they could cast Darkness once per day. (DubsNote: this is a great magic item which Scamicus still has and is enjoying the use of. Thanks party for not demanding I give it to the group fund. Playing a thief is the best!)

Not satisfied, the party tied him up and forced him to show them to treasure which he had no idea about. They then asked about the weird noise when they realized that he was subtly bobbing his head to some unheard beat.


The captive ratmuppet led them to a sekrit door and back through some hallways towards the noise that only he could truly hear, all the while bobbing his head. At one door, the party listened and heard more rats like the ones above. 

Desperate for some kind of treasure (DubsNote: we were in fact getting desperate for a score here. As the caller I felt like I was letting the party down.) they opened the door to dozens of giant rats in and around rats nests who weren’t particularly put off by the party. They simply looked at them, every single rat bobbing its head in time to the mystery beat. George the Beastmaster was up again, dancing his way through the room bobbing his head like Chris Kattan in search of valuables, coming back with a handful of silver and certain that there was quite a bit more. (DubsNote: Obviously the music playing was “What is Love” of “Night at the Roxbury” fame. Deadly serious session and stakes with the stupidest themes possible!)

They discussed a minute then George used his beastial cry whereby all the already friendly rats gathered in a group around him, staring eagerly at him and ready to help. He led them out of the room while the thieves ransacked the place, coming out with piles of silver coins and other odd silver bits. I ruled that as long as George matched time with the rats, then he would be able to keep their attention and pied piper them around, sacrificing his first round of combat to do so. They carried on, reaching a location that they had been to previously. They checked a big room to the north and found many coffins that had been broken out from the inside, but no valuables or undead to slay. Searching the coffins revealed a handful of spent power crystals, but none that were active. They took some anyway. (DubsNote: We should have taken more. I hadn’t done the research yet but these sci-fi style power crystals are pretty valuable. I was somewhat RPing that my thief didn’t care. Sadly we didn’t have any PCs on hand that cared about arcana or tech stuff so they didn’t slow my Calling down to make sure we investigated the crystals more closely.)

Squeakers led them back the way they had come, eventually, once very near the trapdoor that they entered from, wincing in pain and asking to go no further. Scamicus wasn’t having it and forced him on, where at the next intersection he started to howl and shriek in pain. The rats following George would not pass beyond that intersection either, so George stayed behind with them while some others went up to scout ahead.

They found a metal plinth with a disco ball of mirrored glass hovering above it. Scamicus pitched Squeakers into the room before entering to test for traps I guess? where bl000d poured out of his ears and the rat muppet was no more. (DubsNote: This was so funny to me at the time. Still makes me chuckle. Being a Neutral Thief rules!) 

Investigating the pedestal revealed a wide slot in one side with inscriptions underneath it. Scamicus stuck some coins in the slot and the whole thing popped and sparked and smoked and the disco ball fell and rested on top of the plinth. Once this happened, the rats by George immediately stopped bobbing their heads and scattered, fleeing into the dungeon corridors. They knocked it over and stole the ball, got after a compartment in the bottom of the plinth and tore out some colored wire, eventually pulling loose a metal box. Deciding their recon mission was concluded, they exited the dungeon the way that they had entered, through the trapdoor and rat room and out. They walked back to Krak de Chevalier with a story to tell and a little coin for their trouble. 

(DubsNote: In hindsight I think the machine was a cd jukebox but I’m still not 100% sure, the DMs descriptions were good. Just weird enough to be confusing. I think I botched my Remove Traps check or we may have been able to claim more in tact tech treasure. All and all a fun session and good on the fly DMing. I failed as a Caller since I should have found us more rooms to check for potential treasure rolls. But we avoided any stupid/deadly combat except the one where we’d have needed to make too big of a bribe to avoid.)

Grades: 

Samson: Little to fight, little to heal. Threatened to intervene if they executed a captive without cause. As cleric/crusader as he could be given the circumstances, E 

Tuck: Fell asleep before the only real fight of the session where the barbarian could do barbarian things. Just got in from overseas, jet lag’s a thing, no aberrant behavior. E 

GC: Greedy coward, hid and tried to flank during the muppet fight, E 

Guvnor: Berzerked and engaged muppets, E 

Scamicus: All focus on profit and scores, E 

George: Did beastmaster things more than anyone really thought possible in a dungeon, E (DubsNote: Star of the show for sure. Amazing play.)

Lyros: Flanked out, sneaked, engaged muppets, E 

Musings: First run at Muppetlantis for me and I wasn’t in the previous sessions, so tried to put some flavor in it. I hope some of it came across well but with how hallway heavy the generation was it maybe left the players a little wanting for some action. Random be random, though. I had fun taking suggestions and nodding along when the party jumped on the flavor bits they found interesting. The disco ball started as a plain plinth that evolved as more got heaped on it, eventually turning into a disco cd player. Looking forward to seeing how the dungeon develops as more DMs put their stamps on it.


Tuesday, August 22, 2023

Dubzaron Session 102: TF is an Ides Anyway?

Hello this is BDubs1776 again. This is yet another session of mine own campaign in which I didn’t DM. In fact, I wasn’t there at all! DM Brigadine, DM Vince McMaximus, DM JD, and DM Ambrose all filled in for a time starting at the end of January 2023. IRL got very IRL for me and mine for a time. I’d like to thank all the DMs who filled in for months during this time. They kept the campaign rolling and kept the players engaged in the world. 
What I found interesting about Dubzaron during my absence is they played MORE than usual. They started doing extra sessions on the weekends and such. Was it a case of “when the cat’s away…”? 

But at some point this extra interest did die down. You can see the session report below where only 3 players showed up for a session. For a campaign which frequently has 6+ PCs this was very odd indeed. 

Was it a case of the players not being into or not seeing their role in an army focused session? DM Brigadine recently had that problem come up in his Oberholt campaign he runs face to face wherein the PCs who didn’t control the army were bored, disinterested, disengaged, and otherwise a letdown. 

This session was played around the time that the BROSR was super high on army stuff. With our bros realizing and crowing that 1e fighters should be tooling around with 10 merc soldiers per their fighter level. Yet Dubzaron has found since that d&d players on the whole aren’t super into army stuff; including supplying them and strategy, things like that. Why?

It’s unclear but for dubzaron I’ve wondered if the ACKS BR system, while useful, might not be very fun. Would scaling up be better? Unclear since DM Brig ran ACKS with scaling up sometime after this session and had mixed results. 

We’ve discussed that it might be more of an issue of only the most dedicated downtime players having a stake in the army stuff; since it was they who built the army in downtime. 

Edelweiss, for his part, made some comment after seeing the risk/reward calculus of this session, stating he’d never delve a dungeon again. “Lair smashing” was simply too easy, safe and valuable. 

This can’t be right. I can’t imagine Macris designing a game system where you essentially have an automatic win once you’ve acquired an army of 240 units or more. Are we missing something? Some rule(s) which would make the calculus more interesting; less ez mode or at least less profitable? I welcome comments or thoughts about this. 

I think at the least the BROSR should ask more of its would be army commanders than just “grind for cash and prizes”. They should be expected to worldbuild. To make hooks and concepts with their armies which add to the campaign. While this is a game, it’s also a social endeavor that requires a bit more than “I get some cash, I get more powerful”. 

I’ll have more thoughts on this in upcoming session reports. Until then, enjoy this session report from DM Brig. 
-BDubs 8/22/23

Session 102: 3/15/23: TF is an Ides anyway?
Time: 3/15-3/20, rest 3/21, active 3/22
Pcs: Brolly, Vhailor, Edelweiss
Henches: Azalea, Davian, Gilford, Lily
Mercs:
87 Horse Archers
90 Light Infantry
48 Slinger
30 Bowmen
24 Longbowmen
16 Light Cav - 8 Killed
15 med cav
11 Hvy cav
9 Cataphract


With a lighter than usual roster and no real plan, the Players loaded up on Edelweiss's army and decided to help her travel to Azen Radokh and hunt for lairs. Discussion during the week was more about Muppetlantis, but they're terrified of the place. Or maybe Edelweiss is just terrified of everything. At any rate, off to clear some lairs.


They traveled easily past Siadanos and into the hills east of Azen Radokh where they started tooling around for lairs. They found evidence of Rocs which they chose not to interact with since the giant birds were known to be Lawful. Then Brolly found some giant tracks and followed them to a cave in the hills.


Using Invisibility from Edelweiss, Vhailor crept up and discovered six hill giants eating dinner deep in the cave. They hatched a plan to try to lure them out and ambush them with the army. Hill giants are r1tarded and the dice abided, so when Vhailor made some racket and ran, the giants were hot on his heels.


They were quickly murdered by the army due to not realizing there was an army since it was hiding to either side of the cave mouth. Pretty easy score for the boys.


Brolly and some hirelings continued to search for lairs and try to determine if they'd found *all* of the lairs for the hex. They discovered a chimera lair next, high up on a ridge where the army couldn't really get to it. Edelweiss summoned his own chimera and cast growth on it, thus the Swolmera was born.


It roared into the skies like a beast of mythical terror, but it must have been too unfamiliar with its new form to function well, as the native chimera shot it down. The creatures, realizing they were outclassed, swooped down and grabbed easily toted valuables from their nest and skeedaddled.


The explorers found a path up to loot what was left in the nest, some gold and a magical suit of leather armor. Again, easy score, but not as much as coulda been gotten had Swolmera brought the thunder.


The next day, the party tracked a huge group of beastmen to a fortified palisade area guarding a valley. Some recon revealed orcs and giants of unknown number. Brolly scratched out a rough map of the camp and Edelweiss chose to avoid it.


Still unsure about number of lairs, they continued to search. A small group of Frost Giants surprised the party at spitting distance but had a really high reaction check. They demanded to know the group's purpose in the hills and repeated that "dwarves are shit" anytime dwarves were mentioned. Their leader had a belt of dwarf scalps. The giants demanded that the army just leave. Edelweiss was happy to oblige.


Fortunately their cartographer learned that there were no more lairs in this hex and the party could move on to the next, so they did. The recon group was surprised by some skittering maws and suffered the only casualties of the night before the army was able to defeat them.


The Cartographer hit his roll early in this hex, letting the boys know that there were four lairs for sure here. They sniffed out the first one before dark, some Pegasus that again they chose to leave alone due to their Lawful nature. Such noble adventurers.


While they camped there was a raid on their supply line by some bandits. I ruled that whoever was on watch had to roll the SA for it, and the good guys won so the bandits were unsuccessful. Losing supply to your army is big bad so whew.


Next day they found a grizzly lair "they don't have loot" so they dodged it. They found a stirge lair that they just obliterated because Stirges suck. Got a small score off of them. Then they found more beastmen.


Brolly tracked them to their Ice Castle at the foot of a massive, unusually icy mountain. There was a company of the big furry goblinoids manning the parapets. Theories of white dragons and frost giants and I forget what else were thrown around, but the ever-cautious Edelweiss weren't about no frontal assault so the party opted to take their wins and head on towards Azen Radokh to end the session.

Grades: Edelweiss: Hard to grade a mage in these conditions, leading an army. Played cautious, used spells when it made sense. E 
Vhailor: Got involved where able, but first level dudes in army fights are fodder. Used the opportunities available. E Brolly: Explored when he could, kept his head down otherwise. Did Explorer things. E.

Musings: Frost Giants shoulda demanded tribute. Even if the army had them in BR, they had the party at a disadvantage with encounter distance. Missed opportunity for the bad guys there, bad DM play. Otherwise solid session. My groups in Oberholt do a bit of lair hunting so I was looking to run a dungeon just for a personal change of pace, but it's not my call as DM to dictate the session. Players seemed to have a good time and made some scores. Also dropped some interesting bads on the map. That Ice Castle is a thing. Dubzaron House Rules for XP are interesting. The low levels really aren't going to get much xp here, as the General of the army dictates splits, but may come out with some magic items or something. Who knows, they'll figure it out. General racked up in XP, but not a ton of GP to go around. Good session, looking forward to the next. Vhailor and Brolly each get 22xp and 22gp as their splits from the "troop" spoils. Plus whatever Edelweiss splits with them for gold. They are not eligible for xp gained in that way since they do not qualify for Lieutenants at this scale per House Rule.

Monday, August 21, 2023

Dubzaron Session 99: Guido’s Fort

Hello, this is BDubs. 

I was a PC in this session which was played back in February of 2023 playing Liano the Elven Enchanter. This ACKS class, the template I rolled, and my high (but not max) Charisma makes for a very interesting approach to being a PC. Liano is like the mega Face. DM JD's session report, which I'll note below, is very sparse indeed. But, because I was a PC I'm going to give you my impressions before I drop his session outline, date concerns, and the XP we rightly earned.


Firstly let's talk about the character class make up. While I've been on hiatus from DMing I spoke to players about the possibility of having a Neutral/Chaotic leaning party. I said something to the effect of "y'all are always wanting to play the really weird and/or stupid ACKS classes so let's make a party, spawn them outside the Empire (where super Lawful Drakon will just imprison them) and see if we can survive in the wilderness and podunk towns out there".

So we ended up with some particularly strange classes:

-Lil' Khangsta the rapping mummy. Son of Kangsta Rappa of BROvenloft fame? I don't remember what "class" this was. Some kind of undead?

-Altair the Nosferatu. That's correct, in ACKS "Nosferatu" is a class. This guy was really weird. In the session he mostly just shot a crossbow. But it was strange walking around with a low level vampire on the team.

-Sage the Hobbit Burglar. This is essentially Bilbo Baggins. He acted about the same except he was a bit surly. It's kind of like a Thief but with a few weird class skills like "begging for mercy" and "annoy the dm"

-Besides those we had some more standard classes like Hunter the Explorer, Elfric the elf spellsword (iirc), and Proteus the Mage.

Most everyone was level 1 but Sage was like level 4 or 5 at this point and my elf Liano was level 2 after I bullied DM Vince McMaximus into an easy score session sewer delve the week or so before. 

So the main crux of the session is we traveled out to a dumb little town called Guido's Fort. It's my understanding the DM was running a module and just changing a coat of paint to make it better fit the Dubzaron milieu. I thought overall it was fantastic. Once we were at the fort was crossed the river into the module's wilderness to bop around. At this point it was feeling alot like B2 "Keep on the Borderlands" where you're looking for the Caves of Chaos. We kind of figured there was no dungeon equivalent to the Caves of Chaos but we still were mostly getting our bearings as you do in B2 in the first session or two.

We traveled around woodland paths within the hex (I think) which the DM treated almost like outdoor dungeon paths. This was pretty cool. During this we dealt with a 2 gang of hobgoblins, 3 killer bees, an ogre, a gang of cavemen. We fought pretty well overall but our main approach was trying to use Liano's abilities to charm as many of them as possible and gather an ad hoc army. 

Liano was able to charm the Ogre (a dream of mine since I first played BX) and a gang of hobgoblins. We convinced the hobs to take us to their camp (lair) where there was almost a big battle due to a comedy of errors and misunderstandings. But thankfully cooler (charmed) head prevailed and we instead made pals with the camp of hobs and used that as our safe point to stay between sessions. 

Liano also took to standing on a stump or something to distract the hobs with his Magical Music ability while Sage the Hobbit robbed the camp blind. We made an ok score this way but didn't level or something. The players at this had decided that we wanted to attack and take over Guido's Fort since there's no way any of us would be able to return to Drakon's Lawful Empire of Law and Law. We'd need a place to lay low. Our schemes involved meeting with the hobgoblin chief so Liano could charm said chief and then we'd take the hob army and wreck Guido's Fort. But that wouldn't be in the cards for session 99, we were out of game time.

I really enjoyed being a PC in this session and DM JD was well on his way to having a cool new region for players to spawn their weirdo anti-social PCs/classes to fill in the world outside the bounds of the Dubzaron Empire's borders. Sadly we only got one more session with DM JD in this location and, while it was amazingly fun (we charmed an ogre and convinced his ogre parents he needed to go to anti-homersectional tr444nsition therapy when we had actually previously killed him [in honorable combat]) DM JD had to retire from frequent play. 

The PCs ended up going on to other locations and finding a way to fit in with other groups that would agree to adventure with a nosferatu or deep one or whatever other dumb stuff this party had. So they still had an impact on the campaign. Yet I lament the misfits weren't able to stay together and take over Guido's Fort. Oh the mischief we'd have engaged in.

Following my comments above are the notes and short session report from DM JD. Thanks, DM JD!

-Bdubs 08/21/2


Timekeeping: 2/22: Crossed river, explored the Hill: 2/23 - 2/24: Stayed in the hobgoblin camp for two days, awaiting communication from the Hobgoblin King. xp from kills: 353 5 Hobgoblins 75 3 Killer Bees 18 1 Ogre 140 3 Neanderthals 60 4 hobgoblins 60 xp from treasure: 92 total xp: 445 8 shares: 56 to PC's, 28 to henchmen

Session 99 DM Jared Timekeeping: 2/22: Crossed river, explored the Hill: 2/23 - 2/24: Stayed in the hobgoblin camp for two days, awaiting communication from the Hobgoblin King. xp from kills: 353 5 Hobgoblins 75 3 Killer Bees 18 1 Ogre 140 3 Neanderthals 60 4 hobgoblins 60 xp from treasure: 92 total xp: 445 8 shares: 56 to PC's, 28 to henchmen

Overview: Party gathers in new location "Guido's Fort" to explore "The Hill," which lies across the river. After numerous small encounters they charm a group of hobgoblins and stay at / burgle their camp. Khangsta was downed to exactly zero and rolled very well for his mortal wounds. Bounced right back! Impressions: First time running a module. It has a great overland map. Copious outdoor encounters. Adapting b/x to ACKs trivially easy. Chaotic-friendly party. Elven Enchanter charms so easily it makes faction play challenging from a DM perspective. Playstyle requires some thought. Allowed players to remain in charmed hobgoblin camp. Not sure if this was the right call. Presumably if it's safe for the hobgoblins, it must be safe for those under their protection.

GM: A- A slow reader, I have to give myself credit for buying and reading the module. I'm worried as the players color outside the lines I won't be able to accomodate that freedom while maintaining an interesting, in-game justified level of challenge. I'm not saying there's an particular 3e challenge level to be maintained, but there must be off-screen reasons why certain in-game power equilibriums have been maintained, and if I don't have good understandings of those dynamics the game will fall apart.

Tuesday, August 8, 2023

Dubzaron Session 98: Return to Glenda’s (except they don’t return to Glenda’s)

This session was ran on  2/18/23 by DM JD. I had been away from my campaign for some weeks by this point and it is interesting to see what kind of trouble they got into  enjoy! -Dubs


(stirge encounter: 7 shares)

xp from kills, party 1: 130

xp from treasure, party 1: 590


Silas: 103

George: 103

Brolly : 103

Tuck: 103

Delros: 103

Neutralio: 103

Wolf (1/2): 51

Jeeves (1/2): 51


(gnoll fight: 5.5 shares)

xp from kills: 240

xp from treasure: 4


Silas: 44

George: 44

Brolly: 44

Tuck: 44

Neutralio: 44

Wolf (1/2): 22


(treasure hoard: 6.5 shares)

xp from treasure: 2992

xp from magic items: 5000


Silas: 1230

George: 1230

Brolly: 1230

Tuck: 1230

Guvnor: 1230

Neutralio: 1230

Wolf (1/2): 615


(grey worms: 7 shares)

xp from kills, party 3: 1,140

xp from treasure, party 3: 4,252

xp from magic items, party 3: 10,000


Silas: 2199

George: 2199

Brolly: 2199

Tuck: 2199

Guvnor: 2199

Neutralio: 2199

Wolf (1/2): 1099

Jeeves (1/2): 1099


Treasure value owed to Daria / Iannavale, including Session 97:

(20,000 + 4 + 2992 + 1209 + 6040)/2 +1000 (loan) = 16,122.5 gp


Timekeeping: This is the same exact party that delved in session 97. Having returned to Spen by 2/18/23, they were eligible to play even though they needed to rest.


2/19: party rests

2/20: travel to 31.34, elf family visit, panther evades party, camp hex 33.33

2/21: find cliff face lair 34.32, reach 37.30, fight stirges, delve

2/22: travel back, evade hobgoblins in hex 36.31

2/23: arrive in Spen

One more day of travel allowed before rest is required. 


I was surprised this particular group of PC's wished to return to the hex 37.30 dungeon for a third visit. I believe there's an element of "let's finish this" combined with "it wasn't so hard last time."


Travel was notable for encountering an elf NPC (on business with dwarves, he said) who was a little rude. Instead of beating him up they figured out where he lived and had a pleasant meal with his family. (Delayed and veiled threat.) Also notable, the party discovered a cliffside lair (from above) with absolutely massive stone doors, but elected not to explore it. When they reached the hex where the destination dungeon was located, they took the same path which last time went past a lair of stirges in a hollowed out tree. This time they slaughtered the striges before proceeding to the dungeon.


This dungeon is located at a local microgeography mountain valley desert (inside a broader plains hex) with three stone heads on a cliff above an open sandy floor. They approached through a safer alternative route discovered on the very first delve. This time they noticed a precarious rope ladder leading up to the middle stone head's open mouth. This they climbed.


Inside they encountered a warband of gnolls in a large sandy room. Bloody combat followed. Heavy sand inhibited charges. Delcros was downed in the melee and most of the party took serious damage. I limited the amount of focus fire available on both sides with threater-of-mind combat confusion, but allowed fairly easy cover for backstabs when backs were turned and attention tunnel-focused on immediate enemies. Silas the assassin benefitted, which ruined the element of surprise for George's backstab. I also feel that enemies who don't strike downed enemies is unrealistic and unstrategic when gm-controlled enemies fight on the same initiative and restore-life-and-limb scrolls are afforable. To this end the chiefton scored a hit on the fallen Delcros bringing him to an unrecoverable -15 hp.


I'll skip the room-by-room recounting of events in favor of significant actions.


The party followed tracks in the dungeon (hoping to find the blond evil elf) and discovered how this entrance connected to the left stone head entrance. The tracks lead outside to a rocky protrusion behind the stone heads but they didn't investigate it very long. They reentered, skipped the healing pool room despite damage, and found a broken eye statue (carefully approached by George), a key, and a chest. The key not did fit the chest. Everyone in this campaign is weary of trapped chests, and this one was no different. Inside they found a map (drawn, not described) which they did their best to decipher. In another room they came upon a treasure hoard as well as a giant lizard which George failed to impress with his wildman call. Not long after this they left the dungeon.


The party's choices were largely driven by the tension between (A) tracking down the elf wizard now that they had a party of badasses and (B) looking for loot in what they guessed to be an empty dungeon. There was some discussion about deciphering the map but that conversation was inconclusive. There was another conversation about the conundrum of splitting the treasure value 50/50 with Daria/Iannavale when most of the value was tied up in magic items.


On the way home the party evaded a large group of hobgoblins and then encountered two easily defeated caelians for the biggest score of the night.


Takeaways: there's a kind of language a dungeon designer speaks when he wants players to find something interesting or worth investigating. There's also an economy of motivation modulated by hit point loss, treasure finds, and to a lesser extent, unresolved but clearly presented mysteries. The PC's lost interest in this dungeon and I have lots of ideas how to create one that yeilds more return visits. It was a very interesting night for me and I believe the players had fun. 


Grading


Silas, E

George, E

Brolly, E

Tuck, E

Guvnor, E

Neutralio, E


GM: B

The sand fight was well presented and made use of environmental details to change the overall feel. However, I never asked myself whether the gnolls would guard the rope ladder entrance.


I handled the caeilian reaction poorly. Their reaction was "indifferent" so they should not have moved towards the party at all, but rather fled to underground tunnels, even if they weren't eligible to evade.


I think I could have presented the details of the dungeon so it would be more interesting, but this is something learned by experience.

Dubzaron Session 152: Hole Lotta Adventure

During this session I was actually a PC! DM Vince McMaximus was the referee and I had a blast. If you’re stuck as the foreverDM at your d&am...