Thursday, March 22, 2012

A game in a hurry

So, a few weeks ago the monday regular "Boyant Republic" game I've been playing in got moved to Wednesdays. Normally we try to be pretty flexible about attendance. We have seven players (plus GM) involved, and as long as any three players show up we're usually good to go. Last night we had the requisite three players, but, as the campaign is nearing its finale, we decided not to roll without a majority.

Never one to accept the lose of an evening of gaming, we decided to do "casual D&D". Simple set up, Pathfinder rules, 4d6 (drop lowest) in order for stats, standard races and classes only. The adventure was provided by donjon's random dungeon generator, using random seeds for everything except dungeon level. Rather than tracking encounter levels or XP, we went with a straitforward dungeon level = character level mapping (otherwise read as, "finding the stairs down is the only thing that earns you XP").

To begin with, let it be said that everyone died...twice over, and that I haven't heard that much laughter in a game for several years.

The party consisted (to begin with) of Dreyfus (a human cleric) and Orson (a human fighter). The two friends rappelled down into the well known to lead to the dungeon in search of "retirement money". In the first room, the two encountered a Troglodyte, which was a surprisingly tough fight for only the two of them, requiring them to expend a significant amount of healing. After defeating the troglodyte, they found its hoard (2500 copper pieces) and decided that that was enough to "keep us in ham and eggs for a good long time". Rather than rest on their laurels, they proceeded to enter the next room...and quickly found themselves at the bottom of a 40-foot deep pit trap. Dreyfus was dead, and Orson was unconscious, but stable, but stuck and at risk of dying from dehydration, and buried under his own loot from the 50 pound bag of coins bursting as they fell.

Two days later Henry (Dreyfus's older brother, also a cleric) and his friend Nutzfuggle the Magnificent (or something to that effect), a gnome sorcerer, dove into the dungeon in search of Dreyfus. It didn't take them long to find Orson, whom they extracted from the pit. Saying a prayer for the deceased Dreyfus, the three decided that they should "honor Dreyfus's dying wish" and went looking for more money.

Several winding corridors and a few ineffectual traps later, they heard weeping from ahead. Henry, correctly, identified the weeping as the sound of a crying crocodile (correct because if someone offhandedly names a creature you should probably throw it at the party in situations such as these), but the party paid it no mind and proceeded to the end of the hallway where they were stopped by a heavy iron door. As Orson attempted to pummel the door open with his fists, Nutzfuggle was swallowed by the crocodile that crept up behind them. The beast continued to cry as Henry cut its head off with his axe.

After several minutes of punching, Orson managed to open the door (and break his hand). Inside Henry and Orson found a dwarf sleeping inside a circle of protection. They quickly woke up the dwarf, a cleric who introduced himself only as "The Doctor", and asked him to join them. The three proceeded to the next room where they fought a troglodyte zombie, which, while it took a lots of hits, was not able to strike them, and found stairs leading down.

Now second level, the three descended into the next level where they were assaulted by fire, smoke, and oppressive heat. They wandered for a time, then encountered a fire mephit. The mephit surprised them and managed to summon one of its kind for aid. Our heroes fought valiantly, defeating the creatures, but not before Henry was slain by a critical hit from a scorching ray. Luckily another cleric of their order, Frank, was wandering lost and the dungeon and came along to heal the other two.

Now, Frank, Orson, and the Doctor proceeded to explore the fiery dungeon, eventually coming upon a forge, and a sleeping azer...who was quickly and repeatedly doused by water conjured by The Doctor. The creature woke angry and sputtering, only to have The Doctor cave in its head with a single shot from his mace. The party looted the azer's weapons and armor, including a fine warhammer which The Doctor took and proceeded to the next room, where they found a fiery altar which The Doctor also smashed. The Doctor went on to explain how he hated "fire dwarves" because his father had tried to turn him into one as a baby by dangling him over a burning forge.

In the next room, the party encountered a beautiful tile mosaic of Hercules fighting the Lernean Hydra. Orson, apparently an art critic, punched a hole in the mosaic with his remaining good hand. A thoqqua burst from the hole and proceeded to assault the party, burning up several of Frank's weapons. When the beast was defeated, Frank insisted that its appearance was the result of the "art gods' anger".

The next room sported a mural of dragons in flight painted on the ceiling. Orson punched that as well, and, sure enough, another thoqqua came bursting out to assault them. Likewise, the next room was filled with frescos of the Greek pantheon, and when Orson attempted to destroy that, another thoqqua attacked. Frank quickly decided to change religions, converting to the worship of the vengeful, but unnamed, Art God.

Across a rickety wood and rope bridge the party found a room with a spiraling labyrinth of white tiles on a black floor. Orson decided to follow the labyrinth and encountered strange resistance as he walked, sparks shooting up around his feat (yes, the random dungeon generator made a labyrinth on the floor and I could not pass up making an Amber reference). After walking the pattern on the floor, Orson discovered that he could walk through shadows. Impressed, The Doctor followed, but Frank was not able to walk the thing successfully and only barely avoided being disintegrated by the black areas of the floor.

Backtracking from the room with the pattern and taking a side passage, our heroes found a large dining room, with a lone azer finishing his dinner and the stairs leading down behind. Orson, feeling a bit rogue-like, crept under the table and began to make his way unseen towards the distracted azer. The Doctor, much less concerned with stealth, doused this azer with water as well. As the creature stood up sputtering and reached for its weapon, Orson struck, lopping off both of its feat at the ankles with a well-placed blow of an axe he had taken from a failed trap.

The three headed down to the next level, at which point everything went wrong.

At the base of the steps they encountered a party of fiendish (as per the template, not the general unpleasant descriptor) orcs. Orson leaped into the fray and grabbed the orcs, dragging them with him into the plane of shadow. He abandoned them there, only to miss when returning to the material world. Rather than returning where he expected, he was shunted 20 miles through solid stone to a neighboring dungeon, and quickly eaten by a grue (a cloaker rather).

Frank and The Doctor pushed on into the next room, where they found a human paladin, by name of Scott, buried under a pile of rubble. After freeing the paladin, The Doctor decided that they should go in search of Orson, and took the others with him into the plane of shadow. Once there, Frank decided it was too dark and cast a spell of light...which pissed off the locals. Another cloaker (go-go random encounter tables) engulfed Frank and began to gnaw his face off. The Doctor continued his shadow walk, fleeing back to the material plane. The cloaker, hauling Frank along, gave chase with its own shadow walk, leaving Scott lost on the plane of shadow. Back on the material plane, the cloaker finished eating Frank...

And a good time was had by all.