Actual Play, Basic, Dungeons & Dragons, Fantasy, Goblinoid Games, Labyrinth Lord, postaday2011, Random Tables, RPG, Urul-Dar
Last week I posted our first adventure in our three-player mostly-DM-less B/X game where we are exploring the ruins of the ancient Dwarven citadel of Urul-Dar where we lost our leader and got trapped on level 2 of the dungeon for a little too long for our taste.
This week we returned…
We spent as little time in GravelThorpe as we could (2 days of rest) and secured the services of a Medium who had been ditched by her original team when they discovered that she didn’t have the essential tactical nuclear spell, sleep. Being hard up, we agreed to offer her a full share of treasure if she joined us in our delvings. With the highest Charismas in the party now tied at 11, Hunter has become the defacto leader and point man, much to his chagrin.
Suri the Mad – wearing a large dark grey beret (S7, I13, W9, D10, C17, C11)
On return to the site we were glad to note that most of the attention of the other adventurers was on a section of the ruins nowhere near our access point – seems someone had come out with some magical dwarven weapons and golden trinkets and now everyone else was trying to horn in on their action.
When we return to a room we’ve been in before, we normally roll 1d6 and on a 1 we get a wandering monster. Since we’ve been gone for 2 days, the roll is now a wandering monster on a 1-2, and there is a 1 in 3 chance that they have moved in and brought their treasure too.
We went north from room 1 again to see what the murderous nobles had found after we left the dungeon.
2 – 1 Gecko Lizard, 90 gp in a small coffer, hidden in a secret compartment of the coffer.
And in the maze of corridors we find behind the secret door, I roll a “20” on one of the “Periodic Checks”. Since we already roll for wandering monsters, 20’s mean we pull out one of my geomorphs! That’s what these babies were for!
6 – Special Monster – we decide there’s a 50% chance it’s the Noble party again, but it isn’t so we roll on the level 2 table. 3 Troglodytes without treasure are in this old chamber.
7 – Monster – 3 Giant Shrews
One of the benefits of the geomorphs is stuff you probably wouldn’t think to put in the dungeon through normal random generation – in this case it is a crossing hallway 10 feet above the one we are in, with crenelated battlements looking down on the one we are in. And of course, there’s a monster up there.
8 – 5 Bandits, armed with shortbows and shortswords… behind cover, pinning us down in room 7. Bastards. After taking their toll on the team, we did enough damage to force them into a retreat. Instead of following them (into a probable ambush), we returned the way we came. Damn Bandits in my dungeon, stealing my goldz.
9 – Flaming oil trap – save vs magic or suffer 2d6 damage (1d3 if save is made)
And on to another geomorph!
10 – 4 Neanderthals
11 – Monster & Treasure – 6 Dwarves – 22 dwarves usually has Treasure Type G, so 6 will have 1/4 of treasure type G. 5,000 gp in pottery jars protected with contact poison on the treasure, 1 magic item + 1 potion or scroll. Shield +1, Potion of Invisibility (6 small drinks or 1 big drink).
Not finding any traps on the jars, the dwarf insists that he be the one to open the dwarven pottery to get the treasure, and dies on contact with the poisonous gold within. We pick up the jars, leave poor Gliran behind with the bodies of the 6 other dwarves (7 Dwarves!), and run for the surface without incident where we wash the coin jars out with glacier water.
Because that is MAD loot.
Back in town, everyone but the elf and the medium levels up (Daern the Dark has finally been noticed by his insane patrons and can now cast spells!) and Hunter makes a reaction roll to see if we can keep our loot secret while at the same time show off enough of it to get another adventurer to join our stalwart band. The end result? Another adventuring group leaves that night to jump our claim as we were negotiating with another dwarven adventurer to give up his caravan job and join us to collect (hushed) “lost dwarven loot”.
Githlin Axebeard – bare headed, showing off his prodigious dreadlocks (S14, I9, W10, D11, C15, C9)
And the next morning we head back in, heading right back to where we found the dwarven loot. As we head past the collapsed corridor towards area 2, a pair of giant geckos leap upon us from the rubble with complete surprise. The carnage is immediate and nearly deadly – after three rounds of combat our new dwarf is dead and both the cleric and elf are low on hit points! A cure light wounds on the elf to get up above 1 hit point and we decide to keep going, hoping against hope to find an unexplored area and some loot before we are forced to retreat again.
Instead of following our earlier explorations, we take the first unexplored door we come across. While we find some interesting rooms, everything was obviously looted quite recently (read: rolled that everything was empty, and let’s blame it on our loose lips last night in town).
12 – Whatever doors the party did not enter this room via are hidden by illusions of plain stone walls.
13 – 5 Cobras. Poison is bad. Fortunately we all made our saves, but this once again reinforced how scary combat is in B/X D&D. Stupid snakes had no treasure.
14 – Sure enough, right by the other dwarven room, more dwarves with treasure! 5 dwarves this time. 500 pp, 2 pieces of jewelry (1,100 gp and 1,200 gp). And the treasure is just loose on the floor (they were counting it as we rushed in).
15 – 3 Killer Bees
16 – Unguarded Treasure – 600 sp in a chest hidden by an illusion to make it look like an open-structured chair.
17 – Pit, 10′ deep, 3 in 6 fall in. 500 sp & 20 gp in stone containers in a secret alcove in the pit.
Of course, Hunter falls into the pit and is reduced to 0 hit points. So we carry our unconscious thief (and team leader) out of the dungeon, running into yet another giant gecko at the cave-in. They are obviously crawling in from the surface at this spot or something. Fortunately we got the drop on him since we were expecting trouble here, and dispatched it without suffering any further damage.
Our five survivors return to the surface with another thousand XP each as we end session 2, nurse Hunter back to health, and go looking for yet another dwarf (maybe dwarves are bad luck?)
I’m really enjoying this series, if you can call it that after two posts. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a GM-less D&D in play, although the new D&D boardgames are a similar idea, albeit smaller in scale and scope. I’m also enjoying some of the details thrown out by the random rolls, like the nobles, who clearly don’t have anything better to do than hang around in the dungeon bothering the working classes! I can just imagine them in powdered wigs, going “I say Tarquin, why not have a crack at the dirty one. No, the other dirty one!”
Dyson Logos said:
Nobles are the perfect encounter for a dungeon like this, where other groups are mounting their own expeditions. The encounter indicates one noble (level 3 fighter), one squire (level 2 fighter) and his men at arms (2-8 of them – level 1 fighters). Who better to run a competing expedition into the ruins?
We actually chose to have a “competitive delve” environment for this game because there are so many human results on the wandering monster tables that can be explained as other dungeon raiders on the upper levels of the dungeon (nobles, dwarves, halflings, elves, veterans, bandits and so on).
Although I guarantee I’ll have one of the nobles use that line in next week’s game, should we run into any more of the bastards!
I forgot to mention that I also like how it’s an active adventuring location, and that there are other groups running about. How are you emulating this? Is it just a case of when a humanoid group comes up on a wandering monster roll, that’s another party, or is there more to it? For instance, how did you decide that the other entrances were already in use by other groups?
Dyson Logos said:
We are using the rule of “it’s cool” and a quick roll of the die.
Basically we ask ourselves if something is happening, and then roll a d6. If it would be cool, then it is happening on a 1-4. If it is likely, it is happening on a 1-3. If it is unlikely but cool, on a 1-2 and unlikely on a 1.
So, has someone jumped our claim AND left guards at the entrance? Eh… 1-2 on a d6. Except that someone asked “has there been any major discoveries at the other entrances yet?” and the answer was yes (cool – yes on a 1-4) so we reduced the odds of someone guarding our entrance to 1 in 6.
But the vast majority of it is whatever the wandering monster tables tell us. Last time we did a game like this, the first room was stuffed full of halflings – so we played that the nearby halfling village had sent their folk in to see what the hell was going on.
Hey, how are dwarves bad luck if they always have the best loot? 😉
But as someone fiddling with random dungeon generation as well, I really like these, too.
Great series- very enjoyable , but the headgear- stop with the headgear- it’s getting ……weird.
Dyson Logos said:
We enjoy the headgear table far too much to not use it. The dwarf we rolled up to join us next week has a great big floppy wide-brimmed hat. Sounds like a swashbuckler, or a dwarf who’s a little too big for his own britches.