Thursday 19 October 2023

Solo Play Session 3: All too easy

      

Elf Team B



Introduction


With the other three elves training, Fingar the Fighter/Magic User wants to go back out, and finds 3 more guys to go with him.

Rolls
S 13 I 13 W 14 D 17 C 15 Ch 13
S 18 I 12 W 16 d 16 C 16 Ch 16
S 13 I 13 W 18 D 12 C 13 Ch 12


Elf
S 13 I 13 W 14 D 18 C 14 Ch 13
S 18 I 12 w 16 d 17 c 15 ch 16
S 13 I 13 w 18 D 13 C 12 Ch 12

Class
Assassin 3 S 13    I 13 W 14 D 18 C 14 Ch 13
Fighter  1 S 18:13 I 12 W 16 D 17 C 15 Ch 16
Assassin 4 S 13    I 13 W 18 D 13 C 12 Ch 12

Age
Assassin 3 Age 122(M) S 13    I 13 W 13 D 18 C 15 Ch 13
Fighter  1 Age 148(M) S 18:13 I 12 w 15 d 17 c 16 ch 16
Assassin 4 Age 117(M) S 13    I 13 w 17 D 13 C 13 Ch 12


HP & Secondary Skill & Money 
Assassin 3 S 13    I 13 W 13 D 18 C 15 Ch 13 HP 5  40gp Teamster
Fighter  1 S 18:13 I 12 W 15 d 17 C 16 Ch 16 HP 12 130gp none
Assassin 4 S 13    I 13 w 17 D 13 C 13 Ch 12 HP 5  90gp none



Timekeeping


This session took place on 28/09/2023, and the Characters adventured for 1 day.

Characters Present


Fingar (Level 1/1 Elf Fighter Magic User)
Neldor (Level 1 Elf Assassin)
Voldar (Level 1 Elf Fighter)
Zeno (Level 1 Elf Assassin)

Downtime 


With three of the four original characters from Team A out training, the remaining member approached the Assassin Guild Master about gathering some more like minded fellows. Three elves answered the call.


Session Report

The party arrived without incident and descended into Appendix A. Like a bigshot, Fingar lead the way around the dungeon for the newbies, heading straight for level 3; but, the place proved to be eerily quiet. I rolled for each chamber and room they had previously explored as they again passed through them, but nothing had taken their place; spooky. For "restocking" here I used the standard room contents table but ignored rolls above 17. Mr Wargaming applies a -3 penalty to the roll, which amounts to much the same thing. 

With the way this level is developing, the dungeon could easily end without any further expansion thanks the rolls on Appendix A exhausting the possibilities. I am using an A4 page of graph paper for each level, without any constraints beyond that; it would be strange to have a dungeon peter out with only a quarter of a page used (tune in to future reports to see if that happens). 




Finally, in chamber B, the party happened upon 7 fire beetles and surprised them for one segment. Even with just one segment to work with, Elf archery again won the day before the enemy knew what was happening. This one was a pay day, the beetles were dragging along with them (somehow?) 2250 ep, and, a strange jug like item. The party decided it would be worth selling back at town (and boy, was it) so, even though they were at full strength; they returned to Elf Town, again without any encounters along the way.

Proving Grounds of the CHAS Overlord Level III


Team B thinks this dungeoning stuff is easy, one encounter becomes two levels! They will be training for two weeks and not be available until October 14th. It is interesting to note XP for Gold and 1 to 1 time at work here, the first is motivation to head back to town after a big (or even a presumably big) score, the second means that the group is immediately out of play while they train.


Treasure and XP


Monetary Treasure
2250ep

Monsters
7 Fire beetles 224XP

Items
Jug (Alchemy Jug, identified in town) sold for 12000gp!

Monsters Total: 224 XP
Treasure Total:   13125 XP

XP & GP Assignment 

Training until 14th October
Fingar (Level 2/2 Elf Fighter Magic User) 3337XP & 3281 GP
Neldor (Level 3 Elf Assassin) 3337 XP & 3281 GP
Voldar (Level 2 Elf Fighter)  3671 XP & 3281 GP
Zeno (Level 3 Elf Assassin) 3337 XP & 3281 GP

Graveyard


Empty so far

Tuesday 17 October 2023

Trollopulous Adjusted Session 44 (Machodor #21); The Maze of Tupacman

  

Follow along at home


Timekeeping


This session took place on 13/10/2023, and the PCs adventured for 1 day.

Player Characters Present


Sheamus(Level 5 Rocket Cycle Fighter of Dublin, Brovenloft, E)
Sever (Level 6 Pegasus Corps Ranger of Machodor, E)
Bumblebore (Level 3 Magic User, Machodor University Associate, E)
Deltacron (Level 1 Fighter/Thief, E ) 
Godleve, Slippery Peter, and Giuseppe remained in the Amber Light

Downtime 


Within the protective Amber Light in Brovenloft the PCs were able to experiment with the magic items they had found last session and work out that they included magic armour and a longsword of significant power. The hat remained a mystery.

Deltracron, a dwarf from "E-bro-on" warped into the room with them from some other place and decided to join in the search for the Robopriest (Patron Cleric, Level 12).

Session Report

Last session Slippery Pete had found a trap with a chute going doing two levels at the top of a stair not far from the Crypt Thing room. After examining the area it appeared that the Robopriest and his henchmen had gone that way, not having tampered with the Crypt Thing themselves and been teleported away.

After much fiddling around, the trap door was triggered and then wedged open so the PCs could lower themselves down by rope. Once at the bottom a passage lead north then turned east into another corridor. The party felt a tingling sensation as they entered this area, and the dwarf volunteered that he sensed they were now deeper underground than before.

The walls of the corridor were covered in detailed paintings in the same style but unlike others they had seen so far. One large mural featured a line of pelicans and several "Cars" recognisable to Brovenloft veterans as horse-less carriages: a 90's Cadillac, with a strange barrel projecting from a window towards the driver of the second car; a brand new 1996 BMW 750 with a black man in a black outfit at the wheel; the third car held three women apparently in conversation with the BMW driver: one wearing Pink, one Cyan, and one Red.

There was also some writing around this mural. It turns out we had not yet established which languages Were'sbane could speak/read, so one is now allocated to early 90's gangsta via hieroglyphs.

The lyrics translated to: "No one knows my struggle, they only see the trouble." "Even though you’re fed up, you gotta keep your head up." What hidden meaning, if any, did these words have?

They continued past the mural and, after 60', there was a four way intersection. Here they turned right and down another 60' to another four way intersection. The walls along this path depicted spectral ghost-like beings chasing and consuming the souls of humans. Upon further investigation, the figures wore Pink, Red, Black, and Cyan.

They turned right again followed the corridor 50' west, and then 40' south. The lack of rooms or chambers was becoming a cause for concern when Sever, looking to his left, saw, to his shock, that Sheamus was gone; in his place was a tall mummy wearing sunglasses and a lot of bling, the infamous Kangsta Wrapper! The Ranger readied Were'sbane before he heard the mummy asking him, in Sheamus' voice, what was he was doing? 

The Fighter assured the rest of the party that this was just an illusion and patted himself down; he was still the Irish giant that they knew and he still had his equipment. Satisfied by this, the party continued pretty much turning right where ever possible, travelling more turning corridors; before rounding a corner and seeing a strange mummy creature, obviously female, whose bandages held a faded red tinge.

Both sides were surprised for one segment; but, as nobody playing this week had high enough dexterity to negate this, we moved on to the next round. The female mummy turned and fled, apparently at the sight of "Kangsta Wrapper". What on earth? 

The party cautiously continued in the opposite direction, coming to a T-intersection just as the illusion on Sheamus dissipated. Here a similar looking, but pink, mummy faced them from their left, and a Cyan female mummy was down the corridor to their right; where they could see, just behind her, the beginning of a stair going up. Both mummies were clearly going to attack.

The mummies charged, but the party won initiative, so I allowed them to reposition to meet the attack from within the corridor they had just stepped out of; this meant the two mummies attacked from the front of their position rather than from either side. Since this was just a matter of a few feet it seemed fair enough.

The first round saw both sides just warming up; but things got even warmer next round when Bumblebore tasked O'Malfoy with a strafing breath weapon run across the face of the front line. Due to the proximity, but also considering the cover of the walls, I ruled that Sever and Sheamus could save for 1/2 or no damage (rather than full or half); but unfortunately they both failed and burned for 5 hit points. Sheamus, who pointed out that O'Malfoy had already bit him in session #12, added this to his grudge against the magic user's familiar.

Both mummies failed their saves and also took extra damage due to their weakness to fire. Sever and Sheamus then finished off the pink mummy, leaving only one; but, at the same time, the red mummy returned from their rear and ran into a well prepared dwarf who was looking for just such an eventuality. What no one was expecting was a tall mummy in black rounding a corner in front of them.


Tupacman!

No one failed the ensuing fear save, and the mummies closed to attack, missing every single time ( I was devastated). As these mummies required a save vs fear on any hit, this was somewhat unexpected. With their hands full at the front, the party had to rely on Deltacron in the rear holding up the Red Mummy on his own, and if the enemy dice had been even average he would not have survived. Their luck held and the party beat down each remaining enemy until the monsters collapsed, dematerialising as they did so. Soon they were free to continue exploring.

Having noticed a possible stairway, to the east, earlier; they chose to investigate and indeed found a stair going up one level; but, it lead to an apparent dead end. The walls here had fewer pictures and featured a large, empty, frame like construct. Convinced that there must be a secret door here, the party spent about a turn searching; but found nothing. 

However, something found them. Approaching from the bottom of the stair was what appeared to be the very same three female mummies, looking very much...undead; they showed no fear and were going to come up the stairs after them.

Suddenly on the blank frame-like area of the wall, there appeared a moving picture, as though the wall had become glass and revealed a room beyond. Standing there was the Alexus Murphius, the Robopriest.  He thrust his holy symbol, a shield shaped badge, forward dramatically, and declared: "Bitches leave!"*

The undead monsters were turned and they fled away into the maze. The Robopriest then explained, in his flat monotone way, that he had found his way through the maze (I had run this with the Patron in downtime, one spell was enough to solve this problem for him; can you guess which?) and was now in an observation room that was magically projecting his presence to them. 

The top of the stairs did lead to an exit, a teleporter, but it only became active after "Tupacman" had been "killed" for a second time; but they had to hurry, after 5 minutes he will reform and the teleporter will deactivate.

There was a bit of back and forth over the details; but then the connection terminated, and they were on their own again.

Now with a much better handle on the situation, the PCs came up with a plan to find another spot with the Kangsta illusion glyph. As they moved they found large gold ingots had appeared, spaced every 10' or so along the corridors. They picked up those in their path, but did not risk clearing out the whole place and becoming encumbered. Knowing what to look for, they soon found a glyph to the south east and not long later, the red mummy rounded the corner in front of them. Once again Shaemus transformed into an image of the Kangsta and the mummy fled, then they advanced until they found Tupacman. Sheamus declared he was going to go "Biggie smalls" on him; but I didn't get the reference. 

They engaged the monster and soon wiped him out. There was just one hitch, the mummy's final attack hit Sheamus and the fighter, in Kangta form, failed his save vs fear and ran off. Only Deltracron could stop him, doing so by becoming a living speedbump for the giant human to trip over: in the process taking what was probably enough damage to knock him temporarily unconscious; but I forgot to check on that. Anyway they raced back to the stairs before Tupacman could return and found the floor of the room at the top glowing with the light of thaumaturgic circles and the like. 

They stepped through and came out...elsewhere. They were disappointed to find they had not arrived at the location the Robopriest was broadcasting from, instead they were on their own in some sort of indoor temple;  50' by 40', with a row of columns running on either side and there was a 20' tall statue of the Kangsta with its back to the north wall.

A brief search yielded no further information, so they left via a narrow corridor that ran both east and west and came to another, similar, room; but without the rows of columns. There was also a lot of writing on the walls in the now familiar script, some of which read:

"The RatKingCoal found me, like KV5

Come see my crew who were buried alive!

My studio's in the basement downstairs

You know that the Kang's got the sweetest of lairs!"

Deltacron discovered that the statue in this room could be opened via a mechanism hidden in its big toe. Beyond were more corridors and rooms, and the party really motored through them, somehow avoiding any random encounters. They discovered that the whole area was part of a hidden tomb that had, sadly, already been discovered and looted. The only thing of note was an encounter with a Poltergeist which only served to muddy the waters even more. 

The Amber Light closed in and they vowed to get to the bottom of this mystery next session.

* This of course references a famous scene in Robocop. A story goes that Verhoeven did not understand the pejorative nature of the term, and on set routinely referred to the actresses as bitches. For the rest of the session we did so as well, even though I never mentioned this history.


Treasure and XP



Trollopulous Adjusted Session 44 (Machodor #21)

UPDATE: XP now allocated

Monetary Treasure

30 Gold ingots worth 300gp

Monsters

Tupacman *2 1000 XP
Bitches     *3 1200 XP

Treasure Total:   300 XP

Monsters Total: 2200 XP


XP & GP Assignment N/A 

Bumblebore (Level 3, E )  610 XP & 60 GP
Sheamus(Level 5, E )  650 XP & 100 GP
Sever (Level 6, E )  670 XP & 120 GP
Deltacron (Level 1, E ) 570  XP & 20 GP


Graveyard


Jacques Ocular (Level 1 Magic User), a fat green worm burrowed into his head and turned him into a Son Of Kyuss in Brovenloft in Session #43

Comfort Rod (Level 1 Cleric), Killed in a Psionic duel with a Balrog in session #42, or does it just look that way?

Pino (Dwarf Footman level 0), Killed by a Frost Giant axe in the head in session #39

Paro (Dwarf Fighter/Thief level 2/2) , Killed by Winter Wolves and frozen in session #39

Zabib (1/2 Elf Fighter/Magic User level 1/1), Killed by Frost Giant rocks in downtime prior to session #39


Wednesday 11 October 2023

Trollopulous Adjusted Session 43 (Machodor #20); From Machodor to Brovenloft

 




    

Timekeeping


This session took place on 06/10/2023, and the PCs adventured for 1 day.

Player Characters Present


Giuseppe (Level 6 Paladin from Rome, Brovenloft, E)
Sheamus(Level 5 Rocket Cycle Fighter of Dublin, Brovenloft, E)
Sever (Level 6 Pegasus Corps Ranger of Machodor, E)
Godleve (Level 5 Cleric of Machodor, E)
Slippery Pete (Level 4 Thief of unknown heritage, E)
Bumblebore (Level 3 Magic User, Machodor University Associate, E)
Jacques Ocular (Level 1 Magic User, E ) 

Downtime 


Sever investigated rumours of the Black Knight but found nothing useful to go on. Some say he was defeated, other later reports say he is still out there challenging people

October 1, The haze of fear gas around the Robopriest's fortress changes character, becoming an obscuring mist
October 3, Ringo the Caveman arrives at the Gassy Fortress on a flying dinosaur. He brings warning that these mists are a sign that the domain has been connected to Brovenloft
October 4, The Robopriest conducts a thorough search and finds a basement where the walls are now covered in strange pictures


He gathers his strongest supporters and goes in to find out whether this is a manifestation of law or chaos. He does not return, and after a few days his retainers plead with the player characters to investigate.


Session Report

Choosing to leave behind mounts and the Rocket Cycle, the party descended into the depths of the unsecured area of the Robopriest's strong hold (the Gassy Fortress). A staircase went down five levels, ending in a square basement with two doors in each wall. Sever was able to find tracks leading out of the western most door on the north wall. There were clearly the tell tale scuffs of the Robopriest, Alexus Murphius.

There were markings on the wall that were a mixture of pictures and text, and Slippery Pete tried to read them. Fortunately for him, I ruled that they were "special young readers" hieroglyphics, and he could make out the gist of some of them:

"All these girls are mid

So I'm back in my pyramid

Holdin on my king's rod

Sailing to the sun god

Creepin you like marty krofft

Out here in the Brovenloft" 

'Relics of tha Kangsta' (BrOSR Publications 2022)

This dispelled all doubt, if any still remained, that they were no longer in Machodor.

A straight run down to a four way crossing, and straight beyond this to a 20' by 30' room in which a solitary, pale, skeletal thing wearing a brown hooded robe sat on a throne. Was it regarding them? Was it alive, undead? They could not tell.

"I poke it with my ten foot pole" -- Slipper Pete


Slippery Pete poked it with his ten foot pole. The creature stood and raised its arms and shouted something in Neutral; then, all the PCs but Giuseppe disappeared!

Sheamus and Sever, the two toughest melee fighters, materialised in the same room, 600' east of the Crypt Thing. Godleve landed 200' east of them, and Jacques, to my horror, although also in the same direction, materialised 1000' away. 

Slippery Pete appeared one dungeon level down. I interpreted this as directly down from the room the Crypt Thing was in, so, he potentially had the easiest job to get back; but, would the dungeon let him?

No way...

I wonder how man DM's over the years have looked at this monster and thought: no way...

Now, some (actually quite a bit, Appendix A dungeon generation is addictive, I'll admit; but, it's practice, not prep!) of the first level of the dungeon was already done, but not 600' away, much less 1000' away! So I simply turned the page and began mapping again. 

I considered resolving this highly unusual situation in separate chats, and keeping each separate group in the dark about the others; perhaps there is a method that would do this, but in the end I chose to just give each separate group 10 real time and/or game time minutes before moving to the next one. It was probably a pain for the players, but hopefully worth it in the end. I enjoyed adjudicating it, but it certainly helped that I've been doing some solo play Appendix A recently. In fact, it wouldn't surprise me at all if, when this monster was created, it was expected that you would resolve it using Appendix A or something like it.

Sever and Sheamus found themselves in a 30' by 30' chamber, with only one exit through the wall west. It was otherwise empty apart from numerous paintings on the walls. They immediately set to searching for secret doors and such.

Godleve found himself in a 30' by 30' room with no obvious exits at all, again with numerous paintings and some carvings in the walls. He too began searching for a way out.

Slippery Pete found himself in a 20' by 20' chamber with three exits. The room contained two large stone coffers, and 3 giant toads. His sudden appearance in the room had granted him surprise, and he hastily made for the nearest exit before the toads noticed him. Beyond there he found the passage turned left and ended in a pit.

Jacques found himself alone in a 20' by 30' room with doors in front, behind, and to his left. He set about using his torch to try and determine if there was a breeze coming from any direction (the 'always follow your nose school of dungeoneering') but with all the doors shut there was nothing noticeable for the novice magic user. He found the door ahead lead to an empty 10' square room, could not open the door behind him, but could open the door to his left; which lead down a corridor.

By good fortune, each transported player had a reason to head in the correct direction, whether by a door or corridor; but who knew how long it would take to find each other again? The teleports, though far away for the most part, could have been worse at dispersing the party, and they were all off in the correct direction to make it back together (what would happen at the end of the session if they didn't?)

Back to the room with the Crypt Thing. Bumblebore, who had been busy hitting the books in the Gassy Fortress, caught up with Giuseppe, and immediately drew the ire of the Crypt Thing by disturbing its treasure; three large chests and a big pile of loose silver coins. The monster quoted some Kangsta, in neutral, then tried to send the newcomer away (his ability only works once per party, but I allowed this since Bumblebore had just arrived) and the Machodorian Magic User resisted the teleportation magic. Perhaps this bred overconfidence, because he then started a fight!

Giuseppe, who was still looking for an alternative course of action that might cause his friends to re-appear, was forced to defend the magic user, who had attempted to cast Macho Mandalf's Flying Elbow. The undead beat him to the scratch and ruined the spell before it could be cast. And a very strange battle was on.

Meanwhile, Slippery Pete had found his way to a pit and found that it went one level up and one level down. Even the insides of the pit were painted in the same manner as the rest of the place, but, he noticed that the shading was subtly different on this level, and the level above him was the same shade as what he had experienced in the dungeon before meeting the Crypt Thing. Only a thief could have managed to scale the insides of the chute, open the trap door at the top, and get out again; so it was lucky that it was Slippery Pete who ended up in this location!  He soon found himself at the bottom of the stairs and could hear the sounds of battle nearby and went to investigate.

After an exhaustive search, Sheamus and Sever found nothing apart from the obvious exit to their left. They went in that direction and soon found a branch curving off to their left, but the western route went on and on for over 180' (consecutive rolls of 1 or 2 on Table I, this suited the situation just fine) before finally ending up in a 20' by 30' chamber with a door ahead of them. They opened the door, still yet to run into nothing under the headings of monsters or treasure, and found it led to a T-intersection, with one branch continuing away west. They then had the idea to deviate from their route and head south, but, first, used a bag of flour they just happened to have (!) to leave foot prints they could follow to return to the path. One room south then one room east, and, bingo, a big pile of coins just sitting there on the floor!

Godleve discovered a secret door to the west, opened via a mechanism hidden in a likeness of Sobek's crocodile jaws, and leading to a short corridor also heading west, with a door 30' ahead at its end. Upon stepping into the corridor he activated a pit trap, falling 10' to the bottom, but which he managed to scramble out of before it closed him in. A potentially deadly encounter for a single adventurer.

He continued on and found that it was a one way door, stepping through found him in a 60' long corridor culminating in another one way door. Within the room beyond was visible two flights of stairs going down. There was yet another one way door to the west and here he had, unknowingly, reached the room Sheamus and Sever had started in. He followed their route right up until he found the flower foot prints they had left on the floor.

Sever and Sheamus discovered that the coins were in fact protected by 3 Shockers: man sized bipedal creatures, clothed in faint light blue sparks; which which proceeded to deal out 30 points of electrical damage between them before being discharged and collapsing into piles of dust. The pair of PCs, who had plenty of hit points left, were pretty happy with the results and were scooping coins into their sacks when Godleve, who had heard the noise and come to investigate, joined them.

Jacques proceeded west initially, but then turned south and then south east, before turning west again and entering a giant hexagonal room; it was the first he'd found with anything of note in it; treasure and a monster. A single, ghastly, obviously undead, creature, in the form of an animated putrid corpse, riddled with fat green worms. Neither side was surprised, but the magic user won initiative and proceeded to throw a flask of oil, which hit and very nearly killed the 4HD creature; who's hit point I had rolled very low for. 

The creature charged and hit Jacques with a pair of flailing fists, reducing him to 1 hit point. He evaded a nasty case of leprosy; but, not the hideous fat green worm that jumped from the monster, onto his head, and immediately started burrowing in. Now, I had carefully worked out that Jacques was outside the range of the creature's fear aura when he threw his flask; but, when it moved to attack him, I forgot he was now in range and rolled for initiative as normal for the next round. Jacques won initiative and chose to smash another flask of oil on the creature; and actually killed it, but, splash burning oil damage got him for 1 hit point, and he went down. The ugly green worm went to work.

An improbably close battle for a 1st level character, but he probably should have just ran.



Slippery Pete did not immediately throw himself into battle when he saw what was going on in the throne room; instead he quaffed a sip of his Invisibility potion (I think he's used it 4 times now) and went to investigate the chest glowing under the effects of Bumblebore's Detect Magic spell, which he had cast because nothing else seemed useful against the robed undead creature. Meanwhile, Giuseppe was wailing away with his sword and certainly having some effect.

Pete threw open the chest and found, among numerous coins and jewellery, three glowing items; a suit of plate mail, a foppish hat, and a longsword. He grabbed the latter, and, after a short discussion about whether thieves can use longswords (they can), and next round ended the battle with a backstab. There was much rejoicing.

The creature did not go down with out a loud and lengthy monologue from the writings of the Kangsta. So loud in fact that it could be faintly heard by Sheamus, Sever, and Godleve. They gathered up the coinage on the floor and proceeded west. They came to a strange revolving stone door, which they navigated without incident, and came into a chamber; there, a Mummy was guarding the place from intruders such as them.

Sheamus and Godleve failed their saves vs the Mummy fear and froze in the face of the monster's advance. Fortunately, Sever passed and met the monster's attack. Unfortunately, in doing so, he took a hit and contracted mummy rot. With a Paladin and a Cleric in the party, however, he was not unduly concerned by this. Next round Sheamus pulled himself together enough to join in. Combat went on until Godleve, too, could join in. He was unable to turn the creature and so proceeded to help smash it into bloody bandages.

The monster's last words echoed through the dungeon

Finding a mummy with no treasure prompted a round of searching, and with Sever's sword it was probably worth the time; however, while they were at this, 3 more Shockers came through the revolving door. Thinking fast, Sever used is wooden handled spear, while Godleve emptied out a water skin on the ground. Both tactics helped dissipate the damaging energy of the Shockers, and Godleve himself found out that his Hawkman Mace did not conduct electricity.

This last battle drew the rest of the party towards them, and they ended up meeting half way and then returned to the treasure pile where it had all begun. The session was nearly over, and they were in Brovenloft, famous for being impossible to leave during the month of October, what to do.

An Amber light appeared and surrounded them...then a gravelly voice could be heard:

"Listen up yo one two one two

I'm Macho Mandalf and here's what I'll do for you


There's a certain mad rule in a module of old

Covers resting an' healing or so I'm told


At the end of a session just look for the light

An' hope when Jeffro sees this he don't start a fight


Now don't be thinkin hey ole Macho's goin soft,

Just try to survive a month of Brovenloft"

Oh Yeah



Treasure and XP


Trollopulous Adjusted Session 43 (Machodor #20)


UPDATE: Now reflects Treasure and XP after returning to Schloss Ragnar in Machodor on November 18th

Monetary Treasure

4000 SP
8000 EP
1250 GP
400 PP

GP Total: 7450

13 Items of Jewellery: value 16,700 gp

Pimp Coronet 1800
Decanter 2000
Coronet 100
Buckle 600
Brooch 2000
Comb 2000
Bracelet 1400
Brooch 1200 
Kangsta Statuette 1600
Earring 1100 
Seal of the Kangsta 1200
Anklet 700
Fob 1000

Total: 24,150 GP

Items

Plate mail +2 1750xp,
Foppish Hat of Disguise 1000xp, 
Longsword +1, +2 versus magic-using or enchanted creatures 600xp
 
1350 Gold for Identification Costs subtracted from total

Monsters
6 Shockers 462 XP
1 Mummy 1326 XP
1 Crypt Thing 395 XP

Treasure Total:   27,500 XP

Monsters Total: 2183 XP


XP & GP Assignment (balanced by level) 
Giuseppe (Level 6, E )  6053 XP & 5410 GP
Slippery Pete (Level 4, E ) 4657 XP & 4107 GP
Bumblebore (Level 3, E )  3209 XP & 2705 GP
Sheamus(Level 5, E )  5105 XP & 4509 GP
Sever (Level 6, E )  6053 XP & 5410 GP
Godleve (Level 5, E ) 5105  XP &4509 GP
Jacques (Level 1)



Graveyard


Jacques Ocular (Level 1 Magic User), a fat green worm burrowed into his head and turned him into a Son Of Kyuss in Brovenloft in Session #43

Comfort Rod (Level 1 Cleric), Killed in a Psionic duel with a Balrog in session #42, or does it just look that way?

Pino (Dwarf Footman level 0), Killed by a Frost Giant axe in the head in session #39

Paro (Dwarf Fighter/Thief level 2/2) , Killed by Winter Wolves and frozen in session #39

Zabib (1/2 Elf Fighter/Magic User level 1/1), Killed by Frost Giant rocks in downtime prior to session #39


Wednesday 4 October 2023

Macho Mandalf's Greater Identify

Rationale 

The traditional level 1 spell, Identify, has a major limitation not often actually imposed by DMs:

"The item to be identified must be examined by the magic-user within 1 hour per level of experience of the examiner after it has been discovered, or all readable impressions will have been blended into those of the characters who have possessed it since"

Essentially, unless you can cast Identify in the dungeon, or you can return to a town with a magic-user who knows this spell - and the means to pay him to use it - within a few hours, it is of no use. Without Identify, you are left with expensive enquiries to Sages or Bards, or simple trial and error.

This is such a huge mismatch between expectation and reality that I wonder if it is by design, and that Gygax expected player characters to research an improved version of this spell. (I actually did this research last year but forgot to blog it)


Macho Mandalf's Greater Identify (Divination)

Level: 3                                     Components: V, S, M
Range: 0                                    Casting Time: 3 turns
Duration: 3 segments per level Saving Throw: Special
Area of Effect: Once Item

Explanation/Description: When a Greater identify spell is cast, one item may be touched and handled by the magic-user in order that he may possibly find what dweomer it possesses. The item in question must be held or worn as would be normal for any such object, i.e. a bracelet must be placed on the spell caster’s wrist, a helm on his or her head, boots on the feet, a cloak worn, a dagger held, and so on. Note that any consequences of this use of the item fall fully upon the magic-user, although any saving throw normally allowed is still the privilege of the magic-user; and this more powerful spell adds an additional +2 to such rolls. For each segment the spell is in force, it is 30% + 10% per level of the magic-user probable that 1 property of the object touched can become known — possibly that the item has no properties and is merely a ruse (the presence of Nystul’s magic aura or a magic mouth being detected). Each time a property can be known, the referee will secretly roll to see if the magic-user made his or her saving throw versus magic (again with a +2 bonus). If the save was successful, the property is known; if it is 1 point short, a false power will be revealed; and if it is lower than 1 under the required score no information will be gained. 

The item will never reveal its exact plusses to hit or its damage bonuses, although the fact that it has few or many such plusses can be discovered. If it has charges, the object will never reveal the exact number, but it will give information which is +/-10% of actual, i.e. a wand with 40 charges could feel as if it had 36, or 44, or any number in between. The item to be identified must be examined by the magic-user within 1 day per level of experience of the examiner after it has been discovered, or all readable impressions will have been blended into those of the characters who have possessed it since. After casting the spell and determining what can be learned from it, the magic-user loses 6 points of constitution. He or she must rest for 4 turns per 1 point in order to regain them. If the 6 point loss drops the spell caster below a constitution of 3, he or she will fall unconscious, and consciousness will not be regained until full constitution is restored 24 hours later. The material components of this spell are a pearl (of at least 300 g.p. value) and an owl feather steeped in wine, with the infusion drunk and a live large miniature carp swallowed whole prior to spell casting. If a luckstone is powdered and added to the infusion, probability increases 25% and all saving throws are made at +6.


So, what did all this cost?

Dungeon Masters Guide Page 115, Spell Research                                       Greater Identify


For this spell the Minas Mandalf University Library was used for reference, so that all may benefit. 






Duration of research: 3 Week base (minimum 4)








Chance of Success
: 10(base) +18 (Int) +12 (level) -6 (spell level *2) = 34%

Note that according to the DMG formula, adjusting the chance of success upwards is VERY expensive. A domain would need to be at least an order of magnitude more wealthy to consider such spending.

However, when you consider the conditions under which spell research is possible, the cost in time may well be a bigger loss; if you have the money then finishing the spell research ASAP could indeed be worth it.



Results

Base cost 600gp per week.

Weekly variable of 300 to 1200gp for additional materials.

Duration of research: 3 Week base (with a minimum of 4)

After success on the seventh week, the total expenditure ended up at 8700gp. (we'll need to charge a lot of adventurers to recoup the research costs on this one)

Tuesday 3 October 2023

Solo Play Session 2: Dwarves and their Gems

     

Elf Team A


Timekeeping


This session took place on 24/09/2023, and the Characters adventured for 1 day.

Characters Present


Beldroth (Level 1 Elf Magic User)
Ilphar  (Level 1 Elf Assassin)
Fingar(Level 1/1 Elf Fighter Magic User)
Morthil  (Level 1 Elf Assassin, LE)

Downtime 


The party dropped off their prisoner; named Celadyde, and prepared to return to the dungeon. With the captured spells books in hand, Beldroth was able to learn Sleep and Fingar was able to learn Find Familiar. He used the latter to summon forth a powerful...toad, but, at least rolled the maximum hit points of 4. As the front line defender that was a welcome boost for him.


Session Report

The NPCs know their own way to the dungeon now. This was no encounter on the way. The party arrived without incident and descended into Appendix A.

Once again there was nothing here

They party, now with more than one ration and sword to share, swiftly retraced their steps. In their leathers they could move at 120' per turn, and, having mapped previously, could move at 5 times that pace as they swiftly retraced their steps back to a corridor running parallel to one they had already explored. Here they found a trap door, and, bull's-eye, stairs going down to level 3. Triple the loot and triple the danger! Down they went.

I turned two pages in my graph paper book and carefully lined up the spot with the stairs. On reaching level III they found two corridors: one east; and one back to the north west, which ended in a door at the very limit of their infravision. Moving east there was another north west passage, but it was cut off by a 20' wide river, so they continued until the corridor turned sharply north. They found two empty chambers before entering (1) with occupants. What monsters were going to be first to get it today? Dwarfs, twenty seven dwarfs! 

aren't these suckers just asking for it?


This time the four elves were working with four segments of surprise, and greed once again caused them to attack a larger party. Assassinations, archery, and a Sleep spell wreaked havoc; only seven were still alive to try and surrender at the beginning of the first round. Dead dwarfs tell no tales, the party dragged their bodies to the river and dumped them in one by one.

In the same chamber they found 8 gems and 3,000 Copper pieces. Though they had barely worked up a sweat, they decided to loot and scoot; but, when they got to the stairs, they looked at the door in the north west corridor and thought "Why not?". It was nearly a disaster, behind the door (3) were 14 Giant centipedes, and they were not surprised. The party won initiative and pulled the door shut, then scooted for real.



There were no more encounters to hinder them, and they returned home safely to discover that the gems were worth quite a bit! In fact, all but Fingar had levelled up.


Treasure and XP


Monetary Treasure
8gems
Gem: 50 gp Banded Agate.
Gem: 5000 gp Opal.
Gem: 100 gp Onyx.
Gem: 200 gp Sardonyx.
Gem: 3000 gp Sapphire.
Gem: 100 gp Rock Crystal.
Gem: 45 gp Blue Quartz.
Gem: 20 gp Moss Agate.

Dwarf coins 702 gp

Monsters
27 Dwarfs 506 XP

Items
dwarf junk, weapons and equipment looted.

Monsters Total:  506 XP
Treasure Total:   8515gp  XP

XP & GP Assignment 

Beldroth (Level 1 Elf Magic User) 2225XP & 2129 GP
Ilphar  (Level 1 Elf Assassin) 2225XP & 2129 GP
Fingar (Level 1/1 Elf Fighter Magic User) 2225XP & 2128 GP
Morthil  (Level 1 Elf Assassin, LE) 2225 XP & 2128 GP

Graveyard


Empty so far

Monday 2 October 2023

Trollopulous Adjusted Session 42 (Machodor #19); Where the party delves too deep

Spoiler alert
    

Timekeeping


This session took place on 29/09/2023, and the PCs adventured for 1 day.

Player Characters Present


Giuseppe (Level 6 Paladin from Rome, Brovenloft, E)
Sheamus(Level 6 Rocket Cycle Fighter of Dublin, Brovenloft, E)
Sever (Level 6 Pegasus Corps Ranger of Machodor, E)
Godleve (Level 5 Cleric of Machodor, E)
Slippery Pete (Level 4 Thief of unknown heritage, E)
Bumblebore (Level 3 Magic User, Machodor University Associate, E)
Comfort Rod (Level 1 Cleric)

Downtime 


The "Fighters" all levelled. 

Sever investigated rumours of the Black Knight but found nothing useful to go on.

Monks in Schloss Ragnar were looking for someone to help them find a lost religious artefact in the form of a jug that can pour out endless water.

Session Report

The early consensus was to do more over ground exploration, to try and find a route north to the active volcano. Unfortunately, reports were that no over land passage was possible, and that the mountains in that direction were the home of griffons.

Rags and vinegar were collected as a precaution against the fear gas, should they try to explore the depths underneath the fortress; but in the end they decided to return to the extinct volcano and retrace the route that they had not returned to for some weeks.

Rain was pouring, cutting visibility, but the autumn day still held warmth and they were able to reach the gap in the side of the volcano made by the Sky City, fly over it, and down into the remains of the cyclopean city, down the shafts in which previous they had seen the living fire; and into the huge cave below. The rain actually improved visibility within the cave by cooling the air and reducing the steam. 

They could see that much had changed since they were last here; now there was no more glowing fungus, and the number of giant cave worms had been reduced to just one; the biggest and strongest had apparently killed the others in order to get at the last source of glowing fungus within their stomachs, and was now aggressively patrolling the area. It was still easy to avoid, and they chose not to get any closer to check it out (dang); but instead to proceed down the spiralling passages that descended from the floor of this cave, into the lava tube below that goes in their desired direction of the active volcano to the north east.


In a few hours they had reached the entrance to the old dwarf mine.

Here they retraced their steps east and found two mutilated bodies of Nork-ers; they had left a trail of blood that led them back to the bedroom of the 7 Ghasts. Sure enough, the spike had been removed from the door, which was open, and the undead were nowhere to be found.

As they were getting ready to back out the Rocket Cycle into the corridor and continue, they heard the sound of something approaching. Giuseppe detected evil just as 9 bugbears passed ahead of them, they were dragging the glass coffin that had belonged to Snow Wight, otherwise they would not have been heard at all. 

Surprise was a 3 to 3 tie (with Sever's Ranger bonus); but, Slippery Pete and Giuseppe had a Dexterity reaction bonus of +2 and +1 respectively, which meant they were less surprised and so could act. Unfortunately their actions were not decisive but at least they achieved first blood. Speaking of blood, next round the party tied initiative and Bumblebore ordered O'Malfoy to fly out and use his breath weapon attack. The narrow corridor was the perfect place for this since he could fly over the enemy and not hit his own side when spitting out his boiling blood. The result was devastating, and the follow up attacks from the PCs caused the Bugbears to drop left and right. Rod threw in a flask of oil for good measure. Morale failure followed and soon the only thing to be done was to go through their pockets and look for loose change.

From here they went north, to the room where they had been jumped by a Rust Monster that nearly ate the Rocket Cycle. They chose to ignore the spiked door still shut to the east, and proceeded north into a 40 by 40' room. The room was filled with a visible gas; notably not the fear gas, which they had been told was colourless and odourless when found in the confines of a room. Never the less, Sever chose to try the cloth & vinegar trick and bravely strode into the room and inhaled. An acrid taste hit the back of his throat as the precaution proved useless, but the results were not dangerous. He felt a power in his muscles as his body processed whatever was in the gas, and his strength increased.

This worked for each of the Fighter type characters, except for Shaemus as the gas effect did not stack with that of his sword; but the other classes only had the bad taste in their mouths. I allowed that both the Firedrake and the Pegasus also benefited from this bonus. It also did not work on Godleve, who had been unintentionally keeping a vow of silence after getting muted, which we rectified at this time.

Through a heavy curtain to the north they found a passage leading to the wide open cavern and abyss they had briefly seen on their first visit to this area; when they had pursued Nork-ers that were chasing Convess. Since the Nork-ers then had fled in this direction, it was possible perhaps that they had gone through the strength gas room, and gotten stronger, before fighting with the Stirges in the next room. Who knows?

Ahead they saw a black chasm.

Ahead they saw a black chasm. At the end of a protruding ledge the floor vanished and fell to an unknown depth. The other side, which the Lava people had told them of, could only be reached by a slender bridge of stone, without kerb of rail, that spanned the chasm with one curving spring of over fifty feet.

They were reminded too that the Lava people had previously taken them through a similar area; and they had bid them extinguish their light sources and proceed with utmost silence, lest they attract the attention of unspoken denizens of the dark.

Their only concession to this was to send Sever and Convess to scout ahead first, but they did so with a Continual Light gem held aloft, challenging the darkness to do what it would. The darkness obliged.

The darkness obliged.

From above, two giant bat creatures descended in a dive and attacked. Unlike normal bats these had long, barbed tails, with which they could lash out in any direction. Neither side was surprised but the bats won initiative. They screeched out a powerful sonic attack that left Sever reeling; as they approached he had the presence of mind to observe that their eyes sockets were empty, as though their eyes had been gouged out in some unnatural manner. Then their tails lashed at him, in a deliberate attempt to unseat him and topple the ranger into the abyss below; but, he was strapped in too well for that and replied with strong hit from his lance.

The bats of doom continued on past Sever and were then seen by the rest of the party; who then took off on the Rocket Cycle to engage them.

Sever and Convess circled around to attack; it was again tied initiative, which made all the manoeuvring and missile weapons attacks difficult to adjudicate, but there were so many misses that it didn't make much difference. The bats attacked the humans on the Rocket Cycle, latching on when they reached it and lashing out with their barbed tails. The Pegasus borne ranger dived down and attacked, the follow through taking him deep into the abyssal chasm. They then struggled to climb back up to the fight; noticing as they did so, that there was some sort of giant spider web laying horizontally across the chasm, some 500 feet below the bridge.

Giuseppe and Slippery Pete withstood their enemy's attacks and the party inflicted more damage, with Godleve getting a solid hit in; but, the next round, with another tied initiative, a dying Doombat's tail lashed out at Bumblebore; doing 1 point of damage and drawing a saving throw to see if he could maintain his place on the Rocket Cycle. He failed.

Possibly the magic user had been distracted by the voice, definitely not O'Malfoy's, which at that moment - thanks to the magic of discord DMs - spoke into this mind: "BRING ME A PALADIN!"

The tumbling mage had responded, "Do you need healing, or a blessing?"

"I WISH FOR A PALADIN'S SOUL!" was the reply.

As Bumblebore plummeted into darkness, Slippery Pete declared he was leaning over the edge of the Rocket Cycle and opening his mouth to allow the light from his gem with Continual Light, which he inexplicably likes to keep there, to shine down in order to keep the magic user in sight.

Somebody was silly enough to mention something about an "O-face", which set off a chain reaction of jokes for the new few minutes.

Oh I see you Bumblebore!

Sever dived after the mage but could not prevent him from falling into the webs below; they gave way like a springy trapeze safety net before returning to the horizontal; with Bumblebore stuck fast to them. Both PC's could see that, beyond the net like web, the chasm continued into the fathomless depths below; however, on a nearby wall, level with the web, a ledge jutted out providing an anchor for it. The ledge was a narrow ended trapezoid about 50' wide where it met the chasm wall, where too could be seen a huge stone arched door. The ledge also had a number of stone monoliths, standing at weird angles, covered with indecipherable hieroglyphs. Here the shadows gathered in odd clumps that seemed to resist the encroachment of the holy light they carried.

Some sense in Bumblebore told him that the voice in his head was emanating from something on that ledge. Sever too could feel the danger. Indeed, something was there, from Appendix N. I reached for my bookshelf;

"Something is there in the darkness: like a great shadow, in the middle of which you perceive a dark form, of man-shape maybe, yet greater; and a power and terror seems to be in it and to go before it."

A sudden plan was hatched; Sever would engage whatever was on the ledge while the others dropped down to save Bumblebore. For this Slippery Pete would use a vial of Oil of Slipperiness he had been saving for such an occasion. Everyone stopped to consider whether pouring it all over himself before diving onto a web, thereby negating its stickiness, when it was the only thing between him and an endless drop below, might not be quite the great idea it appeared. The plan was then refined so he would jump onto the web feet first and then use the oil; so he could free them both and get back on the Rocket Cycle.

It was a good plan but the enemy won initiative. Two giant spiders appeared on the web at the edge of the light, and ran straight for Bumblebore.

When whatever was on the ledge perceived the arrival of the Rocket Cycle, with Giuseppe the Paladin on board, it was elated and said to Bumblebore: 

"YOU HAVE DONE WELL, I WILL CONSUME YOUR SOUL LAST!"

He replied as best he could to try and help the situation, "I challenge you for their souls to a battle of riddles! Sam and Janet lie dead on the wet ground surrounded by glass shards, how did they die?"

Sever landed on the ledge ready to attack, and saw what he was facing; 

"As it approaches its streaming mane kindles, and blazes behind it. In its right hand is a blade like a stabbing tongue of fire; in its left it holds a whip of many thongs. The dark figure streaming with fire races towards you."

maybe they need a certain Wizard's help?


In the first round the Type VI Demon chose not to immolate and use its whip, preferring to test this new opponent with its sword alone. The blazing sword connected; but Sever gave as good as he had got, better even.

Meanwhile the mental battle in Bumblebore's head continued: "I , TER-SOTH, WILL DESTROY YOU ALL"

Bumblebore replied: "I see, no good at riddles, huh? I understand, if I had the inferior intellect, I would resort to violence too."

The giant spiders reached Bumblebore; but, as if impelled by a will other than their own, kept scuttling right on past him. They ran all the way off the web onto the ledge to attack Sever and Convess; but, and I think I forgot to mention this, they too had been blinded and, finding it hard to fight when not on their familiar web, their attacks missed.

Ter-Soth: "THIS RANGER IS TOUGH, erm never mind, that wasn't meant for you"

Bumblebore: "Hard to keep your focus?"

By this point Slippery Pete was ready to help Bumblebore; but now there was a heated discussion about the need of a change in plan to support Sever. They would drop Pete off then go help Sever until he could disengage, then return to pick up the magic user and the thief.

The next round saw Sever delivered another mighty blow to the demon, while Convess tried to stamp on the spiders without connecting. Ter-soth replied with a sword attack and then used his special attack; his whip reached out and actually dragged both the Ranger and his mount into its immolating fire. Fortunately for Sever, this was the smallest kind of Type VI Demon, and this attack only did 2d6 damage.

Now things took a Appendix N turn; from Lord of the Rings, to Hiero's Journey. The Cleric, Comfort Rod, was born blessed with Psionic power, he declared that he would Psionic Blast whatever was on the ledge when the Rocket Cycle reached the ledge. Now, things were getting pretty late, and I had not at all expected to have to adjudicate this sort of combat today; but, fortunately, I have learned the Psionics rules and was soon ready to go, even if I did need four books open at once!

First of all, Rod did not have a high enough Psionic strength to attack non-psionic creatures (100 is needed, DMG pg. 78).  Second, Sever would have been in the area of effect, so this was just as well. However, the Psionic Blast could effect the Type VI Demon, so the next round put the conventional attacks on hold while a true Psionic battle (as apposed to what ever you'd call what Bumblebore was doing) began.

DMG page 79

As anyone who has been surprised by someone with a longbow can tell you, a segment is actually a pretty long time, so this rule is puzzling on its face. Perhaps Psionic Combat segments are actually shorter than normal segments? Anyway, even with a pretty big power mismatch, the Demon required three of four segments before reducing Comfort Rod's defence to zero. The cleric went down and I decided to adjudicate his fate after the session.

Bumblebore declared that, right as it is focusing its hardest on this Psionic fight, he would mentally yell:  "THEY'RE GOLDFISH YA DUNCE!  SAM AND JANET ARE GOLDFISH AND THEIR BOWL TIPPED OVER AND BROKE ON THE GROUND THAT'S A POINT TO ME!"

Whether this had any effect on the creature, Bumblebore was unable to tell. This Psionic battle did seem to give Sever an edge in the next round, he parried and withdrew, avoiding the bites of the spiders once more. Slippery Pete had freed the magic user by this time and the party prepared to withdraw according to their somewhat amended original plan.

Ter-soth was not finished with them; he too could fly, and he took off in pursuit. However, something strange happened as the demon's flight took it over the edge of the stone ledge; a strong chain of golden links appeared, as if by magic, attached to a manacle around the demons hoofed leg, and brought it up short.

Ter-soth: "NOOOOOOOoooooo I WILL HAVE MY...REVENGE "

Bumblebore: "Our souls remain our own.  Maybe next time..."

The party regained the bridge and made it to the other side safely, but they were rattled by the encounter and chose to retreat back the way they had come; which they managed without further incident. On the way it hit them that the door on the ledge must lead to a very high level dungeon.



Treasure and XP


Trollopulous Adjusted Session 42 (Machodor #19)

Monetary Treasure
98cp
109sp
52ep
39gp

Monsters
9 Bugbears 1044 XP
2 Doombats 1164 XP

Items
Collected some strength gas in a bottle.

Monsters Total: 2204 XP
Treasure Total:   70XP

XP & GP Assignment 
Giuseppe (Level 6, E )  425  XP & 68 GP
Slippery Pete (Level 4, E ) 413XP 46 & GP
Bumblebore (Level 3, E ) 402 XP & 35 GP
Sheamus(Level 6, E )  425  XP & 68 GP
Sever (Level 6, E )  425  XP & 68 GP
Godleve (Level 5, E ) 423 XP & 56 GP

Graveyard

Comfort Rod (Level 1 Cleric), Killed in a Psionic duel with a Balrog in session #42, or does it just look that way?

Zabib (1/2 Elf Fighter/Magic User level 1/1), Killed by Frost Giant rocks in downtime prior to session 39
Paro (Dwarf Fighter/Thief level 2/2) , Killed by Winter Wolves and frozen in session 39
Pino (Dwarf Footman level 0), Killed by a Frost Giant axe in the head in session 39



Trollopulous Adjusted Session 73 (Machodor #37); McScales Returns to the Pizza Slice of Doom

Mesa your humble servant. Timekeeping This session took place on 06/06/2024, and the PCs adventured for 1 day. Player Characters Present She...