Friday, July 9, 2010

CotMA - Episode 1a

My friends, DB, LB, RF and JD all came over last night and we rolled up characters.  I let them use 4d6 drop the low and I also let them roll 7 times and drop the worst total.  Only one 18 was rolled, but the characters overall were pretty solid.

I used the Character Snowflakes table from the Society of the Torch, Pole and Rope and nearly each character got a little something to set them apart from the norm.  I also had some pre-gen NPCs ready from Meatshields!, but no one was interested.

Each player had two PCs to play.  I was anticipating some attrition.  I told the players that I was adhering to Gary's rule of "the first six levels ARE character background."

DB rolled up a cleric and a dwarf.  RF rolled up a fighter and a magic user.  JD rolled up an elf (the expensive kind) and a halfling.  LB rolled up an elf and a fighter.  I plan to gather the character sheets and create a page for each character at each level as they go along.

I shared my house rules (future post) and they purchased equipment.  Ryan bought a burro to haul their treasure out of the dungeon.

Then we were off to the dungeon!

I explained that the Castle of the Mad Archmage was a ruin, well known to adventurers as a place where one could find their fortune or a painful demise.  Many go in, but few come out.  I further explained that the ruins were three leagues from the town where they were staying.

They headed out in the morning.

I described the scene as they arrived upon a low hill.  I told them that they knew the castle itself was little more than a crumbling, overgrown structure at the surface, but that there was an entrance to a cellar (one of several entrances) near a large oak tree.  They had heard that this was a primary entrance to the dungeon levels.  They found the cellar and down they went...

I described the cellar and told them that there was enough natural light here to make out three stout doors on one side of the room.  A large spiral staircase down was visible through an archway on the other side of the room.  I told them that the cellar had indications of being well-travelled.

They tried all three doors.  The middle door was securely locked.  This gave them three choices for descent into the dungeon.  They chose the close door  (Door C) in preference to the near door and the spiral stair.  A staircase of flagstones wound downward, curving gently to the right...  it was very dark.

The decided who should carry a torch (RF's magic user) and they put the elves and dwarf near the front. RF's magic user was also leading "Bob the burro" by the reins at the rear of the party.  Bob wasn't too put off by the descent into the dungeon.  It was decided he probably had some experience in the local mines.

At the bottom of the stairs they found a room with two doors and a ceiling covered with thick webs.  There was much discussion about putting the torch to the webs and before they could do it, a huge spider (who didn't see that coming?) descended to the floor and attacked the party.  It got one chance to bite the dwarf before it was despatched by the fighters.  A desiccated halfling corpse turned up in the webs (once they burned them) and he had a pouch of 15 gp.

They had further discussion and they decided to open the door nearest the entrance stairs.  The halfling heard angry shouting from behind the door and they decided to seek it out.

Once the door was opened, they could see a hallway with several doors.  One door was open to the hall and weak illumination emanated from the room beyond.  JD's halfling decided to investigate further and snuck down the hall.  He peeked in to discover two humans throwing dice in the corner.  Their weapons were sitting on the floor in an opposite corner of the room.  Sensing an opportunity, the halfling snuck in and stole the weapons, taking them back to the party.  Suffice to say that the two men were quite surprised when they couldn't find their swords upon being attacked by the party.  They were quickly neutralized before they could alert reinforcements.  A quick search revealed clues that the two men were brigands, based upon their style of dress, the neckerchiefs they wore and their black spear tattoos.

The heroes then split up in the hallway and decided to burst through the next two doors simultaneously.  They bashed the doors in and one group comes upon three more brigands; the other group encounters two.  RF's magic user stays in the hall ready to cast her spell, "Hold Portal", should anyone try to come out of the next door.

The battle of the two rooms goes longer than one round and the brigands start yelling for help at the top of their lungs...

RF's mage sees the latch start to move and she Holds the door.

The last door in the hall bursts open and two more brigands jump into the fray.  Pounding can be heard from beyond the held door.  Loud shouts of "Let me out!" and "What's going on out there?" can also be heard.

The battle is short, but RF's fighter is badly injured.  Before entering the last room and confronting the voice behind the door, the heroes minister to RH's fighters wounds.  With some wine and the binding of his wounds he felt a bit better.

Preparing to confront "the voice" the heroes ready all their pointy weapons and then RF's magic user opens the door.  They find the brigand leader with a crossbow pointing back at them... it's a standoff...

He offers to give them the key to the treasure hoard if they'll just let him go.  One of the characters shouts that they can just take the treasure when he's dead.  He says, who wants to die first (he is pointing a crossbow at them...) and there's an awkward pause...

Then the dwarf charges the bandit leader... he shoots... misses and is shortly thereafter dead.

The heroes find the treasure (and his very impressive shiny dagger) and move on down the hall...

(more to come)
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