Monday, April 29, 2013

In which elves steal, dwarves are hairless and I'm sorely tempted to use horde pygmies: After play 4

I have some catching up to do due to my hiatus. Fortunately, today at work everyone left me alone so I could get my actual work done. And now I'm home at a reasonable hour. Yay!

Amalia - High Elf Cleric (Paraj)
Volbak - Dwarf Knight (Jim)
Lamaevhun - Wood Elf Scout (Tim)
Ilsildel - High Elf Wizard (Martin)
Chief - Wood Elf Barbarian (Catherine)

Calowas' player couldn't make it tonight. Since I don't have the luxury of having each session be a different trip into the dungeon, but I don't want hangers-on, the first thing that happened during the session was that an urchin-boy came running into the moathouse, exhausted and dirty, and handed Calowas a card. "Oh no!" Calowas moaned, "I"m late for the Thieves' Union meeting!" and he ran off into the wilderness, putatively back to Hommlet to attend at the local chapterhouse. (Obviously, they're an outpost from Nulb.)

Anyway, the party was nearly done with the top floor of the moathouse; there was some discussion as to whether it was worth finishing the place off, or if they should just try the door they found earlier that led downstairs. After not too much discussion, Volbak took the lead and opened the last door...onto a very moldy kitchen. It was obvious that this place hadn't been cared for for ages.

There was some interest in the mold from the usual suspect, but it turned out both to be not magical nor particularly hallucinogenic, so interest was quickly lost after Volbak took a salutary essay into the kitchen to look for something of value - old cutlery, pots, or something. No luck, but then, they didn't want to stick around to search. I can't say I blame them; the place reeked something awful.

That accomplished, they headed down the stairs, where it quickly became clear that the door had swollen shut due to long exposure to moisture. (The moathouse is in a swamp, after all.) With much banging (and a little hinge-oiling) they finally managed to slam the door open, whereupon Volbak stumbled through the arch...and some green goop fell on him.

Let me say here that I run green slime nasty. The AD&D Monster Manual states that in 1-4 melee rounds you're basically screwed, sorry, that's it. I ran this as 4d cor per turn until you die, and non-sealed armor protects for two turns as it seeps in. (I think in future, if there is future, I'll run it as 2d, but after 1d6 rounds the only way to make it stop is with a Cure Disease and Remove Curse.)

Volbak quickly went down while the party tried to figure out what to do. Isildel tried apporting it off, and got some, but it quickly grew to replace the lost mass. A quick Naturalist roll told them this stuff is vulnerable to fire, and they had ten gallons of lamp oil, but they were using Continual Light for a light source, and the wizard didn't have Ignite Fire...

Turns out, though, that he did have a lit rope. (It's his Signature Item; we discussed this beforehand and I okayed him having a 'comestible' Signature Item, simulating the fact that he always has some around.) So, with a splash of lamp oil (taking 1d6 seconds) and the application of an open flame (taking 2 seconds), the slime-covered dwarf went up like an effigy of Guy Fawkes, still making his various HT rolls to stay alive while the cleric, Amalia, poured holy energy into him as fast as she could.

After the slime was gone, the barbarian tackled him to the ground to put out the fire - and discovered the second dollop of green slime over the archway. Fortunately, the party was prepared, and Chief just lost her hauberk and gained a few scorchmarks.

That was enough of that. The party decided discretion was the better part of valor and carted off their severely wounded comrades back to Hommlet, where Canon Terjon (standing in for the absent Canoness Ydey) agreed to care for the wounded dwarf for a suitable donation to the Church.

The party spent the week in town. Unfortunately they didn't hear much they didn't already know, mostly because Hommlet is not the place to go if you want news. However, they did contact their debtors in Verbobonc, the local Wizard's Society, and they learned that they could erase their debts from underwriting the expedition by returning the book they had found. After their comrade was recovered, they returned to the Moathouse, determined to get at least something out of this debacle by claiming the Manual of the Sea. So, they rented a draft horse and a wagon, and they apported the huge chunk of valuable stone out of the Moathouse and onto the wagon. 

While they were dragging the book back, when they passed Burne's castle-in-progress, they were summoned to meet him by a page. Turns out, unsurprisingly, the local wizard is also interested in magical artifacts. While they couldn't come to an agreement (Burne was willing to offer a goodly amount of coin, but not quite enough to rid them of their debts), they did pawn off a few things they'd found in the Moathouse thus far, including a vial of pacified green slime.


From judging how things looked and sounded at the table, pretty much everyone had a good time.  I do badly need to work on my treasure document. At the moment I have it interspersed with the pages of the module, which works fairly well for linear treasure procurement, but doesn't work if someone has questions as to value or weight. I think instead I'm just going to have two folders - one with the module and monster/trap stats interleaved, and the other with treasure, for easy reference.

Also, I need to put together an Excel doc to keep track of treasure weight, so I can watch that appropriately. Best of all would be if each of the players had one, so they could track weight in real-time, but that might be asking for too much accounting at the table. I'm not sure how fun that would be for them.

Finally, I was glad that my post on portage for Dungeon Fantasy got some play. They needed to rent a horse and wagon. I knew how much that would cost, and I knew how much horse they would need, with a simple lookup.


  1. Yes, use horde pygmies!

    Also, what I do for treasure is to tell people what they found, and how much it weighs, and approximate value if they know. Then it's up to them, and I use strikethrough font to cross it out in the adventure. One player is generally in charge of treasure; saves me from having multiple documents to track. Plus, it's their treasure, if they can't keep track, well, I guess it's gone now.

    1. See, if I don't track weight, I've a feeling stuff will become magically weightless.Of course, everyone's bumped up right against the cap for Medium encumbrance, so I could just assume at various moments they're actually at Heavy or Extra Heavy, depending on much crap it seems like they've picked up recently...

  2. The suspect reason the slime was so nasty in your GURPS version vs. AD&D is GURPS rounds are 1 second and AD&D rounds are 60. It's entirely plausible to light a torch and apply it in one minute, but one second is tougher. (An expert torchbearer might manage it.) I hadn't really thought about this before, but when doing conversions from AD&D stuff that depends combat actions ("Attacks") to fix should probably be converted by ~round but noncombat actions (movement, bandaging, long actions, etc.) are tricky and nonlinear. Worse, sometimes combat and noncombat are is fungible so yeah, that's just gonna be a pain.

    To be honest, I never expected my consumable sig gear to be anything more than a role-playing prop combined with a rope. Of course, it was still just a prop - the real things that allowed Volbak to survive were Hard to Kill, Mahor Healing, and Luck (and also luck).

    One thing I was worried you were going to do was roll hit locations and use the crippling rules to represent extremities the slime had dissolved. 4d6 would allow it to eat limbs pretty easily. Perhaps another monster.

    Note that while that thing was capital N Nasty, it is definitely keeping the old school flavor alive. There have been at least four incidents where a PC was close to death so far, true, but that was the first that was an arbitrary ambush rather than blatantly poor judgement. Keeps us lively.

    As a snarky aside, the Green Slime reaction must have amazing thermodynamic efficiency. It can run a significant chemical reaction on 200 lbs of organic stuff in 4 seconds without heating up enough to kill itself. Presumably supernatural, probably uses Druid sanctity or some more dungeony version thereof, and in low sanctity green slime is much slower or something.
    You know, "Dungeon Sanctity" is sort of a good idea overall. Sanctity is already a well established concept in DF, and having one specialized for Dungeony stuff is a great excuse for keeping the ridiculously imba dungeon monsters where they are, rather than ruling the kingdom. Slap on a fig leaf "Cult of the Underworld" and some fun "Dungeon Druids," rename it to "Underworld Might" or something better, and work out some standard effects for monster abilities in no, low, med(default), high, and very high Dungeon Sanctity, and you've added a lot of fun potential stuff to the game.

    Especially if you never explain it to the PCs...