In previous posts, on July 28 and December 11 of last year, I talked about the shortcomings of our first two sessions of AD&D in almost 30 years. Players were rusty, sure – but now we’ve just tackled session #3, and things went very well. Only a matter of time, after all. It’s like riding a bike. The guys got their mojo back!
The visual aid – that “Dungeon Completion Chart” as I called it before – did help a great deal. PCs had a rough, century-old map of the dungeon they were sent to explore... and it kept the game mostly on track.
Priests of Boccob detected the presence of a relic in that dungeon complex, and this is why they’re sending in a party of adventurers, with that old map from a previous expedition – more than a century ago. “Bring back the relic. Anything else you find in there, you can keep it. It’s yours.”
The entrance was not a mundane entrance, but a teleport ward hidden deep in the forest, on a cliff face. When the PCs appear in the dungeon, there is no way back: that teleport only works one way. There was also a second teleport that kept bringing them back to the far end of the hall...
One have to run in order to slip through the second teleport, they soon realized. The Dwarf, the thief, and one magic-user passed right through, but had to stop short on the other side, because there was a large pit just ahead.
So you have to run to get through the ward, but then you have to stop to avoid falling into the pit. Like it or not, that leaves you standing squat in the middle of a TRAPPER!!!
When this cool homemade monster begins to fold up on itself, three concealed doors open in the right wall, and goblin archers start to fire away at the party. As if all that wasn’t enough already – two hunting drakes rush towards the PCs from across the pit, on a creaking narrow wooden ledge...
The thief rapidly climbed the wall, and both magic-users fired magic missiles at the goblin archers. Barbarian and Dwarf pounded the trapper to avoid being crushed like walnuts. The archers died first. One magic-user even cast spider climb and went through one of the concealed doors to stab a goblin with his dagger! The trapper was vanquished two savage rounds later, and only the drakes remained – both stuck underneath the dying trapper and alongside the cursing / thrashing barbarian...
The nearby goblin lair was a dilemma: attack it directly, right away, or bypass it and continue on deeper in the dungeon. The Dwarf wanted to attack. “Don’t leave any living monsters in your wake, because then they’re behind your back, and you can be surrounded at any moment.” The two magic-users wanted to lure the goblins out into one of the corridors, but not attack their lair directly... Who’s gonna win that argument? The PCs with a combined INT of 36, or a lone stinky Dwarf with INT 7?
This fight was the easiest of the game. Goblin chief was a tough bastard, but 2 magic missiles and 1 angry Dwarf did him in. The goblin cutters / archers fell quickly. Treasure: hand axe +2, leather armor +1, potion of clairvoyance, potion of healing, 12 gems, 340 g.p.
After the goblins, the party rested for a while, replenished spells, and the cleric cured some light wounds. Five hours later, they were back at it, exploring a long winding passageway, an empty room, and reaching the largest room of the entire dungeon. This room contained a 3-ton silver menhir, and nine magical wormholes writhing on the ground in a chaotic pattern. The Dwarf jizzed in his pants when he saw the menhir, but that’s when those gibbering mouthers started to show up. I augmented the confusion effect for those who failed to save vs Spells, and added illusions. “Illusion” tokens / minis included random doors, random piles of treasure, a fireball, a wizard eye, a monk, a cave bear, two giant caterpillars, and the barbarian’s own mother...
Mouthers killed the barbarian, and came very close to killing one of the magic-users. But the group prevailed, in the end. And then they were five...
After backtracking to check out another empty chamber, they returned to the menhir room and pushed onward to another corridor and, finally, the room with the relic and exit gate. That fight was something. Executioner’s hood, flesh golem, and 10 zombies! The hood wrapped itself neatly around the cleric’s head, since he was wielding the only torch, and the frenzy started again – because you cannot turn undead effectively with an executioner’s hood smothering you! One of the magic-users grabbed the hood with both hands, delivering a shocking grasp spell that also shocked the poor cleric.
That’s my second homemade monster – tin foil, black paint, white paint for the eyes, and black sharpie to tone down the “shine”. Hard to photograph. Helpful players took a lot of pictures with phones and camera, and this one was the best.
Hoody didn’t live for long, though, and the cleric was finally rid of him. In the meantime, the Dwarf chopped up zombies like Michonne. Real zombie apocalypse!
Flesh golem struck the already weak cleric, and he was down and out. A clever “strategic” retreat to the silver menhir room ensued. A few stressful hours later, the party was back to turn the remaining zombies and square off against the spell-resistant golem, which was done in a timely manner by the thief’s +1 shortsword, the Dwarf’s +2 battle axe, and the cleric’s +3 cudgel. Thief dealt the killing blow with a fancy / nasty backstab-ish assault.
Treasure: incense of meditation, horn of blasting, spear +2, shield +1, ioun stone, boots of elvenkind, 54 gems, 825 g.p. and 1052 s.p. Boccob’s relic was also there of course – a colossal crystal whose usefulness they don’t know yet, even with the help of an identify spell.
Very nice game, and a big round of applause for Trappy McFloor and Goodie Hoody! Long Live Homemade Monsters!