King Arthur Pendragon

Saturday, March 17, 2012

The Ruins of Castle Gygar - Part 2

This is part two because we already played part one and I did not wrote an entry about it. Anywa, we had a great time last night. Argentea, the thief; Valerius, the fighter; Titus, the magic-user; and Edralas, the elf, braved the ruins of Castle Gygar a few miles north of a town (not yet named for the purposes of this adventure, but set in the Known World). I am running this campaign on Skype, using Map Tool, for all our mapping needs, and Viewing Dale Dice, which allows everyone to see everyone's roll online. Some minor problems aside, everything ran as smooth as possible.

The group decided who would be the mapper, the person responsible for mapping the dungeon according to the DM's descriptions, and the caller, the person who organizes all interactions between the players and the DM. I began the adventure using the small intro adventure from the Mentzer basic set, but it is not very good, in my opinion, so I just tossed it and picked the small dungeon from the Moldvay rulebook and ran with it.

The group entered the ruined tower and explored the first few rooms. Mapping and moving the "miniatures" really helped everyone visualize their positions. This is what the map looked like at the end of the adventure (session).

After exploring the first few rooms, one of which contained a strange statue of a beautiful woman submerged in a pool formed when the floor collapsed, they were attacked by a green slime. Fortunately, they had been very careful in exploring the room, so the creature did not surprise them. It also moved very slowly. When they realized normal weapons were useless, they tried flames, which worked. Alas, the thing managed to attack poor Titus and stick itself around his arm. Torches were needed to kill it, but the magic-user also suffered some damage. After washing his arm in the pool of water (mechanically irrelevant but a small bit of nice roleplaying, I think), they proceeded, until the Argentea heard some low, gutural voices, and much snoring, coming from a closed door. As the door was not locked, the group designed a plan: Valerius proposed that they charged into the room and attacked everything in sight. Everyone agreed.

Valerius kicked the door and charged inside, followed by his companions. They were confronted by 2 goblins that were standing on guard and 10 goblins that were sleeping, but promptly woke up and grabbed their weapons. This was one of those "ooops" moments that got everyone laughing. One of the advantages of using the system is that combat is very fast. A fight between 4 PCs and 12 NPCs took less than 10 minutes. Players described their attacks and reactions, leading to a very visually rich encounter. In the end, they were forced to retreat the room, which was a barracks of sorts. Outside, Edralas cast his Sleep spell, affecting 7 of the 11 goblins (one had been killed by Titus wielding a dagger). The rest of the creatures panicked and fled.

Ironically, the dice were not kind to the players. There were a lot of misses and when they struck home, the damage was very low. Only Titus, the puny magic-user, whose only spell is Read Magic, killed one goblin and was doing significant damage. Everyone joked that they should return to town and demand that the weapons master returned their money. As the last goblins fled, another dungeon door opened behind. As the group was low on hit points, they jumped inside the goblin room and barricaded themselves inside, thus ending our session with a cliff-hanger.

It was a very entertaining session. I keep reminding everyone that I'm still not using all the rules (wandering monsters, for instance) to ease those who never played D&D into the game. I also don't name the creatures. I just describe them and let the players draw their own conclusions. Minor Skype problems aside, everyone had a great time. I also had a great time and most of all, it's amazing how logistically easy is to run combat, since stat blocks are a line at most. Even though this is just a tutorial of sorts, with little of Karameikos thrown in, we'll turn into high gear after we end this adventure, which should be next session. After that, I plan on running a classic: B2 - Keep on the Borderlands.

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