King Arthur Pendragon

Thursday, April 5, 2012

The Ruins of Castle Gygax - Part 3

Real life has been very demanding these past few day, hence my lack of activity on this blog. But here I am to relate the latest adventures of my group and the wrapping up of our "tutorial" adventure using the Moldvay basic set and the sample dungeon therein. As related in my last post, the group was barricaded inside a room with something outside. The door was forced open and a greenish, bulky hand was seen. Edralas, the elf, cried out a threat in hobgoblin (a lucky guess) and whatever was outside walked away. At this point, the group decided to return to town, low on health and spells, to recover. They returned the next day to continue their explorations, this time in the company of Ottuman, a fighter henchman they recruited.

I had previously told the players that I would be using the wandering monster rules. As they crossed the room with the sunken statue, they ran into a group of strongly built, greenish creatures, with black hair and powerful, slightly pointed, dirty teeth: orcs. They were well armed, but they did not attack. One again, Edralas spoke in orcish. The orcs were obviously surprised to find the group here and they were not too keen on attacking right away. They ran away from whence they came, but mounted an ambush down the corridor.  When the group went after them, they were attacked from both sides. Orcs maybe more primitive than humans and demi-humans in some ways, but they are not stupid. Some attacked from behind and others from the front. After a quick battle, two of the orcs lost their morale and fled. The rest lay dead.

As they returned to the goblin room they had explored before, they saw something slithering on the wall, in the darkness before them. It was a giant centipede, moving out of a crack on the wall. This was really a wandering monster and I decided to use the reaction rules by the book to test the system. A first roll indicated the centipede was confused and hesitant. I described the creature stopping and raising the front of its body, slowly moving its antennae back and forth as if pausing to check things. Valerius, the fighter, carefully picked a stone and threw it to the opposite direction to try and distract it. I gave him a +1 bonus, in fact lowering the chances of the creature attacking. Another roll and the creature went slithering to another crack on the wall. It was an exciting and tense scene with the group ready to defend themselves at the least sign of trouble. Finally, they approached the second door on the corridor and peered inside.

At this point I wanted to show the dungeon not as a static environment, but as a dynamic place where things could be happening outside the players' actions. I also picked up the two orcs who had fled and decided to use them. The group saw a band of four hobgoblins with weapons drawn approaching the two orcs threateningly. Words were changed which Edralas understood as the hobgoblins threatening the orcs to leave or die. On the wall opposite from this door, there were two humans, a man and a woman, bound and gagged. As the orcs moved cautiously towards the door, the group fled into the goblin room and let the orcs pass. Then they returned to the hobgoblin room and decided to charge in. When Valerius kicked the door open, Edralas cast a sleep spell. Since the rules do not account for the area of effect of this spell, I quickly ruled that it would encompass everyone within the room and the corridor outside. And that meant that the group was also inside its area of effect.

With this information, Edrala's player decided to proceed, as wisdom was not his strong suit (a low attribute). Everyone thought this was amusing. Two of the hobgoblins, Valerius and his henchman failed their saving throws, leaving Edralas to face two of the creatures alone. It was a heroic moment with everyone joining on the fun with comments and much laughing. The elf beheaded one hobgoblin and the other surrendered, having failed its morale roll. When the group finally woke up, they released the humans, a brother and sister who had been taken prisoners when their caravan was raided. Even though the sister wanted the creature dead, the group decided to leave it unharmed and returned to town with much treasure.

All in all it was a fun introduction to the game, and the to the rules. We, then, decided to switch to AD&D 1st edition, rolling new characters and starting a real campaign using Keep on the Borderlands.

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