Friday, April 18, 2014

Game 3 - He took an Ogre to the Knee...

We left off last week with the regular group arriving at "the market", a place deep on the second level where denizens of the underworld crept towards the surface to trade with the surface dwellers.  The players had hired themselves out (as first level characters) as bodyguards to a trader and his retinue.

While Kyriakos the trader set about to conducting his business, the players wandered the market.  Grey dwarves rubbed shoulders with cloaked and masked strangers - referred to obliquely as "the Faceless".  A pair of nymphs wandered through, and the party saw multiple hags bartering with outsiders.  Other humans included goth-garbed followers of Hades, and other merchants like Kyriakos.  Narkessa, a blind seer, offered prophecies from behind a screen, but they never saw what kind of creature is Narkessa.  The players could only window shop, since they're fairly poor.  They learned there was an adjacent hospice run by one of the grey dwarves, and they were able to afford a place to sleep despite the exorbitant cost.

During all this mingling, they paid a guard some 'information money' to learn a little about the dungeon outside the market.  This part of the dungeon had a large temple to Ares and a cult of bloodthirsty followers of the war god.  The market was neutral ground.  A band of Amazons established a hideout somewhere south of the market and were conducting raids on the Ares cult.  There was also a witch that often came to visit the market.  But the most important thing they learned is that there are nearby stairs going up and down!  A shortcut up to level 1 would cut the trip to the market by half at least.  Agreeing to meet back up with Kyriakos later in the day, the adventurers left the market to scout for the stairs.

The stairs up weren't too hard to find, and they ascended back to the level 1 dungeon to look around.  Almost immediately, the air was split by the sound of a klaxon - the ear-splitting screech of "shriekers".  Matthias thought this was worth a Burning Hands spell, and scorched the shriekers; the melee guys quickly finished them off.  However, the damage was done, and within a minute, a troop of patrolling skeletal hoplites marched into the room from the north and assaulted the party.

Even the regular group has a couple of kids in it (three sons of dads - all twelve year olds).  Every time Connell the Celt does something, the kids all start singing "Con-nell, he's the greatest warrior ever, a hero of renown…" and playing air guitar - I realized they've given him the Billy-song from Adventure Time.  I can see how they think of Connell a bit like Billy - Connell just runs headlong into most fights, swinging a giant 2-handed axe.

This is pretty much how the kids treat Connell the NPC
Billy, er… Connell, indeed ran headlong into the skeletons, busting out "berserkergang", a proficiency.  A couple other guys joined him, and they quickly smashed the first rank.  Then Mack called on Hephaestus to banish the undead, and a successful turn undead roll drove the skeletons away.

The last room of the night was far to the south.  The players were trying to find an easier way back to the main road out of the dungeon.  They found a large room where the walls are completely filled with bright mosaic tiles.  Outlined in the tiles are the likenesses of various monsters - a lizard man, a goblin, a white ape, and so forth.  Searching the walls, they found a secret door, but as they touched the wall, the mosaic of the ogre they touched flashed briefly; the ogre mosaic disappeared, and suddenly two very real ogres materialized in the room behind them.  Yikes!

Two ogres for first level guys is rough.  Necro-Leo (Leonidas the Necromancer) had a Sleep spell for one of them.  When he does his sleep spell, a black cloud appears above the target and the victim dreams black thoughts - or so the player tells me.  For the remaining ogre, they went to wolf-pack tactics, getting 4 melee guys around the ogre  so they could take it out quickly.

Connell got smashed by the ogre's club, below zero hit points, and went flying out of the fight.  The other guys cut down the ogre before anyone else got smashed; the dwarf crushed the ogre's leg with his hammer, and then skull cracked it when it dropped.  It was a big night for Mack the Dwarf.

The death and dying rules for ACKS are quite a bit different than regular D&D.  Basically, the guy is considered to be lying there in an indeterminate dying state (or not - Schrödinger's dying character) until someone checks on him, and then you make a roll to see the extent of the injuries.  In this case, Connell was just below zero hit points, Necro Leo was a trained healer and got to him immediately, and Necro Leo rolled amazingly high on a giant 'mortal wounds' table.  Connell was only knocked out, and recovered with 1 hp - but he now has a permanent injury, a -1 to initiative due to scarring - perhaps a bad knee.  After which Moe immediately quipped, "I used to be an adventurer like you, until I took an ogre to the knee…"

After the ogre fight, the remaining mosaic tiles in the room had faded.  They could still see the outlines of the other monsters, but they were no longer vivid.  Where the ogre mosaic used to be, there was now a keyhole for an oversized skeleton key.  A mystery for later.

The players were low on resources and hit points.  They made their way back down the stairs to the market on level 2, meeting back up with Kyriakos and his retainers.  The plan is to use the hospice room to rest overnight in the dungeon, regain spells and some hit points, and then escort the traders back to the surface.  They need to try and recruit a couple more zero level guys back in town to act as fighters.

Sadly - no family-kids game this weekend.  Another sleepover foiled my attempt to get everyone to the game table.  My children clearly have more of a social life than myself.  : sigh :

Cast of Characters
Moe, a Bard
Talus, a Magic User
Mack, a Dwarven Craftpriest
Leonidas, a Necromancer (Necro Leo)
Connell (Billy) - NPC

Missed the Game:
Etor the Explorer
Alantir, Paladin of Poseidon


*Image is "Billy" from the Adventure Time cartoon