Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Game Report - Taenarum Week 1

I meant for the last post to be a game report, but it ended up focusing on the role of adventurers and my idea of using an actual scoreboard to track the players versus other adventuring groups.  While the players spent a few minutes in town getting oriented and picking up a few rumors, Lykourgos, proprietor of the adventurer's guild hall, added them to the scoreboard.  The first group to have a game night was the family.

The wife and kids called themselves Adventurer's Inc. (duhn duhn duhn) so they're on the scoreboard as "AI".  Their roster includes Egrog, a Spartan gladiator; Leonidas a paladin; Starbuck the prophet of Apollo; Mathias of Athens, a magic user; Milo (an NPC hireling); Holly the (Christmas) elf.   (I've explained that the wintry being of the north is Boreas, the father of winter and god of the north wind, but my daughter is still going to call him Santa Claus nonetheless).

The following night, some of the adult regulars (and a few of their kids) formed a second group.  Their nom de guerre for the scoreboard is Moe's Marauders.   Their roster consists of Moe - a bard-poet from Phoenicia (Palestine); Alantir, a paladin of Poseidon; Etor the ranger (explorer); Leonidas the necromancer; Olympos the bravo; Talus a magic user; Connell, a Celtic fighter (NPC hireling).

Both of the groups followed the same sun-drenched path atop rolling hills to reach the towering sea cliffs at the end of the peninsula; they both passed the same massive columns, carved as titans holding a vast tableau, that formed the entrance tunnel to the road to the Underworld.  They both entered Taenarum beneath the baleful gaze of a carved gorgon head above the entrance.  I'm going to compare how they handled similar areas in the dungeon.

The place itself is hewn from red marble, the living rock of the cliffs.  A massive 20' by 20' passage sloped gradually down into the cliff side.  A short way in there was a 10' passage off the main road leading to a room.  Both groups quickly decided to ditch the main passage for the smaller side passage and the first room.

The first area had camp remains, some old baskets, and a bunch of adventurer graffiti - things like:
Diodoros sleeps with the fishes; Spartans rule, Athenians drool; For a good time, ask to dance with Melantha; If you find my head, let me know - signed, Orpheus; Don't eat the pomegranates.
The kid's group immediately set to pulling out chalk and delightfully adding their own graffiti.  I know one of the things was Egrog Rules, Herodotus Drools (Herodotus was an NPC back in town - I guess he made an impression on Egrog).  The elf added, The Magic of Christmas Lies in Your Heart.  Moe's Marauders saw all the graffiti the next night, harumphed, and focused instead on searching.  They found a scrap of paper (papyrus) in one of the reed baskets - it featured a potential treasure map.  The kids never searched the baskets the night before.  Neither group found a loose flagstone that had a hidden cache - they never looked under the baskets.

A nearby room had a gigantic stone head (10' tall) like a grotesque and detailed Easter Island carving.  Moe's group learned that certain activities caused the stone head to exhale a cloud of gas that overwhelmed the senses with fear; there were a few times his guys had to regroup on the sunlit path outside of the dungeon after someone banged on the head with a hammer or tried to knock it over.  There was an inscription on the forehead written in an alien tongue; the kid's magic user identified it as Olympian, the language of the gods.  He plans to use a Read Languages spell on a return trip.  Moe took the time to copy it down and is hoping to pay someone to translate it back in town.

The kids decided to go up a north passage and found a room filled with large clay amphorae.  A gang of black and white striped goblins, invaders from Hecate's dark realm, ambushed them from behind the large pots.  Mathias put them out with a Sleep spell, and the kids killed the goblins and looted a bunch of moonstones (which are precious to the triple-faced goddess).  The adults ended up visiting the same room the following day - all they found were a bunch of dead goblins and smashed clay pots.

The adults ended up finding a few other places.  One included a gigantic mural that showed a colonnaded room filled with statues and perhaps a snake-haired gorgon in the background.  The mural wavered and swam if you looked at it closely and appeared to become three-dimensional and trippy.  No one tried to step through.

Elsewhere they found a large stone sarcophagus filled with a bluish gas.  More of Hecate's striped goblins ambushed them, and after the battle, they stuck one of the goblins in the box.  It appeared to put the goblin into some kind of timeless state.  The wheels are turning on how they could use such a thing.

That's about all the ground the two groups covered for a short game night - remember that they each did character creation and equipment on the same night, so the adventuring time was abridged.  I don't know that I'll do joint game reports going forward, but it was fun comparing how they did.  If you're watching "the scoreboard", the kids earned 630gp while the adults got 150gp.  It pays to be first to an area.