Thursday, December 24, 2015

Dwimmer-Campaign Starts - First Session

Here we go, game session 1 - Dwimmermount using ACKS.  I have a few basic goals for the campaign - I want to run a simple (old school) game, feature a flexible cast of players from the neighborhood, keep the sessions short so they can be scheduled ad hoc, and keep the amount of prep fairly low so I can still run it when work and school start up again in a few weeks.

We started with the players at the gates of Dwimmermount, standing before the large red doors into the dungeon, making last minute preparations, before trying to push the doors open to see if the rumors of the dungeon being unlocked are true.  We used a large sheaf of pre-made characters and handy background sheets on "what everyone knows about Dwimmermount" to accelerate the action.  I try to minimize exposition during table time, especially for a first session.  Players come to rumble, not to listen to long background monologues!

The characters:
Marthanes, an exotic sorcerer (mage) from the sultry south
Grimson, my world's first dreadlocked kilted barbarian
Obsidian, a thief
-Plus a few henchmen - Malgrim and Mulan, two ex-legionnaires from the city of Adamas, and Father Tancrede, a cleric of Typhon

They descended into the first room, inspected a few statues of the gods with mismatched heads, and Grimson knocked off the misplaced heads of Turms Termax before they moved out.  In one of the first rooms, they found a party of dead dwarfs (turned to stone) and pieced together that one of them had a leather case depicting a full map of dungeon level 1!  (The secret they used was to treat it like an etching or rubbing with some charcoal).  Armed with a full map of the level, the players have been very tactical about where they go looking for treasure.

They found one room with an illusionary demon, managed to hit it (and dispelled the illusion) and discovered their first treasure hoard.  This was followed by a mad minute of dancing in place and acting like they were doing the "make it rain money" mobile device game.  Kids!

The next stop was an iron door in the north east part of the dungeon (which the thief couldn't unlock) so they went to a nearby room instead where they were ambushed by a half dozen metallic bone constructs jumping down from ledges.  (They caught on that the skeletons weren't undead once their turn attempts failed).  Woefully unequipped with enough bashing weapons, the skeletal constructs proved difficult to defeat with blades, and Grimson was torn to pieces, dropping to zero hit points before the rest of the group defeated the "eldritch bones".  ACKS uses a mortal wounds table to determine the results when a guy is knocked out to determine whether he's dead, dying, or just really hurt.  In the case of Grimson, he was really hurt and one of his ears was practically ripped off.  They bandaged him, but he'd need a few weeks to recover back in town.

Meanwhile, the other characters discovered a nearby secret door and a second treasure hoard (along with a few magic items - a rod of opening and a scarab of death - which they packed for later).  On the way out of the dungeon, they stopped in a room with various Thulian war masks hanging on the walls.  Malgrim almost got poisoned taking one off the wall (since the masks were trapped with gas) and everyone else quickly backed away.  The commotion attracted more wandering monsters, and Marthanes used his single 1st level spell (Summon Berserker*) to materialize a squad of desert fanatics from the afterlife to fight off the beetles.

After the beetle fight, the players learned something super useful - the summoned berserkers last for 3 turns!  Marthanes' minions were quite willing to go retrieve some masks for him while the party stayed at a safe distance.  With masks in hand, the group limped out of Dwimmermount and back to town.  End of game 1!

*Summon Berserkers is a new spell in the ACKS Player Companion