Sunday, January 17, 2016

Dwimmer-Game 7 - He Rolled a Door

We had a large crew for this game.  The first order of business each night is for the players to figure out what to do…. They always start back at headquarters (they own a base in Muntburg), and I'm never sure exactly which players will show up, and whether they'll want to carry on from the previous session.  Since Father Tancrede became an atheist last session after grasping a cursed brooch, one option was to travel to the big city of Adamas and beseech the church to fix him (Remove Curse).  But no!  Cities are boring, and we must go back to the dungeon!  The dungeon-lovers won the vote this session, and the party decided that giving up Turn Undead or Cure Light Wounds was worth losing to get in more dungeon action.  Tancrede, with his 10 strength and 8 constitution, would just have to earn his keep as a fighter for the night.

Cast for the Night:
Bud, a dwarven priest
Utor, the elf enchanter
Marthanes, a desert sorcerer
Tancrede, a cleric of Typhon
Wulfengard,a dwarf fighter
Jarvis, a fighter
Parquas, an elf magic-user / thief
Drev, a bard
Bart, a fighter

The major action for the night occurred along the western side of dungeon level 2B where there's a large room with various metal pillars.  The players (through the dwarves and some of their metal-working proficiencies) figured out that the metal plating on these columns was really valuable, and removable.  The players set up a camp and spent many hours salvaging rare metal plates - Azoth, Adamantite, Aeronite, and more.  Over the course of the hours, they ended up facing numerous wandering monsters attracted by the noise; lots of zombies, some hobgoblins, and even a group of thouls.  During one of these fights, Jarvis complained about rolling low, "I rolled another door…" - I think he meant to say I rolled another two, but the slip stuck, and now every time a fighter rolls low on an attack, "he rolled a door".  It's very common to hear the kids chant, "Invest, invest… Oh, he rolled a door.  Who's next?"  I'm experiencing the invention of a bizarre jargon - Kid's Cant.

By the time they got done with the salvage, even the Five Delvers came along.  (Once again, the players that were calling out for NPC blood were outvoted by the members that wanted to talk to the Delvers; this time they suggested to the Delvers to go on ahead, and the players cut out and went in the opposite direction).

Traversing over to the eastern side of the dungeon, the players ran into multiple (wandering)  groups of zombies and started to drain party resources (hit points).  The reality that 'wandering monsters don't carry treasure' has started to sink in and the players are learning to loathe the wandering monsters.

As happens so frequently with dungeon jaunts, the players went "a room too far…"  They stumbled into a large group of hobgoblins and were quickly under duress.  Marthanes brought in the summoned berserkers, but Bart, one of the main fighters, was knocked below zero hit points.  Tancrede's lack of spell ability came back to haunt them!  Using the ACKS rules, zero hit points is not always death; there's a good chance a downed character is just severely injured (and healing magic can improve the odds).  Bart was stabilized after the hobgoblin fight, but he his leg was severely injured and he'd have a limp for life, barring a powerful cleric spell (Restore Life and Limb).  The party now had another good reason to consider that trip to the city - to fix Tancrede, and to heal Bart.

After "limping" out of the dungeon, the players asked me to look up how much gold they could get for selling all the scrap metal from the pillar room.  The dungeon text indicated players could recover 15lbs of each type of metal from the pillars.  My head exploded when I saw how much money the stuff was worth!   45,000gp!  I made it clear the players would need to go to a larger market (like Adamas) if they wanted to get top prices from wealthy merchants.

Aside on Dwimmermount:
Dwimmermount is made of money.  I've noticed that treasure is aggregated on each level in a few large hoards; there are modest sums distributed throughout each level, but successful groups will find the hoards and make big jumps in experience. You'll see in later sessions the players gained an appreciation for Locate Objects in the mega dungeon context, and these treasure clumps would also make a Wand of Metal Detection really helpful.  Overall, the pace of advancement has been fine and the players are moving along at a good rate for maintaining interest.

However, even I wasn't  expecting the players to get a 45,000 go windfall!  If I granted the full amount, it'd be enough to push some of the group up to level 3 (skipping level 2) entirely.  I gave the players most or all of the full amount, but stopped them at 3,999xp, for instance - not allowing them to skip multiple experience levels.  I'm usually fine letting things roll (like giving the players too much) and seeing how things play out naturally.