Characters for this game:
Utor, the elf enchanter (level 2 Mage)
Utor, the elf enchanter (level 2 Mage)
Marthanes, a desert sorcerer (level 3 Mage)
Tancrede, a level 3 cleric of Typhon
Wulfengard,a level 3 dwarf fighter
Jarvis, a level 2 fighter
Bart, a level 3 fighter
This game was on a weeknight where we had a smaller group again - my kids have been petitioning me to run pickup games midweek for them and a few of their friends. It's very cool to see our local gang of middle school and high school kids jumping on the RPG bandwagon and discovering the fun in the hobby.
At the start of this game, both Tancrede and Bart had need of the city; Tancrede was cursed with disbelief in the gods (a real problem for a cleric), and Bart had a maimed leg due to injuries. Furthermore, the players had nearly 100lbs of rare metals salvaged from the dungeon. They finally voted as a group to visit the city of Adamas.
They bought horses and gear in Muntburg, and traveled with one of the merchants that had a weekly route between Muntburg and Adamas, to increase everyone's safety. None of the wandering encounters were such that they'd threaten or bother an armed merchant train, so they made it okay to the city.
I busted out the ACKS trade rules and had the chance to consider the player's request to auction their precious metals in the market square. Of course, the fun part was making Utor's player practice his sales pitch and drum up interest as a infomercial style pitchman; "Step right up and check it out! Rare Azoth, Aeronite, Adamantite, and more, straight from the legendary Dwimmermount!" Between his 16 charisma, and his character's additional +2 due to "glamour", one of the teens quipped, "Utor is like the Brad Pitt of Elven used metal salesmen".
I still wasn't sure how much gameplay I wanted to happen in the city, so I let the players create what they wanted to do and where it would happen. For instance, the guys that needed magical healing ended up going to a temple of Typhon called the Church of St. Wasabi the Disciplinarian; some of the player's new-found wealth was quickly spent at Goode's Magical Goods; the merchant that finally agreed to buy all the Dwimmermount metals was simply called "Oswald the Merchant"; they bought a pack animal called Sparky the Donkey.
After the kids blew a lot of cash in the city, they journeyed with the next merchant to Muntburg, and quickly found their way back to the dungeon as well. "Skyrim Fast Travel" has altered the landscape of table top RPG's; 'Can't we just fast travel back to Muntburg and fast travel to the dungeon? Walking seems so slow. Oh, and we're not taking any mercenaries or mooks this time, because they just sponge XP from the players.'
Back in the dungeon, the players worked their way back to dungeon level 2B, the Reliquary, and resumed exploring the eastern side of the dungeon, following a broad, cavernous twenty foot wide hall. The Reliquary level is filled with monumental architecture, temples, colonnades, and ceremonial structures from the time of the Thulians. The players were hoping to find stairs down to level 3; the Curate of Typhon had implored them to seek the great "Temple of Law" lost in the Reliquary, but that didn't interest them. "Lawful is boring".
The players searched up and down the main hall, not finding stairs down. They interrupted a room full of Eldritch Bones and quickly defeated them. No stairs. They discovered a room full of Shadows, and then an amazing hidden shrine of healing. Boring, still no stairs. Time ran out and the players had to head back to Muntburg.
"I need to get Locate Object", schemed Marthanes. "That'll really help us find things. I'm going to hire a merchant to find one in the city". I've never ran a game where the players looked for help in the spell lists and decided only Locate Object could save them; it's interesting to see how the size of the megadungeon (and the desire to delve deeper) drives planning.
After the wealth the players got from selling the salvaged metal, most of them are level 2 and a few guys are already level 3 (such as Marthanes and Bart). Low level fighters jump up in power in Adventurer Conqueror King once they get to 2nd and 3rd level - the combination of higher damage bonuses and cleave lets them take over fights against weaker monsters. It was clear during this session they're ready for level 3 challenges. The players relished being able to destroy the Eldritch Bones in melee combat, after being terrorized by them for the half dozen game sessions, so I'm glad they got to savor some success. Meanwhile, Marthanes chose another new spell from the ACKS Player's Companion, Summon Hero, as his 2nd level spell. The Summoned Hero was employed against the Shadows. "I have a new name… I'm no longer Marthanes the Sorcerer, I am Marthanes the Summoner! Muhaha."
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