Friday, November 26, 2010
Nightwick Abbey Test Session
Wednesday night marked the first time I've run this version of Nightwick Abbey for a face-to-face group. I'm happy to report that it went tremendously well. There are a few things I'll have to tweak before presenting it to the face-to-face group in Knoxville, but it hit pretty spot on.
Before I get started talking about the session itself, I want to say a few words about how I prepared the dungeon for our would-be delvers. I'm using a strange hybrid of Labyrinth Lord and LotFP:WFRPG for my system, but I found myself consulting the AD&D DMG and FF more than those two volumes. I got a strange joy using those to stock my dungeon levels that I find very hard to convey. It is physically impossible for it to be nostalgia because my first game was 3e.
Anyway, first I placed the various "Saturday Night Specials" that lie in the first layer of Nightwick Abbey. Then I used the DMG and FF to stock the first three levels with monsters and the LL book for the various treasures and traps. The map itself was a combination of Dizzy Dragon's interpretations of Dyson's geomorphs and Risus Monkey's geomorphs. Each level is pretty dense, with about 80-100 rooms.
We had a total of five players, but two came to the game significantly later. The first three characters to plumb those terrifying halls were...
Alma, a Cleric dedicated to the God of Law
Schlog, a pagan Fighting-Man who has a strange obsession with bones
Coll, a converted Specialist
I mostly skipped over their time in the village, allowing them to look for hirelings. They found quite a few, and when they were satisfied they headed through the woods to the Abbey itself.
If you are possibly going to play in the Knoxville campaign please stop reading now.
They found that the abbey consisted solely of a large church and a graveyard. The players noted that there seemed to be no sign of a cloister or dormitories for the monks who once lived there, and found it strange that it would be so. They church itself was mostly ruined except for the foundations of two bell towers. They discovered the staircase down within one of these.
At the bottom of the staircase, they found a large room that seemed to be a prison of some sort. While investigating the rather fearsome torture devices there, a large snake-like creature made entirely out of a man's spinal column and skull surprised them. Its strange dance caused all but Schlog and Coll to be completely entranced. Fortunately they were able to dispatch the thing on their own (I had rolled pitifully for its HP). They were most interested in a small dais that was bloodstained.
While attempting to discern the purpose of this oddity, they overheard the approach of a number of armored individuals. It was a patrol of heavily outfitted skeletons who attacked once they saw the party. Luckily, Alma was able to turn them and the fighters and hirelings were able to destroy them before they could flee back down the hallway. Schlog then broke open all of their bones to see if there was any treasure within.
After exploring a few empty chambers, they found one covered in various bits of refuse. Coll -- fearing the presence of an Otyugh -- refused to enter but prodded about with his 10ft pole. His pole was grabbed by a pallid tentacle, and then the horrible face of a Carrion Crawler (or Carcass Scavenger if you prefer the LL nomenclature) appeared to greet them. At this point the hirelings in the back rank bolted down an unexplored hallway. The party the heard a number of strange, semi-intelligent, noises echo down the corridor that the hirelings had just fled through.
Schlog and Coll's players argued over whether or not they should close the door to the room with the Carcass Scavenger in it or if they should attack it. Schlog ran in quasi-suicidally but due to lucky rolls (and the fact that I seemed incapable of rolling high on HD the whole night) he killed it in one, swift blow.
They then turned to greet the number of deer-headed orcs that stampeded down the hallway at them. After fierce fighting, one character lay unconscious and their linkboy had soiled himself but the party was alive. They retreated back to town to recoup and plan.
At this point the other players arrived, and they made their characters while the original party re-outfitted. All but one of their (living) hirelings decided to jump ship after their previous expedition, but they were able to garner some new ones before venturing forth again into the dungeon.
The new players had not quite finished their characters before this, so I needed a way to work them in. I rolled a random encounter check and decided that these characters were the remnants of a party that had been destroyed by whatever I just rolled. So two screaming men running as fast as they could confronted the party. Behind them came 15 Mites. These were dispatched surprisingly easily (due to an ability I gave Fighting Men which I need to remove immediately).
There new companions were...
Armand, a Paladin
Franz, another Specialist
After arguing a bit over the contents of the room, and some rather humorous roleplaying (Franz has an IQ of 3, but believes it to be considerably higher), they continued off through the dungeon.
They next found a large room with an immense tapestry. This tapestry seemed to shift in the flickering light of their lamps. When the light hit it directly it depicted a number of valiant Sword Brothers slaughtering some demonized pagans. When slightly obscured by shadow it seemed to depict innocents running from the fiendish blades of a number of undead horseman.
Beyond this chamber they glimpsed a figure in red robes who seemed to be placing a book in a shelf. They debated what to do about this, as the Paladin was able to detect that a number of other chaotic creatures laired within. They hastily formed a plan and destroyed the monsters -- which they determined were zombies -- with the liberal use of flaming oil.
The room that the zombies had emanated from was once a library, though now all the books were rotten and destroyed. The players hypothesized that the zombies were carrying on work they had done during life.
The last chamber they were able to explore contained a fiendish trap lifted from Stonehell and the only real treasure they found on either excursion. Afterwards, due to their trap-oriented Specialist's injuries, they headed back to the village and we wrapped up the session.
All in all it was a good session. It was a joy to see some of their strategic and tactical discussions.
In about an hour, I'll be running the second session. I'll probably break that report into multiple posts due to this one's length. Sorry about that.