Sunday, February 24, 2013

A Very Short Solo Dungeon Adventure

A few weeks ago, I went up to Chicago to drop off my mother-in-law at O’Hare airport. It was time for her to go back to China. We went up a few days early, so that the drive would not be so tiresome. Other than passing the time with my mother, going through more of my father’s work-working tools, there was much to do late at night.

I have been following Tabletop Diversions and Solo Nexus blogs. Both do a lot of solo role-playing games using several systems. Danjou's Hand (Tabletop Diversions) has his own home made dungeon generator. I decided to give a solo dungeon crawl a try. So, after my semi-annual pilgrimage to Games Plus in Mt. Prospect, IL to buy some dice (you can never have enough dice), I had me a game that night.

For this solo game, I used Basic Fantasy RPG (2nd Edition), and No Budget No Frills Pencil and Paper Dungeon Generator (version 4.1) from Tabletop Diversions blog. I really liked the characters I rolled up, especially the magic-user/thief. Unfortunately, they came to a short end.

The Adventure
At a border village of Turonia, three adventures meet in a small, dingy tavern:

Zor the Bastard (Str: 18 Int: 12 Wis: 14 Dex: 13 Con: 13 Crs: 11). The son of a Bruin warrior and a captured Turonian peasant woman, he was shunned by the Bruin tribe where he was born. None the less, Zor became a skilled fighter. When he was able to, he escaped his village. Since then,Zor roamed the northern lands seeking wealth and a way to escape the legacy of his upbringing. He wears a chain mail shirt (sleeveless, of course), and uses a long sword and dagger.

Syllabatar, the magic-user thief (Str: 16 Int: 17 Wis: 7 Dex: 16 Con: 15 Crs: 14). Syllabatar came from the cities of the far south. Expelled from a school of the magical arts because of his carousing and gambling, he turned to thievery for which he found quite profitable. Over time, however, he found himself in the northern wastes and nearly penniless. A winning hand in cards provided him a map to a long abandoned barrow of the dreaded and mysterious Gaels. Other than a cloak, he has no armor. He carries a short sword and two daggers.

Brother Murg (Str: 12 Int: 6 Wis: 15 Dex: 9 Con: 5 Crs: 8). A defrocked priest, Murg has joined with various mercenary bands as their chaplain and healer. He was expelled by his last mercenary company after having drunken brawl with the son of a wealthy employer. Down on his luck, he was desperate to find employment. Murg wears leather armor and has a shield. He uses a mace.

Syllabatar managed to recruit Zor and Murg after a few cheap drinks and tales of fabulous wealth. The next day they set out to find the barrow. Murg’s low constitution means he had a bad hangover. It was several hours of hiking, beyond the borders of the village, but no encounters occurred. They made camp outside of what looked like a small hill with a stone embankment on one side. The night passed uneventfully. The next morning they prepared to enter the barrow. The map had some ruins on it. Syllabatar speaks them and a door swings open from the face of the embankment. The three light torches and enter. They find themselves in a small room. The air is damp and musty. In the middle of it is a 6’ high stele of polished rock. Glowing ruins are engraved on it. Syllabatar reads them and finds it’s a spell of enfeeblement.  He immediately orders the others to avert their gaze. They do, and the spell fails to take hold of them. A single door is on the right side of the room. It is locked and Syllabatar finds that it is trapped. He fails to remove it, and it goes off! A flash of light goes off and they are temporarily blinded. In time they recover, fortunately without any incidents.

This second room longer than the previous one. There are four skeletons lying on the floor. In the middle of the room is a small chest. They look over the skeletons. They clearly have been dead for a long time. Little remains of them but some tattered rags that were their clothes.  Syllabatar inspects the chest. There are no traps but it is locked. He picks the lock. Inside is a large green emerald! They take the gem. There are two doors: one directly across the room another, to the right of them. They choose the door on the right.

The door opens and leads to a short hallway. There is a T-intersection, at which they decide to go left. That was their doom! The hall made a right turn where five Orcs jump them. With a single blow, the largest Orc takes down Zor before he can even react. Syllabatar is slightly wounded by the second largest Orc. Only Murg manages to fend off the first blows by the remaining Orcs. Syllabatar manages to caste a magic missile spell. It knocks out the second largest Orc. Merg smashes one of the smaller Orcs with his mace and tries to get at Zor to heal him, but is just not close enough. Syllabatar just manages to draw his short sword and wounds another Orc. However, his dexterity was not enough to avoid the large cleaver of a scimitar of the largest Orc. Syllabatar goes down in a pool of blood. Merge realizes that there is no way get can get to his companions. He could run and live to fight another day, but decided to fight on and leave his life in the hands of his god. Despite getting another hit in on an Orc, he is overwhelmed and goes down. His prayers were the last words he uttered.

 Post-mortem analysis
 I had hoped the game would last a little longer, but c’est la vie. My adventurers died a quick death despite the fact that I threw them two bones at the beginning. I gave them very generous saving throws on both the magic stele in the first room and the trap on the door leading to the second room. BTW, I made these two traps up on the spot. The random dungeon generator just determines if something you encounter is a monster, trap, something unusual, or empty. I rolled “something unusual” for the first room and a trap for the door. What lost it for the boys was the number of Orcs that attacked them and that they got the first blow. I sort of expected the party to survive the encounter, but they didn’t. Poor Zor didn’t have a chance!

Basic Fantasy RPG is essentially old Advanced D&D that you can download for free. It would seem that Labyrinth Lord is also old AD&D, also free. I have not compared these two systems, but something tells me there isn’t much difference between the two. One thing I will change for my games is how spells work. I've never liked how they worked in D&D, at least in earlier additions. Years ago, I played a computer game called Diablo, which was a dungeon crawl. I liked how they did magic. Both magic users and clerics had "mana" that acted as a magical energy pool. More powerful spells drained you of more mana than weaker spells.

The No Budget No Frills Pencil and Paper Dungeon Generator worked well, but I think I will make some modifications and detail it up, so to speak, especially regarding encounters. For more detail, I referred to one of the sections in Basic Fantasy, but it would be faster if its was all in the Dungeon Generator.

Friday, February 22, 2013

Holding the Line on Purchases

At New Years time, I made myself a pledge that I would not order anything new for at least two months. It really hit hard about two weeks ago, when I realized what a mound of unpainted lead I had accumulated. Based on the little time I have available, I would say that I have enough to keep me busy painting for a year, if not more. Plus, things are a little financially tight in my household since my wife started a new job that pays a lot less than her old one. The new job is a blessing; she could still be looking for one, but our health insurance has taken a big hit. This is not helpful when you have a one-year old.

So far, I have made good on my pledge. I have not ordered a single thing since the start of the new year. This is in spite of the fact that there is a whole lot of new stuff coming out, especially in the world of 15mm sci-fi. The last item I received was a game called "Arm Weapons and Climb Solo" by Assault Publishing, which has 1/600 aircraft in it. I had ordered it back in late December (it was on sale), got it in early January.

I have made a pledge to myself. I won't buy any more mini's or rules for that matter, until I get though about 15% of my total pile of unpainted miniatures. Currently, I am working on a bunch of Splintered Light orcs, and then plan on starting all of those really nice Copplestone Casting's barbarians and northmen. As far as microarmor, I think that I need for my Gambusian campaign is painted. For sci-fi, I just finished up some Rebel Mini's troopers that I had started awhile ago. I will hold off on any other sci-fi until I can figure out the various factions involved for that game.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Had to Change My E-mail Address

Kind of annoying, but I can sort of see why they wanted me to do so.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Tropical Volcano

Some pictures of my daughter's science project. Its the old paper-mache volcano with lava courtesy of vinegar and baking soda. We made it more interesting by adding a Polynesian village, complete with Tiki totem. My daughter really hoped that the lava would hit the village. However, it stopped just short of the buildings closest to volcano. A coincidence? Or maybe it was the protection of the Tiki god!

Volcano with unsuspecting village

Close up of village