Tuesday, March 23, 2010

S&W White Box: Session Two, 3/22/10

SESSION TWO (03.22.10)
Sunday the 9th of Coldeven, CY 576

Fen Sen the Seer (2nd level Magic-User)
Galathos the Warrior (2nd level Fighting-Man)
Old Man Halgron the Adept of St. Cuthbert (2nd level Cleric)
Gloin the dwarven Warrior (2nd level Fighting-Man)
“Frahnk” the hired lantern-bearer

After a brief huddle, our fearless adventurers decided that they each would be able to carry a little bit more weight. Undaunted, they decided to remain in the dungeons below Castle Greyhawk in search of more treasure.

Passing back through the hidden portal they chose to retreat back the way they had come and try a door they spied at the end of a hallway. Finding nothing but three sets of manacles and three piles of coiled, bloody, and ashy frayed rope they pressed on. Back to the door with the sconces they continued on through the door leading to the north. Following the corridor north, then east, then north, and then east they arrived at a T-intersection. Not hearing any noises down either passage, the heroes chose the south passage and then west when they arrived at another T-intersection.

By virtue of his meticulous mapping Galathos felt that the passage they were following would lead back around to the landing of the main staircase. After taking the west fork at another intersection the heroes passed through another doorway back into the room that they had started their exploration in. With two of the four doors already chosen they decided to take the other door in the north wall and walked into an eerily and dimly lit room to the sound of splashing water. In the center of the room was a large fountain containing two statues, a lecherous old man chasing an attractive young woman, and cascading clear water.

The explorers eventually convinced their kobold pet to take a drink of water out of the fountain. They were looking out for the kobold, sure that he would be thirsty after eating that bite of sausage. The poor humanoid immediately broke out into loud yelping laughter. He leaped into the water of the fountain and began splashing the water everywhere. Galathos yanked him out of the pool by his leash and in the process noticed a tarnished silver spoon. Fen Sen recovered the spoon as the others debated what to do with their trap-finder. Worried that the kobold might attract undue attention, the adventurers gagged the kobold, reducing his laughter to undecipherable mumbles. Gloin finished off the rest of his water skin and refilled it with some water from the fountain thinking that the water from the fountain might somehow be useful. Remembering the torch sconces that yielded entrance to a secret room, Halgron and Galathos tried to inspect the statues for any seams or joint. Trying to get a closer look Galathos stepped into the fountain and pushed his way through the cascading water. Unfortunately (or maybe not), despite his best efforts all the fighting-man got was wet clothes.

Taking the other door out of the fountain room led to a corridor heading south. After hearing a faint drumming sound, Gloin passed by a door opening to the east and continued on west and then south. After coming to a stout wooden door at the end of the corridor they decided to return to the door that the dwarf heard the faint drumming through. Beyond the door lay a corridor heading south and north, with the drumming getting closer echoing down the northern corridor. The pet kobold began struggling and refused to continue any farther north. Gloin tried to communicate with the kobold in his halting mastery of the humanoid’s language. After telling Gloin in vague terms that very bad men were coming, not human men but kobold men, he again refused to move farther north.

Our brave adventurers decided that no kobolds would scare them; they would track down the noise and engage the “very bad men” in battle. As Old Man Halgron, Gloin, and Fen Sen were debating what to do with the kobold hostage, Galathos demonstrated his chaotic tendencies by using his flamberge to separate the kobold from his head. With that problem solved the four adventurers and their extremely unnerved hired lantern-bearer moved north towards the sound of the drumming. At one of the T-intersections that they had previously passed through the adventurers arranged themselves in an ambush. Gloin gripped his battle axe to one side of the intersection with Frahnk the lantern-bearer hiding behind him. Galathos with his two-handed sword and Halgron with his bludgeon readied themselves to the other side of the intersection with Fen Sen readying his arcane powers behind the two armored men.

With the fast approaching sound of clanking mail, echoing footsteps, and a banging drum sounding out a cadence the foursome nervously awaited their foes. Two ranks of two kobolds each diverged at the intersection marching right into the adventurer’s trap. Apparently these were no normal kobolds however. They were well armored indeed, suited in matching sets of finely crafted chain mail and wearing brass gorgets. Helmeted in fur covered helms and wearing uniform dark blue tabards they were quite the sight. Luckily with the element of surprise the heroes just barely got the drop on the well trained, well armed and armored, and militaristic kobolds. Gloin managed to score a slashing wound with his axe; Halgron narrowly missed with his flail; Galathos landed a horrible blow; and Fen Sen ensorcelled four into a magical slumber. As one kobold traded blows with Gloin the other lit his flask of oil, threw it at Galathos, and proceeded to run back up the hallway. The flask of oil hit Galathos directly in the chest exploding into a fiery flash that left the fighting-man very badly burned. Luckily for him his wet clothes did not catch on fire and though wounded, Galathos heaved a hand axe at the fleeing kobold felling him before he could escape. Old Man Halgron and Gloin the dwarf finished off the remaining kobold with a mighty blow to the back and a chest-cleaving swipe of the axe respectively. Fen Sen quickly helped put the remaining flames out and Halgron beseeched St. Cuthbert to grant him healing powers on the wounded Galathos. Three of the four sleeping kobolds were quickly dispatched with the fourth trussed up and the adventurers thought they could hear the faint footfalls of one fleeing kobold. After the captured kobold refused to answer their questions even with Galathos’ more aggressive techniques, he once again showed no mercy to a captured foe.

Noting the great condition of the arms and armor; the heroes stripped the dead kobolds of their gear and decided to return to the surface. Before they left Fen Sen used his remaining arcane power to investigate whether any of their loot possessed any magical auras. Disappointed, the magic-user discovered that only the water from the fountain and the rusty dagger acquired earlier showed any magical energy. Gathering up the loot they returned to the main staircase, ascended back to the surface, and rang the bell to alert the Goldmountain dwarves that they needed egress from the dungeons. After a brief wait Gandalff, Claag, and their two brothers opened up the door welcoming the heroes back from their exploits. After delivering some of the promised tribute to Gandallathor, who the dwarves felt had clearly looked out for them; they left the Castle and made the trek back to the Free City of Greyhawk.

Quite happy with themselves our heroes enjoyed the next five days carousing, re-supplying, selling some of the gear they recovered, and sharing the tales of their adventuring with the veterans in the common room of the Green Dragon Inn. The heroes learned of another group in the Castle environs protecting an entrance to the dungeons; a group of elves had a hidden lair in the copse of trees to the west of the Castle. Gloin the dwarf awoke from one particularly long night on the town with a new tattoo, luckily for him the tattoo actually turned out pretty good. Old Man Halgron spent several nights out on the town “spreading St. Cuthbert’s word”, Galathos purchased several new tools from the Outdoor Survival store, and purchased a pole-arm from Arneson’s Arms & Armor and inquired there about the availability of heavier armor, and Fen Sen spent his time studying his magic.

After renewing the employment of Frahnk as their lantern-bearer the group traveled the league back to Castle Greyhawk. After making right by the dwarves and Gandallathor they once again descended the main staircase down to the Storage Rooms. After finding the deceased kobolds removed from the scene of their battle the heroes decided to take a passage off of one of the T-intersections that they had previously passed up. The corridor led east, then south, then sharply turned north before heading west to a slightly ajar door. Gloin leaned his head close to the doorway to try and listen for noises but gasped at the foul odor emanating from within. Kicking the door open they discovered a large table in the center of the room with six sealed clay jars on top and a mound on the ground below. Using his new ranseur, Galathos pushed one jar off the table resulting in an explosion of orange paint all over the floor. Prodding the blanketed bundle below the table with the pole-arm revealed a recently dead skunk. Gloin and Halgron investigated the rest of the jars finding 40 silver pieces, 82 copper pieces, two more jars of orange paint, and one jar of blue paint. Shutting the door in an attempt to bottle up the foul smell they continued down the hallway to two more doors.

Not hearing any noise from within Gloin reached for the handle of the door on the eastern wall but was unnerved when his arm went through the door. Amazed the dwarf walked through the door, with Galathos close on his heels. Seeing the two fighting-men disappear Halgron and Fen Sen stepped through the door as well. Quite nervous and scared Frahnk scampered through as well. Inside the room they found a human skeleton lying on its side on the floor. The skeleton was still dressed in a beautiful dark green dress with rows of tiny emeralds reflecting the lantern light. Halgron prayed over the fallen woman, then removed her dress and crossed something off a list he had on a piece of parchment. Bewildered by the supernatural door and very thankful that they hadn’t met a spear on the far side of the door when they walked through blindly the heroes stepped back out into the hallway.

The door in the south wall was quite stuck and did not yield to Gloin’s shoulder. Galathos made use of some of his shiny new tools, prying the door off its hinges with his crowbar. Inside the room they were shocked to find a human jawbone lying on the floor and a large metal ring set into the center of the western wall. Gloin translated the Orcish inscription scrawled above the ring as an advisement to “Pull Me”. Despite Gloin’s desire to immediately pull the ring, the party decided to proceed more carefully. Galathos hooked his grapple to the ring, laid out his silken rope, and ushered everyone out of the room. From behind the fractured door Galathos gave the rope a yank. With a slight creaking noise the ring slide out from the wall and a huge metal scything blade snapped out of the wall at knee level. Entering the room again Galathos used his pole-arm to push the metal ring back into the wall which also reset the metal scythe. After deciding that this room would make a proper place to conduct future interrogations the party moved on in the direction they thought the fleeing footsteps had led.

Coming to a four-way intersection, with the east and south corridors leading past the range of their light, they chose the north passage which led to a door. Opening the door revealed a large pile of broken furniture. And amazingly enough, a small black crow was hopping to and fro on top of the pile. Bewildered, the party piled into the room to investigate.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

S&W White Box: Session One, 3/8/10

Well, I found another group of players to try game with. This is a group of people scattered around the metro area, rather than a group of college/high school buddies from the same town. They are a little older and a little more engaged in real life, so this session was just 3 hours on a Monday evening, much better for my schedule than a weekly 8 hour death march every Sunday.

The game system is Swords & Wizardry: White Box, which is a retro-clone of the basic D&D rules from 1974. Essentially, it is one of the products that has come out since WOTC released the open gaming content with 3rd edition. There are a number of retro-clones designed as remakes of older systems, covering the different Basic editions like the 1981 rules, 1st edition advanced, and some mash-ups that mimic a blend of 1e and basic.

This means that you have 3 classes (Fighting-Man, Cleric, Magic-user) and 3 demi-human races that are classes in their own (Dwarf, Elf, Halfling). The DM was awesome enough to write up an after action report detailing the night's events. I will report it here with some of my comments to follow in the next post.

SESSION ONE (03.08.10)
Starday the 5th of Readying, CY 576

[Oscar] Fen Sen the Seer (2nd level Magic-User)
[Drew] Galathos the Warrior (2nd level Fighting-Man)
[Donovan] Old Man Halgron the Adept of St. Cuthbert (2nd level Cleric)
[Anthony] Gloin the dwarven Warrior (2nd level Fighting-Man)
“Frahnk” the hired lantern-bearer

After hearing tales of renewed riches laying in the dungeons below the ruined Castle Greyhawk our stalwart adventurers met in the common room of the Green Dragon Inn in the Free City of Greyhawk. Regaled by the tales of treasure and adventure told by the old-timers our heroes decided to make the short jaunt of one league to the Castle in the morning. Luckily they were able to buy a copy of a map, by one cartographer named Henry Bodenstedt apparently of 330 Center Street, showing the ruined upper works of the Castle.

Shaking off the festivities of the night before, our heroes quickly stock up on supplies at the Outdoor Survival outfitters store and at Arneson’s Arms & Armor on the way out of town. Despite being slowed down by the waddling Gloin, they eventually arrive at the Old Castle Track leading to the upper works. Mounting a hill to the southwest of the Castle our heroes scan their surroundings. Dense copses of trees fills the land to the west of the Castle, a steep hill lies to the east of the Castle, and scattered trees occupy the area to the southeast of the Castle. Not seeing any movement in the lands around the Castle they continue to march up the Old Castle Track to the sunken moat surrounding the Castle.

Unfortunately, not seeing any easy method of crossing the moat, Fen Sen (being the lightest) volunteered to climb down into the moat and create a makeshift rope bridge. After ferrying their gear across piecemeal- Galathos, Old Man Halgron, and Gloin each crossed the moat and rejoined Fen Sen on the far side. Avoiding the front door of the Castle, they crept around to the disheveled western wall and entered the outer courtyard. After briefly inspecting a ruined tower they crossed the courtyard to what appeared to be a mostly intact tower in the northwestern corner to get a higher vantage point. Gloin and Halgron braved the creaking wooden stairs with their armored bulk and inspected the rest of the upper works while Fen Sen and Galathos stayed below keeping watch. The heroes next inspected the dilapidated building in the southeastern corner which turned out to be a decently-preserved stable. After finding an immense sealed door in the central tower they spied two sets of well-engineered collapsed segmented bridges. Galathos, Halgron, and Gloin lugged one set over to the moat to speed up a quick getaway if needed. They then turned to the final building in the courtyard- the black gneiss hall.

Finding dwarven runes welcoming them to the “Hall of the Dwarfish Lords”, Gloin called out a greeting and knocked on the door. Gandalff and his brothers Claag, Alviss, and Siggtrii of the Goldmountain clan ushered the heroes into their humble abode. The dwarves were kind enough to feed the heroes, vaguely explained their roles of protectors of the main staircase, and allowed the weary travelers to rest on their stone floor. The nearly penniless heroes donated what little coin they had left to Gandallathor, the Dwarfish Lord of Gold and Gems, and Old Man Halgron promised the dwarves some of his share of found treasure upon his return to the surface. Early the next morning Claag took the heroes to the central tower and unlocked the door allowing the heroes to descend into the dungeons of Castle Greyhawk. After descending for what seemed to be about thirty feet, the stairs came to a landing. Noting that the main staircase continued further, the heroes decided to step out onto the first landing marked with a sign declaring “the Storage Rooms.” After briefly inspecting the entrance room the heroes surveyed the four doors exiting the room and decided to take the western door out of the room.

With Gloin and Halgron leading the way the party quickly proceeded into a small room. After stopping to pick up some carpentry nails found in a box on a table they took a corridor leading north. Eschewing the continuing corridor leading east and then north, the heroes blundered into a large room surprising a group of scavenging humanoids. The adventurers recognized the scaly doglike wretches as chaotic kobolds. Combat ensued with Gloin, Halgron, and Galathos taking on the eight snarling kobolds; Fen Sen and the lantern-bearer hung back at the entrance of the room content to watch the melee. Six kobolds were dispatched by Galathos’ flamberge, Gloin’s battle-axe, and Old Man Halgron’s flail and cries of “Respect your elder!” The heroes backed the seventh into a corner and the eighth threw him self on the floor, lying whimpering in a spreading puddle. Noting that the kobold in the corner had not dropped his spear, Galathos buried his hand axe in the humanoid’s chest. After quickly bandaging the few injuries that were suffered, the party huddled up and decided to take the remaining kobold prisoner; they would truss the kobold up and would push him ahead of them down corridors and into rooms. Finding nothing but a few copper pieces and a half-eaten sausage in the dead kobold leader’s pouch they continued on.

After checking out the room through the southern door and finding nothing of value aside from various pieces of tarnished silverware the party continued on into the room through the northern door. There they found a large room with empty wall sconces beside each of the two doors out of the room and a large shield lying in the center of the floor. Playing it safe, they sent their pet kobold into the room to drag the shield back to them before proceeding into the room themselves. Galathos inspected both wall sconces and discovered that the sconce beside the northern door was loose. Yanking the sconce to the right broke it off and revealed a false section of the northern wall; the hidden room beyond contained a large wooden chest in the northeastern corner. After a great deal of pantomiming, the party sent their kobold to the chest armed with one of the nails. With some reassuring from the heroes the kobold did his best to pick the lock with the nail; after giving the kobold plenty of opportunity to set off any traps that the chest might have had they hauled the kobold back in. Gloin rewarded the creature with the half-eaten sausage and Fen Sen went to work opening the chest with a hammer and some pitons. Our stalwart adventurers happily found that they have been well rewarded for their efforts with their first taste of treasure. Alongside an ivory horn and a rusty dagger, they found just over a thousand coins; mostly copper and silver but with some gold as well.

The heroes huddled up again, arguing between returning to the surface with their loot and trying to push on farther.

Experience: 80 each (320 total)
Treasure: 169 gp, 242 sp, 791 cp; steel shield with red dragon crest, five-fingered left-handed leather glove, pair of bulky leather mittens, handful of carpentry nails, ivory horn, rusty dagger, kobold sausage
Encounters: killed 7 kobolds, took 1 kobold prisoner
Expended: 2 sections of rope, 4 pitons, ½ flask of lamp oil, kobold sausage