Monday, 9 December 2013

SESSION 4 Part ii – Welcome to Alpha Complex:  We're all so happy.

(The current adventure is an Alpha Complex themed reskin of the excellent one-page adventure Robot Clown Doctor Apocalypse  found here and this first person retelling goes a little into session 5 for completeness of the story).

Nick:      Cybella - Magic User 1
Syam:    Brychan - Fighter 1;   Celegorm - Elf1.
Telfer:    Maredud - Thief 1.
Michael Pelegost - Cleric 1  (Calina of the Twelve Annihilations)
Teresa  Phokus - Cleric 1 (Frig - Gluttony and Rutting);   Velegerd - Theif 1.

Oh Timmy, I do so hope some fooli.. brave adventurers find us soon, I very much miss mummy and daddy.
Once we had finished our search of the room and these strange under dwelling people we gathered ourselves and headed back into the maze of strange corridors to find Miss Elizabeth.  Cybella  claimed the white and red pistol, she seems to consider that any  weapon we find is hers by right of being a collector.  We have compromised, Cybella has taken the white pistol and Brychan has the red one.  I don’t think she realises just how close Brychan came to flipping out when she tried to claim both of the pistols, time will tell, and we are ever aware that using magic leads to megalomania so are careful eye on that one I think.

While searching the one called the high programmer we found a single-sheet map the size of a small book sized covered in a stiff clear coating that showed that the complex was roughly diamond shaped and that we had explored about one third of it so far.  We headed to another area on the map that indicated structures looking for the girl, choosing to circumvent a corridor which contained three large metal automatons festooned with a deadly looking array of tools and devices of various kinds.  They were hard at work with some kind of construction or maintenance and we thought it best to leave them alone. 

We found the complex and entered.  There were a few smaller rooms off to the side of an obviously larger chamber.  We could tell by the double door we entered through which had matching double doors on the other side.  We took the side door and found ourselves in some kind of rest or recreation area.  This led into a workshop area that had a number of doors leading off it and a spiral staircase at the other end. 

One door had a symbol on the door so we investigated that.  Confident there were no traps we opened the door, to a loud bang and an explosion of some sort of orange gas.

Maredud and Brychan inhaled the gas and Brychan because maddened, attacking his friends before he was subdued by Cybella’s magic.  We examined the room and found three medical looking syringes.  They had strange markings, one with a black skull, one with the dotted outline of a man, and the third with a happy face on it.  We thought they might be valuable and took them.  We heard steps behind us coming down the stairs and a voice, apparently having discovered us upon investigating the noise exclaimed “oh no man, this is seriously not happy!”

Turning we saw a man dressed similar to those we had encountered previously, but this one was wearing orange.  He ran back up the spiral stairs and we chased him up and into a room full of equipment covered in levers and buttons. The room had a large window looking out over an amphitheater, they likes of which I have only seen in Denethix where the plays or fights are staged.  We subdued the man, tying him up.  

Out the window we could see four others in the amphitheater.  Three (two oranges and a yellow!) were administering to someone retrained in a chair facing a large screen on which images of happy people and violence flickered.

We didn't get much out of this one.

With all the lights facing in towards the middle they did not notice us taking up position around the amphitheater, and we took down the yellow with crossbows figuring that was the leader.  The other two, a man and a woman ran.  We chased them and Brychan cut off their exit.  A furious fight ensued, but we were more numerous, and better armed and armoured.  Brychan was knocked out by a viscous blow to the head, and it was to our relief that the weapon was a black rubber truncheon and not something more lethal.  We tried one of the pills and he seemed to perk up a bit.

In the chair was a non-responding figure in a black tunic (I think these are the lowest rank or class) with a helmet over their head from which protruded a bunch of wires leading back into the chair.  We left him there.  Needing rest, we went back up to what the orange guy had called the ‘control room’ and made camp for the night – or what we thought was night as we were tired.

The following day we got what information we could out of the orange guy, who said his name was Jon-O-Tan.  He told us that this was a secret experiment facility working on ways to give the armed forces a happiness advantage over the other service groups and that he came from a place called Alpha Complex.  This meant little to us, but we figured the ‘armed services’ must be similar to the fist.  When we made to leave, we checked hi bonds so he couldn’t escape and raise the alarm against us before we had found Elizabeth. 

When he realised we intended to leave him tied up there he begged us not to, insisting that no one else knew about this place and that if we left him here tied up we were sentencing him to a slow death.  The PCs agreed that they would take him with them and let him go once they were outside.  He agreed to behave if it meant saving his life, and we undid the bonds on his legs but left his hands tied and moved on.  Leaving the amphitheater of happiness we ran into Fokus outside, who had followed us down having recovered from his latest bender.

Delving deeper we can upon another corridor in which there were more but different metal machines working.  They seemed to be powerful machines so again we avoided them, naming the ‘substantial abuse bots’ because they looked like they could take a lot of punishment.
We came to another door.  This one had a plaque outside with some symbols on it, but no one knew what they meant.  We were careful at the door and when we opened it we saw what could only be a factory of some sort.  There was a metal floored mezzanine, and further in a wider space filled with metal gantries and machines suspended over what looked like large circular tanks of liquid in various shades of clear to brown. The place stank.  We took no heed of the brown mud covering the floor immediately inside the door and entered; a mistake which proved fatal for the Elf.

Once we were all inside a ‘schlupping’ sound came from behind us.  We turned to see the brown mud forming into a mound about four feet high, with a bright yellow ‘eye’ forming at the top.  The eye brightened and a keening whine rose before a blindingly bright energy bolt ripped from what we have dubbed the ‘poo monster’ which seared the Elf’s flesh from his skull.
Crossbow bolts were loosed, I remember not by whom, and when they seemed to find purchase Brychan let out a war cry and charging the creature cleaved it in twain with a mighty blow, the result of which was the muck falling back to the floor with a ‘sploshing’ sound.  Thinking the better of continuing in this room, we exited, figuring if Miss Elizabeth was in here she would either have heard us, or was already beyond saving.

The corridors seemed endless.  Up, down, left, right, we explored.  I cannot recall exactly the sequence of events subsequent to the Elf’s death, perhaps I was in shock.  We found three other sub-complexes.  One was a similar door to the water factory; we opened the door, inside machines were dipping human shaped statues into steaming vats of primary coloured viscous liquid, which seemed to coat the figures as they were pulled out.  We shouted for Elizabeth, but did not explore further, weary of our recent loss.

We came to an area where the moving floors seemed to converge, and were at first weary of getting trapped in there with no easy way out.  We experimented a bit with moving the wrong way up one of the moving staircases and found that with some effort the stronger members of the party could charge up there, and they could assist the others with a rope.  Knowing we could get back out we headed into the hub area.

Following a moving floor that had a smaller one next to it piled with some of the most interesting garbage I have ever seen we came to another door where all the moving floors and stairs converged.  This had a simple circular handle set in, and there was a small moving conveyor alongside the landing before the door which carried detritus through a small slot.  This proved too small to look through effectively but the strong stench of decay could certainly get out!

Taking the normal precautions we opened the door.  A short set of steps was laid before us, heading into a large room filled with mounds of garbage.  Some members took the time to spy out the contents of the room before heading in.  Once in there they spotted a little girl curled up in the far corner apparently asleep, accompanied by a small dog.

Maredud chose to examine the doorway before entering, and found a device on the back of the door which seemed contrived in such a way as to shut the door behind the last person to enter.  No wonder Miss Elizabeth was trapped, it was lucky for us that he was on his game that day!  The girl we assumed was Elizabeth awoke when the dog started barking at us.  We called to her and started into the chamber, but it soon because clear that it was not us the dog was barking at as many crab like creatures the size of the dog started appearing out of the garbage.

We still do not know why the girl had been spared, perhaps she had not made much noise, perhaps the creatures were after something bigger, or maybe the dog had scared the creatures off but we weren’t sticking around to find out.  We waited for Elizabeth to get out and conducted a fighting retreat back up the steps before closing the door on the ‘crabs’ which were swarming up the steps.

The map we had got from the High Programmer showed that there was still some way to go to the bottom, but having found the reason for coming down, and having lost two friends already we decided to get out.  Taking the most direct route we could, and careful to avoid the machines we had seen previously we made our way to the top.

When we got back up to the entry chamber the exit door was closed.  A panel slid back in the wall revealing a smallish god’s eye that had a red symbol of a box with an eye in it on a black background; Neither Pelgost nor Fokus knew of any orbital god fitting the description.  It appeared to be looking right at us.  A machine like voice told us that it was ‘The Computer’ and it was dedicated to our happiness, encouraging us to stay.  It also informed us not to leave the chamber, relating that a public management platoon had been dispatched to ensure a joyful and seamless orientation and induction into the happy halls of Alpha Complex.  Jon-O-Tan was ordered to make us stay, and when he refused, the ‘computer’ ordered the rest of us to execute the traitor Jon-O-Tan (who totally freaked out).

Happiness awaits all who shall enter. Insanely happy, really, you better be, or... or else we will make you happy.
Having got the door open again, we made a hasty exit and got away from the door as quickly as we could.  At this point we cut Jon-O-Tan’s bonds and told him he was free to go.  He was terrified and kept looking up at the sky like he expected it to fall.  Again he pleaded with us not to leave him, and seeing an opportunity, Cybella made him a proposition to serve as her assistant/bodyguard and he agreed.  We were very keen to avoid finding out what a ‘public management platoon’ was so we got out of there and headed back to Lugosi.

Here we list those brave adventurers who have been tested and found wanting (more hit points).

NAME                          CLASS/LEVEL        PLAYER                SESSION           HOW

Dode Enemy-Breaker    D1                           Nick                        2                      Fell into a pit trap.

Fighter guy                   F1        `                  Telfer                     3                        Throat torn outby Pretender.

Mike’s Wizard              MU1                       Mike                       4                              Shot through the back                                      by ‘High Programmer’ with a high intensity laser while carrying 8 flasks of oil in backpack.

Syam’s Elf                    E1                          Syam                       4                             Face burned off by                                           energy bolt from nano-poo-monster in water recycling plant.

Wednesday, 4 December 2013

SESSION 4 – The Barrow Reveals it’s Secrets: Robot Happy Mutant Apocalypse (part A)

(This adventure is an Alpha Complex themed reskin of the excellent one-page adventure Clown Robot Doctor Apocalypse found here)

Potential allies or walking lootbags?  Yeah, players can be pretty predictable at times.


Nick:       Cybella - Magic User 1
Syam:     Brychan - Fighter 1;   XXX - Elf1.
Telfer:     Maredud - Thief 1.
Michael: XXX – Magic User 1;    Pelegost - Cleric 1  (Calina of the Twelve Annihilations)


On a tip from one of Mary's helpers the PCs ave set off towards a barrow on a nearby farmer's land looking for Miss Elizabeth and her dog Timmy.

Upon gaining entry to a small stone chamber the PCs found themselves facing another door.  Maredud  confirmed no traps and somehow got the door open.  Inside was a small circular room of beige hi-tech material, with two strange pot plants flanking a double metal door with a button to the side (A lift lobby with plastic plants).  The room is back-lit with soft light.

Pushing the button, the players wait a short while before hearing a ‘ding’ and the doors open revealing a small room with brushed metal walls and two more buttons set next to and just inside the door.  Two of them check it out, and come back up to get the others having determined that it is some sort of conveyance device which (they assume) goes down.

The gang goes down and exits on to a landing with a number of optional directions to take.  The characters are baffled by the tan and beige walls, the soft back-lighting, the constant hum of machinery in the background, and the unusual corridors which are comprised of moving floors (travelators and escalators), stairs, ladders and one person lifts.  Some experimentation is needed to operate the lifts,but before long they can at least get them to go up and down by thinking about it.

Before long they become aware that they have skirted an enclosure from which lound humming sounds can be heard, and they find themselves in a small lobby with a circular trap door with a circular handle.  They are very cautious, checking for obvious traps, tentatively opening the hatch, and sending the thief down first to check things out.  The room is cramped and full of machinery which is connected to large ducts big enough for a crouching person to move through, and the machines are making a lot of noise.  There are eight hatches hatches set horizontally into pieces of machinery lining the walls, and inspecting one, the noise increases and a whooshing, chopping sound is added.  The players close the door deciding that some things are best left alone.

Moving further down into the maze the characters bump into two guards, human shaped automatons with silver plastic faces and wearing Boiler suits.  Maredud comes face to face with one wielding a strange looking sword, which the others come under fire from a pistol wielding one climbing up a ladder shaft.  Both are dispatched easily by the party, and Cybella “I’m a weapons collector”) greedily claims the pistol.

Further into the maze, a door opens onto a long horizontal corridor, done out in brown seventies style veneer.  Doors are evenly spaced on both sides of the corridor heading off into the gloom, and dim lights hag at even intervals.  Entering the corridor, they check for traps and Maredud the their notices a wire attached to the door jamb they have come through which leads down t floor level, and semi-concealed   by the floor covering.  They check the doors which open onto identical but empty rooms, following the wire which leads underneath a door a few doors down from the entrance.       

Suspecting that they are expected, the PCs ready weapons and unable to hear anything, they walk in.  Another room the same as before contains desks, boxes and tables covered in boxes and equipment and appears in use.  As they move further into the room four figures step from behind the boxes and desks.  They are all more or less clad the same with black leggings and sleeves, but one, a man wears a white tunic and carries an exotic white pistol, a woman wears a red tunic and carries a similar but red pistol and two (a man and a woman are clad in black tunics and armed with truncheons.  All are very pale.

The white one questions the PCs presence and negotiations commence.  It is revealed that the group are secessionists from an underground society planning an escape to the surface.  The possibility of making some allies appeals to the party, but Cybella becomes frustrated and wants those weapons.  The woman in red also appears frustrated at Cybella's antagonistic comments and remarks to the white one who has identified himself as a High Programmer that “we should just waste these guys boos”.

Cybella takes the initiative, and asks them if they want to see a magic trick. The underdwellers have heard of magic but have never seen it and think it is probably highly treasonous.  Cybella uses the ruse to cast sleep and the two black clad goons drop.  The red one starts working herself into a frenzy, with veins and muscles popping and she starts getting big.  The white one disappears (oh oh!).

Initiative is won, and Mike’s magic user takes the opportunity to use magic missile on the red one before she fully hulks out.  She takes this hit and appears angrier but goes down to sword blows.  Impressed with the magic missile, the High Programmer blinks in behind the party (these guys are all mutants) and sends a high intensity laser bolt through the magic user’s back, who fails to save vs death and goes down.  Mike points out that the MU had about eight flasks of oil in his backpack, and so goes up with a whoosh along with his gear in a spectacular PC death (DM’s note, strangely oil hasn't been as popular with the PCs since then).  He then bolts through the door.

Cybella chases, determined to get the pistol he carries, while the others ensure that the black clad goons won’t get up soon (if ever).  A couple of crossbow bolts hurt him but fail to bring him down, and when he foolishly turns to return fire he is charged down and before he can exit the hallway the PCs finish him with melee.  The PCs set about looting the bodies and the room where the secessionists were working.

Here is a good place to pause, part B of session four will be posted in the next day or two.

LOSSES:  Mike’s Magic User (cleric henchman now promoted to main PC)

GAINS:  Treasure – A small four barreled pistol, a Wakizashi (weight as Shortsword, damage as longsword), Two ‘radios’, ten clear ‘plastic’ bottles of clear fluid, ten foil wrapped food blocks, ten ‘vitamin pills’ (1hp each), one red laser pistol, one white laser pistol, one red armour tunic (AC8), one white armour tunic (AC6), one orange and one yellow tunic (AC7), one belt buckle (ring protection +2), one stun baton.

Here we list those brave adventurers who have been tested and found wanting (more hit points).
NAME                             CLASS/LEVEL     PLAYER         SESSION     HOW
Dode Enemy-Breaker        D1                       Nick               2                  Fell into a pit trap.
Fighter guy                       F1        `              Telfer              3                  Throat torn out by Pretender.

Mike’s Wizard                  MU1                     Mike              4                  Shot in the back by High Programmer

Sunday, 24 November 2013

Assumptions and House Rules


These guys had some cool adventures.

Some thoughts to help serve as a reference point for the players.
  • This is a game of fun, it is not meant to be simulationist. I'm interested in exploring, and coming up with the sneaky plan more than exploring characters at length.
  • This game belongs to all the participants; it’s not just the DMs ego-stroking.  This means that as players you have a responsibility for your own fun.  If there is something about the game you don’t like then we need to change it.  This means paying attention and following (some) leads.
  • Land of 1000 Towers is the default setting.  It has a warped 19th century sort of feel and fashion sense in the city and main towns, a more gaucho/cowboy feel out of town.
  • Aim is Science Fantasy inspired by the likes of Gene Wolfe, Iian M Banks, Heavy Metal (comic and movie), Wizards (movie), Conan (movie – old), Labyrinth, Big Trouble in Little China, Zardoz.
  • Labyrinth Lord is the default rule set.  Advanced Edition Companion will probably be used.  (LL is the equivalent of Basic and Expert D&D – the Red Box set.  Advance Edition Companion is essentially 1st ed AD&D).
  • Race as class; if you are not human, your race is also your class.  This keeps things simple and there are many home brew Labyrinth Lord compatible racial classes on the net.   i.e. If you are an Elf, you class is Elf, not Elven Fighter Magic User Thief.
  • D6 Hit Points for Theives.  Because they're just too weak otherwise.
  • If the players wish, other character classes will become available as the game progresses.  E.g.  Scientists, Moktars, Winged Monkeys.
  • If you find something you like on the internet and you want one then just ask and we’ll try to fit it in.  This could be a character class, adventure, magic item, monster etc.
  • Characters will die as the die rolls.  This will increase tension during sessions and the payoff for success.  This way the goal is about survival, not showing everyone just how much of a special snowflake you can imagine.
  • A ‘rolling cast’ approach is desirable.  This will mean we can still play when not everyone can attend, it allows for others to join the game, and it will hopefully introduce a small element of competition for places at the table which I’m hoping will result in increased enthusiasm.
  • An online character generator was used for the initial characters.  This only produces the main classes from the core book.
  • Given the choice between ‘Hardcore’ (3d6 in order), and ‘Soft’ (4d6 in order swap two) the players went for the latter, much to the (feigned) disgust of the DM.
  • Most players are newbs and we have limited players.  Players got two characters each to start with one main character and one as a henchman on a half share to act as backup character.  
  • We agreed to use the Dungeon of Signs counterspell rules.  Roll D20 plus level and INT bonus against AC10 less caster’s level and INT bonus. This saved the party's ass in session 8 (which is where we introduced it).
  • We had a couple of deaths at the hands of the Pretender in the same round.  Not wanting the PCs to die as soon as they hit 0hp, we agreed on a saving throw verses death to live.  Characters successfully saving will be on 1hp until they receive medical attention and may have disfigurements.  Reaching -10 is dead, -6 means something permanent.

Some Session Reports


Chef's specialty at Bella's.  Eyeballs in Tomato Sauce.
Nick:  Dode Enemybreaker - Dwarf 1;  Cybella - Magic User 1
Theresa:  Fokus, Cleric 1;  Valegerd,Thief 1.
Telfer:  Fighter 1;  Maredud - Theif 1.

  • PCs randomly selected Lugosi as the starting place because it sounded cool.  Fools.
  •  PCs arrive in Lugosi, hungry tired and unemployed.
  • The mirrors that decorate the lower levels of buildings in Lugosi have the characters nervous.
  •  They go to Bella’s Bar and Grille where they meet Pistol Vernon, pistoleero barkeep in a black bullfighter suit and sombrero who recommends they talk to One Tooth Mary if they want work, and to not ask about how she came to be known as One Tooth Mary,
  • He also tells them it is only 18 more days until the Festival of the Fangs.
  • One Tooth Mary (A5) is an older woman attended by three short bald men in corduroy suits.  Mary is in a black lacy gown with a veil obscuring her eyes. 
  • They agree on a contract with Mary who provides a map to the Prison of the Hated Pretender in exchange for an agreement to retrieve an item for her that is believed to be at the prison.
  • Mary gets annoyed when Nick presses her regarding how she came to be known as One Tooth Mary.  She does not tell him.
  • The characters leave town the next morning.  They are ambushed by two Goblins (go dice) who are rather confused as they have lost touch with the Overmind. They ask the PCs if they have seen the Overmind, and demand food when the PCs reply that they have not.  A short fight ensues with one dead and one fled.

GAINS:  Map, job, contacts.


Nick:  Dode Enemybreaker - Dwarf 1, Cybella - Magic User 1
Syam:  Brychan - Fighter 1, Elf 1.
Telfer:  Fighter 1, Maredud - Theif1.
Michael:  Magic User 1, Cleric 1

  • Having traveled all day to reach the tower, the PCs arrive at the tower just before sunset and anxious to get on with it proceed inside.
  • The The PCs decipher  the frescos on the walls on the first level, which depict a brutal reign by a tyrant followed by an equally brutal punishment and imprisonment of the tyrant.
  • The PCs proceed upstairs, and are hesitating at the one door they find on that level; when trying to open it, it is grabbed and pulled shut from the other side and rough speech tells them "go away".  They hesitate, and because it is sunset, the phantasm-sentinels are transiting from the sunny upper floors to the lower levels looking for the Pretender to begin their torments.
  • We had a classic d&d moment with the players outside the door to the Pretender’s room, and the phantasms are coming in from the ceiling hatch behind them.  The indecision and fear at being caught between the two groups made for a very desperate fight that was very enjoyable despite being a straight up smack down.
  • Mike's wizard proves how useful flaming oil is and blocks the hatch with a fire, reducing the number of phantasms the PCs face.
  • Having dispatched the phantasms, the pretender emerges, and talks to the PCs about his pumpkins.  Negotiations quickly break down and combat ensues.  Brychan and Elf make short work of the melee, with two big sword blows felling the wretched being.
  • The PCs investigate the upper level, and Cybella spitefully smashed the pretender's pumpkins.  
  • The PCs find the solar system model, and moving it to align with the stars, a click is heard releasing the spherical device Mary is after.  Having activated it in the process, Mike's wizard is rewarded  with a vision of doom coming to all.
  • The PCs then proceed to the basement where they are please to find some treasure, even if it is being worn by corpses who appear to be the previous band of adventurer's to visit the tower. 
  • However, growing frustrated with the description of a raised mosaic on the floor, Dode announced he was stepping on the mosaic and promptly fell through into the pit full of broken bones and died (edit – we didn't establish the dying house rules until next session – Nick, please don’t hate your DM).
  • That is where we end the session.

LOSSES:  Sadly Dode will not be returning, having discovered the hard way that one does not check for traps by walking all over the obvious trap.

GAINS:  Treasure – approximately 1500gp worth, PLUS magical Scale Mail.  400xp each pc, 200xp per henchman.


Nick:  Magic User 1
Syam:  Fighter 1, Elf 1.
Telfer:  Fighter 1, Thief 1.
Michael:  Magic User 1, Cleric 1
Theresa:  Cleric 1,  Thief 1


We had a couple of deaths at the hands of the Pretender in the same round.  Not wanting the PCs to die as soon as they hit 0hp, we agreed on a saving throw verses death to live.  Characters successfully saving will be on 1hp until they receive medical attention and may have disfigurements.

  • As the session began, the PCs were still in the basement gloating over their loot and generally not being too worried by the corpse of their good friend.
  • The door above is thrown open, the Pretender, apparently unharmed by the mighty blows delivered by the Boy and his Elf,  appears at the top of the stairs. “Which one of you c@#$% smashed up my pumpkins!”  He attacks mercilessly, with his fury focussed on the Mage.  Telfer’s fighter bravely attempted to take some of the heat off the mage only to have his throat ripped out by a vicious blow from the Pretender.  As he falls to the ground, the Pretender seizes the mage by the throat and breaks his neck.  A save is successful for the mage and he is barely conscious with 1hp, the F1s save is not successful and he dies gurgling in a large pool of blood.
  • Some phantasms appear at the top of the stairs and the party freaks, throwing flaming oil in every direction.  The phantasms are here to persecute the pretender however and theyassist the PCs in their melee,
  • Once the pretender goes down the phantasms turn on the PCs with their scintillating refrain “visitors are not allowed” and the PCs make the best decision of the session and leave the Prison.
  • Exiting the tower they run into T’s characters, who have just caught up with them.
  • The DM is surprised when the PCs actually take a couple of hours to bury their dead friends!
  • They return to Lugosi and Bella’s Bar and Grille.  Lurch the Doorman takes one look at them and directs them to the inn facilities, there’s no way he’s going to let them in the bar with the state they’re in.
  • Having settled in, they meet with Mary, who is obviously rather pleased when they hand over the orb.  They press Mary for details of a magic user to help identify their loot, but Mary instead looks scared and says she doesn’t know.  PCs suspect she is lying.
  • The next morning one of Mary’s helpers appears and relates that a girl and her dog (Elizabeth and Timmy) have gone missing over by the Barrow Field.  The players investigate thinking that there may be treasure, but also knowing that their efforts will earn them some local goodwill.

Elizabeth and Timmy were last seen playing near a barrow mound. Uh oh!

·     LOSSES:  Telfer’s F1, and Mike’s MU1’s pretty neck ain’t pretty no more and his head will sit at a slightly cocked angle for the rest of his days.

GAINS:  Treasure – approximately 1500gp worth, PLUS the magical Scale Mail.  400xp each pc, 200xp per henchman.

Here we list those brave adventurers who have been tested and found wanting (usually wanting more hit points).

Dode Enemy-Breaker, D1, Player-Nick, Session 2, Fell into a pit trap.
Fighter guy                     F1, Player-Telfer, Session 3, Throat torn out by Pretender.

Sunday, 17 November 2013

We're playing Old School, so leave your library at home please.

Why we're playing Old School and what that means for you, the victim player.

"How was D&D last night?"
"Well we refused to run away so we all got eaten...   ...again."

About twelve years ago I ran away from my home city to a life of adventure on the seas. Not long after that my old D&D gaming group went over from 2nd edition to 3rd to 3.5 and eventually to 4th edition.  From the outside what I saw was an evolution away from the imagination based games I had played, to a more balanced, rules intensive, board game feel.

Now these are all very good at what they want to be.   I'm not going to get into that debate, but let's just say, it was the very un-tolkien-like psychedelic-otherness and sense that anything could happen of 1st edition AD&D that sucked me in.  We used to do all the combats in our heads and miniatures were rarely used for anything other than showing marching order.

Now that I know more about the earlier editions I see that they too had that feel without being so complicated players spent all their time looking at notes, or sanitized for kids like 2nd edition on appeared to be.  So I've decided to go Old School, I work too hard for D&D to be work as well so we're using Labyrinth Lord and some of the Advanced Edition Companion rule sets, but we are keeping race as class to avoid no one wanting to play a human fighter or thief. (My favorite classes by the way).

To understand how the old school style differs from more modern character-centric RPGs, it is helpful to read The Quick Primer for Old School Gaming (go on, read something).  You'll learn why less rules means more options, faster play, and more fun.  You'll also learn why your PC being very squishy also means more fun; sneaking up on that ghoul really is scarier if you know your PCs next moment could be their last.  

This isn't cinematic.  This isn't super-heroic.  It is only even heroic in the sense that you will sometimes survive doing things most people would consider foolishly brave.  It is rough and ready men and women coming together in a world that doesn't care to make of it what they can.  

Read the primer, it's not long and might just save your PCs life.

It all started at Bella's Bar and Grille.

Welcome to Bella's Bar and Grille, where we aim to make your stay as comfortable as possible.  You can try many dishes from the ever popular gall-bladder sandwich to the finest triceratops fillet.  

This is a blog to record and remember a D&D game and a tool to communicate with my gaming group, and the OSR community.  This is also my first blog post. 

Inspired by the community of people running D&D the way I always wanted it to feel I have pulled together my ideas from the OSR community and started a game.  Taking Pat Wetmore's Anomolous Subsurface Environment campaign setting as the background we have dropped a bunch of PCs in that setting with a couple of leads, and a DM armed with a healthy collection of random tables and fan generated content.

Most of those tables have been gleaned from elsewhere on the net, and my blog links offer an insight into the main influences for those interested, but I couldn't continue without first tipping my hat towards Gus at Dungeon of Signs who's material I have used extensively. 

Perhaps that material resonates with me due to the similarity of the groups.  I'm early forties and have a group of late twenties through to my age ranging from students to professionals who don't normally play a lot of RPGs. I am returning having been away for many years (except for playing in a Dark Heresy game - thanks Mick).

Though I played D&D for many years, and ran other (shortish) games, this D&D game is my first as Dungeon Master.  I intend to play it quite loosely, and off the cuff as much as is required to keep up the pace and fun factor.  To this extent I provide a setting, have some adventures ready to go, and rely on random tables for encounters and rumors to spur the players into action.  What happens will largely be up to them, what they do with their leads and opportunities, and the turn of fate that comes with the dice.  We may even actually get around to having a hard-copy of the rules some time.

Gus at Dungeon of signs has also written two of the three adventures that the PCs have partaken in so far, with The Prison of the Hated Pretender being their first outing and at the time of writing they are taking on The Obelisk of Forgotten Memories.

Rules are Labyrinth Lord with some of the advanced edition stuff.  Race will be race as class to preserve the core classes (if you want something we can make it up or reskin something else).  We have some assumptions and house rules, and these will be posted separately or as a part of the play reports.

The PCs were generated randomly using the Labyrinth Lord basic rules, and the players were asked where they wanted to start.  They chose Lugosi because they thought it sounded cool.  Having chosen Bella's Bar and Grille as their kick off point the game got started, with me ab-libbing hard to expand a few lines of Lugosi description into an interesting game session.  It worked.

Bella's used the same interior designer as the Black Lodge.

I nearly called this blog Bella's Bar and Grille as the characters have taken to frequenting the place, but I felt that it portrayed too narrow a sense of the setting in general.  After all, all those vampire allusions are strictly confined to Lugosi (right?).

Bella's Bar and Grille is one of the 'better' inns in Lugosi.  It is done out in black leather and red velvet with low lighting, and booths which provide a level of privacy.  The door is, attended by Lurch the Doorman and behind the bar is Pistol Vernon, a gaucho bartender in a black-bullfighter-suit.  

Could this be Pistol Vernon's brother?

The players were introduced to a mysterious mature(ish?) woman, One Tooth Mary, dressed in an aging black silk and lace gown with a viel; Mary had three diminutive bald men wearing brown corduroy suits in attendance.

Naturally, Mary had a map and an offer...

An inn named after Bella Lugosi, a friendly well-dressed gaucho gunfighter contact, an inscrutable veiled patron dressed in aging black finery with a map and rumours of a mysterious device. What could possibly go wrong?