New Table

Here’s a look at what The Other Dungeon Wandering Monster table looks like what with all of the recent changes:

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See, the goblins have been wiped out and they killed Bruud early.  Note that the remaining goblins are now homeless, but they didn’t leave the dungeon altogether.  I figure they holed up in that hole in the northern end of the dungeon and spend more time wandering around these days.

This means that the players have earned them a “Nothing Happens” for 30% of the random encounters.  That’s a nice little in-game reward for the players.  I may add a wandering creature or two as things move on, but the players are already getting a little itchy to try a new dungeon.  And they are running out of things to explore, so if they can do that faster now that they’ve wiped out two dungeon factions, so much the better.

Besides, the undead aren’t going to be east, and it’s going to be challenging to beat the lizardmen on their own turf, given that the fighting is in cold, knee deep water where hungry little fish lie in wait.

Also, a bigass shark.

So, you know.  They got that going for them.

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The Other Dungeon, Part Four

The party has got to clear the goblins.  No way around it.  Just look at the map.

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They have to clear their six.  If they go in The Other Dungeon beyond the Goblin Door, then they have no way out but fighting their out.  That is not a recipe for success.  That’s a recipe for the Colonel’s extra-crispy TKP.

The bad new is that they have a Boss, 2 thugs, a shaman, and 25 grunts left to deal with.  That’s a lot of “roll to hit” to face in a single combat.

The good news is that the party already knows where the goblins are and they already killed the biggest weapon in the gerblin king’s aresenal when they poisoned the all their pretty little boars.

The better news is that this party might be slow, but they aren’t entirely stupid.  One of the regulars was shaving his pet ferret when he remembered that they had heard goblintongue before way back during session one (or was it two).  He suggested an appropriate search around previously explored portions of the cave for a back entrance.  They loaded up on fresh retainers and went in through the south entrance.  While poking around, they were interrupted by a squad of bugbears – hello wandering monster table – who E. Reagan realized had been brought in as mercenaries to help the goblins face the predations of the party.

The fight went well, and the wandering monster table is looking a little threadbare.  Which is fine!  One of the rewards for surviving and exploring one cave for so long is that parts of it get easier.  The exploration speeds up as the wandering monster table gets depleted and fewer interruptions arise from the dice.  See how that works?  That’s some mighty fine game design right there, if you don’t tinker with it!

After thinning the wandering herd, the party found a wooden trap door in the ceiling of a back room and realized they had a second way into the goblin lair.  One that the goblins didn’t know they knew about.  They pulled back to discuss the matter.  After some planning – like an hour of real time discussion (which is also fine!  These planning sessions are a lot of fun, too, and they are easy on the DM) – they discarded the idea of trying to lure the owlbears into a fight with the goblins and opted to send the thief around to the front door to burn some oil and faggots (relax, SJWs, I mean bundles of dry sticks) at the door and bang away.  The goblins, they figured, would leave by the back door and run headlong into a trap prepared by the party.

It was a great idea and would have worked great except they forgot about the other entrance through the boar pit.  The opening stages of the plan worked, with the goblins getting caught in a pincer movement and their forces cut in half.  They did some serious damage to the goblin numbers, but the goblins got impatient with this and ran back around through the boar pit door.  This caught half the party in a pincer movement of their own.

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Things got a little confusing at that point, with the party killing the Boss and one of his big (2HD) guards and most of the goblins.  They were hurting pretty bad themselves, though, with the two fighters stationed at “Backup” falling to a series of bad rolls.  The executed a fighting withdrawal at that point and got out.  The downside was that they didn’t really recover any treasure, so the XP reward was pretty low.

No problem, right?  Rest, recover, reload, and re-attack?

Yeah, this time they decided to go in through the boar entrance.  What they didn’t count on was that the shaman, now the goblin’s leader, was able to lure one of the owlbears into the pit while they were out.  So they had to deal with that, and that alerted the goblins to their presence, and so things devolved into two fights.  One pitting the guys in the pit against a hungry owlbear and one pitting the guys above against the full panoply of the goblins.

The guys in the pit dealt with the owlbear thanks to a well aimed magic missile, then rushed through the goblin lair to hit the goblins upstairs from behind.  They killed the shaman before he knew what hit him, and the remaining guard ran off along with six final goblins.  The party was in no position to pursue, so they looted the goblin’s lair and got some fat loot (which didn’t go very far given how overloaded they were with henchmen).  They learned about the peephole, and called it a night.

With two third level characters, on second level, and a bunch of loyal henchlings, the party feels pretty good about things right now.  They thought about burning out the Oooze, but it was late so they decided to take a shot at that next week.  Meanwhile, here’s the status of the Other Dungeon after four forays.

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Happy Halloween, goobers!

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Rebel Yell

Have you seen the new Rebel poster from the AltStarHero comic?
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I wouldn’t kick Rebel out of bed for eating hominy grits.

Carpetbagger?  I barely knew ‘er!

It’s time to issue an Emancipation Proclamation for those sweater puppies.

That’s one southern belle I wouldn’t mind ringing if you know what I’m saying.

I’m ready to surrender my heart, what do you say we run down and sign a few papers at the Appomattox Courthouse?

Girl can divide my house any time.  With her around, I’m not interested in standing anyway.

I’d go way down upon her Swanee River!

The girl that put the ass in Manassas!

This picture brings a whole new meaning to the line, “I wish I was in Dixie”.

Hey baby, what do you say you hold my Little Round Top until I’m ready to charge into your Peach Orchard?

Ha ha, that was fun.  Add your own in the comments.  Today’s just a fun little reminder that this is the last week to get on board the AltStarHero Express, next stops: Funsville, Actiontown, SJW Butthurton, and KOOK-a-munga!  It’s not just comic books, it’s artwork, books by that John Of the Rice guy, and statues suitable for spooning with at night. (If your waifu pillow won’t get too jealous.)  I’m on board, and you can too!

Toot!  Toot!

(Oh, and while we’re at it, I am AN accomplished RPG designer,  but I’m not THE accomplished RPG designer tapped by the House of Castalia to design the AltStarHero RPG.  Not that I’m bitter.  So stop asking.)

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Quick Hit

Two posts in one day?!  The Alt-Right DM is kind.  Also, he had to get this off his chest:

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The Other Dungeon Trilogy

We got a new recruit!  The Other Game Shop doesn’t have as big a crowd as The Game Shop, and most of the guys here are into CCGs, but one fine fellow’s scheduled opponent didn’t show up, so he joined us for a little dungeon spelunkin’.

The usual two showed up as well, and this time, they had, “A Plan”.  A plan.  Ha!  They make me laugh.

They bought twenty pounds of meat – devil monster boars eat meat, right? – and a bunch of poison.  Then they headed into the northern entrance of The Dungeon and hucked the meat into the boar pit (see map) as they raced for the Tomb.  They didn’t get far before running into a squad of lizardmen returning from the Hot Springs.  For those new to this campaign, that means the lizardmen are +1 to hit and +1 AC from the refreshing bath they just took.

The goblins were alerted to the presence of the party by the loud squeals of the boarsas they feasted on the rain of poisoned meat and came up to check out the ruckus.  The King sent out a lone squad to investigate.  (They didn’t check on what the boars were eating – I gave that a 50/50 chance – so all the boars in the pit died of poison.  Easy XP, baby.)  The goblin patrol noticed the party tangling with the lizardmen, but being lukewarm allies with the lizards, the goblins decided to hang back and watch the fight (again a 50/50 chance which came up aces for the PCs).

After dispatching the lizardmen, the party continued into the dungeon, straight to the (unbeknownst to them) False Tomb.  They spotted the big doors, the swinging bridge, and the ten skeleton swordsmen.  The Cleric did what clerics do, and they thought that left an easy three skeletons to deal with.  Only once the arrows started to fall did they realize that there were ten totes not-turned skeleton archers on the opposite side of the gorge.

Whoops.  The wizard who lives in the dungeon and set them on this path (Nerkish the Spergish) didn’t mention that part.  Two party members died, one screaming as he plunged to his death in the gorge, they pulled back and decided a little exploration was in order instead.

They found one of the hot springs (unoccupied) and then ran into a full goblin warparty consisting of the King, twelve gobbos, and six boars.  They thought it was going to be a TPK, but the poison finally kicked in and the three boars died on the first round of combat.  Confused that their heavy artillery had gone down, the goblin’s morale plummeted.  They managed to make the already depleted party pay, but once they hit the six goblins dead mark (half the group) they bolted for the safety of their locked lair, the King screaming for them to get back in the fight the whole way.

The party exited stage north.

The survivors levelled up, the rest rolled up replacement characters, and this time brought along as many henchlings as they could for an all-out assault on the Goblin Cave – they descended the long stairs to the left and instead of gerblins found a gray oooze.  They were not ready for that.  They ran out, leaving three party members behind and put a big red “Don’t Go Here” on their map.

They know there’s a lot of gold coinage down in the puddle with that ooze, but they want to come back with a lot of oil and burn it out later.  The important thing from their perspective is that they now know where the goblins live (behind the locked door to the right of the north entrance).  But that will have to wait until next week.

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Let’s step back and look at this from a DM’s perspective for a minute, shall we?

After three sessions we’ve had almost a dozen battles.  The players have mapped out probably half the dungeon, but none of the real critter lairs.  They’ve dealt with one big bad guy (Bruud), encountered and run from another (the ooze and owlbears), encountered and kind of work for or been duped by another (Nerkish).  They have killed nearly half the goblins, their shaman, and all of their boars.

After three sessions they have two PCs at second level, they have multiple plans for raids on The Other Dungeon.  They have brought out just enough loot to keep wanting to back down.  They are THIS close to connecting the two lobes of their maps.  They know where some fat loot is and have a plan to kill the ooze guarding it.  They are thinking about raiding the Weird Wizard Nerkish’s headquarters to get back at him for not telling them about the skeletons.  They even think they can end the threat of wandering snakes if they blunder into the lizardmens’ cave.  Options galore!

Of the five major factions, they’ve completely dealt with one, allied with another, declared war against a third, and briefly encountered the other two.  When the dungeon was prepped I had no idea what those relationships were.  I just knew who was where and sketched out some basic reasons for the factions to be moving around.  (The goblins walk the dogs.  The lizards hit the showers.  The wizard checks the tomb.)  After the dice came into play we learned the lizards and goblins avoid each other, but have no love lost.  We learned Nerkish is cunning and untrustworthy.  Poor old Bruud had no time to find out his role before he died.

Twelve hours of fun so far, with no end in sight.  Even if their luck holds, you can see how this little dungeon can last for at least another twenty hours of fun and might even have as many as forty more in it.  All for about 90 minutes of prep time and ten minutes of prep between sessions.

That’s the glory of Moldvay, my friends.  That’s the glory of paring the game down to a game first, and a story second.

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A Man Ahead of His Time

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Cheesecake for the cheesecake god!   That’s one gal that can fire on my Fort Sumter any time!

Great rumblings stir deep within the ample and Taco Bell filled bowels of the comic book industry.  The Comic Book Powers that Be marshal their forces, eager to do anything in their power to force wrongthinking critics like Richard C. Meier and Nerkish to Clerkish to quit the field of battle including targeted harassment and smear campaigns coordinated by comic book journalists and content producers alike.

Meanwhile, the most hated man in science-fiction lashes out with the sort of aggressively fun and action packed product that makes Fake Comic Book Fans break out in a bad case of the vapors.  Seeing a market for fans starving for  unabashed comic book fun, he raises $120K (and counting) to launch a much needed alternative.

 

Meanwhile meanwhile, your old pal E. Reagan Wright sits back and watches the fun, having already metaphorically tapped that SJW comic book ass long and deep and hard with his own response to Marvel.  Unlike the Supreme Dark Lord, who beats the SJWs by flipping the script, I beat them through an aggressive campaign of Agree and Amplify.  American Chavez?  Piker.  Karl Manverse?  Lightweight.  Squirrel Gorilla-Girl?  How passe.

No, my friend, if you really want to see the end result of SJW Marvel, you’ve got to look at a book published well before those comic Johnny Complain Lately’s dumped their Jawbreakers and Alt-Heroes on the scene.  You’ve got to look at the Ultimate Victim, super-heroine critics and readers alike are calling “the bottom” and “Swiftian” and even “to hilarious effect”!  It’s the big quadrupling down on the milkshake crew’s antic and ups the antics to…to hilarious…oh…effect. 
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It might be literary shovelware rammed out the door faster than Weinstein chasing an underage actress with a gaping hole in her heart where a father should be, but if you want to see the future of anti-SJW comic books, and wrapped up in a hot pink sausage wrap bursting with fatty goodness, you can find it here.  Right here in the pages of this third masterpiece written by the man who inspired all the copycats out there with their 40,000 subscribers and successful Freestartrs and kids who respect them and good hygiene regimens.  I don’t mind them standing on my shoulders.  Maybe the shuffle of their feet as they do their victory laps will help keep the dandruff flakes from accumulating.

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The Other Dungeon, The Other Sequel

Hey everybody.  It’s your boi, E. Reagan.  Back with another session report for The Other Dungeon.

Two players, both of whom have already experienced E. Reagan’s tender ministrations once before.  They have two PCs each and two henchlings, a couple of which are about half-way to first level after a big score with few survivors.  Splicing the XP among two PCs and mook left them wondering if maybe they should leave the mooks at home.  After a brief discussion, they decided that without the mooks the ogre would have TPKed them, so they brought a torch bearer and a spear-carrier/loot hauler along.

This time they were ready to delve into the depths of the wet caves, but before reaching the stairs down into the watery caves, they bumped into a goblin boar-handler and his three cave boars.  This goblin let slip the boars of war, and ran back off the way he came – towards the water level.  A quick (and lucky) bowshot brought him down before he could get too far.  A solid win, because it meant the six PCs could face down the three charging boars without fear of reinforcements showing up.

I had forgotten how tough boars are.  They are each a 3HD monster that moves 150-feet per round.  The party took down one, which forced a reaction check the other two failed.  They ran off into the caves, and the party set off in hot pursuit.  They followed them into uncharted wilds – past the curving staircase – and stopped when they heard the sound of a lot more up ahead.  They heard voices, too, and a slamming door.  And the approach of booted feet, and they retreated to duck up the curving staircase.

There, they found a long hall with doors to either side.  They left the thief halfway down the stairs to warn them of approach.  He returned, reporting that eight ‘men’ marched passed the staircase.

They pushed on and found a couple of empty rooms to the right, then an elegant foyer through a door to the left.  Posh recliners and a fancy carpet and plenty of lit candle-holders holding back the gloom.  Before they could even think about looting the place, a door opposite opened, and…

Zack Morris time out.

At this point, all E. Reagan Wright has written down is “two paranoid servant/apprentices”.  At this moment in the game, he decides that the apprentices are hyper-competitive and paranoid of each other.  Contrast is your player’s friends, so one is short, fat, and young and one is tall, thin, and old.  The apprentice that walks in on them is the former, Thomas (with a sibilant ‘th’), dressed in plain brown robes.  He stops and challenges the party, thinking they have been sent by his rival, Gerrold (with a hard ‘g’)*.

After a brief discussion, Thomas informs them that the Master is unavailable and they must return another time.  The Master – Nerkish Hisself – walks in dressed in his blue robes embroidered with gold numbers and, after a favorable result on the reaction table, offers them a job.  He has a golden sword recovered from a ancient battlefield that he can give them if they can open the doors to the False Tomb and fetch him to help them explore.  He has been having trouble with the skeletal guards – a fact he neglects to warn them about – and can give them one Genuine Magic Sword recovered from an ancient battlefield and once wielded by a King!  They agree and are escorted out.

“No RP in the dungeon,” my third nipple!

They find a locked door that the thief’s lockpick skills fail on.  They leave that and find three empty rooms, one of which contains a wandering monster – another giant snake, which they dispatch.  They now think they know that the water caves are the lair from which the snakes arise.  They aren’t entirely wrong.

They head past the door to Nerkish’s rooms, and decide to try Entrance Number Three, shown on their new map, but before than can leave by the south entrance, run into a gerblin patrol with the shaman!  Blood is shed, goblins slain.  More goblins arrive – the fight occurs a little too close to the trapdoor leading up into the goblin house.  More goblin’s slain, and the party needs to get out.  Things are looking grim.

They flee, leaving two of the party behind.  But they return to scout the path to the tomb and encounter the boar pit with nine of the ugly things that set to caterwauling the moment the players spot them.  Again, the party flees the dungeon, safer and wiser, and plots for next week’s session.

Here’s what they know and (dotted red) what they think they know:

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*Yes, I named them after Tom and Jerry.  Mnemonics are a DM’s friend.

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