Another One-Page Dungeon

Once again, only two of my players turned up, so I had to scramble for another 1PD so that the show could go on.

Today’s Cast:
-Pollaro, a stoic dwarven warrior.
-Wren the Unpronounceable, a cryptic elvish sorceress.

Pollaro and Wren had been travelling with a merchant caravan along the eastern roads, when they were set upon by a band of bandits. They were quickly overwhelmed, and woke up in a crude cell underground somewhere. Their only ‘company’ was the bugbear on patrol in the tunnel outside. When the bugbear wasn’t looking, Wren sent his spider familiar out to scout around. Past the corner in the south was a huge gathering of bandits, and Wren and Pollaro quickly decided that that was not the best way to go.

They managed to trick the bugbear into letting them out of the cage, and then slit the poor fellow’s throat and locked him up. Moving quickly now, they peeked into the other cells. In one of them was a rich-looking young man dressed in finery, in another were four of the merchants. Our heroes let the rich man out, on the hopes that he would pay them a bundle for helping him escape. As it turned out, the young ‘man’ was in fact Karalor, a gold dragon in disguise, who was now out for revenge on the bandit lord Glgnfz. He ran off to create a ‘diversion’, while our heroes released the merchants and ran before all hell broke loose.

Break loose it did. The screams and roars echoed throughout the whole complex. (I rolled all my d20s in front of the players, to show them just how much damage Karalor was doing.) After running into a few guards who came to check what the cause of the ruckus was, and charming a goblin, our heroes armed themselves and found their way into Glgnfz’s secret chambers. The fellow was just now getting out of bed, and the heroes got a few hits in before he drew his +1 scimitar and fought back. With two surviving merchants and a charmed goblin to act as meat shields, they scraped a win and then took a good look at the massive pile of gold and jewels lying on the other side of the bed.

However, before they managed to even count the loot, Karalor turned up. After reprimanding the heroes for kill-stealing, he magicked the treasure horde and left. Pollaro immediately swore revenge on Karalor. However, since Karalor had slaughtered every other living thing in the complex, they made it out with only a few incidents: Wren collected a spell-book from a ghoul-haunted library, and they almost made off with a pair of gold candlesticks from the altar to the dwarven god of Lawful Good until Wren made a successful Intelligence check to realise that probably wasn’t such a good idea.

Our heroes and the two surviving merchants left via the doors that Karalor had destroyed on his way out. The merchants thanked them kindly, and went on their merry way. Wren and Pollaro dropped the candlesticks off at a dwarven temple, and received tokens of passage in exchange.

Some days later, our heroes happened to pass by a farm, when a farmer came running out, and begged for their assistance. His favourite pig (and his family) had been kidnapped by goblins from the hills nearby, and he asked Wren and Pollaro to rescue his pig (and his family). Being valiant, Lawful heroes, they agreed willingly (the characters, that is; the players were still grating at the cliched-ness of it all). It was a simple matter for our heroes: they slaughtered a guard and let the family go free; then they bottle-necked the last of the goblins, and made it out with the pig just before it was killed. The farmer paid them warmly with all the gratitude he could muster (it was his favourite pig).

Some Thoughts:
I’m not sure how good of an idea it was to let a high-level character like Karalor go around kill-stealing from the characters, or have him steal 99.9% of the loot. However, there really was a lot of treasure there, enough for the characters to gain a level or three. And now Pollaro has a campaign-long goal to reach a high-enough level to take on a Gold Dragon and beat the heck out of Karalor.
Also, should I have penalized Pollaro’s player? a Lawful dwarf slit the throat of a bugbear he’d just made a deal with. I didn’t catch it until later, or I would have vetoed it.

The Shifting Crypt

This time, only two players turned up. Only one of those had been in last week’s game, so I had to improvise with a One-Page Dungeon (those things are life-savers). Credit goes to Eric Jones of www.ludibriumgames.com, author of The Shifting Crypt.
Today’s Cast:
-Wren the Unpronounceable, a cryptic elvish sorceress
-Tyreal, a young apprentice cleric.
Sometime before Wren entered the Delve with Stoich and Pollaro, he and Tyrael were sitting in the Ghoul and Weasel, Taril village’s best and only tavern. They were approached by an idiot in shining armour, Johnny the Shizz, and his minion, Micky. The Shizz wanted to hire them as he explored an enchanter’s crypt in search of a magical treasure. Knowing that sleep and charm would be useless against Undead, Wren spent the next morning memorising read magic, while Tyrael prayed for healing.
They headed out into the hills, until they reached the tomb entrance. Johnny managed to throw open the heavy stone doors on the first go—as Wren noted, Johnny was a real strong bugger. They headed down a steep set of steps, and found themselves in a square room with four archways—not all opened—and an ornate sarcophagus in the centre.
The bright bulb he was, Ricky’s first order was to open the sarcophagus (he’s been renamed now, since the poor, beleaguered DM [i.e. me] can’t keep his name straight). After a few goes, the heroes managed to prise the lid off. During the ensuing cloud of dust, metal doors closed over all the archways and the room shook and moved. By the time the doors opened again, the stairs were gone.
After exploring for a while, they managed to discover the layout of the crypt—a series of square rooms that rotate around a central room whenever a sarcophagus is opened. Part of this they found out the hard way, being ambushed by ghouls jumping out of a sarcophagus and paralysing Ricky before they could catch their bearings. Towards the end of their exploring, they discovered an extremely dusty room with only one archway. They reasoned—without the help of Ricky, who was still woozy from the ghoul attack—that it must be the real sarcophagus. They decided to open it last. Finally, with all the other sarcophagi in the crypt open, our intrepid heroes opened the final sarcophagus—
And it sealed itself again. The room rotated, and only it and one other room were connected. Both sarcophagi had closed again. They were trapped. Their only recourse was to open this sarcophagus again. Preparing for the worst, they found that there was nothing there except a dessicated body, clutching a golden egg, covered in magical runes. Wren frantically cast read magic, and determined that the egg could be used to cast the spell stone to mud. Very thankful, the party managed to escape the dungeon, tired and muddy. Ricky the Shizz was so grateful that he gave them twice the reward he had promised—2pp instead of 1pp.
Some Thoughts:
When they were about to open the last sarcophagus, I was glanced wildly at the dungeon map, and realized that they were about to seal themselves in. I panicked, and, once they realized it too, I picked up the rule-book and flicked through frantically to find a spell that would get them out. I think if I’d realised that earlier, I could have dropped a hint sooner, via the Shizz, rather than scramble like that with the players waiting. If the characters had died in there, that would have made an awful paradox, but it was also a bit of a boo-boo.
Still, they had fun, and that’s what counts. I hope that I’ll get more players next week.