Saturday, March 29, 2014

House in the Hills, Part 2

(Continued from the previous post, we completed the adventure on the night of 3/28/2014)

The Elf was struggling all through the adventure thus far with his CON value. While most fights were of little concern once he found some weapons, the Spite damage was adding up. After the fight with the spiders, the centipede, and the small beetle, he as sitting on 1 CON. He had even used some AP to level up his CON from 7 to 9 when there was time before exploring the next room.

He slept for a few hours in the upstairs bedroom in hopes of getting back some CON points. A roll on the random events table resulted in his slumber being interrupted by something scuttling around on his leg. A small scorpion bit him, but he was not poisoned. He regained a few CON points from the rest and decided to continue his quest to get out of the house.

He tried the 'Knock-Knock' spell again on the front door, still no affect. He checked the windows and only saw one wolf lingering around the door. He tried hitting the door with his sword, but its magic did not allow it to budge.

There was one room on the first floor not yet explored, which ended up being a small kitchen off the dining room. After rummaging through the cupboards and drawers, he disturbed a few giant rats. He ran away and with a successful L2 SPD check, I allowed him to escape and close the door on the rats. 

Returning to the front room again, he found the gloves on the corner table and found a dead body stuck in the chimney of the fireplace. Dislodging it upset a swarm of blood bats of which 3 attacked him. They were easily dispatched, but a few more Spite damage once again put him on the edge of death. A knife in a scabbard (Sax) was found on the body as well as some bracers and a backpack containing torches and flint/steel. He could finally make the trek into the dark and dreary basement.

First though, he dragged the dead body to the staircase down to the basement and hurled the body down the flight with a loud thud wanting to see if anything down there would reveal itself. Not hearing anything, he returned to the kitchen in hopes of killing the rats for some food to regain some more CON. After dispatching the rats without taking any additional damage, he built a fire and roasted one regaining a few points and also leveling up his CON again with some experience earned.

Back upstairs, he checked the remaining door. It was ornate and cold to the touch. Another 'Knock-Knock' spell had no affect. The lock on the door did have a keyhole, and the key had not yet been found.

After lighting a torch, down to the dark basement he went. The torchlight did little to illuminate the entire room, but among crates and barrels he did notice a door on one wall and a chest in one corner. Coming a bit closer, there was also a zombie that slowly turned and attacked. Fighting the zombie with his broad sword and newly found sax was close at first. The armored zombie was able to deflect some of the damage, but was eventually worn down and defeated.

When the boy wanted to dual wield the zombie's dropped broad axe with his broad sword, I asked him what his STR was. It turned out that he was not even strong enough to wield the broad sword by itself. So, I let him continue using the broad sword, but he had to wield it 2 handed.

The chest contained an oil wrapped chain hauberk that was immediately equipped, replacing his previously found doublet. His eyes also lit up when he realized he had an oil soaked cloth that could be used for a potential molotov cocktail. Also found - a first aid kit that was good for two doses; one was immediately used to get his CON back up a bit along with another leveling using his earned AP.

The door in the basement led to a wine cellar with racks of bottles and a 3 casks lining the walls. Finding most of the bottles empty, he did locate one bottle of red and one bottle of white wine. Drinking from both bottles, the red provided some more needed CON points while the other was foul tasting and resulting in a penalty to the next few SR rolls. Regarding the casks, one was hollow and when broken open, a key was found. 

Back upstairs to confront whatever was in the room. A withered and emaciated old man was tied to the bed and amazingly still breathing. The cold was protecting from the demon that was also in there, keeping him from being able to cast spells or fight at its most powerful. The fight was also slanted in the hero's favor due to the broad sword that granted double damage versus fire based creatures. I did not reduce the demon's adds when losing CON to keep it a bit of a challenge. Once again, Spite damage almost defeated him. Back down to 1 CON when the demon was defeated, the old man in the bed passed away and the Elf used the remainder of the first aid kit.

The chest at the foot of the bed contained more monetary treasures as well as some more equipment. As this was being searched, a loud crash could be heard from downstairs - the wolves were back and in the house now that the magical protection had been lifted.

They came up the stairs to meet him and would have to fight them 2 at a time. After the first round, he was looking at a stalemate as their damage together was equal to his. He also took yet another few Spite damage, so he needed to come up with another plan.

He wanted to leap over and past the wolves and get out the front door. I challenged him with a L3 DEX to do so, followed by a L2 SPD SR to try to close the door on the wolves. I figured a successful save would mean that one wolf was able to follow him through before closing the door, a failed save would allow two to get out, and a critical fail, all of them. Being successful on both, he faced off against the one wolf that squeezed through and was able to defeat it easily 1 vs 1. He then realized that he left the spell book behind.

Taking out the oil soaked rag, he lit it on fire and placed it on the front door. The fire started to spread quickly on the old house, but the wolves were able to eventually break free through the now burning doorway. One of the wolves was killed getting through the fire while the other two burst through and continued their pursuit. The Elf then went up a tree and decided to use his daggers to try to finally win the day. Two successful ranged attacks later, the wolves were laying dead and he was able to pick his way through the burning house to get the desired spell book.

*    *    *    *

The one thing that is really nice about running a solo adventure as a GM adventure is the ability to allow alternate choices that are obviously not possible normally. No solo adventure can ever present every possible idea that pops into a player's head.

Monday, March 24, 2014

House in the Hills, Part 1

Dan Hembree's solo adventure "House in the Hills" is a good one. I ran it as a GM moderated adventure at BASH Con back in February since I only had one player for my scheduled game.

So, I am doing it again for the boy...with some pictures along the way.

WARNING - Spoilers will follow, so if you are looking for a good solo adventure, definitely do yourself a favor and pick it up before reading on. I did allow the boy to play a Rogue as opposed to a warrior and will note where I have made some changes in the adventure. 

And away we go....this is how far we got in a few hours on the evening of 3/23/2014.

Character: the boy chose to play an Elven Rogue - after adjusting his stats based on the racial modifiers, his CON was reduced to a 7 while most of his other attributes increased. I randomly determined his starting spell  to be 'Knock-Knock'.

The adventure begins with the character on the run from a pack of wolves after previously being robbed and left for dead by bandits. Running for his life, the Elf sees a forlorn house in the distance. Rushing to the door, it is miraculously open and he is able to duck in and slam the door on one of the wolves on his heel. The only light in the room comes from the moonlight filtering in through the windows in the front of the house. The room has a open door to the right, a staircase leading to a second floor, closed doors to the left and under the staircase, and a table and chairs in the corner.

Looking out the window, the Elf sees the wolves pacing outside; waiting. Touching the doorknob to see if it is secure, it is cold to touch and takes 1 CON of damage. The door however is secure and he is unable to open it.

He proceeded to the room on the left which was filled with bookcases featured a pentagram drawn into the floor. Examining the books in the cases, most were falling apart and unreadable; either moldy and wet or scorched from heat. He did find one book that was intact and upon opening it, a creepy incorporeal Phantom popped out attempting to attack his mind. After successfully blocking the mind attack, the Phantom disappears leaving a book full of 1st level spells. The table in the corner had some various semi-valuable trinkets and a standard Dirk, but with no bag to carry anything in (I gave him a Lvl 2 SR vs LK to see if he could find a bag in the first two rooms). He kept the dirk as his weapon and the rest of the items were left on the table with the hope to come back for them.

Returning to the front room, the Elf checked the couch, only to be damaged again by a cloud of moldy dust and finding some gold for his trouble. Also in the couch was a handwritten note warning about being trapped in the house and supposing there has to be a key somewhere. He tried casting his 'Knock-Knock' spell on the door, but it remained magically closed.

The open door to the right led into a dining room with a candelabra on a large table, chairs, a large cabinet, a pile of debris with human bones littering the floor, and another door in the North wall. An investigation of the bones allowed for the deduction that they once belonged to two different people. A lucky SR also led to noticing a small amulet with a four leaf clover insignia. Not hesitating at all to wear the jewelry, the Elf now gets the benefit of +1 to all his SRs (while the amulet is worn). We called this the "Lucky Amulet". 

Turning his attention to the large cabinet and after checking for traps, the doors would not budge. He tried casting 'Knock-Knock', but the door was not locked, simply stuck. A successful Strength SR forced the doors open finding two vials of liquid - one red and one green. Chugging the red first gave him a STR point (supposed to be temporary, I just let him apply it permanently). Feeling lucky, he chugged the green as well which healed him and gave him another point of CON to his max (again, I let him make it permanent).

Leaving behind the door in the north wall and taking a closer look at the candelabra, he returned to the front room and check the staircase to the basement. It was pitch black and without a torch, he decided to close the door and climb the steps to the second floor. He still has not searched the fireplace or the table and chairs.

Note: I am not giving him all the options as they would be displayed in the adventure. I am describing the room and letting him choose what he wants to do.

Another Note: The boy is increasingly getting frustrated at me stopping the game to take pictures or running upstairs to get a cotton ball to try to represent the moldy dust cloud attack from the couch.

Up the stairs, there is a painting on the wall on the way up depicting a man in a room with bookcases standing in the middle of the pentagram. I think the boy picked up on this, but not sure.

At the top was a hallway with three doors and a rope hanging from the ceiling attached to a trapdoor. There is an open door to the right (east), a closed door to the north, and a large ornate door to the left (west). Deciding to pull the chain, a staircase drops down leading to the attic. 

Entering the attic, he sees a few chairs, a chest and in the corner a large spider web. He is immediately attacked by 3 spiders, fighting each one at a time (only one attacking each round, but rotating their attacks). He was able to hold his own with  superior combat adds compared to the individual spiders, but also took a number of Spite damage hits that again reduced him down to a few CON points.

(Fighting the spiders all at once would be certain death for a low level character, especially one with little or no equipment. Fighting them one at a time is still a challenge and the Spite damage really worked. The outcome of the fight was never in jeopardy, but the Spite really had its affect for the future of the adventure.)

Anticipating a trap, he checked and found one. After triggering the trap from teh side, some darts shot from the front of the chest and landed harmlessly in the opposite wall. In the chest was a magical broad sword that was cold to the touch and granted double damage rolls and spite when fighting a heat based creature. We named the sword "Frosty".

A Note to the Note to the Note: I have allowed him to use his earned AP to increase his CON during any down time between rooms.

Returning to the landing, the Elf entered the room to the north which had a bed, a night stand, and a wardrobe. A successful DEX check prevented from plummeting to the room below when the weakened floor collapsed. The nightstand revealed some parchment revealing more details with the previous occupants of the house. The master of the house wants to summon something very powerful in return for eternal life and he will not listen to reason. The writer will attempt to stop him. Also in the nightstand are two rings, one gold and one silver. The silver ring required a CHR SR, but with a success granted +1 to all attributes while being worn. The gold ring provided no additional powers when worn. Searching the wardrobe revealed a serviceable doublet that could be used for body armor.

Turning his attention to the east room, he more bookcases, a roll top desk, and a glass cabinet. Opening the desk resulted in a giant 3 foot centipede attempting to bite his hand; a successful SPD check avoided this. A quick and easy fight ensued, but a few more Spite points again left the Elf with only 1 CON point left. He used his sword to search the rest of the desk, finding a next of younger centipedes that were stamped and killed. A small pouch contained a few red gems and a journal was found - this one written by the master with is last entry detailing his plan to push forward with his plan and his disposal of his apprentice and friends who seem to just be in his way.

The bookcases reveal nothing magic but a few pricey tomes for the resale market. The glass cabinet held multiple items on multiple shelves. A helm added to his armor worn, a coin was made of platinum and worth 10 GP, and a small box with a mirror seemed to have no affect (successful SR). A black stone was heavy but provided a magical surge when held and on his person (1 WIZ bonus plus 1 per level when leveling up). Two figurines were left; one a jade beetle, the other was an ivory snake. Selecting the beetle first, it comes to life sinking its mandibles into his unprotected hand. With only 1 CON left, this would have killed him. I did allow him a Level 2 SR vs SPD which he barely made (applying his level bonus). He then angrilly defeated the small jade beetle in combat, very lucky not to get any Spite damage that would have definitely finished him off.

Technically, the solo should have claimed another victim, but I have let the boy get by. He wants to rest in the bedroom to get some CON back. When he awakes in our next session, there will be a roll on the random encounter table...

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Cool Kickstarter for my Stay Alive! Game

Yes, cardboard buildings are perfectly fine for the most part. However, having this type of product that is made of HDF, is paintable, and have interiors that can be used is a bit too much for me to resist.


Saturday, March 8, 2014

Peryton Gamers at Gen Con 2014

The Peryton Gamers have been together and operating as a somewhat organized group for longer than I have been hanging with them. Last year, I volunteered to organize our events to maximize our ability to take advantage of the Gen Con policies on GM badges. Since Tom and Robin get Exhibitor badges, and I get my badge from the auction with all the hours I volunteer with them, we realized that the 3 of us ran enough games to earn GM badge credits that we did not utilize.

In 2013, we entered August with 22 registered events, most of which were sold out in event registration heading into the con. A last minute cancellation from one of our GMs reduced that number to 20.

2014 looks like we will once again hit 22 registered events. We have two new GMs this year (Tim and Randy), with Mike (Monk), Scott (Sligo), Tom, Robin, and myself returning for another go.

Check out the current list here: 2014 Peryton Gamers Event List