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...

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