Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Tomb of the Tutors - Post Play

Wow, it's been so long I couldn't remember my login for the blog. Hope you've all had a nice start to 2010. Was able to get four players together to play on Valentine's. One brand newbie and two new to the group but with histories with playing D&D. We had fun but it seems I can't get a session together with any of the same players together twice in a row. One result of this is player mortality is high. No one is able to play often enough to utilize their experience to good effect, or to cohere as a team.

I think next session I will have to explicitly tell the group "Think of your self as a SWAT team entering a hostile bunker. You don't know the layout or what to expect, but you have ideas of what you could encounter (stairs, doors, etc.). Have a goal and try to stick to it. When you have to make a decision, try to do it quickly."

This session involved a story that began 1000 years ago. Hearing of the birth of a son to the Mahbit Emperor the glorious emperor Vibius Annius Cinna sent four of his favorite scholars to act as tutors to the boy. Unfortunately the boy died in their tutelage and these four tutors were laid to rest in a tomb as was the custom.

The recent unseasonable rains opened a sinkhole under the scriptorium of a local monastery. And tales of peasants emerging from the hole with gold soon spread word of the possible discovery of this Tomb of the Tutors.

The party consisted of Harod the fighter, Martin the cleric, Lico the mage, Ehud the mage (Ehud the second, actually) and his hirelings Hamo and Hamo's mother (!) Gena the proud. They took up a job offer the mage Edwy the Red to enter the tomb and retrieve the Eyes of the Rubricator.

The Mahbit empire buried their dead in something like recessed pyramids. A large square of earth is removed and tombs bored in the four sides before enterment and the filling of the hole again. So our heroes had four possible tomb entrances to choose. The North was caved in, the West, wide open, had a muddy stream entering it. The East's stone door cap was askew while the South's door seemed well-sealed.

The party chose the Eastern door, crawling through the small opening. They discovered signs of ancient looting and very little else until stumbling into a mass of living roots that nearly throttled the whole party. Upon working their way back out, a pair of giant beetles meant the evisceration of poor Harod (he tried sneaking past the pair with torch in hand). After finally making it back to the tomb entrance they found the rope they'd lowered themselves in by was missing (likely taken by some meddlesome monks they'd seen earlier). Not sure what to do, Mertin decided to trailblaze and explore a small 2' natural tunnel that led to . . . a beetle in it's nest. Martin attacked with surprise sorely wounding the beastie, but his second swing missed, dooming him to beetle food.

Ehud made his way down the tunnel and cast sleep on the beetle and was the sole character survivor (Lico's player had to leave very early). He managed to get out with a grapnel of Martin's.

So, no treasure but what Ehud could loot from his companion's corpses. Some mistakes the party made: 1) not being very careful about their surroundings 2) acting like a bunch of individuals in a tomb together rather than a team (I suppose it was realistic in that this was four characters just hired for the job who didn't know each other).

Currently trying to get a group together to make anothe sortie into the place. I have some creepy thing awaiting. Also working on streamlining the Swords & Wizardry material I give players even more. Look for a spiral bound digest soon.


  1. Congrats on getting a brand new player into the hobby. Did they enjoy themselves, and what pitch did you use to get them into the game, or did you just say "Come along and see what it's like?"

    I'm very keen on getting new gamers into D&D etc and am trying to build up a portfolio of good experiences such as this.

  2. Thanks. I think she had fun. She's like the fourth player I've had with no D&D experience whatsoever.

    As for the secret, as it turns out, these players all work together so they're pretty comfortable with each other. But also, Lico's player lived right next door to where we were gaming, so she could just pop in for an hour to "watch." Of course, I made her roll up a character. :)

    I've done some posts previously about trying to streamline the Swords & Wizardry material to have *just* what's necessary at the table for a new player to get playing. I'm still working on that.

  3. It seems that the power of a game going on is often enough to get a bystander involved far more than trying to explain to someone what D&D is all about.

    You're doing a great job - keep it up!