Friday, April 22, 2011

Into the Tumbling Dungeon II

I ended up running a session with only 2 players yesterday.  It evoked a weird feeling for someone who used not have anyone to play with.  I enjoy the social aspect of our sessions, and spend so much time developing the material, just two players seemed kind of like having a party with just two people-- what's the point.  But we played, it was fun, I think I creeped them a little (that really isn't my only goal, but it seems easier than others).

Toral DP
Gail MU
Zhang Ziyang NPC

Alone in the Tumbling Dungeon they dithered and went back and forth a lot.  They found a passage with four spheres sunk in the floor, made their way past it and found a new room.  Black walls with crystals embedded in them, it looked like a night sky.  A bed on gyroscope-like gimbals in the middle, the floor covered with a writhing mass of giant grubs.  They turned back.  They'd been getting pretty blasé about the dungeon's tumbles and a little later found themselves caught midway down a passage that was quickly becoming a vertical shaft.

Sliding the last bit, they fell ~20' into soft sand.  The lantern went out.  The three of them sat their catching their breath.  In the darkness, only the sounds of four people breathing.  Four!  Toral tried pray unsuccessfully for light.  The witch touched his neck, whispered "You are unwanted."  She mentioned they must be weaker than she had thought.  Gail agreed, "Oh yes, we aren't powerful at all," assuming she saw the powerful as a threat.  "Weak enough for me to slit open your bellies?" she asked.  Gail frantically relit the lantern.  It's light filled the room to reveal something crawling quickly up the the shaft out of view.  Zhang Ziyang was gone.

They dithered a little more but eventually figure the way out. Back on the beach the sailors of the junk Haiyan are slowly dying of plague.  After resting the night, Toral prayed for healing in his broken arm and was answered, then prayed to have his plague removed and was answered!  But they both know the sailors will die in a few days, miracles are uncertain, and the healing root and the one who knows how to prepare it are both back in the dungeon.


Some Thoughts

More training for me on roleplaying npcs.  I know if the witches confront these folks, the witches will most likely end up dead.  So, when I rolled one an encounter I figured she was shadowing, shadowing.  "What will she do?" I was wracking my brains, then the dingleberries got so careless with the dungeon they ended up in a hallway they should have know was about to become a shaft.  An viola, perfect.  She's there in the darkness with them.

What now?  Especially because there's another session tonight which will involve a much larger party.  I'm thinking the witches will leave a root and instructions to prepare it in the first room of the dungeon.  They just want these fools out of here.  Of course it will be poison and written in ZZ's hand who is charmed by them now.

Also, the grubs are a dud.  I made them slow moving, and basically harmless, as long as you don't try to hurt them or let them crawl up your leg.  I think they need to start turning into beetles of some horrible sort.


  1. could the grubs be a plague cure ingredient? Then you have to figure out how to mash them up without getting hurt yourself...
    Stealing Zhang! Excellent. Do they know the others are drowned, or did they just hear it? Maybe they're in storage?

    I hate to play so many tricks on players that they stop believing, but sometimes a eucatastrophe's as effective as a set back: rewarding persistence.

  2. could the grubs be a plague cure ingredient?
    God, wish I'd thought of that, they were told they needed a "root." Maybe I can still manage it.

    Only one hireling ended up drowning. I'll write up a report, but last night the party found ZZ a little worse for wear. And now they don't trust him. These parties have walked past the spell componenet library (spiked room to them) 6 or 8 times and have never figured there is something going on there even though I tell them they hear chains each time the place tumbles.

    They are getting a little frustrated with the place, but they aren't helped by the fact that each time they venture into the place they have a different line up of players, so not much knowledge gets passed on.

  3. grubs vs. root: it might be a lot of work but I'd be tempted to make a puzzle out of zhang's source for plague cures - maybe it's written unclearly - "wriggles along the ground seeking water" or something like that and ZZ assumed it had to be a root b/c he didn't know about the grubs. Or you have to use the root on the grubs, which ZZ didn't know, so once he's got it you have this moment where everyone's waiting for him to save the day but instead they have to figure it out together from his instructions or some found in the dungeon.