Friday, April 23, 2010

Cinder II: Electric Bugaloo, session 1

So Wednesday I got my regulars at the Armored Gopher to agree to taking a break from Mutant Future to play some more straight-up D&D/Labyrinth Lord in my World of Cinder setting. I was greatly enjoying the Mutant Future game but I was getting to the point where I was trying to play "top that" with myself every session. That's a dangerous mindset because it usually leads to either rampant Monty Haulism, depressing total party kills, or things just getting way out of control. So I felt like I needed a break.

Cinder II takes the basic campaign world concepts previously explored in the World of Cinder and puts them through the filter of an alchemical mash-up of old gaming junk, particularly the first Arduin Grimoire, the Dungeoneer Compendium, Unknown Gods, Verbosh, Rat on a Stick, the Ready Ref Sheets, and the Keep on the Borderlands. So last night we made up some new character and set off for the Keep on the Borderlands. The initial PC group consisted of the following:
  • Charles is Tobin of the Silver Sledge, a drunken dwarf and member of the only notable dwarf-clan in the region.  It was established early on that his character is a drunkard, but an amusing one.
  • Wheelz is Kelgar, another dwarf but an outsider to the region. He's in the Kingdom of Verbosh searching for the Bonnie Prince Charlie/Strider style Lost Dwarf King.  Incidentally, Kelgar ended up starting play with the Sword of Shiva (+3, whirlwind like a djinn 1/day) because of a lucky draw out of the Deck O' Stuff.  Oddly, he never drew it during the run.
  • Carl started as Olf, dimwitted cleric of St. Carmichael. But he got killed by a goblin spear in the first battle of the campaign. So he rolled up Brett the Bold, cleric of Irshar the Blind Gardener. My new 'How To Make A PC' hand-out really did the trick in speeding up chargen, as Brett was actually able to join in the last couple of rounds of the fight where Olf bought the farm.
  • Ria is the Mysterious Unnamed Thief. She told the folks working the gate to the Keep that her name was Adele, but that was just a pseudonym. This thief is such an enigma Ria actually left the Name field of charsheet blank.
  • And Dane is playing Roi Cribbet, traveller from another time and another world. Using Jamie Mal's Stranger class, Roi is basically the 1st level D&D version of this guy:

Yes, Roi has a chainsaw for a hand.

Did I mention that I worked out charts for the lineages of PC fighters of a knightly persuasion as well as a list of possible mentors for newly minted MUs.  So no one opted to play either class.  That's DM prep for you.  So anyway these folks start out on the road to the Keep, looking for adventure in whatever comes there way.

I have a confession. I absolutely could not help myself last night. When I described the guards at the outer gate to the keep I specified they were the dudes guarding the entrance to the wedding in Monty Python and the Holy Grail.  They get into the joint and give their names to the vaguely incompetent scribe who records all persons passing through the gates.  Mystery Thief tells him her name is Adelle.  We'll see if she remembers that next session.

The party ends up at the Dew Drop Inn where the proprietor Gustav gives them the obligatory Caves of Chaos adventure leave, despite Roi trying to pay for a beer with his MasterCard.  When that doesn't work he tries cash, to which Gustav replies "We don't take that Verbosh City stuff here."  The party also meet Mohag the Wanderer, a seasoned adventurer who agrees to join the group for 25% of the take, and five mercenaries looking for work.  They pass on both offers.  They might've taken the mercenaries on, but my starting equipment charts end up with most PCs beginning play pretty dang poor.  Yes, in my game you can enter play with an awesome magic sword but not have lunch money.  You're supposed to use the one to get the other.  Some of the party members end up sleeping in the stables because they can't afford the silver piece for the flophouse.

We ended up exploring all of three rooms in the Caves of Chaos, but they were pretty fun rooms.  They entered the goblin caves and had a knockdown drag-out fight with six goblin guards.  It was a pretty sweet fight.  Mystery Thief was setting goblins alight with her torch, Roi cut through spear-hafts with his chainsaw, and Tobin was shieldbashing the little mofos like crazy.  One goblin ran up some stairs to ask the hobgoblins on the level above for some help, but I rolled a die to see if the hobgobs gave a crap.  They didn't, so the poor little bugger ended up speared through the back and pinned to the door.

Roi decided to chainsaw through the door to the hobgoblins, giving them plenty of time to evacuate the non-combatants and set-up an ambush with their bows.  Dude was nearly pincushioned the moment he finished sawing his way in.  Two of the hobgoblins were killed and morale broke for the rest, who fled through a door on the opposite side of the room.  The party opted to search for loot before following the routed baddies.  Eventually they end up at the hobgoblin Torture Chamber/Food Storage/Rumpus Room, where the hobgoblin torturers are whipping the bejeesus out of a gnoll with several other prisoners chained up nearby.  These particular hobgoblins are big tough sons of bitches and take several rounds to dispatch.

Roi then frees the gnoll, who of course has been whipped to the point of berserk insanity.  One dead gnoll later and the party is arguing over whether to free the four humans and one orc chained to the wall.  Tobin and Brett end up murdering the orc while Roi is distracted talking to the humans, who they eventually free. The merchant and his wife reward the party when they get back to the keep, while the two caravan guards agree to serve as torchbearers/packbearers for the party.

I'm really looking forward to next session.