Friday, June 16, 2017

Vaults of Vyzor, session #4


Today's party consisted of Belisarius Grouse (fighter played by August Aronsson), Limpy the Naileteer (kobold eunuch played by Jeff Call), Engsal the Enchanter (precocious magic-user played by Alex Joneth) and Engsal's 0-level henchweenie Kilitch.  At least that was the party composition at the start of the adventure.  Engsal was rolled up under some strange house rules elsewhere and is only 10 years old, so I joke that we're adding "endangering a minor" to the list of crimes committed by PCs in the campaign.  Prophetic.

Let me tell you my all-time favorite D&D mechanic: the open doors roll.  Player characters can melee gods and demons, bend reality with magic, and save whole universes from utter doom.  But apparently these same people can't always open a really stuck jar of pickles.  As a DM, few things amuse me more than a band of badass mofos who can't reach part of a dungeon because everyone blew their open doors roll.  The only thing funnier is something like this:  The fighter can't open the door.  The henchman can't open the door.  The kobold can't open the door.  But the 10-year-old Harry Potter wannabe gets it open.  Of course, by that time the monster on the other side is waiting eagerly and murders the wee lad on the spot.  Did I mention this was the very first door to enter the dungeon?

RIP Engsal
The monster in question was a Gelatinous Cube, which the orcs had lured into room #1 with a trail of food and then shut the door behind it.  Fortunately, the rest of the party slew the monster.  Kilitch the 0-level spearman was promoted to a full 1st level fighting man and Alex played him for the rest of the session.  It wouldn't be the only roster change in the party today.

The party then proceeded to the orcish armory.  Limpy the Kobold lured the guards away by pretended he still worked as a guard in the orcish brothel and advertising a two-for-one sale.  The three guards rushed out the door and down the corridor, leaving the armory to be pillaged for spare equipment for the third time.  

A listen at the south door out of the armory revealed too many orcish voices for everyone's taste, so they proceeded to the now-abandoned Temple of Orcagorgon and regions beyond.  They find the orc rec room unoccupied save for a lone goblish janitor mopping the floor.  They get him drunk and take advantage of him steal his mop and bucket.  Limpy puts on the janitors apron, intending to pose as a staff member while scouting out nearby rooms ahead of the party.  Unfortunately, the next chamber they explore is the temporary hidey-hole of a lost dwarf adventurer named Dundermachen.  All he sees is a kobold approaching, so he throws his warhammer and hits him in the face to the tune of 8 points of damage.  Limpy is no more.  I'd like to think that whatever koboldish afterlife he went to, Limpy was reunited with the ghost of his lost genitals.
awesome Limpy illo by Jeff Call.
The rest of the party shows up and the whole misunderstanding is sorted out, not that it does Limpy a whole lot of good.  So here's the thing.  The dungeon key says Dundermachen has 6 levels and a magic hammer.  But we are down a PC deep in the level, so I demote him to first level and up his strength to 16 so that he could still do 8 points with a d6 warhammer (I know the BX rules say d4, but that sucks).  This allows Jeff to continue play by assuming the role of Dundermachen.  In other words, this dwarf kills Jeff's PC and Jeff responds by almost immediately switching to playing his own murderer.  That sort of nonsense makes my whole day.

The party eventually finds a back way into the heart of the orc-occupied section of the dungeon, via a secret door to their larder.  They end up murdering two burly orc-wives working in the kitchen, then carefully rearranging the scene to make it look like they killed each other.  But they avoid the banquet hall, which seems to be occupied by 3 dozen or so orc warriors.  They double back a bit and discover a secret door, behind which they find stairs going down.  That's the first party to make it to level two.

I thought I was going to get them all with an ambushing carrion crawler lurking above a doorway, but Dundermachen's first attack roll was a 20.  The Arduin crit result was a blow to head that stunned the monster for the time necessary to turn it into green bug-goo.  The noise they make is sufficient to draw the attention of some nearby guards, but the party ducks behind a secret door.  They don't know what sort of being the guards were, but there was at least six of them and they spoke Common in gruff, shouty voices.

That's enough of the second level for the party and they return to the orcish rec room, where the goblin is still out cold from drinking too much orc grog.  It was at this time that my only wandering monster roll comes up, indicating a REDACTED from the REDACTED was on the other side of the north door.  I thought I was going to see a party member get his REDACTED torn right off, but they never open that door.  Maybe next time.

Instead, they decide to steal the orc's pinball machine.  Did I mention there was a pinball machine in the rec room?  Anyway, they have a pretty straight shot out of the dungeon but this thing is heavy, so it's all a matter of movement rate versus wandering monster rolls.  Sadly, the dice go the PCs way and no monsters show up to object to this blatant act of arcade-based larceny.  They make it back to the surface.

So now my problem is that I have no idea what a pinball machine is worth.  IMPORTANT DM TIP: Always know how much a pinball machine is worth if you put a pinball machine in your dungeon!  I think that's a direct quote from the DMG.  (The sad thing is, this is at least the second time I've put a pinball machine in a dungeon and I still didn't have my act together on this point.)  I decide that the only logical course of action is to look up the asking price of the first full size pinball machine I could find on ebay and multiply it by a d% roll to account for orcish wear-and-tear.  The first pinball machine I find is going for $5,750.  August roll 70%.  The Sorcerer of the Blue Mask himself buys the pinball machine off the PCs for 4,000gp.  That's the first big money score of the campaign, proceeds from the sale of a pinball machine.  Man, I love D&D.

All three surviving PCs then go carousing and two of them fail their saves.  Dundermachen loses a bunch of gold gambling and Belisarius finds himself deeply, earnestly in love with someone else's wife.  Guess I'll have to work up some NPCs around the castle so we can roll dice to find out who that is.


ONGOING ROLL OF THE DEAD

Limpy the Naileteer (Jeff Call)
Engsal the Enchanter (Alex Joneth)
Elfbraham Lincoln (Jeff Call)
Littlens (0-level NPC)
Biggens (0-level NPC)
Stimpy (0-level NPC)
Ren (0-level NPC)