On Saturday I ran a few of my friends who I have ensnared into our gaming fold through the awesome module Harley Stroh published. As with my recap of Portal Under the Stars, I’m going to attempt to keep this as spoiler free as I can, but let’s face it.. There will be spoilers, so if this is something you want to play in, don’t read any further.
I rolled up four level zero characters for each of my four players, and then used my Hubris Occupation table to replace any that came up as the standard DCC races, which are not a part of Hubris, plus an additional 16 characters that were still in “the village”
In the Beginning
I’ll start out by saying that I pulled some of the punches in this module or had to alter stuff on the fly. The reasons are simple; A) this is the last game I’ll have with these people in NJ before I move to Rochester, NY and I didn’t want it to be a total TPK; B) near the end of the 6 hour session peeps were getting tired, so I cut down on the enemies at the end of the adventure, but it still proved to be brutal.
I set the stage that the group of 16 soon to be maimed, mutated, tortured, and dead people returned to their village to find it ransacked and mostly burnt to the ground. The 16 people left over explained what happened and we started with the characters on the path staring up at the keep.
Into the Module
I am going to break the module down room by room and describe what was interesting there. I will list it in the order that they went to the location.
The Ruined Keep
The players decided that going up the causeway would be a suicidal run, so they went down the hill, and made it to the treacherous rocky area. They tried to play it safe, and tied one another together with rope and had the miner going first, looking for weaknesses in the rocks. He was playing it smart, asking lots of questions, and really making an effort, so when the rock slide occurred, I reduced the BAB from 5 to 3. Sadly 8-10 were killed in the rock slide (I can’t remember the exact number).
The group, tail between their legs and licking their wounds, returned to town to gather more people. At this point I said fuck it, and the remaining 16 people went, bolstering the players with 5 characters each and 2 overflow (which would go to the first person to hit 3 chars).
The group decided to send the tax collector up the path, pretending to be an IRS agent, in the hopes that he could scope out the area, and get in or report back. However he met the terrible vine horrors and was face palmed to death.
The group then charged in, and the players sent their most able-bodied characters into the fray. 2-3 more died.
A few members charged past the gate-house and went to investigate. Eventually the beastmen dropped the portcullis and escaped into the tower. Group combined their strength, lifted it, and escaped. They wanted to wait outside the keep to see what came out. Only one player left two her characters, hidden behind the well. After waiting a few minutes the beastmen burst out of the door from H and a furious fight happened, but I think only one character died. The players flew onto the champion like annoying gnats and brought it down rather quickly.
Oh the well… This part actually happened before the C listed above. Only one player said one of their characters peered into the well… They lived, but now had a face that looked like Sloth from Goonies and a tentacle for an eye. The rest of the players gave that shit a wide berth.
The acrobat climbed to the roof, looked in through the cracks of the burnt roof of the ruins of this chapel and saw that it was fucked up… The rest of the players opened the door and I described the heat and the smell of cooked flesh, etc. The cheesemaker threw a chunk of cheese on the burnt and charred corpses. The cheese hit the bodies and started melting. After a few crispy nachos jokes, and one scared look at the toad idol, they moved on.. because it was EEEEEVVVVVIIIIILLLLLLL…
The players looked around and found the small hidden cache here. I kept it the same except I added two things: 1) a single healing pot (1d6 HP) and a scroll case covered in spiderwebs (I wanted to put an Patron bond spell in the session and rolled randomly for the one that it was- I rolled the Spider Goddess). Most of the players were extremely weary of touching a case covered in spiderwebs and had little spiders crawling all over it… however one brave player picked it up and opened it.
I had her roll a d20 + her Int mod (0) and she rolled a natural 20. In her mind she was greeted by the spider goddess, which freaked everyone out (I love noobie players). They had a quick conversation and the Spider Goddess offered power if she accepted servitude. The player agreed.
The Spider Goddess sliced her breast open and blood and tiny spiders spilled into a bowl. The player drank, rolled her patron bond spell and rolled a 26. So with all of this, the player was quickly elevated to a level 1 wizard, rolled additional HP, go the Invoke Patron spell, changed her saves and we moved on (no other spells, because well- she fucking had none).
The players all noticed the newly blessed characters eyes cloud over as with spiderwebs and a tiny black widow crawl out from under her eyelid, but all decided it was a trick of the light, so they moved down into the depths of the earth.