June 29, 2012

A Reservoir of Gleaming Eyes

We tried something new this week, running a G+ hangout alongside our face-to-face session for a player who couldn't make it. It was a little difficult splitting my focus between two audiences, but the tech is awesome and it opens up the possibility of adding more players in the future. There are several people who've moved away or have conflicting schedules that preclude them from joining use anymore that I'd love to bring back to the game.

This session included a new player and his quartet army of peasants. The only named characters with class levels present were Spud the wizard and Arrowroot the warrior, riding herd over at least a dozen as yet unnamed nobodies. Last session the party turned down a corridor and stumbled onto the lair of a giant snake. The peasants would have no truck with the serpent so they fell back, pursued by it until they could get a locked door between them. They didn't find much more on this level except for some large quartz crystals growing in a side cave.

The party headed back to the spiral stairs and tried to head downward, but found the way blocked by rubble. They considered excavation, but worried that the noise would attract dangerous attention, so instead they headed back to the first floor to inspect the huge hole they'd skirted around. The walls of the pit fell away a few yards down, opening into a wider gulf that smelled strangely of sea water.  They dropped a lit torch into the pit, watching the flame shrink as it fell fifty feet onto a bridge that stretched like a thin ribbon across the blackness. When nothing reached out of the dark for the torch they deemed the route safe and, tying their rope to a large boulder, began to climb down one at a time.

The climbed down into an enormous groined vault, half filled with water. This level seemed empty, but whoever had built the space had left dangerous traps. In a library off the reservoir room them discovered a library, but in their haste to steal the books they tripped an trap that released acid from the ceiling and killed six peasants . They soon found another reservoir room, which held a huge bronze statue of a crab. It stood upright with claws stretched wide with seven serene faces from whose mouths briny water poured, running down a long staircase into the water. The group discovered the jaws on the faces were hinged, and with some effort they closed them all. This brought the statue to life! With a shudder it began to move, long legs clanking against the smooth stone. Suddenly the reservoir was filled with pairs of eyes on stalk, faintly luminous in the black water. They were thousands of tiny crabs, watching the party with perverse intensity.

Spud threw a spear of magic force that blew a hole in the statue, but the rest of the group ran for a far tunnel across the room. The entrance was small enough to let them in but keep the animate thing at bay. Looking for an exit, all the party found was abandoned living spaces and winding tunnels clad in bronze pipes. One of the peasants pried a large bronze spanner from the skinless fingers of skeleton that lay forlornly in one room. The tunnels all turned around themselves and came back to the reservoir. They were sure it would kill them all but they made a final desperate charge against the crab statue. The wizard let fly with a spell that struck the thing like a meteor, and with a roar one of the peasant attacked the thing, the ferocity of his blows driving the giant crab off in the reservoir below. When it struck the water all the eyes disappeared simultaneously, and the bronze hulk sank to the bottom with barely a bubble. We called it a night there.

June 13, 2012

Pratfalls and Manslaughter

After a month of conflicting schedules I had enough players to continue my Dungeon Crawl Classics campaign. The party had discovered a complex below the witch's hut (detailed here) and had just begun exploring the first level. The walls were water-stained but the stonework was elegant. The remains of frescoes peaked out between the slime and mildew. Water dripped, echoing down the empty halls and onto uneven flagstones

Apparently the players were rusty because what followed was two hours of fumbling around in the dark killing themselves. To cross a 10-foot gap they attempted a human ladder, killing a well-armored mercenary when he lost his grip and plummeted 30 feet onto his head. Another died when the floor of a room, already uneven and cracked, collapsed under him. They lost another three when a cloud of plague-ridden bats erupted through an open door, tearing two of the peasants to pieces and infecting the wizard Spud with a case of vomiting batpox. This sent him packing, emptying his stomach across the walls as he went. One of the peasants fumbled his dagger into the throat of one of his compatriots as he swung wildly at the flying creatures.

With their number already drastically reduced they were more careful as they broke into a new chamber by tearing down a cracked wall. This room was marred by an enormous gulf, stretching down into darkness as stinking of brine. This unnerved everyone, but they continued forward to another spiral staircase that led farther below ground.

They left the staircase at the next landing, despite the stairs containing deeper into the earth. This floor seemed even more humid, and the water damage was even more widespread. Giant newts populated the galleries and rooms, but the party avoided most of them. They dispatched one protecting a nest of slime-caked eggs and found a glowing golden orb for their trouble. They were in good spirits searching the rest of the level till an errant turn led them to the nest of a giant snake. They didn't have the courage to face the thing, so they fled beyond a door and spiked it behind them. With that behind them the session ended.

June 03, 2012

Revisiting the Singing Hill

For the past week I've been pouring my free time into crafting a manuscript of my dungeon, the Singing Hill. I want to get this thing published to RPGnow, at least to begin. It's a hobby project, so I'm sticking with digital to start with. I don't want to leap straight into physical objects. I'd like to get a license from Goodman Games to stat the thing for Dungeon Crawl Classics, but old man Joe wants to see if the thing sucks before he'll sign off. This is understandable. So I'm tapping away on this getting, turning rough notes and a map key into something usable by other humanoids.

I've tapped a friend to do the cover art and I'll see if I can scare up some b&w illos from my art school chums for the interior. Maps are all me. Here's a piece from my notebook, it'll look far better once I've spiced it up digital-like.

You can read about how the original party fared in the Hill in the old campaign Obsidian Portal site here.