5/19/16

'Oxkarrotous--Montporte Dungeon Campaign Critter

'OXKARROTOUS 
Armor Class: 2 [17]
Hit Dice: 5
Attacks: By weapon (2 attacks per round)
Saving Throw: 12
Special: Saving Throw Bonus Versus Magic; Limited Teleport
Move: 6
Challenge Level/XP: 5/250

'Oxkarrotous are short, stocky demon-worshiping humanoids.  They typically wear heavy leather cloaks with hoods. Underneath their cloaks, they wear chainmail armor of the finest craftsmanship.

'Oxkarrotous make their homes in remote areas of the Deep Dark, coming near to the earth's surface only to capture humanoids of every variety for slaves and sacrifice. It is rumored that the more powerful 'oxkarrotous can perform the most foul sorcery, summoning and controlling demons to the darkest ends. Some sages have suggested that 'oxkarrotous started as dwarves, whose greed led them to demon worship and the demonic arts.

COMBAT: 'Oxkarrotous often avoid combat by the use of minions, slaves, or even the occasional demon. However, they are capable melee fighters with two attacks per round. Once engaged in combat, they rarely surrender.

SAVING THROW BONUS: 'Oxkarrotous gain a +4 bonus to saving throws versus magic.

LIMITED TELEPORT: 'Oxkarrotous are able to teleport up to 60' twice per day.

5/14/16

Montporte Dungeon Campaign 2.0 Session 4 Notes (Montporte 50)

Cast of Characters
Alaric: Human Cleric (PC-Main Character)
Allidore: Kobold (NPC)
Alicia: Human Footman (NPC Henchwoman)
Carlos: Human Footman (NPC Henchman)
Diana: Human Torchbearer (NPC Henchwoman)
Enzore: Kobold (NPC)
Lord Jim: Human Fighter (PC-Sidekick)
Magnus: Human Magic-User (PC-Sidekick)
Merv: Human Torchbearer (NPC Henchman)
Ooga: Arbold (NPC)
Septimus: Human Fighter (PC-Main Character)

The Session
At the conclusion of the previous session, the adventurers were moving north on the first level of the Montporte Dungeon into unexplored territory. The adventurers suspected that this area was teeming with kobolds.

As the adventuring party continued their exploration, they began to find signs that confirmed the presence of kobolds--clever traps on doors, small footprints in the dust, and the sound of light footsteps beyond torch range.

Eventually, the party reached the northern end of the first level of the Elementalists' Monastery. Here they found a small group of heavily armed kobolds, accompanied by two arbolds. A nasty little melee battle ensued that resulted in the death of Alicia, party henchwoman and footman. Despite their tragic loss, the adventurers killed the kobolds and one of the arbolds. The remaining arbold, named "Ooga," surrendered.

The party then moved into the next room containing four more kobolds. The party killed two of the kobolds and the other two surrendered. There names were Allidore and Enzore. There also three small boats in the room. Two of the boats were very small and the third boat, a little larger, had a heavy crossbow mounted on the bow.

One of the kobolds had written orders from Degmar, the leader of the kobolds in the region. Degmar is known to be both charismatic and unstable. He had brought the kobolds to Montporte to search for some sort of legendary magic item or location (read Little Larry's story for more info). Some of the kobolds proved to be as fanatical as Degmar. Others followed out of a sense of kobold honor. And others went along, quietly grumbling and hoping for better leadership to come along. The two kobolds captured by the party fell into the third group and were happy to be out from under Degmar's scaly thumb.

Degmar's written orders described a three pronged movement of kobolds, moving from north to south. The easternmost group would move to secure the kobolds' left (east) flank from dwarves and orcs. The party realized that they had met and defeated this group in their second session (Montporte Session 48).

A second group, the most heavily armed, would sweep south and west through the ant caves on the first level of the dungeon. They would push back the ants, hold the right (west) flank and also serve as a diversion.

The third group would move south quickly with three boats, dragged by arbolds. The boats would be put into the lake at the south end of the first level. This was the western access to the lake. The east access had been tried but proved to be too hazardous for exploration, due to orcs and hazards in the water. The adventurers had unwittingly destroyed Degmar's operations by destroying two out of three groups of kobolds.

Having convinced the arbold and kobolds to become members of their party, the adventurers decided to secure the room and get a good night's rest. The session ended here.

Scroll of the Dead
Horace NPC Footman, Session 48
Pulvarti PC Magic-User, Session 49
Alicia, NPC Footman, Session 50

5/5/16

Montporte Dungeon Campaign 2.0 Session 3 Notes (Montporte 49)

Cast of Characters
Alaric: Human Cleric (PC-Main Character)
Alicia: Human Footman (NPC Henchwoman)
Carlos: Human Footman (NPC Henchman)
Diana: Human Torchbearer (NPC Henchwoman)
Magnus: Human Magic-User (PC-Sidekick)
Merv: Human Torchbearer (NPC Henchman)
Pulvarti: Human Magic-User (PC-Sidekick)
Septimus: Human Fighter (PC-Main Character)

The Session
This session started in the town of Montporte, with the party healing up, getting supplies and searching for a replacement for the late footman, Horace. Carlos was added to the group and the adventurers headed back to the dungeon, this time with a plan to explore some new territory on the first level.

Once inside the dungeon, the adventurers moved north and entered a dining hall of the Elementalist Monastery. The Elementalist Monastery forms the core of the upper of levels of the Montporte Dungeon. In the dining hall, they found several strange large lizard creature (flying cubic lizard). The lizards had no legs and possessed cube-shaped bodies, with a neck and head at one end and a tail at the other. Along each side of the lizard's cubic body was a human face. The lizards moved by floating from one place to another.

The lizards turned out to be hungry and aggressive. While the lizards were not particularly fearsome, they had the ability to float over the defensive line of fighters and footman. One of them did just that, attacking and killing the vulnerable magic-user, Pulvarti. The rest of the party was able to defeat the lizards but the victory offered no hope for the fallen mage.

Despite mourning the loss of their friend, the party pressed on to the north, discovering some new territory. This included finding a room with a pool. In the pool were several moderately sized sharks circling towards the bottom of the pool. At the bottom of the pool, the adventurers could clearly see a trap door. Not having a means to descend and explore the door, the party moved on.

The party also discovered a room with a large sandbox area, similar to a pool of water, but containing soil and rocks. The soil and rocks began to vibrate a move about a bit as they entered the room. The adventurers knew there was a similar area just south, only it contained a pool of water that rippled. Occasionally, the pool unleashed some water elementals. There was a locked steel door on the western side of the room. Magnus was unable to pick the lock. Fearing an unwelcome appearance by some earth elementals, the party exited the room.

After a bit more exploration, the session ended for the evening.

Scroll of the Dead
Horace NPC Footman, Session 48
Pulvarti PC Magic-User, Session 49

5/4/16

Montporte Dungeon Campaign 2.0 Session 2 Notes (Montporte 48)

Cast of Characters
Alaric: Human Cleric (PC-Main Character)
Alicia: Human Footman (NPC Henchwoman)
Diana: Human Torchbearer (NPC Henchwoman)
Horace: Human Footman (NPC Henchman)
Magnus: Human Magic-User (PC-Sidekick)
Merv: Human Torchbearer (NPC Henchman)
Pulvarti: Human Magic-User (PC-Sidekick)
Septimus: Human Fighter (PC-Main Character)

The Session
The second session of the Montporte Dungeon Campaign 2.0 (Montporte Session 48) picked up where the last session left off. The adventurers left the safety and comfort of the town of Montporte and returned to the dungeon.

The adventurers checked out the area just inside the entrance, looking for signs of orcs. While they did not see any living orcs, the adventurers notices that the orc bodies left from the previous sessions had been moved into a side room. Here they were organized and laid to rest. They found other evidence of recent orc activity, such as a partially eaten dwarf and a few mostly eaten kobolds.

The party continued east. At this point, a sporadic sprinkle of arrows came at them from two different directions. The adventurers did a tactical retreat and then secured one door while Septimus shot arrows north, into the dark. He heard a kobold scream and then the sound of a body hit the floor...a clear sign that his shot in the dark was not in vain.

The party advanced north, following a trail of blood from a second kobold. After much winding around and searching, the party stumbled on a larger group of kobolds. Two of the kobolds were mounted on giant spotted spiky spiders.

The kobolds were easy pickings, but the spiders proved tougher. One of the spiders bit Horace and died from the poison damage. When the last of the kobolds were killed, the two spiders retreated to the east, leaving a trail of spider blood and goo behind.

The adventurers gathered up the weapons, a smattering of gold, a few semiprecious gems, and a vial of magical foot fungus cure. At this point, the party thought it best to leave the dungeon, heal up, and then return.

The Scroll of the Dead
Horace NPC - Session 48

What Worked
Giving the kobolds a knowledge of the dungeon, a mind for small unit tactics, and a desire to keep their enemies out of melee range worked well. This is where restricting PCs to humans only put the party at a (fun) disadvantage, despite their clear superiority to the kobolds. Torches and lanterns make for great arrow targets. The tactical movement and darkvision of the kobolds turned a run-of-the-mill melee into a sprawling challenge for the players.

I am really digging Bloody Basic, our rule set. Simple yet robust, with its comprehensive d20 mechanics.

5/3/16

Giant Spotted Spiky Spider--Montporte Dungeon Campaign Critter

GIANT SPOTTED SPIKY SPIDER
Armor Class: 4 [15]
Hit Dice: 3
Attacks: Bite (1d4); 2 Spikes (1d6)
Saving Throw: 14
Special: Poison; Charge; Trainable
Move: 15
Challenge Level/XP: 4/120

The giant spotted spiky spider is a fierce predatory spider that uses its muted coloring and spots to blend into the subterranean environment in order to catch its prey unaware.

POISON: The bite of the giant spotted spiky spider is moderately poisonous. When a bite is successfully inflicted on a target, the target must immediately make a saving throw or suffer 1d6 in poison damage (in addition to the 1d4 damage from the bite itself). Each round thereafter, the victim attempts a saving through. A successful save means that no damage is suffered that round and the victim is now safe from further poison damage (this is true for the round that bite is suffered as well).

CHARGE: The giant spotted spiky spider can charge opponents in one of three directions (left side, right side, or rear). One or two opponents may be attacked by the spikes of the spider during the charge, with each spike inflicting 1d6 in damage on a successful attack. The spider may not bite and charge in the same round.

TRAINABLE: Giant spotted spiky spiders are more intelligent than most spiders and can be trained if the training begins at the time they are hatched. They are often used for hunting, guard animals, and as mounts by smaller humanoids. Kobolds, in particularly, use giant spotted spiky spiders in all of these roles.

5/2/16

Montporte Dungeon Campaign 2.0 Session 1 Notes (Montporte Session 47)

Cast of Characters
Alaric: Human Cleric (PC-Main Character)
Alicia: Human Footman (NPC Henchwoman)
Diana: Human Torchbearer (NPC Henchwoman)
Horace: Human Footman (NPC Henchman)
Magnus: Human Magic-User (PC-Sidekick)
Merv: Human Torchbearer (NPC Henchman)
Pulvarti: Human Magic-User (PC-Sidekick)
Septimus: Human Fighter (PC-Main Character)

The Session
The session started in the town of Montporte. The town's business and political leaders, led by Rindolph (Count's Steward/Mayor) and Gunderson (Master Guildmaster), had a two-fold mission for Alaric and Septimus:

  1. Find potential trade partners for the town of Montporte who are living in the Montporte dungeon.
  2. Search for a an abandoned dwarven city, rumored to be somewhere beneath the Montporte dungeon.

The party was armed with a bit of gold, a few healing potions, and some dungeon maps recently purchased by town leaders.

About a year had elapsed between the first Montporte Dungeon Campaign and this session, which is the start of the second Montporte Dungeon Campaign. At the beginning of the first campaign, a band of orcs had moved some stones and found an opening into the Montporte Dungeon. For centuries, the dungeon had remained unknown in the remote mountain wilderness north of the isolated town of Montporte.

With the dungeon's discovery, dwarves had reinhabited ancient mines, orcs continued to explore and homestead, and humans began poking around for treasure and knowledge. Montporte's town mothers and fathers wanted to cash in on this newly uncovered subterranean world. Alaric and Septimus were asked to lead the charge.

After getting a bit of information, some supplies and a team of henchman, the party descended into the first level of Montporte. Their careful scouting discovered an orc archer, slouched and asleep behind an arrow slit in the first room. Septimus quietly ended his slumber and his life with a well-placed arrow.

The party moved east through a doorway and met a few more orcs. Melee ensued and soon orcs were pouring into the room from several doorways. The party was surprised at how organized and tactically sound the orcs were. The party would have been hard pressed, were it not for a well timed sleep spell that stopped almost a dozen orcs in their tracks. The party kept one orc alive, tied him up, and dispatched the rest.

The captive orc revealed the following information after a bit of questioning:

  • The orcs were in the dungeon, searching for a tunnel that would lead them deep underneath their current lair, located about 15 miles to the northeast. 
  • Underneath their lair were a nest of antmen. They wanted to find a tunnel that would lead them underneath the antmen so that they could attack the antmen from above and below.
  • The orcs believed that there was a hidden tunnel on Montporte's fourth level that would connect to their lair from below.
  • The orcs are led by a powerful mage who is neither orc nor human.
The party decided to let their captive live. The explored the surrounding area and found the orcs' food (nasty), beds, and cooking area.

Deciding not to push their luck, the party returned to the town of Montporte. There they discovered, much to their delight, that a live orc was worth a bounty of 50 gold pieces.

4/23/16

Montporte Dungeon Campaign 2.0--Campaign Reboot

We are six sessions into the second Montporte Dungeon campaign. I will try to catch up with some gaming session notes in the upcoming week before I get too far behind and I lose track of what happened in each session. Sadly, because of my work schedule, the gaming session notes will be less detailed and will have fewer maps.

Here are some random details for the Montporte reboot:

Bloody Basic: We are using John Stater's Bloody Basic: Classic Edition for our rule set, with the following modifications:

  • Player characters are limited to humans only.
  • Clerics, fighters, and magic-users are the three classes. Most of the thief skills that are useful in the dungeon have been allocated to these three classes.
  • Player characters have additional hit points at first level--Clerics have an additional 6 hit points, fighters have an additional 8 hit points, and magic-users have 4 hit points. These points are in addition to the hit point die roll at first level for each character.
  • Clerics can lay on hands for some additional healing, fighters have a weapon specialization, and magic-users automatically read magic.

Bloody Basic tops out at sixth level, which is fine by us. We plan on using something similar to the E6 variant of Dungeons & Dragons. We do not have all of the details I worked out, but there is a lot to draw on from Blood & Treasure (e.g. feats and additional spells) as well as other resources.

Heroes and Sidekicks: Each player has two characters. One character is their "main" character and the other is the "sidekick." The main character is the default for role-playing and decision-making, unless there is a specific reason for the sidekick to be involved (knowledge of a language, class-based conversation, use of a skill, etc). Main characters earn two shares of experience at the end of each session while sidekicks earn one.

Resource and Time Management: We are keeping more careful track of resources, such as food, torches, and arrows. We are also tracking encumbrance. We are working to streamline the process for the former while relying on the simple and elegant system in Bloody Basic for the latter.

Economics, Exploration, and Experience: In additional to the usual ways to gain experience points, the party gains experience with successful conversations and negotiations, exploration of new areas of the dungeon, and making a profit off of trade. The party was commission at the start of Session 1 to establish trade relationships in the recently discovered dungeon and Deep Dark, as well as to seek out a mythical subterranean ancient dwarven city.

Campaign and Continuity: One of the challenges for a dungeon-based campaign is maintaining momentum and continuity. We lost a lot of that in the final dozen sessions of our last Montporte campaign. We changed rule sets, lost players, added players, and the main threads of the campaign were lost in all of it. This time around, we are starting with a couple of goals (explore, establish trade relationships, and find a dwarven city), using a simple rule set, and playing with a smaller group (and only playing when everyone is present).

A key to the campaign working so far is the players themselves--they are keeping notes, making decisions, and determining the direction of play within the parameters we had agreed upon prior to playing.

So far, so good.