Ruined Halls of EsterfayStarted a new group to DCC, and decided we would play in my Ruined Halls megadungeon with a couple of sandbox adventures in the area around them. They are given the freedom to do what they want, chasing down adventure leads or plumbing the depths of the megadungeon for their riches.
The first session was the character funnel, where the players each had four 0-level characters and went through "Portal Under the Stars" the DCC introductory adventure in the book, which was also the first adventure I got to play when my friend Kevin introduced me to the game.
They had a blast, and the death toll was high. My friend Randy, new to DCC but has been playing with me since the 80s, lost all of his characters. Ginger, also an old friend of mine but new to DCC as well lost all but one. On the next session we had another player join us, Scott, who rolled up a wizard with the worst mercurial magic effects I have ever seen.
Randy rerolled a set of characters, I allowed him to pick two to level to first level - He chose a dwarf and a cleric. The party then met up in the Wanton Wench, a bar in the city of Loris that caters to treasure hunters. They listened to some rumors of wealth and opportunity, and decided that they should check out the frog men of the swamp to the east that have been attacking villages.
The ventured to a town on the edge of the vast swamp. Really just a couple of families living close enough together to be called such. They met a farmer who had been attacked by one of the frog men.
He had seen them rooting through the abandoned farm next to his own, and the next morning they came to his place. He caught one in his barn, tried to drive it away and it drew a sword and ran him through.
The party, armed with the knowledge that the frog men had weapons, went to investigate the old farmhouse first. They discovered it had been stripped of anything of value, and even had boards taken from the walls. with more questions than answers they pushed forward into the swamp.
I would like to point out here that this is a random adventure I created by rolling a couple of dice of a random adventure name table and coming up with the adventure from there. This adventure is titled "The Fens of the Frog God".
In the swamp they quickly got lost, but since they didn't know what they were looking for it didn't matter. A couple of hours later and I rolled up a random encounter. While passing through a treacherous section of the swamp they are attacked by waterlogged bloated corpses.
The party quickly pulled up to some nearby dry ground to defend themselves. The battle was pitched, but they came out victorious. This is the first time that Scott's wizard got to cast some spells - One of the things I have been doing lately is rolling up the mercurial magic effect the first time the spell is cast - So it's a mystery until the wizard finally unleashes the spell. Scott discovers that every time he casts magic missile someone he knows dies! Lucky for his friends and family he can't manage to cast the spell without failing.
The cleric (who's name is Farmer - Randy says his father had a sense of humor about it) attempts to turn the undead with the power of Ildavir, and fails. His second attempt even nets him disapproval, forcing him to have to pray for ten minutes following the combat.
The thief Jess, played by Ginger, and the dwarf - Who's name is currently escaping me, both make quick work of the zombie horde, though are seriously wounded in the process. Jess falls unconscious and loses one of her daggers in the high swamp grass.
After dispatching the last zombie and healing they decide to press on a little more before resting. The cleric conjures forth a feast for them all, scoring a critical on his cast and summoning a feast to feed over a dozen people. They leave the remaining food as bait for wandering monsters and find somewhere out of the water to rest.
Camping on a wide fallen tree, they manage to make it through the night without any further incidents. The next day while traveling they spot a massive twenty foot tall elf in the distance, wearing leather and moving silently. They fail to hide and the thing approaches, demanding that they explain themselves.
Only the cleric in the party speaks elvish. There was a level 0 elf traveling with the party as well, but he was too stupid to speak his own language.
After some quick banter with the giant elf, they learn that the giant is hunting a dragon. He tells them where they can find the bullywugs they are hunting, and tells them they have recently moved in to an abandoned temple in the swamp. They thank the giant, and the they go their separate ways.
They reach the mound of the temple entrance. Descending the tunnel, they find the central entry chamber is a below ground garden full of frog topiary hedges. A fountain in the middle is full of glowing mushrooms. A trio of the bullywugs is here, and leap to attack.
The battle is deadly! Both of the random zero level dudes go down to the bullywug's blades. Jess the Thug gets to ambush one of the frogs and slays him. The wizard drops to a flurry of blades and nearly bleeds out before being saved by Farmer. They finally stand triumphant over the mutilated frog corpses. They find that the frog men have a surprising amount of treasure on their persons, gold, silver and even a gem. One even has a piece of platinum. There must be more treasure within! They pass through the double doors to explore further.
The main hallway goes a good distance before splitting. Evidence that the tunnel had collapsed before is found, and a large section is still blocked off. They find some side passages to explore. In the first room they encounter a group of frog men bathing in slimy knee deep water. They do not have their armor, but the frog men seize initiative and get to their blades. A fourth bullywug peeks out over a ledge along the wall and begins shooting his crossbow down into the group.
This battle goes much better for everyone but the wizard, who continues to lose spells and fumbles with his blade. The dwarf has now taken to calling himself "Moller the Tooth Smasher" as he uses his warhammer and shield to smash the teeth out of everything he fights. After killing the frogs they discover two more passages out of this room, both up off the ground level but decide to go back to the other passage they discovered off the main hall.
This room has a pair of bullywugs speaking in croaks, standing near a blood soaked altar. The room filled with columns. The party does not give them a chance to attack first, and rushes them down. Killing these two easily. Searching around they find a secret compartment in the altar, that contains a few coins and a wooden box with two potions.
Note: I use a special system for potions in my game. Different potions can be identified by their characteristics. This is just an example, but a healing potion might be a golden thick liquid with swirls of red color, that smells of lavender and tastes sweet. They would then know that any potion matching that description would be the same type of potion (though there may be different looks to the same potion - and some poisonous liquids may be improperly brewed versions of that potion).
After some discussion they decide to not try the potions unless they are desperate and proceed on through a door in this room. They find another hallway heading toward the collapsed section of the temple, as well as a door marked with a red x. They investigate, discover the door is locked and open it up anyway. Inside is an abandoned armory filled with rusted weapons, armor and piles of bone. They step inside and the bones start to rise, forming into frog-men sized skeletons.
They rush in and battle, Moller the Toothsmasher leads the charge with a bulrush and a tackle, taking out two of the skeletons in one go. The third one falls to the thief with a warhammer, and the others get turned and backed into a corner where they crush them into piles of dust.
They decide that his might be a safe place to rest, since the frog men obviously don't come in here anymore. They close and lock the door, and prepare to sleep.
End of session two.
We play again next Monday, so I will give you all an update then.
As far as my second campaign I am running? I will save that for another post.