Thursday, October 30, 2014

[Actual Play OD&D] The PCs Discover Their Class Abilities

Move silently! Backstab! Turn undead!

Now that my young players have absorbed the basic dice mechanics of Holmes-style D&D, they are actually looking at their character sheets and discovering what their PCs can do. As you will see if you read on...

The heroes had just finished off the last of some nasty kobolds and now decided to commandeer their barge. Drifting and poling downstream, the PCs soon bump up against an iron portcullis that bars further river travel into the kobold stronghold (unless the kobolds decide to open the portcullis). On the other side of the gate there are arrow slits hewn out of the rock. Kobolds start firing crossbows through the portcullis at the PCs, who  waste a bunch of ammo firing back before taking a few too many crossbow hits and deciding to withdraw. So much for downstream.

Upstream, they come to the base of a waterfall, and a small landing carved out of the river tunnel, with a door leading to parts unknown. And there's a path that leads behind the spray curtain of the waterfall. They opt to try the door, and have to bust it down. Beyond is a creepy temple or crypt area which looks disturbingly familiar to the old wizard, Corvax, who fought the vampires here a century before. Inching along a corridor, they see a source of pulsing red light around the corner.

The thief slinks ahead, rendered invisible by a spell from the old wizard. He discovers a sanctum with an altar holding a pulsing red gem. Eight robed figures are kneeling, facing the gem. The thief fails his move silently roll but the robed acolytes don't notice him. He reports back, then returns, leading the party to attack the sanctum. He backstabs one robed figure and misses, his slash opening the figures robe to reveal a dusty ribcage sans flesh. Slowly the robed figures turn. They are possessed skeletons with glowing red eyes!

The fight is on. The cleric tries to turn undead and rolls a 2 on 2d6. Ouch. The warrior socks one with a hammer she picked up from the kobolds. Smash! The skeleton lurches but manages to remain intact. The old wizard sees the whippersnappers need some help. He casts web and snares 6 of the skeletons. The druid smacks one with her bow (yes her bow, lucky it didn't break). The thief finds that daggers aren't much use against these bony foes. By the time the two standing ones are destroyed, the others have escaped from the web. Fortunately the fighter has found her mojo and smashes 3 skeletons in three successive rounds of combat. Eventually the undead are all rendered merely dead, and the heroes' attention turns to the pulsing red gem. The cleric, who has a pet fairy dragon, orders the little pet to grab the gem and bring it to her. Into her backpack it goes. Did I mention the gem is full of the souls of the vampires' old worshipers, waiting for  skeleton bodies to be reincarnated into.

Who should come into view down the hallway but two more skeletons, carrying an inert pile of bones between them, ready to incarnate another worshiper. The thief takes one down with a backstab + natural 20 clutch roll. The cleric turns the other skeleton who begins shambling away. "Gimme your bow," says the warrior to the cleric. By the time the warrior has an arrow nocked, the skeleton is nearly out of sight. She shoots. By gosh, another natural 20!

And it was time to call it a day.

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