Going down to the…
Sorry, no rip-off of the Headstones today. If you aren’t familiar with the song, here is an ear-worm before you proceed with reading:
Actually, the wife and I had a chance to play Dungeon Down last night. There was a slightly different line-up this time, and a chance to try a few rules revisions…including tabulating experience.
Hayden of course made a return, and if she isn’t included in a game I think it would be safe to say it means my wife wasn’t playing.
The elf rogue and human ranger seemed obvious choices, but it was Brother Roberto who would really shine. More on that later.
The dungeon crawl started with a lot more intensity than the last delve. As modules are revealed based on line of sight, the lantern carried by Brother Roberto illuminated the length of the corridor and several undead lingering. Far more pressing were the swarms of scarabs that carpeted the base of the stairs. As the first section of the dungeon held a trap, the cunning ranger Irdath set out with his artifice skill to prove the path. His first step down the stairs triggered the arrow-trap, which fortunately did not reset. Gritting his teeth he fired an arrow into the closest scarabs. As the party funneled down the stairs, Brother Roberto healed Irdath and the rest of the party made short work of the scarabs.
With precisions shots and almost supernaturally lethal poison, Irdath felled the lead two skeletons. Brother Roberto chanted a prayer of rest, destroying the last skeleton and stunning the Mummy Warrior with the ritual. With another arrow, Irdath sent the mummy to his eternal rest. Aside from the arrow wound, the party was sweeping through the dungeon without any real pause. The copious piles of treasure made the fight difficult but promised rich rewards.
Irdath calmly walked to the torch sconce as he instinctively knew it wasn’t quite right. Despite all his cunning, he wasn’t able to find the method to open the hidden treasure cache. Tricks are skill challenges that test various attributes. The Hidden Treasure require Sorcery to figure out. Irdath was able to use Cunning in place due to his Artificer skill. Despite this advantage, he wasn’t able to open the secret cache. No party members had a Sorcery high enough to have any chance of opening the hidden treasure, leaving it for the next adventurers.
The water basin ahead looked suspicious, and eying the inscription, Irdath was confident he could solve THAT puzzle. Walking forward, his Cunning paid off as he confidently read the inscription:
“To summon the beast, recite this text aloud…”
The ravenous mocking beast shifted from the basin disguise, snarling at the adventurers. Irdath stepped backwards as he nocked an arrow, confident he could fell the beast. To his surprise, the arrow skidded across the tough hide of the vicious beast. Brother Roberto concentrated his faith to strike the Fear of God into the fell beast. While the divine fire seared the beast, it did not quail in terror. Instead, the holy fire smoldered ineffectually. Brother Roberto switched to his sermon voice and, with threats of eternal damnation, he smote the beast with a righteous light, reducing it to naught but ash.
At this point, Hayden dropped the useless trash she had found to see what was happening behind her. Even Brother Roberto was overcome with avarice as the party looted the stacks of treasure. Irdath found some valuable iron ingots which he stowed in his pack. Meanwhile, Inglorin and Brother Roberto found some valuable treasure that was best suited for Hayden.
With the Axe of Rage and Sleeveless Shirt, Hayden felt her rage rising to an almost inhuman level. The dwarf grinned with anticipation of the next fight.
Irdath calmly walked forward into the gloom, wary of the deadfall in front of him…
…but completely oblivious to the pit yawning in front of the deadfall. Irdath is able to disarm traps with his Artifice skill, again using his cunning. He not only failed to avoid the trap with his cunning, he failed to defend against it. As a final insult, he wasn’t able to climb out of the pit until healed by Brother Roberto. At this point, Hayden wistfully recalled how Harley so deftly disarmed all the traps. Well, at least he looked a lot less comical as he blundered through them all.
As the party regrouped, they realized the intersection ahead was all that stood between them and a horde of goblins. While the rest of the party maneuvered to ready themselves, Hayden boldly walked into the junction of the corridors…
…to realize that sometimes discretion may be the better part of valor. She quickly jumped back into the corridor, out of the potential cross-fire.
As the goblins swarmed forwards, the goblin archers fired arrow after arrow towards the party.
The lead goblins screeched with rage and fear as the arrows of their brethren struck them down. One arrow did fly past the goblin swarm and struck Inglorin in the throat, sending the elf to his knees as he bled from the fatal wound.
It is possible to fire through friends, objects, and even enemy miniatures. There is a chance of striking something along the way. Some miniatures, like Irdath, have a skill enabling them to ignore the first obstacle. The goblins do not have such a skill and the sheer number of goblins in the way resulted in fratricide.
While the goblin deaths were a gruesome reminder of the cruelty of the race, the dark necromancy of the Skeleton Sorcerer animated the corpse of the lead goblin. The ghastly skeleton laughed at the adventurers as it peeled back the goblin flesh it no longer needed.
As Brother Roberto whispered a holy blessing, Inglorin stood back up fully healed. Gripping her axe with deadly determination, Hayden sprinted across the corridor as fast as her short dwarvish legs could carry her. In the midst of the goblins and skeleton, her death seemed quite likely. The goblins slashed at Hayden as arrow after arrow struck the berserker. What started as a scream of pain slowly changed in pitch to her berserker roar as her blood stained the floor. Despite a change requiring checks more often for Undying Warrior, Hayden still was the unstoppable juggernaut from before.
As Irdath fired a volley of arrows at the goblin archers, the lead archer and one of the goblins around Hayden skrieked as the barbed arrows stuck home. Inglorin charged the Skeleton Sorcerer seeing the deadly threat he presented. His ancestral blade slashed the unholy corpse to no effect. Brother Roberto walked forward chanting a prayer for the dead to banish the unholy abominations. His prayers did weaken the skeleton but the sorcerer simply laughed at the divine ritual. Even with the crippling effects of a deadly wound, Hayden quickly dispatched the small horde that gathered round her.
Gripped in the madness of her rage, Hayden stepped over the goblin corpses to strike down the goblin archers. A hidden pressure plate sent a wave of poison darts at her. As her arm still stings in the cold from the last darts, her rage addled brain was able to comprehend dodging them was the best option. Beyond the cowering goblins, her eyes adjusted to the gloom enough to spy zombies rising from crypts in the dark corner.
With a brief bit of swordplay, the skeleton sorcerer was felled by the elf rogue while the goblin archers were slain in a mist of blood and urine with the nigh-unstoppable berserker in their midst. Brother Roberto was quick behind, knowing that Hayden would need his healing or last rights before long. A bit surprised by the zombies, he absently brandished his holy symbol to turn them from the unholy living dead to brightly glowing lights.
At this point, the game only proceeded a bit further. In fact, it was Irdath who finally showed his worth by disarming a trap. His sole reason for being in the party was as trap master, and he triggered every trap he found. And was wounded by it. By this point Hayden was critically eyeing the ranger and wondering if maybe Harley was a better trap specialist.
As a final laugh, Irdath went to solve the trick of the false wall…and found “It’s a Trap”. Expecting another wound, instead Irdath drew False Alarm. For how poorly he did, we decided to call that a win for the Charlie Sheen of the game.
Each of the characters has a strength in the game and the same basic design. Irdath was designed to be a bit of an all-rounder. He has very high level in Cunning, and no really low level attributes. He does, however, lack the modifiers required to make his skills relevant. Based on this play-test I think there will not be any similar characters. Instead, the weaknesses will be evident for the heroes.
I explained the experience system and we figured out what would have been earned by this delve. Irdath would be less useless with what he earned. Having his pack full of treasure helped with that. Inglorin found a magic shield that will make him more survivable, but his poor luck was what spelled his doom. He has the same Stealth that Tara the Silent had, but he failed to make it work even once.
All in all, I am happy with what was learned and proven by this game. Hopefully something inspired you today.