This week’s game night was special because we welcomed back for one night only, founding member Shannon who has been in South America for the past year. Over the years, she has been the force behind such memorable characters as Felipe the furry, and Polly the purple gnome. Tonight she reprised the role of Felipe as a fourth level human-ish druid. She spent the majority of the night as an octopus. Shannon also brought along a friend, LZ, who played a first level warlock, which was her first time playing since high school. She also took all the photos in this blog entry. Thanks LZ, you are welcome back any time. The total number of players around the table, including yours truly the dungeon master, numbered nine. A big group and a lot of fun.
The night was highlighted by two other exciting events. Our chef extraordinaire Will brought a home made apple-wood smoked pork roast which was as delicious as it sounds. We are lucky to have so many skilled cooks amongst our group. The roast was spread over a layer of ice and steamed peppers, with a ubiquitous loaf of garlic bread on the side. Yum. I had seconds, and the pot was empty by the end of dinertime, the finest compliment of all.
The other good news was my long awaited Dwarven Forge Cavern Tiles arrived, allowing me to set up the biggest dungeon yet. Over the past year my dungeon terrain has exploded from battlemats and cardboard tiles into 3d territory, and tonight we attained new heights. All of the terrain laid out into this dungeon, almost thirty square feet of twisting underworld, was funded through kickstarter. The majority of tiles are from Dwarven Forges Dungeon and Cavern Kickkstarters, with some of the hallways filled in with the excellent and under-appreciated Itar’s workshop
Below is a recreation of the entirety of Wave Echo Cave from the starter set adventure.
One thing I have found is that no dungeon map survives its encounter with actual dungeon tiles. IT is simply too complex to exactly reproduce any but the simplest map due to the unique details inherent to most maps combined with the limitations of having sets of defined building blocks. This leads to tons of improvisations, including leaving out boring or unnecessary rooms, sometimes combining areas, and often a section of the dungeon will stand in “symbolically” for what it is representing. Overall I like the affect. Actually, Overall I freaking LOVE the affect, because it recreates inside me the warm fuzzy glow of my first EVER experience with dnd – the opening scene of the early Eighties movie E.T the Extraterrestrial.
So, the situation was as follows. The caravan had camped for the night in a region which was known to have a legendary cave of lost treasures. It wqs said that hundreds of years ago it housed a Dwarven clan who had a magical weapon crafting smithy. The caravan moved out in the morning, so they only had six hours to expore the complex they had found. In other words, one night only, as I was not going to leave this monstrosity sitting around all week, nor was I going to rebuild it.
It started with a wandering monster encounter with eight stirges, as the wizard cast a ritual version of the spell Tenser’s Floating Disk, in order to have plenty of capacity for the loot they were sure to haul out of here/ The wizard was able to cast sleep on the stirges before they could swarm the party, and all of them were quickly dispatched while napping.
The entered a maze of passaged, and eventually came to a room with a deep pool The druid turned into an octopus (and remained in octopus form the rest of the night) and dove to the bottom of the pool to find a skeleton with two platinum rings and a wand of magic missiles.
The final encounter was with a group of five bugbears hammering away at a section of rubble while a dark form supervised from above, hidden. The party attacked the only way they knew how – by sending a herd of animals at thir foes. The wizard sent his hedghog to adminsister shocking grasp, while the elf ranger sent in her black panther to pounce. The octopus slithered forward along a ledge above to drop restraining tentacles down around the bugbear’s necks. It was a strqange fight, made stranger when the bard spotted the hiding figure and engaged the doppleganger. The two struggled arm in arm as the doppleganger changed form to be indistinguishable to the bard. The waizard decided to put them both to sleep and srt them out later, however only the bard was affected by the spell. The doppleganger feigned sleep, so the ranger sent her panther to investigate, which it did, and uncovered the true enemy. Then came the octopus and it was all over.
In the end, they explored about a third of the maze, but they made it to final chamber and it was a good climactic battle. The heroes were supposed to discover that behind the rocky boulders was a dead dwarf with gauntlet of ogre-kind, but since I had alreqdy given out that magic item (it is hard playing a campaignwith only 5 or 6 magic items defined in the rules. The Dungeon Master’s Guide cannot come soon enough) Instead I made the boulder cover an alcove where a brazier of burning green flame was concealed. If they dipped their weapon into the flames, it gained the magical quality of being +1.
Yes the wizard dipped his badger into it, and yes, after seeing that, the dragonborn monk dipped each of his claws into the green flame. I forgot to tell them that they all gain a level (to fourth.)
It was a great night.