Thursday, March 27, 2014

What I Ran Last Friday

The Ruleset: Lamentations of the Flame Princess, house ruled by your's truly, to allow for dual class players and half-elves. Yes, an abomination in LotFP, but what is LotFP without abominations?

The Cast: 2 specialists (one we will call TS for "Tinker Specialist," one we will call "SS" for "Stealth Specialist"), 1 cleric (Serbian Orthodox), 1 mage, 1 1/2 elf fighter-magic user (the abomination), 1 fighter. Each character was at 3rd level (or a combined 3 levels for the fighter-mage). Also, a linkboy descended from a dispossessed knight of yore (see "The History").

The Setup: SS (known also as Friedlich) has a rich uncle who owns property in a Serbian-speaking area on the edges of the Holy Roman Empire. The uncle's servants have discovered two doors, previously covered by grass overgrowths, in the side of a hill on the family property. The uncle has asked his weird nephew and his strange friends to investigate. He offers them 50 SP each, plus anything they find *if* said objects don't hold any value for the estate.

The History: Back in 1522, a nearby castle was laid siege to by Suleiman the Magnificent, Ottoman Sultan. The outlying population actually found this a relief, given that the petty noble who held the castle was rumored to be harboring a sect of anti-religious heretics who felt that magic and science were the surest way to elevate mankind, rather than religion. A group of warrior-monks of the Serbian Orthodox church had earlier tried to infiltrate the castle in order to kill off the heretics, but the noble's knights, though few, were able to hold them off. But they were unable to resist the Sultan's efforts and the castle fell after a several months of deprivations. The many staked bodies lining the road to the castle attested to the fact that Suleiman's men had found and disposed of many of these heretics. But historical accounts contradicted each other on both the number of heretics that were holed up in the castle initially and were unclear on exactly how many were killed. The castle was soon burned, then torn to the ground, but some of the nobleman's surviving knights (who were soon stripped of their rank and wealth) attest that some of the heretics were ushered out in disguise and survived the Ottoman purge. (A special shout-out to +David Blethen for leading me to the actual historical events that I cribbed off of for this scenario).

What the Players Don't Know: Yes, some of the heretics did make it out. They then established this dungeon laboratory hidden beneath the hill. But they aren't at home. Still, that doesn't mean they haven't left the alarm system on.

Causes for Concern?: Doors covered in spider silk, a four-armed adamantine-skulled skeleton, a room full of dead adventurers, a skeleton dressed in a robe and sleeping cap on a silken bed, an almost-finished flesh golem in a lavishly-equipped laboratory.

The Rewards of Valor:  A little silver, an ant encased in amber, a number of valuable books (including a copy of the mystical work Heraclix & Pomp), an adamantium-coated skull large enough to be worn as a helm, a vial of hydrochloric acid (among other potentially-entertaining chemicals), and an elegantly-carved dragon mouth flintlock musket with a rifled barrel.

Priceless: Ledgers and legal documents saved from the archives of the knights who protected the Serbian heretics, all of them proving that our faithful linkboy still holds the rights to the hill under which the present dungeon lies. The uncle will not be pleased.

Best Moments for the DM: Watching players squirm and worry over such harmless things as a room that had been melted and clawed by a no-longer-present dragon, a non-functioning flesh golem, and a corpse on a silk bed. "I think that's a lich, let's get out of here." "Maybe we should shoot it before it gets out of bed." (players proceed to pepper the corpse with scattershot). "Um, we just shot all these nice silk sheets full of holes". Also, having the cleric discover a book written by one "Acererak" and learning that this name was a key word used for diffusing traps. Unfortunately, the cleric didn't discover that this name was also a key word that would have awakened the flesh golem in the laboratory. Oh well. Win some, lose some.

What the Players Would Have Discovered if They Mapped Correctly: The dungeon was built in two "strands" of rooms connected by curved tunnels that alternately snaked above or below the tunnels in the other "strand". This gave the dungeon the overall appearance of a double helix.

Who Made it Through: Surprisingly, all characters made it through, but not without some permanent scarring and dinging of attributes (most notably a permanent loss of dexterity and charisma). There were several near-fatal near-misses, including the "opportunity" to be diseased by a very nasty mold. 

The Dice Rolled: The players' way.

What I Would Do Differently if I Did it All Over Again: Send a specialist in after the party, someone hired by the uncle to ensure that his interests were protected. Next time, next time . , .

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