Saturday, April 18, 2015

Friday gaming recap: bugs, bugs, and more bugs!

The notorious bear makes an appearance!
Yesterday's session featured a pretty small party for my gaming group (four) and a fairly low-muscle group (warlock, sorcerer, druid, monk) with the highest AC being 15.  With the group feeling a little fragile they decided to avoid heading to either the temple of Orcus (where the previous group had whacked the high priest and everyone would be on high alert), or the monolith level (which is the climax of the dungeon).  Instead they decided to explore some of the upper levels that had been, to date, ignored by the group.

This meant they ended up facing fairly easy opposition: ankhegs, phase spiders, and carrion crawlers.  Actually carrion crawlers are really broken, but the group got lucky on their saving throws.  They also discovered both a heretofore undiscovered level, another sublevel, and a major quest waypoint in the dungeon.  While the XP load might not be that high in terms of monsters, the group definitely broke some ground.

A few observations:

First, the group has developed a delightful sense of tension in the dungeon.  In the old 4E days, every encounter was one to be overcome with a small modicum of effort.  Now the anxiety of the unknown really plays on them.

Second, while there may not be a lot of NPC roleplaying, the exploration-as-fantasy-RPG-genre thing is going pretty well, and seems to be a hit.  The group likes deciding what happens and where they go.  I'm trying to figure out how to work more named NPC's into an exploration-based campaign right now, though.

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Friday Game Night: Roleplaying Edition!

We are back to having small(er) groups instead of all gaming at once.  After having thrashed their way through the Temple of the Frog, the group has divided up.  One group (last Friday's) went after the temple of Orcus on the fourth level of the Tomb of Abysthor.

Now, I have to be honest here.  The mega-dungeon format of Tomb of Abysthor has been a bit of a learning experience.  After having read about mega-dungeons for years on OSR blogs, actually having a group clonk around one for eight of nine sessions has been wearing a little thin.  There are roleplaying encounters available in the adventure, but they are often buried in obscure places, or require a ridiculous amount of effort to get to them.  As a result, much of the group's time in the dungeon has been of the kick-open-the-door-and-kill-everything variety.

Which is why I was delighted when Sign's player started trying to bluff her way through the temple of Orcus posing as fellow devotees of the dark god.  Good roleplaying plus some truly terrible die rolling on my part resulted in the group getting past several encounters and into an audience with the high priestess.  Once close to her, they ganked her and her demonic pet with little difficulty and scampered away.

I was pretty generous with the XP, granting it for encounters that they successfully circumnavigated through roleplaying rather than combat. I felt that would hopefully reinforce the idea that roleplaying is always a good alternative to fighting.  I'm ready to get the group out of the Tomb of Abysthor and into something different at this point, and that's something with more character, more creativity, and less stabby-stabby.

Saturday, April 4, 2015

Some doors and walls

Made with Hirst Arts bricks
I had not realized it had been over a year since I had built anything for my modular dungeon, but after making countless configurations I realized I really needed some doorways to help keep things easy to understand.  I also had a few long walls laying about, so I decided to put everything together and paint them.

Gnolls everywhere!
Here's a look at what I can do with me current pieces.  Not a huge area, but still interesting looking.  I am thinking that I want to do some more of the flat tiles, and then add to the decor.
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