The module suggests PCs join the factions in order to have safe places to sleep and purchase equipment. When I ran it, I might have fudged it a little, but I let everyone join the same faction. Anyway, I was running it in AD&D, so, the categories didn’t fall out as neatly.
“A man may do both. For not we but those who come after will make the legends of our time. The green earth, say you? That is a mighty matter of legend, though you tread it under the light of day!” —J.R.R. Tolkien
Couple more deaths last night. The party was beat up pretty bad, so they went back to the Brotherhood of Gorm to ask for help. The Brothers invited the party to join, and told them they would have to charge them if they weren't members. The 10 year olds, being 10 year olds Planned to join the brotherhood and then rob them later. But the leader of the Brothers has a helm of telepathy, so he told them to leave immediately. 10 year olds go into attack mode, ignoring the grown ups instructions to stop. Melee ensued. The party defeated the Brothers without much trouble, but then the party thief got stung and killed by a giant killer bee while trying to loot the Brothers' treasure. After finding another caravan survivor/replacement character, the party headed back to the 4th level. They did pretty good until the last encounter, with six zombies. It should have been an easy fight, but the party had the worst rolls. The zombies rolled very good, Including damage dice. Everyone in the party was beat up, and discussed fleeing, and. They should have, but they were stubborn and so they lost another party member, Gavin's elf. And the zombies had no treasure. All of the surviving original party members made it to level 2. Including a cleric, which is very big in this edition.
Ran another session last night for a small party. My nephew Mike playing his cleric Corbek, Gary Welsh joined the party with the fighter Aramus <sp?>, and Gavin started a new PC, Krosmoor, a magic-user. The party decided to check out the 3rd tier, and ran into followers of the three old gods and got a feel for the rivalries and intrigues.
So far I've been enjoying this trip down Moldvay memory lane. The lethality of 1st level (no death's door, cure spells) is definitely a headache, especially with this group that includes a few kids with a "re-spawn" mentality. But it's a nice, light, fast game, especially since the cleric reached 2nd level. And it's so nostalgic. Every time I look through the rules and see those old illustrations I'm pulled back to 1982. That said, I probably won't stick with it for very long. once they wrap up this adventure I'll probably move back to 1E.
Yeah, I feel the same way about Moldvay Basic. That Basic set was the first D&D I ever owned. I still feel that old nostalgia when I read through it and look at the illustrations. I didn't play Basic & Expert D&D for very long -- maybe about a year before moving on to AD&D, when I bought several of the books and modules used from kids at school. I had forgotten some of the differences... Basic is very stripped down, but still fun to play. I notice when people don't have skills, feats, etc. they focus more on role-playing, ideas, tactics, etc. i.e., what I would call good play.
Last Edit: Oct 12, 2017 12:07:14 GMT -5 by GRWelsh
The adventure continued Friday night. Party of 5: Plāsolder, 2nd level fighter Corbek, 2nd level cleric, Jastra, 1st level elf Krosmore, 1st level M-U Silverkill, 1st level M-U
Half of the party started on the 3rd tier in the temple of Gorm, with a group of his followers. They agreed to help the Brotherhood reestablish their outpost on the 2nd level, so they went back up with 4 fighters and a cleric. After resting for the remainder of the day, the party returned to exploring the pyramid. While exploring they ran into a group of Cynidicean members of the cult of Usamigaras, The party guessed they were sent to follow and spy on the party (they were). They invited one of them, a thief, to adventure with them, and he readily accepted. They killed a Draco lizard on the 3rd level and plundered a several tombs on the 4th. Their progress was haled in one instance when the haunts of King Alexander and Queen Zenobia appeared. Several party members failed saves and were too frightened to continue. They fled from a pack of shadows in one tomb, and a banshee that was guarding another very well hidden and protected crypt. Loot was pretty good. They got their first magic weapon, a sword +1, and the cleric reached 3rd level.
Another good night for the party last Friday. They finished the 4th Tier, and peeked into the 5th. The party found the room with the white robe holding the spirit of Demetrius the cleric. Plāsolder picked it up, but made his save to avoid being possessed, which I was kind of bummed about. The party did acquire another magic sword, and a mace and plate mail. Two fighters joined the cleric at 3rd level, and both magic-users and the elf made it to 2nd. The kid gloves are coming off. The party is on pretty good terms with all three factions of the old gods. They seem to have forgotten that they are lost in the desert, and are content exploring and looting the pyramid.
The party cleared out a big chunk of the 5th Tier last night. The Helm of Telepathy they got earlier in the campaign came in handy and they avoided any surprises from the dopplegangers and werefoxes they encountered. They encountered Darius, the 6th level cleric and assumed boss of the basic adventure. I'd say the setup for Darius is one of the weaknesses of the adventure. There's a lot of monetary treasure in the gambling room right before the room where Darius and his hobgoblins are hiding, but Darius has zero treasure, no loot, no magic. It was a very anticlimactic encounter for the party. And I agree. Three members of the party are now in the Expert territory. The Cleric and both fighters hit 4th level last night.
I do plan on running the expanded adventure. Depending on where they are when they wrap up, we might convert to 1E, but there are a few X adventures I’d like to run. If they’re still in the appropriate range I might try one of them.
After a long holiday and illness break the party continued their explorations last night. We've converted to AD&D The Party: Plāsolder, 4th level human fighter, played by Eric Sharpe Thordak, 4th level human fighter, played by Liam Gregg Corbek, 4th level human cleric, played by Mike Darick Jastra: 2/2 Gray Elf fighter magic-user played by Jill Silverkill: 4th level human magic-user, played by Tyler Sharpe Krosmoor: 3rd level human magic-user, played by Gavin Gregg
The party left their base on the 2nd tier of the pyramid and headed into the catacombs beneath. They headed south, avoiding a room where they had previously fled from a black pudding, until they discovered a new door. Bashing the door open in usual fashion they were greeted by a trio of blink dogs. The party took their defensiveness as aggression, and attacked. The blinking gave the party trouble, and the fight lasted longer than expected, but they finally killed the blink dogs. Searching the room turned up 2,000 SP and a 500 GP gem. They headed east, their only option, and came to another door. Rushing in again, they discovered a room that looked like long abandoned and looted living quarters. They entered to search. Two wraiths rose up out of the floor and attacked. Plāsolder was hit and lost a level, Silverkill was hit twice, and taken back to 2nd level. The party fled. After the damage taken from the blink dog fight they decided to return to their base. They payed a visit to the Brotherhood of Gorm to see if there was anything they could do about the level loss, but were informed it was magic greater than they could access. The party rested and headed back into the catacombs. Their wanderings took them into a room that looked like an old work room. There were two small wooden statues of native warrior looking figures, and nobody was surprised when they animated and attacked. The wood golems were dispatched quickly. The post melee search discovered a hidden trap door with a ladder down. The party ignored this for now and continued searching the level they were on. After searching a few empty rooms they came into a room that once served as a kitchen. Two comely Cynidicean women wearing sheer robes and tiger masks had made a camp here and rose to greet the party. A flippant comment from Plāsolder about women belonging in the kitchen almost started an inter-party rumble with Jastra. The women invited the party in. Thordak scanned their thoughts with his helm of telepathy and confirmed that they were planning on attacking. They party drew weapons and rushed to attack. The women transformed into tigers and their claw/claw/bite attacks inflicted some serious wounds on the party before they were dispatched. Searching their den the party gained 2,000 EP and three gems (1,000, 500, 10). Worried about being infected with lycanthropy, the party headed back to base. Corbek reached 5th level. Krosmoor reached 4th, and Jastra reached 3rd in fighter. They are still uncertain about the lycanthropy.
Now that we are playing AD&D, and I do use training rules, the party will be making their first trip to the Underground City for supplies and training. The cult of Zargon has been seriously weakened in the pyramid, but they are still strong n the city.
One good thing I can say about Moldvay is that he doesn’t skimp on the treasure. The rate of advancement, driven primarily by treasure, is right where it should be for old D&D, the PCs acquire gold that keeps them on pace to be able to build castles upon reaching name level. That’s actually pretty rare for modules. It’s a definite fun house adventure, and there are the flaws discussed earlier, but overall it’s a solid old school adventure.
Back at it last night. Quick conversion note, a cleric needs 1,000 more XPs to make it to 5th level in AD&D than one does in B/E, so Corbek is still 4th level. After finishing the last session Krosmoor and Jastra had gained enough XPs to level, Krosmoor to 4th level M-U and Jastra as 3rd level in fighter. The party did not have the resources required to train in their base in the upper pyramid, so Simos of the Brotherhood of Gorm agreed to take the Party to the Underground City. The Party had already discovered the secret entrance to the city, but had not explored it. Simos and several other Brothers took the party through the entrance and into a partially worked cave system that descended deep underground to a huge cavern where the surviving Cynidiceans had built a small city. Simos warned the party that the Cult of Zargon was a strong force in the city and the party had to hidden in the Brothers' stronghold. The Brotherhood were able to get Pyris, a magic-user from the cult of Usamigaras to mentor Krosmoor, and Jastra worked with several followers of Gorm to train. After spending a week in the Underground City the party was ready to return to the catacombs under the pyramid. In the catacombs the party decided to continuing exploring the level they were on before going any deeper. They picked a passage on their map, and headed east. The passage ended in a door. Hearing nothing they forced it open. Through the door was a large chamber about 70' by 40'. Their were many statues in the room. Some standing and whole, some toppled and broken. Before the party had a chance to really examine the room they heard a woman's voice calling from the south from behind a row of statues, "Help! I'm trapped. Please help me get out". In unison half the party said, "Medusa", and lit flasks of oil and lobbed them towards the voice. They were surprised when two shrieking medusae came running at them from behind the statues. For a few rounds it seemed like the party might get through the encounter without serious damage, but on the last round Thordak the fighter was petrified and Jastra was bitten and poisoned by a snake. The medusae were dead. Corbek cast a slow poison spell on Jastra and they searched the room. In the southwest corner of the room the party found the lair. In a stone chest they found 11 gems worth 100 each, a rope, two potions, a scroll, and a ring. Silverkill, played by a 10 year old immediately yelled, "I put on the ring". Nothing happened, so he tried to take it off, but it was stuck. The party decided to head back to the city to try to find a cleric to cast a neutralize poison spell. On the way there, Silverkill noticed he was getting very tired, and feeling very weak, and it was getting worse as they traveled. By the time they made it to the stronghold of Gorm's followers he could hardly walk or carry his pack. Proctus, the chief cleric of Gorm, accepted a donation from Jastra (1,000 GP) and neutralized the poison. The rope was a rope of climbing (Jastra), the potions were heroism (Plāsolder) and animal control (Corbek). The scroll was a M-U scroll: Phantasmal Force (Silverkill). Jastra was now ready to train to level as a magic-user and Corbek was ready to try again, and began a regimen of prayer and meditation. The Magi of Usamigaras identified the ring as a ring of weakness and agreed to sell the party a scroll of stone to flesh (1,200 GP). To remove the ring would require a remove curse and a dispel magic. Corbek had a remove curse scroll, and was now able to cast dispel magic. The combination worked and Silverkill was able to remove the ring. The party was determined to kill the black pudding from several sessions ago and bought a ton of oil flasks, and with the stone to flesh scroll the headed back to the catacombs to rescue Thordak. To be continued...