Sessions report from the open table B/X-BECMI-OD&D-mix game played on a gaming weekend at a 900 year old castle with minimal internet access and spotty telephone reception.
The next session, Mira the fighter and Cordelia Chase the cleric retired. That meant that someone else had to step up for the leader role, and that someone was Ognus the Dwarf. Murtagh the Magic User knew he could only wield a dagger, but still, he used his part of the loot to buy a good bastard sword, sling it across his back, and call it “Zaroc”, for reasons that will be clear to anyone who read Christopher Paolini.
The party: We had Ognus, Dietrich the Thief, the Magic Users Bobo and Murtagh, the Clerics of Anubis and Baal, and the mysterious wandering warrior from last time. This party of Seven debated if they wanted to go to the deep caverns to abduct goblin shamans or if they wanted to go into a pyramid. They went for the Black Pyramid.
Two hours south they met Hrolki Skullbreaker and were dismayed to hear that he demands 50% of all treasures found down in the pyramid, by the reasoning that it was “his” pyramid. The PCs seriously thought about killing him right there, but he had 20 fighters and some clerics and M-Us, so they tried to breath it off.
They liked the deal better when they learned that he included free healing by his clerics, for everyone who stumbled out of the depth wounded and hurting, and he included some tips about the first room (full of mold) and provided free face masks.
The party could only shake their heads at such poor map info, but, well, better than nothing. Then they negotiated hard and finally settled on 60/40. And down they went!
Maps & Methods
Mira had been leader plus main mapper, now Bobo took the place of primary mapper. The cleric of Baal kept doing backup-mapping. The first handful of rooms had clearly been looted already, and the traps had also been sprung. But then they found the limits of the explored parts. The thief and the dwarf always double-checked everything for traps, especially the dwarf was very methodical, so they had little trouble with traps. However, the low skill level of the thief at level 1 meant that they did not get through locked doors well — they had to axe them down.
This way they triggered random encounters; most notably a single, angry-looking elf who said he was down here for days on end. They managed to resolve the encounter peacefully, and the elf retreated down another corridor. Against centipedes and spiders the front line of plate-armored wanderer and tough dwarf proved a dependable firewall.
The team found a huge iron door with a trapped lock that they could not disarm… but the Thief succeeded in the poison save. Stumped, they tried to go around the door through the labyrinthine corridors. They found some dead adventurers and looted them, then killed the spiders that had killed these colleagues. They found a relatively good map of the dungeon, very detailed, although with gaps.
They reached the place with the iron door from the other side, where they also found an iron door — but this time the thief managed to pick the lock!
Inside, they disarmed a trapped chest and hit jackpot.
Smooth sailing so far, especially thanks to cool and methodical procedure, plus some lucky percenter-rolls and a save. The reason for the competent dungeoneering was revealed: The Dwarf-player was a D&D-newbie, but he had played some computer games in the past that were clearly based off of Dungeons & Dragons, and they had taught him how to handle doors and corridors.
The group debated leaving it at that good amount of money and retreating, but since they were still fine they thought it would pay to go on – and they already made plans how to evade the 40% Hrolki-Tax. One option was the invisibility scroll: In theory, Bobo could go invisible and carry the stuff out, and they could claim he had died. Another option was, as they just found a fireplace, that the chimney might lead out somewhere in the forest.
The thief went climbing and immediately saw a lever, which turned the fireplace into another room.
The thief turned it back and they decided to go that way. The new room offered an elaborate mosaic and a shiny looking mace. The clerics both perked up with great interest. But the dwarf kept checking everything out and noted that the mace was placed on a pressure plate.
They theorized about how to solve that, and in the meantime opened another door — to five big rats.
It was the cleric of Anubis who had opened the door, and the dwarf aided him, so the bottleneck was closed by them. They whacked and hacked at the rats, who bit back, and most attacks were misses. Finally the Dwarf hacked down one rat, and the then another! But then the cleric suffered a critical miss, and on a second attack roll, hit the Dwarf! The damage dented the Dwarf’s helm and reduced the stout warrior to 1 Hit Point.
The Dwarf staggered back, and the nimble thief took his place, just as the cleric got bitten twice, and also reduced to 1 Hit Point. And yet, he killed a rat! Only two left now, and the wandering warrior stepped into the breach. As the thief and fighter killed the last two rats, the thief got bit as well, and also reduced to 1 Hit point.
Within one combat, three out of seven were at the brink of calamity.
And so they decided to call it there.
Only one thing to do: The wandering warrior risked the trap and quickly replaced the mace with another mace. Success on his DEX roll: the mace was won!
Murtagh the Magic User cast “Read Magic” on the runes on the mace and discovered that it was a mace of dark vision. The wielder of that mace gained infrared sight. The cleric of Baal had already called dibs on the mace and was happy to embrace the item.
Then the bloodied group hobbled back to the exit, and managed to get there without another random encounter. They decided to play it fair with Hrolki Skullbreaker after all: The offer of free(-ish) healing suddenly sounded extremely fair to the ears of the wounded, his friendly agreement of 40/60 instead of 50/50 showed that he was a good lad after all, and anyway securing goodwill with the “owner” of the Black Pyramid seemed wise.
So they paid their 40% and got their healing, and thus ended the weekend with happy players who had thrilling scenes of danger & adventure to tell, and expressed hope for a Day 4 some time soon.