It all started so well…

The first descent into Zenopus Tower was brief but a great learning experience.  The PC’s ran a small loop through rooms N, J and A then hightailed it back up the stair into Portown.  The initial probing into the corridors of the tower involved the MU and Thief pushing the Dwarf into a scouting role due to his infravision and trap detecting ability.  Luckily for them no traps were present as he failed all of his checks.

Arriving at the door of room N they spent a lot of time arguing over how to enter (having heard nothing from within), eventually settling on bashing down the door.  After 5 noisy attempts they much to break in where they were confronted by several angry giant rats.  The rats turned out to be easy pickings for the bow-armed Thief (2 kills) and the Dwarf (1 kill), while the MU quivered in the corner waving his torch about.  The noise of combat attracted a couple of skeletons  – again the Thief and Dwarf accounted for 1 each while the MU cast Shield and continued to hide in the corner.

The sarcophagi in room N proved tempting – they jewellery and coronet from sarcophagi no. 3 & 4 were pilfered, while the MU finally made himself useful and warned against touching the dagger in no. 2.

The constant trickle of giant rats from the tunnels of room N caused some anxiety in the PCs, so they fled through the western door, barricading the door behind the with lids from the sarcophagi.

Again the Dwarf was used as monster bait, advancing through the corridors to room J where he was leaped upon by the enormous spider hiding in the shadows.  Luckily his armour kept him from harm until the thief decided to pitch a flask of oil at the spider.  The ensuing conflagration not only forced the spider to the back of the room, it also fried the Dwarf who, beard afire,  subsequently fled into room A – right into a goblin ambush.

The MU and Thief swiftly followed into room A to help the sizzling Dwarf while the spider was hedged by the pool of fire.  One Goblin was gutted by the Thief but the remaining trio proved to have the dice on their side.  The MU mumbled threatening words and made significant gestures at the goblins, convincing them that he was conjuring something awful, but instead turning tail and, with the help of the Thief , dragging the cooked Dwarf out of the Tower.

The PCs headed back to the Green Dragon Inn and found a healer in Portown to treat the Dwarf (he was down to a single HP!).  He’ll be laid up for a while, but this will give the party time to plan the next descent.

The session went well – there was a good balance of tension and humour, and the rewards balanced out the dangers.  Each party member found a role to play – the Thief as eagle-eyed archer, the MU as coward and, eventually, saviour, and the Dwarf as cannon-fodder.

I also made this table as a convenient way to track time and resources.  Feel free to pinch it. Tone’s Holmes Turn Counter.

Cheers, Bogeyman

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The Adventurers

The first party is now ready to enter Zenopus’ Tower:

 

Akka Warsmasher (Dwarf)

Lvl: 1                      XP: 0 (+5%)

HP: 8                      Alignment: Chaotic Good

STR

INT

WIS

CON

DEX

CHA

14

12

9

13

12

12

Languages: Common, Dwarvish, Gnomish, Kobold, Goblin

GP: 4

Equipment: plate armour, shield, sword, dagger, 6 torches, backpack, waterskin, 1 week iron rations, 10’ pole

 

Hieronymous Worm-Tickler (Magic-User)

Lvl: 1                      XP: 0

HP: 1                      Alignment: Neutral

STR

INT

WIS

CON

DEX

CHA

11

15

5

11

6 (-1)

12

Languages: Common, Gnolls, Bugbears, Ogre, Hoboblin, Priests Cant, Warriors Tongue

GP: 4

Equipment: dagger, 6 torches, backpack, waterskin, 1 week iron rations, 50’ rope, 2 vials holy water

Known Spells: Read Magic, Dancing Lights, Enlargements, Shield, Ventriloquism

 

Schüten Fest (Thief)

Lvl: 1                      XP: 0 (+10%)

HP: 3                      Alignment: Neutral

STR

INT

WIS

CON

DEX

CHA

8

9

7

13

16 (+1)

8

Languages: Common

GP: 20

Equipment: sword, short bow, quiver of 20 arrows, 6 silver tipped arrows, leather armour, backpack, waterskin, lantern, 4 flasks oil, 1 week iron rations, 50′ rope

 

Magic-User languages were generated by rolling on the wandering monster table.  Starting equipment was generated randomly using Untimately’s great random tables.

More after their first delve… Bogeyman

Portown

Below is my map of Portown based on the snippets of information that Holmes provides in his sample dungeon in his basic rules.  I’ve also added ‘Ajax’ Expeditions Unlimited’ from Holmes article ‘Warriors for Hire’ in Alarums & Excursions 11 (text at the Hall of the Mountain King).  The street plan for the map was put together using Zak’s simple and excellent Urbancrawl Rules.

Portown Blog Map Scaled UpKey:

(1) Tower of Zenopus, (2) Thaumaturgist’s Tower, (3) Cemetery, (4) Sea Caves (dotted line is tunnel from Tower of Zenopus), (5) The Green Dragon Inn, (6) Palace of Lord Profane (father of Lemunda the Lovely), (7) ‘Ajax’ Expeditions Unlimited’, (8) Southern Caravan Route, (9) Ruined walls of ancient, unknown city.

Holmes also mentions catacombs beneath Portown but I’ve yet to decide where the entrance/s will be.

Anything that I’ve missed?

Cheers, Bogeyman

A New Beginning… Of Sorts…

Despite quite a bit of work, my Hollow Earth campaign has been set aside.  While they liked the concept, my players just want a chance to hit goblins and chase loot.  I can understand where they are coming from and the work will not be wasted.  So I’ve set the Hollow Earth aside for future development and instead started to put together a new Holmes Basic campaign with Portown and the Tower of Zenopus adventure as our entry point.  The silver lining is a lot less work on my part (my being over-ambitious undoubtedly contributed to the Hollow Earth setting not quite gelling with everyone).

We have our first dungeon – now I just need to put together a simple map of Portown and its immediate surrounds if the dungeon proves to hairy and we can go from there.  This will also give me a chance to put into practice more of the great info and advice that I’ve been given from the OD&D Forums.

More updates soon for anyone watching this space.

Cheers, Bogeyman

My Hollow Earth

With their scions the Atlans, the Titans dwelt long beneath this inner-sun.  Ageless and immense they prospered in their subterranean cities– experimenters, engineers and inventors.  Life, evolution, and perception were their playthings.

‘Ere the inner-sun aged and its clean heat became a disintegrating fire: plumes of discharged radium brought pollution and black-death upon the Titans.  Tainted beyond repair it was the Titan Set who, reduced to insensible spite, roused Cthulhu from his slumber in dead R’lyeh and released his dreams into the hollow-world.

Those Titans still whole fled the contamination and nightmare of this broken earth to find a young, fresh sun under which to dwell, taking with them their Atlan allies.  Their creatures they discarded, to prosper or perish in the ruined remains.

Two yet remained to thwart the Old One and the tainted Titan: Set’s vat-brother Zeus – resentful, proud, manic and protected by the Aegis – and their inert father/forger Crom – vast, ancient and unyielding.

Now, amongst the remnants of the hollow-earth, the uncorrupted fight those poisoned in body and mind, while those writhing in the tendrils of Cthulhu’s dream conspire to unleash true horror into the world….

Image

Cheers, Bogeyman

‘H’ is for…

Holmes, Hollow Earth and Hobbes

My baby steps into D&D.

Holmes

As a newbie to the the whole D&D lark I’ve made the decision to use  Holmes as my introductory rule-set.  I’m attracted to the simplicity of early edition D&D and Holmes obviously has that in spades.  My understanding of the Holmes edition is that it can also be dangerous and unforgiving, another appealing characteristic as I grew up with the gothic grimdark of the Warhammer world and it’s an atmosphere that I’m quite attached to.  Additionally, Holmes is open-ended enough to allow all sorts of additions, bolt-ons and amendments to the rules, and I think I may eventually want to tinker.

https://i1.wp.com/upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/thumb/0/09/D%26d_original.jpg/200px-D%26d_original.jpg

 

There are two great resources available for Holmes: the rigorous research of the Zenopus Archives and the friendly and ever-helpful community at the OD&D Discussion forums.

Hollow Earth

From suggestions raised in the OD&D forums I was led to Edgar Rice Burroughs, Pellucidar, and the possibilities offered by a Hollow Earth setting.  Pulp goodness, dinosaurs, prehistoric humans, reptilian overlords, and a region called the ‘Land of Awful Shadow’.  Awesome sauce.

I don’t think I’ll use Pellucidar straight from the box, but it will provide a great basis to work from as a setting (more on this later).

Hobbes (Thomas)

Is for this: “Whatsoever therefore is consequent to a time of war, where every man is enemy to every man, the same consequent to the time wherein men live without other security than what their own strength and their own invention shall furnish them withal. In such condition there is no place for industry, because the fruit thereof is uncertain: and consequently no culture of the earth; no navigation, nor use of the commodities that may be imported by sea; no commodious building; no instruments of moving and removing such things as require much force; no knowledge of the face of the earth; no account of time; no arts; no letters; no society; and which is worst of all, continual fear, and danger of violent death; and the life of man, solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short.”  (Leviathan, ch.xii).  A little extreme, but kinda what I’m aiming for in a campaign.

File:Leviathan gr.jpg

Cheers, Bogeyman