I honestly try to post more often than weekly. Life somehow conspires to prevent me....
Anyway, this past Friday we all got together to play a game. And by we, I mean the group my wife calls "the grown-ups". If she could have heard our comments and goofiness for the past two sessions, I think we would have lost that designation. Especially the long discussion about curtains, drapes, carpets and hard-wood floors. Let me just say that Victorian London will not be the same again.
However, we had a problem. Our Savage Worlds DM had a prior and more important engagement to attend. It was his daughter's birthday. Cool. We get that. So, for the week preceding we all exchanged emails of various lengths discussing our options. It got down to Flambeaux offering to run a S&W/AD&D version of Keep on the Borderlands or me running my variation of Blackmoor Dungeon. By Wednesday, I could see my week turning south and not having any time to prep. Thus, Flambeaux got to run the game. I bought pizza in honor of not having to run.
As we gathered, Charlie regaled us with a story of his S&W game involving "humblebees", magical pollen, a hippy ogre, and a drug addict panda bear. Charlie has also glommed on a copy of Lankhmar (from 2nd ed) to use as his home base city. (Good choice, Charlie.) After laughing until I was almost crying, we begged Charlie to write up his little game summary for posterity. Hopefully, it will appear in this location soon.
Getting back to our story, we rolled up characters using S&W classes, B/X saves, and AD&D magic tables to equip ourselves. Thus, the group consisted of a 4th level fighter (Bingo the Naymoh), a 3rd level magic-user (Blanche Artois), a 3rd level fighter (Nuglute the Graceful), a 5th level magic-user (Malxanar), and a 3rd level cleric (Eggo of the Holy Brotherhood of Slolth). Bingo immediately hired a man-at-arms to help round out the party (Fubar) and got a mule to help carry our expected tons of loot.
We set off for Mauve Castle after talking with various folks around town, hoping to get some leads on places to explore and things to avoid. We were warned to not mess with any grass which looked "different". In the morning, we set off for the short trek to the castle's gates. The drawbridge was down and had been for several years. We inspected the moat to make sure nothing would try to come up at us and we checked the drawbridge for stability before crossing. We moved through the gatehouse with relative ease, despite some murder holes above us arguing about our marching order. We ignored them.
Taking the proscripted "right hand rule" we moved along the right hand wall looking over the interior of the castle's grounds. The grounds appeared to be cut in half by a curtain wall running diagonally across the square-ish shape as viewed from outside. One section of the curtain had collapsed inwards and halfway down the curtain wall was a round tower with no visible entrances at ground level. Scattered throughout were various shacks, buildings and lean-tos in various states of disrepair. We investigated the first one we encountered and only discovered a cold fireplace and a few bent iron spikes. Nuglute climbed the broken masonry of the curtain wall to view the other side and reported a well-manicured lawn with small brown things moving upon it. This sounded like the grass we should avoid, so we did. Closer inspection gave truth to the initial impression that there were no entrances at ground level to the tower.
Past the tower, we were able to see a large arched opening leading into the other half of the castle grounds as well as two doors into buildings just past the arch. We also encountered a large patch of unusual looking grass. Within a few feet of the grass were some objects and we sent Fubar to get them. He returned with an empty oil flask, a flint and some steel. Nuglute had a serious brain fart at that time and decided he wanted to dive into this new grass. Thus, he tied a rope around himself, threw the other end to Bingo and Fubar, and then ran and dived into the grass. We observed the grass reach up and grab him. There was a strangled gurgle and we pulled back an empty rope. We lit torches and attempted to burn the grass, but it must have had magical protection because the torches kept falling short despite the tremendously accurate throws of Bingo.
Wiping away tears for our lost companion, we moved over to the arch wherein we found Auks, another 3rd level fighter looking lost and confused. He readily joined our group as we moved through the arch to explore this weird well cut lawn. Since it was so strange, we tried to study it but the lighting was poor at noon and we didn't see much. We did see some signs in the distance but we couldn't distinguish the lettering. Moving along the left wall (changing from RHR in the hopes of increasing our chances of finding something worthwhile) we moved along until we came to a door. Checking to see if it would open we determined that it was barred from the inside. Blanche knocked upon the door and we heard no response. Moving further down the wall, we reached a 2nd door with the same results. This must have upset Malzanar who promptly cast Knock and opened the door. We observed a corridor stretching off into the distance and curving to the right. A door could be seen in the right wall about 50 feet down. At this point, Fubar asked "What does this sign say?" Blanche said, "It reads, 'Keep Off the BunLawn'." At this point, we all feared that the grass would turn us into bunnies so we moved into the corridor. Reaching the door, Bingo and Fubar managed to push it open as the rest of the group were hit with crossbow bolts from "down the corridor". Thinking we set off some trap when we opened the door, the group stayed outside as Bingo and Fubar did a quick look around. A 2nd volley of bolts, with poison, killed Blanche and injured the others. Bingo called them all into the room and closed the door. Searching for another exit and binding wounds, Bingo determines the only way out is the way in. So, he hoisted his shield and decided to charge the crossbowmen down the corridor. Stepping into the hallway, he almost loses his footing on the suddenly oily/greasy floor. Then, despite his magical shield and magical plate, he took 3 hits with poisoned crossbow bolts. It's at this time the illusion of a ceiling and curved hallway disappeared. Bingo could see through the now open ceiling and roof up onto the battlements where the attackers were hunkered down behind cover. A torch appeared from nowhere setting the oil alight. Bingo and Fubar ran around the now 90 degree right turn of the hallway and hit a door there in the hopes of escaping the fire and crossbows. But the door was trapped. A large fireball engulfed the hallway killing everyone.
Thus ended our adventure into Mauve Castle. We learned to avoid odd looking grass. We learned to better quiz a DM who has a large vocabulary but doesn't use it......I'm still won't take a torch from this man. And I learned that Friday night D&D games for guys who are out in "the real world" need to be light-hearted and fun. I had a bit of an epiphany at the end of the game on how I want to set up my next game. I'll write more on it in the next post. Thanks, Chris/Flambeaux......and oddly fitting title now............