Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Castle Amber Recap - Part2

Day 1 Encounters:

In the first 3 hours of real time the players were able to make it through the West Wing and 1/2 way through the center Indoor Forest area.

One particular interesting encounter in the West wing was the Aranea room.

The PC's were still preoccupied by a encounter with a huge green slime that was guarding a treasure. They had not figured out a way to destroy this massive slime (and never would) so they decided to try out the doors nearby.

They opened the door to the next room down from the slimes and found it completely filled with spider webs. In the back of the room they could see a glittering array of spider eyes looking at them longingly. They slammed the door shut and moved on.

Or so they thought - the aranea used a phansmal force to make them think they had shut the door when instead they had just shut an illusionary door. Two of the aranea then proceeded to follow them and charm Higgins (I rolled him as the victim randomly). Once Higgins was charmed he tried to set the mage of the party on fire with his torch. The party started to try to dealing with Higgins and then a big spider falls down top of the party cleric. The other two spiders are hiding in the original room bidding their time.

The party begins to fight the 1st spider when the second spider casts magic missile on the party. Two PC's are hit and then they see the spider pop its head back inside the door (looking like it is "phasing" through the door. They decide that these spiders must be partially ethereal so they run over to the illusionary door (still believing that it is real) and try to open it. Meanwhile the spider just pops its head out of the illusion and bites the dwarf who is trying to open the door. Luckily the dwarf has amazing poison saves or they would have had a dead dwarf.

The third spider turns invisible and slinks away from the fight, not liking where it is going. The PC's kill the first spider that dropped down on them and then begin to fire lots of arrows upon the second spider. They figure out that the door is illusionary and they jump through it. Finally, they beat down Higgins with subdual damage and then finish off the second spider. They collect their treasure and then head back to safer territory to rest and recoup spells (the mage used lots of his spells up finishing off the spiders).

Unfortunately, the third spider follows them. It comes upon Higgins and the dwarf while they are on watch and bites Higgins. He fails his saving throw and dies a few rounds later. Meanwhile, the spider casts ventriloquism and begins to taunt the party and attack them from their flanks. Eventually, they get everybody awake and finish off the spider. Higgins was the first victim that the Castle Amber adventure claimed. I think if I had been rolling random encounters this adventure would take at least double the time and would have claimed many more lives in the process.

Other encounters that stick out in my mind were the ghostly dinner (where none of the PC's ate anything except for the dwarf who ate and drank EVERYTHING!). He lucked out on saving throws and ended up gaining 2 extra permanent HP, lost a point of INT, gained a point of WIS, and gained the power of ESP 1/week for life.

Another encounter that was quite a bit of fun was the amoeba in the center of the fountain in the Indoor Forest. The PC's see this treasure and know that there will be something stopping them from getting it, but they decide to send the thief in to get the chest. He takes his shoes off, cuffs his pants up, and starts to walk across the surface of the amoeba after pushing around with a 10 foot pole.

The amoeba engulfs the thief inside of itself and begins digesting him (causing 2d6 damage each round). One of the clerics decides to grab the 10 foot pole and try "fishing" the thief out of the slimy amoeba. I decide that it could work and we use a couple of random rolls to determine success. It ends up taking 2 rounds but the cleric fishes out the thief. Meanwhile the amoeba eats the dwarf - so the cleric wipes some sweat off his brow and begins fishing for dwarf. Using random rolls kept the action fast and furious.

This is one of the strengths of B/X DnD, you can get combat over fast, so you can get to more combat (and that is a line from the Risus roleplaying system but it totally applies here). We had nine PC's 5 of them spell casters, and several that had magic, and I was able to run combats of 12 turns with 10+ opponents in less than 20-30 minutes.

Anyway, getting back on topic, the amoeba had 15HD and took a lightning bolt, 2 magic missiles and the combined hacking of ~3 other characters before finally they hacked off enough slime that the creature died a wriggling death.

After fighting the amoeba they explored the chapel and then proceeded down into the dungeon where they unlocked the silver gate and moved into Averoigne!!! But that is another story, for another day, in Part 3!

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