Sunday, July 24, 2016

DCCRPG - The Ooze Pits of Jonas Gralk - Part Three


A Farewell to Bellows


Last night we had our second post 0-level funnel character death, as Bellows the Dwarf was clawed to death by Growly, the Empathic Dancing Grizzly Bear.  Mason the Elf died during our second game, just after attaining first level.  Bellows fell just moments before achieving second level.  

Character death certainly comes quick for 0-level characters.  That's just one of the fun aspects of Dungeon Crawl Classics.  While not easily found at higher levels of gameplay, death is always around the corner as the game progresses.  One missed attack, one failed saving throw, one accidental flask quaff, and a character's career is over.  But this makes the game beautiful.  Each level attained is hard fought.  Each piece of treasure a glorious prize.  Every successful battle a victory to be celebrated.  

We'll miss you, Bellows.  But The Free Company shall continue marching forward.  


The Great SCOT Continues


The Free Company, our adventuring party happily enjoying the Great Sunken City Omnibus Tour, completed Perils of the Sunken City and last month moved onto the The Ooze Pits of Jonas Gralk.  If you're interesting in starting this story from the beginning, here are the previous tales:
This is an open door campaign, so we can always have new players join our group.  Here are our only rules from game to game:
  • Schedule five players for each event
  • Hold a sixth seat free for last minute additions
  • Players who complete an adventure have "dibs" on joining the next adventure
  • Players can bow out, and rejoin later with living or new characters so long as there is a open spot at the virtual table

As always, Die Rodney!

The Free Company Roster



The Ooze Pits of Jonas Gralk, Part Three


The Free Company emerges from the swamp and discovers Imric the Elf wandering along the southern bank of the Flow.  Imric, survivor of a failed excursion into the Sunken City, agrees to join Nicodemus, Watson, and Bellows on journey into the region north of Slither's End.  

The first stop for The Free Company is a simple trade post located in a great tower.  Elderly sisters May and Rosie operate a simple store on the first level of the tower, and show their hospitality by offering each traveler a warm cup of river water.  One of the cups has a small minnow floating in the bottom.  Bellows grabs the cup with the minnow, and starts to drink.  But the tiny fish doesn't want to go down the dwarf's gullet, so it struggles to swim away.  

The rest of the party watches as their dwarf begins to choke.  

Watson bashes Bellows on the back, dislodging the minnow.  Not wanting to be bested by a fish, Bellows picks the minnow up off the floor and swallows it.  Again, the dwarf starts choking.  This time no one is able to save the dwarf, and Bellows has to throw himself against the wall to get the minnow to come back up.  

While looking at May and Rosie's wares, the party notices a pristine and shiny warhammer sitting behind a glass case.  May declares the item to be the legendary "Fairystomper", wielded by the Troll King as he crushed all fairykind from his kingdom.  The women offer the warhammer to The Free Company, if they can rid the Flow of the Redhelm Raiders to the East.  The party agrees.  

Outside the tower is a simple dock, and a bright and colorful craft piloted by a riverboat captain named Eraskus.  Eraskus wants the Redhelm Raiders dealt with as well, and offers four longbows, some arrows, a barrel of halfling stout, and a stout halfling in a barrel.  

This is how Bellows gains Benito the Halfling Mariner (the stout halfling in a barrel) as a hireling.  

The party waits until dusk before setting off with Eraskus for the River Keep.  They make landfall next to a rickety old bridge.  While crossing the bridge, the Imric accidentally crashes through the last plank, his feet crushing a clutch of snapdragon eggs below.  Four adult snapdragons fly out and start attacking the party, but are dealt with swiftly.

Nicodemus moves ahead and scouts the River Keep.  A single, trained bear with a fez guards the front gate, attacked to a long chain.  A pair of guards with bows are on towers flanking the entrance.  The thief calls to the rest of the group to move forward, and they set up a firing line just inside the nearby forest.  Nicodemus takes out one of the guards, and Imric and Watson team up to use arrow and magic missile to slay the other.  

Woart Redhelm, leader of the raiders, tries to intimidate the party.  The ex-lute player threatens that his grand army of raiders and trained bears shall slay any threat.  The Free Company scoffs at the threats.  Eventually the time for talk ends, and a fez adorned guard cuts the chain to the bear.  

The Free Company uses arrows and magic missiles to try and slow the bear's charge, but it keeps coming.  The creature's terrifying roar shakes poor Benito, who had been pushed to the front of the group during negotiations with Woart.  Bellows steps forward to take on the charging bear directly.  The melee with the bear is terrible!  Benito is crushed to death by a vicious bear hug, and Bellows is struck down by a single claw swipe.  Fortunately, Imric has the power to set the bear aflame with his hands.  

Once the bear is dead, Woart quickly agrees to give up the River Keep.  The raider takes his eight compatriots, and heads off into the woods.  The Free Company storms the keep, frees several hostages (including a notable Cleric of Cthulhu, yet to be named by +Marc Plourde), and raises a simple skull banner.

Watson and Nicodemus bicker of the name of the new fortress, but agree to call it Castle Bellows, and they set Cedric's skull just above the gate as a proper decoration. 

*     *     *

Meanwhile..

The Free Company returns from the trading tower, with Fairystomper in their hands.  Upon reaching the gate, they notice that Cedric's skull is gone.  Nicodemus follows a trail made by a rolling skull all the way to the place where the party had left Bellows' body.  

Both the skull of Cedric, and Bellows' body, are gone.

Adventure Notes


  • When we introduced +Paul Go's character Imric to the group, we quickly, and collaboratively, generated a backstory.  We know that Imric is quite clever, and has read countless books about lore.  This kept him alive when the rest of his adventuring company were killed by Mist Men.  We also know that Imric possesses a single book that he dare not read.  As a young and learning sage, he found this book in his teacher's personal effects.  The cover was so terrible, so frightening, that he's never opened the book.  Three simple words (and one piece of punctuation) adorn the black book:  Eat Prey, Love.

  • That minnow would eventually cost Bellows his life.  This event was a series of Luck rolls, and +Marc Plourde kept failing, causing Stamina loss and a couple points of damage.  If he hadn't lost those rolls, Bellows would've had more HP during the fight with the bear later on.  

  • Fairystomper (designed using the Purple Sorcerer's Sword Generator)
    • +1 Warhammer (1d8 damage)
    • Alignment:  Neutral
    • Intelligence:  8
    • Communication:  Simple Urges
    • Bane 1: Naga (Additional +1 attack bonus)
    • Bane 2: Fey (Banishment; with a successful hit, sword sends bane back to its native plane or lair (Will save to resist vs. DC 1d20+10))
    • Power: Detect sloping passages within 1d10 x 10’

  • Since The Ooze Pits of Jonas Gralk is written as a 0-level funnel, I needed to boost the difficulty of the encounters.  Growly the Empathic Dancing bear was one of those encounters I needed to increase.  Instead of using the entry as written on page 33 of the Sunken City Omnibus, I borrowed the Grizzly Bear entry from Hackmaster: Hacklopedia of Beasts, Volume I... with a few creative twists of my own added for flavor.

  • Growly the Empathic Dancing Grizzly Bear
    • Init +2, Atk Claw/Claw/Bite +5 each, 1d6/1d6/1d8 damage, AC 14, HP 33, MV 50', Act 1d20, SV Fort +7, Ref -2, Will +2, AL N
    • Special:  Roar of Fear.  Range 50', DC 15 Will Save or -2d to any action not involving running away for 1d4 rounds.  


Quotes?


"All you elves look alike!" - Nicodemus shows his true feelings.  

"I lost all my friends to mist monsters, and now I'm sad.  Can you guys cheer me up?" - Imric calls out to the party for assistance.

"Aww, f**k you, die." - Marc to his dice.

"I'm not going to let some stupid fish get the best of me!" - Bellows, before choking on the minnow a second time.  

Jim - "They press ganged some carpenters to build the ballista."
Marc - "They press ganged 'The Carpenters?'"

"It's time for a frittata." - Imric steps in the snapdragon egg.

"It's obviously a mistreated animal... we should kill it!" - Nico about the bear.  He was right.

"I think we should change the name of our group... to the Frittata Company." - Paul made a good point, given the amount of food discussion last night.  

Woart - "There's no need for further violence."
Bellows - "We don't want your violins!"

"Don't go into the light, Bellows!  Don't go into the light!" - Nicodemus to his dying friend.

In Memoriam 

  • Benito - Bear hugged
  • Bellows - A truly grizzly death