Friday, June 5, 2009

Playing the Dunegon of Voorand - the restless dead

The gamestore where I run my weekly gave have changed their open gaming day, and after some scrambling to get the news to some of the players I was wondering if anyone who had played the game before but wasn't a regular would be able to show up, with a new day. At least it was at the same spot! We had good attendance though, and the game could go on.

Tonight was the first major assault on level three. While the first level was too small, level two have taken the players a lot of time to explore. I think my design changed and the game became less like a linear video game with a boss at the end, before the stairs to the next level. There's still a lot of stuff to explore and I have managed to make the dungeon feel big. I like that. Now it was time, though, to push on into deeper realms. They have heard rumours of undead and a city of goblins, and off they went.

As usual I design from a sketchy idea of what I want in the dungeon. I put down some of that on paper and try to fill in the blanks in between. I will shamelessly admit that one strong inspiration for level three is the three piece dungeon by Necromancer Games, Rappan Athuk. It's the only published megadungeon that I know of by the way. Since Bill Webb and Clark Peterson are serious fans of Orcus it's a dungeon with a lot of undead. My sketchy idea this time was undead.

So, after taking it really careful the players managed to do just one big fight, and to explore a lot of corridor and one big cavern with zombies. The zombies would keep coming and coming, as they are wont to do, until they figured out that they had to hit them in the head. Some nice attacks like spinning around with the blade plain dive bomb attacks were done. One missed save, and the party fairy was kind of squashed, though. Having fought those mindless undead they decided to desecrate the mausoleums they found in the underground graveyard, and opening them up they released one wailing banshee which managed to paralyse and chill them to the bone. I had nine of those lined up, but they had quite enough after one! I think that monster which didn't even tried a physical attack was the most threatening thing they've encountered in a long time!

After half the session I remembered to ask the players to keep track of AP gained. I'm going to collect some data about the speed of advancement for later. More about that when I have analyzed some of it and thought about it some.

As I have reported the game have also expanded a bit through the aims and goals that are being developed by the individual characters. Now we spent some time in Khazan planning and researching, made diplomatic missions to the cattle rustling orcs living in the woods outside the dungeon, and business ventures are being planned! I love it when players decide to build something in the game world. Some players might start a religion, found a dynasty or build a castle. Others start a tavern, in the dungeon. Me like. I open the possibilities for people to dream, and they take the opportunity and run with it. That is cool. Building permits, taxes, procurement of food supplies and suddenly the dungeon crawling game have grown. Idiotically enough I actually totally forgot that one character had unwittingly acquired a girlfriend last time. Well, we did have some character development anyway.

Other cool stuff done tonight was the new operating procedure with rope tied to a mountain climbing harness to keep the delvers together. Also, scouting ahead for an exit route when the party was going to try something potentially dangerous. I think fun was had by all.

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