Sunday, February 5, 2017

Beneath the Battered Dwarf Tavern - Playtest Recap - Stop Ghouling Around! (Part 1)

So, last night we got the old group back together, more or less, and kicked of the new Swords & Wizardry Light campaign with a playtest of Beneath the Battered Dwarf Tavern, a SWL Introductory Adventure. I also allowed the use of any of the classes currently written for the SWL expansion, but everyone initially stuck to the four core races.

Roll20 was our VTT of choice. Its a smooth as silk interface AS LONG AS YOU DON'T USE THE INTEGRATED VOICE AND VIDEO! Holy shit, what a fucking nightmare. Normally we would have used Google Hangouts and opened the Roll20 app from within, but no, Google had to fuck up a good thing and make that impossible to do these days with their new Hangout interface. After nearly half an hour of trying to get video and chat to sync for the five of use (best we got was 4 out of 5 working fine but there was ALWAYS someone who couldn't hear someone else) we threw in the towel and opened up Hangouts for voice and chat and Roll20 on its own. Not the perfect solution but it worked.

Character generation was a breeze. 3d6 arrange as you see fit. If you don't have at least one score at 15 or higher you could re-roll. Max HP at first level. Magic-user starts with 2 random spells. It went quickly. No shopping list, just choose your weapon combination and your starting gear pack. Not having to track XP was seen as a good thing.

We had a PC of each of the four core classes, including a halfling thief. A balanced party, go figure. Heh.

In the opening scene the ghoul burst forth from the storeroom during dinner and chaos ensues. The bartender gives his impassioned speech to save his ale - oh, and his wife's nephew. It was on and the players engaged their adversary. Magic Missile for 1 point of damage. Two Handed Sword for 7 points and the danger was dealt with, or at least the immediate danger.

The party investigated the ghoul's remains and noticed that the arm it had been chewing on was long dead, so it was not the dwarf lad's arm.

Encouraged to go below and save the boy - and retrieve the ale - the PCs entered the storeroom and lowered themselves via a series of metal rungs to the basement below. They immediately found and assumed possession of the Torch of Continual Light, which was wise.

The short corridor lest to a room with three doors - north, east and south. North door had recent claw marks, east door had a plank across it that read "Keep Out!" and the south door was ajar.

The party quickly decided the south door was the direction the ghoul had come from and quick spike the door shut. The clawed door to the north indicated there was possibly someone or something behind the door and was a likely place to find the young dwarf.

Sure enough, the door to the north wasn't locked, but did appear to have something blocking it from opening. Calling out, they asked if the dwarven lad was inside and lo and behold, he was. He moved the crates and barrels away from the door and asked the party to return him to The Tavern. The party asked him about the door to the east and he explained that a month ago, giant rats had found their way into the storeroom. Unable to safely engage the vermin, the bartender ordered the door remain closed and they would wait out the rats. Sooner or later, they would simply die of starvation.

The players retuned the young lad to his uncle, who promptly set him to work cleaning up the ghoulish remains in the tavern's dining section. The bartender then asked the PCs to retrieve his ale, because a tavern without ale is a tavern without customers.

Returning to the basement, the party headed through the south door. A corridor in front of them quickly turned east. Shortly after turning, there were a series of bars replacing the south wall for a 10' stretch along with an iron gate with a key sitting in its lock. Beyond, the party could see the barrels of ale sitting in the cold spring water. Not wanting to leave an unexplored corridor to their east, they locked the gate, took the key and investigated further east.

The sound of a creaking gate from behind them alerted them to the charge of a Cave Otter as the party's thief swore he heard laughing coming from nearby...

More to come


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  2. Is that adventure available anywhere?

    1. its available in pieces here at The Tavern - the write up isn't finished yet.

      Once its all posted at here, I'll put together a quick and dirty PDF for my Patreon backers followed by a more professional PDF priced at PWYW


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