Archive for Dungeon

Three Blind Mice

Posted in Dungeons & Dragons with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on February 18, 2014 by Kullervo

The secret passage opens into a roughly 40′ by 60′ cavern room, with a ceiling that is 80′ high (and thus out of sight). A faraway sounding voice seems to be singing. Upon closer listening, it is a child’s voice singing “Three Blind Mice.” The walls can be climbed without climbing gear, although there are some slick patches (1 in 10 chance of falling per turn; thieves do not need to roll). Carved into the rock walls at irregular intervals beginning at approximately 50′ from the floor are three large (5′ across) faces of mice. There is no other exit.

Dance of the Dead

Posted in Dungeons & Dragons with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on February 17, 2014 by Kullervo

This long room has two exits. Along one wall is a tapestry depicting a dance of the dead. When PCs approach within 30′ of the tapestry (which is necessary to move from either of the exits to the other), an eerie music strikes up, and 13 skeletons emerge from the tapestry, stand in a line and wait for one combat round. If any PCs begin dancing within that combat round, the skeletons will join the PC in a dance for 13 combat rounds, then bow, and return to the tapestry. Any PCs who do not dance will be attacked by the (normal) skeletons.

The Training Room

Posted in Dungeons & Dragons with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on February 17, 2014 by Kullervo

This 30′ by 60′ room has a large wooden door at either end. Against the walls are obvious combat dummies, well-battered and worn, and a rack of still-usable assorted polearms.

In the center of the room is a hulking ogre wth a black helmet covering its face and a huge blade. It stands still, breathing, as if waiting between rounds of combat. It is an illusion that has long ceased to function properly, and will not react to the players in any way.

Warhammer Quest: Death By 1’s

Posted in Warhammer Quest with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on May 16, 2011 by Kullervo

I played a bunch of Warhammer Quest with my 5-year old son this weekend. He can’t quickly do the math and he doesn’t understand all the rules, but does grok the basic ideas really well (turn sequence, 1’s in the power phase mean unexpected events, rolling high is good, the guy with the lantern explores the next room, when you run out of wounds you die, etc.) and WHQ doesn’t have so many options that he gets overwhelmed. Also, it doesn’t hurt that he can read really well. In any case, he can hold his own well enough that playing is legitimately a fun time even beyind the basic fun of spending time with my kid.

We decided to go ahead and play campaign-style, so we will be able to visit settlements, spend treasure, train up to new battle-levels, etc. At least in theory. The problem is that at battle-level 1, Warhammer Quest is hilariously lethal. The “roll a 1 phase” phenomenon can quickly devolve into cascading events, most of which are monsters, very quickly, and the players just drown in a sea of evil. Accordingly, we have yet to actually complete a dungeon without all dying gruesomely.

I don’t think it’s a bug though–it adds an urgency that is a lot of fun and feels realistic without being strictly a simulation. If you spend a lot of time fighting and making a ruckus, you run the risk of attracting the attention of other monsters in the dungeon. So it’s not unreasonable that a protracted fight would eventually bring the whole house down on you. And that’s precisely what happened to us.

Yesterday, while descending a staircase, we (Elf and Dwarf played by my son; Dwarf Trollslayer and Wizard played by me) were set upoon by a group of goblin spearmen. Alone, they were not much of a threat and we were well on our way to cleaning them up when we rolled another 1 in the power phase and drew another event: the ceiling collapsed! Suddenly we had two turns to get out of the staircase before the whole thing came down on our heads (this is stressful because it also means that if you decide to go out the wrong door, you stand a chance of permanently cutting off the objective, or worse, locking yourself in a dead end–we played it safe and backtracked so we could at least make it back to civilization even if we couldn’t “win” the dungeon).

But the next turn, before the colllapse had even actually happened, we rolled a 1 again, and drew a mass of orks and ork archers. We were down a few hit points from the goblin fight, and the goblins were not all dead either, and we had spent a turn running away from the cave-in instead of killing the last few goblins, so this was troublesome.

The other problem with roling a lot of 1’s in the power phase is that it means that the wizard does not have much power to draw on, which means he can’t cast a lot of healing spells (or area attack spells, or spells of any kind), so the cascading monster ambushes are compounded by the fact that the wizard is basically running on empty. When the orcs strolled in, I had the wizard burn up all of his reserve power to heal up everyone as much as he could, but that meant he was stuck with whatever the power die gave him for the rest of the game.

And of course, the power die kept coming up 1, which means we kept drawing encounters and the wizard kept not being able to cast spells. The turn after the orks showed up, a mob of skeletons strolled in, and our characters started biting the dust: first to go was the Wizard (which is a problem because the elf’s healing potion was already gone, which means all our sources of healing for the rest of the game were now off the table) and then the Trollslayer. The
Elf went down in short order, as well. There’s only so much you can do when compeltely surrounded by ork and skeletons, and taking fire from ork archers down the hall at the same time.

So the Dwarf was left all alone in a sea of monsters, taking his last stand Davy-Crockett-style. In his last turn he rolled yet another 1 in the power phase, and a gang of skaven pounced on him. The monsters were overflowing into nearby rooms at this point. The Dwarf acquitted himself manfully (dwarffully?), but he didn’t stand a chance. Another party of adventurers never to be seen again.

But we had a good time! My son doesn’t get upset when his guys die; he only gets upset if the game ends too early (so the other night when we drew 3 minotaurs in the first room and all got instantly slaughtered ended in tears). So he was happy as a clam because we got to play for a long time. So was I.

We’ll just have to try again.