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Sunday, March 22, 2015

Sword & Wizardry vs. The Barrowmaze - Sessions 1 to 3

Sword & Wizardry vs. The Barrowmaze - Sessions I to III
"Funny thing happened to me on the way to the dungeon"

So as mentioned before I am running my long time gaming group through Barrowmaze, I decided to use the Sword & Wizardry Complete as the base rule set. Here is a brief summary of the gaming sessions so far.

First Session

I had all of my players roll up three different PC's.

Everyone had a laminated hero builder sheet so they could wipe them clean and reuse them to make creating the PC's faster and easier.

DM Note: The sheets were a lot of fun to make and the players liked them, but it did not help as much as I thought they would

As part of the PC generation process, Each PC was given a random Background, Dark Secret, a Physical and Mental Trait. This was done as a challenge to the players to incorporate these into a cohesive background..

Then we put all of the PC's into a folder and then I randomly gave each player a PC from the folder.
Everyone managed to get a PC that someone else created, needless to say much fun and hilarity ensued.

Side Note: The one lone female characters is played by a guy and all the female players ended up with male characters.

In the event of a PC dying, the player gets a new random character from the "Fresh Meat" Folder

Second Session

We finally started the campaign, "Yay", the party has been travelling to the Duchy of Aerik for weeks and finally arrived in the village of Helix.

It is at this point that I shall introduce the party.

  • JarvisHuman Cleric of Herne, also known as Jarvis the Shitty Tailor
  • Splendiferous FinchHalf-Elf Fighter/Magic-User, known for having fantastic hair
  • Rosco ColtraneHuman Fighter
  • Ehith SplinterraElven Magic-User, 1,400 year old elven 1st level wizard
  • RidleyHuman Fighter, Busty Young Female Fighter, Apple of Jarvis's Eye
  • Sir Grunky PeepsHuman Fighter, A nobleman and very loud talker, likes to refer to himself in the 3rd person.
The players then proceeded to spend the entire session exploring the village, meeting the locales, drinking, eating and shopping. It was a heavy role-play session with a lot of funny moments and the party avoiding every one of the minor plot hooks l had laid, so no side adventures for now.

Funniest Moment: The 1,400 year old elf poking at a 300 pound harlot yelling "back you foul beast, back to your cage". There is more to the story, but you had to be there. 

I let the players fumble around and figure things out on their own. To be honest, the person who had the hardest time with this was me, the DM. I have never ran a pure sandbox / megadungeon adventure like Barrowmaze before. I had to learn to keep a hands off approach and let the PC's do their thing.

Third Session

We started the session off with two players not being able to attend, but we picked up a  new player.

Rosco was stricken by Montezuma's revenge and Grunky ended up deciding to stay in town to continue to gather information about the area and the burial mounds.

The rest of the party headed out at dawn to find the Barrowmaze. They had just hired a local guide named Bartik and teamed up with a Paladin of Horus, named Al-Jazeera, who had recently arrived in the village and was looking for a party to join.

The morning was spent traversing the Barrowmoors. A couple of hours into the journey the party was surprised by 3 Skeletons who were aimlessly wandering the moors. Ehith was killed when one of the skeletons cleaved his head open. In addition, Ridley was knocked out by one of the skeletons, but the party bounced back, Splendiferous destroyed one with Magic Missile and Jarvis was able to turn the dead back by invoking the name of Herne. He expended a precious Cure Light Wounds to restore Ridley to full health.

The party then proceeded to loot Ehith's body and bury* him in the moors. Shortly after they ran into a halfling named Shy Longleaf, an adventurer who had become separated from his party when they were attacked by the undead on the moors.

By Noon the party had finally arrived at the burial mounds of the Barrowmaze. They began to explore and came across a mound whose entrance had been covered. Luckily Al-Jazeera had a couple of shovels with him. They spent the next several hours digging out the entrance.

Just as they opened the door to the mound a party of 6 Froglings came out of the moors and approached the party in a non-hostile but wary manner. Al-Jazeera stepped forward to parlay with them, however not knowing their language, he accidentally issued a challenge to combat to the death with the strongests frogling.

DM: What do you say to the Froglings?
Al-Jazeera: I raise my arms in the air and yell "BUD-WISE-URRRR"
DM: ............. OK, they raise their arms and bellow back  BUD-WISE-URRRR, the biggest and strongest of the frogling draws his weapon and points at you in a challenging manner.

Needless to say the Paladin won and the froglings took their champion and returned to the moors, no doubt to plot their revenge on the Paladin.

Meanwhile Jarvis, whose DARK SECRET was a fear of slimes and slimy creatures panicked and fled down into the burial mound. The halfling Shy, ran after him. They managed down to descend the stairs without falling and found themselves in a dark room. Neither of them could see in the dark and neither had bothered to light a torch.

DM Note: In Sword & Wizardry, Halflings do not have darkvision or infravision.

Which was unfortunate since they could not see the 6 Giant Centipedes on the ceiling. The centipedes dropped onto Jarvis and Shy biting them repeatedly. Jarvis failed his saving throw and succumbed to the poison bite. Shy passed his saving throw. The rest of the party could hear that they were in trouble, lit a torch and charged down the stairs.They slew all of the centipedes and tried to save Jarvis but it was too late. They then looted the tomb and Tarvis.

They then carried Jarvis's body outside and buried him in the moors. It was during the burial that a female dwarf named Ivana Humpalot, appeared. She had been in the same party as Shy, there was great rejoicing at being reunited.

The  day was getting late and Bartik warned the party of travelling the moors at night, the party decided to used the burial mound as a camp. After setting up their camp they did a little more exploring and discovered a monument to Nergal, the deceased Greater God of Death. They returned back to their camp and were promptly attacked by 5 Pterodactyls.

DM Note: There are no stats for Pterodactyls in Barrowmaze, Sword & Wizardry Complete, Labyrinth Lord or LL AEC. I had to make some shit up on the fly. I have since done some research and found the stats for some in OSRIC. I have created a version for S&W
Pterodactyls (Sword & Wizardry Version)
Hit Dice: 1+2
Armor Class: 8 [12]
Attacks: 2 claws (1d4) or 1 bite (1d6)
Saving Throw: 17
Special: None
Move: 24/48 (flying)
Alignment: Neutral
Challenge Level/XP: 2/40
Ptreodactyles are winged cold-blooded reptiles. They swoop down and pick up their prey. They then drop them on rocks to kill and then eat them.

They managed to evade attack and escaped back to their camp with only the torchbearer almost getting grabbed if not for the fast actions of the halfling and paladin. After a full nights rest and with no monsters bothering them they set out to explore again in the morning