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Monday, January 16, 2017

Dungeons & Dragons - Dragon's Delve by Chris Perkins

Now that the holidays are over, we're back to this online gaming thing. For the foreseeable future, I'm going to run one of these every Saturday. I'm going to switch between the two groups every other weekend.

The plan is to start sticking these on youtube in a few months once we've worked out all the kinks. Why? I don't really know why, it just seems like fun.

The other group, known as THE KEY RING, will be going through some classic adventures I've always wanted to run.

For this group, I asked them what they want to do once we get rolling. Options:
One player mentioned the Blood War stuff I've been writing about and it suddenly clicked in my head. I asked them if they wanted to do a Planescape campaign. They all were cool with it.

I had set aside a bunch of Planescape adventures for the future: The Eternal Boundary, Doors to the Unknown, Harbinger House, Fires of Dis, and In the Abyss.

I think it would be really cool to run a Planescape campaign that people could watch online. I think a lot of newer players have heard of Planescape, but they have never seen it in action. I feel very comfortable with the setting (which is very complicated), having spent quite a bit of time absorbing it and running it.

So the plan is for these characters to head to Sigil in a couple of months. The Eternal Boundary is the actual introductory adventure for Planescape, so it should be a perfect way to start!

This group is comprised of heroes from the Salvage Operation and Mold Man adventures I ran a while back.

More Perkins: This adventure is another old 2e Perkins jam. I'm sorry to say that I butchered this one, too.

I have been extremely busy with real-life work, so I had very little time to prepare. I changed the adventure quite a bit.

This is a vast, vast dungeon full of dwarves and I was afraid I'd bore the players. If I had tried to run this way back when, I would have run it like a dungeon crawl.

Now that I've watched Chris Perkins run games, I understand how this can be run. It's a place with people in it, not a dungeon full of monsters. You can have all sorts of interactions.

That makes it trickier for the DM, though. A dungeon full of monsters is easy. When it comes to social stuff, players tend to talk their way right to the final encounter, which makes me antsy because I spent all that time reading/preparing and they're skipping past it!

This dungeon in particular has a straight line right to the king/bad guy. I noticed it as I read and thankfully I prepared for that.

The Party

Kyrin - Human Cleric of the Raven Queen
Mistletoe - Human Druid
Ramrod - Goliath Barbarian

2e Dungeon Magazine adventures almost always had these wall of text backstories and no adventure summary. This adventure has a very complicated history. Let's see if I can boil it down:
  • Galvan Ironstar runs the dwarf city of Underduin.
  • His brother Drull Ironstar left due to a dispute 10 years ago and founded Thunderdelve, a shabby dwarf settlement.
  • Galvan recently sent some ambassadors to Thunderdelve, trying to convince Drull to come back.
  • The ambassadors never returned.
  • At the same time, a young crystal dragon named Glittershard went to Thunderdelve and hasn’t been heard from since.
The heroes are hired by Galvan and the parents of Glittershard to go to Thunderdelve and to find out what is going on. They should rescue the dragon and the ambassadors if necessary.

Short Version
: Go to a dwarven fortress to rescue dwarves and a crystal dragon.

Magic Item: Galvan gives the group a magic item to use on their adventure: A horn of blasting. Ramrod, the one man wrecking crew, excitedly took hold of it.

I really like each of these characters. Kyrin has a really cool backstory, and Mistletoe and Ramrod are a hilarious duo.

As DM, I like to be a "fan" of the heroes, but still do my best to be impartial. To a degree, I get to be the audience as well as the director.

I really wanted to listen more and I was able to do it pretty well in this session. I plan on dialing back even more so the players can really dig in so we can get that "reading a book and can't put it down" feeling.

Arrival at Thunderdelve

The group gets to Thunderdelve. Huge iron doors! Ramrod marches forth and bangs on the doors. No answer.

Only one thing to do, right? Blow the horn of blasting!

The doors explode inward. Shouts can be heard from inside.

The heroes enter. Two dwarven guards approach menacingly. Kyrin is able to talk them down. Basically, I dangled the combat option out there, but these heroes wanted to talk their way in. This makes sense. After all, Galvan wants to reconcile with his brother, not kill everyone.

Mistletoe sensed something was amiss. These dwarves were dumb. There was some kind of magic fogging their minds.

The dwarves agreed to bring them to Drull. To get there, you have to go through these magic doors that only dwarves can open.

Ramrod grabbed a dwarf and booped the doors open using the dwarf’s body, which cracked me up.

The group was also very sharp. Those dwarf doors were slowly shutting behind them, so they made sure to keep a dwarf guard with them so they could get out.

The Throne Room

Drull sat on an elevated throne and was not happy at all. The group tried to appeal to him. Mistletoe again sensed something was amiss. Clearly, some kind of magic was affecting him, too.

Suddenly, from behind the throne came a dragon! It was not a crystal dragon, but rather some kind of purple-scaled dragon.

It breathed a cloud of gas on the group. The heroes were spread out, so only Kyrin was affected. He dropped, taking massive damage.

Drull's throne has powers. He filled Ramrod with supernatural fear. The goliath grabbed the dwarf guard, ran at full speed, booped open the dwarf door and was gone.

Four brittle crystal statues animated and lurched toward the group. Mistletoe healed Kyrin to consciousness.

Kyrin was sure that he'd been hit with a flesh-eating gas, but when he awoke he was surprised to see that his flesh had the same lustrous quality it always had.

Ramrod shook off the supernatural fear and booped back in, dwarf in hand.

Drull grabbed his axe and jumped off the throne. The heroes dropped him.

He was scorched with a fire spell which completely disintegrated his beard!

The dragon actually flew toward an exit and disappeared from view. Mistletoe assumed it had turned invisible and cast a spell to try to block the exit but it didn't work out.

The heroes shattered the brittle crystal statues and healed Drull. Drull was unconscious. The heroes got nervous about the beard.

Ramrod took a patch of fur and slapped it on Drull's chin. Mistletoe created magic vines and growths to hold it in place. We rolled to see how the beard looked and bah gawd, the roll was high!

The dwarf guards ran in and everything was explained. The heroes asked where the ambassadors and the crystal dragon were. The dwarves pointed to a carved tunnel behind the throne.

The group also learned that Thunderdelve was once a glorious home to nine dwarf clans, but a firsnaka (fire snake that burrows through stone) tore through the place and drove the dwarves out. It was abandoned for decades. 10 years ago, Drull moved in.

The heroes healed up. The dwarves were now on their side.

The Geonids

The group went into the tunnel and came upon 2 imps sitting on shiny rocks. The imps attacked.

The rocks transformed into dwarves and shouted for the heroes not to hurt the imps.

Now, when I read this section a few hours before the game, I immediately thought of a wereboulder and laughed. I was really excited about the idea.

Then I looked geonids up. This is an AD&D 2nd edition geonid:

I didn't like the way they looked and their description didn't do anything for me. Rocks with arms?

I thought to myself, "F**k that, they're wereboulders."

So, in this session I informed the players that these dwarves are geonids, ELITE dwarves who turn into mighty boulders! When a full moon comes, it's wild times in boulder city. Touched by Moradin himself, they are!

Maybe I should say that their boulder forms have special moon rock properties during a full moon? Maybe they are the result of an unholy union between a dwarf and a galeb duhr? So many possibilities! The mind reels.

The group dropped an imp and the other fled. The geonids explained that there was a monster in this place who was transforming dwarves into vicious monsters.

In the adventure, the geonids are also dwarves transformed by the mysterious monster enemy. In my version, these three are guards that are quietly trying to keep their imp friends safe until they can be restored to their original forms.

The group immediately took to the geonids and asked them to come along. One agreed to do so. His name was Gazgar.

Following directions, the group decided to stop off in a room that had a pool with treasure in it. They were warned that some kind of water creature was in there.

They went in there and Ramrod stuck his foot in the water. A snake made of twisting water formed and clamped down on his leg and tried to pull him in. The heroes attacked it.

Gazgar assumed boulder form and Ramrod chucked him at the creature. Gazgar exploded through the entity and did some cool spinning rock manuevers in the water.

Ramrod got dragged into the water and was about to start drowning. The group was able to kill the water entity first.

The loot at the bottom of the pool:

Ring of Feather Falling
+1 Sword
+1 Chain Mail

Is it just me, or is +1 armor really rare in 5e? I actually kind of like it that way.

The heroes caught their breath, and they heard scratching sounds coming from deeper in the mines. Gazgar explained that it was Glittershard, the crystal dragon. He was digging.

That's where we stopped.


Great group, good Perkins-y adventure. I was not properly prepared at all but I think we rolled through this nicely.

There are definitely recurring themes in Perkins adventures. The guy likes dwarf fortresses. This fortress is pretty similar to the one he used in Acquisitions Inc, season one. The hovering treasure balls in A Wizard's Fate were in season one, as well.


Jon Gazda said...

Sounds like an awesome group. I'm very interested in seeing a Planescape game! As you said, I've heard so much about it and haven't seen it in action. Will definitely be tuning in!

Max Z said...

It will be great to watch Planescape game! It's a long desire of mine to run some planar adventures, but the loads of knowledge scares me.