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Thursday, August 11, 2011

Dread Rock Playtest Session 2 Recap

Cast of Characters
 
Sharaka - Fighter, 1st level, half-orc
Garik Bloodshield - Cleric, 1st level, Dwarf
Dolan the Red - Fighter, 1st level, human
Denthor - Mage, 1st level, human
 
We picked up right where we left off in session 1, using Skype and Gametable as our online virtual table top app.  Gametable really helps expedite gameplay as you can save maps and easily go back in, load the map, and you're ready to play in a few moments.  The group got a great deal of exploration out of the way in this session.  Garik's player really took the lead and did a great job.  I have mentioned him before in my Cormyr Campaign session recaps.  He is the player who tends to wander off on his own at times, however this is usually whenever we play anywhere other than a dungeon.  In the dungeon environment, he thrives as a player. 
 
Sharaka took the lead with his telescopic 10 foot pole, plugging along slowly pushing at flagstones on the floor and testing for traps.  If you've looked on the map for Dreadrock level 1-1, you may recall there is a scythe blade trap leading into the makeshift orc tavern.  Sharaka discovered this loose flagstone on the ground with his pole, and Garik investigated.  Being a dwarf, in 1e rules, he has a 50% check to detect traps in stonework.  I made the roll for him, which he passed.  He could tell by the narrow slits in either wall, coupled with the loose stone, that this was some sort of trap.  He inquired about how high the slits were from the floor, to which I replied, about waist level to a normal human.  He layed down flat on top of the stone, engaging the trap while the others stood back.  The scythes sweeped in from either side of the wall, flying back and forth as a pendulum over Garik's body as he lay on the stone, eventually coming to a stop and hanging in the middle of the hall.  I thought this was a fairly clever way to disarm the trap.
 
They pressed on, taking out the orcs in the makeshift tavern thanks to the aid of a few Molotov cocktail/oil flasks.  They continued along through the area, taking out a few more rooms with orcs, until they found a place to hold up for a few hours so Denthor could rest and re-memorize a spell.  They secured the room and prepared a watch for about 4 hours.  After rolling on the random encounter charts, the first I rolled was a human slave.  As the PCs were in a room, secured and locked, I simply had the slave come to the door and pull on its handle.  Garik replied back in orc, changing his voice.  He heard the pitter-pat of feet run away, and that was that.  The main mission the party was hired to take on in Dread Rock was the rescue of a human female who had taken up to adventuring and ran away from her wealthy father.  The wealthy father hired the group to track her down and bring evidence of her death, or either return her to Dread Rock Bluff alive.  They did not realize it, of course, but had they opened the door, they would have discovered this was indeed the girl, in rags, now a slave to the orcs.  Since Garik replied in orcish, she never spoke and simply ran from the door.  They didn't investigate any further on the matter.
 
One more roll on the random encounter table brought another pull on a door handle from outside the room.  This time, they decided to listen, to which they heard the sound of creatures speaking in kobold.  Garik and Sharaka carefully opened the door, and to their surprise, stood a group of 7 kobolds, in rags and chains, and unarmed.  The leader quickly appealed to the party to let them in, promising they were merely slaves trying to escape, and meant no ill-will to the group.  Garik decided to let them in so he could secure the door quickly.  The kobolds explained they were slaves to the orcs, who had them digging a tunnel to the surface in order to raid Dread Rock Bluff, and the road coming in.  They offered to aid the party in clearing out the orcs, if they would arm them, and set their remaining kin free.  Garik inquired about the slaves, to which the kobolds informed him there were also humans.  The party agreed to arm the kobolds with some spears from the orcs they had previously dispatched in this same room.  Garik mimicked a chant, and told the kobolds he had cast a spell which would result in their instant deaths were they to betray the party.  The kobolds, not knowing any better, believed him (or at least appeared to anyway.)
 
Once the party was ready to proceed, they decided to investigate this tunnel the kobold slaves were digging.  They had the kobolds go ahead to lead the way, and departed the room after resting.  After a few moments, the party, walking in the rear behind the kobolds, heard a click and saw the first 2 kobolds drop.  Sharaka moved ahead to look, and noticed a snapped fish line on the floor, and 2 darts coated with a liquid lying on the ground.  The two kobolds had been pierced by two more darts and died as a result.  Sharaka instructed the kobolds to be more careful and to use their spears to poke ahead on the floor.
 
The party moved on and discovered another door in the corridor.  The kobolds warned the party that the room was an orc barracks chamber, and the party decided to take the orcs out.  They opened the door, which wasn't locked, and managed to surprise the orcs.  Denthor stood in the doorway and cast a sleep spell on 3 of the orcs, then quickly ducked out of the way.  The party stood at the doorway as the remaining orcs pushed forward.  The party managed to funnel orcs out one at a time, using the threshold as a point of advantage.  After taking out 5 of them, the bodies were piled to high for any orcs to proceed.  The remaining orcs in the room turned to flee.  The party then had to spend a round moving bodies out of the way to pursue.  By the time they entered the chamber, the remaining orcs had fled, in an unknown direction.  The party decided to secure the barracks room, and rest for a full 8 hours. 
 
We called the session at this point.  This was the first time any of the orcs had managed to escape the party.  Now knowing of their presence, the orcs have called for reinforcements and are staged with shortbows and nets outside either entrance into the room.  The party will have a rude awakening when we pick back up on Sunday.
 
Post-Session Thoughts:
 
I thought the session went rather well.  So far, the party has only managed to find rooms containing orcs, and have yet to discover a few of the more interesting rooms on the level.  Now, the orcs know of their presence, and things are going to get more difficult for them to proceed.  They really liked the kobold slave twist, and I get the sense they are starting to feel the dungeon environment coming alive.  Looking at the method I used to stock it, I can see I really didn't put in nearly enough orcs.  These are veteran players, and know how to use tactics to their advantage for combat, but with only 4 party members, thus far they have had little problem getting through the combats and traps.  Of course, now that the orcs know they are there in the dungeon, the party has lost the element of surprise.  No more hopping from room to room and surprising orcs.  In fact, it's highly possible the orcs bring out the heavy on this one (that being the ogre prisoner they have for just such an occasion.)  All said, they had fun and I had fun running the session.  We're planning on playing again Sunday night with hopefully another session report soon thereafter here on the blog.