Saturday, December 18, 2010

Tunnels & Trolls: The Hunt

Rolled up some characters to teach Rachel and Marc T&T; Risdon's got some knowledge of the game already. Rachel rolled up a leprechaun (I can't pronounce the name) wizard, Risdon a dwarven warrior, and Marc a fairy wizard. (There's just no good way to say that Marc is a fairy but can we just stick to the game, please!?) 

Rudrigg is one of the nobles who had invited the characters to join him in the annual Mistywood Hunt. 500 gold to the hunter who takes down the largest board. The other nobles and hunters spread out, the sound of the barking dogs fading in the distance. Soon it was just Rudrigg and the three characters. After an uneventful day, and as the sun began to head down, Rudgrigg suddenly cried out and charged off to the west. The dwarf and leprechaun spurred their mounts to follow him. (The fairy was riding on the dwarf's horse's head, between his ears). He shot up into the air to look around, easily dodging a hawk that had spied him and dived to nab him.

It wasn't long before the saw Rudrigg's horse standing by itself. There was no sign of the nobleman. His tabard was spotted next in some bushes. Some spears on the ground. A mail shirt. The dense woods suddenly opened into a clearing and they saw Rudrigg's clothes scattered about. But no sign of blood!

After a few moments, there was a horrendous rustling sound and then two huge and two small boars came charging out of the woods. The fairy launched up into the air; the dwarf and leprechaun dropped from their mounts. The smaller boars went after the horses who began pounding them with their hooves. It wasnt' long before they were both taken down.

The fairy hovered, clasping his mistletoe sprig (focus object) throwing "Take That You Fiend" at the big boars. The leprechaun, gripping his lucky charm froze one of the boars which suddenly drooped. The dwarf stabbed away with the rune-covered spear he had found (seeing some magical quality in the big boars' glowing green eyes).

His kremm having been exhausted, the fairy seized his butterfly knife and dove for the smaller of the two big boars. He aimed for the spot right between its eyes but overshot, bouncing off a plant branch! At just that moment, two of the other hunters arrived, driving their rune-scribed spears into the two smaller boars and putting them down. They then turned to help the party dispatch the two big ones.

The fairy was back from his dazed state and his wicked little blade took first one and then another of the smaller boar's eyes. It flailed around, and the claws of the other slashed uselessly against the dwarf's mail as he shoved the leprechaun aside to take the slashing attacks. With the help of the other two hunters, the two beasts finally lay still on the ground. They began shimmering and wavering and soon they boars had gone, replaced by an unknown man and...Rudrigg! He was a wearboar!

The adventurers returned to the little town of Larm where the town elders gladly awarded the party the bounty of 500 gold. The party rested up and the fairy rode a dog into the woods to hide his share of the gold where no one could find it.

Game Notes

This was a good little adventure, found in Trollzine #2 which (along with the other two so far) is a great collection of all kinds of T&T material that has been recently released. They had fun and I did, partly at Risdon's urging, tweak the encounter a bit to help the party out. After all, it would have been a bit tough with just the three. (He's such a whiner!)

The great thing about T&T is that it doesn't really take any more explaining than showing how to do the Saving Rolls and roll the combat damage. A good group will add the requisite drama and descriptions to make it an entertaining story. I'm still getting the hang of balancing the encounters a bit which is not immediately obvious. It would be very easy for a character to die. (The fairy, for example, only has 2 CON, meaning he needs to stay away from close combat.) Anyway, it was fun introduction to the game.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Tunnels & Trolls: "For the Love of Money..."

Fresh off The Drunken Dwarf in the town of Knor and with a good chunk of their cash having been taken by the Elven hottie, the party wondered what to do next. Suddenly a little ragamuffin child appeared, pulling at their cloaks: "What say, guv'nors? A bit o' lunch? I know a place not far from here. I'll take 'ee!" The boy led them to tavern that had a barrel over the door, funneling rainwater from the roof down through a hole in the bottom. "The Leaking Barrel." As they headed inside, the nasty little brute manage to snatch some of their coinpurses. Unlucky adventurers! Several lost half their gold from the little thief!

Inside, they were seated to feast upon some cheap mutton, spoiled onions and potatoes and some tepid ale. A mousy looking man in the corner stood staring at them, trying to size them up. Foo Foo went to relive himself and was joined by the man from the corner. "I have a proposition. You lot look like you want some riches and fortune! I've got an offer to make." Back at the adventurers table, the smiling man introduced himself as Pilzo. He had a map that claimed to show a spot of vast riches. Sir Orik, his flashing smile flashing, negotiated 15% for the man and the rest for the party. And then they were off. They found "Captain's General Store" and spent some time buying some basic supplies and they headed out for fame and fortune.

It was to be a two day trip to the east of Knor. Off they went and camped at the end of the day. Fred was nearly bitten by a large spider. During the trip the next day, Knick Knack was surprised by a nasty scorpion which bit him. Being a tough guy, he was all right, but quite sick for the rest of the day. Near the end of the day, they found a large pile of rocks. A large chunk had an opening visible from 20 feet below on the ground. The party climbed their way to the top and Sir Orik threw in a torch. They went in but the chamber was empty except for a chest which contained a scroll and key. They searched in vain for a keyhole until they were aided by Sillypants' magical help. They found the tiny keyhole which triggered a door in the floor revealing stairs down into the dark.

Down the steps, along a hall and into a wide chamber. In the torchlight, gold and silver glittered, covering the floor, surrounding a huge serpentine dragon skeleton. Purple glow told Sillypants the gold was enchanted, confirming his feeling that there was some bad magic here. That didn't stop the whole party from cramming their sacks and packs with as much coin as they could. But in order to make sure the dragon wouldn't be disturbed, they spent a few moments smashing it to bits and tossing the bones around the chamber. But Pilzo found three keys. Sam Urai began searching for a door. He found a secret one in the far wall, revealing a low corridor leading off the room. Packs stuffed with gold, the party scooted down this new hallway, ending at a large meteoric iron door with three keyholes.

Pilzo had a key to the words above the door: "Awaken the wyrm, invite death." After puzzling out the locks, (three keys all turned clockwise), the door was open and they went in. There was nothing there but a chest and and altar with a dragon statue on top, eyes gleaming rubies. Inside the chest were a short sword and pair of gauntlets. A false bottom that Knick Knack discovered revealed a dragon-shaped mithril dagger! After some arguing over who would get the dagger (boy, what a greedy lot!) they grabbed the dragon statue from the altar. A blast of poisonous gas let loose from the altar and the party hacked and coughed in painful spasms. They searched all over the altar but found nothing else. They headed back up the passage.

As they came through the small doorway, they were greeted by a blast of poisonous breath! The wyrm was alive. Fred, choking on the vapors, dropped to the floor unconscious. The party, weapons drawn, attacked. There was a good deal of vicious fighting. Sir Orik managed to flip up onto the dragons head, riding it like a bull and stabbing away. Sillypants slashed with his dagger. Knick Knack's warhammer brought crushing blows to the creature's ribs. With a roar, the beast let loose another vaporous cloud of death, felling both Sillypants and Sam Urai. Dorik slashed viciously, the dragon dagger causing horrid shrieks from the wyrm. With a well placed thrust toward the wyrm's heart and Sir Orik sliding down the creature's back, slicing it's scaly flesh as it went, the dragon fell. Almost immediately, the wyrm began to crumble and was soon a serpentine drift of dust. It was then they saw the shredded body of Pilzo and the green gleam of twenty or more emeralds lying in the dust. These were packed up and the unconscious members of the party dragged back up the stairs and into the warm outside air.

After they revived a bit, the party began its journey back to Knor. After just an hour or so in, the party was beginning to feel weak, every member. Fred and Sillypantswyrm's lair and drop everything they had taken from the lair, except the emeralds which they supposed were not cursed.

But it was all to no avail. They continued to drop, Knick Knack and Dorik finally falling in the scrub land. Soon it was just Sam Urai, who was feeling slightly better and didn't seem to be getting worse and Sir Orik whose solid constitution was rapidly fading. As they came within sight of the city, weakness and finally death overcame even Sir Orik! Sam Urai, who had collected what remaining equipment he could manage from the dead took the emeralds that Sir Orik had and heading into town...

Game Notes
This was a "Five Minute Fortune" which is one of the great little GM shorts found at the Hobgoblin's Tavern. It was meant to be something of a diversion but it ended up being a nice two and a half hour adventure. We laughed at how much fun they seemed to be having just trying to get some equipment. This is a well-written short adventure which draws on the greed of the characters (and players)! The curse was on the gold and they should not have left the cavern with it.

The kids were humorously annoyed that they died. They complained that the campaign was ridiculous, being just two weeks but I told them it was hardly MY fault. "You're not supposed to kill the characters," Josh told me. "You're right," I said, "You guys were plenty dumb enough to get yourselves killed!" Ben made his cursed disease luck roll which is why he survived. But the kids had a lot of fun and that's what counts.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Tunnels & Trolls: Down the River on the Drunken Dwarf

It was a ragtag band of characters that met in the market of Khost, at the tents of Friendly and Fair Fil the armorer. Wiped out of their gold by buying some basic weapons, Fil was happy to point them toward the river where he knew of a local riverboat captain looking for extra muscle from some guards.

The band includes the following characters:  
Fredo the Hobb, a Warrior (Riley), Fred the Zombie Slayer, a Dwarven Warrior (Jacob), Dorik the Hearty, another Dwarven Warrior (Josh), Sir Orik, a Dwarven Warrior-Leader, handsome in countenance and short on brains (Baxter), Knick Knack, dwarf Warrior (Jake), Foo Foo the Bunny, yet another Dwarf Warrior (Eric), Sam Urai, an Elf Rogue-Wizard (Ben), and yes, one human Wizard, Sillypants Jackson (Ethan).

The band was hailed by Captain Tardag and his first mate Long Torrm as being the right number for their crew. They could always use some extra muscle but mostly they were needed as guards since there were rumors of river pirates. They were promised ten gold per day but Sir Orik, with his brilliant leadership, managed to eke out the promise of more if possible and depending on how they did. With a shove off from the dock--and only a couple of them falling into the river--the Drunken Dwarf was off down the river.

Sir Orik was instantly smitten by Halalgalatidoofiel a beautiful Elven minstrel. As he was preparing to whisper sweet nothings in her ear, she was rudely shoved aside by Maroo the Marvelous! He was trying to sell magic charms but was grieved to learn the characters had little money to spare.

Some of the characters were picked for lookout duty. It wasn't long before they noticed the river seemed alive and seething. Turns out it was river snakes! The captain was called on deck, excited to have run into a mass of "good eatin'." Long Torrm hopped up on the prow with one of the poles. With a deft twist and flick of the pole, he flipped a couple of snakes up out of the water and onto the deck. A couple of crew members jumped on the slithering critters with clubs. The adventurers figured it looked easy enough and began trying, most deftly landing some snakes up on the deck.

They continued for a bit until they realized that there were more snakes landing on the deck than they could club at once. Plus, the were beginning to slither up on the deck too. They were everywhere. "OK, boys," shouted Long Torrm, "let's get rid of 'em!" They traded their poles for their weapons and began hacking, slashing and bludgeoning them to death. Some of the moves included tossing them into the air and batting them with a polearm or taking a nice golf swing into a pile of snakes with a warhammer. A shriek alerted them to one of the crew who had been overwhelmed. With several snakes attached to him, he quickly blackened and fell into the river. A bit later another shriek was uttered by one of the crew that had slipped and fallen into the seething water. After a bit more smashing and bashing, the last of the snakes on deck were dispatched. Karyla, one of the passengers who was relocating her restaurant to Knor, cooked up  a delicious meal of riversnakes.

During the meal, a couple of the dwarves were smitten by the sad sounds of Halalgalatidoofiel's lute. While they tried to smooth talk her they were suddenly accosted by Maroo the Marvelous trying to offload his charms. "You might have wooed her with this!" he said, producing a piece of paper with a rune on it. He was close to Dorik cleaving him asunder right there!

Three of the party volunteered for the night watch duty. Their eyes were heavy and Knick Knack and Fred didn't see what Sir Orik saw: several large logs approaching the boat. But not logs! Canoes! Knick Knack and Sir Orik slipped into the river as the canoes approached; Fred snuck off to alert the crew. As the canoes approached, they could see that they were filled with some ratty looking orcs, goblins and men. It was Captain Fyke's band of river pirates! And there were a lot. They swarmed aboard, each member of the party engaged with one pirate. Soon others were aboard. The party fought well and after trading lots of blows, the pirates all lay dead on deck or floating in the river. Some jingles alerted them to a few loose coins which they grabbed. Captain Tarndag stood with his foot on Captain Fyke's chest. With a deft swipe of his axe, he sent the pirate's head into the water and the body was tossed over next.

Suna, an old crone who had taken passage on the Drunken Dwarf, applied some poultices and salves and healed the party up a bit.

Just as dawn turned to daylight, the Drunken Dwarf suddenly crashed to a halt right in the middle of the river. River trolls suddenly began swarming aboard. With oily hair and frog-like heads their sharp claws began slashing. More than one crewman was grabbed and taken overboard, their shrieks turning to gurgles as they went under. The adventurers went full bore against the trolls. A warhammer smashed forth but was grabbed and blocked. Punch swords drew blood and pierced organs. Short swords slashed. Polearms thrust into ribcages. Nasty troll claws drew blood but the adventurers and crew fought strongly. After a brief struggle of ten or so minutes, the battle was again over, the boat safe.

Within the hour, the Drunken DwarfKnor. The crew began offloading their passengers' belongings. Captain Tarndag deftly handed each adventurer 20 gold. (The amount promised?) "Ye be welcome back anytime ye want to serve aboard the Drunken Dwarf, laddies! Ye done well and I thank 'ee."

The characters stepped off the boat. Halagalatidoofiel once again was seen, a sad look in her eyes. "What's wrong," they asked her. "I wonder if you could help me book passage further downriver. I must get to where my family was when they were killed by orcs." The party argued for a moment and then split up the sum of 25 gold for her. In a moment, they turned and she was gone, lost among the meandering crowd along the docks. Fuming, the party wondered what to do next...follow her?

Game Notes

One of the fun things was to see the players light up when they were told they could do just about anything they tried, with a simple Saving Roll. "You mean I can cast my spell and then trip him?" Since Combat Rounds in T&T are around 2 minutes,  that gives them a chance to realistically do a little more. The combat, though individualized according to the adventure, is much quicker than in D&D. Without a tactical view, this was roleplaying as I remembered it from my middle school days (though that was D&D).

As always, the criteria for the game was whether the kids had fun. They grokked the system pretty quickly and had a good time hamming it up. We'll probably go on next week; there's another adventure nearby perhaps. In some ways, the game is better for our library setting. The combat resolution makes it easy to have any number of players in the battle without adding any significant time. Downtime seems to be a bit less and there's less confusion since players don't have to know specific powers. While I don't foresee us abandoning our Dark Sun campaign, T&T offers a much simpler and easily engaging alternate campaign for roleplaying fun.

I can't believe I'd never heard of T&T but I'm glad I came across it online. It's a lot of fun and easy to run. We're using the 7.5 boxed set from Fiery Dragon as our version. The adventure we used can be had here, which is great since it's free!