Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Partial Party Kill

This post is all about D&D stuff. Feel free to move along if that doesn’t interest you.

The game last night ended with one casualty from the adventuring group. I’m hoping they’ll learn little things about the campaign from this: things like “sound carries”. (I know I'm picking on them, but if you can't laugh at a D&D game, what can you laugh at?)

The party (all first level, by the way) has been wandering around in a crypt trying to eliminate a problem with ghouls that have been plaguing the locals. They’ve long since determined that grave robbers had been at the place long before they arrived, but they did finally find a secret mausoleum that hadn’t been opened yet. So, naturally, they robbed it, setting off two traps that they had already discovered before getting at the little bit of loot therein. OK, I did put some loot in the sarcophagi expecting such, but it’s still kind of impolite. Not exactly a Lawful Good band of adventurers, here. Anyway, the traps were not excessively deadly, but the group did use up some of their healing magic to recover from them.

Of course, getting at that loot involved opening the sarcophagi (which is where the traps were set off) and then breaking open the coffins inside (which were nailed shut, naturally). Chopping through the lid of a coffin with a hand axe is not only uncivilized, it’s noisy. As I said, sound carries; in this case, it carried all the way down the hall to where the Big Bad was hanging out.

Big Bad was a fifth-level cleric. He was a somewhat fragile cleric, having no armor to speak of, mediocre hit points, and a selection of prepared spells that wasn’t exactly optimized for combat (The guy lived in an underground crypt, ok? Create food and water needed to be on his list). Encountered with just his one bodyguard, I figured he’d be manageable even for a party of first-level adventurers; I’ve seen published adventures with similar bosses. Plus, he’d be worth a ton of experience for them.

Alas, as I’ve said, sound carries. Big Bad heard the chopping and decided to see what was going on. Not being an idiot, he brought not only his bodyguard, but gathered up all the other zombies he had in the vicinity, as well. The rating of the encounter jumped from “very difficult” to “overpowering”.

Fortunately, the party was able to hear them coming (the Big Bad’s bodyguard was a zombie dwarf in full armor). Not so fortunately, they rushed out into the hall to take him on. Thanks to the non-existence of his armor and the non-confrontational nature of his prepared spells, they did manage to drop him. One of the players even thought of using a Bull Rush to displace the zombie line so they could reach him.

Of course, by the time they did get him down, he’d already incapacitated one of the party clerics, and the other was soon dropped by a zombie. The dwarf zombie bodyguard fell, but the party’s dwarf fighter was himself brought to the brink of collapse by the two remaining zombies.

The remaining party members, the party rogue and the barely-standing dwarf, began a fighting retreat, leaving the party clerics on the floor to bleed to death (the right thing to do, mind you… staying to fight the zombies would have certainly led to a total party kill). The dwarf used up all his throwing axes and a one-shot magic hammer they'd been given before starting the mission to bring down one of the two remaining zombies, while the rogue pelted the other with a few sling bullets before realizing they were having no effect whatsoever.

Finally, they remembered they had flasks of oil in their packs. Four improvised Molotov cocktails (with very lucky to-hit and damage rolls) later, the last zombie was a smelly heap of burned icky stuff on the floor.

Did I mention that the clerics totally forgot that they can turn undead? They did.

One of the fallen clerics stabilized, but the other bled out and perished, meaning they will have to recruit a new character. Maybe the party will have an arcane spell caster next time.

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