Megadungeoncrawl: Session 1, I Swear this was not Planned

Tonight we had our first session of a dungeon crawl exploring the node-based megadungeon.

This is going to be a little rambly and less polished than usual. I want to get it down before I go to sleep.

I didn’t get all the character names, but the players tonight included Courtney Campbell, Erik Tenkar, and Michael Garcia, playing respectively as a fighter, a thief, and a cleric of Eris, the mad goddess.  Thanks for coming out guys, it was good to see you all.

Remember when I said I thought I could wing it, with the material I had at hand?  Well, I think I’d have been somewhat more comfortable if I had done a little more preparation ahead of time… but all in all I think things went well considering I was drawing the map as I went.  I’ll certainly be able to prepare something more for next time.

So, with the understanding that I was winging it, below is a summary of the session. Some details will be changed because I goofed, but nothing horribly substantive.

Entering the Tower

The adventurers stopped at the nearest village to pick up some more gear before exploring the tower.  In speaking with the smith (and declaring the tower’s former occupant had left a will that made the fighter the rightful heir to the entire thing) they learned that the local boys used the remnants of the tower as something of a rite of manhood. Visiting, and returning, was something you did to prove you weren’t a coward, and the more you saw the more… dirt-road cred you had.

It’s a small village.

Most of the boys did return.  Whether that means “almost all of the boys returned” or “almost all of each boy” isn’t quite certain, since some were never seen again and some were never quite right again, but there could be other explanations.

They met a young man named Alf who spent most of his time near them with his eyes flitting about, making sure he was always looking to see what was around him, and flinching at any sound of metal on metal.

He had paid a short visit to the tower, where he basically went straight in until he found a door.  He went through the door into a room full of pipes and bars and screeching metal and banging noises and ran for his life home.

In retrospect, maybe the smithy wasn’t the kindest place to speak with him.

It was only a brief walk, perhaps an hour or so, to the tower.  There were abandoned and ruined outbuildings surrounding the tower, and large blocks of stone strewn about the area, to a distance of some fifty or sixty feet from the tower.  The tower was perhaps eighty feet wide and 150 or so feet long.  One section was about forty or fifty feet high, depending how much of that storey remained, and the other section was about thirty feet higher.

A bit of exploration took them on more or less the same path Alf took, straight into the tower to a door that led into a very, very large room full of bent and broken pipes, bars, and misaligned machinery.  Around the outside of the room was a ten-foot wide walkway with a low wall that could protect someone from falling into the equipment.  Probably.  The dwarven thief’s infravision let him detect some small mobile heat sources — rats or some other vermin, and there are probably bats at the top of the tower — in the machinery, and a much larger and hotter heat source above them and to the right.  The party found a ladder bolted to the wall in one corner and climbed it, whereupon they found a strange sight indeed.

A short distance away was something that looked like a freakishly thin man (about eight or ten inches thick) with shears for hands, cutting the mangled metalwork away from the center area and dropping it into a largish stone box on treads that was trundling along very, very slowly.  There was a light as of molten metal shining from inside the box, and from time to time a small (later discovered to be twenty-pound) ingot of metal was dropped from the ‘back’ of the box.

The party engaged the thin man in conversation, then decided when it did not respond to fall back on extreme body language.  At this point they realized that tin man was a reasonable description for the figure.  A bit of pointed negotiation ensued in which the fighter and the dwarven thief each managed to get a few words in edge-wise.  Before long the tin man truly fell apart without saying a word, though the dwarven thief did lose the last inch or so of his short sword to a critical hit (a successful Reflex save left him with a serviceable weapon).

The adventurers were excited.  A short fight where no damage (except the thief’s sword) was taken, and some metal ingots for loot!

Whereupon the following conversation ensued:

Erik: how many ingots are there?

Me: roll a dozen.  Six copper, four tin, two iron.  They weigh twenty pounds each.

Erik: Sweet!  How much are they worth?

Me: Hang on… thirty coins to the pound?  Those are huge coins.  Let’s say a hundred coins to the pound, then they’re kind of realistic.

And hey, it’s just copper, copper’s not worth that much, and it’s heavy.  This is in a convenient form at leas…

Me: I swear, this was not on purpose.

Erik: What, a lot of copper?  Twenty pounds times a hundred coins… you’ve gotta be kidding.

Me: Not on purpose!

Erik: Don’t change it! Two thousand copper in ingot form, from a… thing that’s smelting it from old machinery?  That makes sense!

The copper and tin, which I’m going to price as copper, and the iron ingots (worth twice as much by weight) comes to a total of about two hundred and forty pounds of metal worth 280 gold pieces.  Pretty rich for a little fight, but that’s happens sometimes.

Even more exciting than the coins, though, was the stone box.  I described it like a three by three  by five foot ‘roach coach’-shaped thing on treads.  It is a controlled source of high temperature that can smelt, and more importantly separate, metals and leave behind consistently-weighted ingots.

Erik: This is awesome!  We’ll never have to search pockets again, just throw the dead guys in here.  The box’ll melt and extract the coins, and get rid of any other evidence!

Now, the stone box moves at a rate of about a foot a minute, and is remarkably heavy (I estimate maybe four hundred pounds, they haven’t tried to lift it).  Getting it down might be a challenge.  They examined it and waited for it to finish processing its load (two more copper, one more tin — sixty pounds of metal, worth another sixty gold pieces).

It was getting late for some of us, so we moved ahead.  The party explored the rest of this ‘floor’ and found a door similar to that downstairs had been effectively barricaded by collapsed machinery.  They also found a stone area in one corner that was about ten feet on a side and had a gap of about an inch around all four sides.  A bit of examination using the metal shears of the tin man found they couldn’t lift it, so they headed back down stairs to try to find their way down, below the tower.

Exploration of the first floor indicated that it was living quarters for the more important servants and the like, with sleeping quarters and a kitchen.  They found a dumbwaiter and a set of stairs leading down into a cellar.  The cellar itself was ruined, with collapsed shelves, broken jars and bags, all thankfully long enough ago that it didn’t reek of rotting food.

Perhaps more importantly, they found a hallway leading to the other side of the basement of the tower… a large work area with scattered remnants of tools, oil stains all around, and large stone doors that likely lead to the outside of the tower, with a broad ramp leading up to them.

At the other end of the room is something that they wanted to find even more: a broad ramp leading down, into the darkness.

Summary Wrap-Up

Location: still in the dungeon, inside the Abandoned Tower.  Ready and eager to charge downward.

Treasure: 340 gp in ingots of refined metal (160 pounds of copper, 100 pounds of tin, 40 pounds of iron).  One stone box of smelting, if they can find a way to get it out.

Experience Points: let’s call it 60 each, for the tin man.  No XP for treasure until they can return to a safe place with it, and I expect the party will very much want to keep the stone box of smelting if they can figure  way how.


    • Ah yes, another way Blood & Treasure is like AD&D 1e.

      Assassins, bards, thieves have an initial base of 1,500 (doubled until 96,000 at eighth level, then 200k for ninth and 200k more per level after that).

      Barbarians, clerics, druids, duelists, fighters, monks start at 2,000 (doubled until 128,000 at eighth level, then 250k for ninth and 250k more per level after that).

      Magic-users, paladins, rangers, and sorcerers start at 2,500 (doubled until 160k at eighth level, then 300k for ninth and 300k more per level after that).

      Multi-class characters all start at 3,000 (doubled until 192k at eighth level, then 400k for ninth and 400 more per level after that).

      On the other hand, you will be getting experience points for treasure recovered to a safe place, and that can stack up pretty quickly. Killing stuff is cool, if you can get through without having to, that can be more effective.

      What is your character’s home system? If 923 XP is close I’d guess something Third Edition-ish; I’d be willing to convert XP from Blood & Treasure model to D&D 3.x — in this case halving it, next level would be quartering, and so on. It means you’d only need a total of about (80*2=) 160 XP to level, and could probably do that just by hauling the ingots back to a safe location.

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