The pros & cons of undercooked troll steaks: Telengard session 20

I actually can’t believe I’ve run twenty sessions of Telengard already. The highest level characters are 6th level (Swinlow & Grumble), and the rest of the party is 5th level, except for Bob’s character who is 2nd level, and I think Adam’s Elf was only 2nd or 3rd. If/when Bob or Adam come back, they’ll have some catching up to do, and should any new players join, I’m going to have to decide whether they’ll start at the lowest PC’s level, or 1/2 the average XP, or just 1st level. I’m a little worried that starting at first level will make things a little boring (“You stand back here and shoot arrows/lob oil/cast your crappy 1st level spell while we kill these frost giants…”), but starting above 1st level kind of robs the player of the chance to claw their way to the top. I guess a few “newbie/low-level” sessions, maybe at the FLGS, would be a workaround, although a party of low-level PCs can easily be wiped out by Telengard. Hmm.

Anyway this time the party followed the one adventure hook I didn’t really prepare for. They could have returned to the “main” dungeon, where they still haven’t completely explored the second, let alone the third, level. They could have finally checked out the open pit mine. They could have followed up on the notice from the gnome village, asking to see the party. They could have started doing something — anything — about the impending pirate raid Swinlow heard about. But instead they decided to check out the dwarven ruins under Skara Brae.

Since they sold a couple of young trolls to the highest bidder a few sessions ago, and later saw a troll-steak vendor, I decided to continue that thread. When Matrim went to check in with his superiors, they mentioned that someone has been selling undercooked troll steaks and people have been reporting seeing trolls in and around the sewers. So, problems solved — there will be trolls in them thar ruins, possibly as a consequence of the party’s decision to cash in on the monsters they captured. 🙂

The party hired a torchbearer, since they know they need an open flame to make good use of their oil, and they hired Drogo the linkboy.

I was a little shocked at the party’s ability to shred 9 trolls (piecemeal, 2, then 4, then 3 in waves) and subdue nine ogres without breaking a sweat. However seven 3rd-level chaotic fighters, with two 4th level clerics and a 6th level fighter, were more of a workout, forcing the party to use up their growth potions in order to defeat them.

The trolls had no real treasure (treasure type D and highish rolls) but the chaos warriors had the ogre’s treasure plus their own. With the generous XP they get from trolls (I am still using the OD&D 100 XP/HD, x2 for significant powers) and the piles of coin, it was quite a haul.

One highlight for me as DM was that my lack of preparation was largely undetected. When an ogre prisoner said the boss’s name was “Drogo,” John was briefly trying to place where he’d heard that name before, and the rest of the players stared blankly until John gave up and muttered about keeping notes. Weirdly, even I forgot that Drogo was the linkboy’s name until I wrote up this report.

One last notable event was that the chaos warriors had an idol to Surt which, when touched, gave Matrim a mutation (a scorpion tale he could not really control). So both Zorro & Matrim had to pay for a lavish and time-consuming ceremony of atonement to cleanse themselves of the taint of chaos, and now the party is wondering what’s up with these chaotic mutation-causing objects suddenly cropping up everywhere. Heh heh.

Published in: on April 29, 2011 at 6:00 am  Comments (3)  
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3 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. You HAVE to make the Linkboy the Evil Mastermind, hiding in plain sight.

  2. New Player,

    I would say 1 level. The expotential xp and common death would allow them to catch up fast. Consider if we had a level 1 PC Last session they would be 3rd level in any class but elf.

    • That’s a good point. Plus it emphasizes that level is not the be-all/end-all in B/X that it is in say 3rd+ ed. There’s plenty to do even if you can’t go toe to toe with the trolls yet.

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