BF update: Dyson’s Deathtrap*

The last few Basic Fantasy sessions have bene brutal. A harpy killed the henchmage Brown Julius, along with the torchbearer and pack-bearer. Then the elf was killed by a hell hound — which also brought two other PC’s to death’s door. This week, a medusa surprised the party, stoning the half-ogre, his young ogre apprentice, the gnome MU who was the elf’s replacement, the cleric, and the fighter/bard. Only the dwarf and halfling, and the halfling’s and bard’s retainers, made it out.

This reminded me that there really aren’t any guidelines on the cost of getting spells cast, but Flesh to Stone (and it’s reverse) is damn high level. They do know of a few higher level NPC magic users (the masters of the late elf and Brown Julius, and also Brown’s older and more popular brother Orange Julius) so that is not totally out of the question, but the players seem content to roll up new characters.

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*I wouldn’t really call Dyson’s Delve a deathtrap BTW. It certainly poses some tough encounters but most of the deaths were due to failed saving throws. It’s been fascinating to see how challenging some of these have been, while other encounters that looked like potential TPKs to me were defeated handily. There is definitely a shift in the dangers posed by monsters around the 4 HD mark. Armor Class protected the front line against the lower level foes but area effects, saving throw attacks, and so on make a big difference.

Published in: on September 10, 2021 at 6:30 pm  Leave a Comment  
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BF Session # something or other: There’s always room for gelatinous cubes

Although the last session report was in June, the Basic Fantasy game has in fact been rolling along on a weekly basis. It’s been great to be back to in-person, but given the state of pandemic I think we’ll be moving the game outdoors, which may be a bit of a shock to my neighbors.

Since the campaign started we added another player, who hasn’t been at the table with us since…I don’t know, 2010? The first Telengard campaign probably? He created a half-elf Druid to join the party. In the meantime since the last report the party hired a a pair of pack bearers and a pair of torchbearers, who seem to related to EVERYONE in town. The sage who IDs magic items, the locksmith, and so on.

They also recruited some henchfolk: the dwarf paladin brought on a human magic user, Brown Julius, and the Bard recruited a half-orc assassin, Clemenza. The druid also befriended a black bear.

So this session the dwarf player was absent, and I teased the group that they better figure out how they’ll survive a foray into the dungeon with the dwarf carrying them.

In the event, the party found a pair of rooms with a “hung ceiling” some 15″ off the ground. It was the lair of 10 kobolds who were mostly avoiding other monsters on the level…like the gelatinous cube that the scout discovered while the party was dealing with the flaming-oil hurling kobolds.

How it went down was: the party probed the hung ceiling, provoking a barrage of flaming oil from the kobolds (who had lots of camouflaged hatches to allow for raining missiles below). This took out both the lantern-bearers and injured several PCs. (An aside: BF rules for flaming oil are pretty deadly. The players voiced a concern that the kobolds were payback for their use of flaming oil in prior sessions but I’m actually following a module. I might look at making oil a little less effective.) The party retaliated by setting fire to the kobolds’ platform, and eventually by sheer force the party of 6 3rd-4th level characters managed to defeat the ten kobolds. Meanwhile the scout found a gelatinous cube, which he couldn’t really see until it was right on top of him. He wisely withdrew, but the cube managed to reach and paralyze him. There was a fair amount of arguing about who should try to rescue him, and eventually the cube too was defeated. Thoroughly whooped, the party retreated to he surface again. They had very little to show for this expedition in terms of treasure or XP, but did find a magical staff inside the cube. Huzzah!

Published in: on August 6, 2021 at 6:00 pm  Leave a Comment  
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BF Session 2

Undeterred by the PPK (partial party kill) last time, we continued the game this week. At the end of last session, the party began negotiating for a reward on goblins, in addition to the modest reward already offered for rats. They learned that goblin bandits had stolen a tax collector’s proceeds, and the sheriff offered a small sum for its return. The party also decided to hire some lantern-bearers to avoid fleeing in the dark again. Two local youths agreed to tag along. They also met with several adventurers who are new in town — two repalcement characters and a character for a regular who was absent the first session). The group now consisted of:

Gurgi, dwarf paladin (Tom)

Hieronymus Spicywiener, human cleric (Ian)

Dildo, halfling scout (absent this session) (John)

Halitosis, half-human fighter (replacing Cunning Linguist, half-human assassin killed last session, also absent) (Richard)

Alan-A-Dale, human bard/fighter (replacing Urian, human bard/fighter killed last session) (Ken)

The Elf with No Name, elf fighter/magic-user (Seth)

Todd and Rufus, lantern-bearers for hire (NPCs)

The party returned to the ruins of Ballard’s keep, entering through the stairway they found last session. The entry was eerily empty, so the party avoided the wing of the dungeon they know to have hobgoblins and instead pressed deeper into the dungeon, where they encountered two goblins with a leashed giant ferret. The party defeated them and saw a stairway down as well as two doors with ominous skulls painted on them, but wisely chose to clear the first level before going deeper.

This led them to find a passage connecting to the caves they were in last time, and they exterminated the remaining rats, finding a large hoard of copper.

Going back to the goblin side of the level, they got the drop on the sentries posted in the first room, killing them before an alarm could be sounded. They continued deeper and fought some more goblins and hobgoblins — one room had the goblins listening to a hobgoblin play crudely on Urian’s dulcimer. The Elf charmed the hobgoblin and began to disarm him, whereupon the party slew them all. A last room held the hobgoblin boss, who was readily dispatched. He had the tax collector’s strong box, still locked. Feeling a bit bolder the party investigate the doors with skulls on them, which turned out to hold a crypt. The party opened a saint’s tomb, and stole a prayerbook they found inside. They pushed deeper and found a small catacomb, from which a horde of skeletons burst. The party managed to defeat them with no losses due to good tactics. Finally they opened a sarcophagus, which proved to hold an armored zombie. The party dispatched this as well, and returned to the village to count their loot, claim their rewards, and plot their next foray.

Published in: on June 25, 2021 at 6:00 pm  Comments (1)  
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Weasels ripped their flesh, or, The triumphant return to in-person gaming

This week marked the first day everyone in my gaming group and in my household were fully vaccinated, and we could at last begin to play in person again! I went with Basic Fantasy, an inexpensive and fairly comprehensive old school D&D clone, which feels somewhere in between B/X and AD&D: races AND classes, but simpler mechanics.

I probably should have spent more time reading the rules to familiarize myself with how the rules approach various situations, but it mostly went OK because one player, KO’ed early in the session, helped find the rules as we went.

The party was an interesting mix of rogues: a dwarf paladin, a half-human/half-elf assassin, a human bard/fighter, a human cleric, and a halfling scout. (Of the MANY optional rules available for BF, I decided to just use the Glain Companion, which are optional rules used by the rule’s original author. Hence the nonstandard classes.) They met in a tavern (of course) and were recruited to deal with a giant rat infestation (of course) which lead to a dungeon (of course). No points for originality there, but the players kept me on my toes with unexpected decisions and tactics.

They followed a trail to the apparent rat nest — a cave on the outskirts of the village. There were some larger tracks which alerted them to possible danger, and once inside the cave they were faced with three giant ferrets! The dwarf took the brunt of their assault, as the rest of the party used bows and slings. Two heavy hits from the ferrets (RZZZZZ!) brought the dwarf to negative HP, but the party managed to finish off the ferrets and drag him to safety outside the cave.

The party decided that rather than take the dwarf all the way back to the nearest farm, they’d try to collect some giant rat trophies to turn a quick profit. They tried to smoke the rats out by lighting a brush fire at the cave mouth, which was effective — a half dozen rats escaped the cave, in a panic, to be shot at by the party. Some of the rats escaped but the scout noticed a plume of smoke a hundred or so feet away coming from uphill, and investigated to find some ruins, where a stairway was acting as a chimney for the cave smoke. He went back to alert the party, but was followed by several javelin-hurling goblins. The party returned fire, killing a few goblins and sending the rest into retreat. At this point the party decided to press their luck and descend the stairs.

After dispatching one sentry, the party followed a twisting hallway to find a chamber with several goblins and hobgoblins waiting for them in ambush, firing crossbows. The party fired a volley in answer, and the next round the cleric and scout fled immediately, but the fighter/bard and assassin attempted to stand and fire while the hobgoblins reloaded…except the hobgoblins did not reload and instead charged, swords drawn. Both PCs were injured but not killed, and they decided to flee. Here the simple pursuit rules in BF proved to be the assassin’s undoing, and when the fighter/bard tried to help his companion escape, both were cut down by hobgoblins.

The pursuit rules were fairly simple: when being pursued, roll a save vs Death to avoid any obstacles on your way out (in this case doorways and tight corners). Failing means you are halted/delayed/tripped and the pursuers catch up! The assassin had to make two saves and failed one. Because the bard decided to stay and try to help his companion, both were engaged in the next round of melee and fell.

In fact I was unaware of the pursuit rules, but the dwarf player was helping look up rules as we went since his PC was out of the fray. I have to think the players might not have stood their ground had they know how difficult it is to flee. Lessons learned all around.

The remaining characters took the dwarf back to civilization. Replacement PCs were made, and we’ll give it another go next week!

Published in: on June 18, 2021 at 11:21 am  Leave a Comment  
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