Well, it happened again. We had another session of Castles and Crusades last night, centered around the old favorite, Hommlet. And yet again, we had a change in players as well.
This time around we had Jeff, playing the ever lovable halfling thief, Frederick. My buddy, from the 4E group named Ed, playing a half-orc fighter named Roog. And to round it all out, my eldest daughter playing a human female paladin named Thyla.
First my recap, and then later, my observations and thoughts on the game itself.
Brush rustled, and out burst two muddy, torn and exhausted adventurers leading a bedraggled mule. The paladin Thyla and her "squire" Roog stopped there in the middle of the dusty road and observed the pair. One of the two muddy individuals turned and noticed the human and half-orc and gasped.
The other turned as well, and they both started babbling about being beset upon by horrendous beasts, and that their comrades were trapped within a building and in dire need of aid. Thyla, eyed the falling sun and estimated that there was no more than two hours of light left, and then asked the two what they were attacked by and how far off this building lay.
Most of the following information was garbled, but from the sounds of things the Moat House was only a short journey north through the marsh. The two "survivors" then took their leave and headed west towards the small village of Hommlet in order to recuperate and heal up from their tumultuous ordeal. With this, Thyla and Roog set foot to muddy, bramble strewn road, and the Moat House.
Thick brush and washed out trails made travelling difficult, but the two arrived in under two hours, with only about 20 minutes of light left. They surveyed the ruins from the low, dry ridge and then took a closer look at the small abandoned camp. While neither was a professional tracker, there was no obvious sign of a scuffle. What could have sent those two away then?
With more questions than answers, the two approached the draw bridge and noticed that the wood was terribly rotted. They'd need to find someway across and into the interior before nightfall... And this is when Roog notices the huge bug-eyed frog peering at him from the water of the moat.
An enormous "Croak!" precedes the leap from the water as the creature plops down in front of the stunned half-orc warrior. Their pony neighs and breaks loose, not wanting any part of this, it heads up the road at a quick trot. Thyla backs up a step as well, and draws her scimitar, but Roog beats her to the punch and levels a might swing with his heavy mace, which connects with a sickening crunch to the side of the head of the enormous amphibian. It drops dead and falls to the ground.
Two more pairs of eyes rise out of the water at this time and the paladin and fighter look at one another. More shark-toothed frogs? (Roog's running commentary was absolutely hilarious.)
The noise has drawn the attention of a halfling who has been resting up against the wall inside of the Moat House...He peers out of the arrow slit and takes notice of the fight. A tight squeeze and his exit to the outside is accomplished. With that he nimbly climbs the building and pulling his sword free he leaps with a yell into the moat attempting to pith a frog with his descent.
Splash! Frederick over estimates his leap and misses the frog just as the two beasts leap from the water. Roog, seeing the "child" who has obviously leaped to their rescue, meets the largest frog head on with another crushing blow. Thyla swings wide and drops to the dirt in an attempt to duck the sticky tongue. Her frog, seeing a now "smaller" target leaps upon the paladin and delivers a nasty bite.
The larger of the two frogs also darts in and crunches into Roog's side. This is not going as planned at all!
Now pinned on the ground, the paladin tries stabbing upwards with her scimitar in vain. Her blade's just too long for this type of close work, she misses again. But Roog, ignoring his assailant comes to her aid and smites the smaller frog another smashing shot to the noggin. It goes limp on top of the prone Thyla.
Meanwhile Frederick has climbed his way out of the moat and has crept up to the larger frog from behind. A quick strike and the monster also collapses upon the dirt and mud. Quick introductions are made, but the light is failing quickly and it's obvious that the trio now must retire to the relative safety of the interior of the Moat House.
The quick footed halfling makes his way across the drawbridge and climbs the wall in order to observe the courtyard and surrounding terrain. He spies a dark shape that climbs to the far roof, but is unable to determine exactly "what" it is as it drops off the far side. Bats flit in the darkening skies, chasing the plethora of insects as Roog attempts the bridge.
His heavy weight combined with a misstep though and "Sploosh!", he falls through to the water below. Luckily it's not all that deep right here and, with the paladin's aid he pulls himself free. But as he exits the moat he looks down and realizes that he's now covered in some pretty large leeches! This is not something that the tough half-orc warrior tolerates well and he strips down right there in the open and proceeds to attempt to rid himself of the filthy vermin.
Meanwhile Frederick keeps watch from atop the wall and every-so-often advises that the group be a little more quiet. Ten minutes later and Roog is ready to go, sans leeches. This time he very carefully and gingerly picks his successful way across the bridge. Thyla though looks at the pony, and then again at the bridge. She asks if Roog might be able to get the other gate and slide it across as well.
Muscle and sinew straining, the enormous fighter finally tears the ancient door loose from its one remaining mooring and with a bang, drops it across the moat. Frederick winces at the noise, but keeps a vigilant watch nonetheless.
Both Thyla and the pony (Jha) make it across successfully. They then make their way into the interior of the Moat House and are confronted by Elmo, who's standing guard in the hallway. Thyla mentions that Frederick sent them, and with this the red-head lowers his guard and lets them pass. The halfling joins them shortly.
Brother Fisk heals the newcomers with his remaining spells and draws a promise from each that they'd help sing Odin's praises with the morning light. They then all draw lots for guard duty and begin to bed down for the night. Stinging and biting insects, the howling call of night-birds and other creatures fills the night, but it passes without event.
Next morning the two, Thyla and Roog sing a praise to Odin as promised. Roog pulls forth his drum and accompanies the "signing" with his primal rhythms. Elmo and Frederick look worriedly down the hall...expecting visitors at any moment. But nothing stirs w/in the Moat House.
A couple hours of exploration and the party has covered the entire upper floor of the structure. Finding a room with what Frederick describes as a "rust" monster, which they leave alone, and another full of bats, they end up in the room that was once obviously occupied not much earlier by the bandits; The Black Room.
Drizzle has dispelled his "hold portal" and Frederick unlocked the lock, so Roog opens the door only to find himself facing the swining blade of an axe. He shouts and falls out of the way though, narrowly missing the crude trap. He pulls the rusting axe free and the others warily enter the dark, black room.
In the past the room was obviously a high-ranking officials room, but recently has been used as a camp sight and bolt hole for a group of bandits. But they've seemed to have had enough of the heroes, and have retreated into the swamps for now.
A careful search of the room reveals that the bandits have set up a "back door" escape route with the placement of some large stones in the moat. Brother Fisk stumbles upon an intact chest, hidden under a pile of rubble in the corner and Drizzle happens upon a hollow space behind one of the walls...A secret passage perhaps?
After uncovering the chest Frederick looks carefully for traps and finds none. He then sets to work on the lock, a "click" and a pin shoots forth to prick his hand...Ooops, guess there were traps. The weak poison is fought off and the needle broken. Soon the halfling bests the lock and the chest reveals its contents:
- Two bolts of cloth
- Several thousand copper bits
- Four chalices
- One decorative wooden box with ivory handles containing 4 arrows of masterful craftsmanship.
The secret door opened to a very narrow and steep set of stairs leading down into the depths. Dust and detritus proved that the passage hadn't been used in decades. Frederick led the way down the tight descent which ended on the back side of another secret passage. Opening up to a 3-way intersection, the left-hand hallway was rife with the croaking of frogs while the right-hand opened up into some type of chamber. The hall laying straight ahead disappeared into darkness… All ways smelled of moisture, fungus, mold and mildew, while the drip, drip, drip of water accompanied the croak of the frogs.
Choosing the right-hand hallway, the group, led by the Halfling, moved towards the circular chamber as quietly as possible. In the middle of the room stood a well of some type. Filled with water, the one foot tall wall was 10 feet in diameter. But even more interesting was that the room was completely covered in molds and fungus.
Roog led the way into the chamber and bent over the well to get a better look at the surface of the water. In so doing he put his hand in some kind of slime that quickly crawled up his arms and started quickly digesting the tough half-orc’s tissue. Screaming to get it off, the half-orc thrashed about attempting to scrape the stuff away with his hands, all to no avail. Thinking quickly, the Halfling and paladin come to Roog’s aid.
Thyla tries scraping the stuff off with a dagger and achieves some small success, while Frederick lights a torch and applies flame. This line of action works but also burns the thrashing Roog. After a considerable struggle, the green slime is finally eliminated and a gasping Roog is partially healed by Brother Fisk. Another green slime is found on the opposite side of the pool and is taken care of via the torch.
Frederick, ever the inquisitive Halfling, borrows Thyla’s pole and pokes around in the well. He clips something on the bottom and after roping up, decides to take a swim and retrieve it.
Lying on the bottom, in the gloom and flickering light, Frederick finds a silver sphere, which he brings quickly to the surface. It’s a container of sorts and, after flicking the latch, it opens to expose what appears to be some type of a small, black, stone tadpole.
And since it was getting late, this is where we stopped.
As promised above, a few thoughts on the game itself: I’m not sure how my C&C game is going to survive. The heart of the issue is that Wes runs a game every other Tuesday and I was initially intending to run my game on the opposite Tuesday. Well, I know Jeff K. can’t manage playing every week, and I seriously doubt that I’ll be able to continue doing it as well. So the question arises, what to do?
I love playing the Dungeons and Dragons. I prefer the older style of game to the newer 4E but…overall, I really like playing. I had mentioned last time that I’d stick w/ 4E as long as I could get my “fix” of old school goodness. It looks like things might be coming to a head on that front. I’ll play it by ear though and see what comes of it.
My daughter playing: She’s a very good player. She’s cautious and obviously has a lot of fun…I’d like to continue letting her play. BUT, there are a few issues. Her younger sister would like to play too, and unfortunately it’s a school night, so that might not work. It’s meant to be an adult game, and as such, some certain topics are of a more adult nature. I’m not going to make a decision right this moment, but I will have to come up with some kind of resolution soon.
I invited a new guy to play. We met last week and he seems to be a decent enough fellow. His name is Jason…I ended up inviting him to our game last night while we were chatting and he seemed excited to join. Well, he emailed me the day before and notified me that he’s not going to be able to play for two weeks. Auspicious start I’d say.
And finally, some more house rules:
- Shields will be broken: (I think this is from Jeff Rients) A player can opt to forgo damage done to them if they sacrifice their shield. The damage will be waived and the shield will break. For a magic shield every +1 will give them a 1 in 6 chance of the shield surviving this trauma. A sort of “save” if you will.
- Two weapon fighting: Anyone may wield a weapon in each hand as long as they have a Dex of 13 or greater. If they do so, each weapon must be a one handed weapon and when rolling damage they will roll the most damaging weapon’s dice twice, picking the highest roll. (This is similar to things I’ve seen done for LL and S&W)