Monday, August 29, 2022

Dwarrowdeep #1

It was the month of Kingsway when our adventurers arrived at Khundara Thaig. Then, it could hardly be called a thaig, for the dwarves had just taken the halls of South Gate not two weeks prior, and at great costs in lives.

Lord Rolf Khundar had need of men, and he offered generous terms: a roof over their heads, a warm hearth, a full belly, coins, and what loot you could find that was not dwarven grave goods.

Now of old the South Gates opened to the realms of men, and the dwarves built the halls within to impress the younger race, and even in its current state, a thousand years after they were abandoned they were still a sight to behold. Now the halls held stores of grain, salted meat, and stores to supply many men for many months, for the dwarves were once again going to war.

Formed into bands, the adventurers that had flocked to the banner of Lord Khundar were sent north deeper into the thaig, crossing the Chasm of Karak over Thurdin's Bridge, at last reaching the Lower Halls after a trek of nine miles. Here the captain sent them out in their bands, bidding them to survey the lay of the halls, noting where the darkspawn gathered, and noting where all the passages were, that the battalions will not be surprised by sudden ambush when they came to take the halls.

Exploring to the west, our heroes (see PC profiles here) were almost immediately set upon by a lithe darkspawn, which was called a Shriek, but they were able to slay it.

Proceeding on, they came upon a burial hall, which turned out to be a false crypt. When they searched the walls of the hall, they discovered a hidden door, but when Boggart passed through it, a portcullis came down and cut him off from the others. Then the stones of the wall on the chamber beyond formed into a golem, and began to attack him. Boggart attempted to restrain the golem by entangling it with a rope, the ends of which he passed to Bertil and Lorca. But the golem was too strong, and could not be restrained; but when it strained again its bonds the rope lifted the portcullis where it passed under the bars, and so Boggart was able to slip under the portcullis and escaped certain doom.

When Bertil had rendered healing to Boggart, the party then continued with their exploration, coming upon another chamber, wherein was a plinth, upon which a untarnished warhammer of great beauty was placed. Boggart attempted to remove the hammer from the plinth by means of a lasso, but when the lasso fell upon the hammer the pillars of the chamber, which were shaped like dwarven warriors wielding hammers, came to life and struck the plinth - the hammer was but a phantom!

The party proceeded on, and came across a hall of records, wherein was found many records concerning the common folk of Khundara Thaig. Near the hall of records was an ossuary for common folks, the entrance of which was protected by a magical barrier which our heroes could not pass through.

Finding no other passages, the party turned back, but was attacked by a patrol of genlocks, which they managed to defeat.

Prepping and Running the Game

The first session of our campaign was a simple dungeon with a few keyed areas. The map of the area was based on the Heroic Haps Abandoned Dwarven Hold tiles which I made, with the descriptions based on the entries from Dwarrowdeep.

Dwarrowdeep "as written" is too vast to run, and I have no practicable way of representing the dungeon on table, since our style is to use grid maps and miniatures. As a result I decided to let the players explore just one section of the dungeon, with the assumption that other parties are likewise exploring the other sections; the section that the PCs explore will be a composite of the more interesting keyed areas from the module, which I will translate onto the dungeon tiles which I have.

We had three combats this session, which is the usual number I try to aim for. Combat is slower than 5E, due mainly to the time needed to add up the sum of 3d6, as well as the dreaded "choice paralysis" when a player gets Stunt Points - I expect this to resolve after a couple more sessions though.

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