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From the prow of your ship you see the island come into view. At first it is nothing but a glint on the horizon, then a shining sphere.. a ...

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Worlds Largest Halfing gets Monkey Slapped.

 An AAIE actual play , play test.

First of all I have Thank one of the players Jay for keeping notes during this adventure. One thing I have trouble doing is running a game and keeping really detailed scene by scene notes. With out his notes this actual play would be a non-starter.

Secondly about the game: We were playing our home brew Amazing adventurers and incredible exploits (AAIE.)
AAIE is a game of randomly generated , also ran heroes. The game creates the stories of those folks who want to be brave heroes, but really have not gotten there yet. The grocer who just wants to find one treasure so he can retire, the gambler who needs to pay off a debt, the former solider with no other way to make money. Generally the characters that AAIE spits out are pretty flawed.
It will help any one reading to know that the game is meant to be a bit silly, kind of gonzo, and of the cuff. If the adventure seems a bit disjointed and random, that's because it is random, pretty much all of it. The quest, the monsters, the magic items, the hallways, even the characters are created randomly.

This game the players are :
Chris, whose character Lupis is a young thief.
Jay, Whose character is a minotaur warrior named Fletch
and Russ, a Halfling wizard named Purvis.

We were play testing both AAIE and AAIE “the Town” which is an extender that has players investing money found on adventures into the growth of a town, sort of a fantasy loot boom town. (more on the town some other time)

The town currently contains an inn, called “The Inn of Adventure’s Call.” When the characters arrive they are treated well by the inkeeper and his wife, Purvis who had been one other adventure has a few gold crowns in his pocket and does the necessary negotiations to by a plot o land just on the other side of the inn and start building a home.
Fletch and Lupis drink and grab some food right up until the innkeeper starts talking about having his supply caravans raided recently. He talks of some locals going to look for the culprits but then group hadn't returned.

This gets the group interested they ask if any more locals would like to help in the hunt for the caravan's raiders. Two of the inns , hired help offer to come along, They are Sven and Gren, both armed with pitchforks fresh from feeding the hogs.
The innkeeper lets them know that he has heard that the culprits were seen heading south towards an escarpments known as the cliff of tombs.
(Purvis had been a trapper at one time in his life so has local area lore. Russ rolls 3d20 and scores a very strong success, his character knows a great deal about the place.)

Purvis who knows some local lore tells the party that the cliff of tombs is where a number of ancient kings were entombed many ages ago. Tombs were carved into the limestone escarpments and the kings were lid to rest. The tombs were started when a heir was born so they could be quiet deep and complicated. Over the ages the tombs began to run together, and overlap, eventuality the practice was abandon and the tombs were left behind. In the interceding ages all kinds of other beings had used the tombs as homes, dark temples and hideouts.

They set off:
once a they escarpment they find that is is about 200 feet tall and sheer, they travel it's length until they find where some one had recently thrown down a rope ladder .
Lupis decides to climb up first (I ask for a check and he barely passes) The ladder begins to give under his weight and he has to scurry to the ledge. Lupis finds that part o the ladder had been cut and he sets to work tying it off more effectively. Fletch and Purvis give one of the porters and rope and send him up next to further repair the ladder. Next Fletch literally carries Purvis up on his back.

Once on the ledge the quickly find a natural fissure that descends down to a chamber made of worked stone. Limessrone all around skillfully hand worked, the floors covered with up to 8 inches of ash in some places. The ash is furrowed and heaped as if there had been movement through the area recently.

The party , who failed to bring torches rely on Lupis and Fletch to build a fire and create make shift torches. Purvis attempted to cast a spell on a stone that would allow it to glow, but his attempt was a failure , the stone simply crumbled in his hand. (Purivs tried to cast the key word “glowing” on the stone and rolled pretty bad , not critically bad but enough that there was no way that rock was going to be useful.)

Once in the tomb he party stumbled on a dead body lying in front of an open door, there was a small hole in his forehead and a large exit wound on the back of his head. Purvis found the dart that did the damage it was a heavy, feathered, lead ball and spike. The group decided it was from a trap and they best be careful. They looted the body and find an real torch. (Both porters pass a moral check at the sight of the dead body.)

The hallway heads south deeper into the escarpment. To protect themselves some what Lupis gives his buckler to Sven then has Purvis cast the key word growth on the shield (Russ rolls well.) The shield grows much larger providing a barrier in the hallway. Fletch, Lupis, Sven, and Gren begin to slowly work down the hall until they reach a lowered portcullis to their right. And the sound of chortling like a high pitched raccoon's, and movement to the south.  In the darkness  the group can see an ape like  shadow with pale reflective eyes.

In the mean time Purvis had found side room, which he entered. In the room he found a statue of a massively overweight child with goats legs and three serpent heads. While approaching the statue he narrowly avoided being skewered by a spear triggered by a pressure plate in the floor. Purvis notes a large opal in the statures belly button and he uses the head of the spear that nearly took his head off to pry the opal free.

Meanwhile the creatures at the end of the hall have attacked the party. Each creature is around five foot tall and covered with thick red fur, they are essentially ape like except they lack pupils in their dead white eyes and rather than arms they have six foot long calloused and fleshy tentacles.
(these were the weakest of the random monsters I created for this adventure, I decided to populate these early areas with these bastards, I had rolled level 1 and “Blood Spawn” the rest is my invention.)

Flech throws his hatchet at an oncoming group of three blood spawn, he hits one square in the back but does not kill the creature, it leaps onto Sven and clubs him in he head with a tentacle ripping off his ear. Lupis backs away, as another Blood spawn comes loping around the corner.

Sven regain his feat and promptly throws down his pitch fork and breaks for the door.
( I made a morale check for Sven and he failed, Purvis stepped up (he must have seen Sven run by the door) and made a leadership check with the retainers morale roll as the difficulty. {Retainers Morale roll - Purvis's leadership = difficulty of the roll} Purvis muffed the roll and  could not get the retainer to calm down , so Sven took off. First time we had used that and it worked well.)
Gren continues to fight on. Lupis grabs up the enlarged shield and attempts to defend Fletch's flank from the second creature.
Fletch grapples the injured blood spawn and punches directly though it's head in order to grab the hatchet out of it's back, he them pulls the hatchet back through the creatures skull cavity and discards the lifeless husk to the floor.
(Jay rolled to punch the creature and scored a critical success, the player gets to narrate the success so he went whole hog on killing the blood spawn with style.)

Purvis hearing all the racket and seeing Sven flee with blood pouring out of his ear, runs out of the room with the statue and casts Key word “net” on the second blood spawn, He succeeds and the blood spawn is entangled falling to the floor.
Luppis attempts to beat the fallen blood spawn with the only thing he had in his inventory (a dead chicken) but fails to make any real contact.

Fletch takes a second to dispatch the entangled Blood spawn with a hatchet to the head.
(Jay has Another good roll he earned a perk to use against the target he chose “Do an extra 1d10 damage” and that along with his normal damage was enough to put the blood spawn to rest)

Gren attacks the last one with his pitchfork pinning it to the wall. But the wounded creature fights back using it reach to smack Gren to the ground, Gren's head impacts the floor with a sick thud and Gren slips into unconsciousness.
Fletch ends the fight when he uses his hatchet to decapitate the last Blood Spawn.

(Jay who was playing Fletch rolled his ass off this whole game, his character at least for that night was a killing machine.)


Lupis decides to take the wounded Gren back to town, leaving the party at only two.

Purvis and Fletch move back to the portcullis they had found , they are locked but Fletch being a minotaur having been in jail once and being all brawny rips the bars to shreds. (another Critical success for Jay, roll 20 loves him.)

Purvis goes forward looking for traps. He searches for touch plates on the floor with his man catcher accidentally getting caught on a trip wire right in front of him.
(For every one of Jays good rolls Russ had a bad one, this was a very bad failure but not a fummble his next roll however was a fumble...)
Purvis sets to untangling the man catcher , but the trap goes off exploding in his face blowing him teen feed down the hallway, destroying the door, waking the neighbors, and all that good stuff. On top of that he barely survives. Fletch and Purvis decide that the town needs a church where they can buy healing potions, and carry on.

They enter a room where we hear noise coming from behind a door. They devise a plan where Purvis will create “Web of clouds” in the door way, They hoped that when Flech yanked the door open the enemies on the other side would run head long into the misty web, it being hard to see in the near dark of only torch light. A solid plan.
Until....
When Purvis cast the spell however something went wrong and the spell came out as a cloud of webs and the webs simply drifted harmlessly to the ceiling.
(Another totally crap roll by Purvis's player)

Two more Blood spawn charged towards the door and Fletch readied himself. Purvis cast growth on him self and grew into the worlds largest Halfling at 10 feet tall. The blood spawn took pause but continued to charge. (Passed Morale) Fletch again threw his Hatchet and managed to cleave a Blood span in two, dropping it mid stride, his hatchet flying of into the dark.

Purvis grabbed the remaining blood span and held it so that Fletch could punch it to death, however the blood span got a tentacle free and slapped the giant hafling square in the face dropping him unconscious to the floor, and quickly reverting to regular size.

The after a few more seconds of brawling Fletch finished off the final Blood span and continued into the next room.

The next room contained the bodies of and the loot from the raided caravan. An iron strong box laid empty and turned over in the center of the room.
The bodies form the caravan had huge round bruises on their chests and their ribs had all been blown out of the sides of their bodies, these were wounds that looked like they were not caused by the blood spawn.

Fletch searched every thing finding a White crown with a unicorn engraved on one side and a snowflake engraved on the other. When he looped it over his horn it gave him a cooled off feeling like some one had just turned on the air conditioning.
Fletch then picked up the unconscious Pervis and decided now was a good time to get back home.

Back at the inn the caravan master had been alerted of their quest, when they returned he gave them a small reward for eliminating the blood spawn and promised more if they could retrieve his strongbox and the payroll money it had contained.

We let the game end there.
Fletch and Purvis both leveled up to level 2.
Fletch based solely on this game, and Purvis based on his two games.
Lupis will likely never bee seen again because Chris changes characters like I change pants.

Things I took from this play test:

Random characters also give you random levels of viability.(DUH) 
I want to see this as a feature, not a flaw. Not every character in AAIE is destined for greatness, in act most of them are destined for the grave yard, its a fickle game and turning a really flawed character in to a success woudl be a pretty impressive feat.
A player has to be willing to roll with the punches, if they roll a flawed character they have to try and do what they can to either make them better (level), or make them fun. I don't like the just make another one as a way out.  I think if a player really tries to be creative about it, even a flawed character can be successful.

 In this game during combat Fletch was more capable than Lupis, though I don't know how useful Lupis would have been when the traps came around, (Chris had to leave before we got to that) In a fight Fletch just had the right combination of high stats where he needed them and a decent weapon to be more effective than Lupis who had a dead chicken as a weapon, could hope to be.

Rolls can kill you, or at least make you want to die:
The same as in any RPG that uses dice, but damn what a difference between Purvis and Fletch in this game.
If I were to read the above with just the play by play I would have though Purvis was a broken character, but he's not. 
He is a bit squishy but what really held him back were the dice. Jay rolled so well all game his character looked like a totally beast. While Russ had a pretty bad night got blown up knocked out, almost speared, and had a few spell failures.
Dice are fickle, and I don't ant to rule that out of the game, but sometimes it's hard to watch one player soar with god roll after good roll while another is struggling under the weight of bad rolls.

I am interested to see how Purvis goes now that he is level 2, has a few more magical keywords to toy with, and Russ is getting more comfortable with the magic system.

Please leave questions and comments bellow
As always thank you for reading!