Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Random Notes from Friday's S&W Game

Just some random notes about last session.

- The Maze of Doors feels very Dungeon Geomorphs. I actually pulled my copied version and waved them at the camera when we found it. Set 3, the Lower Dungeons. We'll check them sometime, with lots of checks for secret doors. But I dunno, most of the maze of doors setups I am familiar with have trapped false doors, and lead nowhere.

- Dungeon Rhinos. If the Illusion was an ogre, I'd have bought it. Or a big ooze. Or a big beetle. It just hit me as totally wrong for the spot. I didn't believe it for a second, personally and viscerally.

- Parlaying. We parlayed where we could - the dwarves we spoke to, and tried to recruit them. Mirado asked them if the kobolds were friendly - heck, maybe we could talk to them or hire them. But they sound hostile and potentially valuable to us dead and dangerous to us alive.

The humans we fought, well, admittedly we forced the door open. We didn't listen or try to communicate with them. Had we done so, maybe they would have talked. Maybe not, though, and we did better for the fight than we would have by negotiating.

The rest, though? Beetles, rats, skeletons, zombies, giant flies. All attacked us on sight. The only negotiating we could have done was toss food to distract the rats. Or it might not have. We may have to lace some rations with rat poison and leave them around - possibly labeled as such, rats can't read. Just to keep the numbers down. No way to talk to them usefully.

So we might have seemed like "find it, kill it, loot it, move on" but it wasn't quite like that. Mirado has dreams of an army of followers. He's limited to 4 special ones by his CHA, but hordes don't seem limited in S&W.

- Keyed maps. I'm hoping Erik can edit an unkeyed map. Seeing the map in Roll20 keeps it easy to follow with a physically scattered group (Erik and I were the closest on Friday - maybe 30-60 minutes apart by car?). Hand mapping would be a nightmare - sharing it out to everyone, people needing to ping sections because they can't point, etc. Seeing the room numbers kills some of that. Seeing nothing on the map would make it feel really worrying - a perfect player-drawn map, basically, with no clue if the room or corridor section is or was important in some sense. If nothing is keyed, everything seems dangerous. If some things are keyed, well, nothing else seems dangerous at all. The author weighs in apprantly disagrees with me. But I think the rest of the B-Team will agree with me - a blank map is a really a no-brainer for a Roll20 game. Upload it, put on Fog of War, and get rolling.

- Killing. We killed everything we encountered that we didn't talk to. But we spared the ones who we could extract believable promises of non attacking us. Ruthless but not bloodthirsty is how I'd describe it.

- Non-Undead Foes - we fought a fair amount of undead in the games I played so far. I'm glad the dungeon had a nice variety of non-undead foes!

- Hirelings. They were okay, but I need to find ways to make them a bit more useful. And keep the torchbearer safer. They were cheap as dirt but I don't like expending lives uselessly. Or really, expending them merely for profit.

- Go Left Young Man. At Tim Shorts' suggestion, we always went left. Well, close to always. We kept left but made sure to explore passages and doors around us that could leave us in a bad spot. But "Always Go Left" was a good starting point for exploration. I know this makes Jeffro go into Hulk-rage, but yeah, we did it and it's a sensible approach. SOP is SOP for a reason - it works in standard situations. It's not flawless but having a basic approach beats having no basic approach.

Next time, level 2. It seems unlikely that my 3rd level PC is going to level fast enough hanging around on level 1.

I am really enjoying the whole megadungeon experience. I can't wait to piece together what this place is really like.


  1. Parlaying didn't go too poorly. For an old school dungeon we did a lot of it. And we talked to the humans after we tied them up and took their stuff. The mage never got the opportunity. And the fact his body guards thought he was a jerk didn't help his case. We spared two of three which isn't bad (I hear Meatloaf in background).

    The map. I'm going to disagree with Joseph on this one, which I rarely do. But a for an on-line game its beneficial to have an unkeyed map. It's just easier. Keep the game going. If you have someone mapping you may have to stop periodically to have him catch up. I understand that part of the charm of this mega-dungeon is the disorientation of where you are, but that can be achieved with an unkeyed map. Ken Harrison does it to us all the time with his Monteport mega-dungeon. I have no idea where we are half the time because he will simply turn the map on us when we phase into or out of an area. I'm enjoying the exploration of the dungeon immensely (it doesn't hurt that the group is made up of good guys) and looking forward to getting into a different level. Just hope my low level guy can keep up.

    1. It helped that Erik told us ahead of time that there were legitimate groups to parlay with - but I was also all ready to do it.

      And yeah, there is a big difference between "Our party is lost" and "Our players don't know what room we're in." I think showing the map deals with the latter nicely but still leaves the former intact. Even a teleporter - does it matter if we know that we've been teleported? We're still screwed.

  2. As to mapping for online games, I use MSpaint to clear room#s and secrets, dysonize the image if not already, and copy and crop small pov sections to display.


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