Tuesday, November 19, 2019

Followup to A1, and Next Time?

Yesterday I posted the summary for Sunday's AD&D session, A1 Slave Pits of the Undercity - Part I.

Further Notes

A few little things about the session:

- I forgot that slowed opponents give a +4 to the "to hit" rolls of their opponents. (DMG p. 67)

- The big set-piece in the temple - that was the first time I got to run that. I was prepared but should have been more so . . . I needed to have a better list of all of the spell effects. I managed but should have done so more smoothly.

- The courtyard fight, too, was a first time. The two times I ran A1 before people just bypassed those and got right down to the lower level and explored there. The courtyard fight seems very threatening - foes with 50-90% cover and a cool weapon. Or, you can just charge them and make their cover - and their fancy ranged weapon - useless. That's what happened.

- Thieves really aren't allowed to try and try and try again to Hide in Shadows. I remembered that later in the session but didn't enforce it. I'll do so next time so we don't have one player rolling endlessly to hide. One roll, and move on. Although those same rolls admonish me that the "Roll of the dice for any thief function must be kept absolutely secret, so the thief (or similar character) does not know the results!" (DMG p. 19) I prefer to just roll in the open. It's part of the fun for me.

- the players insisted on rolling for languages to fill out their lists using the DMG p. 102, so we have people who speak red dragon, manticore, bugbear, spirit naga, and brass dragon. Dread and Phanstern both spoke centaur and used it as a secret language between them. Thor speaking Groot makes more sense than Kayan Telva speaking spirit naga.

What next?

We go on to Part II of A1, the Sewers.

The party was pretty well mauled by the adventure, where they fought a pack of ghouls and ghasts, about three dozens orcs and half-orcs including assassins and a cleric, a cleric, a troll, and faced a couple of traps and some nasty tricks.

As I look at their sheets, we're down two PCs - Eljayess and Phanstern are down and out, having gone to 0 HP and below. The others? Hurt.

Elwita - HP ? out of 54 - I can't follow the player's notations. I know he can, but I can't.
"Ogre" - HP 13 out of 45
Fredda - HP 10 out of 40
Karraway - HP 42 out of 42
Blodgett - HP 19 out of 25
Dread Delgath - HP 9 out of 25
Phanstern - HP 1 out of 25 (OUT)
Eljayess - HP 0 out of 25 (OUT)
Kayen Telva - HP 1 out of 25.

The PCs are completely out of healing spells and down two characters.

If they go on as-is, they'll lost most of the PCs in short order. This is definitely a time to pull back. But it's way more fun to continue on. Some options include:

1) Re-start. These were different rounds in the tournament. I could re-set them to the start with full HP and so on.

2) Partial re-start. Provide some healing and allow the two wounded guys to recover enough to continue. I could provide a certain number of healing potions (there is a plausible, convenient place to put them outside of where they looked so far.) I could provide a scroll of cleric spells (basically the same thing.)

Or I could just declare them healed up thanks to found healing items and the blessings of the god who the temple originally belonged to, and heal them fully or partially. Like, everyone gains 50% or 75% of their lost HP. At 1 out of 25? You get back 75% of 24 = 16, you're at 17. At 13 out of 45? You're back to 37 (32 x 75% = 24). That takes out the nasty randomness of given them potions that might give back 27 or might give back 6.

3) Suck it up. Just play as-is and see how far they can make it! With excellent play, they might be able to get part of the way there. Heh.

I'm leaning toward 2b right now. Used up spells? Too bad. Found cool stuff? Use it. We'll reset entirely for A2 in all likelihood.


  1. Damn, I had forgotten about the tournament. It's harder now since we all have the adventures (plus the prequel), but it would be cool to actually try the tournament rules.

    1. The tournament seems to have been run as:
      Round 1: one of A1-A, A1-B, A2-A, A2-B, A3-I
      Round 2: A3-B and C.
      Round 3: A4 (dungeon portion)

      I'm planning to run all of the portions, so it's worth considering allowing partial or full refreshing between parts.

      I'm just not sure how, yet. I can see this taking some time, especially as we'll certainly get back to Felltower and Gamma Terra before long, and there are rumblings of our GT GM running a different game . . .

  2. Since the tournament content was designed to see how far the players could get in one section, not expecting everyone to succeed a whole section nor for players to continue from section to section, the challenge is not geared for that play format of back-to-back play. If you do less than restore everyone to starting condition you'd be setting them up for a much higher chance of failure. But the player in me doesn't like the instant reset option either. I'd want some degree of continuity. If you could explain it in a reasonable way then finding a stash of healing items or the god of the original temple thanking them for cleansing the stain by granting a blessing of health, then I'd recommend that approach. 75% restoration in fact sounds perfect.

    1. Thanks for the advice.

      I think you're right - it bugs me on some level to re-set between levels. Between adventures? Sure. Plus, it's odd to say "Your HP and spells are back, but mysteriously you ditched that +1 shortsword you found." Or "but mysteriously you kept the sword." Splitting - keep the stuff for now, and 75% back up - seems reasonable.

    2. I'd go so far as to allow the (OUT) characters back into the action, by whatever miracle rejuvenated them by 75%. I didn't really follow spell usage in your recount. How many of their non-hit point consumables (single use items, charged items, and spells per day) were expended? Will you give them the benefit of a 4 hour rest (plus 15 minutes per spell level) to recover spells?

    3. I'm absolutely allowing the OUT characters back in - 7 PCs isn't enough, we had 8 players and we'll likely have 9 next time. We need them all . . . I'm not going to give them a rest for spells. The need to conserve magic for a two-pronged mission was something the players knew going in. It's just they got trigger happy with "cast before I die!" :)

  3. I like option 2b, and if there was a vote, I'd vote for that.


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