This evening I am breaking out the first level of the Upper Caves. My nephew and his friends have D&D 3.5, and I ran them through some adventures until they died at level 7 to a giant spider. So now they wanted to "metal-up" and roll some kick-a$$ characters. I let them create a Half-dragon Sorcerer, a Doppelganger Ranger, a Lich Necromancer and a Half-fiend Cleric of Death, Evil and Destruction. I even let them have maximum hit points.
I spent Sunday converting the Upper Caves to 3e, and will tell them that there is rumored to be the home of the Black Lord of Nothingness near the bottom of the dungeon, and they may be able to seize his power. Then I will turn them loose and see how it plays. I will update later this week with the first session report
Had our first play session. The guys didn't bother to name their characters or give them back stories! They said they'd do that if they survived a few evenings of play. Now they are thinking old school. I had one detail wrong - the lich was a conjurer, not a necromancer.
They descended into the first room, with its plethora of exits. Spooked by the possums, they cast sleep at them and rushed upon them, hacking. The possums fled, and they found out that they gained no experience from slaughtering harmless marsupials. They were also intrigued by the giant burlap sack, and after experimenting with it a bit, took it with them.
They headed north to a small cave and stumbled across the bodies of four decomposing orcs. They looted some gold and silver, then headed west and ran into a party of halflings playing knucklebones. The halflings took one look at the lich, and two of them fled. The other three tried to parley, and the sorcerer electrocuted them with his dragon breath! They confiscated the knucklebone dice, which I told them had been carved out of real knucklebones. The stuffed one of the dead halflings into the sack to see if he disappeared, or if it changed the weight of the sack. At this point they decided a sack was a sack!
Neglecting to follow the fleeing halflings, they instead entered a large cavern featuring a pool and a reversing waterfall. They were fascinated by this feature, and the ranger and the cleric grabbed the sack with the Halfling in it and threw it into the water. They watched the sack shoot up the waterfall and disappear, and decided it would be a Bad Idea to get to close. At this juncture, the giant frog emerged and tried to swallow the cleric. Its tongue missed, and then the cleric flew on his batwings and engaged in melee combat, killing the frog. The frog's body then shot up the waterfall. At this point I mentioned that he was also drifting to the waterfall. I told him to roll a d20 on an opposed strength resolution. He was sweating when he rolled a 3 (+5 for his 20 STR), but I also rolled a 3 and he managed to fly away from the falls.
Two crabmen wondered into the cavern at this time, but their dice were unlucky and the players hacked them up. They then boiled some water and ate them with butter. Feeling full, and not liking the downward descent of two of the trails from the room, they decided to track down the halflings. It was at this point that the ranger remembered that as a doppelganger he had Detect Thoughts. They entered a cave full of stalagmites and stalactites, and he used his ability to identify where people were hiding. He was baffled by the leprechaun's mind, but shapeshifted into a Halfling, ran into where the halflings were hiding, pretending to be one of the gang escaping. He then unleashed his fury, and battle was joined.
Things were going so badly for the halflings that the leprechaun decided to turn invisible, dig up his treasure, and run. The doppelganger tracked the leprechaun with his Detect Thoughts, and forced him to fight. Unfortunately for the leprechaun, the ranger was immune to the Sleep and the Charm Person that the leprechaun cast. The lich opened the iron chest, and was immune to the poison needle. They looted gold and silver, two potions, a spell book and a magic sword.
I decided to make the sword chaotic, so now the cleric uses Illuminator, and eerie red sword that detects gems and paralyses lawfuls. Its goal is to slay rulers so that the sword wielder can take its place. They used alchemy to determine that one of the potions is a Flying potion, but they do not know what the other one does (it is Heroism). The conjurer added Sleep and Magic Missile to his spellbook, but failed his roll on Charm Person, and can not learn Levitate as it is from a forbidden school for him.
At this point we wrapped up the night. We won't be playing again for two weeks (next week is Easter Monday and we will be skipping it).
The players said if they had a normal party that the leprechaun would have been a TPK, and they might likely have lost a party member at the waterfall.
Stay tuned in two more weeks for the next segment of the overpowered modern gamer in an old-school megadungeon!
Currently running OD&D Verbosh Campaign (I can usually squeeze in an extra player)
My overpowered 3e party made their next foray into the caves. They discovered the magic pool, and had the lich drink as he was immune to poison. He discovered it looked, smelled, and tasted awful, but gave a pleasant tingling. They decided to fill a waterskin with them and take it. They then discovered the cave with the flaming sphere on the ceiling. This just fascinated the cleric, who flew up to investigate, chopped it with a sword, threw magical water on it, et cetera. He had to dodge three fire blasts while doing so. He eventually gave up but is still determined to 'solve the riddle'.
They headed down a long passage that then branched in three directions, and stumbled over some detritus, inclusing a 14-foot long barbed lance. The sorceror decided to take the lance so he could fight from the back row. They then checked out the cave to the north with the pile of rags. (One overpowered thing about 3e is 0-level cantrips - Detect Magic is 0-level, so the two mages had nine between them. They would cast it in almost every room.) They discovered the stone tablet, and used Read magic to read the runes. They are guessing the ritual will summom Cthulhu, so they have stashed the tablet to try later when they are higher level. They did not clue in to the lumpy, loose ground,so did not tunnel down to room 15.
They then wandered west to a dead end, and on the way back ran into four trogs. Two fled on seeing the lich, and then the ranger and the cleric beat the other two in hand-to-hand. The doppelganger ranger transformed into a trog, grabbed two of their bone swords, and tracked down the survivors. His disguise allowed him to attack them by surprise, and after a short fight, he killed them both. They discovered the cave with the tortured hobgoblin, who I ruled had been killed by the fleeing trogs. They tried the muhrooms and found them edible. The lich has alchemy, and he is thinking once he sets up a lab somewhere, he can take the mushrooms and mix them with the magic water to make a magic mushroom paste. As the spring was clean, they rested and ate and drank here (they figured they found the halflings' mushroom stash).
Back they went to the entrance. They started down the misty troll highway, but did not like how steep the incline was. They marked it for later and went west. There, they discovered a pile of 8 skeleton bones. The ranger crushed each skull just to be on the safe side. They ran into an NPC party coming up from level 3, and the sorceror killed them with his dragon breath. They found it amusing that they were that party's Wandering Monster encounter. They looted the elf and dwarf's gold, and the elf's spell book. They marked a down slope as 'to be checked later' and headed south.
They spent some time in the caves, and stumbled upon a battle between trogs and crab men neanderthals. Altough they realized the smart thing to do was to let them fight it out, they decided to ambush the crabmen from the back (they fear how much damage the crabmen do with their pincers). After a tense fight took out most of the crabmen, the crab priest cast Wall of Fog, and the trogs and crabs tried to flee. The ranger used his Detect Thoughts to track down the priest and kill him, but the rest escaped. They then skewered the crab priest on the sorceror's lance, headed back to the cave with the flaming sphere on the ceiling, and used the lance's reach to cook the crab priest, whom they ae with butter and mushrooms.
At this point we called it a night, and they levelled up (in 3e you level up quickly - it is basically Easy Mode). The ranger took a level of Rogue to get the backstab ability. They lamented only having two hours to play. They love this dungeon. One said "You always have things to do or play with". The other one likes to do weird experiments with whatever they find. They are loving the old school vibe, and how everything is possible. ow they want a light saber, so I told them there is one on level 11.
Next time - will they descend even deeper, or keep exploring this level?
Currently running OD&D Verbosh Campaign (I can usually squeeze in an extra player)
Did I imagine this or did I read somewhere that someone might actually make a module of this dungeon? I agree the dungeon is neat to say the least.
I am thankful to all the original creators of this hobby and to all the work done by it's current guardians. Every time we play, we get to visit a different world, explore it, marvel at it's beauty....and take treasure from the bad guys!
The (now-2nd-level) party continued exploring the south caves, and stumbled upon a skeleton with a gem clutched in its fist. Following their now-standard procedure, the ranger cut off the skeleton's head. They then detected magic on the gem, and picked it up. They had an encounter with a tough ogre, but a timely critical hit cleaned him up. After looting the ogre, they stumbled upon a battle of trogs vs lizard men. The others were going to missile fire first, but the cleric just rushed in. Surrounded by trogs, he then cast a spell that obscured everybody's vision. The rest of the party face-palmed, and then a confused melee was fought in the mist. The party took a bit of damage, but eventually prevailed. They then beat the cleric.
At this point, they had explored all the passages (or so they think) that do not descend into the depths. They chose a random passage, which led them down to the Warrens of the Troglodytes. Along the way they ran into three ghouls, who they distracted by tossing them the corpse of a Halfling that they were carrying around in a giant sack. Then while they were busy eating, the cleric rushed up and attacked the ghouls! The rest of the party face-palmed, and combat was engaged until the ghouls were dead. The party then stuffed the cleric in the sack (they let him out on the second level on promise of good behavior.
There was a whole western portion of the level that the party did not find. Who knows if they ever will?
These new-school players thought this dungeon level was awesome - never boring, and lots of things to experiment with. Kudos to Hackman, Calithena and David Bowman
As a DM, I particularly liked the excellent corpse and wandering monster tables