Doing Evil in the name of Good is still Good Right? Session 5 of my OSE game

This time we had three players, my good friend Stan, Ryan of the THAC0 blog and Todd of Third Kingdom Games.

Characters included the following PC’s and Retainers:

Gimbaya, Hobgoblin warrior woman,

Abbeye Softpaws, level 4 Lawful cleric (Stan)

Lance, Level 2 Neutral Fighter

Drucilla, Level 2 Lawful Magic User

Ruben, Level 3 Lawful Fighter (Ryan)

Annie, Level 3 Lawful Cleric

Sanken Tonni, Level 3 Neutral Fighter (Todd)

Barto the Bold, Level 1 Neutral Magic User

Encountered were the following:

a Merchant in Dunmore, along with his retainers

Farmer Brown, now proud owner of a cart and mule

Barin and Fergus, Level 1 Lawful Dwarves rescued from ogres

Nain, deceased Dwarf

Bill and Bob, two ogres, deceased

an army of skeletons, some slain, some turned, some under command of Barto the Bold

Our group met in the Brass bell, and divided up the loot from their last adventure, retaining the jewelry as a more compact form of currency than coin, except for a sapphire they sold to an insistent and slightly glazed over merchant, who said “She likes Blue” when asked why he so wanted a particular stone. The group had already checked for magic and had found none. There was a discussion about carrying coin, and I had become very used to DFRPG’s 255 coins to a pound as opposed to the 10 coins to a pound model of these older games. In any case, they sold it and reupped their supplies, upgraded Abbeye to plate mail, and passed her chainmail to Gimbaya to wear instead of her leather scale, bought a mule and cart, along with a door for the tower.

After bringing the door to their demesne, and checking to see if anyone could hang it by rolling for background skills, it was determined that both Sanken and her retainer Barto had been shipwrights, and had skill enough to install the door to the tower. The other backgrounds had Annie as a candlestick maker, and Abbeye as a baker, but no butcher was to be found; Ruben was a bowyer/fletcher, and Lance had been apprenticed to a cartographer, which had spurred his interest in adventure, and his skill with a schematic is probably what lead to the right size door being ordered. Drusilla was a Lorimer, which I had to look up, so she made spurs and the metal bits on tack and harness. That Todd’s characters were woodworkers of a sort was hilarious, as Todd is a master carpenter and cabinetmaker, as well as being a prolific game designer.

After a check in, threat session with their goblin tenements, they spent an uneventful night before heading out on the hobgoblins’ pole boat, and headed upriver. I kept rolling shit for encounters, so they got to a safe place to drag the boat onto the shore and make camp. Late that night, they heard noise and everyone got up and discovered some ogres arguing over whether it was better to boil dwarves before roasting them or to tenderize them by beating them into a paste and then grilling them. One bragged about eating “Coshig,” which he describes as a cow stuffed with a sheep and a piglet then stuffed into the sheep, but the other cut him off and told him the only thing he had ever seen him stuff into a sheep was himself… and a fight broke out. The party hailed them, and a simultaneous initiative roll resulted in a grand melee, during which Sanken was struck twice, but minimally by the ogres, Lance was injured, and Barto released the dwarves, who joined the party after the ogres were trounced,, although they mourned their cousin who had been surprised on watch while they slept, and also their prospecting gear that had been left at their camp.

Later that morning, after convincing the water wary dwarves to join them with healing and promises of loot, they headed back upriver, and eventually came to a good spot to tie up the boat. Gimbaya was without a clue as to how to proceed, as she always took the overland route instead of the water route, so they headed into unknown territory. Soon, while scouting with Ruben, she found a large encampment of skeletal warriors practicing in unison with their spears, and ignoring everything else. The party formed a brilliant plan, which involved first missile fire, a wall of flaming oil, then turning by both clerics, but discovered (after wasting oil) that because the skellys had been told to keep practicing until told otherwise, that they were fairly easy pickings, and they were able to eliminate over a dozen, and turned another 9, who regrouped and started practicing again. Searching the remains of the camp, they found the body of a backstabbed officer who had a baton marked with the same 4 horned goat skull as was on the skeleton’s shields.

Barto grabbed the baton, and found that by brandishing it, he could command the remaining 9 skeletons, prompting Abbeye to call out “Doing evil in the name of Good is still Good, Right? This deeply wounded Ryan’s sensibilities, as he is an Ethics professor. Nevertheless, the neutral characters prevailed in the use of the undead troops as they finally came upon the Hobgoblin’s ring fort. This meant an end to the evening, as it was time for Todd to go.

Things learned about playing OSE, included a lot of presumptions about undead from later editions were shared by most of the group. A quick check found that Skeletons, like all undead are chaotic in this edition, unlike 1e’s neutral alignment for mindless undead, and that there were no weapons any better or worse than any other for dealing with them.

A low loot expedition, but the hobgoblins in-lair treasure awaits!

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Eff Around and Find Out- Session 4 of OSE

Last night we had a third round of The Brass Bell of Dunmore.

Players included Stanley, and Ryan of the THAC0rpg blog.

Characters present included Abbyey Softpaws, cleric 3, And Ruben, fighter 3, along with retainers: Lance, fighter 2, Drucilla, magic user 2, and Annie, cleric 2.

The group avoided a TPK because three of their members were wearing plate mail.

After meeting, and deciding to recover the treasure of the coffer corpse, the headed out, having no encounter in the farmland, but two the next day; they met a nameless cursed man with a huge nose and one leg shoter than the other, covered in manure and pursued by bees. This poor unfortunate had shot and killed a sprite and had been repeatedly cursed by a group of its friends.

Later on they met a group of halfings “hunting kobolds” (on a tour of local taverns), and spent the night with them before approaching the brigand’s tower.

After suitable old school saftey measures were taken, they found out that the treasure had been ransacked, cast sleep on some giant rats and dispatched them, and used dead rats and a rope to try and disarm what turned out to be an alarm (tin plates tied behind a barrier of old crates) . The alarm of course notified the goblins living below, who all took defensive positions.

From the storeroom with the rats, they descended into a narrow set of low ceilinged corridors, and found a stairway down, open into a large natural chamber. Unfortunately, they did not check their 6, and once on the stairs, they were in immediate range of goblin archers on the upper tier.

A lone goblin told them, rather Negan like, to drop their weapons and half their shit. When the party opted to “F*ck around and find out” as the alternative, a hail of arrows descended upon them, and they beat a hasty retreat up the stairs, but not before Drucilla and Abbey were each struck.

Plate mail saved the others as they retreated, and ran for cover, only to be flanked by the goblins. Drucila cast protection from evil on Rubin, and Abbey on herself. U fortunately it doesn’t defend against missile weapons, so the cleric was hit again.

There was a lot of whiffing, as the goblins were useless against anything better than AC 3, and Annie sat on a goblin who rolled a 1 and tripped, and beat him to death with his own club. Soon after, enough goblins were killed as to cause those remaining to fail morale and surrender.

They rounded up the prisoners and found them to have been subjected to torture, at the hands of hobgoblins, who also had their families held hostage in order to extort tribute. The hobs were scheduled to arrive the next day, and were ambushed with a pair of sleep spells upon arrival, with the exception of Gimibya, a hobgoblin woman very disappointed with the idea of extortion instead of honest raiding. She defected and will join them next time when they go to raid the hobgoblin lair.

For now, they headed back to the Brass Bell.

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Real Life Gets in the Way: a reason to travel to the West Marches

I have been trying since October to get my old gang together over Google Meet to play a simple game of D&D. The easiest version the rally old gamers around is B/X, so I went with the best version of B/X, OSE. not knowing if my high school chums still had anygaming supplies, I sent them table copies while keeping my hardbacks..

Most of the guys had moved away in the great post college diaspora, and in the ensuing decades, engaged with that thing that dooms most regular playgroups: Real Life.

There is absolutely nothing wrong with jobs, relationships. or families, those things are kind of the point of what being an adult is about. Gaming is supposed to be what is between these things.

I have made three attempts since our last game in November to play, but one or more of the okd group were unable to make it. My oldest friend in the group, a man I have known for nearly forty years, (he was my first DM in my high school gaming club) has always made the time.He and I agreed to a few things going forward: weneed a larger pool of players, preferably other people who were part of our old groups, and secondly to play with whoever shows up.

the best example of that kind of revolving troupe play is called West Marches style after this famous campaign. The primary conceit is that no session ends in the dungeon, and that incoming characters who “know” members of the group can acquire a copy of the campaign or dungeon map and pick up where the others left off.

Peter Dell’Orto runs his DF game this way, as seen on his website

I have triedto model my play by post campaign this way as well, by his example.

Going forward, however I will recruit players, their characters will start in the Brass Bell, a tavern in the war ravaged city of Dunmoore, and make their way out into the empty lands, depopulated by plague and the incursions of the necromancer. Whoever can show will forma group and head forth to adventure, and be back in town before we end for the night.

Maybe I can get a game going this month!

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OSE play session with the gang 10/17

Dramatis Personae:

Abbyee Softpaws, cleric 3;

Lance, fighter 2;

Aria Silverwind, elf 2;

Drucila, magic user 1

Hildegard of the Rolling Downs, halfling?

Janosh, cleric? Deceased

Calvin, thief? Deceased

Ludwig, magic user? Deceased

Derek the Axe, dwarf? Deceased

Owlbear Deceased 

Skeletons, 2 Deceased, 2 turned

Coffer Corpse, deceased

Giant rats, eaten or cowardly

continuing from last week

While in town, there was discussion about manufacturing spell scrolls, which I like to use the Holmes Basic suggestion of allowing Magic users of any level to create them, at a cost in materials of 1d6x100 gp per spell level, but they decided to hold off on both that and the more expensive spell research option.

After resting in town, and requipping their disposables, and upgrading Lance the fighter’s armor to plate, they headed back to the brigands’ tower.

The night before they arrived, there was a screeching  sound while Aria was on watch. Naturally, she woke the others and went out ascouting. Eventually she came upon a football  sized owl pellet. She returned and told the others, who agreed that whatever it was should be hunted down.

I used the secret doors mechanic for tracking, and after getting a little lost, they were able to track it to… the brigands tower.

They geared up, and for some reason, decided against having the fighter use the high damage polearm and had him charge in with a light club and shield. Aria, not knowing its HD, cast sleep at it. Lance pasted it, but was struck badly. Abbyee immediately cured a few points of his damage. Lance attacked it again, the owlbear whiffed, and Aria grabbed her sword while Drucila prepped a molotov cocktail.

Lance, Abbyee, and Aria all hit, and Drucila set it on fire,finishing it.

After surveying the area, and finding two bodies, a crushed dwarf (Derek of the Axe) and a gutted cleric (Janosh), from whose remains they recovered 16 gp, 8 sp and 8 cp, all evenly divided, along with a mace (given to Lance as an upgrade to his club) and a fine looking dwarven axe, engraved with an interlace pattern (snatched up by Aria). Suspecting more missing adventurers, they gutted the owlbear, and happily found only the remains of giant rats.

Keeping with their standard anti-undead procedures of performing proper burials, they buried the hapless dwarf and cleric, and looked for a place to dump the body of the owlbear so as not to attract scavengers. 

When they had last approached this area, it had been raining and dark, on the return they were occupied  with prisoners, so this was their first opportunity to really get the lay of the land.

The former brigands’ lair was situated on a hill with a sheer cliff like drop down to a rocky beach beside a river that flowed south back to town. Aria used her rope and grapple to descend, and spotted two cave-like openings, one about 15 feet up, the other at ground level. Once on the shore, she became interested in a log sunk into the water a few feet from the shore that she soon surmised was a mooring post.

Carefully, without entering the caves, she ascended and reported the area as safe to dump the body without poisoning the river.

They did, and could smell roasting meat all night while they stayed on the upper floor of the tower, sleeping to refresh spells, with the usual guards posted.

For their location (and precautions) there were no random encounters that night, but some of Abbyee’s spells went to heal Lance, who had been hurting. They descended to the ground level and then through the trap door, with the elf leading.

At the foot of those stairs, she was surprised bya skeleton, and stabbed for a small amount of damage, and was able to fire an arrow at it. 

Much planning vs weapon types vs undead gad been going on, but my players have played so many systems that they didn’t know what applied here.

From immediately behind Aria, Abbyee turned the skeleton, which ran off.

They proceeded to the dungeon, where they found another skeleton attempting to stab someone in a cell.

Aria blasted it to smithereens with a magic missile, and they discovered  the famished halfling Hildegard  barricaded within, having spiked the cell door shut.  After giving her a ration, and hearing that there had been 5 in her party, of which three were now accounted for, and that everything had gone south when Calvin had opened the box (a sarcophagus with an effigy on it) and four of the other coffhad opened as well. They asked what she wanted to do,which was to return home to the Rolling Downs, but balked at giving her arrows… and cast sleep on her to make sure that she didn’t do them any harm from behind.  Again, they did not investigate the jail cell with the hanging skeleton, except to notice that it was wired together. 

They descended to the level of the crypts, and posted a guard while Aria investigated a nearby wine cellar/storeroom. Therein she was attacked by the same skeleton that had met previously, and after another light injury, she cut it down with the axe, releasing a little black smoke when she did so. This attracted the attention of 6 giant rats that were nibbling on the stripped corpse of Hildegard’s companion Ludwig. The rats advanced, but failed a morale check upon seeing the party, and retreated.

At this point, a coffer corpse,the nominal boss monster, stepped out of the room, and resisted Abbyee’s attempt to turn it,and proceeded to choke her. Drucila molotov’ed it, scoring low enough damage  as to not invoke its special feature, and then Lance smashed it with his mace. Abbyee, freed from the downed creature, then advanced into the room, stepping over it,and she then turned two skeletons that were advancing from within.… The coffer corpse then arose again like the antagonist of a slasher movie, causing Lance to flee the burning, walking corpse. (The others made their saves) It snatched up Aria by the throat,who chopped at it for real damage, accompanied by the hissing and whispers of black vapor as it was struck, but not enough to put it down for good. Next round she cut it down , but they decided to retreat at this point

Minimal treasure was acquired, due to the strategic withdrawal, but they only returned upstairs and haven’t left yet.

Xp so far was 175 for the owlbear, 30 for the CC, 20 for the skeletons with the ‘rescue’ of Hildegard TBD. So far not enough for Drucila  to advance.

The entirely of their encounters dealt with a restock of the area, using a selection of wandering monsters from the outside area (the owlbear) and a standard table result for a party of adventurers, and added in what the results would be of a few interactions; the thief opened the coffer corpse’s tomb, which released it to choke out the thief, and activated the skeletons, some of which were turned, once the coffer corpse rose again they failed their saves and fled. Two of them ran to the main floor, and died at the hands of the owlbear. The halfling barricaded herself, and the magic user fled to the storeroom to be eaten by rats. (Who stripped him is a question for another time).

  I frequently use captured or otherwise imprisoned npcs as a means of providing in-story means of providing backup characters in case of near tpk.

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owlbear fight by Jim Roslof
coffer corpse by Russ Nicholson