Thursday, 26 July 2018

4 Against Darkness

I am back from almost 3 weeks travelling through Southern Italy.

I took one gaming item with me on the trip. Well, actually it was on the cloud. A copy of the solo game Four Against Darkness. I was pointed in the direction of this game several months ago and bought a PDF copy.

I have always had an interest in solo games. It made more sense before the proliferation of online platforms for gaming but there is still a place for it. While it is easy to join an online group sometimes you just do not want to be held to a time slot. Solo games work for that. Computer games do as well to some extent.

Four Against Darkness is a simple rule set that allows you to direct a team of four adventurers against a randomly created dungeon. I have played through 12 rooms of my first random dungeon with moderate success. It is interesting but does not come close to matching actually cooperative gaming. The rules do not allow for much of a story to develop.

The first step is to choose your four heroes. I decided to go with a classic fighter, cleric, thief, and wizard. The heroes are differentiated only by a few powers by class and their equipment. The next step is to place a starting entrance on a sheet of graph paper. Then you move the heroes into the next room which is randomly generated. You can encounter an empty room (and can search if you want to see if it is not empty), foes to fight of varying difficulty or special rooms.

Combat is simple, all of the rolls made by the hero. To attack roll d6 and score higher than or equal to the monster level. To defend roll d6 and score higher than the level of the foe. Foes that hit the hero do 1 wound. But the hero does d6 wounds. So it is possible to kill more than one foe with an attack. Magic and healing are all limited to a set number each adventure so it is important that the heroes do more damage.

There are some additional rules, morale, traps, puzzles but that is the essence of it.

My second encounter in my first dungeon my starting heroes rolled up seven level 4 orcs and I thought we were going to have a total party kill. The fighter, cleric, and thief repeatedly missed while the orcs kept hitting the heroes. Luckily the wizard cast sleep and then fireball successfully and the Orcs fled as they are afraid of magic and must roll morale if magic slays one of them.

The heroes are waylaid by Orcs in the Fearsome Vault.

Monday, 2 July 2018

A Night at the Cemetery

A Night at the Cemetery

Once more into the Void Session 5 - A Night in the Cemetery

This is the last of the retroactive write-ups of my D&D 5th edition campaign. Session 6 was the first session I posted on my site just more than a year ago.

Intruder in the Night

“I was robbed!”, Oto yelled as he came down the stairs to the common room of the Inn. The Innkeeper looked up with concern.

“I.. I am sorry?” Artain Whitlow the Innkeeper said.

“I said I was robbed, in the middle of the night some foul miscreant snook into my room and stole my oar,” Oto said.  “And the replaced it with this… this thing.” Oto flourished the brand new quarterstaff in the face of the innkeeper.

“Your oar was stolen?” Artain asked with a puzzled look on his face.

“Yes, and I know which group of unreliable miscreants is responsible!” Oto spun about taking in his fellow travellers heads bent over bowls of porridge at a nearby table. After a pause, everyone at the table burst into laughter.

Oto gets robbed.
Session 5

The heroes are walking toward the village of Winterton in the company of the cleric Hans who they have just rescued from skeletons.

Hans explains to the adventurers that Winterton has been having problems with undead activity and could use some help. Hans asks that the adventurers meet with the leader of Winterton. The heroes agree and Hans leads them to Omir Estates to meet the leader. Lord Kilian is the head of the Omir family and the Lord of the village. Hans gets the heroes in to meet with Lord Kilian.

Lord Kilian explains that the undead problem has been going on for several days. Thinking back the heroes recall they encountered the undead pirates at sea one week ago. The Lord explains that they do not know where this land is in relation to Neverwinter. The village is founded by people who were lost at sea. They also all passed through a mysterious fogbank. Apparently, there are other settlements in this land including a larger town to the north. Now that it is winter the passage to nearby settlements is nearly impossible. Lord Kilian commissions the group to patrol the area around the village and destroy undead. In return, the group gets free room and board and a guide to take them to a larger village to the north.
The heroes are put up at the Blue Goose Inn and Tavern. Artain Whitlow is the innkeeper. The group enjoys eating and drinking their fill. The innkeeper is full of information telling the heroes that the dead have been rising every night. Sometimes undead animals and goblins are also seen.

The group goes to the nearby Trader’s Emporium to buy equipment. Oto attempts to negotiate a free quarter staff since he is working for Lord Kilian but the owner of the Emporium refuses. Oto declares that he prefers his trusty oar instead.

The heroes return to the Inn and each settles into a peaceful night of sleep. At some point in the middle of the night, Oto’s oar is stolen and replaced with a quarterstaff (snuck into the room by Talrek). They sleep during the day and head to the cemetery at dusk.

The Companions come up with a plan.

Once at the cemetery the heroes meet in front of the tiny chapel and set up a plan. Thyrell will stand watch from atop a mausoleum and the rest will patrol. Mukah and Oto in one group and Alcor and Talrek in the other pair. Oto tries to strike up a conversation with Mukah but the half-orc is not in a talkative mood. Oto suggests they not look very hard for the undead.

Suddenly, skeletons begin to erupt from the graves. Thyrell spots them and calls out a warning to the rest of the group so no one is surprised. Thyrell shoot and hits one skeleton with an arrow. Everyone else begins to move to one area to form a defensive position. One skeleton armed with a bow hits Thyrell with an arrow. Mukah holds his ground while Oto vaporizes a skeleton with magic missile. Mukah misses a skeleton with his longsword but Oto backs him up and turns the skeleton to ash with Burning Hands.

Thyrell gets surrounded and is hit twice more by arrows. Talrek destroys a skeleton with Guiding Bolt. Thyrell goes prone on top of the mausoleum and tries to cure himself but is unable. Talrek is also hit by an arrow. Oto blasts another skeleton with Magic missile destroying it. Mukah ducks behind a gravestone and taunts the skeletons surrounding Thyrell. Thyrell stands and hits a skeleton in the skull with an arrow destroying it. Alcor Fenn destroys a skeleton with unarmed strike and the last skeleton runs off into the woods.

Thyrell takes off after the skeleton and tracks it through the woods to the beach where he loses the track. Talrek catches up to Thyrell and picks up the tracks. Thyrell and Talrek catch up to the skeleton and destroy it. On the way back to the cemetery Talrek spots another set of tracks. This time the tracks are clearly made by boots and the lead up close to the cemetery and then back into the woods. The heroes search amongst the skeletons and find a handful of silver and copper coins.

Sunday, 1 July 2018

Mysterious Shores

Mysterious Shores

Once more into the Void Session 4 - Mysterious Shores

I have only two more early adventures of the Once more into the Void Heroes to post. The fourth session was one that first gave me the idea of creating renders of the adventures. Our misadventures in the lifeboat had all of the players busting a gut laughing. And no one got hurt too much.

Misadventures in a Lifeboat


“Huh,” Oto muttered sleepily. He had been trying to sleep in the rocking boat for hours but it was just too cold and it was moving from side to side too much.

“Wake-up Oto!”

Oto snapped his eyes open to see the drow Thyrell shaking him awake.

“I’m awake.” Thyrell had already moved away to take a position in the center of the lifeboat. Oto, looked about and saw everyone was awake. So it was not his turn to watch.

“Something bumped the boat twice,” whispered Thyrell. “Really? Maybe it was a piece of debris or something?” said Talrek.

Just then something did hit the boat and hard. Oto had just been rising to his feet to crouch. The lifeboat tipped to the right and he realized he was not going to be able to keep his balance! Oto windmilled his arms in desperation, tried to take a step to the left and felt his foot descend into the ice-cold water. In an instant, he had been tossed entirely in the sea.

The water washed up over his head and Oto struggled desperately to pull his head clear of the water. He could feel one hand in the air above. His robes felt like they were weighted down with stones. He kicked desperately. The cold clasped his head like a vice. His head passed clear of the water out into the cold air and then dunked again. Re-doubling his efforts he kicked for the surface. His hand whacked against something hard and cold.

“Ahhhh!,” Oto screamed recoiling from the object as his head breached the surface again.

“Quit yelling and thrashing about and grab it!” Oto heard a voice say. Opening his eyes he saw the end of one of the wooden oars was the object he had struck. Thyrell was perched dangerously nearby in the lifeboat and was holding out an oar for Oto. Oto’s hand grasped at the oar.

“Don’t pull or I’ll fall in with you,” Thyrell said with a chuckle. Oto looked up and could see the drow had been trying not to laugh. Sitting nearby in the boat, Talrek had given up trying to hold in the laughter and was bent over clutching his stomach laughing out loud for all his worth.

Oto let Thyrell pull him to the edge of the lifeboat. To his left, he saw Mukah swim up to the lifeboat and drag himself onboard. Oto reached the lifeboat and clung onto the side. He tried to lift himself but all his strength was gone. He clung on weekly.

“C’mon Oto,” Thyrell said and he and Talrek each grabbed an arm and dragged the sodden wizard into the lifeboat. Oto sat shaking in the lifeboat staring up at the dark sky.

Alcor leaped lightly over him brandishing his spear.

“Here it comes again, hold on everyone!”

Misadventures in a Lifeboat

Session 4

The action opens with Alcor Fenn, Mukah, Otrivush Oto, Talrek, and Thyrell adrift in a small ship's lifeboat. They have managed to board with all of their equipment. The group has set up watches with two awake at all times.

After about four hours drifting in the lifeboat in the fog Mukah and Thyrell notice that the temperature is dropping. Then something big brushes against the bottom of the boat. Mukah stops rowing. The lifeboat is struck again and this time heels over to one side before righting itself. Thyrell wakes Talrek, Oto, and Alcor. Shortly after everyone is awake the boat is a third time. This time the boat pitches over and everyone has to hold on tight. Mukah and Oto are pitched into the sea. Mukah was just standing up and is pitched the furthest from the boat. Oto starts to be dragged under by his heavy robe but Thyrell pulls him into the boat with an oar. Mukah swims back to the boat and is hauled in by Alcor.

Everyone is quiet and watching the water. Mukah and Alcor are standing ready to fight. A sea serpent or serpent-like fish surfaces near the boat and glides toward them. Oto casts Sleep and it has no effect. Talrek casts Sacred Flame. As the creature dives under the boat, Alcor and Mukah both stab it. The creature cries out and then vanishes into the fog.

The rest of the evening passes without incident. The next day the fog is still present limiting visibility to a few hundred feet. The boat continues on moving with the current for four days. In the evening of the fourth-day ice is encountered in the water. The sea also begins to shallow. In the distance, the group can hear water washing up onto a shore. The fog clears slightly and they see land in the distance. The land is covered with snow. The lifeboat is pulled aground on a snow-covered beach. The snow is more than a foot deep.

Oto takes one of the oars to replace his broken quarterstaff. After fully equipping themselves the group begins to move inland up a slight rise. In the distance, they hear a man calling out in desperation. The heroes advance up the hill rapidly and come to a 10-foot wall. Cries for help come from the other side of the wall. Mukah boosts Alcor up to see over the wall and he reports that the wall surrounds a cemetery.

Finding a break in the wall, the heroes rush in and see a man being menaced by three skeletons. He is desperately avoiding the attacks of the skeletons. Mukah charges forward and attacks a skeleton. Thyrell moves up and swings and misses. Oto casts Magic Missile at one skeleton injuring it. Thyrell is struck soundly by a skeleton wielding a sword.

Oto casts Magic Missile again and still, the skeleton continues to try to hit the stranger. Thyrell hits one with little effect. Talrek casts Guiding Bolt and destroys a skeleton. A skeleton moves toward Oto and the mage backs up rapidly right into Thyrell. He casts Blade Ward on himself. Mukah knocks an arm off a skeleton and then smashes it to pieces. Oto strikes the last standing skeleton with his oar destroying it.

The stranger expressed thanks to the heroes who have rescued him. He introduces himself as Hans. He is a cleric tasked with looking after this cemetery. He casts Cure Light Wounds on Thyrell. Impressed by the heroes, Hans asks if they would come to meet the Mayor of the nearby village of Winterton. The undead have been rising from the grave for the last few days and they need help with the problem.

The heroes decide to follow Hans to Winterton which is a short distance away (just down the hillside in a valley).