Following the quick end to my last Undercity attempt, I’ve decided to roll up another party and get straight to business, filling in their back stories only if they survive.
Thudok, Fighter 1 (hp 9/9); Abilities: 16-12-13-7-8-12. Inventory: 112gp 8sp, bedroll, waterskin, iron ration
Gadroom, Magic User 1 (hp 5/5); Abilities: 4-9-10-13-8-12; Spells: Light , Protection from Evil, Read Languages; Inventory: 67 gp 8 sp, Spell book, iron ration, waterskin, bedroll
Horatio, Cleric 1 (hp 8/8); Abilities: 10-9-14-8-16-11; Spells: Cure light wounds ; Inventory: 142 gp 8 sp, Bedroll, waterskin, iron ration
Xevius, Thief 1 (hp 7/7); Abilities: 9-14-13-7-7-8; Inventory: 92 gp 8 sp, bedroll, waterskin, iron ration
Per the Ruins of the Undercity rules, I’ll be starting them with virtually no equipment except for my house-ruled minimal gear, which each PC paid 7 gp 2 sp for. Everything else, they’ll have to buy in the City of Spires!
Reminder: You can find all of my plays on the Campaign Logs page.
One house rule that I insist on is that monster level is tied to depth rather than PC level. I don’t want to level up and have my high level guys running into tough enemies on the first sewer level; I’d rather they have to find ways down to find enemies worthy of them.
In the City (first visit)
It takes two days to visit the shops the party needs to equip themselves for the Undercity. Unfortunately, the coin they flash as they travel attracts unwanted attention; on their second day in the city a beautiful woman draws Xevius’s attention.
Pickpocket success: 76 vs 55 (fail)
As they flirt, he just catches a brush as a passer-by cuts his purse from his belt. Xevius catches the purse as it falls and snatches it back from the thief’s hand. Turning, however, he notices no one behind him, and the woman is gone.
The others berate him and insist he keep himself focused on the task at hand.
-8 gp for room and board (1 gp per person per day)
Pooling their funds, the party pays 5 gp 5 sp for a 10′ pole, 20 torches and 2 sets of flint and steel, and a set of spikes, hammer, and 40′ worth of rope. They also purchase a scroll case, small bottle of ink, and quills for Gadroom to use to map the tunnels.
Unfortunately, buying protection proves more difficult. Despite two days of searching they are unable to find a more than a single set of chain armor in the City. However, the merchant talks them into spending 15 gp more for a set of banded armor, and buying a pair of shields as well.
Thudok: AC 16 (banded and shield)
Horatio: AC 15 (chain and shield)
Xevius: AC 13 (leather and dex)
After equipping themselves with armor and weapons, the party pools their coins and sees that they still have more than 159 gp remaining. They decide that it would be worth spending another few days in town to find allies, if they can.
It takes another two days of trolling the taverns, docks, and back alleys of the City of Spires to conclude their search.
-8 gp for room and board
The search is fruitful, although less so than they had hoped. A pair of nomads, warrior-men from the inland deserts, are found in an out-of-the-way corner of the City. They are in the City to delve below as well, and agree to sign on for 3 gp per day and a 1/4 share of the treasure.
The party agrees to this.
Thundok finds a sand priest and professional second-story man, as well, and although both are interested in journeying with the party they simply cannot agree to a wage.
Thudok, Fighter 1 (hp 9/9); Abilities: 16-12-13-7-8-12; Atk +1 (sword, +1 dmg); AC 16 (band and shield); MV 25′; Inventory: 3gp 8sp, bedroll, waterskin, iron ration, hammer, spikes (4), rope 20′
Gadroom, Magic User 1 (hp 5/5); Abilities: 4-9-10-13-8-12; Atk -1 (dagger, -1 dmg); AC 10; MV 40′; Spells: Light , Protection from Evil, Read Languages; Inventory: 52 gp 8 sp, Spell book, iron ration, waterskin, bedroll, mapping kit, torches (10), flint
Horatio, Cleric 1 (hp 8/8); Abilities: 10-9-14-8-16-11; Atk +0 (mace); AC 15 (chain and shield); MV 30′; Spells: Cure light wounds ; Inventory: 48 gp 8 sp, Bedroll, waterskin, iron ration, torches (10), flint
Xevius, Thief 1 (hp 7/7); Abilities: 9-14-13-7-7-8; Atk +1 (daggers, +2 when thrown); AC 13 (leather and dex); MV 40′; Inventory: 42 gp 8 sp, bedroll, waterskin, iron ration, rope 20′, thieves’ tools, 10′ pole
Xillia, Nomad 0 (hp 4/4); Atk +0 (lance or scimitar); AC 13 (leather and shield); MV 40′; Inventory: 3 gp, bedroll, iron ration, waterskin; Special: Surprise on 1-4/6
Phrexa, Nomad 0 (hp 4/4); Atk +0 (lance or scimitar); AC 13 (leather and shield); MV 40′; Inventory: 3 gp, bedroll, iron ration, waterskin; Special: Surprise on 1-4/6
Into the Ruins
In pairs, they descend into the ruins: (Xillia and Xevius, Horatio and Thudok, Gadroom, and then Phrexa bringing up the rear).
The party finds itself in a long, low-ceilinged chamber. Corridors branch off to the north and south. They head west, toward a rotting wooden door.
Is the door locked? Yes
Lockpick check: Fail
Xevius’s nerves get him and he can’t work the simple lock. He steps aside as Thudok hammers it open.
Does anyone hear them? No
The space beyond the door is another corridor, this one made of polished stone. Their torchlight reflects off the shining marble and inset alabaster.
They decide to head south, where they find a branching corridor that heads east from the main route. They ignore it and move forward, where there corridor opens up into a small chamber.
1. Featureless Chamber.
They move carefully into a dark, featureless chamber, Xevius tapping the floor with a 10′ pole.
Roll for contents: Trapped, no treasure
Unfortunately, the pole fails to find a trick stone. The floor falls away before him, sending he and Xillia the nomad into a pit filled with sharpened stakes.
Xevius saves for half damage, Xillia doesn’t and dies.
They quickly secure the room, then mourn the loss of their newfound friend. Thudok uses a rope to lower Xevius down into the pit to recover Xillia’s body. They lay her to rest in one corner of the room, unable to carry her with them while there is still exploring to do.
Gadroom, the magic user, takes Xillia’s lance [treated as a pole weapon to attack from back row; -5 to hit and -1 to damage due to low STR and out-of-class weapon].
The party moves east through the other opening. It isn’t long before they notice a light shining faintly in the distance.
2. Torchlit Chamber.
Phrexa the nomad sneaks ahead, leaving the party and Gadroom’s torchlight behind. She finds a torch, glowing faintly as it gutters out on the ground beside a dead adventurer.
Room contents: Featureless except for torchlight. 13 giant rats (2 hp each).
Sneak check: 3 vs 4, success!
A swarm of rats the size of small dogs are devouring the dead man’s flesh. From the length of the torch, it seems likely he just felt. Phrexa says a quick prayer to the god of the shifting sands and then retreats to tell the party what she found.
The party agrees to kill the rats, and they return to room 1 to set up an ambush. The cluster around the corridor opening to better concentrate their attacks and bottle up the rats, then Phrexa returns to draw their attention.
Unfortunately, one of the rat’s quick reflexes means that her sudden attack goes wide, and suddenly Phrexa is running for her life as the swarm moves off the corpse and chases her down the tunnel.
Horatio and Thudok allow her to pass and then form a shield wall behind her. The rats crash into it as they bring their weapons to bear.
They battle valiantly, taking a few painful bites but making quick work of the rats. Soon they are down to just a handful or remaining animals, and the party presses forward to finish them off.
Their hubris is a mistake, though, and Horatio takes a nasty bite to the throat as a rat leaps up at him. Falling back, he says a desperate prayer of healing on himself [+2 hp].
Phrexa steps forward to take his place in line, and the last two rats turn on her with a vengeance. They swarm forward, both scoring 3 hp damage bites in a single round.
Gasping for air, Phrexa falls. A round later, the party kills the remaining rats.
They move forward to explore the chamber, but it’s empty of anything useful.
Xevius takes Phrexa’s lance and the party carries her body to lay it beside her sister in the darkness.
Turn 5 ends. The party rests and lights a new torch. No wandering monsters.
Unwilling to accept the loss of two new friends without a single copper piece to show for it, the party moves north again, eventually turning east at the branch in the corridor.
The short corridor ends in a broad staircase that descends a dozen feet further into the earth. The party peers down in the darkness, but is unwilling to risk greater dangers in their weakened state.
Gadroom marks the location on his map and the party heads north again.
Rusted Copper Door
The corridor ends in a rusted copper door. The party, wary of traps now, retreats to the door near the entrance tunnel and waits as Xevius listens at the door and checks for traps.
Feeling secure, he pushes the door open. The party waits a beat, but nothing comes out at them–instead, the space beyond the door is another corridor, marble and alabaster like the one they’re in, but well worn and chipped in places.
Gadroom notes that time has been harder on the corridor up here. The party wonders if this section of the dungeon sees more traffic.
They move east.
3. King’s Hall.
The corridor opens up into the largest chamber they’ve found so far. Frescos of ancient battles and a haloed king line the walls and vaulted ceiling of the room. Ahead of them, a statue of a man in armor stands nearly 12′ tall, standing guard between a pair of arches that lead deeper into the gloom.
Room contents: Monster, no treasure.
Fire Beetle (1): HD 1+3 (hp 7); Atk +2 (bite, d4+2 dmg); AC 15; MV 40′; Special: glows with a faint inner light
A chittering beetle climbs out from behind the statue. The party waits, hesitating before the giant insect.
Reaction roll: 6
After a moment, the beetle chitters again and begins to climb the statue, unmoved by their presence. The party breathes a sigh of relief and heads south, hoping to reach the exit.
They spend a few minutes poking around the entrance chamber, including mapping out a dead end that stood opposite the stairs that would return them to the surface.
After another few minutes, their torch running low, the party decides to return to the surface to rest, heal, and possibly recruit a larger team for the next delve.
Return to the City
The party gain 65 exp for its 13 rat kills (16 each) and no treasure. Phrexa and Xillia, nomad warrior sisters, died in battle. The party mapped 3 chambers and several hundred feet of corridor over the course of a little less than two hours.
Flush with excitement at surviving their first delve but disappointed at their paltry haul, the party returns to the inn where they are staying, hoping for an uneventful few days as they recuperate and find companions to accompany them into the darkness next time.
Thudok is grateful for his heavy armor and shield, which saved him from many nasty bites when they were fighting the rats.
Xevius is more wary of the dungeon than he was before. His career as a second-story man and street thief didn’t prepare him as much as he would like for the dungeon. He commits to spending more time searching for traps before entering rooms and chambers, in the future.
Horatio mourns the loss of their two companions, and he is ashamed (although without cause) for using his healing miracle on himself instead of Phrexa. He refuses to listen to counsel that the nomad woman died in seconds and he could not have saved her either way.
Gadroom shakes with fear and nervousness. His magic, which he was so proud of, has proven completely useless in the darkness. He contributed a few lucky spear-thrusts against rats, carried a torch, and documented the dungeon for future expeditions. Valuable service, but uninspiring. He hopes to recover a few gold pieces to be able to purchase a spell from the local magicians.
Tools and Affiliate Links
This is a solo game using Kabuki Kaiser’s Ruins of the Undercity dungeon generator.
I am using Labyrinth Lord and pieces of its Advanced Edition Companion as the rule system for this game (free, no-art versions are available on DTRPG, too). I am using Mythic Game Master Emulator and its Variations I and–most importantly–Variations II for my solo GM oracle.