DSA 1 – Gideon’s Game – Session 2

This is part two of my short The Dark Eye (1e) adventure started in my last post. The thief Gideon and his companion, an ex-soldier named Eli Barnard, have been hired by the steward of Lord Fathan to seek out the magical amulet of a dead druid in the hope of alleviating a curse. In the last scene, Eli stumbled across the dark druid’s tomb while hunting.

Setup

Mythic

Chaos Level: 4

NPCs: Lord Fathan, Fathan’s steward, thieves’ guild, city watch, Vandercal (dark druid), Silence Murray, fisherman in woods

Threads: Recover Vandercal’s amulet

Delayed Events: Remote Event (Abuse/Masses)

Characters

Gideon: Adventurer 1 (0/100 xp); CO 10 – IN 11 – CH 9 – AG 13 – ST 10; LP 30/30; AT 10; PA 9; PRO 2 (padded armor); Purse: 18 sp 19 cp; Inventory (8/10): short sword (d6+2/2/0/0), 3 daggers (d6+1/3/0/-4/r-30′), lantern and 1 pint of oil, flint, 30′ rope, blanket, 2 rations, waterskin

Eli Barnard: Warrior 2 (100/300 xp); CO 12 – IN 11 – CH 8 – AG 13 – ST 13; LP 41/41; AT 11+1; PA 9; PRO 4 (leather and shield); Purse: 23 sp 20 cp; Inventory (6/13): saber (d6+4/2/0/0), shield, crowbar, ration, blanket, spear (d6+2/5/0/0/r-60′)

The Game

Scene 6.

Setup: Examine Vandercal’s tomb
Chaos: 5 vs 4, no chaos

Eli comes jogging back into camp just as Gideon has got a large campfire roaring. “You caught something already?” Gideon asks, impressed.

“Even better,” the soldier says. “I found the tomb. [Does he want to explore it now? +1: yes] Get your things.”

Is it dark yet? +1: yes, but… not pitch black

“You found it?” Gideon asks, rising. “Show me.” Grabbing his sword, he follows Eli into the woods.

Can Eli find his way back without a check? +1: yes

They march a short distance to the hill where the tomb leers into the twilight. The stone is worked, but carefully–from a distance it would appear to disappear into the natural face of the hill. [Is there a visible door? no, but… an open hole, not a door] A yawning cave mouth descends downward into the hill from the tomb. Thick spider webs and twisting roots climb over the cliff face and drape themselves across the hole, making it unwelcoming indeed.

Inferno_Canto_1_spirit_guide

“There’s no way I’m going in there tonight,” Gideon says. “I’m gonna eat my dinner, sleep out under the stars, and leave that open grave for tomorrow.”

“The druid is dead,” Eli reminds him.

“Maybe,” Gideon admits, “but that doesn’t mean that his magic is. That’s why we’re out here, remember?”

“You’re afraid?”

“Tuckered,” Gideon says. “We just walked all the cursed day, if you don’t remember. Vandercal’ll still be dead in the morning. If he’s fully dead now.”

Any spooky effects from saying the name? -2: no, but… a feeling

Gideon suppresses a shudder. The depths of the tomb seem to loom up at him, suddenly darker than anything he’s ever seen before.

[neutral – fear – history]
“The superstitious mind sees fear where there is only the unknown,” Eli says. Still, he shoulders his spear and heads back toward the camp.

Does the night pass without event? +1: yes
-1 ration each

Scene 7.

Setup: Enter the tomb.
Chaos: 5 vs 4, no chaos

The next morning the pair rises early and breaks their fast before the sun is fully risen. They take care to hide evidence of their camp before heading back into the woods toward the tomb.

Any encounters on the way to the tomb? -1: no

The woods are quiet in the morning. Even the birdsong seems subdued, as though the animals are aware of the trespassers in their presence. Gideon isn’t used to being so…out of place.

Dore -- Cave Entrance

They come quickly to the mouth of the tomb. It’s as dark as before. The pair tighten the straps of their packs and ready themselves for the descent. Gideon fills his lantern’s oil reserve and strikes the wick as Eli checks the straps on his armor and shield. Then, drawing swords, the pair descend into the tunnel.

Eli is in front with shield and saber drawn. Gideon is behind him with lantern held aloft and his sword in his other hand.

Scene 8.

Setup: Dungeon crawl
Chaos Roll: none, level 4

I will be rolling a d10 on the table below to see what I encounter in the dungeon. Each time I encounter something I will cross it off; if I roll the same number again I’ll use the next unencountered one on the list. These stats are just rough estimates. I may change them if a fight is tougher than I imagine or if a fight seems like it should be a boss battle.

Tomb Encounter Table

  1. d4 giant ants: CO 5, AT 6, PA 3, LP 5, bite d6, PRO 2, ML 4
  2. d8 giant ants
  3. d3 giant spiders: CO 8, AT 8, PA 4, LP 8, bite d6-1 (ST test or +d6 poison dmg), ML 10
  4. d4 giant spiders
  5. d8 giant rats: CO 6, AT 5, PA 6, LP 5, bite d6-1 (Swarm: +1 AT for each other rat that has attacked the same target this round), ML 5
  6. bat swarm: Will confuse direction unless a CO save is made; may alert nearby foes
  7. d3+1 wolves: CO 15, AT 10, PA 7, LP 10, DMG d6+3 (bite), PRO 1, ML 10
  8. bear: CO 12, AT 12, PA 6, LP 20, claws d6+2 OR bite d6+4, PRO 3 (hide), Special: if claws hit, can make a free bite attack, ML 20
  9. living vine: CO 6, AT 12, PA 0, LP 40, lashing vine d6 (can hit same target automatically from now on), ML 15
  10. d6 druids: CO 10, AT 10, PA 8, LP 10, DMG d6+2 (dagger), PRO 1, ML 10

After a short descent, the tunnel levels out into a small room that is [naturally/soft] made of some smooth stone. Gideon moves examines one of the walls in the light of the torch–it appears to be unmarked by tools, as though worn away by years of water flowing through the caves.

What is noteworthy about the room?: failure/weather
Are there any obvious exits from here? +3:
yes, but…

Glancing upward, Gideon notes a hole in the ceiling where faint sunlight trickles through a man-sized hole, now choked with roots and leaves. An earthy smell fills the air. The walls all around are smooth and unmarked, and besides the tunnel that they came in through there appear to be no doors or side passages. That means…

“There’s only the pit,” Eli says. He points to a hole in the cavern floor, about 4′ wide. Gideon shines his lantern down over the edge.

Can they see the bottom? no, but…

The base of the pit disappears into darkness, but when Gideon drops a copper piece in it clangs almost immediately. “Can’t be deeper than a few yards,” he offers. “Should we go down?” Now that he’s in the cave, the fear has passed–this is little different that finding himself alone and hiding from searching guards in a merchant-prince’s house. In a word: familiar.

Did Eli bring climbing tools? -1: no, but… he does have a hatchet
-15 sp, +1 hatchet

Eli nods. “I can lower you down but there’s nothing here to tie a rope around for me. We can fell a branch outside and use it to create a crossbeam.” The plan is a good one, and they do it quickly.

Does anything happen in the meanwhile? -1: yes, but… it’s minor – heal/riches

They return to the surface and find a suitable branch. Working quickly to clear enough minor twigs to make it movable, they return to the tomb with the branch carried between them. As Gideon is tying the rope, he notices a glint at the edge of the lantern light: a single copper piece, lying in a corner of the room.

Neither can remember seeing it there before, but neither can they swear it wasn’t. Gideon leaves it lying there. Eli moves over to take it, calling his companion superstitious and scared of old wives’ tales.

Does anything happen when he picks it up? -2: no

Gideon holds his breath, but nothing happens with the soldier picks up the coin and drops it into his purse.

The pair descend the rope. Gideon goes first, sliding down the rope with his feet and a single hand while he holds the lantern aloft with the other.

Is anything waiting to ambush him at the bottom? -1: no, but… (signs of foes)
What is the room like? delightfully/mysterious
Does he hear anything? yes, attract/balance

The pit opens into a broad chamber, stretching out in each direction further than the lantern light can reach. In the distance he can hear a rhythmic thump as of a heavy beam hitting the stone floor, and then hitting again some feet away. He draws his sword and steps away from the rope as Eli slides down behind him.

What foe left signs? d10: 3, giant spiders

They pick a direction and move forward slowly, making sure to keep the position of the rope and pit always in mind. They have not gone far before the lantern light reveals thick strands of webbing stretched from floor to ceiling. Spiders. The pair scan the room but see no signs of their presence.

Can they find any exits from this room? +1: yes, and… several

A careful sweep of the cave reveals [d4+1] four exits, each corresponding roughly to a cardinal direction. Choosing at random, they head north, deeper into the hill.

Does it exit into a corridor? +1: yes, and… a long one
What’s noteworthy about it? lazily/young

It doesn’t take long before they realize that this corridor is different from the ones before. The walls here were carved by metal tools, not nature. The work is rough and quick, indicating human hands rather than dwarven craftsmanship. The floor, at least, is relatively smooth, and they make good time.

This is getting long, so I’ll leave off here and finish the delve next time… Hopefully I’ll have a chance to get out some graph paper, too.

Wrap Up

Mythic

Chaos Level: 4

NPCs: Lord Fathan, Fathan’s steward, thieves’ guild, city watch, Vandercal (dark druid), Silence Murray, fisherman in woods

Threads: Recover Vandercal’s amulet

Delayed Events: Remote Event (Abuse/Masses)

Characters

Gideon: Adventurer 1 (0/100 xp); CO 10 – IN 11 – CH 9 – AG 13 – ST 10; LP 30/30; AT 10; PA 9; PRO 2 (padded armor); Purse: 18 sp 18 cp; Inventory (7/10): short sword (d6+2/2/0/0), 3 daggers (d6+1/3/0/-4/r-30′), lantern and 1 pint of oil, flint, blanket, 1 ration, waterskin

Eli Barnard: Warrior 2 (100/300 xp); CO 12 – IN 11 – CH 8 – AG 13 – ST 13; LP 41/41; AT 11+1; PA 9; PRO 4 (leather and shield); Purse: 8 sp 21 cp; Inventory (6/13): saber (d6+4/2/0/0), shield, crowbar, blanket, spear (d6+2/5/0/0/r-60′), hatchet

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