Session 4: Level-up!
The party scares off a rival band of tomb robbers and later vanquishes its most dangerous foe so far: a giant rattlesnake. Two PCs fall to its poisonous bite and one more perishes as the party is surprised by stirges while looting the snake's rich hoard of gems. Ladden with treasure and snakeskin, the party makes its way back to Hirot. The longest-serving PC attains level 2 and three others are within 100 XP of level 2 as well. Also, the first dwarf character joins the party.
- KT can't get over D&D's (Labyrinth Lord's, really) often ridiculous prices. I guess we'll switch to Adventurer, Conquerer, King System. I hope ACKS will appease him (and lay the groundwork for the domain game).
- Several players tried to handwave logistics ("My new guy, who you meet in the dungeon, brought a ladder.", "We're establishing a depot in this room. Can we just say we've moved all the stuff on my shopping list down here?"). I grant them some leeway (i.e. the ladder) but I'm mostly insisting on proper procedure. High Encumbrance = Low Speed = Many Encounters = High Risk!
- Speaking of which: Logistics and encumbrance are more work than I anticipated: We're using the brilliant encumbrance system of Lamentations of the Flame Princess but there are so many characters and especially recently deceased characters that inventories need to be redistributed frequently.
- GB measures the dungeon doors to commission custom contraptions to block them. Adapt or die.
- New PCs are introduced during the big fight. As a result, we didn't even bother with physical descriptions - the newcomers (four level 0 guys and a dwarf) are faceless cannon fodder at this point. We might want to slow down here a bit.
- The rattlesnake's poison is lethal, but not immediately so. HM suggests brutally treating a victim right away, amputating if necessary. I improvise a harsh procedure, but the victim dies anyway. I'm not 100% happy with the specifics of my procedure but I do not want to stifle player creativity or slow down the game too much. HM's approach sounds reasonable so there should be a chance it works.
- HM's rogue harvests the rattlesnake's poison. I use a different procedure than last time. Gotta have more continuity.
- It's exciting - and a little daunting - how fast the rulings pile up (harvesting poison, emergency amputations etc.). Once the players are more familiar with the rules - they are mostly new to D&D and its retroclones -, I plan to get their input on the specifics.
- DMing is more strenuous than I'm used to. I'm looking up all sorts of tables and using proper procedure to be impartial. This takes time more time than just handwaving things or making gut decisions all the time.
- On the flip side, prep time is way down. I need about 15 min to prep a session (mostly restocking the dungeon).
- I'm afraid I do have a sadistic streak (What a surprise, given the blog's name, eh?). During the big fight, I revelled in describing all the gore and even cracked some rather cruel jokes at the beleaguered players' expense (<points at battlemat> "So that's where you're moving to die?" etc.). I feel a bit ashamed of myself (Sorry, GB! I'm glad your fighter made level 2!). I hope my bloodthirst is balanced out by utter impartiality.
- KT points out that CD has lost eight (six?) characters so far. Wow. CD is taking it well and has remained one of the most proactive players throughout.
- HM remarks that he found the session "very satisfying" - and adds "... but that's probably because my guy survived."
- Rolling for random encounters on the way back was very tense.
An immensly satsifying session with lots of suspense, near-death, death and hard-earned victory. I love this shit!