Sunday, March 23, 2014
Back to the dungeon
This past weekend, the stars aligned and I had folks over to do some more dungeon crawling, two months after my first attempt at DMing the Holmes basic D&D rules. I had five players this time: Coach, Rickey, John, and Chris took part in the first session, and Chris brought his friend Jon, who was visiting from out of town. After taking about 60 seconds to roll up a character for the newcomer (a dwarf called Evard Barrelbrain (favorite song: Barrels of Beer)) to join the rest of the group (Fred the fighter, Colnis the fighter, Acronus the cleric and Evaro IV the elf), the adventurers proceeded back into the dungeon.
They then went through another corridor to a large room, an evil shrine of some sort. Lured to the black altar on a dias on one wall, waves of palpable evil caused the elf to run from the room as the dwarf (with a wisdom of 3) decided to examine the non-Euclidan geometry carved into the object. Touching the altar caused three ghouls to appear. They quickly shredded the hapless dwarf and began feasting on him as the cleric attempted to turn the undead creatures. Unfortunately, the roll of 10 was 1 shy of what a first-level acolyte needs to turn ghouls. The rest of the group moved in and managed to dispatch one of the carrion eaters, but the sharp claws and teeth of the remaining pair of undead ripped the two fighters and the cleric to pieces. The elf, who came to his senses at the base of the stairs to the surface, hightailed it out of there.
I'm bummed that there was the equivalent of a total party kill. Everyone lost at least one character over the course of the day, and one player lost two. Seeing the dungeon inhabitants take out the PCs so easily makes me feel bad. Most everyone has at least a 40 minute drive to get to my place, and one guy drove for way more than an hour. I don't know how much fun it is to put all that effort to join a game and then have your character killed so easily; and I hope I haven't run anybody off. I didn't think I was running a killer dungeon, and I hope I didn't come across as too much of a dick with my DMing style. I want my players to come back.
Maybe I should have rolled for reaction from the orcs, even though I figured that when they heard multiple attempts to bash their door in, they'd fight (and I did have some orcs flee after their fellows were cut down). If there's a next time, I'll try to do better. I hope that just like players (or lawyers), DMs can learn from their experiences.