Friday, September 7, 2012

Hommlet Session 1 conclusion: The Grim Reaper loiters at the Moathouse

This post was scheduled to go live back in January.  For some reason it never did, and I never corrected the matter, though I must have noticed it at the time.  It's a bit dated now, but here it is nonetheless:

Readers may recall what went down when the gang took on the murderous frogs of Emridy a while back.  As a refresher for those who don't care to go there, the party consists of 3 PCs: Ahmad the Prestidigitator, Ponce the Paladin, and Jerry the Rogue(Apprentice), as well as several of the stock NPCs recruited from Hommlet: Elmo the Ranger, Kobort the Dimwit, Furnok the Thief, and Zert the Warrior.  Spugnoir the Second Level MU had already met his end against the frogs outside the gate earlier in the same session.  Before we go any further, I should make you aware of a few changes I've made to the moathouse:
  • the 3 crossbow-wielding brigands in room 7 have upgraded to short bows.
  • I've added an undercroft level between the main floor of the moathouse and the dungeon level.  The undercroft is accessible directly from the bailey of the moathouse via two large, vacant doorways which lead to a stable located to the right of the gate.  I innocently threw some skeletons in there for good measure. 
A crappy photo of my incomplete moathouse revisions
I did not at all foresee that these two seemingly innocuous changes would create a death trap that would leave half the party dead.

Once inside the gates of the moathouse, the players saw the opening to the stable and headed straight for it.  As soon as the entire party was in the open, the Brigand archers opened up on them from the arrow slits on the north side of the bailey, taking out Ponce the Paladin and causing the rest to run for cover in the stables... where 7 undead skeletons rose out of the rubble.  Jerry the Rogue (apprentice) soon met his end at the blade of a skeleton sword; two PC deaths in just 3 rounds.  But that was not the end of the Reaper's day; while the party was still engaged with the skeletons, a few of the brigands snuck down to the bailey and launched spears and javelins into the players' backs before bolting back to cover.  Their surprise attack inadvertently did the party the favor of taking out Zert, who is actually an evil agent of the Temple, but at that moment they really needed his sword against those skeletons.

No matter, they managed to eliminate the rest of the skeletons without any more fatalities; thanks almost entirely to the mighty axe of Elmo and sword of Kobort.  And Ahmad the Prestidigitator's uncanny hit point total (7) came in handy as well.

Including the death of Spugnoir at the end of the previous session, the party had been reduced to half of their original number in only a few minutes of game time.  And they were pinned down in the stables; the only door out--other than the open entrance from the bailey--was barricaded and Elmo and Kobort, despite all their 18 so-and-so strengths, blew their chance to open it.

But those two, at least, were still unscathed and, convinced that the brigands must not be too tough, they took it upon themselves to storm the entrance to the moathouse counting on nothing more than their insurmountable ACs, exorbitant Strengths, and excessive hit points to carry the day. Pretty brave, huh?

Under fire from the arrow loops and facing polearmed brigands blocking the doorways at the top of the stairs, our heroes fought there way into the "Black Chamber" where they were outnumbered 4 to 1.  Elmo was surprisingly inept with the dice on this day; he was stymied for several rounds by the halberd-wielding brigand at the door, all the while taking arrow fire from the adjacent arrow slits.  But he finally disarmed the halberdier and moved to the aid of the ailing Kobort who, thanks to his adroitness at dispatching the pole-armed bandit that stood in his way, had been taking on the rest of the bandits on his own--including the bandit leader with whom he'd been trading blows while two others marauded his flanks.

Once inside, Elmo succeeded in drawing the attention of a few of Kobort's assailants but soon found himself surrounded as reinforcements arrived from adjacent rooms.  Though any hit from Elmo's axe meant a death sentence for the brigands, he managed to take out only 3 of them over many rounds of fighting.

Furnok the thief--excuse me, the Ferd--arrived just in time to take on one of the archers who had just arrived from the arrow loops in the adjacent room and at last Kobort bested the Brigand leader in the war of attrition they'd been waging, and the rest of the brigands took to their heels and fled through their escape hole in the tower.  The boys were worn out and lacking in missile weapons, so they made no effort to pursue the fleeing brigands through the swamp. They gathered their dead and cleared out before dark with only a few coins purloined from the 4 brigand corpses to show for their losses.  It was with more than a little shame that the depleted party straggled back into town later that evening with barely enough cash to pay for funeral arrangements for the fallen.

Unbeknownst to the party, the surviving brigands returned to the moathouse later that night and dug up their treasure stash in the rubble before fleeing the scene for good.


JasonZavoda said...

The Moathouse has always been a tough nut to crack. Wait till they get to the lower levels.

grodog said...

Tell us more about the new undercroft level you created :D


Timrod said...

Jason Z: Sadly, though this session occurred nearly 8 months ago, they still haven't reached the lower levels. They went across the swamp to the Sample Dungeon instead, which threw a huge wrench in my plans. Stupid players.

Allan: the undercroft level very much looks like the "dungeon level" of the original, except I swapped the torture chamber and zombie corridor for the stable. The torture chamber I moved to a lower level accessible only via the secret stairway in the tower.

Also, I added a level of the tower and... all right, I'll do up a whole post on this some time soon.