On Saturday, four players and I delved into the “Ruins of Ramat” by John Adams.
Each player started with four 0-level villagers, ready to rescue a little girl’s dog.
Each player established their mini-marching order. Then I wrote down each character’s slot in the marching order and their luck scores.
Mini-marching order and character luck scores
Keeping in mind that we had 2.5 hours to play, I kept my foot on the throttle, moving them through rooms.
“Ruins of Ramat Cover Page” by Doug Kovacs
Cautious approach to a hole in Rose Hill
- The villagers assess that the hole dropped 10 feet to a mossy and slippery stairs that descends another 20 feet.
- Footing is slippery. Some slide into a chamber and the waiting ambush of a spider.
- The spider bites, poisons, and kills a villager, and the villagers in turn slay the spider.
There are three directions to take.
- One path leads them through a large room into another bat and guano filled room.
- Hundreds of bats scatter around, in the confusion, as everyone is swatting away bats from their face, Oxy brains Ank for the second death.
- Two large bats attack but the villagers dispatch them without further harm.
They reach a dead end, double back to take another passage.
- From here they explore a series of long-disused monastic cells. One cell radiating holiness is still preserved.
- They continue to a room with murals of warriors of light. Here they encounter 5 skeletons.
- A blood bath ensues as the villagers opt to charge into the room.
- One player watches as the skeletons fell her remaining three characters; Another player hands her one of their characters to continue onward.
- Two other players each lose a character.
- The survivors dispatch the skeletons. The survivors distribute the skeleton’s weapons.
They find an armory that includes lots of ceremonial weapons and an untarnished bronze shield
- A villager picks up the shield. The shield curses the villager bestowing a -1d to all attacks.
- With a bit of exploration they find a secret door into a preserved library
- There are a few scrolls, books, and maps preserved; One of the maps looks familiar to the player (not the character); It points to a spot in the mountains
- They also find two iridescent purple vials
- A character uncorks the vials, smells lavender and sunshine. He drinks half a draught. And permanently gains 2 HP. He downs the rest, gaining 2 more. His other character follows suite, gaining 2 HP.
- Onward to the next room; a bed chamber with 6 bronze figurines.
- The elves notice a secret passageway and proceed into a hidden hallway.
They find another secret door, opening it to reveal two more skeletons and a robed skeleton.
- They roll initiative and start the fight
- One character charges in, stepping on a brittle flagstone, and falls into a shallow pit, breaking his neck.
- The robed skeleton launches a baleful purple beam at one of the characters, he succeeds in his will save, taking half damage and surviving at 1 HP.
- In retaliation, a villagers throws a spear at the robed skeleton, shattering its skull and ending its menacing existence.
- The villagers dispatch the remaining skeletons.
- In this room they find gold armor, a white gold ring, bronze amulet, and a bronze convex disk set in the wall.
- The villagers divy up the treasure.
A bit of exploration and experimentation and POOF! a bright light and they are in a new room
- This new room has a bronze convex disk, two treasure chests, and a glowing spear (similar to the spear they have been seeing in the artwork)
- The villagers test the chests and open them. One is full of gold pieces. The other an ivory cylander with an incomprehensible scroll inside.
The guild beggar grabs the spear and she sees a vision of herself, standing on the battlefield, humans, demons, and skeletons lie dead around her. In her right hand, the spear; Her left hand a bloody stump. A large demon approaches and says “Let us not fight. Together we can be so much more.” I ask the player what she does. She throws down the spear. And the vision fades. The spear drops from her hand.
Another character grabs the spear, and sees a similar vision. I ask what he does. He throws the spear into the maw of the demon. He feels a warmth and realizes his life has changed. He understands the scrolls he’s read. He asks to see the ivory scroll and knows that it can lift the curse. (I awarded the neutral character 1d3 points of luck for sticking with her alignment).
The character sheets of the dead
At this point, we are running close to the end. I guide them to the next room, and I ask if they want me to narrate the final fight the demon. The players think about it, and we agree to play it out. In two quick rounds of furious combat, the rubbery tentacled demon of darkness slays two more characters but is in turn killed by the Spear of Ramat.
We close the session, with each surviving character at 11 XP. I also say that in future sessions people can use these characters. I also awarded each character one point of Luck for defeating a demon and bringing a bit of knowledge of Ramat into the world.