Ruins of the Dwarven Delve [Session #9]

The previous session

Preamble

This session, we playtested a DCC conversion of Purple Duck Games Purple Mountain II – Ruins of the Dwarven Delve. As a patron of Purple Duck Games, I responded to the call for play testing the conversion; An abandoned dwarven mine lined up with the adventurers current locale.

I reiterated last session’s rumors:

  • “Last month, one of the caves had an explosion. To this day, you can hear the howls of the dead.”
  • “The other night, I was drinking and this elf came in. Someone had mugged him, his ears clipped and bleeding.”
  • “I heard that the Guild Elders are forcing the old Master Guilder, Gentle Steve, to step aside. He may still lead the Guardians Guild.”
  • “Yesterday, or the day before, I heard a guy talking about finding a cache of old silver coins in the cliffs.”
  • “I heard that someone to the west found treasures from a buried king.”

I advanced the timeline 8 days – from the 18th of Spring’s Laugh to the 4th of Spring’s End.

I followed my session start procedures, asking the luckiest and unluckiest characters (who had sleighted Sir Calcidius) to make a Luck check. Quinlynn the Unlucky failed his. Ungo the Beggar made his.

They learned that Sir Calcidius (from the Tower of the Stargazer)

  • gained his freedom (by a meteor strike on the tower)
  • aligned with Iraco (from Hirot)
  • knew they went to Steelhart

The Cast

Character Class (Profession) Level Luck Alignment Player
Ahm-al the Witness of Cthulhu Cleric (Guild Beggar) 1 12 Neutral Joan
Ungo the Beggar Thief (?) 1 13 Neutral Joan
Obexo the Agent Dwarf (Stonemason) 2 13 Lawful Aidan
Strove Warrior (Rutabega farmer) 1 13 Neutral Aidan
Pickling (Watchman) 0 12 Lawful Ben
Faudur (Roadwarden) 0 6 Neutral Ben
Wilberton (Minstrel) 0 8 Neutral Ben
Puggi (Dwarf Merchant) 0 16 Chaotic Ben
Oliver (Orphan) 0 12 Lawful Jacob
Aeris (Elf Refugee) 0 15 Neutral Jacob
Dan (Agitator) 0 3 Chaos Jacob
Belar (Rake) 0 10 Neutral Jacob
Ralph Quickfingers Halfling (Haberdasher) 2 11 Neutral Erich
Quinlynn the Unlucky Elf (Sage) 1 8 Neutral Erich

None of the characters starting out this session had went to the safe-house from the previous session. Aidan, playing Obexo, arrived as they left the altar room for the first time.

Carousing

I again brought out the carousing table for some quick XP.

  • Quinlynn upset the Church of Tses; Waking up naked and hungover in the temple of Tses upset the priests. Adding yet another anecdote for the city’s growing disdain of elves.
  • Faudur and Aeris, bank rolled by Quinlynn, ended up owing a favor to the King of Elfland. The King charged them with finding a dwarven ledger from an abandoned dwarf mine up in the hills.

Getting There

Miners travel each day from Steelhart to the mines. As non-miner’s guild members, they each paid the 5sp toll to take a gondola up to the cliff top. From there, they traveled to the mine. With some rope they descended into the “Ruins of the Dwarven Delve.”

Mild Spoilers Ahead…

Entrance

In the first room they found several piles of refuse. They spent a bit of time searching through the mounds finding broken or discarded gear.

In one pile, Quinlynn stumbled upon a three legged tentacle monster that flailed but missed. The adventurers responded with ferocity, inflicting many wounds. Quinlynn followed up with a powerful sleep spell, and the adventurers hacked the monster dead.

Noting the water pipes up high, they opted to check out the door with the water pipe running above it. Ungo looking for traps, found none. They opened the door

Next Room

In this room they noted two doors. One blocked by iron slag, another open. Ungo, as per standard operating procedures, checked the unblocked door. Finding it safe, they opened the door and went into an altar room.

Altar Room

Entering this room they noted an altar and three other doors. A general sense of “rightness” filled the hearts of Pickling and Oliver.

They continued to follow the water pipes to one of the doors. At the door they heard some snickering. Ungo followed his standard operating procedure, and they entered the room.

Smith Room

Here the adventurers encountered two diminutive creatures with spindly limbs and functional wings sprouting from near their ears – gremlins.

As a Judge, I love role-playing mischievous and chaotic creatures. I keep the verbal sparing quick and to a minimum before pushing the players to action. The gremlins goaded the players into the water room. Or did the player’s decided to go there and the gremlins pleaded them to go elsewhere.

Water Works Room

Again, Ungo checked and opened the door. Dan took a few steps in and sprung a trap. Jets of steam blasted Dan, slamming him into the wall, killing him outright. Snickers erupted. Faudur triggered another steam trap, slamming dead into the wall. Even more snickers.

A gremlin, with a large cantaloupe belly, along with five other gremlins launched into an attack. The cantaloupe bellied gremlin fired a blast of thistles, knocking Quinlynn to 0 hit points. The other gremlins charged the adventures.

Ralph came barreling to Quinlynn’s aid, stabilizing him. The others fought the Gremlins. A few tense rounds, and the adventurers won out. Through the power of Cthulhu, Ahm-al healed Quinlynn.

Searching the room they found three nests. Each nest had a small box. Ungo checked the boxes and found a small spring. Ungo disabled each of the boxes.

Inside each box he found a single silver coin and a fragile tube of liquid. One side of the coin had an etching of a snickering gremlin, the other side had the words “Ha!”. The fragile tube rested by a small spring loaded hammer.

Back to the Altar Room and to the Crypt

Back in the altar room, they opened the door behind the altar to a crypt. Inside they found an anvil and dwarven statue lying in repose; with a rune etched shield overlaying a fine hammer. A riddle. Ben quickly answered the riddle and they resolved the puzzle. The shield moved, freeing the adamantine hammer.

Obexo took the hammer and smiled.

Calling It A Night

The adventure took a lot out of me. Each room had nice and brief read aloud text. For the Judge there was also large chunks of text; mixing exposition, situational, and encounter information.

At 9pm I closed up the adventure. I hand-waved finding the dwarven ledger.

Quinlynn invoked the King of Elfland to present the dwarven ledger. He bound Wilberton to the King of Elfland. The King of Elfland, however, said that Aeris was not worthy.

We spent the next 30 minutes leveling up characters; Three characters went from 0th to 1st level.

In Memoriam

To Faudur and Dan, blasted by steam.

Resources Used

Aside from the Dungeon Crawl Classic core book

Observations

I sent my playtest observations back to Purple Duck Games.

Writing adventures demands different levels of consideration. The author must first win over the Judge. And once won over, the author should get out of the Judge’s way by making the material as convenient and easy as possible to use.

At the beginning of the dungeon delve, I drew a turn tracker on the map. I explained that every 6 turns I would check for wandering monsters. In older D&D wandering monsters sucked resources for little XP gain. That is not the case in DCC as written.

One thought on “Ruins of the Dwarven Delve [Session #9]

  1. Pingback: Raiding the Ziggurat of Dis Pater | Take On Rules

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