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To the Cave of Stuff!



After a long break, we've finally gotten back to gaming. The US West Coast has had literally record breaking heat in the last three weeks and where I'm at, we had 3 100 F /38 C days in a row. Now, we've been described as 'the least air conditioned city in the US' [which really isn't fair considering the US also includes Anchorage and Fairbanks 😁], but it is true that the Puget Sound doesn't generally equip homes with A/C routinely. Add into all this a series of birthdays and COVID shot hangovers and, well, you see what I mean.

As I put together this campaign, I realized that it would be smart of me to subtly use computer game tropes and styling for my players. While one, Aunt E, is an experienced RPG'er, the rest aren't and so I'm trying to work the typical CRPG pacing into the narrative.

So far, I've done the following:

- Shipwrecked the players, teaching them skill checks

- Gave them the opportunity to salvage something from the wreck, teaching them magic spells, Magic Point and Rune Point use [yeah, the Float spell is DAMNED handy when you're trying to lug stuff from shipwreck to shore]

- Had a minor fight [wolves], teaching combat and combat pacing

- Had an encounter with a centaur, Khauros, providing a rest period.

Next step, move the party towards civilization. The party wasn't made extraordinarily welcome by the centaur herd's stallion /chieftain, so Khauros suggested the group move on. However, there was a problem they could help the herd with. A cave nearby has served as the lair of 'beasts' and these beasts have attacked the herd. Centaurs are claustrophobic and don't crawl very well, so Khauros has offered to guide the party to civilization in exchange for dealing with the 'beast' threat. Enter 'the Cave of Stuff'.

I took the Rainbow Mounds map from 'Apple Lane' and ran a section of it as my general map layout. The party entered the area, but failed the Plant Lore checks necessary to identify the mushrooms in the beginning chamber. Wisely, they did not test fate by trying to eat any. I put a shallow pool in the middle of the chamber and the party found a damaged Atalan helmet in it, which encouraged them. Moving onwards they found the courage to creep into the famous 'Pancake Cave'... a fan-shaped moderately smooth cave but with a very tight squeeze. They had to move on their hands and knees and some sections required them to squirm on their bellies. Once they reached the 'glittering stuff' they were attacked by several rat swarms.

And here's the part that made me laugh... 3 party members, with one torch lit [reasonably sensible... they only had 4 torches] and the encounter called for 3d6 rat swarms. I reduced the party's attacks to their Fist Attack percentiles no matter what weapon they chose to use. The rat swarms has 2 AP and 9 HP and could do 1-3 pts. of bite damage with a 5% chance per wound of causing a disease.

And I promptly rolled a 3 for the number of swarms. 😂🤣😆

After several rounds of combat, a couple of which were touch and go, the group finally defeats the rats. Only one party member took damage, but was kept alive by the good offices of the Initiate of Demeter and the payoff was worth it: 1 hauberk of 'barbarian' scale armor, one Atalan linothorax, and a VERY nice dagger. I almost reduced the loot, but the party could have faced as many as 18 rat swarms and I rolled that 3 fair and square. Beyond that, they also learned the lesson I was teaching about fighting in adverse conditions and teamwork. So I let them keep the goodies. It'll all need to be cleaned and repaired somewhat, but free armor is free armor.

The session ended with our heroines exiting the cave, having used all their torches, but they're determined to reenter it very soon and complete the task Khauros has given them.

Now I have to do some moderately serious writing. The group will heading into civilization soon and I have to give them enough information about Atalan and its society for them to roleplay with.

Edited by svensson

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