Exploring the Contested Corridors

Friday we had a good long session of the game with the kids, where they explored more of Amityville Mike’s Stonehell dungeon, in particular the 1C section: The Contested Corridors.  The game continues to go well, and much enjoyment is being had by all.  There was one more character death this time, Grace’s character Horatia, but a succesful dying prayer (natural 20) restored the character to life in a spectacular fashion, though much in need of rest and recuperation.  The party continues to be more and more impressed with Horatia’s make-believe god Horatio, which Grace plays to the hilt.  It will be interesting to see if they ever do figure out that the god she claims to be worshipping isn’t the one she’s actually devoted to.

They also leveled up, all except Charlie’s new character (replacing the deceased Revenge) and Elyssa’s new-to-the-campaign fighter, Biff.  Mostly that involved getting another dice worth of Stamina points, since nobody opted for trying to increase any stats, and choosing a new Talent, plus selecting new spells for the Mages.   I’ve replaced the specific effects of spells  like Magic Missile, Burning Hands, and Shocking Grasp with more generalized versions where when you learn the spell you pick the element (from a list of available elements) along the lines of Trappings in Savage Worlds.   Mac’s Rogue (Thief/Mage) decided to specialize in Electrical magic, in return for the vague promise of future benefits for having done so;  Tommy’s Mage decided to branch out, so he can now cast either the Ice or Poison versions of the two elemental spells he knows: dart and fan.

I had hoped to spend some time RPing the interaction with the Adventurer’s Guild and with Rowena the Healer, an NPC they just met and daughter of Contus the boat-man, who ferries them to the island with the dungeon as needed. But the kids were getting a little antsy, and needed some good hack-time.  One of the things I’ve found about GMing Stonehell is that there are really more empty rooms than the kids will put up with.  Part of that is Mike leaving plenty of space for GMs to insert their own stuff, and part that there’s a certain logic to not having everything cheek-by-jowl to everything else,  but I’ve been sliding more and more towards having something to do or think about in every room.   Some of the time I’m just shifting the location of a random encounter so that it’s either  in the room or comes upon them while they’re checking it out, but I’m also starting to just wing extra stuff, like the giant crab pretending to be a table, or the secret compartment beneath the broken statue containing a copper bracelet that grants immunity to the lightning that the trapped suits of armor cast.  I’ll be interested to see what they do with that, once they figure it out.

The orcs continue to be a source of great amusement; making them comically stupid has worked out really well.  The highlight of the session was when Tommy (the youngest) managed to fool a big crowd of orcs who were attracted by the sounds of them fighting the giant crab by shouting through the door in orcish “They went the other way!”  It’ll also be fun when they meet the bogeys (shemped goblins) and find out that not all monsters are that gullible.

One thing they’re not very good about is running away when the odds aren’t good.  So far, it’s worked out ok for them, but so far they’ve been quite lucky with some of Horatia’s miracles.  On the other hand, at least one of the miracles wouldn’t have been necessary if they hadn’t been really unlucky with one of the orc’s damage rolls. I’m wondering if I should tweak the rules for extra damage hits slightly; I had thought that I made really bad hits rare enough, but now I’m not sure.

One thought on “Exploring the Contested Corridors

  1. AmityvilleMike says:

    One of the things I’ve found about GMing Stonehell is that there are really more empty rooms than the kids will put up with. Part of that is Mike leaving plenty of space for GMs to insert their own stuff, and part that there’s a certain logic to not having everything cheek-by-jowl to everything else, but I’ve been sliding more and more towards having something to do or think about in every room.

    There is a decent amount of empty space in Stonehell for the reason you stated – I wanted to leave enough blank canvas for referees to paint their own unique creations on. But another reason for the empty rooms is that I was attempting to hew close to the old design philosophy of dungeons as it existed in the early editions, which featured more empty rooms than is currently vogue in dungeon design.

    That being said, I’m glad you’re customizing the blank space to your own needs and that the family is still finding Stonehell a fun place to poke around in.

    AmityvilleMike’s last blog post..Dereliction of Duty

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