Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Dwimmermount, Session 16

The latest session of the Dwimmermount campaign concerned greatly with logistics, as the characters spent a goodly amount of time in Adamas re-supplying and generally fortifying themselves for delving even deeper into the megadungeon. To date, the PCs have explored what amounts to roughly levels 1-3 of the ancient Thulian fortress (spread over multiple sub-levels, mind you), but their thoughts have turned lately to what OD&D helpfully calls "more and bigger loot," which means they'll soon be screwing up their courage to seek out levels 4 and below.

This only makes sense, since most of the characters are about 4th level. The rewards, both from monsters and, more importantly, treasure are too small to propel them to even higher levels of experience. And while my players are content with OD&D's comparatively slow rate of advancement, they would nevertheless like to gain more experience per session than they have been netting thus far, which means facing greater dangers.

While in Adamas, Brother Candor released the archer Sam from his service and hired a new higher-level archer named Cormac, while Dordagdonar acquired a new hireling named Ereth. Given the large number of horses in their adventuring party -- everyone, including the hirelings and henchmen now have mounts -- they also took on a groom named Hap. Brother Candor and Dordagdonar likewise purchased some livestock and a plow to give as wedding gifts to their former hireling Ragnar, at whose wedding the cleric promised to officiate "when he had the time." That time never seems to arrive, but I have the feeling that our next session will involve it at least in part.

Brother Candor did some research into the insignia of the Thulian battle standard the party looted from Dwimmermount. He discovered that it belonged to a unit known as the Guardians of the Azure Chamber. Unfortunately, he could find little else about the unit, which appeared to an elite one with few members and was based solely in Dwimmermount, never seeing action anywhere else in the Thulian Empire. This led him to believe that the "Azure Chamber" must be located within the mountain fortress in a deeper level. Likewise, the reappearance of the word azure didn't thrill him, as it reminded him of the Termaxian cultists, the Azure Twilight.

The party also paid a visit to Saidon, the cleric of Typhon. He had earlier expressed interest in purchasing any azoth-infused weapons and armor that the party acquired and did not wish to keep for themselves. Since they had an extra suit of such chain mail, they sold it to him. Saidon reiterated his interest in buying more and asked how many more they could likely acquire. When asked if by "more" he meant "a couple more or enough to outfit a regiment," he replied, "As many as you can acquire but my friends in Yethlyreom would not be disappointed if you could acquire enough to outfit a regiment." Oddly, the PCs didn't follow up on this statement, as I think they were anxious to get back to Dwimmermount.

Once in the dungeon, the characters continued their explorations of the sub-level, using their map to locate passageways they'd previously neglected. This resulted in the discovery of set more rooms they'd not yet found, as well as a series of natural caves. They spent some time exploring the caves, in the process defeating a rust monster -- yep, I'm one of those referees -- and a giant slug. The slug's slimy body was covered in coins and gems, which the party then spent a goodly amount of time removing, only to realize that most of the coins were copper, at which point they stopped caring and instead allowed their hirelings to take as much as they could carry for their own purposes.

All in all, a good session that opened up a number of new avenues for development later should the characters decide to follow up on them. I continue to be impressed and amazed that Dwimmermount itself holds such an attraction to my players. I've created numerous hooks for adventures outside the dungeon, but, to date, none have really been picked up. I'm perfectly fine with that, honestly, since a dungeon, even a megadungeon, is actually quite low maintenance as campaign settings go. Moreover, I'm enjoying watching their rediscovery of the dungeon setting, not to mention the reinvention of delving procedures I haven't seen used since I was a kid. The campaign continues to be much fun and very instructive in the mysteries of the Old Ways.


  1. Guardians of the Azure Chamber

    Is that an intentional Tekumel shout out/reference there? Or would that constitute spoilers?

    And the copper/slug trick was sneaky. Evil DM you!

  2. I've never actually used the "coat of treasure" armour trick, despite reading about it in the Hobbit. Filed away for next time: thanks.
    I'll just join the chorus and say this seems like a really smart campaign frame. The megadungeon offers a stable threat environment that the PCs can return to with some confidence that it will feed them new gear and puzzles, but they're free to find their own more pro-actively elsewhere, so they'll never feel like they're stuck/have nothing constructive to do. I wish I'd thought of that in about half the games I've ever run. I wonder if it can be applied to Cthulhu.

  3. I love how you're dropping hooks/clues into the game. That's how you run a good sandbox game. And it reinforces my view that how the DM/GM/Whatever runs the game matters more than what the game is. Sure, rules matter, but the quality of DMing I think matters more. I've played some great games of Vampire, for instance, that sound like James' OD&D game.

  4. <>I've created numerous hooks for adventures outside the dungeon, but, to date, none have really been picked up<

    I'm having the opposite problem in my campaign that is supposed to be eventually leading up to a nice big dungeon. I meant them to be at the dungeon by around game 3 or 4 (for around last christmas). We are on around game 17 and still a game or two from that dungeon. These little side adventures, often instigated by a new player character coming to the table, are actually big fun for me. But still, I want some dungeoning to go down. Soon.

  5. A regiment?! What kind of regiment? For whom? To do what?!!!

    /can't believe they didn't ask!

  6. Really interesting reading some parallel events in our games, James. Odd, almost.

    I'm eager to read of Session 17.