Scribe's Work - OD&D Arthurian Campaign - Play Reports 30

I'll start a new series, called Scribe's Work. When I'll DM a game or play in a game, I'll put a play report here on the blog. It's something I think that's missing from the blogosphere.

For a quick recap: I'm a Referee in an open table west marches campaign set in a pseudo-Arthurian low-fantasy world using OD&D (with some added stuff from supplements). It's been about 30 game, almost 1.5-2 years. I'm unsure so I'll just say it's 30 and we'll go from there.

There is about 5-10 players that are more invested, and another 5-10 that come from time to time. My base quota is 3, but TBH I'd play even with 1 or 2 players. I have no max. Lowest level is 1, highest is 5. As a team they created a guild and bought a house.

Until now, only PC 4 kills (not counting retainers, hirelings, etc.), with the most famous being a magic-user level 5 against a Type III demon (telekinesis).

My world map is really cluttered with notes and stuff, so instead I'll share theirs (stuff that's far away is a guess based on rumours, they don't know for sure what's there):

Last time they went out, they explored the southwest, were taxed by a group of bandits (which they vowed to go back to kill), found a hidden dungeon behind an abandonned manor, explored a couple of rooms, had trouble with slimes and decided to retreat.

Ernold the ranger (Dan), level 4 ranger
Béranger the druid (Laurence), level 3 druid
Norbert the fighter (Math), level 1 fighting-man
Adélaïde the wizard (Mary), level 1 magic-user
12 men-at-arms

After a very short discussion in the Haven (starting civilization), their plan was simple: go kill the bandits to avenge their honor, and then continue exploration towards the West to find a way to the Wasteland. The Ranger has been afflicted by a geis: he needs to go beyond the bridge (guarded by a Type III demon which already killed some of them) and create a detailed map for the wizard.

On the way to the Dam at 011.016, where the bandits have made their home, they met with some mutants from the south. They decided to leave their home because there was a push of hobgoblins from the south and one of them got killed in a nearby ruin by a basilisk ("it was a huge lizard that turned him to stone!").

The group carried on until they hit an ancient gatehouse of stone which they knew is the secret passage to get to the bandit's lair. They followed the road north and ambushed the guards outside the lair with arrows. One of them got lucky and got inside and closed the door.

Things then started to get messy: they made a formation in front of the only door and hacked at it with their weapon. They then threw oil inside and then a molotov cocktail: some of the bandits ran out through the front and got hacked to piece rapidly while others tried to get out by the river and got killed. Only one bandit and the bandit leader (unbeknownst to the players) got away.

They looted the placed after the fire died out and kept pushing west. They slept in an abandonned ancient manor they already knew about. Henchmen are useful for keeping guard, so nothing happened. They then pushed west until they hit the river. They wanted to find another spot to cross than the bridge. They followed the river south until the bridge to no avail: it's all cliffs and fast rapids because the river comes from the mountain down south.

Before going very far, they were ambushed by a full grown Manticore. They made a formation with the hirelings and started the combat. The Manticore charged and killed 6 of them in the same turn (lucky roll). The rest of the melee henchmen fled (rolled worst possible result) and they managed to kill him without much more bloodshed on the PCs side (thanks to the henchmen who took the charge). Also, a fighter with a full plate and a shield is pretty good.

They decided to push south of the road and past the bridge, into unknown territory. They ended up in an ancient battlefield with craters all over the place where trees have start growing again. They saw a big log cabin on a hill and went there to meet a band of rangers that keep the land safe from creatures beyond the river, the wasteland.

They helped the player for the night and gave them information. He told them of the various dangers in the region and of another pass possible west: an ancient aqueduct that goes above the river in a hex up north that they themselves use. They also learned of the bounty on the bandit chief, which is recognizable because of an eyepatch.

The next day they went straight northwest towards the Dam to get the head of the bandit. On the way they found a huge magical tree inhabited by owls and a Council of Owls: four giant owls in service to the Elder Owl. They gave them a small tribute (some GP and a silver bolt) which was graciously accepted but not enough to impart wisdom. The players pushed on.

They stopped by the Wizard's tower that gave the gaeis to make a deal to extend the gaeis for the ranger: he wasn't hearing it.

At the dam, they found the bodies but none of them had the eyepatch: sadness ensued. They then went to the other side of the river to see if they could find his traces, but it was too late, he was long gone east and they lost his track. They went back to the Haven and finished the adventure for that day.

Some XP for discovring a lot of hex and killing a Manticore. Some loot from the bandit's and selling pieces of the Manticore. The Fighting-Man level-up to lvl 2 and rolled a horrible HP score (5).

In a sentence, what happened: The player got their revenge on some bandits and learned a way of going west.
What impact all of this will have: They will be able to end the geis on the ranger by traversing west to the wastelands.
What I take from this: Cool adventure. Using Chainmail resolution for bigger combat (15 bandits vs 15 henchmen with adventurers, or a group of henchmen against the Manticore) with regards to NPC is magical. It goes fast and it's nice.


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