Friday, September 19, 2014

Solo Play - Castle of the Mad Archmage - I

Myrphines Map
Having determined how to handle NPC conversations, I'm ready to start my solo play campaign in the Castle of the Mad Archmage.  I'm editing the dungeon to fit my Epirus Nova campaign setting.  The names will be changed to something Greek-ish or Latin-ish.  I'll try to provide the canonical names from the booklet as well, just in case anyone bothers to follow along.

Result of the first play test
Write up is below the jump, but there was only one survivor.  I liked the results from my Background Events table and NPC Conversation Model.  Using Mythic for generating details on the fly works well, but does take some time.

This was my first time running ACKS, so it took some time to look up some of the mechanics.  I've been playing 3e/Pathfinder too long so were a couple of wasted hours trying to find a mechanic for Spot and Search checks.  And I wasn't consistent on remembering to check the creatures morale when they were injured or companions were killed.

Overall I'm liking ACKS clean combat mechanics, especially monster morale rules, but I need to generate a new party before the next venture.




Background. Having been a student in Alexandria at the time of the sack of Corinth by Rome, Myrphines, one of the Heraclidae or line of Dorian kings descended from Hercules [ACKS Nobiran Cleric/Magic User class] has found clues to an ancient artifact that will help him defeat the Romans and free his city.  His companions are his friend Trinor, a cleric of Zeus and his old family retainer/bodyguard Gontus.  They are searching for the  the Strategion of Philip [Gregor's Little General, Level 7, Room 41], a magical artifact that enabled Philip of Macedon to conquer Greece and his son Alexander, the world.

The Strategion of Philip was placed in the oracle at Delphi on the death of Alexander the Great.  It was one of the treasures stolen by the Celts in 279BC.  Thirty years ago it was known to be in the hands of Gentius the Illyrian King of the Ardiaei during the war between Perseus or Macedon and Rome.  It was not recovered when Gentius' fortification [The Castle of the Mad Archmage] was sacked by the Romans.  Myrphines believes it was buried with Gentius' brother Plator [Gregor, Level 7, Room 41].

Having arrived a Scodra (just off the north edge of the map), they have recruited a local lad, Altites, as a guide.  He has informed them that the main entrance to the dungeon is known to be through the keep; he's been up to the castle to trade loot and dungeoneering gear for food, drink and cash with some humans.  He's also talked with an adventurer who had a nasty encounter with some kobolds and giant weasels.

Scene 1 - Initial Foray  
Chaos factor 5 - Mythic calls for a check against the Chaos factor for every scene, but that's silly to me for the opening scene, so I'm skipping it.

Leaving their odoriferous lodging, Gontus led the way through the early morning crowds to the Epidamnos gate.  They spotted Altites, the tall one-eyed youth was talking with an older man.  The youth bid his companion farewell and walked over to them.  Before they could greet him, trumpets blew a discord and the heron-plumed guards pushed the crowd away from the gate.  In marched a group of warriors bearing shields and pectorals with a bear's head motif.  "Parthini", Altites explained, "hillsmen from the mountains to the south.  Wonder if Lactitus is planning on getting another wife."
[Background Event rolled 11 and; 3, for Embassy Arrives, Local]

    The party made it's way up to the ruined castle, watched only by bored young goatherds.  Passing through the portal, they unexpectedly saw a man in armor standing near a lean-to against the inner keep watching them enter.  [Mythic - Are any of the bandits in the castle watching the outer courtyard.  Unlikely/Average rolled a 10 -Yes.  I then asked a series of Mythic questions to flesh out the encounter details.]

   As they crossed the courtyard, in response to a whispered query, Altites responded that he didn't know the man.  The party spoke briefly with the man in ring mail, but both sides were to wary to give any information away.  The man turned away and went around the keep, while the party made it's way to a nearby building.   [NPC Conversation Model: Both sides wanted to know what the other was doing in the castle.  Average Charisma/Hard Difficult.  Party rolled 41, the bandit 45 - both failed to learn anything.] The building turned out to be an old stable.  Four loud knocks were heard when they entered the building, but a search didn't turn up any cause.  Leaving by the far end of the L shaped building, they headed for the northwest tower, wanting to find a bolthole in case they were being pursued in the future.  Inside they found a spiral stair leading to the dungeon.  Lighting a torch, the proceeded to start exploring.  Following the passage they came to door in the left wall, but didn't hear anything. [Forgot to have the dwarven sentries do a listen check.] The corridor Teed to the left, but they kept going straight, shortly thereafter a pit trap opened in form of Myrphines, he nimbly avoid falling in.  When the corridor came to a dead end in a room, they retraced their steps and started down the T.  Passing two corridors on the left, one ending in a door and the other extending beyond the torchlight the paused at a jog in the corridor they were following, where Altities noticed a group of low reddish lights coming down the corridor behind them.

[Wandering monster check.  From a nearby room.]

Three fire beetles were approaching at a stately waddle.  Altites fired an arrow at them as the party reversed order to put Myrphines and Gontus in the front rank.  But the arrow skittered down the corridor far behind the advancing coleoptera.

[Round 1 Initiative Party:6, Monster 3]
Gontus smashed [10 pts] the first beetle with his glaive. killing it, while Myphines hit one
[2 points] with his axe.  The third beetle bit Gontus, but the jaws scraped harmlessly against his chain mail.

[Round 2 Initiative Party:6, Monster 3]
Both sides danced and feinted without landing a bow. (Everybody whiffs)

[Round 3 Initiative Party:6, Monster 3]
Myphines gets a solid hit [6pts],while Gontus gets a glancing blow in on his [1 pt]

[Round 4 Initiative Party:4, Monster 3]
Over confident, bot the fighters get bit by the beetles [2 pts each]

[Round 5 Initiative Party:6, Monster 1]Startled by the ferocity of their assailants, Gontus and Myrphines fought defensively, while making sure that their injuries weren't serious. [Everybody whiffs]

[Round 6 Initiative Party:5, Monster 1]
Myrphines dispatches his opponent with a mighty swing [6 pts], Gontus scores again [6 pts] . The beetle begins backing away.

[Round 7 Initiative Party:4, Monster 4]
Myrphines dispatches the last beetle [8 pts - max damage]

Neither Gontus nor Myrphines were hurt bad enough to require returning to the surface. Altites skillfully removed the beetles glowing organs [Mythic - Did he remove them with out spoiling them? Average Dex/Above Average Difficulty 29 -Yes.] for the party's use and Trinos put out his torch. 

Back tracking to the previously bypassed short corridor, they searched the room the beetles had emerged from and found a small gold ring.  

Returning the continued to the end of the corridor, listening at doors, without hearing any sounds. The corridor branched to the right, just before it ended, so they pursued that hallway until it eneded in a T.  Following the right hand branch of the T, they came to where it ended at a door.  Not hearing anything within, they opened the door to find the room containing a garishly painted box with a metal crank.  Unable to resist, Gontus began turning the crank which produced a tinny melody.
When the song ended, to the surprise of the party, a giant weasel jumped out at took Gontus by the throat.[5 pts].

[Round 1 Initiative Party:3, Monster 3]
The weasel maintained it's grip on Gontus, draining him of blood before he could do more than let go of the crank.  Myrphines gave it a glancing blow [1 pt]., while Trinos hit it somewhat more solidly [2 pts]..

[Round 2 Initiative Party 3, Monster 6]
The weasel drops Gontus' body and leaps on Altites [4 pts].bearing him to the ground.  Myrphines stepped back and fired a Magic Missile [3 pts]. at the beast.

[Round 3 Initiative Party 1, Monster 5]
Leaving the rapidly cooling corpse of the Altites, the weasel fastened itself on the unlucky Trinos [3 pts]., as the surviving pair started backing towards the door..

[Round 4 Initiative Party 4, Monster 4]
Myrphines gave the creature a mighty blow [8 pts]. with his axe , while the stricken Trinos feebly [1 pt]. clubbed it.  The weasel continued draining Trinos' [2 pts]., shrugging off the damage[Morale check for being at 50% hit points, - 7 = Fight On].

[Round 5 Initiative Party 2, Monster 4]
 Trinos slumped over as the weasel finished draining his blood [6 pts]..  Myrphines slammed the door shut and ran out of the dungeon, all the way back to town.

Mythic wrap up.  Chaos Factor goes up to 6.

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