Monday, December 15, 2008

Man vs. Dungeon

Today’s post will be one of my briefer efforts as the demands of the holidays, the real life job, and another project of mine are eating up most of the little downtime I have remaining nowadays. I’m hoping to get most of my irons out of the fire by the beginning of next week so as to be able to enjoy the holidays without too much responsibility hanging overhead. I intend to continue my regular posting schedule through the holiday weeks, but they will most likely be shorter efforts since most everyone is preoccupied during that time anyway.

In the D&D campaign I play in, things reached an interesting turn of events at the end of last Saturday’s gaming session. For reasons too convoluted to explain, the session ended with most of the party battered and bruised. One PC was dead, our druid had been knocked into negatives twice, and his bear and wolfhound had seen the far side of zero as well. Hit points were pretty low all around and, due to some house rules, the folks who had been knocked into negatives were going to be very helpless for the next two days. The dead dwarf was raised but had lost the obligatory point of Constitution, and our druid, continuing a tradition with his ability scores being whittled away, had lost a permanent point of Comeliness thanks to an “accidental” nose job by the party’s mage. To aggravate matters, the party was now locked inside an old dwarven mausoleum with a horde of superstitious gnolls keeping watch on the doors. The gnolls weren’t coming in, but things might turn very “Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid” when the party makes a break for it.

When I say “party”, by the way, I mean everybody but my thief. During the events that led up to the current situation, my thief was able to escape from the mausoleum, scale a chasm, and avoid any wandering monsters to make it back to base camp safely. In addition, he’s now in possession of the magical gee-gaw we busted into the mausoleum to retrieve in the first place. Now, alone and uncertain of the fate of his fellow party members, he’s had to make some hard choices as to what he’s going to do. After weighing what I know about my character, I came to the conclusion that he’s going to attempt to delve into the section of the dungeon that contains the key the opens all the various magically-protected treasure caches littered throughout the dungeon. A key which we needed the magical gee-gaw to retrieve. Hopefully, with access to the treasure vaults, he might be able to find something to help determine the fate of his compadres, and rescue them if they’re still alive.

I’m delighted by this situation. I know that by the end of a special mid-week solo session, I’m either going to have cemented the reputation of my thief as a miracle-worker and “the greatest thief alive” or be rolling up a new character. While I’m obviously hoping for the former, I’m ready to accept the later, just as long as I go down striving.

This turn of events strikes me a very “old-school”. I’m reminded of the tales of Gary and Rob’s Greyhawk dungeon delves where players would occasionally make solo runs into the dungeon in order to get their hands on certain treasures or to earn bragging rights at the table. It harkens back to a time when a player really lived or died by his wits and the chance of the dice. It was dungeon crawling without a net. No carefully balanced, numerically sound, logically designed encounters to ensure “maximum fun”. You lived and bragged, or died, mourned, then rolled up another character to try again.

No matter what happens in the next few days, I’m going to enjoy in the challenge. One or two of the other players will be dropping by to watch the solo run, but there’s a part of me that wishes it was just the DM and I and that, in the event that everything goes pear-shaped, no one besides the two of us would ever know for sure what happened to my thief during his “alone time” down in the dungeon. Of course, if I do die, I’ve got the magical gee-gaw, so things might get VERY interesting for the rest of party even if they do survive their break-out. Maybe this way they might have an idea where to find my corpse.

Wish me luck.


Vanadorn said...

I don't have to call either Coruth'tae or Karis Kyle or Dan I mean to come over and watch you perform. I would actually prefer it myself that way as well - but obviously - there is LOTS of interest in what happens to you. Lol!

I'm glad you're looking forward to it, I am as well. I am not fudging any mubers (haven't done that to the party since you all left 3rd level), changing anything down the unexplored areas, or rooting for it to occur any particular way. Just want to see what you are planning and how it's all going to come to play out.

Let me know when you are planning to stop by. Hope it is not tonight (Monday), I won't be home till after 8 and Heroes is on tonight. But every other day is a thumbs up win for me!

The Grand Wazoo said...

good luck on the crawl.

Scott said...

Reminds me of the old days. Break a leg. :)

Anonymous said...

Perhaps Loki himself will smile on you.

Anonymous said...

Awesome! This is what the game is all about, says I. Good luck to ye!