Wednesday, April 17, 2024

AD&D 2e Play Report: Session 16

We played the 16th session of our AD&D 2e campaign last night. The play report for our last session is here.

To recap briefly, the party reunited with the invisible forest creature, Magicheart, who revealed herself to be a pseudodragon. She agreed to join the party, and became Bernhardt Dalton's companion. The party rested in the shadow of Magicheart's great tree, and were attacked while camping by a hill giant. The party defeated the giant handily, with Karven Stone scaling and then leaping from a tree to deliver a backstab to it.

The party returned to Grimerun, then headed towards Grasshold to investigate rumors of an ogre den nearby. They met with Lady Rosemunde Chauntea, the town's religious leader, and learned that the ogres had moved in recently and had been kidnapping farmers and other townsfolk. Haymond Baler convinced Lady Chauntea to provide them with some healing potions to aid them in getting rid of the ogres. The party set out for the den and arrived without incident.

Karven snuck inside the cave and found a lone female ogre with her back turned, fiddling with something at an altar. In an adjoining cavern, four more ogres lounged about, joking and arguing. Karven beckoned the rest of the party inside, then attempted to backstab the lone ogre with a poisoned dagger. A giant weasel, which she wore around her neck like a shawl, reared up and snarled at Karven, and he missed his attack. The ogre sounded the alarm, and we got ready to roll initiative.

Party Roster

It occurred to me that I should give a summary of who's in the party at the start of each of these posts. I can easily keep track of who's who, but I know that when I read someone else's play report, I often get confused, and need to refer back to a roster of sorts to figure it out. Henchman are listed under the player character whom they follow. The party consists of:

  • Bernhardt Dalton, NG human cleric 4
    • Magicheart, NG pseudodragon
    • Yinvalur Sparkguard, NG elf fighter 2
  • Corym Vadercast, NG elf fighter 2/mage 2
  • Haymond Baler, LG human fighter 4
    • Derrell, N human druid 1
    • Yuliana, NG human cleric 1
  • Karven Stone, LE dwarf thief 4
    • Sheyla, LE human thief 2

The generic map I used for the ogre den

The Dreadful Fight

We began the session by rolling initiative. Karven continued trying to stab the female ogre with his poisoned dagger. Bernhardt cast aid on Yinvalur. Corym and Haymond readied themselves with their backs to the cave entrance, deciding to hold their ground there. Derrell cast entangle to block off one of the tunnels which connected to the larger cavern where most of the ogres were. Yuliana cast bless. Sheyla and Yinvalur got ready to fire with their bows. The ogres moved in to attack, but they had to go the long way around to avoid Derrell's entangle spell.

Thing started off poorly. The first ogre to engage with the party hurled a javelin at Corym and scored a critical hit for 12 damage, which removed Corym's armor spell and bloodied him (he has 17 max hit points).

In 2e, armor grants the caster an AC of 6, and the armor has hit points equaling 8 + 1 per caster level. Each time the caster is hit, they lose hit points as normal, but the armor also loses hit points. Once the hit points fall to 0, the spell wears off. Corym has been walking around with the protection of this magical armor for maybe a week at this point.

Yinvalur scored two hits, including a critical hit of his own, with his bow, which was enough to bloody the first ogre.

The female ogre hit Karven for 10 damage, which was nearly half of his hit points (24 max). Karven scored a hit with his poisoned dagger in turn, but ogre passed her save against the Type F poison, which would have killed her instantly. Instead, she took no damage.

"Ogre Shaman" by Sepiawolf on DeviantArt. The ogre's boss was supposed to be a shaman, but for some reason I gave her a bunch of useless spells, so it didn't matter at all.

I decided to start checking morale at the top of each round, rather than on each creature's turn, because that's how it's done in B/X. 2e doesn't actually tell the DM when specifically to check morale in combat, which is weird. Since everyone is supposed to decide what they're doing at the top of the round anyway, rolling morale at that stage made more sense to me. I checked morale for the bloodied ogre, and it failed its check, meaning it would retreat that round. 

While one ogre retreated, two more emerged to fight the bulk of the party. A second ogre joined the female ogre fighting Karven. Karven started tumbling to and fro to avoid being smashed (as a dwarf, ogres suffer a -4 penalty to hit him, and tumbling increases that penalty to -8). Corym readied to drink a healing potion. Derrell began casting shillelagh so that he could join the melee next round. Everyone else drew their melee weapons and moved to engage.

What ensued was a brutal slog of a melee. I won't write out the whole play-by-play, but it was very dicey. Karven managed to avoid being smashed, but every other player was bloodied at some point during the fight, and had to alternate between making attacks and falling back to drink healing potions or receive healing from Bernhardt. 

They had mostly bad luck, missing tons of attack rolls while getting hit plenty. Almost everyone had a +1 to hit from either bless or aid, and they were able to run circles around the ogres in order to get an additional +2 from rear attacks. The way facing and rear attacks work in 2e strikes me as somewhat silly, but I guess one of the benefits of being a large party against a smaller one is being able to surround the enemy this way. There's some annoyance to keeping track of which direction someone is facing, but it's ultimately not too difficult.

At one point, Derrell got behind an ogre and smashed it with his shillelagh. The ogre promptly pivoted and turned Derrell into a smear of druid paste on the floor. With just 8 hit points, minimum damage from the ogre (2d4+6) would have killed him. Derrell was no more. The remaining henchmen had to test morale. Their morale score is 12 by default, with +1 from either aid or bless, and an additional +1 for those of Lawful alignment (Sheyla only). Sheyla failed her morale check and fled screaming from the cavern.

One of the two ogres fighting the bulk of the party was bloodied at this point, so it too made a morale check and failed. It withdrew into the rear of the cavern with the other ogre which had fled. This eventually triggered morale checks for the rest of the ogres, who had lost 25% of their party. They all passed, and continued to fight.

The second ogre fighting the bulk of the party was slain, allowing the party to reinforce Karven against the remaining two ogres. Eventually, these two ogres' morale failed as well, and they began fleeing. The party killed them on the run. Lastly, the party regrouped and plunged deeper into the cave to track down the remaining two ogres. The ogres might have tried to parley, but unfortunately, the party couldn't understand them, and at this point, it seemed easier to finish the job by killing the ogres, rather than convincing them to leave the town alone. The fight wrapped up shortly after.

Overall, a henchman died, another fled, and everyone in the party was bloodied, except Karven (who came close) and Yuliana (who was uninjured, but would have been killed in one hit). This was definitely the most dangerous encounter yet. It took almost the entire two-and-a-half-hour session, which felt right, given the stakes, though I didn't expect it to take so long. I chalk up the large amount of time spent to the ogres' high hit points (4d8+1, so an average of 19) and the high whiff factor for much of the fight.

It's All Ogre Now

The party searched the cave for surviving townspeople, but none were to be found - just bones littering the floor and filling a cauldron over the central fire pit. The party found a chunk of gold coins and a sealed scroll case marked with arcane sigils - the item that the female ogre had been puzzling over. Hilariously, they also found 37,000 copper. 

I'm not sure how exactly I ended up with so much copper in this treasure hoard, but I did. The players spent what was left of the session figuring out how to carry it all. They determined that between the two mules and the wagon, they could just barely make it work, but they'd be traveling back to town at one-third their normal speed, meaning that the half-day journey back would instead take a day and a half. We'll figure that out next time.

The party earned a huge chunk of experience points - one for the fight itself and another for completing the quest. Corym earned a level in mage, which gives him half of a d4 hit die, a 2nd-level spell slot, and a nonweapon proficiency. Karven reached 5th-level, which gives him a d6 hit die, a THAC0 improvement of 1, improved saving throws, more thieving skill points, and a backstab multiplier of x3.

All of the surviving henchmen leveled up as well. Shelya is now 3rd-level, which earns her a d6 hit die, a THAC0 improvement of 1, and thieving skill points. Yinvalur is 3rd-level as well, which earns him a d10 hit die, a THAC0 improvement of 1, a saving throw improvement, and a weapon and nonweapon proficiency. Yuliana is 2nd-level, which earns her a d8 hit die and a 1st-level spell slot.

Next time, I anticipate that the party will return to Grasshold, then continue their journey south, to Mythshire, and maybe then onto Southreach.

No comments:

Post a Comment