Dungeons & Delvers: The Heart of Hemskil

  • Anon (1st-level kobold wizard)
  • Gardia (1st-level human fighter)
  • Leon (1st-level human cleric)

Gardia and Anon arrived in Tjelos, the capital of Egetfold, and quickly went about their business...which was charging hapless rubes for bogus fortune tellings. Their "accoutrements" consisted of a plain wooden table and glass sphere, but Anon's magical repertoire provided them with sufficient credence.

At the end of the day they were nearly an entire gold piece richer, which was easily enough to buy them both a separate room and meal. They hadn't bothered to acquaint themselves with the city's layout, so began wandering the streets in the hopes that they'd find an inn before it closed.

They didn't make it far before Anon spotted a group of diminutive creatures, mostly concealed in deep shadow, slinking towards a manhole cover. The creatures noisily pried it open, and as they descended beneath the streets Anon glimpsed a glowing red object on one of them. He didn't know what it was, but it looked valuable, so they decided to pursue.

Once Gardia lit a torch they immediately realized that they had no idea which way the creatures had gone. As they stood, silently deliberating as to which way they should go, they heard the sound of groaning metal echoing in the distance. It was better than nothing: they followed the sound, and soon came across the creatures trying in vain to open a metal hatch.

The creatures hissed at them and brandished crude metal shivs. Gardia approached, sword drawn, and demanded to know what they were doing. They responded with gutteral growls and lunged at her. She cut one down, and Anon hurled one across the tunnel with a blast of invisible force.

The other two leaped on Gardia, stabbing and biting at her, while the third fled. She managed to smash another one against a wall, and Anon used her magic to take out the one that was fleeing. With all of its companions dead, the creature, which Anon was able to identify as a goblin now that he got a good look at it, slid off of Gardia and begged for its life.

Gardia asked what they were doing, and it admitted to stealing a gem. He didn't have it, and claimed that they'd dropped it while running in the sewers. Gardia said that if he helped them find it, that she would spare his life. It enthusiastically agreed.

They'd only just started trawling the sewage when Anon came across a very large rat. It hissed at her, plopped into the partially liquid waste, snatched up the dead goblin, and started dragging it away. Anon followed it, and now realized that there were numerous rats on the walkways. He tried conjuring illusionary food to distract the rat carrying the one goblin they hadn't inspected, but it ignored it scampered away.

A man's voice echoed from the darkness, praising Anon for his talents. Gardia asked who he was, a question he found quite rude, given that they'd intruded into his home. Anon said that they were entertainers. To their relief this seemed to please him, until they realized that his request for entertainment was fighting a horde of rats.

They fled towards the entrance, but Anon was overrun by the rats. Gardia tried to pull him free, but ended up getting dragged down as well. They fought, and after Gardia skewered the last of them realized that Anon was unconscious, and quickly bleeding out. Fortunately she couldn't hear any more rats, and was able to safely carry Anon out.

Guards had flooded the streets. A group spotted her, and demanded to know what she had been doing in the sewers. She explained the events that had transpired, and at the mention of the glowing red object, the guards asked if she had it. She said that they didn't, and that the only surviving goblin claimed to have lost it.

A pair of guards escorted Gardia to the nearest inn and paid for her room. She was told to stay in the city until the watch captain had a chance to speak to her. The night passed uneventfully, and early the next day the watch captain arrived and questioned them. He didn't elaborate on what had happened, but asked for some more details and inspected their belongings.

Gardia and Anon's answers seemed to satisfy him: he left, and they went downstairs to eat and see if anyone would be more forthcoming with last night's events. Aside from the innkeeper, no one else was there, and he'd been inside the entire time. They quickly ate and left, determined to discover what had happened the previous night.

They didn't have to go far: from the inn's door they saw a crowd of people gathered in the city's square. A royal herald was standing before them, flanked by a pair of guards. He announced that a large ruby, roughly the size and shape of a human heart, was stolen last night, and the king was offering 25,000 pieces of gold to whoever retrieved it. The only information they could provide was that goblins had stolen it.

Having a good idea as to where to at least start, Gardia and Anon returned to the manhole the goblins had used, shadowed by a war priest named Leon: he had heard that a kobold had been gravely wounded fighting goblins in the sewers. Kobolds weren't exactly known in western Egetfold, so when the crowd dispersed and he saw them both slipping away, quickly deduced their plan.

Gardia and Anon somehow wandered the tunnels for hours, using chalk to mark their path, before they were ambushed by more goblins. As they fought, Leon repeatedly blessed them from a considerable distance, which caused Gardia to think that her sword had somehow acquired magical powers. When the fight was over Leon revealed himself, stating that he would continue to help them recover the ruby in exchange for a share of the reward.

Behind the Scenes
It's been a while since we got a chance to playtest Dungeons & Delvers. This time we're looking to do a long term campaign using Melissa's Dungeon World adventure, The Heart of Hemskil, converted over to this system. No pictures this time: we're doing it over Hangouts, and I try to stay "gridless" whenever possible.

I have to say that it's kind of refreshing not having to stop the game to come up with miss and 7-9 results all the time. The game runs much smoother and faster: we got a lot more done that we have in our Dungeon World games, even though we only played it for about half as long as a normal session.

I'd upped the character Wound count by 1, and even though Anon was still taken out in the second fight, I think this had everything to do with horrible dice rolls: he rolled a 2 while trying to outrun the rats, and Gardia rolled a 4 trying to pull him free. This gave the rats a free attack each, which Anon understandably found almost impossible to evade.

Combat is pretty simple: your stats and skills are rated by dice (d4 is the worst, d12 is the best). You roll both your stat and skill dice, plus any other dice you might have (usually gained from talents), and then take the two highest results (or just both if you only have two).

When you attack a monster, you want to meet-or-beat its Defense value, and when you try to evade a monster, you have to beat its Attack value. If you fail, you take a Wound (characters have about 3-5 Wounds, depending on class and race).

Initially I had it so that you had to make a Defense roll against each attacking monster, but this meant that if six monsters attack, you could get hit six times. A fighter would be able to avoid most of this, but a wizard or cleric would likely be whittled down in a round or two.

I changed this rule a while back, so that when a bunch of monsters are attacking a single character, you use the highest Attack value between them, and increase it by 1 for each monster beyond the first. Dire rats normally have an Attack of 5, so when Anon got overrun and attacked, he had to make a roll (using I think a d4 and a d6) against an Attack of 10.

Nasty, but since he only takes 1 Wound, it's still better than getting killed right away.

We've just unleashed The Rakshasa upon Dungeon World.

Lichfield is available for public consumption. If you want a concise adventure with a Silent Hill feel, be sure to check it out! Primordial Machine is also out, so if you want to catch a glimpse of A Sundered World, now's your chance! Finally, we've updated If These Stones Could Scream.

The Dungeon World GM Screen is currently available in pdf and landscape insert formats. No matter which you choose, you get eight sets of pdfs that let you have access to the screen in both landscape and portrait orientation, in color or black and white, and with or without art.

We're waiting on the portrait inserts. Assuming they look good, they'll be available soon. They're now available.

Next up, mini screen!

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