Dungeons & Delvers: Into the Fire

In previous games we had all of the rooms populated in advance, allowing our kids to scan the dungeon and make an informed choice about where they went. This time I left the rooms empty, suggesting that they listen at the doors, and maybe peek through to better see what's in there (though I warned them this wouldn't always be reliable, and they might get detected anyway).

The first room had several pairs of skeletons walking about, though they weren't careful or silent, so ended up attracting all of them. Luckily the length of the halls allowed them to smash a few down before the next pair showed up, so they didn't get overwhelmed right from the start. The chamber in the center contained a giant spider. It managed to get in a few bites on the barbarian before going down, but there was a treasure chest in the room so I think they felt it was worth it.

The third room was empty, though the talking door leading out warned them that they would have to tell a funny joke or else it would scream and attract monsters. Our oldest offered a pretty well delivered poop joke, which actually got a chuckle out of me, so it opened without a peep.

In the next area a zombie hulk lumbered back and forth, oblivious to their presence. The wizard (ie, Melissa) wanted to fight it, but the kids wanted to sneak past (I think they were worried that it was too big). Since they were the majority vote I had them all roll their Agility and Stealth dice, and use the highest two to see if they overcame the hulk's piddlingly low Difficulty.

Of course they succeeded, and I need to note that a large party should force die discards: otherwise the bigger your party, the more likely you are to succeed. Anyway, as they made their way out they found another treasure chest. It turned out to be a mimic, but the barbarian tore it in half without the hulk noticing. Once they got past the hulk, the frog found a hidden chamber that contained a for realsies treasure chest.

The next room was filled with zombies. Now, zombies are individually slow and little threat (5 for both Attack and Defense), but they're tough (2 Wounds) and great at overwhelming you (+1d6 to Attack when mobbing, in addition to the usual +1 for each extra monster). Even so they only managed to wound the barbarian a few more times and the wizard once before they were all destroyed.

At this point the barbarian was limping along at 1 Wound, but they opted to press on anyway and stumbled across a necromancer's bedroom. He summoned a few skeleton warriors before diving out the window, swearing that he'd return. In his defense, they did manage to reduce him to 1 Wound. Once they'd smashed the skeletons they rested for the night: I rolled to see if anything showed, but they lucked out.

The last area on their tour of murder and lootery was a large, lava-filled chamber, infested with fire-immune drakes. As the barbarian took care of them, magma elementals started popping up. The wizard blasted them apart, literally, into two smaller ones, which the frog stomped out. Once they were all extinguished, they found a treasure chest tucked away in the corner of the room, along with a drake egg.

Design & Development
They made it to 2nd-level, but to keep things even simpler we just ask them what they wanna do better: kill things or not die. The barbarian class is a new addition, and while they'll have some overlap with slayer-fighters, they'll also have the ability to shift between various modes with totem talents. For example, wolf barbarians are faster and give better dice when aiding or defending allies, while bear barbarians will be tougher and stronger.

The current XP model is similar to Numenera or Dungeon World, except that you get 1 XP each time you accomplish a certain goal (defeat enemies, find treasure, or learn something), even in the same session. Defeat three "noteworthy enemies"? Whelp, that's 3 XP for everyone. Find four meaningful treasures? That's also 4 XP! Of course to account for this, we upped the amount of XP needed to level up.

But, having run a campaign using Melissa's Heart of Hemskil adventure (which she is totally wanting feedback for right now), and several sessions with our own kids, I'm thinking of making things less ambiguous/arbitrary, such as by, for example, giving each monster its own XP value.

Now, I don't wanna do it how more recent Dungeons & Dragons editions do it, where a cat is worth 10 XP, and you need 300 XP to level up (for starters, at any rate). I'd prefer to make it so that a goblin is worth, say, 1 XP, a skeleton is worth 2, an orc is 3, and so on. This value would be given to each character, so it'd help avoid issues of XP fractions.

I'm also considering removing treasure as an XP award, as I figure that getting to the treasure, which likely involves defeating monsters and disabling traps, gets you XP anyway. The rationale I've heard is that having gold be worth XP encourages sneaking, clever tactics, and so on, but then I can just change monster XP to also include bypassing or otherwise disabling the monster.

Finally, I also wanna add in guidelines for awarding XP for quests and possible optional objectives.

Oh, since I haven't posted this on the blog, here's some of the new game art:

You've got a pair of dwarves and cambions (reprising their roles from A Sundered World), and a lone elf. The frog isn't going to be a race or anything (maybe), I just wanted to draw the frog mini in the scale armor they found in the previous session because that's who they ended up giving it to.

Image Dump

This is about the biggest we can muster without digging into our temple set, which means we'll have to get more Dwarven Forge sets...

You can't se it in this picture, but that door totally has a mouth.

A Sundered World is out!

The Fighter is geared up and ready to go! Unlike the default Dungeon World fighter, your skills matter more than your special "can sometimes be lost but not really" weapon. There are a variety of fighting styles to choose from, including the ability make a DEX-based fighter.

Grave Goods is the latest magic item compilation in our 10+ Treasures line. If you want nearly 30 undead-themed magic items, some monsters, and advice on how to make your own, pick it up!

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.


  1. After seeing the drawing, you've convinced me that the frog should be a race. :P
    It's cute and a little absurd, but I think that's perfect. It's like a bullywug for kids.

    1. @Svafa: Whelp thanks to you and one of the Delvers playtesters, I've started a poll over at the Delvers community to see what sort of frog-thing should be a race. :-P


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