Dungeons & Delvers: A Crawl Through a City in the Shadow of Death, Part 3

The adventurers have finally cleaned out the first level!

Going off a random reaction table from the black/"easy to master" Dungeons & Dragons box I picked up off eBay, the likewise wounded and exhausted party they ran into wanted help escaping, and were even willing to part with some of their loot in the process.

Unfortunately they ran into numerous monsters on the way out: the barbarian went down—again—and I had our daughter take over with the dwarf warrior until they made it out of the dungeon (mechanically he was pretty similar, just a bit sturdier what with the shield and being a dwarf).

To make matters worse they were short on rations, and since no one was good at hunting they had to trek all the way back to town in order to re-stock. At least the return trip also gave them a chance to pawn their loot (mostly various pieces of jewelry), exchange their silver for gold (as much as the village could muster, at any rate), heal, and level up.

Once they returned to the dungeon, they made a beeline to the final chamber. As luck would have it they didn't run into anything en route, which meant that they were able to take on the necromancer while at maximum Wounds.

They defeated the necromancer and his death knight minion, taking his screaming skullight and skull staff, because necromancers do love them some skulls. The skullight never runs out, but constantly emits a low wailing noise, making it difficult to hide even if concealed. Also likely to freak others out. The skull staff requires you to have the Necromancy talent, but I dunno if Melissa is going to invest in that.

Oh well, not every magic item has to be usable.

Behind the Scenes
Having run through a bunch of fights of wildly varying difficulties, I think the monster numbers are a tad too low (they tore through the death knight pretty easily). They're kind of initially based on an expected average result for 1st-level characters, modified by what the monster is, how big it is, expected skills, and so on.

A 1st-level fighter can be expected to roll an average of 8 (4.5 from Might d8 + 3.5 from Melee d6), or around 10 if they're using a two-handed weapon (since they add +1d4 to your Attack Pool), so for example I'd originally pegged the typical warrior-type monster as a 7.

Once you hit 2nd-level, though, you can up your skills and choose a new talent (might change this so it alternates: at 2nd-level you up a skill, at 3rd you choose a talent, then at 4th a skill again, etc), meaning that a fighter will be rolling 2d8 (Might d8 + Melee d8), giving them an average of 9. If you're going down the two-handed tree, you could also end up tacking on another d8 (rank 2 in Slayer).

So, I'm going to bump everything up by a point or two (and maybe even change how Difficulty scales, so that they increase in sets of 3 instead of 2). This way 1st-level characters won't have slightly better than 50:50 odds of hitting many things until 2nd- or even 3rd-level. I think it'll make low-level crawls more dangerous, and give the players something to work towards.

Image Dump

A Sundered World is out (and also available in dead-tree format)! If you for some reason don't want the entire setting, you can just snag the races and classes.

The Gunner is locked and loaded.

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.

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