Last Tuesday, the party decided to pick a fight with two manticores. They had heard from a survivor that lizard knights and manticores had attacked a merchant delivering elven goods (cloaks, boots, chain mail) to Longbottle (Lenap). They already knew about the toad men (troglodytes) and enjoyed friendly relations with them, having fought the crab men on their behalf. Yes, Tuesday the party decided to return to the Fight On! megadungeon.
The party consisted of seven player characters and four henchmen. One character had the head of a basilisk (the same basilisk that had turned his predecessor to stone) and when he learned that manticores were stupid, he commissioned a basilisk costume worth fifty gold on which to mount the decaying head. He would scare the manticores away, he said. The party also bought the three toughest nets they could find for five gold each. And they had dozens of flasks with self-made giant badger oil from a previous badger killing expedition.
Thus armed, they went to see the troglodyte king and tried to haggle for a reward, but the king remained adamant. He would let them have all the treasure if they killed both manticores. If they got away with the treasure without killing the monsters, he’d ask for a tax and that was that. The party then bought expensive troglodyte barbed spears for five gold each (no special properties except for the higher price) and some more shields for ten gold each (no special properties either). They also rented a wall-climbing gecko with a trog-knight saddle for ten gold per day.
Three tunnels led to the manticore cave. One player would don the basilisk costume together with the henchmen and cause a disturbance at one tunnel, a fighter would lie waiting in the gecko saddle at the next tunnel, one henchman would act as a runner and everybody else would set up oil puddles and hang up nets at the third tunnel.
I think things happened roughly as follows:
- The priest runs across the tunnel to spread some oil in the other tunnels. I give him a two in six chance of doing it successfully and he makes it.
- The basilisk guys start their distraction and the manticores hide to the left and right of the corridor, waiting for “man flesh”.
- The paladin and the dwarf hang up the nets with a hammer and some spikes. I give them a one in six chance of doing it unnoticed and they fail.
- One of the manticores comes running across the cave to the corridor that is full of oil with a net hanging around the corner.
- One character throws a flask of oil at the manticore and misses.
- One character lights the oil puddle and I agree that the manticore will be on fire for two rounds, taking 1d6 damage each round.
- I rule that the manticore has a two in six chance of tripping in the net and it’ll take 1d6 rounds to extricate itself. It fails the first roll and is entangled in the net for three rounds. I rule that the manticore cannot act in these rounds and that everybody else gets a plus two to hit. Dog pile!!
- In the mean time, the basilisk dudes show up at the other end where a manticore is waiting for dinner. I think that a decaying basilisk head on a man-made giant puppet with three bumbling humans inside, one of them making strange basilisk sounds (demo at the table) gives them a meager two in six chance of scaring the beast away. They fail. Roll for initiative I say! The players win and decide to go mano-a-mano…
- Within two rounds, the entangled manticore is slain.
- The other manticore missed the basilisk dudes with its claw and decides to rise up into the air and starts firing bolts from its tail. Two rounds later, it is killed and nobody else died except for a henchman. Poor Ool, you will be missed.
- The party discoveres that the elven treasure is not there, but there are some magic items and golden cups and plates worth 600 gold. The XP for two manticores is shared amongst the eleven people that entered the fight (player characters and henchmen). The two surviving henchmen with no level gain their first level of fighter and get to roll their attributes.
- An ogre shows up and demands a share of the treasure.
- The paladin says we’ll divide it fairly and hands the ogre a a golden cup worth 60 gold, and hands each other surviving party member a cup or a plate. The ogre waggles its head, nods, and bumbles off.
Sometimes I wonder whether my neighbors are bothered by the shouting and laughing starting at 20:00 and peaking at around 22:30 before dying down around 23:00 – we sure aren’t quiet folks at the table, seven players and me…
Tags: RPG Old School