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Dungeons Unleashed: Crimson Shield Campaign

I recently started a playtest campaign of Dungeons Unleashed, a hack of the Simple Superheroes engine for fantasy gaming.

I will start posting up session summaries and other details here.

Dungeons Unleashed Dark Age of Darsivia campaign

Players were given three options on what theme the campaign would take: The Beastmen of Kadesh, Silver Lanterns or Crimson Shield Mercenary Company.

They chose the Crimson Shield.

Players
Azim, skeleton knight due to a cursed suit of armour (Player Aneesh) rank corporal
Osprax, light/dark mage and friend of birds, half-elf (player Ben) rank specialist
Robert the Healer, priest of Elnadar (player David) rank specialist

Crimson Shield members
Commander Angranth
Corporal Lenox
Jonah brave trooper with Azim, fights side by side
Jacob trooper with Azim. Complains, always does the thing so he doesn’t fight.
Sergeant?

Local force escorting caravan is about 20 troopers + ranked members. (2 lost during predawn attack)
The Crimson shield is a significantly larger mercenary company, currently taking a number of smaller jobs while looking for more lucrative employment.

Currently escorting a (mainly) halfling caravan along the fey road (caravan leader - Phillips). Between the gnomish city of Tinkerton and the elven border city.

The session started with a disagreement at a cross-road on which way to go to the eleven border city, Osprax consulted the birds who eventually told him to head right.
While they waited Azim’s section scouted, and were attacked by a needleman. It revealed the Shroom sent it before being slain. It had poisonous fungus growing on it.
Another trooper threw a javelin at a figure, but further scouting revealed nothing.

The caravan traveled on and camped overnight. On the predawn watch, raucous cries of starlings alerted the group to a halfling being grabbed at the latrine by a podman. Azim and Robert stopped them, and Osprax discovered more hiding in wait. Birds were called to attack and the Crimson Shield formed up and smashed the 5 podmen, losing 2 men in the assault.

Robert managed to convince the last surviving podman to lead them home. 2 halflings were discovered missing.

Spot 3 podmen carrying 2 halflings and a goblin below in a cavern at the base of a waterfall. The podman leading them and Robert take a tumble off the cliff into the pool below.
Osprax slows them by blinding them.
They catch up and defeat them, just as Sargath the black dragon reveals himself. He is there to stop trespassers, unless perhaps they offer him wealth.
Osprax fumbles with negotiating as Robert jumps across the stream and appoaches from another direction. After a brief warning he attacks the dragon - with cancer.
The dragon breathes on Robert, who survives relatively unscathed, and Osprax blinds with a flash of light, as Azim rushes to help.

The battle ends after with Sargath fleeing in flight (after the blindness spell wore off), swearing vengeance and Osprax magically summoning a swarm of birds to attack the beast – he rolled double twelves. The dragon eye is pecked out, he slams into the wall and falls to the pool below, dead.

The heroes find a small but heavy chest, and take it and the dragons body with them.

Comments

  • A dragon's defeat:
    Honestly I was mostly thinking of the dragon encounter as a roleplaying one. But player perspective often surprises you.
    I didn't have stats for a young dragon handy, but I had made one before, so I just went with: 4Lp 3Mp, 3-claw&bite [O], 3-dragon magic (includes breath weapon) [F*], 3-dragon scales [D], 3-magic defense [D], 2-flight [F]

    Throughout the fight the dragon got relatively poor rolls, but the major hero advantage was the action economy, and Osprax blinding the dragon on his first action. Keep in mind that the three heroes had only rank 2 talents and the dragon was pretty much always rolling three dice.

    Round 1 - Robert does 1 "cancer" damage, dragon breathes poison acid on Robert - no damage, Osprax blinds dragon for 2 rounds*, Azim rushes over missing with a thrown axe (1 die).
    *Osprax got two successes, which I ruled lasted for the next two rounds (2-light vs 3-magic defense).

    Round 2 - Sargath (dragon) casting spell*, Robert does 1 damage, Azim does 1 damage, dragon spell spoiled -- breathes acid cloud at "noise"* hits Azim for 1, Osprax reblinds dragon for 1 round (no real effect)

    Spell spoiled -- I'm not sure about this ruling, I do like the idea of deciding you are going to cast a spell and it being spoiled if you get hit. When those spells get declared, and when they go off needs some more thought.
    I ruled that even blinded a dragon is going to hit something with it's breath weapon. Randomized the breath weapon targeting as 1-4 Azim, 5-8 Robert, 9-12 Both (Osprax was across a stream and not in melee.) Azim being a skeleton had a solid talent called "no vitals" that he could roll in defense.

    Round 3 - Robert misses?, dragon breathes acid and hits Azim for 2, Azim hits the dragon, Osprax ?

    My recollection is a little fuzzier here, however things got bad fast. Robert got to -1. The blindness wore off but the dragon was at -2, he took off, Robert threw a weapon and missed, and Osprax "summoned all the bird's in the world" to stop and attack the dragon. He rolled two 12s. The dragon rolled one 11.

    So a flock of Avians decended and peck out it's eye, causing it to slam into a wall and tumble to the pool below.


    Reflection:
    The dice weren't in the dragon's favour, but the big thing was it never got to attack multiple opponents with it's breath weapon. This action economy change was due mostly to the blindness.
    I ruled against the dragon for dismissing the blindness spell (it probably would have been a "tremorsense" spell rather than just breaking the blindness) because he got hit. Something I wasn't really making the players worry about.
    I did rule in his favour when he hit -2. Technically this means he should have been limited to his rank 3 talents to and only able to role 1 die (negative lifepoints subtract from dice your talents.)
    Looking back this could have been a good opportunity to have the dragon surrender, and RP from there.

    But hey, I've only had one other game where a dragon was defeated, and this is the first ever where one was killed -- and in a very, very dramatic fashion. So that is a win.
  • edited January 7
    Session 2: The Crimson Shield Dark Age of Darsivia Campaign

    The Crimson Shield continues to escort the halfling caravan up the Fey Road.

    We had mostly new players.

    Azim - Skeleton Knight returns. (Played by Aneesh)
    Greeneye - The Ranger, who wishes to return peace to the forest of his youth (played by Jeff)
    Mikael - conjurer, gained powers after nearly dying, joined Crimson Shield because he didn't feel safe around normal people. (played by Mike)
    Kazura - Paladin of Sarissa. Former Squire of the knights of the Godpack - found their methods questionable. (Pravreen)
    Bulch - thief/assassin type. Half-elf + half-orc. Some talk of a connection to a noble family.

    Summary:
    Opened dragon's chest: cloth, circlet with opal (magical protection), sipstrassi (concentrated mana), coin.
    Travelled on, loading dragon's body into one of the wagons.

    At camp that night, the group followed a trail of suspiciously large mushrooms that grew larger and larger, until reaching a pool. They hacked at some and Greeneye determined that they should be edible, and tasted quite good. Fought off a "squelch mound," which retreated into a pool. During the fight Kazura was dragged inside the mound, but his last second aura of flames prayer, and it's damage convinced it to regurgitate him and retreat into the pool.
    A giant slug that Mikael had summoned disappeared when it touched the water. The mercenaries figured out that the water had some sort of magical properties, and collected some to take with them.

    The next day they continued on and met a leprechaun who asked for some pipeweed in exchange for some good luck. He gave them a rabbits foot, and gave Bulch (half-orc and half-elf) bad luck when he mispronounced his name. One of the halflings named Jerry who they saved from the dragon, helped them arrange the pipeweed.
    Arrived at Windemere at sunset (thanks to the good luck) and saw a large group of Beastmen - mostly orcs of the empty eye clan and a handful of wolfmen completing the salt ceremony before leaving the gnomish village.

    Greeneye talked to a Wolfman, and then Bulch talked with an orc named Cargor of the Empty Eye clan. They had been driven from their home 2 winters ago and a mushroom, they said they traded with Windemere and are heading South to new land.

    The Gnomes of Windemere offered to make some gear from the dragons body for the Crimson Shield. Windemere is surrounded by obelisks that seem to protect it somehow. The carts are left there and all goods loaded onto donkeys and mules.
    Bulch claimed dragons heart at gnomish village of Windemere. Flogged for wearing it openly like a barbarian beastman and being insubordinate to commander Angranth.
    The dragon heart beat when he was flogged, and when he walked between the obelisks surrounding Windemere.

    Crossroads, used magic water?
    No, orcs went "south"

    Copper Trees gate. Osprax had to head back to Windemere, a mark on his hand started glowing.

    Met a Giant who was scared of magic. Barley managed to avoid a serious altercation.

    Caravan suddenly found themselves desperately thirsty. Some clever play got them through the area and removed the effect (some use of the anti-magic water was used).

    Found themselves at a cottage-temple-garden-orphanage, and an ancient bridge over a mist filled canyon.
    Priest of Draka (Oliver) at the bridge of Death. The PC's solved a riddle to pay for passage and not be attacked by the undead guardians of the bridge.
    Voice spoke to Azim (who said it made the armour) while crossing and gave a small obsidian disk, .

    Unfortunately, Mikael decided to teleport the payment back to himself after they had crossed. He tried to delay the undead by creating a wall, and was slain.

    The heroes and the caravan is fleeing and hoping that the undead do not continue the pursuit.

    Reflection
    Not much combat this session, so not much to comment on there. Players where good at finding alternate ways around things. There was some fine negotiation with the beastmen which lowered the likelihood of them attacking, and they manage to dissuade the Giant from continuing to attack.
    I do think I need to be a little more careful with how I handle spells, so they don't overshadow the other characters. One key I think is that if a caster wants the effect to persist for the scene (be reusable after the first casting) it should take their whole action just to activate the spell.
  • Session 3: Ieosys FenFir

    A short session with character creation and a bit of solo play.

    Ieosys FenFir, elven Acolyte of Chaos (played by Kelley)

    “Flashback”
    While in the gnomish town of Tinkerton, Ieosys heard about a small shrine to Donobrem god of chaos in the area. He hired a gnomish guide named, Phelleap to take him there.

    Unfortunately, a trio of Knucklegrinder goblins were visiting the shrine as they arrived and a skirmish ensued. Fortunately, Ieosys chaos bolt and mind trick spells put an end to hostilities before anyone was killed. The goblins requested the acolytes blessings, and while performing the ritual Ieosys Fenfir discovered a Silver Pendant of Chaos in the altar.

    A voice urged him to follow the red. Upon returning to Tinkerton he discovered the Crimson Shield mercenary company, escorting a halfling caravan up the fey road to elven lands, and immediately decided to join the mercenary company.
  • edited March 22
    Session 4: The Battle of the Ridge and The Cursed Lady

    Our first session over Discord. We had two players brave this test of unfamiliar technology.

    Azim, skeleton knight due to a cursed suit of armour (Player Aneesh) rank corporal
    Robert the Healer, priest of Elnadar (player David) rank specialist

    The Battle of Sandstone Ridge
    The Crimson Shield and the halfling caravan swiftly retreat from the bridge. However, despite a brief pause, it is clear that the undead of the bridge have sent a pursuit force. After several hours of forced march, Commander Angranth abandon’s any hope of outdistancing the tireless undead. Finding a defensible ridge a short distance off the path, the Crimson Shield form up in a battle line.

    Robert blesses the heavy infantry, insuring that they will not be subject to any fear effects. Halfling slingers of the caravan attempt to disrupt the advancing undead, but are ineffectual and quickly break in fear of the advancing force.

    Azim commands the reserve skirmishers, and splits his force to match the enemy encirclement. While the Crimson Shield outnumbers the undead on all fronts, there ability to shrug off blow after blow more than evens the odds.

    Against the odds, the Crimson Shield holds, and holds some more. The Skirmisher’s on the left, lead by Jonah, are the first to break and run after a third of their number are cut down. However, the halfling slingers rally, and join the fray, preventing the slaughter of the caravan.

    On the right, Azim’s bravery encourages the men. While they are pushed back and one man is cut down beside him, eventually the battle turns in his favour. He and his men dismember one after another of undead warriors. He claims a black obsidian chip from the forehead of one of the warriors.

    At the heart of the battle Robert confronts the undead commander. They rain holy and unholy energies down upon one another. Around them the line pushes back and forth, favouring one side and then the other. Eventually, the battle starts to turn against the undead, the superior numbers of Crimson Shield exposing both flanks to additional spears and swords. The undead commander, injured and seeing the tide of battle turning, knocks Robert prone, creating an opening for the undead force to retreat. They do so, silently and in good order.

    To a man the Crimson Shield let’s them flee unmolested. A ragged cheer goes up, tempered with the hope that they will not have to fight such a chilling foe again.

    Caravan leader Phillips, believes that they have succesfully fended off half of the legendary Thirty of Terrathor bridge.

    The Twisting Path of the Serpent
    Thankfully the undead do not return that night, or the next day. The Crimson Shield buries it’s 5 dead and one halfling slinger. They travel on uneventfully until midafternoon. Ahead is a meadow where the path splits into three paths, one lined with white stones, one lined with black stones, and a third path lined with red stones. They twist, meander and intersect one another. In the sky, they see a Sky Serpent flying along the paths. It heads in their direction.

    Gareth the Sky serpent is looking for Elborath the giant. He says the giant has something of his.

    The Woman and the Burnt out Cottage
    As dusk approach the caravan approached a burnt out cottage. (The Sky serpent informed them that if they are heading to elven lands, they should head left after the burnt out cottage.) Robert and Azim decided to scout it before setting camp.

    A strange woman was there, milking a cow. Azim and the woman quickly got into an argument, and it rapidly became clear that something was amiss. She saw him as a normal human, and couldn’t hold his coin, while she could throw a rock right through him. She saw Robert as a man swathed in light. Robert prayed to bring her more in alignment with life, and break any ensorcellement on the place. Immediately the placid cow was revealed as some form of stinking and tentacled catoblepas. Fortunately, Azim was the one charged by the beast, and was mostly immune to it’s unnatural energies.

    The beast was slain. Robert was able to perform a ritual to break the curse on the woman. Who revealed she had been cursed by an ancient which (her husband’s grandmother) named Enclavada.

    The caravan made camp.






  • Session 5:
    Our second session over discord. We had four players.

    Azim, skeleton knight due to a cursed suit of armour (Player Aneesh) rank corporal
    Robert the Healer, priest of Elnadar (player David) rank specialist
    Kazura - Paladin of Sarissa. Former Squire of the knights of the Godpack - found their methods questionable. (Pravreen) rank specialist
    Bulch - thief/assassin type. Half-elf + half-orc, can turn invisible. (played by Eric) rank scout

    Azim gains a level and improves his stunt points, and gains a 2-Charismatic Leadership [functional] talent.
    Bulch gains a level and improves his life points, and improves his 2-Acrobatics [functional] to rank 3.
    Kuzura gains a level and improves his life points, and improves his 2-Aura of Flames [defensive] to rank 3.

    A Wolf Among Dogs
    Bulch notices a that a third dog has joined the caravan. It looks almost identical to the two lab-like dogs the halfling Gregory.
    After a series of hijinks, Bulch, Azim and Kazura manage to capture the third beast. Eventually it transforms into a Wolfman name Albrech of the Open Eye clan. They got lost on the Feyroad, and thought the Crimson Shield was chasing them.
    After some negotiation, Albrech leaves, and some trading of goods occurs the next day. Both groups part company. After some words of warning about Bulch’s dragon heart.

    The Brook of Dreams and Spider lair
    Short version – strange brook causes some of the caravan to wander off and fall down a spider pit due to illusions. A battle ensues (Azim and Bulch were unaffected and follow.)
    The Robert the Healer and Kazura rescue the trap soldiers and mule with some clever spell work. Robert heals the mule and gives it goat like agility to escape the pit.

    The Return
    They march for hours to try and catch up with the rest of the caravan. It isBulch who realizes that they need to stop relying on their eyes, and as Albrech said – they need to follow their noses.
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