Some of you may know that my most common character name is some variation of Kallen. This name comes from a TV series on British TV, Callan, who was a kind of M.I.5 type character who was also a war gamer in his leisure time.
On the Lone Wolf discord, there are quite a few solo dungeon crawls going on at the moment, so I thought I would give it a go. Dungeon Crawling is not my normal go to genre. In fact, I would rather be the M.I.5 guy, but a change is as good as a rest.
I am using Fantasy AGE for this dungeon crawl. My character is a Rogue, called Kellan. I am 100% justified reusing this name because the rulebook told me to do it!
I am not a fan of resource management and having to buy adventuring equipment. Fantasy AGE gives characters basic starting gear, I have assumed I have that. For everything else, if I decide I need something, I will make a TN 9 Intelligence check. If I succeed that item is in my backpack. If I fail, I don’t have that item. This means I can incrementally fill out my equipment as I go. I will limit myself to 15 random things, because should I need to lose something 16 translates to 3d6, which is the default roll in the AGE system.
For my dungeon, I am turning to Dyson Logos and his dungeon geomorphs. Geomorphs are tiles that can be turned any way around and they will still connect. Doors, corridors and passageways all align. The gain is that you can both build near-infinite dungeons using them, and you never know what is around the next corner.
I number my geomorphs, and their orientation in degrees, such as 4(90) would be tile number 4, but turned 90 degrees. I can keep a list of the tiles so I can recreate the dungeon if I backtrack, or if I exit and return later.
This also means that I only need the bit of the dungeon I am in to be laid out at any one time.
I could of course just sketch a dungeon in a book, or on a sheet of paper, but my drawing is terrible and I lack any kind of dungeon layout creativity.
Dyson Logos, in contrast, is a master at creating dungeons.
I am using the 20 Business Card-sized geomorphs, although there are hundreds available for free on Dyson’s site.
For my plot hook, I am being really cliched, There has been a heavy storm recently, and a landslide has revealed the entrance to a cave system. The village elders have asked for someone to take a look and make sure that there is no threat to the village. I am that volunteer. The village elders include the village healer, so I can withdraw if needs be.
My opening tile looks like this: d20 for the tile + d4 for the orientation. 15 + 3, so that is tile 15 turned 270°
I am assuming I have entered from the top of the map.
My first equipment check was for torches. One would have thought that if you were going exploring caves that you would have brought a torch My first test rolled 8+1 for Int for a total of 9, Success! I have torches. For this initial delve, I have no idea how big this cave is so I give myself 1d3 torches (1). I obviously don’t think the cave is going to be that big!
Kellan stands at the cave entrance and strikes a spark to light his torch, thrusting the torch ahead of him he looks into the dark cave. He checks the ground for any signs of comings and goings.
This is a Perception (Searching) test, TN11. I rolled 1, 4, 1, and have +3 for Perception and focus. This is a failure. There are no visible signs of creatures using the cave.
Kellan, cautiously enters the cave, he decides to follow the left and wall, to avoid getting lost. It isn’t long before he comes across what appears to be worn steps leading down and further into the cave. Drawing his sword, Kellan tries to quietly head down the stairs.
Is the next area empty? TN 11, Answer No, because… I am going to roll on a table of minor threats, I get Giant Spider. This area is not empty, because it is filled with thick web. I will also test to see if Kellan can see the spider (Kellan is holding a burning torch, the spider is not going to fail to spot him.) Perception (search) TN11, result is 12 with 1 on the stunt die, Kellan can just about see something moving within the web.
I am using TN11 as the default for now. This is the first time I have played Fantasy AGE, if my tests turn out to be too easy I can adjust. I will use easier tests for things that are obviously meant to be easy, and the other way for obviously difficult tests.
Kellan sees a mass of webs forming a funnel at the bottom of the steps and behind it, there appears to be a bulky mass rising up! Dropping the torch on the floor, Kellan backs off to the top of the stairs and strings his bow.
I am not going to detail every round of combat, I will just give a narrative summary at the end. The spider is more dextrous than I am, so I cannot use my Pin Point attack, which wold give me an extra d6 damage on a successful hit. The spider is also slightly faster than me, so running away is not going to be an option.
Kellan loosed a handful of arrows at the spider but they seemed to bounce off, or hardly harm the giant beast. despite trying to back off as the creature advanced the spider was bigger and faster than Kellan. As Kellan decided to turn and flee the spider caught him and nearly ripped an arm off with its jaws. Kellan was thankfully not far from the entrance by now and breaking free he dashed for the sunlight of the cave mouth. The Spider was reluctant to follow but was far from cowed. It seemed to issue a challenge before retreating back into its webs, stamping out the burning torch as it passed.
Kellan has learned two important lessons. The first is that he needs more than one torch if you are going to explore cave systems. Secondly, thinking that he can stand there and shoot down any monster he encounters is not a good strategy. He needs a new Plan A, this one is broken.
Kellan trudges back to his village to report his near-death experience.