Wednesday, January 26, 2011

OD&D Solo game w/wife - The doors on the tomb go "open and shut..."

(If you're humming "Wheels on the Bus" right now, that's where the title is from...)

After a brief distraction with confronting and capturing some wandering bandits, Aeli and her band returned to the Tomb of Alaxus to crawl through a ratling tunnel (more of a natural crack in a hill) to see if she could find a different way into the tomb. We had a little time to spare, life has gotten quite hectic in January, with something going on almost every evening. This was a treat to have a couple of hours to play.

We also play short sessions. @thePrincessWife isn't the type to sit at the gaming table for 10 to 12 hours, unlike her idiot husband, so I try to take it in short bursts and I'll let her stop the game in dungeons. Since it's just her and I, there's that luxury.

So... on to the game and the meaning of the title...

After crawling through bugs (a "small" giant centipede dropped on the NPC mage who promptly decided he did not like crawling through tunnels...) and into a room that looked suspiciously like other tomb rooms, Aeli found herself back in a hexagonal chamber with a skeleton in plate armor and a shield with a sunburst. One of the henchmen decided to take the shield, but Aeli was more interested in the jet black double doors that lay to the north.

Brief segue.. I hate it when my screw ups in directions lead to player confusion in mapping. Talk about a way to kill a great game flow... kinda like this segue... anyway...

So the jet black doors, with bas-reliefs of minotaur heads and silver bull-head door ring pulls. She pulled the doors open and she saw a dias with a coffin in the middle. Between the dias and the door looked to be 8 rotting minotaurs and behind the dias were 8 piles of bones. It was the tomb of Alaxus!

In the meantime, I've been waiting for her to finally find this tomb. So I'm excitedly setting up the minis, putting up the terrain and just all happy. @thePrincessWife's eyes are as big as plates right now and she's considering the backing and the pedalling. It's a huge climax ...

... and then as I reviewed the description to make sure I had everything, I saw a single line at the very beginning of the room description, where it is describing the jet black stone doors... "These doors are locked."




Yea... so what to do? Do I leave the doors unlocked? Do I go "oops. Wait.. this didn't happen."


So Aeli and party are still at the door, gaping at the sight before them, when a skeletal hand reaches up out of the coffin, points to the doors AND THEY SHUT! Right on those adventurer's noses!

So Aeli and company plot and get oil and cleric ready.. they're going to go in... but the door will not push open! The two silver bull head ring pulls suddenly liquefy (ala Terminator 2) and form one solid bullhead, it's mouth now a giant keyhole.

(Insert sudden dawning realization on @thePrincessWife's face and then the glaring and growling and "WTF'ing"...)

Heh. A cinematic moment made more cinematic by an old school "GET OFF MY LAWN!" performed by something in the coffin.

Aeli and party returned to the skeleton and she took the plate mail armor and dressed in it. Now if you're familiar with "Wrath of the Minotaur" module by Jeff Grubb, you know that this is most likely the armor of the famous mage-killer/Hero that slew Alaxus a long time ago with the Sword of Runes. The henchman who had taken the shield sheepishly (and a little in awe) gave it Aeli saying the shield probably belonged with the armor.

That's something I've started giving to Aeli (and to my Dark Ages players as well) at 4th level - some respect and admiration. In OD&D, 4th level was equivalent to Chainmail's Hero, making 4 attacks per turn instead of 1. These were the bad-ass knights, the snarling ferocious barbarian leaders or the dudes that were gonna go get some serious ass-kicking on. Well, they get some deference and notoriety. Aeli saw a bit of that when she captured the bandits, and now that she's donning platemail that may have been worn by an ancient hero.. well, that's just the shit!

She exited the Tombs on that note, and went back to town to drink. A wandering minstrel took note of her and sang a song of the famous fight between the unnamed female Hero and Alaxus the Blackest of Mages.

The screwup with the door has presented itself with opportunities for her and for me. For her, it means that "peek" gives her a tactical edge - she knows what to expect and she can prepare better for it. I won't begrudge that to her, hell, it was my screwup and her gain. It gave me some fun with a moment that you won't see in most fantasy movies and depending on what she does/where she goes to find how to unlock the door, more opportunities to have some fun. So not too disheartening and just a quick improv - thank gods I pulled that outta my ass!

I can't wait to play again!


Pat said...

Nice save!

Makes me think - I think I need to add a symbol to my maps to indicate a locked door versus a normal door.

Badmike said...

"@thePrincessWife isn't the type to sit at the gaming table for 10 to 12 hours, unlike her idiot husband"

This is my wife's biggest complaint about our gaming in the house: "I don't understand something that can take 10 hours and never finish....why can't you just get it done in 3-4 hours?"

David said...

I second what Pat said, fantastic save!