Tuesday, November 23, 2010

OD&D, Session 3

Onward, into the depths (the horizontal, well-lit depths) of Castle Caldwell!

We used a Sleep spell on the Pearl Necklace Gang in the last session, so the party took the cart back to Guido's Fort for a well-earned sleep and feed.  Love those 20 minute adventuring days!

My character has done maybe 40 minutes of real work in this place, and we've looted about 100 years worth of earnings for a hard-working carter.  Put down the tools!  Pick up the sword and adventure!  It's like the lottery but with poisonings and eviscerations!

The next day - sleep spells reloaded, we head back to Castle Caldwell.  A few people can't make it, so we bring in Jenny's husband Earnest as a ringer, and Jenny rolls up a new character.  A second elf!  Yaay!  And Earnest is a mage.  Now we have 3 sleep spells.  Monsters, beware!

Nobody is really sure where these other characters are coming from, but whatever - there are doors to open.  Cause that's pretty much all there is to do in 'ole C.C.  Lots of doors with stuff behind them.  Verrrry retro.

The next door we open - after checking the inevitably empty corner tower, contains a very attractive female in plate armor with a mace.  She is kneeling in front of a small altar.  As we enter, she turns and says "Greetings, are you here for service?"  "What god are we servicing to?" I inquire.  Politeness counts, people!

"Orcus" she says (we may retcon this to be Aphaks the Roarer).  So I cast a sleep spell on her.

Then we strip off the armor, tie her up and loot the room.  Man, this post devolved into fanfic pretty fast.

Once we've looted and oogled, we wake her up and ask some questions.  Turns out, her name is Ceeay (stands for C.A., which stands for Chaotic Acolyte).  She's been here about a week, just wandered in and set up a shrine.  She doesn't know very much about Orcus (or whoever) but she's keen to be an acolyte of something.  She proves sane and reasonable, albeit totally naive and inexperienced, so we get her to promise to help us out in exchange for 1/5th of the treasure, untie her and now we have a henchwoman/back-up character.

Then we check more empty rooms, find some stirges and a talking statue of a Herdsman which answers 3 questions - we can only think of 2, "what is the most dangerous monster in the castle?" and "how do we get into the magically locked room?"

Answers are: "Giant crab-spider that hangs from the ceiling" and "with the key that the owner of the castle has", accordingly.  So that's handy.

Then we find some sleeping merchants - well, ex-merchants - they left their mule, loaded with silver and pearl necklaces, outside, but it was stolen.  They agree that they are crappy merchants, and leave when we suggest it - citing the impending arrival of the owner of the castle, and the fact that we took away their weapons while they were asleep, as reasons why they should go.

More rooms - we find an internal grassy courtyard with some wolves in it.  Apparently the wolves were trapped here when the merchants shut the door.  Why they were in here instead of the FOREST remains a mystery that we will never solve.  We kill the wolves and find some kobolds - upon which time we cast sleep and initiate operation "Chunky Kobold Salsa".  Apparently the new elf doesn't like kobolds.  Fingolfin speaks Kobold, which suggests at least some affinity for the scaly little assholes.  But that doesn't stop him from finishing them off.

Finally, we encounter the spider-crab thing.  Sleep spell.  Splat.  During the fighting, the new wizard proves to be preternaturally accurate with his sling.  He hits 5 times in a row in a battle against the stirges, and Ceeay proves to be a loyal and a biddable meat shield.  So that's good.

Eventually, we get to the big payoff - a massive chest in the magically locked room.  It contains a scrap of paper which reads "thanks for the treasure - Bargle".  Like we needed more reason to hate that asshat.  I never did get to nail Aleena.  Maybe I'll have better luck with the current attractive female cleric (are henchman allowed to say "No"? - Discuss)?

We left the Castle and returned to the owner, blissfully unaware that we missed the incredibly sucky "Beneath Castle Caldwell" - the entrance was under the giant chest.  Presumably the new owner will find it, but we're off to do something better.  Like modules produced after 1981.

Also, I think we answered the question "why would you use a pseudonym when writing a module"?  The answer of course, is that you're shit at it, and don't want your name attached to it, or people will be coming up to you at Cons and kicking you right in the sack.


  1. A good reason to avoid Cons altogether!

    I liked the part about the putative Orcus worshipper, she didn't really have her heart in it, did she.

  2. I allways loved the cover of Castle Caldwell and it is one of those modules I would love to play with my current group.

    Reading you entries I should better think about this... You're sure it was not part the DM who did suck?

  3. No, she just wanted to worship something, poor girl. We'll try to find her somebody a bit more reasonable to hold services to, I think.

    @Cyric - well, Perry the DM reads this blog... actually, he's a good DM, lots of experience. There just isn't much to work with here. All the rooms are basically the same, as are most of the descriptions of the rooms. A lot of the encounters are written to negate reasonable precautions.

    It's just not a good module, however you slice it. It was interesting to play, as a piece of D&D history, but it's amateurish, repetitive and ultimately, boring.

  4. Im trying really hard not to change anything, since the whole idea was to get the most authentic old school experience possible. I'll be loosening up a bit on that starting...probably this week at least a bit.

    Just for the record, it isn't retconning. She DID worship Orcus, but since you informed her he is "bad" she is shopping around for a nicer immortal. Aphaks just seems like her logical next choice.

  5. Oh indeed, Aphaks is a swell guy to worship. Unless you're Alphatian... in which case, attracting his attention is sub-optimal.

    Just for the record, I've been pretty scathing of Castle Caldwell, but I'm having fun with Rules Cyclopedia. It has a stripped-down aesthetic that I find attractive. But not as attractive as Ceeay!

  6. Great, now I have to dig out some Elmore pictures of "her". She DOES have a dex bonus...

    I'm kind of glad you missed downstairs, parts of it were so inexplicable that I am really not sure how I could have spun it.

    (SPOILER ALERT)I told you about the disappearing exit and the not so skilled doppelganger, but I don't know if I mentioned the room full of insane 1st level magic users that all have magic missile memorized (the "initiative roll wins the fight room." Or the place where if you dig at the unmarked wall for like 40 minutes you find a bag of gold coins. Or the trap that teleports one person alone into the WIGHT ROOM.

    And of course there is the need to humiliate yourself with the secret pass phrase to get out...