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The Isle of Dread

The old school D&D campaign begun with The Lost City continues with X1 The Isle of Dread .

6 November 2006

The PCs made their way through the desert back to civilization & eventually to the town of Specularum. They resupplied, spent some of their wealth, & Lia did some spell research. Mozilac donated 3,000 gp to the local Bacchan temple.

They also found among their treasure a map & a scroll describing an island that might hold untold treasures. They commissioned a small sailing vessel to take them there. They paid two months—2,000 gp—in advance.

The fourth day out, they encountered a gale, which they rode out.

The sixth day out, they encountered a flock of 26 stirges. Lia took out 11 with a sleep spell, one with a magic missile, & two with a web before they got within range to attack. The monsters proboscides could find no purchase through the suits plate-and-mail armor sported by our heroes. A few of the ship’s marine were injured, but were revived.

124 XP per PC

A few observations from the DM about the Expert rules:

20 November 2006

The rest of the voyage to the isle passed without incident. (& yes, I made all the rolls.) They sailed around to the isthmus & discovered the line on the map was the wall the scroll had mentioned. While pulling the launch up on the beach, the were attacked by five bull sharks, which were quickly dispatched.

They followed the wall until they came to a village that the inhabitants called Tanaroa. They met the village matriach who confirmed the story of a “city of the gods” in the center of the island. They asked how to get to the other side of the wall. She was happy to have the gates opened for them.

After passing through the double gates, the found a trail—that showed signs of occasional

We never get much done whenever we haven’t gotten together for a while.

27 November 2006

The PCs followed the trail. They encountered & overcame eight dire wolves & six rock baboons. The trail ended at a huge tar pit. (12–18 miles long & perhaps as great as six miles wide) They decided to explore around the northern side where they encountered a mastodon.

Future encounters with mastodons may prove more dangerous. (Assuming I'm less distracted.) I'll retcon that this one had a bit of a limp--the result of an old injury.

DM’s note to self: The map needs hex numbers. If I ever run a wilderness adventure of my own design, I should use a map with hex numbers.

4 December 2006

(Timeline recap: 11 days from Specularum to the village of Tanaroa. 7 days hexploring inland.)

The PCs decide to head back to the village & ship to stow the pelts they've collected, resupply, & prepay the captain some more.

Days 19 & 20 they encounter more mastodons, but choose to avoid them. Day 21 they encounter two cat-men riding sabre-tooth tigers! They parley. The cat-men offer to allow the PCs to pass unharmed in exchange for the pelts they're carrying. Lia responds with a Sleep spell. The cat-men fall off their mounts. Mozilac & Kram tried to distract the tigers with hunks of mastodon meat. Kram, unfortunately, didn't get the meat thrown before the tiger pounced upon him. It was quickly done in as its partner slunk off into the jungle with its prize. In the meantime, Lia administered coups to the cat-men.

Day 23, during Mozilac's watch, seven zombies attacked. Mozilac, invoking his drunken god, destroyed them in short order.

Day 25, the PCs made it back to the village where they resupplied. Then they returned to the ship & paid the captain another 2 months retainer. They decided to sail to another part of the island to resume their hexploration.

Day 27: Two great tentacles grappled the ship. Mozilac poured burning oil on one of the tentacles while Kram & Lia attacked the other. Smaller tentacles appeared & attacked as the giant squid began munching on the hull. A tentacle grabbed Lia. Kram severed one of the large tentacles, & Lia severed the tentacle that held her. The squid then fled looking for prey that would put up less of a fight.

The crew then began repairing the ship. (Overall, the ship took 8 hull points of damage. Only 4 points can be repaired without returning to a proper port.) The PCs went ashore to cut wood for the repairs. (A possible encounter next week...?)

596 XP per PC

1 January 2007

The PCs spent another 10 days exploring without notable incidents.

Day 37, the PCs heard some whooping & other noises. Following the sounds, they discovered a rock baboon at the mouth of a cave. They shot & it, so it approached to attack. Several other baboons issued from the cave. When no more baboons came forth, the PCs went in to explore the lair. They explored a series of caves & found the rest of the baboons holed up in one chamber. They finished them off, except for three that fled. A search of the lair then uncovered some treasure.

843 XP per PC

8 January 2007

Day 39: On their way back to the ship, two giant spider-like creatures were encountered but were put to sleep by the elf.

Day 43: Exploring a new area, they encountered a lone saber-tooth mounted rakasta. They approached & parleyed. The monster, confronted by three plate-mail clad adventurers, choose discretion over valor. Answering their inquiries with a simple admonition to stay out of the hills, he took the first opportunity to slowly disengage & get away.

Day 44: Five dire wolves encountered & defeated.

Day 46: The PCs surprised a giant rhino-like creature: A titanothere.

Day 48: The PCs surprised three trolls. They were defeated & burned. The wand (rod?) of paralysis made an appearance.

2003 XP per PC(?)

22 January 2007

Day 50: The PCs emerged from the jungle into hills. Two centaurs were encountered, but they choose to avoid the PCs.

On the night of day 51, the came upon a 24-foot-tall ground sloth sleeping in a gully. They shot at it. It woke up & charged them, but a second volley of missiles downed it before it got to them.

Day 51: They encountered two trolls. The PCs concentrated missile fire on one as the trolls closed the distance. One the second exchange of blows, Kram split the first troll in half. Lia then applied the torch while Kram & Mozilac finished off the second one.

Day 52: Near midday, the PCs suddenly came upon three cavemen facing away from them. Kram lit a firework & tossed it into the air above them. The cavemen hit the dirt. When they noticed the PCs, the panicked cavemen attacked. Two of them were quickly felled, & the third ran. Kram hit the fleeing caveman with an arrow, but he got away.

453 XP per PC

I'm trying to use the declaration step in combat. It's working, but it still feels completely extraneous so far. Seems like it'd be better to change how retreat & spells work a bit so that it isn't needed.

29 January 2007

I forgot to type up this entry, so I'm working from notes + (poor) recollection...

Day 53: Encounter with 4 dire wolves.

Day 54: Encounter with 5 phanatons. The PCs offered them some food, which 3 of them eagerly devoured. The other 2 were more cautious though.

Day 55: Discovery of an overgrown stone structure. (It turns out to be a statue of the players' Toon characters. Thanks to Alex from DF for the idea.) Set into the statue were 4 gems.

Day 56: The PCs got back to their ship.

1,508 XP per PC

19 February 2007

"Playtest" of Don's homebrew system (actually, mostly talking about it & making characters)

12 March 2007

The PCs disembarked (day 58) into coastal wetlands surrounded by mountains. Exploring the mountains, they spotted (day 60) two rocs flying above, which the evaded.

The wetlands gave way to a narrow river valley cut through the mountains. The PCs encountered (day 63) an ankylosaurus, which they choose not to disturb. The river forked into three branches.

Following the nearest branch up into the mountains, it eventually became small enough for the PCs to easily cross (day 64), which they did. They then followed the middle branch until they came to a huge (about 3,000 foot) cliff. A spectacular waterfall created a small lake from which the river flowed. With the help of a log, the PCs crossed the lake.

On the far side (day 65), they surprised an allosaurus, which they evaded.

761 XP per PC

Despite runs of bad health & other obstacles, the campaign does go on.

23 April 2007

Days 66–71: The PCs built a raft to float downstream. Then three days of trudging through the swamp to get back to their ship.

Days 72–73: They sail to the north side of the island.

Day 74: A sea dragon is encountered. Mozilac casts striking on Kram’s bow. (Probably should only be allowed on the arrows, but what-the-heck.) Kram hits it with an arrow, but Lia’s misses its mark. The dragon then spits a glob of poison towards Lia, but she avoids its. The dragon then spit more poison, but this glob missed. Lia paralyzes the dragon with her wand.

The dragon is killed & brought aboard.

Days 74–77: A make-shift diving bell is constructed from a barrel. A bellows & the sea dragon’s intestines are used to pump more air into the barrel as it descends. After some experiments & challenges, the dwarf is able to loot the sea dragon’s lair in a cave amidst the remains of other ships it had attacked.

Day 78: The ship reaches the northern beach of the island.

3,592 XP per PC

1 May 2007

I forgot to post this week's summary. I'll need to fill in the details from my notes later.

The PC's raided a troglodyte lair & took their treasure.

The campaign has come to a close. I believe the crux is that--for whatever reason--I really can't put my heart into running modules, & X1 is a module that really needs the DM to put more into it than I can muster for a module. Not that we weren't having fun, but we can all sort of take it or leave it, & Jax has something to run. (& much motivation to run it, since I challenged him to run something before I would restart the Lord of the Rings campaign. ^_^)

Besides, it's been over a year since we started (15–16 months), so it's about time for us to switch campaigns.

Everyone enjoyed classic D&D, & I seem to have the green light for running it again in the future, & I won't run a module.