Rules system: Swords & Wizardry Core with the following house rules:
- Death & Dismemberment table by +kirin robinson (at negative hitpoints roll 2d6 minus negative damage, smaller result is worse)
- Wild spell casting: Magic-Users and Clerics might cast any spell they know ex-tempore. Doing so they must roll d20 + modifiers (level/2 + INT/WIS (M-U/C) bonus minus spell level. Higher result is better, from catastrophe to epic success. This formula can be found in LotDS adventure house-rules section.
- Advantages and disadvantages. From 5th edition of D&D. Roll twice and keep better or worse result. As there are no skills, your character's class can give you an advantage if your class is supposed to know how to do it. Roll under attribute as skill tests.
- Basic/Expert style Attribute bonuses, from -3 to +3 instead of -1 to +1 which is in S&W.
- Exploding damage. Highest result in damage die allows you to roll damage die again and add.
Characters: Pre-generated. No class restrictions for races. Humans get +1 to every Attribute. Start at second level, max hp at first. Characters were Halfling Magic-User, Human Cleric and Dwarf Thief.
Setting: Homebrew, remote island with remote little island where this all happened.
Background story: All these characters have traveled to this adventure location, because they have had unsettling dreams of demons landing the Realm and starting havoc.
They all arrive to this remote small island, where they follow their auspice. They soon find out, that within this island is a small remote village, where this dungeon lies. They start their travel to the dungeon in carts, that head to the village. Before some rumors were gathered and local church was visited. Donation was made and one vial of holy water received.
In final part of the trip they encounter six cheerful cultists of Yogshothoth. The cultists know that the demons will soon arrive, and they have embraced the weird godcreature of chaos. "Only Yogshothoth the Chaos can save us", they celebrate. The caravaners stop.
Human Cleric of righteous god hating infidels and heathens attacks without question. A combat starts, where two cultists engage this zealot. Remaining four cultists don't want to interfere in violence. Soon Magic-Using halfling has charmed a cultists in back row to engage his comrades. And some Magic-Missiles happen, too.
The combat is fierce. One charmed cultist murders his comrade, and soon another cultists is charmed. One cultist is turned into light with very successful and high damage roll. One is captured, one escapes. The horses halfling thief let loose didn't hit the cultists, but ran away.
Halfling wanted to interview the captured cultist, but went to help the caravanists to retrieve their horses let loose. Meanwhile Cleric murdered the cultist.
Caravanists were not pleased with this violent and hazardous encounter. With three cultists dead, one escaped and two charmed (as henchmen now), they get to the village.
They meet some villagers and rent an old warehouse they turn hastily into a base. And they head to the dungeon...
Next to the village a shiny and steep rock stands. On its surface, there is a portcullis blocking the way in. Above it, there is an evil rune. Magic-User studies the rune only to find out it will devastate everyone entering (if save is not made). Outside the dungeon entrance on a rock a little girl sits.
Cleric detects evil with quick prayer and finds out the girl is not evil. But as the god favored his prayer, he did feel how the dungeon reeked evil from the depths.
The little girl wanted to make sure these are the adventurers, who would (possibly) stop the demon invasion. Only they need to do is retrieve a sword, Demon Slayer, and slay the first demon descending in meteor rain from hell. Then she opened the portcullis and let adventurers in.
SPOILERS AHEAD, SO STOP READING IF YOU THINK YOU SHOULD NOT KNOW WHAT YOU ARE ABOUT TO READ!
Not far from the dungeon entrance there is a sprung pit trap. In the bottom some corpses lie. Lots of planning and rope tricks later, they get to the other side. Cleric took some damage to leg while climbing up, when a monster lurking the bottom of the pit bit his leg. And rope mishap killed other charmed henchman cultist. The Cleric managed to get some clear quartz loot from the bottom, though. They continue the dungeon, one man down...
Only to find another sprung trap. Careful examination tells that there were poison darts shot from the wall that killed these two adventurers. Trap is harmless now, so they continue.
(I skipped the third sprung trap, to get going on). They find a cave room, where root like material covers the ceiling and walls, expanding as roots or tentacles on the floor. In the other end there is a pedestal where a globe rest. They decide not to risk it, as they think the room is dangerous, and leave the globe there advancing.
Next room is a laboratory, where Magic-User spends some time exploring and studying it finding instructions to summon a demon. He finds out the fiend's name, but doesn't know who this demon is. Might come in handy... Cleric wants to know what he learned, but the Magic-User keeps the information for himself knowing that the Cleric probably wouldn't like demon-summoning skills.
As they continue their exploration, the path forks. There Magic-User finds a ring. He commands his charmed cultist henchman to grab it. Nothing bad happens, so the Magic-User keeps it for himself. He knows the runes are demonic and can contact a demon. He doesn't know how and what will happen, if used, though.
They choose the second path and advance it, when a portcullis comes down crashing. Saves are rolled to avoid getting hit by it! Thief has an advantage because it is a trap, and he successes very well pulling Magic-User back with him. Charmed cultist makes his save and jumps back. Cleric fails, gets some damage from the falling portcullis, but luckily jumps back, too. The party is not separated.
Cleric says quick prayer trying to heal his wound with godly power, but his god didn't like this quick prayer and instead damaged him! Cleric refuses to continue before he has prayed his god (for more spells). Others refuse to wait, so they advance to the other fork leaving the Cleric to pray on his own.
Magic-User, Thief and charmed cultist henchman advance to find a skull fountain. Charmed cultist is commanded to manipulate it and blood starts to flow. Magic-User takes a sample.
Meanwhile a (random encounter) cultist walks from behind the portcullis trap and confronts the praying Cleric. "Who are you", he demands, but the praying Cleric ignores him. Waving his dagger for a short time, the cultist withdraws back to the depths of the dungeon.
Magic-User wants to go to the previous laboratory they found to study the blood. They go there grabbing the Cleric back with them. While studying the blood Cleric prays. Some rolls were made and god thought the Cleric can have his spells back (that was a long rest there... no random encounters).
At this point lots of game time was used, and we knew we had to quit at some point. Players discussed and thought, that they could never explore the dungeon in the remaining time, and would only find new rooms with new content. So they decided they (as players) want to try to figure out how to get the globe instead, and try to leave the dungeon to continue later.
Before trying to figure out how to get the globe from a room of root tentacles, they start to think how they can secure a quick escape over the sprung pit trap. Lots of planning, how to do it, with ropes, or jumping or climbing... when they use a solution: from the laboratory take desk and bookshelves and whatnot and throw those in the bottom of the pit to use as a leverage. While carrying stuff around, a (random encounter) talking lion appears. He doesn't like the noise these adventurers are making in the cave! Adventurers more or less ignore the lion apologizing, and after a while the lion leaves them alone.
After they have thought they have secured their escape making it a bit more easier and a bit safer, they start to think about getting the globe. All kinds of lassoing it suggestions are made, but finally the charmed cultist is sent in. In the halfway to the other end of the room where the pedestal is, four tentacle roots from the ground attack the cultists capturing him. He yells in pain screaming! Magic-User uses his fireball scroll, rolling 20+ points of damage (with some exploding dice). The fireball scorches the room turning everything inside it to ashes, except the globe. As the damage was so high, it backfired from the dungeon on the corridors...
The Magic-User was safe from it, as was Thief surviving a save... but the Cleric wasn't that lucky. He suffered great deal of damage, and his left leg was burned off (Death & dismemberment table). From oven hot room Magic-User retrieved the globe pouring some drinking water on it to cool it.
Both cultists now dead and their Cleric's leg burned off they decide to call it a day and escape. But the dungeon is sealed, and the little girl who let them wont let them out without the Demon Slayer sword. They are trapped in! At this point they have made an observation, that they had two dead cultists, and there were already two dead cultists when they entered it. Also other dead corpses they found were a human, a halfling and a dwarf: exactly as their party!
Magic-User uses his new summon demon skill to summon a demon, which is trapped in the summoning circle. Cleric sprinkles holy water on it only annoying it more The demon tries everything for anyone of them to break the circle and let them loose: sell your souls to my master and I will open the dungeon entrance for you, sell your friends' soul and I'll let you out. Just break this circle and I'll let you out... But they wont.
They are trapped inside... And the game ends.
If the game had continued, we discussed three possible endings:
- They let the demon free and hope that he unseals the dungeon so they could get out. It is uncertain what the consequences would be...
- They would continue to explore the dungeon in hope of finding the Demon Slayer, so the little girl would let them out. Then they would start fighting the demon invasion.
- They die. Starve to death, or the dungeon or monsters within would kill them.
It took five hours or so, and we only explored 7 areas of total 23 or so, and I skipped the third one entirely! Sure, pre-dungeon gaming took some time. The dungeon was quite random in content. I am not sure did I like it or not. Some of it didn't make lots of sense as why this is here and that there. Some did more.
Liberation Of The Demon Slayer's first floor is an interesting place to explore, for sure, but that is what it is. A place where you check out content and try to survive while searching for the sword. What I like is that you can run only the first level, but can expand to other levels as a mini setting and campaign. There is a lot of content, and NPCs to interact, too! Some day I'd like to explore this more (well, technically watch as it is explored).
I did make some changes for the background, not using default background of the module. I also made some changes to the content.
Did I like it? Players were great and entertaining. Sami is a veteran player and gamemaster and a scene activist. I've played with him few games. One player I had played with also, and the third player was new for me. I liked them a lot!
You can read my review of the module HERE with commentary by Venger himself!