The characters at the start of the session:
Rogar, a mariner [L2 Warrior, sword and shield]
Snorri, a northern barbarian [L1 Warrior, axe and shield]
Dokrah, a Keshite [L1 Rogue, talent = locks & traps]
For those who came in late…
After a few capers in Lankhmar, city of the black toga, the lads at the Goosedown Inn have gained enough notoriety to be offered employment. Lee-na the librarian becomes their patron, or partner. His terms are 15% of all swag, plus the satisfaction of revenge on Koh-vik.
Koh-vik the wizard had hired Lee-na to research the whereabouts of the crypt of an overlord of old. Then, had Lee-na brutally beaten!
Warning them that Koh-vik has hired Ilthmar cutthroats, Lee-na provides them with some basic directions for the caper and retires behind the scenes.
The lads set up a base at the widow Twankey’s, an accommodating matron. From there they deduce that the rat cultists of Ilthmar are but the muscle for a crossdressing adventuress they have encountered before now. They decide to let the opposition explore the passages, and set off the traps, while they follow.
Abort attempt, and a new recruit
Easily distracted, the lads almost immediately turn aside to explore a side passage and an interesting cascade of water. Dokrah falls in and barely survives, leaving them with no light.
After much effort Dokrah and the lantern are recovered and at the Kleshite’s insistence they return to the widow Twankey’s.
As Dokrah gently steams in the widow’s pulchritudinous embrace Rogar spots a scribe he once obtained forged papers from. The broad-shouldered fellow shows the hollow cheek and hungry eye of one seeking employment!
Introducing Prasimion, a freeman scribe [L1 Rogue, talent = fraud]
Prasimion has the caper explained to him and joins for the loot and fun. He also bargains the widow into advancing them fresh lantern oil for 15 gold on their return. They all set off once more!
Lee-na’s description again leads the four blaggers east then south. South is the general import of the description provided which runs something like “south, down then up, the dead guard the way”. So while a couple of side-tunnels tempt them they stick on mission this time. A previously-located crawl-height tunnel extends the search south, and Rogar, easily the most agile, crawls ahead with the lantern.
He finds a room where three crawl-tunnels exit some 8’ above stone cauldrons. Some dark liquid fills the one below. An obvious trap! Order is rearranged and Snorri is lowered down. As he begins to test the cauldron he finds handholds below the crawlspace. With those, the descent becomes easy. Testing the liquid in the nearest with the end of a rag, Snorri says:
“This is probably flammable. I think I’ll light the rag and see what happens”
“And your doctorate of Alchemy is from…?” Prasimion murmurs sarcastically, and the lighting is abandoned [and thank heaven there was no naked flame ready for Snorri to act on his whim!]
Taking the crawl-tunnel that continues south the four next encounter a stream, possibly an old sewer. Following that as south-tending as possible, they find the body of one of the rat cultists. He has been killed by something that delivered an enormous impact. The body lies in the stream just below a flight of steps east.
Prasimion loots the body while the others study the steps. It looks as though they lead up to a crypt! And the directions include the phrase “the dead guard the way”.
Testing the steps by tossing the body up onto it, they find that the trap is an immense stone slab that punches down the steps then retracts. Rogar is lightly injured in the test.
“Hydraulic power!” Snorri explains confidently.
“And your doctorate of Hydromancy is from…?” Prasimion asks sarcastically.
Dokrah locates the trigger step and the crypt is gained! But the opposition have been there long since, as is evident from the open crypt-stone in the floor.
A careless step or two
Down a deep shaft the four follow, to another stream. Following the most likely direction the four at length find themselves at a left-turning corner of ancient black basalt, marked by a skull. Footprints of the opposition are fresh! After checking they are not right on top of the opposition, Prasimion decides to wave his hand in front of the skull to test if it is a trigger. He steps on the actual trigger and is nearly bisected by a huge scythe blade that whips out horizontally.
Ruefully picking himself up Prasimion checks his fine silk padding armour, and counts his arms and legs. All there!
“That must have been powered by hydraulics” Snorri explains, to which Pras’ normal rejoinder is made.
Dokrah checks for where the trigger was and sets the trap off again! He too picks himself up and counts limbs.
Having definitely located the trigger plate the four close in on the opposition, wading quietly through water which, ominously, is draining away quite rapidly.
The opposition have reached something that sets another trap off and all of the drained water of the level roars out from wherever the opposition have reached. An expeditious retreat ensues!
“Hydraulics!” Snorri screams as he runs.
“Doctorate from where…” Pras pants in response
The four race back to the scythe-trap corner and ready themselves for a surprise attack. It works perfectly to the extent that all four surprise the adventuress, and put her down. The remaining opposition are two ratmen (one burdened with a large gold urn) and a wizard.
Snorri takes a TTYF from the opposition’s wizard (Koh-vik, presumably) and goes berserk with a salmon-leap over the trap and cultists. Pras distracts one cultist while Rogar and Dokrah focus on the other. The Wizard is slain!
Quickly putting paid to the other two the next challenge is to avoid drowning! The rushing water is now chest high on most of the group. Pras drags the adventuress with them but eventually she is swept away. Dokrah drops the lantern while Snorri flings his axe up to a high ledge.
Once the water ebbs away the group return to pick up any heavy loot, Snorri’s axe, and once again retrieve the lantern. With the urn, a slim purse, and some heavier blades, they retire to the widow Twankey’s!
Comments and explanation
The Lankhmar universe applies to this campaign but the rules are Tunnels and Trolls deluxe edition (TTd). It is chosen by the GM for the campaign, SM, for its fast pace, versatility and ease of play.
TTd is somewhat like D&D5E in allowing various rule modules to be used or dropped. SM’s chosen tweaks drop the human advantage in SRs and keep backgrounds/talents very simple with +3s to some rolls and attributes. He also modifies the TARO chargen rule to a flat +10 to that attribute where a triple is rolled. As a result, Rogar is L2 with DEX of 20. [Rolled triple 2, added one for the house rule of minimum 7, added 3 for Warrior choice of attribute gain talent, added 10 for triple].
AP= adventure points. Spend 10 per current attribute to advance.
DARO=doubles add and roll over
Rogue=weapon and spell using class not specialized in either but having sneaky talents. May know a spell (Dokrah does not and Pras does for example).
SR=saving roll, a roll of 2d6 added to the relevant attribute, DARO
TARO=triples add and roll over
TTYF=Take that you fiend, the standard attack spell
Warrior=Weapon using class, able to wield weapons better (level bonus) and use armour much better (double, at discretion)
Wizard=Spell using class, knowing a range of spells and able to cast cheaply
Obviously I have come in late after a long holiday, but managed to fit in after the lads retreated from the dungeon. I noticed players thinking of an idea were being given the challenge and resulting AP, rather than the group deciding which member(s) ought to be attempting it, and influenced a slightly different balance, encouraging fit-for-purpose work. As a result I got less AP than I might have since I came up with lots of things for the others to try. It was a fun session though.
The traps were not over-deadly, which was lucky because I had forgotten, yet again, how imprecise SM’s descriptions can be. He didn’t mention the skull being opposite, on the outside corner while we were in cover at the near corner. Dokrah and Pras were down to 2 CON before the fight, Snorri dropped to 1 CON at taking the TTYF, and Rogar lost a couple from the stone block then took all 3 spite damage for us.