Friday, December 3, 2010

Victory for Clan Stormworks (or, "We Win at D&D, Part I")

Wednesday night was the latest session of my boy Brandon's Dwarf Fortress-inspired AD&D campaign. Holy crap, that was some brutal-ass D&D.

When we left things the last time, the Stormworks boys had made a frontal assault on the fire giants' fortress - a structure that, in Jewel City's heyday, served as an arena/ampitheatre for the dwarf residents, sort of an inverted ziggurat - and killed their king, but were swiftly pinned down by the remaining giants. Holding a door against the giants themselves would've been simple enough (+4AC vs. giants is a big freakin' deal in AD&D, and most of our guys are well into negative ACs as it is), but their hellhound pets were roasting us alive the whole time we fought (their fiery breath being no problem for the giants we were fighting, of course).

This time, after debating the merits of the earthquake scroll I'd been carrying around (i.e., "do we want to give Brandon a reason to collapse the whole dungeon on us"), we decided to punch out and make a break for it, essentially just hopping over the arena wall (with a rope of climbing assist) and making a break for safety. That got us out of the giant fire and into the giant frying pan, so to speak, as we just ended up holed up somewhere else, in basically the same position as before but with the added complication that we were down a flight of stairs, which enabled the giants to just roll balls of burning debris down at us until we were smoked out. Lost about half the henchmen breaking our way out of there, and it was only thanks to a lucky morale failure on the part of our pursuers that we made it out of that spot - unfortunately, they subdued one of our number (Vindalf, the youngest of our 3 dwarf monster slayers - AKA the "Dwarven Hanson Brothers") and made off with him in their flight.

This threw a nice wrench in our plans, since normally we'd just retreat and heal up - and, at this point, we'd amassed enough combat xp and treasure that we were all due for level training, and would've just come back and stomped the remaining giants flat - but with Vindalf captured, all we had time for was a quick 4-hour nap (only netting our 3 clerics access to their 1st and 2nd level spells) and back at it. This time we had a diversion planned, though: My cleric Begli (with his trusty dwarven thrower) on the shoulders of Rekk (one of the fighters, proud owner of a set of slippers of speed), circling the fortress in one direction (at a high rate of both speed and fire-giant-testicle-smashing-themed taunting), throwing hammerstrikes at the walls and dodging thrown stones, whilst the remaining party snuck up (ahem, "snuck up" as much as plate-armored dwarven infantry can) to the opposite side, and took down the wall with a well-placed and -activated feather token (tree).

Attempting to enact a hasty flank maneuver pretty much just got us surrounded by giants this time, but with all of us scanning character sheets for the random potions we'd been carting around - this being the kind of "death or glory moment" when drinking unidentified potions seems like a good idea - we were all buffed to the gills and fighting mad for our lost brother. Matty's fighter Fjallar lucked out when the random "meaty bloody potion" he'd been carrying around for months turned out to be a growth potion, and we ended up with a 24 foot battlerager on our side - evened things out nicely. Getting all stuck in, we avoided the brunt of the giants' rock-throwing, and ater taking out an even dozen of the males, the tribe broke once and for all - the few survivors took off after the women and children, and we stopped to lick our wounds and wonder what the HELL they'd done with Vindalf.