Friday, February 12, 2016

Underdark Release Adventure 2016

For the third year in a row I ran some D&D at the Underdark release party. Underdark is a barrel-aged stout from a local brewery. They have different D&D-themed art every year and do a big block party for the release. I posted briefly the first year I did it here.

The character sheet is a stripped down basic D&D character at 7th level. I took the idea from Dungeon Robber to just have one ability score good enough to give you a small bonus, and skills, saves, and spells are all handled by a d6 roll. Four classes and 6 races, everything fits on one sheet. I used Microlite 74 for a spell list (  . Its great for a pick up game with lots of drinking.

I had been planning on running this since they announced the event, but I was stumped for what the adventure would actually be. The week of the event, I saw this tweet:
I fired off two ideas right away, and decided that for Underdark I would be running The Abandoned Brewery of the Goblin King.

The event went well. Several people from my casual gaming group showed up, including one friend who had moved away but came back just for this event, and another acquaintance who I didn’t even know played D&D before. I had the three stalagmite towers outlined on posterboard and cardboard on solo cups for the higher levels to make a 3D playmat (and since we were outside, tape to hold it all down).

One of the challenges of these events is to improv a lot and keep it moving for as long as possible before the chaos of the surroundings and increasing inebriation of myself and the players pulls everything apart. We made good progress until it started raining and had to pack up in a hurry. Characters had funny names like Porter McStein and Bud Lightning, or the orcs Blarthok and Gronk.

I’ll post up the whole dungeon soon, but I’m hoping to finish the adventure at another get another so no spoilers yet. Here’s how the party went through the dungeon:

Ground level: the party has traveled for days through caves to the 3 stalagmite towers that house the abandoned brewery. I asked the players for rumors they had heard about the legendary last batch of goblin ale still in the dungeon.

Middle Stalagmite: Piles of moldy barley and wererats. Anyone getting near the mold got hit with berserk spores, causing some inter-party fighting. An otyugh was hiding as well, and the party had trouble attacking it in unison.

Level 2: Giant glass tank with a sea serpent and Lolth’s Crown. Bud Lightning the cleric dove into the tank to retrieve the crown, only getting a scratch from the serpent. A walkway went to one of the adjacent towers.

East Stalagmite, level 2: A furnace for heating water, still operated by two coal golems. The wizard Kraken held them in place with Web.

Level 3: Every character had to name a horrible drink to enter this chamber (lots of inventive ideas from players). An obsidian dome littered with diamonds and a pedestal with the Mind Flayer’s Goblet were inside. When someone tried to grab the goblet, the two-headed Dragon Witch that had been hiding invisible used his breath attack. Two players had to leave right before combat, so somebody else took over, rolled their saving throws, and both PCs died. Everybody fled but they had the goblet.

Level 1:  A huge tank with cracks was full of skeletons, but the PCs didn’t mess with it.

They were about to storm the last stalagmite when it started raining. One thing this adventure reminded me of is not to spend too much time on crunch during prep, because half of the fights were bypassed in some way. Looking back through my notes I also forgot a few things, and honestly it was early in the adventure so I can’t blame the beer. Oh well.