I’ve been running a weekly S&W White Box game for the past few months, on roll20. The goal was to create a fun OD&D-style dungeon crawl, with a small, nearby town as a base. I made a large first level, big enough that after 11 sessions it is still not fully explored, and have been altering it if the party leaves for more than a few days. This is hopefully keeping even the already-explored parts fresh.
It has proved to be quite deadly – only one session has been without at least one PC or hireling death. Here is the campaign background, I spared no tropes!
The Town of Ravendale – nestled happily in the Ravenwood, provides a safe and pleasant existence for the town’s occupants and surrounding farms…until recently, that is. Farms are being raided at night by unseen horrors. Shadowy figures have been seen wandering about at the forest’s edge, just shy of the foothills on the southern edge of the Snowcap mountains. It is said that evil is waking from a long slumber in the caves there – the ‘Caves of Woe’ as the townsfolk have begun to call them. Just last week, Lord Kelby spent a goodly sum from his treasury and hired a band of mercenaries to investigate the caves and return with news. But one returned, a fighting-man Ixthius, he seemed to go mad and later fled into the wilderness, and no one knows if his semi-coherent ravings were true.
Rumours you have heard:
1) The caves are inhabited by an evil sect of druids
2) The creatures seen out at night steal souls
3) Necromancers summon demons to do their bidding
4) People who get too close to the caves sometimes find themselves put into an enchanted slumber, when they awake all their coins are gone
5) “Thalfazarr” is said to inhabit the caves, but no one seems to know who or what he/it is
6) Ixthius fled back to his master, and now serves chaos
I created the town, a large, one-level dungeon and a small hex map using Wizardawn’s site, then populated the dungeon myself. Here is a recap of the first short session, in which all three mercenaries died, barely scratching the surface of the aptly named Caves of Woe. I’ll post the other session reports as well. Note: We’re using the Zenopus Archives backgrounds for flavor, hence the ‘Amazon Cleric’.
First Session: “Testing the Waters” – 3/29/15
- Eth-Tue (Elf Fighting Man/M-U)
- Garros (Dwarf Fighting Man),
- Aella (Amazon Cleric)
- Pus, Zell, Darcig (RIP)
The freshly-minted adventuring group explored a section of the Caves of Woe through a northwest entrance – a reinforced, oaken door in the hillside with a small hole in its base. Their first encounter was a raven, which flew from a nearby grove, headed towards the door as the party approached. A lucky arrow shot by Eth-Tue the Elf ran it through before it could fly through the hole. The party wondered if it meant to report to its master?
On the other side of the door, a knight stood guard in black plate armor, denying them entrance until he was killed by a group effort. This was not without some wounds, tended to by Aella (DM note: We’re using a bind wounds rule). Exploring further south, they came upon a small cavern and locked chest – perhaps that of the black night? Inside were gold, gems and a potion phial, which the party secreted away before continuing on, towards a T-intersection noticeable ahead. At that moment, a magical darkness enveloped the tunnel they were in, and screams were heard from among the group. Garros the Dwarf was wounded by what he surmised was a bear, judging from the growling and claw wounds. Fleeing to safety, they realized that Pus, Zelll and Darcig were not among them. They returned to Ravendale, slightly richer but with a plan to be ever more cautious in their next delve.