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10/05/2018 11:33 pm  #1


The Drums of Xambaala are Calling

After a couple of months we finally got the group together to play tonight.  I had hoped to run Anthropophagi of Xambaala, but after reading through it, I was a little concerned about an entirely first level party making it through.  So instead I pulled the not so classic 1st edition adventure C3--Lost Island of Castanamir off the shelf, on the grounds that it is fairly short and did not seem all that lethal.  Figured it would be a good way to get the players back into their characters after a hiatus and pick up some XP to level up.

But, these being 1st level characters, the chance for death is always high.  There's not much combat in that module, but a few poor die rolls and a couple tough foes almost did them in.  Their huntsman was done to zero HP and only saved by the shaman administering first aid and shoving a potion of extra healing down his throat.  And the berserker was only saved by his bonus rage HP, in a combat with other berserkers, by the way.  He went through the whole second half of the adventure with 2 HP, hoping to not get cut down.  And I should add that all my first level PCs get a 20 HP "kicker" at character creation.  So they all had at least 22 HP.  Had they been standard 1st level characters, they'd likely be dead, though we do use criticals and exploding dice, both of which played a role in the aforementioned mayhem.

But they made it through and leveled up, so now all the PCs are 2nd or 3rd level, which should help with the Xambaala adventures.  We can hear the drums.....the drums......beating in the hot desert night.....


"Behind closed eyes,realize your sight."--Blue Oyster Cult
 

10/06/2018 6:24 am  #2


Re: The Drums of Xambaala are Calling

Sounds like a good time, Spider. I will have to check out C3 - thanks for the pointer.


Blackadder23: Insanely long villain soliloquy, then "Your action?"
BORGO'S PLAYER: I shoot him in the face
 

10/06/2018 9:26 am  #3


Re: The Drums of Xambaala are Calling

Good god...exploding dice, crits, & a  20HP!!!!! kicker?
Maybe these guys need to learn about the most important 1st level character ability -- RUN! http://cdn.boardhost.com/emoticons/happy.png

 

10/06/2018 7:20 pm  #4


Re: The Drums of Xambaala are Calling

Iron Ranger wrote:

Good god...exploding dice, crits, & a  20HP!!!!! kicker?
Maybe these guys need to learn about the most important 1st level character ability -- RUN! http://cdn.boardhost.com/emoticons/happy.png

Believe me; even with the kicker, they run.  Because the crits can be lethal.  You just tend to not die from the first giant rat bite.  This gives them a better chance to make it through the first couple levels.  At higher levels, the crits and exploding dice still keep things very interesting, because any combat can get lethal pretty quickly.  But it can also be very satisfying for the PCs to take out a tough villain with a single devastating hit or spell.

Our crit system is simple:
On a natural 20 you get a critical.  Roll a second d20:
1-15: x2 damage
16-17: x3 damage
18-19: x4 damage
20: x5 damage

Damage causing spells score a crit if the save is a natural 1.  Roll d20 like above.

Of course the exploding dice still apply so if you say, rolled three straight 10s and a d10, added bonuses for strength or magic and say, did 36 points of damage, with those multipliers it can be epic.

 


"Behind closed eyes,realize your sight."--Blue Oyster Cult
     Thread Starter
 

10/06/2018 7:40 pm  #5


Re: The Drums of Xambaala are Calling

If your group's having fun, you're doing it the right way for your group. 


Blackadder23: Insanely long villain soliloquy, then "Your action?"
BORGO'S PLAYER: I shoot him in the face
 

10/31/2018 2:50 pm  #6


Re: The Drums of Xambaala are Calling

Chainsaw wrote:

If your group's having fun, you're doing it the right way for your group.

Truer words have never been spoken. http://cdn.boardhost.com/emoticons/wink.png

 

12/09/2018 12:15 pm  #7


Re: The Drums of Xambaala are Calling

Well, we finally got to run Xambaala over the last two nights and actually got all the way through it!  Last night was epic, as we were at it until nearly 2:00 AM!  Spoilers ahead for those who haven't played the module.

I'll just give a few highlights.  But first, here is the character party that went through it:
Hawkwind, Keltic Huntsman, native of Gal City region (Party leader)
Canwulf, Viking Berserker from New Vinland
Tinniktet, Esquimaux Shamaness from Plain of Leng, Follower of Ythaqqa
Gwywog, Half-Pctish Scout from Savage Boreal Coast
Drago, Hyperborean Pyromancer from Khromarium, brother of Dragayana
Dragayana, Hyperborean Cryomancer from Khromarium, sister of Drago

They got the broadsheet in Khromarium and made their way to Xambaala.  They poked around town for a couple days and stayed in the Caravanserai, trying not to ask too many questions.  But meanwhile they bought provisions and camels for a desert trek.  They picked up rumors about the oasis, the camp, and the theosophist.  The investigation of the mausoleum went smoothly, though Tinnektet the Shaman was quite enamored of the Staff of Stygian Purpose, which she claimed as her own.  (She is neutral in alignment; I will work its powers in later in the campaign)

They went to the oasis where Dragayana was nearly killed by the crocodile in its death roll.  Only the timely first aid of Tinniktet saved her.  So they went back to the city and paid hefty coin to the priests of Helios for healing.  The next day they went to the cannibal camp and thwarted the ritual, with the berserker going into a rage to smite the anthropophagi and then freeing the prisoners due to his fire resistance.  They then followed tracks (scout and huntsman) to the Warlord's Palace.

There was some tough fighting up top, especially with the gargoyle, but they made it down to the second level, where they handled the dwarves.  They found the secret tunnel and went down to the river, skipping areas 24-26, including the ritual chamber.  They soon met the Toad Matron and her dance beguiled 3 of them, but Canwulf the berserker, in particular, resisted went into a rage and cut her and many of her pets into little pieces.  They decided to use her dwelling as their hideout and base. 

After wiping out the dwarfs across the river and scoping out the cyclopean enclave, they investigated the domed island.  Here's where things got interesting.  One of the PCs, Hawkwind, I think, grabbed the gem and they all got teleported to the Galleria of the Ancients.  But because they had a belt of flying from a previous adventure and Gwywog the Scout was on a roll (literally) with his lock-picking, they got out of that trap fairly easily.  After crossing the cavern, they chose to go down the cliff to the Underborean grove, where, of course, they encountered the Babi-negepet demon, which they dispatched with only minor difficulty.  They then crossed the bridge, fought off the giant water snakes and investigated the lodge, etc.  There was a pretty tough fight for them in the lodge, where the berserker (new day) raged again.  In the temple, the huntsman was critical in defeating the giant python, and the spellcasters and scout handled the snake-woman illusionist.  The scout had two applications of dust of appearance, which stymied both her mirror image and invisibility spells.  They took a bit of damage, but all survived.

They took the other passage back up the cliff and had some trouble with the flesh automaton, who nearly killed Canwulf.  But they fought their way through a few more snake-men and anthropophagi before staggering back into the desert to retrieve their camels.

All in all, a great night.  Not sure how regular low level parties might fare, as I give all the 1st level characters that 20 hp "kicker."  We also use criticals and exploding dice and the party got lucky in that they delivered a lot of crits, but only sustained a couple, as things turned out.  Even so, they had to go back and rest a couple times and had purchased some healing potions back in town.  I also let them use some of the matron's mushrooms for healing.
They are heading back to Khromarium now with Ghost Ship of the Desert Dunes slated as the next adventure.
 


"Behind closed eyes,realize your sight."--Blue Oyster Cult
     Thread Starter
 

12/09/2018 4:35 pm  #8


Re: The Drums of Xambaala are Calling

Wow! You guys covered a hell of a lot of ground in two nights. Sounds like a blast!


Blackadder23: Insanely long villain soliloquy, then "Your action?"
BORGO'S PLAYER: I shoot him in the face
 

12/09/2018 5:10 pm  #9


Re: The Drums of Xambaala are Calling

Ghost Ship is a great adventure: your party is in for a treat.


"My virtue is of the quintessential sort, being distilled from the erudition of the ages. How can I be other than virtuous? I am dispassionate to the ordinary motives of mankind."
Jack Vance, The Eyes of the Overworld
 

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