A monster on the verge of eating an adventurer.

Play Report: Once More into Pahvelorn

by Ramanan Sivaranjan on April 27, 2013

Tagged: pahvelorn osr odnd

I wrote this several months ago, but for reasons I don’t recall never posted it. I suppose I thought another play report would be boring. Now its an annotated play report.

My friends and I have been a bit disorganized with our 4th edition home game, so it looks like my participation in Brenden’s OD&D game will be more consistent. I’ve played in three games now and they have all been a lot of fun. Our group is a good mix of impulsive and cautious.1

My second session began with a much more startling start than the first. The very first room we encountered when venturing into Pahvelorn was full of beastmen and body bags.2 We got the jump on them, commanding them to drop their weapons. Sadly, they decided shooting us with crossbows was the way to proceed. After a short fight we discovered we had saved some bandits from certain doom. We returned them to the city and planned to venture back to the dungeon the next day.

We made it a little bit further into Pahvelorn before being attacked once more. Well, we thought we were being attacked. We had actually stumbled on some missing villagers. They too were safely returned to the city. No one spoke of an unfortunate and accidental death.3

It was on our third trip to Pahvelorn that we made it back to the mansion we were exploring in our previous session. Not much looked to have changed. We managed to convince the clerics to hold off messing around with the frozen demon clearly held in place by a magic sword, and so proceeded to explore the rest of the mansion. The first unexplored room we entered looked empty save for a tantalizing jade statue–and then some sort of crystal elemental materialized and killed one of our henchmen. We fled and there was no pursuit: always a good thing.

Moving on we stumbled upon a library in much disarray. The magic-users took the bait and stared rooting through the soiled books in hopes of treasure. My character Satyavati discovered a giant centipede. A failed Save vs. Poison later and I though I’d need to roll up a new character.4 Luckily for me the rest of my party was well prepared for this expedition. Benni, our thief and rat catcher, had some anti-venom he administered posthaste and all was well in the world.

Further exploration led to the discovery of a dissected demon. We found his well preserved body parts throughout the rest of the mansion. We tied up the clearly dead body, and then started replacing its missing body parts. Of course the demon promptly headed itself and woke up. We had a short discussion to determine whether it would kill us or not. The demon decided Benni was our leader, and was now its leader as well. We learned the demon arrived from some other realm to fight the previous occupant of the house and quite likely the rest of the lands of man. As demons go it was quite friendly. We named it Tangle.5

We discovered a trapdoor leading down to a cavern below the mansion. The passage was was next to some incredibly expensive looking fountains we will need to figure out how to steal at some point. We ventured through the cavern, finding and killing a giant white snake hiding in a pool in the process. With that we decided to call it a night.

I now have a much better sense of the layout of the dungeon we are visiting, which greatly helped with my initial confusion during the first session.6 We now have a demon butler and a cavern to explore, which we did in our next session.

  1. I believe Brendan’s original plan when he started his Pahvelorn campaign was to have players drop in and out, so that if one person was busy another person could take their spot. This is apparently how the very first D&D campaigns were run, with a huge pool of players. This is also how a lot of G+ games are run: it’s often not too hard to find someone ready to jump into a game. We play on Monday, which is probably a quiet night for most people. We went a very long time before having to cancel a session, and that was because Brendan was traveling through Europe. My friends and I tried and failed to keep our 4th Edition game going in this manner. I think the trick is to get people to pencil something into their calendars. I know I’m busy Monday nights–and I suppose more importantly my wife knows too. 

  2. We ended up killing the Wizard that was creating these beast men several sessions later. One of the current characters in the party was that wizard’s apprentice. 

  3. Brendan doesn’t award XP for killing monsters, so every fight is often more risk than reward. We often start every fight with a meagre attempt at negotiation, unless it’s clear the monsters we are fighting aren’t intelligent. It’s actually kind of funny we ended up killing a villager: that might be one of the few times we shot first, so to speak. 

  4. Satyavati died a tiny bit after his 10th session: I tempted fate and lost. Brendan discussed this at length in a blog post about character death. He was definitely one of my favourite D&D characters. I’d never play Magic-Users normally, so it was a big change of pace. (This is one advantage of totally random character generation: it pushes people into playing characters they might not normally.) 

  5. Brendan created this evil demon army that’s clearly attempting to take over the game world. Because we met this friendly and confused demon early in the campaign, all members of this race have henceforth been referred to as Tangles: hardly a name that strikes fear in the hearts of men. We have encountered these creatures several times, and those experiences has never been pleasant. Nevertheless they are Tangles: harbingers of the apocalypse. 

  6. After a few sessions full of character death and little gold our party left Pahvelorn and has yet to return. I miss all the dungeon delving. We need to get back there. Our characters are beasts now, to boot. 

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