Stuffed Crocodile

Mazes, Martians, Mead

[DSA] Session 4 – The Ancient Academy

So, another adventure with these intrepid adventurers in The Dark Eye. This time I was doing “The Ancient Academy” (as I hinted in the previous post). It went… ok, I guess.

I set it in the western region of Aventuria, the adventurers scouted for a job in the city of Havena and found an old book dealer who was willing to pay them money for an old book that might be in an old monastery in the mountains. The name “Testament of the Nameless” was a bit of a tipoff that the tome was not about bunnies and rainbows.

The characters took to that rather well (the offer of money helped as well), bought themselves a donkey and went off. After a short search for the whole thing they found the dungeon, went in, and… came out again.

It turned out they went in a circle, so after 4 rooms they were standing in the monastery again. They would repeat that another 3 times, getting increasingly frustrated about it. The design of the Ancient Academy is rather interesting, with certain logical units that fit together quite well. Unfortunately for my players that meant that their specific style of exploring always led them back to the first room. (“Again?!!”) And then, when it finally didn’t, they ended up going through all the storage rooms on the periphery, neatly getting around most fights. A lot of luck (?) on the wandering monster table also figured in there.

Still, they met a few creatures. And they killed them. If I noticed something during the game it was how merciless they were towards their enemies. Normally they are scared kittens, but yesterday they hunted down one of the goblins and killed him like a dog when he tried to get away.

At least in the end they got their objective by a bit of roleplaying: the cultists in the dungeon were the ones who had the book they were searching for, and they neatly convinced them to be other members of their cult, killed the high priest (who had turned into a ghoul) and got the book to Havena. Of course by that point everybody in the group already was a bit tired, and most of my players had to go to work the next morning, so I was eager to wrap up the adventure.

Notes on the adventure:

1. the characters dealt in forbidden lore and pretended to be members of a very forbidden cult. That might come bite them in the ass in a few adventures. Also they never got into a third of the dungeon. Sequel hooks!

2. Google image search is brillant. Everytime I had the feeling I needed some extra pictures to enhance the mood I could search it within seconds. That also was the good thing about having a notebook with my notes on it. Picture of rotten zombies? Check. Stag beetle? Check. Ruined monastery on a hill? Check.

3. Playing on Sunday night is bad, and I told myself not to do it anymore. Still, I wanted to play this week, and that was the only time when all of us had time. Still: it leads to all of us being tired and unresponsive. I wanted to play the cultists a bit more but I couldn’t. And I at least have the boon of having holidays for two weeks now. My players don’t. They had to go to work the next day.

4. I actually managed to get them onto the silver standard. The basic coinage they are dealing with now are silver talers (dollars…). That’s a bit better for my own sanity as the gold coins in the game are defined to be ridiculously valuable, and for some reason players seem to like to deal with the gold coins.

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