AAR: Bargle’s Cave
Posted On April 7, 2012
Last night I ran my son and six friends through a dungeon run. I used the excellent one page adventure There’s a Sword Down There – I Promise written by Jensan over at Rustfoot. Click on that link to see the slick format he used for his dungeon – the map is made of words that describe the dungeon. For something a little easier to mark up and map, I used Dyson’s more traditional mapping style.
|Dyson’s Map of the Dungeon
The evil wizard Bargle had stolen the King’s symbol of authority – the Sword of the Eagle. The wizard stashed it deep in a dungeon behind riddles, traps, and monsters, and they descended into the depths to find it. Of the seven, only one had ever played D&D before, and that 4th edition. We used the Rules Cyclopedia, and it worked like a charm. Even with seven players, we managed to get through four full combats, lots of traps, and even some intra-party conflict – all in the space of three hours.
In this case, I knew we had a struct time limit before the kids had to go home. To press the urgency upon them, they started with three torches, and each torch would burn for one hour of real time. Not only did that guarantee that the adventure would end within the allotted time – it forced the boys to not waste a lot of time dickering over which fork in the cavern to take.
I added a few tweaks to the dungeon. The alcoves in the long hall each had a lever that opened a pit trap inside that alcove. The secret door alcove didn’t have a pit trap, the wall rotated, turning the person pulling the lever around into the shorter hallway. The boy’s had the one guy with a torch pull the lever, leading to a few tense moments in the dark.
The boys walked straight to the teleport room (the one with the magic circle), and it looked to be a very short night. They (wisely) didn’t trust the magic circle and left without triggering the teleport. Instead, the cleared everything else on that level first, and saved a dwarf held captive by the ogre in the lower right corner. (One player showed up late, and right after that fight, so it made for a natural way to introduce him into the adventure.)
After clearing the gray ooze in the pool room, the goblins up top, finding the key, and going into the vermin warrens (giant spiders instead of rats in my dungeon), they finally stepped up to the magic circle. After triggering it, they chose right, and ran down the steps to grab the sword, return it to the king, and reap a well earned reward. They can’t wait to go try the other doors in the teleport room and finish clearing the whole dungeon. They don’t know that Bargle has other plans for them…
All in all, this was a great adventure with fun traps, easy riddles, and challenging tricks. I’d recommend it to anyone looking for a light evening’s dungeon run. Thank you Jensan and Dyson for doing the heavy lifting for me.