View Full Version : Don't Eat My Brain! (A campaign journal)

2009-06-01, 11:15 PM
Another campaign journal! This one's a homebrew, and so you know as much as my players do (but not as much as I do). This could be fun.


Since I am new to DMing, I gave the players a very generous modified 84-point buy. You start with a stat of 0, but increasing it by 1 point always only costs 1 point. Must be above 3 or below 18 before racial mods, blah blah blaaah. I wanted my PCs to survive and feel powerful, you know?

Another big house rule is that I made it so that HD are 'smaller' but always get a bonus to them. For clarification, a D4 is really a d3+1, a D6 is d4+2, a d8 is d6+2, a d10 is d4+6, and a d12 is d4+8. As I am new to DMing, I want to give my players leeway in the case of I-underestimated-this-monsteritis.

Lastly, there are no class skills. You still get the regular amount of skill points, but you can spend it on any skill you wish. Spot and Listen are merged into one Awareness (but you still make separate spot / listen checks), along with hide / move silently, open lock / disable device, and probably something else.

"Bob" the Druid - Was absent today. Something came up so he missed the first session, but it works out in the end (why would a druid of the sky be inside?). He's a human storm druid (see Crystal Keep) with thematic spell and Born of the Three Thunders, should be fun and not quite as broken as druids usually are. Slightly worried about him playing "Chaotic Stupid" as I know the guy... Also he is named Bob for now as the guy doesn't have a real name yet.

"Six minutes of name" the Gnome Cleric - forgot to make a name too. See a trend forming? The player is used to playing D&D but not used to worrying about character power so I've helped her a bit in gear selection and the like. Her feats aren't particularly useful (Trivial Knowledge lets her roll 2d20 on know checks and take the highest and Earth Focus) but they've helped and will only develop as she gets more resources behind her. Her domains are Earth and Metal, and we houseruled that she got a special pair of garden shears instead of hammer focus from the metal domain. Her giant custom shears do 1d6 damage, and threaten a critical on a 19-20 x3. And are two handed. It's pretty nice, but nothing broken since she's the opposite of a power gamer. She IS the most likely to break my game via silliness, though. Spent a lot of gold on getting her holy symbols tattooed onto her hands and forehead. Creative player, I'll give her that.

Henri - Human rogue. Luck feats and a trio of skill tricks and and the like. Boots of falling, everburning torch, very roguey. Also a total coward. The player is hesitant to take actions (in character and out) and will either grow as he gets confident or betray the party at an opportune moment. Will be interesting.

Kobold - Dread Necromancer. Also forgot a name. Cough. She has a lot of experience with D&D and so far seems the most powerful PC. Part of that are the pair of claws, partly the DR 2/bludg & magic, and partly the fact that she spent a lot of her wealth on getting a skeleton minon (scroll of animate dead) to lug around. She probably killed the most zombies and hasn't even cast a spell yet, but she didn't realize that she could charnel touch the zombies - even after the CLW healed it.

The Deadening

The marketplace was alive and buzzing today. It was, after all, the height of the trading season. Evenly spaced torches show the vast and bustling marketplace of the Red Dwarf Range.

There were even a handful of non-dwarves, a total rarity. It was a testament to the industriousness of the dwarves that even humans dared brave the darkened halls and low ceilings of the mines in an attempt to view the splendors created within (and profit from them, of course).

There had been a bad sickness going around, but the dwarves could NOT afford to let that knowledge spread. A strict quarantine was being enforced, and though the streets were empty and the marketplace only a fraction of its peak, how were the merchants to know?

All was well, until a massive shambling horde arose from the deep end of the mining colony. The dwarves that had fallen had risen again, moving ever forwards and soon flushing the living dwarves and merchants.

For the most part, the dwarves reacted calmly and confusedly. These were organized and well-off frontiersmen, used to hardship and emergencies. The guards began gathering and leading a column of marching dwarves out the other end, when one of the aforementioned guards found more corpses ahead of them!

It Begins

Cursing in disgust at seeing his friend turned into such an obvious mockery of life, he rushed into battle and cut it in half. A small group of travelers soon came to his aid, whilst his partner double checked the timeline to deal with them before running in. He needn't have bothered, the three corpses would have been easily dispatched by any of the four persons there.

A visiting human stood taller than the dwarves and other shortfolk around him, and saw something almost no one else did. A dwarf approached the shambling wall, apparently recognizing some one. He was promptly grabbed and ripped apart.

The guards and people debated quickly and decided to hole up in The Furnace, a bar that was very near to where they were now. The travelers were thanked but the dwarves were inherently suspicious - they didn't seem trustworthy, and so they were left to their own devices. Not to mention the guards only knew a few words in common and the civilians were too shellshocked to communicate effectively. They tried, but more than a thick "Holin' up lassy" was impossible.

The travelers instead went down one of the three paths that they could have, the one the three zombies came out of.

They found more rotting dwarves, only arranged in strategic positions. A more calm mind may have realised that these zombies were being put in hidey holes and nooks and crannies intelligently, something mindless undead shouldn't have been doing. It is, however, really hard to think clearly while being followed by a massive wall of corpses.

They found themselves being attacked more and more and more frequently, and by zombies not made of rotting flesh but some even recently dead. Most horrible of all were a pair of thick, squat miners who ambushed them in a tight space and almost managed to drive its pick through the gnome's head. Even more insidious in its implication was when said cleric attempted to smite it with an application of Cure Light Wounds, its flesh instead healed the marks previously left by the kobold. It was definitely not an alive man... Something is not right here. After healing up some wounds, they set off again.

Soon, My Pretties

As they continued the zombies behind them began slowly catching up. While easily dealt with in small numbers, they have no idea how large the horde behind them is or how many there are in it, other than a vague vision of 'wall' they received.

Once again, like with the Cure Light Wounds, the gnome and the kobold realised something was off. A swipe of the human's short sword lodged itself in the heart of a zombie, and it was obviously pained deeply by the blow. The Undead are typically immune to physiological requirements...

While dealing with a quick and almost half-hearted ambush, zombies began attacking them from behind. While dealt with quickly, a sense of urgency is bearing down upon them.

The kobold and Henri decided they needed to go to bed relatively soon, because of work the next day. I was a little bummed because not only did they skip out all of my bonus neat-stuff (There was a tavern where they could have holed up and played out a mini-siege and recruited a dwarven fighter, but there was also a third direction where they could have tricked zombies into a kiln and turned it on, but they went 'straight out' as it were), but they got out before the grand finale!

You'll get that next monday. It should be way more fun than 'just another zombie batch.'


1) Luck seemed to determine the combats a lot more than anything else. I had ac9 HP5 zombies taking more hits and doing more damage singlehandedly than the AC15 1d10+3 20/x3 zombguard.
2) I might make the dread necro roll a knowledge check to see if she realises the positive energy / negative energy thing.
3) I can save Urist and use him somewhere else in the campaign, since the tavern siege never occurred.
4) I was planning on giving a level up to any one that survived the final confrontation, but that didn't happen yet. The storm druid may or may not be present for that one. I'm unsure if I should give them a level up and tell Bob to get another 600xp or if I should just give him a level up or what. Hmmm.
5) It is hard for a rogue to flank when he is both a coward and in tight tunnels. He only got one sneak attack off in the whole game (which was little more than an ongoing series of "oh profanity ZOMBIES (again)" and despite totally obliterating the zombie with it, did not try for another one.
6) I need to touch up the surprise round rules.
7) And the grapple rules. They definitely should have tried that, but I wanted the pcs to 'survive' more than one session. (Yes it is contagious)