Sunday, June 29, 2014

Dungeon Crawl 2014

My wife and I hosted a full day of gaming out our house this weekend. She handled the Just Dance tournament while I ran a dungeon crawl for eight players. I wanted to capture the fun of smashing monsters, gathering loot and leveling up from hopeful adventurer to epic world shaker, all in four hours. Check out the fantasy saga after the jump.

I adapted the second edition Dungeons and Dragons Miniatures rules, but during playtesting realized I needed to make a lot of tweaks to cards and abilities to pull off the type of game I was looking to run. I created custom monsters and items, and each of the eight classes had stats that improved over four "levels" (Adventurer, Hero, Champion and Epic).

This is an Epic level character. As they leveled up the characters gained new abilities so by the time they were this complicated the players would have a good sense of how their abilities worked for the final fight.

I also used Paizo's item cards with customized rules to hand. Card sleeves, deck boxes and clip boards kept everything straight (all a huge help when I actually got to running the game).

Paizo item cards with my custom rules. Slipped both into a card sleeve and handed out as loot. Players seemed to like getting physical cards.

Each player got to pick a figure and matching stat card. The party was assembled to infiltrate a ruined temple and stop the evil cultists from finishing a ritual that would summon an elder demigod from the netherworld. Standard stuff.

The party assembles. Some of these citadel figures haven't hit a table in 20 years. Nice to get some classics out.

They quickly cut down the mercenary goblins in the ruined courtyard...

Goblin archers flipped a table to take cover.

but as they were looting the goblin camp, an evil warlord and his giant scorpion pet emerged from the temple entrance to do battle.

We used rings to note ongoing effects. The scorpion is bloodied and taunted by the fighter.

The overwhelming numbers of the heroes laid the warlord to rest and the group were forced to make a choice. They could enter the temple through the main entrance and pass through the temple crypts, or they could venture into the swamps and enter a secret back door.

They chose the swamps, but as they entered the mire they roused a tribe of lizardmen who grabbed their stone spears and charged into battle.

One of the players insisted they stop and check under the bridge for trolls. Wish I'd thought of it!

The paladin is slain! Luckily he was resurrected after the battle.

Brown squares were mud. These lizards were able to move through them easily, slipping behind the front line.
Lizards have snuck past the front line to attack the casters in the back. They've gotten a snoot full of flames for their trouble, lit on fire by the wizard's Burning Hands spell.

Emerging victorious the group crossed the river and approached the secret entrance...

where the scouts discovered a sleeping dragon guarding the back door to the temple.

"We are not fighting a dragon."
Beating a hasty retreat, the group tried the main temple entrance, encountering a horde of skeletons rising from their tombs.

This skeletal minotaur received the focus of fire, slain before he even had a chance to act. The cool ones always die first.

Skeletal archers peppered them with harassing fire from arrow loops in the chamber to the south.
Despite bashing the bones to bits, the part found a death knight and his zombie minions lairing in the next chamber.

Defeating the death knight, the party entered the next chamber, the domain of a wizard and his flesh golem minions. A three front battle broke out across multiple levels, complicated by a teleportation circle.

Tanking some flesh golems.

Wizard duel on the catwalk above.

An improved flesh golem hurled a table at the thief and disemboweled the barbarian before the battle was over.

The party entered the final room, a cavern at the heart of the temple. Evil cultists ringed a crevasse under the direction of their mind flayer overlords.

A Stone Wall scroll erects a magical barrier to keep the mind flayer and its brain golem bodyguard at bay.

Horror! Despite their efforts, the great elder demigod of the cultists had been roused!

An elder demigod appears!

He rose from the chasm to do battle with the party but with the full power of eight epic level foes he lasted only a mere two rounds. A bit anticlimactic but in the end the game seemed to have been a hit, especially for the kids who had never played a dungeon bash before.

I had a blast, and looking forward to running another mass delve in the future.


  1. Woa! What a great adventure! I love dungeon crawl i want to play something simplistic classic like that :)

  2. Superb stuff! Beautiful minis and terrain, and a clear story to follow!

  3. Impressive setup great work!

  4. This is the coolest thing! Great write up, painting, pictures and +++ for hosting new players. They very may become tomorrow's gamers, thanks to you!

  5. Amazing effort! That dungeon looked great.


  6. The terrain is awesome! Very nice gane.

  7. That looked like an amazing time! Great paint jobs, great scenery, and looks like you made some cool customized game mechanics/equipment. Wish I was playing!

    1. Thanks! If you lived on the east coast you'd certainly be welcome at my table :)

  8. Very cool! What rules do you use/create for these dungeon crawls?

    1. Thanks! I wrote my own rules. They are based a bit on the 4 edition D&D rules, but everything is streamlined to make it easy to run and play for a single night. I run a dungeon bash each year and have been making adjustments with each session. I'm hoping to post them for others to use once I work out all of the bugs.