Dinosaur hunting for low-level wimps

Conan vs dinosaur

Not an original Conan story. Also not a good depiction of any of the PCs. Needs more running and screaming.

I’ve been rereading Robert E. Howard’s original Conan stories, inspired in large part by this awesome Kickstarter. Not all of the Conan stories, just some. I find REH like Lovecraft or Burroughs: I get occasional manias for them, but I don’t want to plow through their entire libraries. About two or three weeks of immersion and I start thinking about the other things one could do with the same ideas – which almost always means turning them into roleplaying adventures.

This is timely, because in London’s and my D&D campaign, our characters just reached the sorceror-ridden Dinosaur Islands. So REH is both reading for pleasure and adventure fuel.

Tomorrow evening is the last installment of my evening teaching gig, and Thursday evening I’ll be out to dinner with folks from the UC Riverside biology dept (unless my seminar talk is so atrocious that no-one will want my company). So realistically there’s no chance for us to play D&D again until the weekend. I wanted London to have something to think about in the meantime – he’s at the age where he can obsess about something with laser-like intensity for days (er, not unlike his dad).

In our previous installment, the party needed shelter for the night, and what the random table (which I still need to post – stay tuned) supplied was a necropolis. We had to fight some bats to get space in an otherwise looted and empty mausoleum. A necropolis on an archipelago ruled by sorcerors must almost by definition have a lich, so… tonight’s session started with the party being awakened in the middle of the night by a cold mist, and a raspy command for them to come forth. The lich told them that they would have pay for spending a night in his domain by bringing him something he needed for a ritual: the head of a tyrannosaur.

I don’t know (yet) what exactly the lich needs with the head of a tyrannosaur, but it’s probably for something not good. But the party doesn’t have a ton of choice in the matter, because the lich decided to keep one of them back as a hostage. Thanks to the dice, that turned out to be my character Alethra, the group’s only fighter.

Now a bunch of low-level schmucks who have a very high chance of being reborn as tyrannosaur poop have to figure out (1) how to find a tyrannosaur before it finds them, (2) how to kill it, (3) how to get its 600kg head over the many rough miles between dinosaur country and the necropolis in the hills, and (4) how to deal with whatever nefariousness the lich wants it for.

Kazar vs dinosaur

Whoa, somebody rolled a 20!

So London ought to have plenty to think about in the many dad-less, D&D-less hours between now and Saturday. He loves coming up with baroque strategems, which means that he is pretty much the perfect person to DM for. I’m genuinely curious about what schemes he’ll concoct.

UPDATE: The full story is now up here. The ballista was London’s idea, as were the neanderthal hirelings. And it was one of his characters who delivered the critical hit that turned the tide of the battle. Perfect!

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This entry was posted in actual play reports, D&D, Dinosaur Island, dinosaurs, REH, roleplaying. Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to Dinosaur hunting for low-level wimps

  1. Mike Taylor says:

    I don’t see how it can be done. Your monster tables give T. rex AC=13, 136 HP and insane damage: four hits (bite, bite, tail, stomp) all with +10 to hit and averaging 33, 33, 20.5 and 23.5 points of damage. Low-level characters are going to be toast.

    I recommend telling the Lich to think again. Offer it a Compsognathus head.

  2. Matt Wedel says:

    Oh! So certain are you. Hear you nothing that I say?

    Of course if the party lines up for a straight fight against the tyrannosaur, they’re going to be hors d’oeuvres. Just like a snowspeeder is toast against an AT-AT and snubfighters have even less of a chance against the Death Star. 😉

    The PCs’ only chance is to play this as combat-as-war and use every dirty trick in the book. Traps. Fire. Attacking from defilade. Hirelings, if they can find any. A Plan B for when the tyrannosaur crashes through the flaming tatters of Plan A. And so on.

    Also, I may have oversold their helplessness a bit for the sake of drama. The two rogues do a lot of damage on sneak attacks, and London’s cleric has the scorching ray spell, which does 2d8 damage for each of its three rays. IF they can keep out of the thing’s jaws for 4 or 5 turns, they ought to be good. But that’s going to require a plan.

  3. Mike Taylor says:

    Hmm. 3 x 2d8 is an average of 27 damage per turn, even assuming that London is able to consistently hit an animal with AC=13. Unless you get lucky with the rolls, you’re going to have to survive five rounds at least. I still think the Compy counter-offer is the way to go.

  4. Matt Wedel says:

    Your compy counter-offer strategy is noted. I will bring it to the party’s attention, most likely via a dream messenger who looks completely untrustworthy.

  5. Pingback: More Dinosaur Island tables: interesting hex features, and death and dismemberment | Echo Station 5-7

  6. Pingback: Dinosaur Island: the T. rex fight | Echo Station 5-7

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