What to do when a module has built in rails?

What to do when a module has built in rails?

Time for another installment of my solo game using Dungeon Crawl Classics to run through the adventure included in TSR’s AC3, Dragon Tiles. Spoilers for that adventure below.

As you might remember the Herbalist has secured a grappling hook on the tower and has successfully climbed the tower to a bricked up second story window. 

Here is where I need to make a decision on how faithfully I should follow the module. The description of the tower that the Herbalist includes the following text:

“If characters inspect the windows, they see that cracks run between the mortar around some of the bricks. Characters cannot pull any of the bricks loose, but they can look through the cracks. If they do, they see several of King Limakhan’s archers standing around the iron fence.” 

That is obviously from the inside not the outside but it seems clear that they do not want the PC’s to be able to open the window. I could follow this intent or I could give the Herbalist a chance to use the crowbar to pry a brick loose. If I was running this for a group I definitely would allow that. I think I am going to allow the Herbalist a skill check to do it. The Herbalist has a crowbar and there are cracks he can wedge it in. On the other hand he is not skilled at working from a height and wouldn’t be able to put his weight into it. I think this is probably not possible using the DCC rules. It would probably be a DC 15 skill check using Strength and the Herbalist has a 0 modifier. Even if I give a +2 bonus for the crowbar there is no way the Herbalist could roll high enough on a d10. I think in this case the Herbalist will not be able pry any of the bricks loose and will only be able to report darkness through the cracks in the bricked up window.  

This is frustrating but I feel I would be invoking the “rule of cool” and just disregarding the rules of both the module and DCC if I allowed this particular attempt to have a chance.

(On the other hand if we were using my home brewed skill system the Herbalist would still have a 1 in 6 chance of success)

The Herbalist climbs back down and reports the disappointing news to the Tax Collector. The group moves to rejoin the rest of our merry band.

 Our main party has successfully destroyed two stone gargoyle statues, see last week’s entry, with only two dead and one PC down to 1 hit point. An encouraging start! They now approach the front door. The Guild Beggar orders them to take axes to the door but Potato Farmer says, “Hold on a minute, maybe it is unlocked.” The Guild Beggar snorts, “Who would just leave it unlocked?” At which the Potato Farmer pushes the heavy doors which freely swing into the entryway exposing a hallway. An amused hush falls on the crowd as the Guild Beggar pushes his way next to the Potato Farmer and looks in.

The box text tells us:

“The sound of scurrying rats echoes from the north end of the hall. Cobwebs cover the ceiling and hang down into the hallway, which is musty and damp. 

Rotting black curtains hang along one section of the east wall. A long wooden table stands to the north of the curtains. 

Doors stand in the west and east walls of this hallway’s north end. A bricked-up window rests in the north wall, and a cracked mirror hangs from one of the window’s bricks. 

A jumble of footprints criss-crosses the dusty floor.” 

At this point the second story crew has rejoined them and the Tax Collector moves forward to survey the situation.  

Time for some Intelligence checks! I’m going to make these DC 15 skilled checks. Let’s just do the Potato Farmer and Guild Beggar initially, The Potato Farmer rolls a 19 (+2 for Intelligence) and the Guild Beggar a 13 (+1 for Intelligence) so the Potato Farmer passes easily with a 21 where the Guild Beggar’s 14 just misses. 

Look there,” the Potato Farmer says, “why would you have a bricked up window in the middle of a house? That surely is not the back wall as the house is wider than the distance to that window. Plus I did not see any rats when we walked around outside, they must be inside on the other side of the wall.

 “Indeed.” The Tax Collector says as he strives to take control back. “Here is what we will do. You , Potato Farmer, the Guild Beggar and I will check that northern wall, the rest of you check those other doors.” 

Another round of Intelligence Checks is needed here, these will be unskilled with a DC 10. The previous check was skilled because it was just picking up that the house was deeper than the bricked window made it appear. Since the PCs walked around the house it seemed they shouldn’t need any specialized knowledge to figure that out. This time we are seeing if anyone thinks to investigate the footprints. Only the Potato Farmer makes it!

The Potato Farmer puts his arms up in keeping the Tax Collector and Guild Beggar from walking through the threshold. “Hold on there, what about the footprints?” The Tax Collector in an obviously annoyed voice reply, “I was just getting to that. Let’s see if we can follow these footprints before we check the rooms and that window. Does anyone have any tracking experience?” He turns and looks to the group. “You, Ostler, you see a lot of tracks in the course of your work, do you think you could see what story these footprints tell?

Well sir that is not really what I do but I can give it a try.” I’ll be generous and give this an unskilled DC 10. With a 3 the Ostler comes forward and after looking states that while some do seem to be fresh they do not seem to lead anywhere specific. “Fine, fine.” The Tax Collector states, “We are wasting time, search the hallway as I directed!

And we will pick back up next week. Thank you for reading this and don’t forget to be excellent to each other! 

Comments are closed.