Topic: Played and enjoyed the Grinding Gear
I just ran my group through this module using Labyrinth Lord rules. I had the players randomly roll 1d4 for their character's level, stressed the importance of being well supplied (they initially ingnored my hints) and even let them randomly roll magic items, which I didn't think would make a difference to the game since it is all about them having to think, not hack'n'slash. The adventure took three and a half sessions to play and to my great surprise (and theirs), the party made it out...well, not the original party. ;-)
That's probably unnecessary as I'm guessing most here either own the module or intend on buying it for themselves, but better to be safe than sorry.
The party were too nervous about the statue, so they went and checked out the buildings instead. I was disappointed to see them take little or no interest in the obvious clues. To my great delight though, they all decided to go up into the attic. The whole party went up through the trap door, stayed close to it until they were all up there, then moved outwards to explore the room. Needless to say it was a TPK. I read to them James' comment about it being a "mercy killing", but they failed to see the humour.
New party arrives (miraculously identical to the first party in all respects), manages to find most of the clues, sets up base in the chapel and decides to burn the inn to the ground as a way of dealing with the stirges. They tackled the door at the statue's base by dropping a great big rock in the doorway, preventing it closing.
Down in the dungeon they decided to attack first, ask questions later and killed two of the NPC party hiding down there. The third felt he had no choice but to join up, which wasn't bad as I ended up with an extra player and the party could really benefit from a second thief. When it came to the room with the three pits, while the party was in one section, the new thief took off on his own and decided to poke a 10' pole down into the black pudding pit. That was the end of him and another character (cleric) who foolishly ran to his aid.
I allowed the party to send someone back to civilisation and hire another couple of party members - a thief and a cleric. Back at the dungeon they pressed on. Down in level two, one was lost to a green slime, another to the poisonous bite of a wandering monster. Alternating between near-paralysing terror at each new suspicious set-up and an almost insane determination to press on forward no matter what, they managed to get themselves sealed into the final bit of the dungeon. One player decided to play the sheet music on the organ, with the result that yet another character died, from a rot grub attack. They then, to my complete amazement, with a bit of luck, made it through the questions and answers passageway to the tomb itself - seems they paid a lot more attention than they had appeared to.
Once in the tomb they failed to find the secret door in the sarcophagus and suddenly learned the importance of nurturing their dwindling light sources. In the end, after a couple of days down there comtemplating their fate, they chiselled and smashed their way through the floor of the sarcophagus (I ruled that this opened the two exits), having previously found a faint glow in that spot with a detect magic spell. They found the second secret door and made off with the treasure, which neither I nor they thought would happen. In truth they had come to the conclusion that there was no treasure.
Afterwards the players were buzzing. I had wondered whether or not they would've enjoyed this adventure, which is basically a death trap dungeon for the unthinking. But they loved it and thorougly enjoyed the experience, even those players who lost characters.
Thanks James, first for making my players think and second for the enjoyment we all got as a group. I'm going to run them through DFD soon, but I might give them something a bit lighter first. :-)