Thursday, November 5, 2020

OSE- Oh, Second-level Eludes!

Another setback session, more or less. 

The PCs raided the kobold lair again. They found the treasure chest with a note asking for quarter, but the PCs decided that they should just murder the kobolds and take everything. They ended up focusing most of their attention on the common room full of regular kobolds and females. Bloodlust took over, but ultimately the PCs had to withdraw. They went back to the base camp (my version has a base camp near the Caves of Chaos, with a keep being a little bit farther away.) In the two days it took to heal up, the kobolds evacuated their cavern, and the chief took all of the portable treasure. The PCs gained a pitiful 50-some experience each from the loot and killing kobolds. 

I feel like the players are starting to get frustrated by the glacial pace of this game. We've been playing since July and only one person has made 2nd level. 

Part of the problem is that we only play for about three hours every other week. This is due in part to two of the players having kids who must be abed before they can play, so we start later than I'd normally like. 

Another factor is hardware/software problems. We've been using a combo of Discord and Roll20. Discord, for some reason, just likes to randomly stop picking up sounds from the other players, or stop transmitting sounds from me, or both. It happens out of nowhere and then I have to fiddle with various knobs and dials until one of them inexplicably restores my mic's functionality or I start being able to hear the other players again. We lost a good chunk of time on just my tech bullshit last night. 

Finally, the players gave up on the previous dungeon without having reached the 2nd or 3rd level, which were the treasure-heavy levels. There were clues to get down there, but in one case I think my clues were too obscure, and in the second case they overthought it and then just shrugged their shoulders and gave up. If they'd made it to the two lower levels of that dungeon, they'd all be 2nd, perhaps 3rd level... there was a flippin' Type A treasure down there. 

So, we can conclude that several factors are in play here. It's just a bummer to make such little progress. 


  1. Dude! I feel your pain. I had a group one time that took many years to just get through one of the best dungeons I've ever written and still not really get anywhere. It had like over 100 rooms a level and went 5 levels deep before I stopped writing on it. The best way to describe them as they were non-adventurous adventurers. Like they could spend a massive amount of time wandering around doing nothing avoiding all danger yet still not really get anywhere in the dungeon! It was like herding cats. A few other players tried to get daring but were browbeaten back to being careful. Sadly I just stopped running the game out of sheer boredom. The dungeon is the infamous Black Stairs which is a day south of The Little Barony Far Far in the Western Frontier: Ravens Keep. In fact the first version I wrote of it is in my infamous Back to the Dungeon Zine for LL/AEC which is very compatible with OSE. Five levels of megadungeon and a mini campaign setting! It's rude and crude and badly edited!

  2. I can also empathize. My solution was to make high danger/high reward dungeons. High danger meant a high casualty rate, but the survivors leveled all the more quickly.

    Oh, yeah...and I moved away from the Caves of Chaos.

    That being said, the Caves should be able to take a party up to 4th level if they pick the place clean.

    1. I've learned to pretty much never run the Caves of Chaos ever again. I think I've only enjoyed running once in my life, and that was with an exceptionally invested group.

      As a matter of fact, the only classic modules that I ever consistently enjoy running are B3 and X2, and even those gems aren't without significant problems.

  3. My groups have similar "after bedtime" restrictions. We've wandered into generous XP. Each character gets full XP for monsters and I add significant story awards. It gets away from GP=XP but its fun to level up.

  4. @Eldrad- Sounds like my kind of dungeon tbh.

    @JB and John- The PCs decided to check out the Caves because it was the nearest dungeon on the map after they decided to give up on the one they were exploring. In fact, only just yesterday did one of the players figure out that there are several old school modules that are on the campaign map. (Though many of the dungeons and locales are my own fact I'd say most of them are.)

    @Daren- I'm not changing monster xp, because combat bores me and I don't want to encourage the players to resort to it unless they have to. If anything, I'm hoping that the kobold incident is a learning experience. I'm also running a sandbox/open world game, so story isn't really a thing.