Savage Dungeons 1 – Daemon Summoning

Posted: 8 November 2009 in Tryouts

This is a test of the Warhammer Quest dungeon crawl rules, with characters, monsters and combat lifted from Savage Worlds. Earlier, I determined that the group of heroes were bound into an ancient temple to thwart skaven plans to summon a daemon and bind it to their will.

To set up, I shuffle the encounter, treasure and dungeon cards (except those for the objective rooms, which I set aside). I deal 6 dungeon cards face down, and shuffle the relevant objective card (the Idol Room) into that deck. Then, I deal 6 further dungeon cards on top of it. I now know that the objective room is somewhere between cards 7 and 13 in the deck, but not exactly where. I draw the first card, which is a passageway, and play begins. Total setup time: 15 minutes.

Exploration Turn 1: We start with the power phase, and the wizard rolls 1d6. A 2 means no event; had he rolled 1 there would have been, and in Warhammer Quest any other result is the number of power points available, but since I’m using Savage Worlds magic that is irrelevant. Passageways are always empty unless a 1 is rolled or the scenario states otherwise, so we move on.

Exploration Turn 2: I draw a corner, and place it at one of three possible locations – left, right or ahead from the last tile. I choose ahead because it fits the table better. Rolling a 4, no event, and corners don’t usually have encounters of their own.

Exploration Turn 3: Another corridor, but this time the wizard rolls a 1, and I draw from the event deck to see what we have found; 2d6 giant rats. Hmm. Savage Worlds basic rules don’t have a giant rat, so we’ll call that a swarm of rats. Into combat time and I draw cards for the rats and each character. The wizard draws a King and goes first; this looks like a good time to use his Scroll of Bolt, which I decide is the same as casting a spell, except that this one costs no power points. He rolls 1d8 for his Spellcasting skill and 1d6 as a Wild Die, getting a 2 and a 4 respectively; the 4 will do, and the spell goes off as expected. We may as well make this three bolts each of 3d6 damage, and the swarm takes 11, 7 and 19 damage in turn (the 19 is because a damage die scoring 6 can be rerolled, and the new score added in as well). The swarm has Toughness 7, so the first bolt exceeds that by 4, succeeding with a raise; the swarm is Shaken and Wounded, which Incapacitates it and removes it from play. The other damage is overkill. The rest of the party stop in mid-swing, no longer needed. Their turn will come.

Rummaging through the debris – perhaps the rat swarm was nesting in an old sack? – we find 20 gold coins (printed on the encounter card) and draw a treasure card. This is a Deathstone, which in Warhammer Quest reduces the power point cost of casting spells. Hmm. OK, Savage Worlds has an Edge (Wizard) which does the same, so as long as the wizard carries the Deathstone, he counts as having the Wizard edge. Quite a useful find, actually.

Exploration Turn 4: Another passageway! What is going on here? Nothing, on a roll of 3.

Exploration Turn 5: A T-Junction, and a roll of 6, so no encounter. I now deal the dungeon cards into two separate piles, one for each fork. We go straight on, ignoring the side passage.

Exploration Turn 6: Aha! A room, specifically the Torture Chamber. Rooms always trigger an event, even though I rolled a 4 in the power phase, so I draw one from the event deck. One minotaur. The party tramps into the room, and then it strikes from the shadows without warning – they always do that in WHQ. I roll 1d4 to determine who it attacks: The wizard – oh, good choice. Combat time again, and cards are drawn. The barbarian draws an ace and goes first; he scuttles over to the minotaur and twats it with his longsword. With Fighting d6, he rolls 1d6 for his skill and 1d6 Wild Die, trying to equal or exceed the minotaur’s Parry of 7. Both roll a 5, so he misses. The wizard and the dwarf are also adjacent to the leaping minotaur, and both drew 8; in this case the suit decides who goes first, and it’s the dwarf, who attempts to kneecap the minotaur with his greataxe. He has Fighting d8, so rolls a d8 and a Wild d6, getting a 5 and a 4 – both less than the foe’s Parry, so he misses as well. The wizard now unlimbers another bolt at the minotaur (just the one 3d6 bolt this time – conserving power), rolling 8 for his Spellcasting skill on 1d8 and 5 on the wild die. I decide that since the two are up close and personal, the wizard should roll against the minotaur’s Parry rather than a straight 4. As the 8 is an “ace” (highest possible roll), he gets to roll it again and add the scores; a 7, for a total of 15. That’s 8 more than the minotaur’s Parry, so he hits with two raises – alas, only the first one helps, but it does give him an extra d6 on first bolt. He rolls 3, 5, 6, 6; rerolls the two 6s for 5, 1; and inflicts a whopping 26 damage, 15 over the minotaur’s Toughness of 11; the stench of burning minotaur fur fills the air and it drops as if poleaxed. Considering how much damage it would do if it hit, that was a good use of 2 power points. We loot the body and find 440 gold and some Incense of Healing, which sounds like it should be a one-shot healing potion.

Exploration Turn 7: Another room, appropriately the Minotaur’s Lair. And it has 1d3 minotaurs in it, just the one fortunately, who is probably in a bad mood now. This one decides to gore the dwarf, and we’re back in combat. The elf draws an ace of spades and goes first; good time for a bowshot, he thinks, and fires, rolling a d8 for skill and a d6 wild die. He hits, and inflicts 2d6 damage: 2 + 2 = 4, not enough to do any damage. Next up is the wizard on an ace of diamonds; well, the 3d6 bolt has worked well so far, so we’ll do that again. The wizard hits – just – and does 11 damage. Since this is at least the minotaur’s Toughness, but not at least 4 more, the minotaur is Shaken. The barbarian drew a jack so goes next, hitting with his longsword and inflicting 14 damage (1d8 for his Strength, and 1d8 for the longsword, which aced). That would shake the minotaur, but since it’s already Shaken, it takes a Wound instead; and not being a Wild Card, is Incapacitated and removed from play. Frisking it reveals another 440 gold and an Orb of Might, which has 1d6 power points in it. Sounds good, we’ll leave it like that in the new system. It has 3 power, which is good because the wizard is now down to 6 power points of his own.

Exploration Turns 8-13 are uneventful, revealing a corridor and a T-junction, both empty, after which we run out of cards for this section and return to the first T-junction to start on the other subdeck.

Exploration Turn 14: A dungeon room – the Well of Doom. This triggers an event, and we find a dying dwarf prospector, who hands a key to us, saying “This is the key to the portcullis. Without it, you will never get through.” There is no treasure card for this event, so after performing whatever rites the party dwarf feels appropriate, we move on. (As you’ll see, we never found the portcullis. Maybe it was past the second T-junction.)

Exploration Turn 15: The Idol Chamber is found! Inside, we find 12 skaven who immediately pounce upon us, plus one extra who is standing near a statue of a daemon at the far end of the chamber. We have 1d6 turns to kill all the skaven before the summoning ritual is complete. Roll 1d6; 3 turns. Skaven aren’t mentioned in the SW basic rules, so I shall use the soldier archetype for their statistics. As per WHQ, the skaven leap from the darkness and fill up all squares adjacent to the heroes, then they rest get as close as they can. (I now discard the other dungeon rooms, as once I’ve completed the mission I have no reason to explore further.) In an RPG session I would have a skaven seer present as well, but considering how cowardly they are, we shall assume he dived through a convenient gap in the masonry as soon as the heroes appeared.

The Ancient Temple of Daemon Summoning

The Ancient Temple of Daemon Summoning

(Above is a map of the dungeon at this point, drawn in Dungeon Crafter 1.4.1, still available from the Dungeon Crafter website free of charge.)

Combat Turn 1 of 3: The elf draws a king and goes first, firing an arrow into the nearest skaven. This hits with a raise, so does 3d6 damage; two of the damage dice ace, one of them twice, so this winds up doing 23 damage. Goodnight. The skaven go next; one shuffles forwards to fill in the gap left by its fallen comrade, and eight of them hack into the party. WHQ says attacks must be distributed as evenly as possible, so that’s two each. Since soldier archetypes have a d6 in everything, it’s straightforward hacking; astonishingly, given the elf’s Parry of 6, one manages to hit him with a raise (NPCs can ace too), doing 9 damage, which Wounds the elf (Toughness 5). The elf spends on of his three bennies to soak damage; he rolls 1d6 for his Vigour and 1d6 as a Wild Die, getting a 3 and a 5 – this is a success, so one Wound is soaked and the elf recovers immediately.

One skaven hits the barbarian, Shaking him. The barbarian must now make a Smarts roll (1d6 plus wild die) or go berserk; he makes it with a raise, and keeps his cool. The skaven miss the dwarf, but the wizard is also Shaken. The barbarian is up next, and makes a Spirit roll (d6 plus wild die) to recover; he does so, but not quickly enough, so I spend a benny for him to recover immediately. He now reaches out and touches a skaven with his longsword, hits with a raise, and inflicts 11 damage, dropping the vile creature in its tracks.

The wizard fails to recover and must spend a benny to do so; he then fires three bolts, using 3 power from the crystal and 3 of his own; alas he misses his skill roll, but another benny takes care of that, allowing a reroll which does succeed. 11, 10 and 21 damage (more aces) erase three skaven from existence, but the wizard is now down to one benny and 3 power points.

The dwarf now strikes with his greataxe, misses, spends a benny to reroll (so everyone except the wizard is now down to two bennies), misses again, and decides to leave it at that.

Combat Turn 2 of 3: The dwarf draws an ace, and tries again. He misses again; must be the beard getting in the way. Spending a benny doesn’t help either, and now he has only one left. Possibly the problem is that the greataxe requires more Strength than he has? I wouldn’t tell him that, if I were you. The elf drew a queen, and shoots – if this were an RPG session I would make the elf player go into melee, but under WHQ he would be allowed to carry on, so I shall merely require him to reach a target number of the skaven’s Parry rather than a 4… Twang! 13 damage and a skaven kebab. Wizard next, and no point taking power points home, so spend one to fire a 2d6 bolt into the nearest enemy. Since the skill test succeeds with a raise, this costs him no power. The skaven is Shaken by the bolt.

Now the bad guys go, and miss the elf. Two gang up on the barbarian to improve their hit chances (the main attacker gets +1 on his Fighting roll for each assist), but it doesn’t help. The two on the dwarf roll separately, but miss. The last one hits the wizard, shaking him. Finally, the barbarian kills another.

Combat Turn 3 of 3: Not looking good. The barbarian goes first, and decides to withdraw from the melee and move up to the lone skaven at the idol, since he has a gap through the skaven and this is the last chance. The two within melee reach each get a free attack; both miss, but the Bad Guys have been hoarding their 4 general-purpose bennies for just such an occasion, and use them to reroll. One hits, but fails to inflict more damage than the barbarian’s Toughness, and one can’t normally use bennies on damage rolls. He’s through, and moves up to the loner, hacking with his sword, hitting, and Shaking the foe. Now the barbarian has moved, the dwarf has a way through, and tries to do the same; however, one of the skaven gets in a lucky blow, doing 14 damage and Shaking him; the dwarf spends his last benny on removing that, and presses on, just managing to reach the enemy despite his lower Pace (5, rather than 6 for the others), and misses. He’s out of bennies, so that’s that.

The wizard recovers from Shaken thanks to a lucky Spirit roll, and decides to ignore the melee around him, firing off two of his last 3 power points in a 3d6 bolt at the loner. He hits, and thanks to aces scores 20 damage, dropping the intended avatar for the demon. This looks like a good time for the skaven to use bennies to soak damage; they’ll need a success and two raises to bring him back from the edge. However, this fails. The elf shoots at one of the survivors and misses. The surviving skaven decide they may as well sort out the wizard, for though he has thwarted the summoning he still has to read the Scroll of Banishment, and he can’t do that if he’s dead. Three approach him with wild war cries, and one hits, Shaking him. Two more assail the elf, but miss.

Combat Turn 4 of 3: Skaven first, and I realise that under WHQ rules they should reassign themselves to all surviving heroes as evenly as they can, so two peel off towards the barbarian and the dwarf. (Strictly I should rerun the last turn because of that, but I won’t.) One skaven hits the barbarian, but fails to wound him. The other misses, and since there is now a skaven next to the idol, and the Scroll of Banishment has not been read, I decide that since the requirements for raising the demon are met, it will appear. The unfortunate skaven spends his turn transforming into a minotaur, as per the scenario’s special rules. Since this is specified as having extra wounds, I’ll make it a Wild Card, so it gets two bennies of its own, plus possibly the remaining evil side benny.

The two now in reach of the elf gang up on him, but miss. The one near the wizard hits him with a raise, and since he is already Shaken, he takes two wounds. He uses a benny for a soak roll, succeeds with a raise, and soaks two Wounds, returning him to health. The dwarf finally gets the hang of his greataxe and hits something, killing his opponent outright. The wizard uses his last power point on a bolt, hits, and does an incredible 28 damage from 2d6. The barbarian decides now is a good time to skewer the minotaur, hits with a raise, and does 13 damage, Shaking it. It can’t do anything until next turn anyway, so reserves its bennies. The elf shoots a nearby skaven, killing it.

Combat Turn 5 of 3: Dwarf first, and he hacks lustily at the daemon minotaur, rolling 22 damage and Wounding it twice, since it is already Shaken. (Hmm, might have been better to lose the Shaken with a benny last turn.) The daemon uses a benny to soak damage, and recovers one Wound. It still has one Wound and is Shaken.

Sneakily, the wizard tries to cast again. He has no more power points, but thanks to the Deathstone, if he succeeds with a raise he can cast a bolt at no power point cost. Sadly, it’s not to be. The lone surviving skaven hits the elf with a raise, shaking him. The minotaur decides at random to squash the dwarf, and using a benny to recover from Shaken after failing its Spirit roll, misses – in a threatening sort of way. The elf recovers from Shaken, but since he does not succeed with a raise, takes the whole turn doing it. The barbarian misses.

Combat Turn 6 of 3: The dwarf draws a joker, so I must reshuffle the deck. He opts to go first and makes a wild attack on the minotaur, taking him up to a total of +4 to hit, +4 damage, and -2 Parry. He hits, and does 13 damage; this is 2 more than the minotaur’s Toughness of 11, so only Shakes him; but the minotaur is still Shaken from last time, so this escalates to another Wound. The minotaur uses a benny to soak damage, but fails; one benny left. The wizard again tries to cast on empty, but doesn’t quite make it. The barbarian makes a wild attack at the minotaur, and just hits, but doesn’t quite damage it. The elf ignores his skaven foe, moves up to get a better angle, and makes a called shot to the minotaur’s head (-4 to hit, +4 damage), which fails dismally. The skaven now runs up and stabs at the elf, missing. The minotaur swings at the barbarian with its mighty fist, Shaking him. (Who needs a weapon when your bare hand damage is d12+2, eh?)

Combat Turn 7 of 3: The skaven pulls a joker, and wastes it missing the elf. The barbarian spends this turn recovering from Shaken. The elf finally kills that pesky skaven. The wizard tries to case with no power again, mainly because it gives him a good excuse not to leap into combat with the minotaur, and this time it works! But the daemon shrugs off a measly 3 damage and continues, doing 15 damage to the dwarf, who is Shaken and Wounded as a result, with no bennies left. The dwarf, however, aces his Spirit roll and recovers from Shaken immediately, making a wild attack at the enemy and missing.

Combat Turn 8 of 3: Elf, dwarf and wizard reserve their turns, and everyone gangs up on the minotaur, giving the barbarian +3 to hit, which is just as well, since that is what they needed. The barbarian rolls 15 damage thanks to an ace, so Shakes and Wounds the minotaur. Unless it can soak this damage, the party has won; but it succeeds with a raise, and erases that wound. It now selects the wizard (at random) and wallops him for 5 damage, Shaking him.

Combat Turn 9 of 3: The wizard spends his turn recovering, but the minotaur kicks him while he’s down, and he staggers about Shaken and with two Wounds. The others gang up on the minotaur, and the barbarian hits, Shaking the enemy.

Combat Turn 10 of 3: The barbarian is obviously riled now, since he hits with a raise and aces on all three damage dice, two of which ace again, for a grand total of 43 damage. That’s gotta hurt. The daemon minotaur is already Shaken and with two Wounds; it now takes a further 8 Wounds, and nothing walks away from that. The party read the Scroll of Banishment for whatever good it may now do, and stagger from the ancient temple, battered and bleeding but victorious. They have looted 1,940 gold, an Orb of Might (now used up), a Deathstone, and Incense of Healing, plus 300 gold from a grateful Empire. If I were tracking experience, I would award them two points each.

Lessons learned: This approach is fast, easy, and much more fun than I expected; I do miss the old school dungeon crawls! As per the stories, the mooks drop fast, but they do ablate away some power points and bennies, so the fight with the Big Bad is more tense – the heroes are weaker than when they started, and the Big Bad is stronger than the foes bleeding them previously.

However, at just under 4 hours to play 15 exploration turns or so, it’s about 15 minutes per turn, including pauses to check rules and write up the action, plus the same to set up and knock down; it’ll take too long to fit into my two hour window. That wouldn’t matter with a dungeon generated from dice and tables, but the speed and convenience of drawing everything from a card deck is balanced by the inconvenience of having to keep four partial decks in the same shuffled state, possibly for a week or more, if I pack up for the night partway through. So, if this becomes a habit, I shall create random tables based off the card decks. That will introduce its own problems, since cards drawn from the deck change the probabilities for future draws, and rolls on a table don’t.

Finally, and again if this becomes a habit, I will create new characters, based on my view of what works best, rather than recreating the iconic WHQ heroes.

  1. R Singers says:

    I’m looking at pulling apart some of the WHFRP 2e stuff into a series of combats with some narrative text in between. I think there is a lot of nice fluff in the WHFRP material but as a role playing “module” it is awful. What I’m really after is a way to use a lot of my painted miniatures, and have a set “dungeon” that can be done in two to three hours on a week night without having to have the same people there every time.

  2. andyslack says:

    Any of the Games Workshop dungeon crawl games would work; Heroquest, Advanced Heroquest, or Warhammer Quest. They’re all available for download on the internet if you don’t have the actual games, the first of them as PDF replacement rulebooks from the manufacturer, and the others as “abandonware”.

    You could also consider The Other Game Company’s Dungeon Bash, although that would require D&D 3.5 as well, and I’m sure there are many others. All of the ones I know except Heroquest focus on randomly-generated dungeons, but there’s no reason not just to stick with one.

    You could also look at the larger battlemaps on the WotC site, under D&D Miniatures; or 0One Games’ customisable battlemaps, the minotaur’s lair and so forth. These have no game rules as such, but WotC have the D&D Minis rules and unit statistics on their website for download free of charge.

  3. […] for the continuing solo dungeon crawls. (In way, this is a kind of review, I suppose.) You can look here for the short of dungeon Warhammer Quest creates; here is a basic example from Dungeon Bash, which […]

  4. […] for the continuing solo dungeon crawls. (In way, this is a kind of review, I suppose.) You can look here for the sort of dungeon Warhammer Quest creates; here is a basic example from Dungeon Bash, which […]

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