Sunday, July 13, 2014

Actual Play: Fun with Infravision and Alignment

Infravision in B/X is described explicitly as "heat-sensing sight." So I tend to play the sight of elves and dwarves as being very broad; only the ability to see vague shapes of heat, generally not making out anything of the details of a monster.

Which was fun with the first of two encounters my players had with velociraptors last night. The raptors showed up during the first watch of the evening, and had the players surrounded, but there were only three of the raptors. The party's elf and one of the clerics were on watch, so the raptors were considering them potential prey until the cleric shouted everyone awake. The raptors disappeared in a flash (I give them a very quick movement rate) and it seemed like a false alarm. At this point they still weren't really sure what the threat was, other than that it was three or four feet high but broad and very fast.

The PCs wound up going back to the ruined palace where they had previously slaughtered some toad-men. Some exploration got them to investigate the statue in the courtyard, which had certain stops in its direction where it pointed. Investigating one of them led to another encounter with the raptors, who were now defending their nests and not just being curious. I described their motion with some keys that echoed Jurassic Park. The players got out, with only the hobbit getting a scratch when he went to his backpack to try and get some meat to slow the raptors down.

Deciding to try their luck elsewhere in the ruins, the PCs checked out a small block of rooms. This time they found a corridor with some caltrops in it; had they gone in without being wary it would have been a bigger problem for them. Around the next corridor they did get hit by a crossbow trap, and while investigating it found that they had the interest of a big, menacing warrior type. The players' reaction to his weapon, a military pick that they later found out was aligned with Chaos.

Once they dispatched the warrior and his companions, they found more materials, including a letter written in Chaotic. This was translated for them by one of the Acolytes from the Caves of Chaos, who has been charmed by the elf and is being used as a makeshift henchman. It's been fun to sort of let the idea of "forces of Chaos" as a persistent, but not unified, threat; the way I interpret Chaos working in my world is that powerful Chaotic characters are in touch with patron deities, and each such leader is a sort of absolute tyrant who imposes their will on their underlings. So there is now someone in dungeons (not yet discovered by the PCs) under the ruin who has transgressed against the forces loyal to the Chaos god Arioch.

I was very happy to be able to play up the Chaos and dinosaur aspects of this ruin in one session. It's been interesting in terms of PC balance, too: although there are two fourth-level fighters, who can take a fair number of hits, the rest of the PCs were 1st or 2nd level this adventure. One of the clerics hit 3rd, as did the hobbit, which will make the rest of this particular adventure interesting.


  1. This is a nice actual play report. I like that you use alignment languages. A lot of folks discard them because they don't make sense... Which is so funny considering all the stuff that gets thrown into D&D!

    1. Alignment languages make sense if there are two or three of them. Not so much if there are nine.


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