One-D-Six: The Sea Caves

On Saturday evening, I hosted the first Patreon, Online Grog-Club in the den under-the-stairs. Supporters at the $5+ level, who were interested in playing, were drawn from the beret to participate in a Runequest one-shot.

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When Rick Meint’s compiled the OSR Bundle for the Classic Runequest Kickstarter campaign last year, he included a never before published adventure, written by Greg Stafford.

The Sea Cave is an unfinished, brutal, zoo-type cave crawl. There’s some innovations built into the design of the complex: the way into the caves is affected by the Gloranthan tides, the players can choose to sail into the flooded caves or walk in during the low tide; also, the denizens of the cave have distinctive relationships with each other.

Despite its limitations, I liked some of the unusual encounters described in the supplement and thought that it would be a perfect, one-shot introduction to the mixed group of players invited to the session. Some of the players were old hands, who knew Runequest and Glorantha very well, others were returning after a long hiatus, while for some it was their first exposure to the delights of the system and place.

It was cracking fun, with tense, spectacular moments, plenty of atmosphere and laughs, lots of laughs.

Here are some of the highlights:

1) Ducks! 

Now, regular listeners to the podcast will know my opinion of ducks, but I was struck by the idea of creating a Humakt duck death squad just for the fun of it. Maybe I’ve been reading too much T&T.

Meet the team:

Brandi Coot – a wily bird who tried to be one step ahead of the opposition with great tactical acuity, using his giant turtleshell shield as to protect the team and using it as a makeshift life raft.

Purple-Eye – the broody one that skulks in the shadows with his two swords trying to convince Mal Hard to break his geas and use ambush tactics.

Moor-Hin – He’s adept with his griffin bone javelin and very tenacious. Very tenacious.

Mal Hard – the burly, healer who is tough enough to wield a bastard sword one-handed. He proved a crack-shot with the self bow too.

Rudi Blue-bill – The shortest and most eager to please, with the sharpest eye and skills with a throwing knife. His knife ‘BAK’ will return to the hand of the thrower on a whistle. Ducks can’t whistle.

2) Clackneed 

The only human in the team was a survivor of our Borderlands campaign. He had been wandering around the grantlands and Horngate with Daine’s sword. He is on the cusp of being a Rune Lord, so is heading to the Sea Caves to help him realise his ambitions.

He has raised the army to help Bryn Cor, the head of the fishermen, to rid the coast of a mysterious creature terrorising the fleet during the twilight catch.

He’s named Clackneed because he needs clacks. He became a mercenary to raise himself from poverty as an outcast.

By the end of the adventure he was Clack ‘kneed’ as every blow seemed to strike his legs. He was grateful of the support of his duck army!

3) The Sea Serpent The opening scene always carries the risk of being a damp-squib or a TPK. This one was almost both. It was extremely damp as it began on board a boat.

A couple of the ducks chose to push the boat along through the water, to get them to Corflu before nightfall.

The ship was attacked by a sea serpent, knocking some of the crew off their feet. Clackneed lost a limb (not for the last time). They all resisted the demoralising rattle to its tail.

The excitement came when Moor-Hin impaled the creature with his javelin. As the stricken creature plunged into the depths of the ocean, the plucky bird went in pursuit of his precious griffin-bone javelin. Deeper and deeper. He gripped on to his weapon and eventually managed to pull it out, before returning, coughing and spluttering to the surface.

4) The players are the thing …

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Eddy consulting the rulebook – still disputing the fumble rules after 30 years of playing together.

It’s always great to meet new players and this group bounded in duckdum very quickly as they rallied around the hapless wannabe Rune Lord.

Ruddi  – “Clackneed?”

Clackneed – “What? I’m busy.”

Ruddi – “WHISTLE!”

5) “There’s a Wyrm? How are you spelling it?”

It was ambitious to run this as a 3 hour one-shot and it proved too much.

They faced a dramatic encounter with a mermaid water spirit who was initially threatening the characters with her Wyrm, before revealing that the Wyrm is her enemy and she wants it destroyed.

There’s going to be an extra session to deal with the Wyrm.

Brandi Coot declared, “A worm? Who’s afraid of a puny earthworm?”

Cue my Harryhausan sound effects echoing through the cave and the collective headsets.

to be continued …

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6) We’ve joined a select group.

There must only be a handful of people in the world who have been in these caves. The brave pioneers are proudly listed at the front.

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The next Patreon, Online Grog-Club is due in February 2017. See the Patreon page, where details will be posted nearer the time.

7 thoughts on “One-D-Six: The Sea Caves

  1. I love the bit “His knife ‘BAK’ will return to the hand of the thrower on a whistle. Ducks can’t whistle.” That is so Staffordian duck it has feathers.

  2. “as every blow seemed to strike his legs”

    Who needs a breastplate in RQ? I’m always lopping off the players’ limbs and rarely puncturing their vitals! 🙂

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