Tuesday, 22 September 2020

Blackmoor (OSE): #2 - Shrooms and Boom-Sticks

Blackmore (OSE): 3rd Session in The Under-Booh 

Played online – 9 Sep 2020 

It’s a while since I wrote-up one of our games, but our latest delve into the Under-Booh has spread into three sessions – with different combos of PCs – so some continuity was required (and XP offered to do so!).

Dave is running games using Old School Essentials set in Dave Arneson’s Blackmoor.  Wednesday games have been the “main” quest of exploring the Under-Booh: Sunday games have been side quests. 


Games Master 




Cleric of King ‘Shroom (Lvl 1) 


Retainer:  Holmund the Mage (Lvl 1) 


Juss Overhere 


Hafling (Lvl 1) 

Retainer: Scutter (Lvl 1 Thief) 



Sir Robert the Fearless 


Fighter (Lvl 1) 

Retainer: Eric (Lvl 0 Human) 




Dwarf (Lvl 1) 




Based in the Hafling village of Booh, the players (in various combinations) have been employed by the Tunnel Fighters Guild (run by the Stoneward family) to map out the ancient Dwarven excavations that are rumoured to extend over 8 miles under the Peaks of Booh (!!!) to the town of Blackmoor. 

On our previous excursion we ran into another Halfling faction – the Springbournes – who made us a much better offer for mapping (and have their own healing pool).  After some initial hesitation, we decided to throw our lot in with them. 


We were lucky in as much as a rumour-monger was visiting Booh.  They sold us the tale about the Under-Booh that if we went as far East as we could and then North whenever we could we would come to an ancient Dwarven clockwork fortress, now over-run by goblins.  In it, we would find the Battle Throne – a weapon of mass destruction. 

Scutter and Eric were hired as retainers.  Holmund agreed to continue in Pluteus’ employ.  Juss brough his trusty mule, Barney. 

The First Day 

We were met by
Pock Springbourne

We entered the Under-Booh through the Springbourne’s secret entrance and Club House.  Travel was again slow.  After two hours we reached a junction, from which a SW passage would in theory join with our previously explored areas.  As we were being paid for each 1,000ft of new mapping, we decided to join up the two areas. 

It was a fortuitous choice.  We soon came to a chamber, lit by an all-prevailing glow from floating phosphorescent spores.  In the centre of the cavern was a group of four robed humanoids.  As we approached, we were shocked to realise that they had no eyes, but emanated mycelia from their overwise empty sockets.  Pluteus recognised that they represented no harm and were fellow mushroom-cultists. 

The Head Acolyte (“The Dude”, Pluteus explained, “and they’re his Ring”), welcomed us and explained that this cavern was one of the sites within the Under-Booh where The Six Magic Mushrooms grew.  For each of them a Rite of Recognition could be performed.  Each of The Six could be mastered to give deep insight and other powers. A master of all Six could perform amazing feats! 

There were only three of The Six in fruit: Purple Stinkers, Yellow Noses and Green Gashes.  Uttering a prayer to the All-Seeing One, Pluteus immediately sought to commune with his fellow-believers and chose to partake of all three Fungal Sacraments. 

On nibbling a Purple Stinker he entered an altered state and became part of the mycelial network!  Sixteen spores left his body and began orbiting the room.  Protected by the Dude and the other acolytes, he was able to shepherd these back into his body.  He had Mastered the Purple. 

The second rite was that of the Green Gash.  As the acolytes’ chant rose and feel, Pluteus was transformed into a creature of the ‘Shroom - a mole.   Emboldened by these successes, Eric the torchbearer took the Sacrament and transformed into a moth (luckily, due to the phosphorescence he hadn’t a torch lit).  Pluteus and Eric had each Mastered the Green! 

The final and most dangerous Rite of Recognition was that for the Yellow Noses.  Pluteus and the Dude both warned that this risked instant death.  It was decided that only Pluteus should attempt this Rite.  Fortified by long communion with The ‘Shroom, he survived and became a Master of the Yellow and adept at its use in poisons.  The Dude admitted that none of his Ring had Mastered the Yellow.  Pluteus, expounded unto them and offered up one of his shrooms: admid much rejoicing, one of the Circle partook of the Rite and survived. 

King 'Shroom is
always watching

The party left the cavern with The Dude’s blessing and the promise that shrooms fruited every seven days.  During the hour that it took for Pluteus and Eric to recover from the effects of the Green Gash the rest of the party had established that SE of this cavern was previously-explored ground, as expected. 

The rest of the day was spent travelling East along the northernmost tunnel. 

The Second Day 

During the night, Scruffy was on watch when he heard voices, which he recognised as goblins.  After waking his companions, he went forward to parley, but was attacked.  Holmund immediately cast Sleep, knocking out all six goblins, who were quickly dispatched.  A search of the bodies showed that they were unusually well-equipped.  Not only were they carrying 1,000gps and gems worth over half that, but Scruffy recognised that one of them was armed with ancient Dwarven tech – a boom-stick (or Hackbut, as he termed it). 


We decided to extend our stay in camp, so Holmund could rest further and regain his always-useful spell. 

The journey continued East “as far as we could”, then - as the rumour directed – we turned North. 

Unfortunately, as we neared the end of our day’s travel, a moment’s distraction proved disastrous as Scruffy triggered a trap.  He, Scutter, Pluteus and Sir Robert were swept up in a net.  This is where our cunning plan of dowsing our lights and being led by the dwarf almost proved our undoing.  None of the rest of our party could make anything out as a party of four goblins, accompanied by two giant centipedes, came to see what they’d caught. 

As those within the net attempted to cut themselves out, Juss and Eric desperately tried to find a lantern and tinderbox in the kit stowed on the mule.  Holmund peered into the darkness, hoping to spot something he could cast his spell on.  The discharge of a Boom-Stick wasn’t sufficient to give him a target. 

After much fumbling (and tumbling from those coming out of the net), Eric managed a spark.  Holmund again cast Sleep to great effect.  The goblins’ bodies yielded yet more jewellery, but more importantly another Hackbut.  It was clear that despite our luck these wandering goblins weren’t going to be push-overs. 

We camped.  An odd cat was spotted during the night. 

The Third Day

Travel continued in a northerly direction. 

Scruffy and Scutter in the lead turned a corner and ran into a group of seven giant ants.  Before any of us knew what was happening, the two of them we down and dying.  A short, bloody battle ensued. 

Sunday, 6 September 2020

A TPK in Blackmoor

In addition to the regular Wednesday night sessions Dave is running of his Blackmoor-based Old School Essentials game, he experimenting with running on-demand sessions at the weekend timed to be friendly to North American players. 

In this first session only Cody and I turned up, so we each played two characters and a retainer/hireling each.  As this is kind of a side adventure, I decided to leave Pluteus and Homund at home (from other OSE experience, I also know it's handy to have a stable of characters building up XP!) and took C'Loxi the Elf and Danton the Thief.  I acquired a dwarf hireling who I called Merc (as a mis-remembering of my old Barrowmaze hireling Merg).

Merg of blessed memory

As with the 'main' sessions we started in the Halfling village of Booh, where we we hired by the Caveward family to find their missing daughter, who had been snatched by a mysterious flying creature and carried off into the Greenwood.  Things started well:  our Elf had knowlege of the Greenwood and our thief was able to shinny-up trees to see the lay of the land.  Soon we met a knight who promised to assist us in our noble quest if we could best him in combat.  

This is where things turned against us.  Unfortunately, our oaf of a fighter was unfamiliar with the concept of subdual attacks and mortally wounded brave Sir Swain with two massive blows.  Nevertheless, that earned him a sword and barded warhorse...

As we contined on our steathly way to examing a ruined tower, we disturbed a family of six fully-grown boars.  Between them they quickly managed to kill four of the party (including the C'Loxi who had decided that it wasn't worth using his Sleep spell on them).  The remaining two party members - Danton the thief and Merc the now-promoted retainer - got up the nearest tree.  But trees are no match for angry hogs!  As it collapsed, and as grasping vines reached from the tower, Danton made a suicidal leap into the melee, killing a boar before being messily gored.

Merc was pulled into the tower, only to meet a harpy.  He managed to avoid being enchanted and (literally) escape her clutches.  Once outside the tower he bumped into his third cousin, twice removed* who was busy looting his colleagues' corpses.  His relief was short-lived as Phany the dwarf fell under the harpy's spell and killed him.

*Hastily rolled up!

The orginal party dead, Phany returned to Booh with what loot he could carry and an odd tale of that cousin who his mother had always said would come to no good.

One of the most enjoyable sessions I've had in a long time!

And there's room at Dave's table!

Monday, 31 August 2020

Books & Stuff (NS, No 5): Reading in August 2020

Robert A Heinlein, Starman Jones

The Heinlein juveniles are dear to my heart, and I occasionally pick one up to re-read.  Starman Jones was the first (and the first Heinlein) that I read, aged about 12 (so around 1980!).   

The plot of the book revolves around the use of log tables, which I'm just old enough to have done at school (probably a year or so after first reading it).  The prompt to pick it up was an exchange in a Discord channel about log tables (in the context of AD&D).

Stanley Ellin, The Speciality of the House

It took me months, but I've finished this great collection of short stories.  I find that if I read too many short stories one after another I loose the effect, so I'm treated it as a book to dip into.  Well worth the effort.

Bayt al Azif: A Magazine for Cthulhu Mythos Roleplaying Games, Issue 2 (Aug 2019)

Number 2 of this magazine, which keeps up the high standard of No 1 (which I read back in June).  I keep thinking I should do a proper review of both issues.

Currently Reading

Simon Harris, The Other Norfolk Admirals: MyngsNarbrough and Shovell

Biography of the aforesaid admirals.  Another study of the Restoration navy.

I'm only nominally reading this - I don't think I've picked it up for weeks!

Sunday, 30 August 2020

Gaming in Aug 2020


  • 16 Aug  - The Tonisborg Dungeon (on-line)
  • 23 Aug - Call of Cthuhlu (face-to-face)
  • 26 Aug - Blackmoor (OSE) (on-line)
  • 29 Aug - Dark Sun (on-line)
Original D&D - The Tonisborg Dungeon

I discussed this one-shot briefly here.

Call of Cthuhlu
  • 23 Aug

This was by way of a birthday treat.  It was my first face-to-face session in over six months, and it felt great!  I introduced 'the Home Group' to Call of Cthuhlu, playing the 'Edge of Darkness' module from the 7th Edition Starter Set.  

It went down very well.  After a couple of false starts with unecassary intimidation (and "I shoot the nurse!") the group got settled into the idea of investigation and spent a lot of useful library time.  We got much further into the scenario than I expected - I'd thought that it might take three sessions (if they wanted to go on past the first), but they're more than half-way through and are planning the next.

In prep for the next session I've statted up a NPC who they had dealings with as a spare in case of character death (I may also do a second, just in case).

It was also the first time I'd been Keeper in a Call of Cthuhlu game, something I'd been looking formward to.  I must have been doing something right - the mother of one of the players claimed that she had nightmares!

Blackmoor (OSE)
  • 26 Aug
The first session of this Blackmoor-based old-school game saw us mapping on behalf of the the Tunnel Fighters Guild of Booh.  I got to play a cleric of my favourite petty god - King 'Shroom.  Dozens of giant rats and goblins were encountered.

Dark Sun/Dying Star

  • 28 Aug - The One With the Tortured Templar and the Vegan Undead

This was our last session in this setting for a while as Dave focusses on the Blackmore/OSE.  I've missed the last few (three?) sessions, so had a bit of catching up to do.  We continued on our mission(s) in the Ziggurat of Tyr.  Torturing a Templar, defeating the Undead Guardians (50 of 'em!) and a couple of giant psychic centipedes.  Much fun was had!
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