NIGHTWICK ABBEY: The Purple Eater of People, Session 18

After weeks of study, Mayfly returns to these hell-haunted halls...

Previously on Nightwick...

Cherwe (Cleric 1)
Sotar (Cleric 2)
Corfu (Dwarf 1)
Mayfly (Magic-User 2)
Ianthi (Changling 1)
Jek (Fighter 1)

Hirelings: Tieze, Cunrat, Bartel, Mach, Assmus, Pawel, Grolmus, Manhardus


Mayfly walked into the bar sporting two new silver daggers with deerman antler handles. 
(PC NOTE: Adornment X SP = 1/2 XP up to 200 SP/week; but just 50 XP shy of Mayfly leveling so have to delve at MU 2)
The group decides that they want to explore the West Tower again given the previous success in engaging deermen. Plus, most of the party wanted to take a second crack at the screaming heads.


WEST TOWER: The party drops down into the Abbey and heads south without incident stopping in the very familiar DINING ROOM. So far, so good...

DINING ROOM: The room contains four doors. The north door is how the party arrived into the room. South door leads to parts unknown. East door, the party feels, will just lead toward the EAST TOWER which is not where they want to go. West door seems to lead closer to The Butcher given the THWACK! THWACK! that can be heard on the other side. The party chooses to head through the south door.

FOUR COLUMN ROOM: Through the south door leads to a smallish room with stairs to the south, a statue to the east, and more stairs to the west. The south stairs just lead to another scabbed-over wall such in the way of Nickwick Abbey. The party turns west up the short flight of stairs and finds themselves in a long hallway echoing with the THWACK! THWACK! THWACK! of the Butcher.

LARDER, RUINED SHELVES, & ROTTEN FIREWOOD: Traveling north up the long hallway, the party sticks to the exploration of three west-facing doors that open into mostly empty rooms of supplies for the Butcher. traveling north the THACK! lessens.

DOUBLE DRAGONS: The players reach the top of the hallway and are confronted by two stone dragon mouths sticking out of a wall- east and west. Ahead, north is a door. Glurp confidently steps forward...a "click" is heard...and jets of flame erupt from the dragons' mouths! Glurp's frog reflexes cause him to leap backward, but alas he falls unconscious with a hideously burned arm (PC NOTE: 11 weeks Gurp will be resting and sometimes a statue of a dragon's head is just that and sometimes it does breath fire.)

A little messier this time

F*%&^KING DEERMEN: The party did not want to leave empty-handed so they returned to the DINING ROOM to try one last recon effort up a small stairwell to the northwest of the ALTER ROOM. Up the stairs and turning west they encountered a filthy room with ochre plasma on the floor and the littering of deermen. Continuing west they are greeted by deerman arrows! Manhardus kills one but is slain in the following volley. The party's counterattack is effective with Cunrat, Lanthe, and Sotar each putting one in the grave. In a surprise, the deermen seemingly had collected 300 SP worth of silver baubles.

With Glurp groaning in pain and a good bit of silver gained, the party decides to head back. Mayfly casting floating disk to carry Glurp.

But the Abbey would not release the group just yet. Another herd of deermen met the party just right before the entrance. Mayfly cast light to blind the lead monster, but the magic seemed to slide off of it. Ianthi followed up with sleep, dropping 5 of the 8 deermen which sent the rest running! (PC NOTE: Seriously, morale checks are a key component to, especially, low-level play)


PC NOTE: Not a lot of silver but enough to get Mayfly to level 3! And what new spell did Mayfly learn from his new mentor Halfdan? I was given a choice between detect invisible or ESP. Since the deermen have been a constant source of problems for the party, I chose Mayfly to ESP.  Might be useful to have a passive radar potentially.

NIGHTWICK ABBEY: The Purple Eater of People, Session 17


Another session Mayfly has to miss out on...

Previously in Nightwick...

Mayfly joins his compansion at the best and only bar in Nightwick village to raise a glass to their safe return and hear about their adventure. Complicated studies with the wizard Halfdan has kept Mayfly from returning to those hellish crypts. Here is the account of their 5th of Youngers delve :

The Party

Glurp (Frogling)

Corfu (Dwarf)

Ulf (Magic-User)

Ianthe (Changeling)

Jek (Fighter)

Hirelings: Cunrat, Pawel, Mach, Heyno, Ticze, Bartel, Assmus

Into Nightwick Abbey…

The Ratmen: The party decides to return, through the western tower, to the room with the four great columns where they fought the deermen a few weeks back. The room is still empty and the party explores to the south, Ianthe poking her head in. There’s an alcove where the walls have fleshy tumors coming out of them. Glurp and Cunrat approach the walls and 8 knee-high ratmen with the faces of old men burst out of the tumors. The two groups are unsure of how to regard the others and Corfu, hesitant to harm any spawn of the stone, tosses them a ration in a diplomatic effort. Unfortunately, this only angers them, prompting them to attack. Fortunately (for them), the ratmen were each “birthed” holding stone daggers. After a full round of misses, Ulf casts light on one of the creatures, blinding it. Cunrat is stabbed in the calf and then he, Corfu, and Bartle all fell a old-man ratman with a single hit each.

At this, their morale is broken, but with nowhere to run they cower in a corner. Corfu interrogates one, “What have you done to the stone?” The ratmen don’t (can’t?) say anything, merely making hand gestures almost resembling devout prayers, and the group decides to put an end to the rest of them. Ulf notices that not blood, but a cloudy liquid is pouring out of them and he collects a sample. At this point, Jak and Assmus show up, having been left behind at the tavern when they went to relieve themselves. [Jak’s player had to show up late to the session]. Ulf studies the creatures further while Jak is being caught up to speed, and identifies them as Mites, also known as Dregs - beings that are spontaneously generated in ruins of a certain age.

The Mounted Heads: The party then goes north, past the room where they fought the deermen and go down a new corridor. They stop at the entrance to a room, across from them is a doorway filled with a fleshy, purple substance, like they’ve encountered elsewhere in the abbey. On either side of the door are a total of 16 women’s heads, mounted on the wall. Glurp and Cunrat step inside the room carefully and the heads start screaming immediately, the sound reverberating through the abbey. Glurp chops one of the heads off, revealing that it was connected to some sort of bloody stump running through the stone wall, and it stops screaming. They step back out of the room and the mounted heads immediately stop screaming. The party quickly realizes that these heads will likely alert someone or something to their presence, so they leave the area, thinking of ways to come back later and bypass the security system. They go back south and then east, into a familiar room with large columns, depicting stairways up to heaven with alcoves holding icons of the saints. Some of the party had previously been in this room, but had come in from the East Tower - they had now mapped out a path underground between the two towers. They go north into the mirrored room, some of the party members cautiously, remembering what had happened last time they were here, but no mirror-version of any party members materializes and they pass through peacefully. Corfu, through his dwarven heritage, recognizes the room as a representation of the Inverse of the God of Law and connects that Mayfly had the copy of himself made last time because he had committed a mortal sin previously.

Onto the Room of Sinners Listening at the door beyond the mirror room, Jek hears sounds which, as a woodsman by trade, he recognizes as a wounded deer. The party makes a plan, and, as soon as Jek opens the door (revealing numerous deermen in the room beyond - just as suspected), Ulf and Ianthe throw flaming oil at the first ones they see. Ianthe then casts sleep over 6 more deermen, causing the rest to flee to the east - the sound of their hooves clopping fading away until it is suddenly cut off.

The layout of this room mirrors the room to the south depicting the God of Law, only this room - its floor is painted to depict a dragon’s mouth, the giant pillars in the room show sinners descending into its open maw. The ceiling depicts the night sky, with a faint twinkle seen in the torchlight. The party realizes that it’s the twinkle of gems embedded in the ceiling and they carefully, hoping that the deermen don’t return, extract a total of 20 gems - not a bad haul considering the previous week they had found almost no treasure. They then decide to return to town through the East Tower to see if that did anything (it didn’t) and celebrated the haul over drinks at the tavern.

Before Mayfly can inquire any more, he spots again a black bear and darts off... 



A classic example of interesting treasure

Quick note: I'm not even sure I am happy with the below solution, but at least I get my thoughts out there.

SO WHAT IS TREASURE GOOD FOR IN D&D? The explicit metapurpose is to gain XP to level up. But treasure also serves purposes of worldbuilding, plot movement, antagonism (e.g. cursed weapons), and provides broad tools to help the PCs plunge deeper into the dungeon. Helpful when characters are randomly determined.

I think that "good" treasure placement in a dungeon is achieved when all tthe above points are satisfied when looking at the whole level. By ensuring that the treasure placed in the dungeon serves multiple play and character functions, I think we maintain momentum within the classic playstyle on a per session basis.

Why is this "momentum" important? Because unlike the 1970's of D&D's development, we now live in a world with more time constraints and increased entertainment competition. D&D was developed in an environment where Gygax and Arneson were playing weekly games lasting between 8-12 hours as reported in Game Wizards, Playing At The World, and The Secrets of Blackmoor. At best I am able to pull a weekly 2-4 hour session, maybe an additioal twice monthly game.

Also, in the grand scheme of things I as a DM want to bring aspects of higher level play "down" into the lower levels. Interacting the the fantastical should not have to wait until 5th or 6th level. First level play should also astound in the same manner even if you only have 3 hp. And in truth, most players don't have that sort of real-life time.

Intersting treasure serves both purposes it allows for steady character progression while also providing resources for the party to (hopefuly) take educated risk in the setting be it exploration or "social".

So what specifically is a "good" treasure spread? And I am trying to arrive at something similar to the overloaded encounter die or dungeon checklist of treasure. This is to say both a way of ascertaining if a dungeon level has good treasure and a easy procedure by which to generate it.


While I don't think we need to go level by level to illistrate the point, here is what I think is good treasure in a level 1 dungeon:

  • Provide enough GP for a party of 4 fighters to advance to level 2 if all treasure is found
  • 50% of the treasure should serve other purposes (notable art, notorious signet ring)
  • At least 2 spells the MU does not currently have in their spellbook
  • 3 potions that overcome dungeon obstacles
  • Magic damage that is 1-shot or disposable (silver arrows or +1 sling pellets)
So how can I place this treasure easily? Right now the method of dungeon generation is to place the important treasure, monsters, and/or factions first then randomly stock using this classic table:

Roll 1d6 for contents & treasure for each room
1,2 | Monster    (3:6 treasure)
3    | Trap          (2:6 treasure)
4,5 | Empty       (1:6 treasure "hidden")
6    | Special      (no treasure)

If the room contains a monster then you use the treasure type found in its entry, otherwise there is a second treasure table that is for non-monster guarded loot:

For each non-monster guarded treasure
  • 1d6 x 100 SP
  • 1d6 x 10 GP (50%)
  • 1d6 gems (5%)
  • 1d6  pieces of jewlery (2%)
  • Magic item (2%)
This is okay, but I feel it runs the risk of making a dungeon anemic in terms of both treasure and items which can help overcome dungeon obsticles. And I can't stand the monster treasure tables. I almost just think it makes more sense to write some average treasure haul in each entry like HP.


After placing important noteworthy treasure, monsters, and obsticles, I propose the following:

First: I want to ensure that all the treasure on X level can advance the characters to the next level if they find most of it. To calculate this, I just use the XP progression for a fighter. For four fighters moving from level 1 to level 2 that is 8000 GP in total treasure.

Second: by BX standards, treasure comes as coin, gems, jewelry, scrolls, potions, & a wide variety of magic items (which is inversly related to how often randomly rolling will bring them into play). Since I want to test all of this out, I am just going with the bog-standard BX stuff and see if I can put a few intresting twists on them. Here is also a fantastic way to spice treasures up using spark tables!

Third: I want to give each of those catagories a context by pariring them with room contents. So, only certain treasure will be found in the context of certain rooms instead of it being anything.

For instance, I think a trap in a lst level dungeon is going to be guarding jewlery or magic because no one would trap something they are going to access frquently like loose coin-- you use guards instead. Also traps allow the thing to be visable because it could serve a symbolic purpose, but protected. So, the jewlery could be a crown or septor with some significance in the region. If magic, maybe this is a one-use javlin of lightinging forged to kill a demon but only in a "In Case of Emergency, Break Glass" way. Or maybe it is a small stash of healing potions that only clerics can touch.

Fourth: I want the specific treasure to be as easy to generate as the the Room Contents x Treasure table above. I really hate  rolling a monster then 6 different percentages of its treasure type then rolling on a sub table. If its a lair, fine, but rarely is that the case. And really if it is a lair, its contents should be more intentionally placed. And I want the treasure table to change between level 1-4 "hero" & 5-8 "super hero".

Here is my combination table:

LEVEL 1-4 ROOM STOCKING: Roll 1d6 for contents, treasure, & treasure type for each room
1,2 | Monster    (3:6 treasure)                   Coin (1-3) || Gem/Jewelry (4-6) 
3    | Trap          (2:6 treasure)                   Gem/Jewelry (1-4) || Magic Item (5-6)
4,5 | Empty       (1:6 treasure "hidden")   Gem/Jewelry (1-2) || Scroll (3-4) || Potion (5-6)
6    | Special      (no treasure)                    The room itself is a treasure in some fashion (e.g. alter)

Once again I find myself writing a lot of words for what is essentially a small table. I dunno if this had solved my "problem" but at least I feel like I've aired my thoughts.

NIGHTWICK ABBEY: The Purple Eater of People, Session 16


Previously in Nightwick... 

And if you want to catch up on *all* the previous fun? 
"Weeknights in Nightwick" archive here.

At the Medusa's Head...

The dwarf Corfu recounts the last delve to Mayfly:

We headed back to the west tower in search of the cleaner. The corpses in the west room of the west tower seemed to have been ... slurped up by something. 

We heard water running through pipes to the south and found an empty room with 2 baptismal fountains with imagery of the first person to be baptized in the name of Law(?). 

The room to the south had almost a dozen black-robed skeletons sitting in pews with one standing at a podium. We killed them, but not before one ran south with Gerard's knocked out body. By the time we caught up to him, he was already butchered on the table in the room you had previously cast a Fireball scroll into. ;_;7

Before Mayfly could ask more he catches sight of an ambling black bear outside the inn and dashes off...