AvocaD&D and Tabletop Gaming: Lost Jewels of Eire, Part I

Welcome back to the weekly D&D and Tabletop Gaming thread!  Here’s a place where we can talk about Dungeons & Dragons or any other tabletop games that you nerds might be into.  Tell us about the games you’re playing, speculate about future expansions, recruit your fellow Avocados into new groups, whatever you want.

As you can see in the recap below, we tried a new game this week that uses the Open D6 game system. Rather than using multiple different polyhedral dice, this system uses only standard 6-sided dice. Whenever a character makes a roll to use their attributes or skills, they roll a set number of dice (listed on their character sheet, sometimes including a bonus) and add the total to bet a result, which is then compared against a value determined by the GM to tell whether the attempt succeeds or fails. For instance, a very strong character might have a Physique roll of 3D+2.

As an added wrinkle anytime you make a roll, one of the dice in your pool is designated as a Wile Die. It’s suggested that you use a different color die to reflect this, though since we played over Roll20, there was a built in script to determine the Wild Die roll virtually. If the Wild Die lands on a 2 through 5, it’s added to the result as normal. If it lands on a 6, you’ve scored a Critical Success–add the 6 to your result and roll the Wild Die again, adding the second result as well. If your re-roll is also a 6, it gets added and you can roll the Wild Die again–keep going until the Wild Die lands on something other than 6! On the other hand, if your first Wild Die lands on a 1, it’s a Critical Fail. The consequences of a Critical Fail are left up to the GM.

We used pre-generated characters for our game, but we were each allowed 7 points which we could spend to increase our dice pools for specific skills. So, for instance Johnny as a Piloting score of 5D+1, which is based on his Coordination attribute of 3D+1 plus the two points I chose to add to that skill.

It was a pretty simple dice mechanic to learn, which let us get into the actual game very quickly. What other dice systems have you played with, and what are your favorites? Or have you ever played a game that uses a different randomization mechanic altogether? I know there are games that use standard playing cards in place of dice, or their own proprietary sets of cards. Tell us about your experience!

Players and Characters

Wafflicious is out of town for a bit, so Otto took over to run a D6 Cliffhangers game called “The Lost Jewels of Eire.” Our players include:

  • CleverGuy as Johnny Talon, the Daredevil Pilot
  • TheHayesCode as Aleksandra Pavlovic, the Tour Guide
  • Spiny Creature as Willy van der Woodson, the Independently Wealthy Adventurer
  • The Wasp as Solange “Patience” Pacquet, the French Intelligence Agent
Cold Open

Yugoslaiva, 1937. In the catacombs beneath Predjama Castle. Using a map purchased from a Yugloslav crime boss called Amadej Anze, our heroes have recovered the legendary Sword of Erazem, a weapon that once belonged to a famous Yugoslavian folk hero. Unfortunately, Anze and his men are hot on their tails, Anze having discovered that what he thought was a useless manuscript actually contained a map to a valuable treasure.

Aleksandra Pavlovic

Their pursuers momentarily stymied by a locked portico door, our heroes continue running through the dark catacombs until coming to a large cavernous chamber with the heraldry of Erazem carved into the floor. A heavy iron portcullis bars the way, but there are two other passages leading left and right. Aleksandra reads the Latin inscription above the portcullis and says it’s called the Pauper’s Portcullis, a servant’s entrance to the castle and the best bet for a way out. The portcullis is locked, but map indicates that it can be opened with the “Key of Erazem.” With the sounds of thugs banging on the locked door behind them, our heroes choose a direction and run down a dark passage, with only Aleksandra’s flashlight to see by.

Willy van der Woodson

They come to another cavern, but by the light of the flashlight, they see a dark chasm in the middle of the floor. Suspended over the chasm is an iron cage, with a dried skeleton tapped inside. Willy notices another Latin inscription on the far wall, and Aleksandra again translates:

“Here is the tomb of the traitor Stefan Drezniek, condemned here for calling upon the devil to send messages to the heathens and betray our good knight Erazem. Let the key
around his neck remind him that he is denied entrance to Heaven.”

Johnny Talon

Reasoning the key mentioned in the carving will open the portcullis, the group begins looking around for a way to reach the cage over the chasm. When nothing in the chamber presents itself, they rush back and try the other passage, dodging bullets from the thugs chasing them, who are just taking potshots through the portico door. This passage leads to an old medieval armory, with a few suits of armor on stands and a cache of ancient weapons, including some short spears and a sword inscribed with the name “Drezniek.” Working quickly, Johnny Talon uses Willy’s necktie and a leather strap cut from someone’s bag to lash a couple of spears together, hoping that they’ll be long enough to reach the key inside Drezniek’s cage.

Solange “Patience” Pacquet

With Anze and his thugs nearly through the door, Solange takes the spears and tries to reach the key, but the makeshift lashes come loose and the spear falls into the chasm. Improvising, Johnny runs and leaps over the chasm, just barely grabbing onto the outside of the cage to avoid falling. The bars are too narrow to get his hand through, and there is no key for the heavy medieval padlock on the cage door. With no time to lose, Johnny pulls out his revolver and shoots the lock off, opens the door and grabs the key. Then, as a sulfurous breeze kicks up, Johnny swings the cage back and forth, using its momentum to launch himself back over the gap. Thankfully, Willy and Solange are there to catch him, as he nearly falls to his a death a second time!

As Aleksandra starts to open the portcullis, Johnny and the others can hear a clanking sound coming from the armory. A very quick investigation shows nothing amiss, and there’s no time to waste. Our heroes run through the portcullis just as the thugs finally break through the door. The tunnel leads to another chamber where a rickety bridge leads over another large chasm with 9 more rusty iron cages hanging over the chasm. Each cage has a different crime written on it Latin: Treason, Theft, Murder Blasphemy, Cowardice, Hedonism, Betrayal, Witchcraft, and finally “The False King.” A large gem glitters in the chest of the “False King” skeleton, but it is too far out of reach to grab, especially with the sounds of pursuit–and battle? There’s a scream from one of Anze’s thugs, and Willy leads the group across the bridge. The chasm acts as a natural chimney, with gusts of wind blowing up and down at intervals that make the crossing even more dangerous. Johnny tries to break a few of the rotting boards in the bridge as he goes over, to slow down their pursuers, is almost blown over the edge. Everyone makes it across, and we find a ladder leading up out of the catacombs. Johnny is grazed by a bullet, proving that Anze is not far behind.

As our heroes emerge into the forest surrounding Predjama Castle, only to find themselves surrounded by more of Anze’s men. The thugs have a hostage–the elderly professor who had originally led Willy to the map. Willy convinces the thugs that Anze fell to his death in the chasm below, and then trades them Drezniek’s sword for the life of the professor. And our heroes escape with the real Sword of Erazem just as Anze finally makes it to the top of ladder.

Our heroes travel from Yugoslavia to Vienna, Austria. Upon arrival, they are invited to meet with the Archduke and his wife at a gala event at the royal music hall, as the princess wants to hear about the adventure below Predjama Castle. She has a long-standing rivalry with Anze herself.

During the party, which is attended by many notable people of the time, our heroes are invited to a private dining room with the Archduke and the Princess. The audience is interrupted by the explosion of a grenade in the main hall, and suddenly a man bursts into the room holding a gun in one hand and a cobra in the other. The man immediately shoots the two guards by the door and yells, “Now you will respect Kurazos!” He then turns his gun towards the princess and demands the necklace she is wearing. Aleksandra and Solange are closest to him, and they manage to at least pull his gun down so it is no longer aimed at the princess. Johnny, whose own gun was taken at the door, jumps into action and tries to tackle the man, but he dodges out of the way and drops the snake. Now there is an angry and confused cobra loose in the room, whose owner appears to be just as afraid of it as anyone else. Johnny wrests the gun away from the attacker and shoots at the snake. The man grabs the princess’s necklace, breaking the clasp, and attempts to escape though the window, but our heroes manage to delay him long enough for the authorities to arrive.

With the attacker in custody, Aleksandra tells everyone that Kurazos was an ancient Romanian cult. Why they wanted the Princess’s necklace is a mystery though. The Princess tells us that it once belonged to her great-grandmother, but it was lost or stolen. Her father had recovered it and gave it to her for her 16th birthday. The necklace had a large ruby, which Willy estimates is worth at least $100,000. Willy also notices that the jewel was knocked loose from its setting during the scuffle, and there is an inscription on the back of the jewel: “Gormghiolla Daigh.”