Taking 100 Men in a Dungeon - Act 2

Back in August/September, I came up with the crazy idea of doing a solo dungeon delve with a company of 100 men. Sir Reynald, the younger brother to Duke Reynald, had decided in religious fervor to clean up the old Monastery of St. Eggyx.

During the first delve, things did not go as planned for the young Sir Reynald. A mud demon of some sort bedeviled him and his men. Unable to kill it after several encounters, he retreated from the dungeon in frustration.

From a meta-viewpoint, the game was a lot of fun, but it was quickly obvious why taking a large group of men belowground just didn't work so well. My Book of War adaptations worked well, and I decided to run a second attempt. I had promised a follow-up post, but completely forgot about it. Going through my notes in preparation for Sunday's game, I found my detailed notes on what had happened.

Here's a quick summary:
  • Having done some research, Sir Reynald learned that the mud demon was a lemure and required the assistance of a bless or holy weapons. So, he appealed to the Church of the Light temple and was granted a cleric to assist him.
  • Sir Reynald then splits his forces up. He takes 40 men with him, leaves 30 men in the front room and 20 men outside. (He had lost ten men in the prior delve and hadn't replaced losses yet.)
  • After some exploration, a large group of Red Goblins approaches! Sir Reynald sends out a stand of light foot to defeat them, but the goblins prove to be fell foes and the light foots are defeated. Another ten-men stand of light foot steps forward and defeats the goblins, however, they decide that after watching their comrades die, they want to back out. Sir Reynald does what any mercenary company commander would do, he offers more money. The men agree to stay. Sir Reynald returns to the front room of the dungeon and collects another stand of men.
  • After exploring a bit more, they run into the lemure. The cleric blesses Sir Reynald and his guards, and the lemure is quickly defeated! The men cheer and after a rest, they move on to explore.
  • After witnessing an illusion of a magical wall of power, the group encounters a strange, misshapened goblin with spikes across its body. Sir Reynald challenges the oversized goblyn, who promptly grapples him and pounds him blood with its spiked arms! Sir Reynald is freed by his bodyguards and they dispatch the strange creature.
  • After witnessing too many strange things, the men start to get restless and refuse to go further. Sir Reynald heads back to the front room to settle them down and collect yet more men to help bolster the group's courage.
  • Sir Reynald returned to the room with a large chasm leading down into an unknown chamber. Four ropes float in midair from the floor down into the dark of the chamber. Sir Reynald leaves twenty men to guard the ropes and rotate the watch with the men from the front room.
  • Red slime drips from the walls at various points during the exploration, consuming the flesh and lives of the men it covers.
  • A stand of Red Goblins attacks the men stationed in the front room. A stand of light foot falls, but the humans prevail in the end.
  • In the meantime, Sir Reynald reaches a strange room. It is a dark room, with blood spattered walls and floor. A giant iron door, festooned with spikes and a strange locking mechanism in the center. Of more immediate concern is a strange, headless corpse that rises from the ground and shambles towards the explorers!

    Swords flash and the thing falls... only to stand up again and move towards the men, arms outstretched! Completely unnerved, even the brave Sir Reynald flees in panic and the men follow behind. The thing does not leave the chamber, it goes and stands in front of the door... as if waiting...
  • Sir Reynald posts guards to rotate between a large hallway leading to the strange chamber, in the room with the chasm and floating ropes, and the front room. Before he has a chance to return to the town of Enonia to research this strange undead creature, the lord of the area, Marshall Roehm summons Sir Reynald and his mercenary cavalry. An attack on an Orc fort is planned and Roehm needs Reynald's cavalry.
Sir Reynald leaves his remaining fifty capable footmen to guard the first level of the monastery. What could go wrong?

From a meta level, this session was very satisfying, being able to combine the mass combat rules of Book of War to quickly adjudicate combats between larger groups of foes, and go to 1x1 combat where needed. The random directions that the group would take started to get annoying. It was one aspect of solo delves that I had to cheat a bit on, figuring that the explorers would not go down the same hall for the third time. 

Biggest lessons learned from this experience, beyond coming up with a fairly capable set of houserules to bridge Book of War skirmish level and D&D single man level? A bit of planning up front and the flexibility to let a d6 tell the story goes a long way to making this work.