Thirsty Pastimes: UKGE Dungeon Crawl

I’m running an RPG session at the UK Games Expo! Well technically I’ve already done it, I just don’t know how it went yet. If this is confusing it’s because I’m actually on holiday right now (getting married!) but I’ve set this up to auto-post to the blog. Hence I’m going to be writing this in future-tense when from your point of view it will describe something that’s already happened, and… oh wait I’ve gone cross-eyed.

Anyway, this is a description of the single-session adventure I created. I’ll post each level of the dungeon over the next few weeks.

A Random Game for Random People

At the UK Games Expo (UKGE) they invite GMs of all types to run RPGs that players can sign up for. These are 4-hour slots, and you’re free to run whatever system and adventure you choose, which then gets posted to website for anybody to sign up to.

My plan was to run a stupid-fun, late-night session using the ‘Effing D&D’ rules I’ve posted before. Fitting an adventure into a 4-hour window, especially if it involved a new (well, newish) rule system, can be pretty hard. So I decided to do a nice, simple dungeon crawl, that made the most of the rule set’s ridiculousness and lack of balance. Allow me to introduce: The Thirsty Pastimes!

May The Odds Be Never In Your Favour

Once every year in the land of Wangash, brave and foolish adventurers enter The Thirsty Pastimes. A deadly series of magically-linked dungeons and mazes, the games offer amazing wealth and power to any who can survive to the end. The games are a national spectacle, and supporters may send the adventures ‘gifts’ to help (or hinder) their progress. Plus, there’s always a few prisoners who can be dumped there and forced to fight for their freedom.

You’ve got to love anything that can knock out a level 20 character in one turn.

This background gives me enough leeway to kill characters off all over the place – we can just dump new ones into the adventure. It also lets me create a whole series of weird and random dungeons and encounters. None of it needs to make sense, it’s all there for entertainment and spectacle. I’ve also made an enormous table of random (semi-useless) magic items that can be ‘gifted’ to the players.

The dungeons themselves are going to be full of traps (several of which will be brutally unfair and cause instant horrifying death), a mix of creatures great and small (I can finally try out an intellect devourer!), and environmental hazards like flooding, falling, etc. But I don’t want it to just be a slog of a dungeon crawl, there will also be a few things to talk to, complete quests for, and THEN murder.

Rules and That

As I said, I’m going to be using the minimalist rules I posted a while ago. Players will go to and create the character they are given (unless they buy me a drink, then I might let try something different).

As the rules are so minimalist, I’m going to rely on stereotypes to determine how well they can do things. For example a barbarian is probably quite good at intimidating people and breaking things, but will have difficulty counting past 3. There’s also nowhere in the rules to track adventuring gear (rope, lanterns, etc), languages known, or anything else like that. However I’m going to have ‘Plot Points’ where you can spend one to declare some fact about your character (or the world). For example: “oh yeah, I can speak goblin, I was once captured by them, but over time managed to learn the language and seduce the goblin king’s daughter who helped me escape”. Also the ‘Plot Points’ are jellybeans that might taste like vomit.

Beyond that, it’s going to be really simple. Describe what you’re doing, roll some dice, fail.

Update Schedule

For the next few weeks, I’ll release everything I used for the adventure, in 6 installments:

  1. Introduction (you’re reading this now)
  2. Magic Items
  3. Level 1 – It’s Always Sunny in the Underdark
  4. Level 2 – Green High Forest Zone
  5. Level 3 – Super Modron Galaxy
  6. Post-Mortem (where I go back to writing in past-tense and we see how well this whole thing actually went)

See you in a few weeks!
















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