He’s been reading the Eragon series lately, and although I know nothing about the books I presume they’re about elves and dragons since he now seems focused on these subjects.
Eschewing his previous PCs, the young roleplayer decided to be an elf this time named Bersinger. Since the undead are still an ongoing obsession with the boy, he decided that something involving elves and zombies would be ideal. I have been itching to run Stonehell since it came out, so I decided to replace all monsters with so-called ‘zombies’ (though keeping the game stats the same) and let him explore with an elf PC plus henchmen.
Ability score rolls of 3d6 down the line was enforced, and yet he still ended up with a superhero (two 17s and no score below 11!), thus further inflating his pre-existing munchkin tendencies.
The party started outside the gatehouse in midday. Bersinger ordered his loyal companions (17 CHA) to march through the open gates, following ‘bravely’ behind. Since it was daylight, the goblin/zombies were not active. Safely reaching the box canyon, the elves explored the ruined buildings. Deciding that the statue of St. Ras was ‘obviously evil’, the party pulled it to the ground. I subjected the elves to a -1 penalty to all d20 rolls thereafter, reflecting the deity’s wrath.
Ignoring all other caves, the party proceeded directly towards the entrance to Stonehell itself. Without a moment’s hesitation, the elves descended the spiral staircase into the depths. Upon reaching Hell’s Antechamber, the party headed north. They reached a signpost indicating “Da’ Dragon’s Den” to the west, and continued in search of the rumoured beast. The kobold/zombie work crew in the cave was frightened away by the elves, who then headed south to the Whistling Well.
The group then tied off and descended to the 2nd level of Stonehell, oblivous to D&D conventions of dungeon level and encounter challenge. Once reaching the 2nd level, I rolled a random encounter with a poltergeist. My nephew played the encounter pretty smart, but the foe managed to cut the rope back up to the 1st level, thus stranding the party. Apparently my nephew is a trained wall-climber, because he then calmly explained how the party could use its pitons and hammers to regain access to the upper level. The comments about ‘tying off’ at the top of the well suddenly made more sense.
Annoyed by his rationalizations, I inflicted a series of ‘random’ orc/zombie encounters upon the boy. He fled eastward and holed up in a convenient room. Again bothered with his resourcefulness, I allowed the orc/zombies to bash down the door. My nephew, inspired by Spider-Man cartoons, then proceeded to entrap his foes with his remaining ropes (suffering significant wounds in the process). The living dead bellowed in distress, attracting further orc/zombies. To my dismay, the elf archers were able to safely pick off foes one-by-one by using the trapped monsters as bait.
Later on, there were a few moments of concern when the party triggered a blinding trap and had to wait for its effects to end while enduring random encounter checks. Around this point, fatigue set in and my recollections become vague. My nephew managed to recover some treasure, including a magic staff, but I was half-asleep at this point, and I suggested that it was time to ascend the well back up. I nodded incoherently as he described how his awesome elf jumped ninja-like up the shaft. I agreed that, indeed, his elf was elite and that perhaps it was time for bed.
And then I went to sleep.