Saturday, 31 March 2012

Rot Tower - One page dungeon play test

Pete and Shane agreed to play test my one page dungeon entry. I decided to run it using Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay (wfrp) as this is the system we were all familiar with. Peter was an ex goat herder turned outlaw called Egon and Shane took on the mantle of a judicial champion called Kurt. Together they set out to stop the raiders that harassed the coast. These raiders seemed to lair in or about a great rock in the bay. This was a key location to a longer Call of Cthulhu style city adventure I had written. I’d decided to separate the location from the adventure and turn it into my one page dungeon entry. This session would allow me to see the parts that were too tied up into my bigger adventure and that needed reworking.
A leper, probably the priest they got to hold the torch.
Having long played D&D and seeing the value in hirelings (or perhaps being all too familiar with the wfrp critical hit system) they sought to inspire the general populace to join them in a raid against the rock. They ended up with a fisherman called Tobias and his son who agreed to accompany them on the proviso that they are paid in gold. Most wouldn’t accompany the hero’s to the rock as the rock housed a leper colony. No one wants to catch leprosy.

Upon being rowed to the rock they group rang a bell and entered a creaking lift, the base of which was covered in bells discarded by the lepers as they began their new life on the rock. I think Shane’s character decided to scale the rock forgoing the use of the lift because he had scale sheer surfaces on his character sheet and he was darn well going to use it. At the top of the rock was a leper colony, a shantytown built into the ruined foundation of a temple. The colony lived in the shadow of a mighty colossus that had long since fallen. The scattered sections reminded Egon of Manan the god of the sea. Egon declared he had solved the mystery, Manan was angry because his statue was broken and his temple in a state of disrepair. Case closed, they could leave now and wouldn’t have to deal with the lepers.

The lepers watched form their hovels as the group approached. Egon encouraged them to stay their distance with both threats and the waving of his sword. Soon a healthy looking man called Tom, who served as leper’s guardian, greeted them. Having played plenty of warhammer there was meta game grumbling along the lines of Tom being in league with Nurgle. In the end he pointed them in the direction of the lepers priest but warned them he couldn’t be trusted.

The priest told them of tunnels within the rock from which the raiders plied their trade. I played him up as reasonably slimy but the players took an instant dislike to him as soon as they learnt he was over-weight, leprous and a priest. Still their desire for expendable meat shields saw them encourage the priest into signing on as a torchbearer. There was a back-story involving a Saint and fighting a demon, which the players played up on, encouraging the slimy priest into re-enacting the quest of the saint himself.

From here the party traversed the leper priests catacombs making sure to leave the remains alone. Eventually they reached the location of the Bretonian rebels who had been raiding the coast. Egon took the ‘burn everything with pints of burning oil’ approach while Kurt mixed it up in melee. As I was winging it I took the thug stats out of the main book, conveniently they had street fighting which meant that at one point Egon was struck a mighty blow with an oar. Sadly it wasn’t a critical but it was close. The rebels were slain, their boats given to the fishermen as a reward and the party left victorious. They ended up pressuring the leper priest into jumping from the top of the rock. The leper priest had been trying to usurp Tom's position as leader of the leper community and had tried to use the hero’s to further his cause. It backfired, the party tried to goad him into a duel with the current leper leader which seemed apt given the judicial champion in the group. Knowing he couldn’t’ win such a fight the leper priest jumped.

In the games post mortem I figured the rebels were rubbish and a portion of the adventure was overlooked. I’d placed a collapsed bridge that would lead to the Saints tomb and the awakened eldritch terror that was responsible for wrecking the ships. The party skipped the bridge and so a fair chunk of adventure. I’ve re-written the rebels, they are now lepers with a grudge, wreckers who follow in the wake of the eldritch terror. The bridge is broken down earlier so as to become an inescapable obstacle. This makes the Saint tunnel a viable option to explore. Things in the adventure that didn’t come up were dropped making space for new ideas. Play testing these things is well worth the effort. The one page dungeon entry is written but needs illustrating. I might be able to knock a few pictures out next weekend.
Late edit - THE MAW - the end boss of 'Rot Tower' has stats and an expanded write up on this blog post here: link to THE MAW


  1. Hey there, just stopped by after seeing your submission to one-page dungeon. I loved it! Reading through, it's probably my favourite on the list so far - really evocative setting, great story, really nicely laid out. The place is stuck in my head: I know what I'm running for my next one-shot now!

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  3. Thanks for your comment, It's great that the module struck a chord with you. I had fun writing it but struggled with the drawing as I have got real rusty over the years.

    If your interested I entered Vermin Hollow last year in the competition. It's shorter and probably not as good as Rot Tower but it picked up the prize for best cultists which made my day. Vermin Hollow is listed amongst the 2011 winners here:


    1. Really nice - very creepy. I'd love to see more of these!