Tuesday, April 12, 2022

A Return to the Abbey of St. Martin

So we were at the brewery a couple of weeks ago, and as is often our habit, the wife and I were doing our creative things. She was doodling in her sketchbook, and I was scribbling up some map content. In the back of my notebook I found a filled character sheet and a short adventure. So I handed her the sheet and asked, "green or purple?" (dice). And off we ran.

Jax is a human barbarian that the wife rolled up via the OSE Advanced Fantasy Characters supplement. She's all about long walks on the beach, looking for helpful herbs, and being somewhat sketched out by magic.

And as she was on her own in this adventure, I gave her the option of a buddy.

"Do you want a hireling or a war dog?"

"War dog." (I should know this already.)

Meatshields provided "Goober" from Central Casting. Above average hit points, and a "rescue" dog. Although we weren't sure if he had been rescued, or performed rescues. More on that later. As I've done before, many of Goober's responses to commands or situations were determined, in part by a 2d6 reaction roll.

Spoilers, of course

Jax entered the old abbey, stepping carefully over the detritus of the entryway. She avoided the doorway to the left, continuing in and inspecting the floor mosaics. Jax felt that the pulpit area seemed a bit sketchy, so only gave it a cursory inspection (avoiding deadfall). The open door to the southwest was intriguing, and Goober was sent ahead to scout. Goober paused at the door and sniffed (2d6 reaction roll, neutral). Listening and peering in, Jax saw a large black furry lump. Recognizing it as a bear, she left it to its slumber, backing away slowly.

Up the stairs the two crept, to be taken aback by the floating horror in the hall above. Jax was shaken by the apparition, her barbarian heart perhaps not accustomed to such shocks (combat penalty). Goober was made of stouter stuff (made saving throw) and charged ahead. The skeleton fortunately missed, and Jax, still a bit shaky, whiffed. The battle went back and forth for a few rounds, with the skeleton making little headway, while Goober progressively gnawed it to bits. Apparently this was the kind of rescues that Goober performed. 

Catching their breaths, the pair investigated the statue at the end of the hall, finding the hidden compartment. Jax took the coin and pretty vial of liquid, but left the scrolls. Because words.

They also found some loose change and a magnifying lens in the old monks' quarters. A good bonus. The floor of the larder looked suspect, so they also played cautious (avoiding collapsing floor). Not much else was found but some bird nests. 

Finally, the pair tried the double doors. Goober sniffed (2d6 reaction roll, neutral) but didn't seem to detect anything. Opening the door, they were confronted by a reading ghost (who sounded like a bad Sean Connery impression). But he seemed a harmless chap, if a bit addled. Much less of a threat than the prior undead. Jax accommodated him by reaching a book off a shelf and asked a few questions. The ghostly abbot seemed to appreciate that the commotion outside the door had ended ("Probably those young monks acting up"). Jax took her leave, with the abbot inviting her to return to hear the stories of Saint Martin. 

Bad bar mapping

Post-game, we went over the scenario. With a solo player, and the abbey being essentially a glorified "five-room dungeon" we completed the adventure in less than an hour. Jax had avoided one critter threat on the first floor and, of course, was savvy enough to recognize that poking the bear wouldn't do anyone any good. She thought the upper floor was a bit sparsely populated, even with the piece of nastiness of the scary floating screaming skeleton bits (Because of the dog, I ran this as straight combat, no modifying mechanics such as Solo Heroes). Based on this, I added more critters to another empty room. Father Maynard was overall appreciated. Bad "Highlander"-vintage Sean Connery impressions are not required, but may be helpful.

So with the brief playtest, and comments in mind, I lightly modified some of the encounters, and added a new one just to keep characters alert. Treasure here is a bit light for a B/X-style xp-for-gold game, so I threw in a few more bits. But the real treasure here is the friends we made along the way. Or at least the potential resource of the sagely ghost-abbot. 

So, for those of you who are still reading, here is the revised Abbey of St. Martin.

FYI, I feel this could also be a good lightweight intro adventure for first-timers, or those new to the old-school. It has a little exploration, some combat, a couple of trap-hazards, and a RP opportunity. So a good little mixed package. I'd be happy to hear experiences.


  1. I love having small encounters like this in my back pocket.
    Added to the Blog Database.