Ruins of the Undercity – Solo Playthrough

Inspiration Pad Pro generator at the ready, I gave Ruins of the Undercity a run through. Rather than complicate things with lots of different classes and special rules, and threw together an Excel document to track a party of six Adventurers (using the Off-White Cube Adventurer class) and armed them as RotU suggests – very the bare essentials. Average attributes, and specialisms based on some randomly generated backgrounds. As a nod towards survivability I did give them each a specialised save.

The asterisks next to names in the marching order indicate torchbearers. My assumption was that whoever was at the front would be checking for traps.

If you’re not inclined to read the whole playthrough, my thoughts on the system and experience are at the end of the post.

Starting Roster

Mapping

The only element of the dungeon layout I rolled for was the starting area, since I don’t believe IPP has the capacity to add images. Beyond that I kept track of whatever the generator came up with, and the final map is below. The yellow square indicates the dungeon entrance, and the numbers indicate which stage the party were at when they got there. They correspond with the entries below.

Made with Gridmapper

Into the Undercity

  1. Lit by a single torch, the corridor has pretty standard masonry and rubble over the floor. Dank & mouldy, with a four-way intersection, it carries on for 30′.

    The party elected to head straight on. The assumption is that Purnadale is always checking for traps as he goes forward.

  2. Unlit, the corridor has pretty standard masonry and rubble over the floor. Dank & mouldy, continuing straight for a while, it has 10 brigands.

    A group of brigands appeared out of the dark, aimed shortbows at the party and demanded their valuables. Having none, the party pleaded that they be allowed to join the brigands in whatever venture they might be embarking upon. The brigands agreed to take them on as pack carriers and torchbearers

  3. Unlit, the corridor has pretty rough masonry and a dirt floor. Dank & mouldy, with a trap affecting the first rank – a 10′ pit with spikes causing 4 damage (save halves), it carries on for 30′.

    Fortunately Purnadale spots the traps and guides everyone around it. Yenmouth decides to light up a torch so that the rear can see where they’re going.

  4. Unlit, the corridor has pretty rough masonry and uneven flagstones. Beyond a hat on the floor, continuing straight for a while, it leads to a dead end, a pile of rubble reaching up to the ceiling (4 hours of digging for a 25% chance of a new corridor).

    Presuming the hat to belong to someone under a possible cave in, the party choose to head back and try another route. Readcott puts the hat on.

  5. Back at the four-way intersection, the party come across 8 giant centipedes. Both groups warily facing each other, Purnadale and one of the brigands let fly with a sling and bow respectively, downing two centipedes and sending the rest scattering.

    The party opt to head west.

  6. Unlit, the corridor has pretty standard masonry and an uneven flagstone floor. A dried blood patch on the floor, with a side passage leading off to the right at an angle, it leads to a chamber.

    The chamber is a 20’x20′ square with a door on the left wall. It is unlit and damp & mouldy. It has 8 gibberlings (# x 2).

    16 gibberlings are a daunting prospect, and four of the brigands turn tail and flee back down the corridor. The rest of the party aren’t surprised but the gibberlings win turn order and attack. Their initial charge wounds Purnadale and cuts down Readcott. Fortunately his dropped torch doesn’t go out. Purnadale grabs it and bludgeons one to death with it. The more of the party surge forward, the brigands and Blurham hacking down three more to make room for the others. The rest of the battle is short but vicious, Blurham and Purnadale taking grievous injuries and two brigands disappearing under the mass of creatures, but soon the gibberlings all lie dead.

    While the wounded rest and redistribute some of their supplies to allies, two of the brigands go and are able to round up the four that had fled. Orrobury and Grestwic snap up the dead brigands’ leather armour and shields.

    One of the brigands steps forward and introduces himself as Whittering.

    Weapons at the ready, with Purnadale gripping a torch at the front and Orrobury just behind him, the party head through the door.

  7. There is a corridor leading 30′ to the left and right.

    The party choose to go to the right (west).

  8. Unlit, the corridor is made of cracked marble and alabaster. Smelling of rotten vegetation, with a side passage leading off to the left, it leads to a door on the right – it’s wooden, reinforced but unlocked.

    Again gripping weapons tightly, the group try the door and then burst through, ready to take on whatever might lie on the other side.

  9. There is a room.

    The room is a 10’x10′ square with no other exits. It is unlit and smells of putrid refuse. It has 4 giant bats (# x 2).

    In the tight confines, Purnadale and Orrobury chop down one of the 8 giant bats, and a hail of arrows and sling stones downs another, and the startled beasts flap over the adventurers’ heads and back down the corridor.

    The party retraces its steps and heads down the previously noted side passage.

  10. Unlit, the corridor has pretty rough masonry and uneven flagstones. The walls punctuated with 5′ deep alcoves every 10′, with a trap affecting the whole group – mummy rot powder (save or receive mummy rot curse), it leads to a door on the right – it’s wooden, reinforced and locked (hard to force open).

    Fortune was still with the party as Purnadale noticed clouds of something unpleasant in the air, perhaps disturbed by the bats’ panicked flight, and is able to get everyone past without issue.

    The brigands lend their sturdy shoulders to the cause and are able to burst through the reinforced door.

  11. There is a corridor leading straight on.

    Lit by clay lamps in alcoves, the corridor is made of marble and alabaster. A pile of 10′ hemp rope on the floor, with a side passage leading off to a T-junction, it leads to a chamber.

  12. The chamber is a 20’x20′ square with a door on the opposite wall. It is lit by clay lamps in alcoves and filled with 8 kegs which are empty. It is otherwise empty.

    Happy that with a little bit of fiddling their map still made sense, but disheartened at the continued lack of treasure, the party go back to the T-section and opt to head east.

  13. There is a chamber .

    The chamber is a 20’x30′ rectangle with no other exits. It is unlit and damp & mouldy. It has sacks of 500gp.

    Now this is more like it – undefended loot! Alas, the brigands insisted upon carrying it themselves, not trusting the party. Battle has evidently not yet bonded everyone.

    Back out they go and east at the junction.

  14. There is a corridor leading straight on.

    Lit by a single torch, the corridor is made of cracked marble and alabaster. The floor dotted with 2′ deep cesspits ever 10′ or so, turning right at 90 degrees, it leads to a door on the right – it’s wooden, mouldy and rotten but unlocked.

  15. There is a room.

    The room is a 10’x20′ rectangle with no other exits. It is unlit and decorated with frescoes of an ancient civilisation. It is otherwise empty

  16. Back to previous form, but at least there are no possible foes. The party decide to head back to the entrance and try the door at the end of the large room.

  17. There is a corridor leading straight on.

    Lit by clay lamps in alcoves, the corridor has pretty standard masonry and rubble over the floor. Dank & mouldy, with a side passage leading off to a T-junction, it leads to a door on the left – it’s copper, rusted but unlocked.

    Through the rusty door they go.

  18. There is a corridor leading straight on.

    Lit by clay lamps in alcoves, the corridor is made of cracked marble and alabaster. Dank & mouldy, with a side passage leading off to the left, it carries on for 30′.

  19. Unlit, the corridor has pretty rough masonry and uneven flagstones. Dank & mouldy, with a side passage leading off to the right at an angle, it has 1 rust monster (# x 1/2)

    Wary of the little armoured creature before them, or more precisely its capacity for disarming an adventuring group, the party try beating their shields and waving their torches in an attempt to scare the creature away. It doesn’t have any effect, but at least it hasn’t turned the creature hostile.

    Pushing the members of the party forward still armed with clubs, the brigands urge them to get rid of the creature. They lay into it, driving it back until it turns tail and flees.

    Alas, in the excitement, the bandits hadn’t noticed that their sacks of gold were getting gradually lighter. All of a sudden it becomes obvious that someone or something has torn holes and pilfered a whole lot of the treasure. (The shield banging attracted 12 snyads which managed between them to steal 380gp!)

    Cursing their luck, the group head east.

  20. Lit by a row of torches, the corridor has pretty rough masonry and uneven flagstones. Covered in guano, with a side passage leading off to the right, it carries on for 30′.

    Unlit, the corridor is made of cracked marble and alabaster. Ceiling coated in a slimy substance, with a side passage leading off to the left, it carries on for 30′.

    Unlit, the corridor is made of marble and alabaster. Dank & mouldy, with a side passage leading off to the right, it leads to a door on the right – it’s wooden, mouldy and rotten but unlocked.

    A rather long corridor. The party push on through the door, hoping for a big haul soon.

  21. There is a corridor leading straight on.

    Unlit, the corridor has pretty rough masonry and a dirt floor. The floor cracked, continuing straight for a while, it leads to a door on the left – it’s wooden, mouldy and rotten and locked (easy to force open) with spores that cause 4 damage to the front rank if the door is smashed open.

    Two brigands lower their shoulder to the door. Unfortunately Purnadale doesn’t spot the trap and both ruffians collapse choking to the floor as spores overwhelm their lungs. Nothing the group do can save them. Sighing, but not too heavily, Yenmouth and Purnadale relieve the bodies of their armour and shields.

  22. There is a corridor leading 30′ to the left and right.

    The party head right (south).

  23. Unlit, the corridor has pretty rough masonry and a dirt floor. The floor cracked, continuing straight for a while, it carries on for 30′.

    Lit by a single torch, the corridor has pretty standard masonry and rubble over the floor. Dank & mouldy, with a side passage leading off to the right, it leads to a door on the left – it’s brass, strong but unlocked.

    Onwards through the door.

  24. There is a corridor leading straight on.

    Lit by oil lamps hanging from the ceiling, the corridor has pretty rough masonry and uneven flagstones. A salty smell in the air, with a side passage leading off to the left, it leads to a chamber.

    The chamber is a 30’x30′ square with a door on the opposite wall and another door on the opposite wall. It is unlit and smells of putrid refuse. It has a trap affecting the whole group – a burning oil shower causing 5 damage + 1 per round for 2 rounds until extinguished.

    Alas, poor Purnadale, they knew him briefly. The toymaker failed to notice the trap as the party crept into the empty room. He stepped on a pile of rubbish which concealed a trigger and burning oil poured down from the ceiling, killing him and all but one of the brigands, and scalding the survivors. They tumbled out of the room and lay shocked, panting and steaming in the corridor.

Thoughts and Reflections

At this point I thought I’d call it a day and have dinner.

The process of mapping as the party went along nicely mirrored that of a player discovering a GM’s planned dungeon. Descriptions are vague enough to allow for a bit of interpretation to fit pre-existing areas and varied enough to produce a satisfying finished map.

I found myself quickly ignoring the lit status and architectural details as they changed from area to area. The shifts in styles made things less plausible, and I found it easier to filter them out altogether. To avoid quickly diminishing returns they could be altered to appear only occasionally, and their absence will indicate that the corridor and room structures match the last description.

It did feel rather empty though of both treasure and monsters, so I think I’ll play around a little bit with the odds of what appears where. It may also be worth adding some extra encounter details in the form of d4 Caltrops’ OSE encounters to add a bit of spice to new discoveries and some creative prompts for a solo player to get their teeth into.

There’s also scope for making the dungeon more thematic using the prompts to input what manner of dungeon you want to come across – an undead-themed input could work off a different set of random monster and contents tables, though that will involve quite a lot more work up front. I think I’ll play through it a bit more and focus on its core structure for the time being.

One thing I’ll certainly do next time is put more effort into the starting party. My ‘players’ were rather hampered from a poor set of starting equipment – at the very least I ought to have them go shopping before their initial delve.

Ruins of the Undercity isn’t working quite how I want it to just yet, but the base framework is more than sufficient to build upon at this stage.

One thought on “Ruins of the Undercity – Solo Playthrough

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