Sunday, September 8, 2019


And in today's West Marches game, the players decided (based on my rumors) to go exploring.

They discovered four or five new hexes. They found five magical weapons. They negotiated and avoided combats with various monsters (neanderthals, hellhorses, giant goats, and myconids riding giant ants).

Then, when camping for the fourth night of the expedition, three carrion crawlers attacked.


Luckily, we had enough time left for everyone to roll up a new PC.



  2. carrion crawlers RAW are way too strong for low level people who are not prepared for them.

    On the other hand, I love it when my guy dies so I can make someone new without guilt.

  3. The characters were between 3rd and 5th level, and had 4 henchmen when they started out.

    Unfortunately for them, three henchmen were killed earlier, and one of the players left the game early for personal reasons. If they had been at full strength, or the dice had been a bit kinder, or they had chosen different tactics, they could have avoided the TPK.

  4. I love that somewhere out in the wilderness of your world there is an abandoned campsite with a handful of skeletons, a few bits and pieces and five magical weapons just lying around.

    1. Yeah, I have a feeling the next group of adventurers will "stumble upon" that hill pretty quickly! And I'm fine with that.

  5. Carrion Crawlers are absolutely terrifying. Never engage them at low levels. Always run.

    If you're in the middle of the wilderness, camped out, and carrion crawlers attack, *abandon your camp*. Run for the hills, run for your lives. If you get seperated from the others in your mad dash to safety, find a hollowed out tree to hide in until the light of morning comes and you can reclaim your camp. Whatever you do, don't engage the crawlers.

  6. Mmm. Mmm. Mmm. Did the crawlers get surprise?

    That's an ugly way to die. A ghoul pack is more difficult at low levels (until a cleric gets a solid chance to turn/destroy), but three crawlers is tough with 24 paralyzing attacks (like facing eight ghouls). Bad luck...did they have a sleep spell available?

    1. Not surprise, but it was simultaneous initiative for the first round. No sleep spell, but the Druid entangled two of them as he himself was paralyzed in that first round.

      The basic situation was that the dice were not rolling in the party's favor. The first round had two entangled crawlers but three of five party members out of the fight. The one crawler that wasn't entangled was wounded and coated in oil.

      The two non-paralyzed PCs got initiative the next round. The ranger grabbed a log from the camp fire to set the crawler ablaze, but missed. The muscle-wizard missed with his sword as well. Then the ranger was paralyzed.

      The third round, the muscle-wizard had initiative again. He could have run and come up with a rescue plan. But he decided to gamble. He attacked, and hit, but the crawler had 1 hit point left! I roll in the open, so no fudging allowed.

      And then the muscle-wizard was paralyzed a the end of the round.

      So it was mostly just dice that screwed them over, although tactics could have been better, too. The thief did try to jump away from the group to fire arrows, but one of the crawlers got him. Again, if the dice had been different (or if the other three henchmen hadn't gotten killed, or if the Fairy Princess hadn't wandered off -- she's 9, it happens) they could have had a very different result.