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My players just lost a battle against a Roomba.

A little bit of background. To promote 3e/3.5, Wizards of the Coast ran a worldwide "Living Greyhawk" campaign until the launch of 4e. The real world was split into "regions" which were handed over to "triads" of regional coordinators. Each region produced around 8 modules per year to establish its own "flavor" and drive regional plotlines forward.

Living Greyhawk is long dead, but there is an astonishing amount of modules out there. After I snagged a torrent with over 2GB of adventures, an old buddy of mine bugged me to DM a campaign by cherry-picking the best ones.

Our table ended up at 8 players - too much, I know, but it's hard to kick out IRL friends. I've been pitting the party against slightly harder challenges than their level 3 APL would normally require as LG modules were designed for 4-man parties. Tonight, the 8-member party ventured into Mordenkainen's House of Chocolate.

Mordenkainen's House of Chocolate is a module from the second year of LG. It is set in the Switzerland-themed nation of Perrenland, which IRL was assigned to Australia. Since LG rules required you to physically travel to a region to play its modules, very few US players ever saw the splendor of this adventure. I know my brief synopsis won't do it justice, but I will try nonetheless.

The party is tasked by the children of Shwartzenbruin (Perrenland's capital) with investigate the disappearance of Herr Mordenkainen, the proprietor of the fabled House of Chocolate. The children's concern is that a festival is coming up in a few days, and if the House of Chocolate remains closed they will receive no free treats from Herr Mordenkainen this year.

During their investigation, the party eventually realizes the locals aren't actually talking about THE Mordenkainen but rather the archmage's former baker, Hanz, who took the surname in honor of his employer. The House of Chocolate is well locked and magically warded, but the party eventually manages to locate a backup key which Hanz's left with his brother-in-law. This is where the fun begins.

You see, the key is obviously magical. It is 6 inches long, made out of gold, and carved with ornate runes. The ornate runes should be as obvious a clue as any that someone should DETECT its MAGIC and perhaps figure out what spells/spell types may be tied to the key, and yet the party wizard refuses. Apparently, he's prepared only a single Detect Magic and he's saving it for marriage...er, for the house itself.

Now, you'd think that with 8 players there would be someone else available to back the wizard up and do the Detect Magic + Spellcraft combo, right? Well...

The bard didn't choose Detect Magic as one of his level 0 spells.
The cleric has it memorized but put 0 ranks in Spellcraft.
The druid is in the same position.
The archer fighter has Spellcraft ranks (for Occult Slayer) but no access to the spell.

The rest of the party consists of a rogue, a melee fighter, and a ranger. And no one pressures the wizard into using his level 0 spell.

Fine, whatever. Let's roll.

The party decides to enter Mordenkainen's House of Chocolate through a side door in the back yard. Earlier, they noticed smoke rising out of a grate by the side of the building. They are so intent on heading to the basement first that they completely ignore the stairs up right in front of the entrance. When I point out all the windows are shuttered and locked, they just whip out their light sources and keep going.

The wizard isn't going in the house, by the way. His cowardice is a bit of a running gag with the party - if there's combat to be had, you can bet the wizard is at least two rooms away. Normally, he gets scared of being alone after running away and runs back towards the party. This time, however, he's utterly convinced the door will shut once the last party member is inside, so he keeps standing just beyond the threshold even when no other party member is in sight.

Meanwhile, the rest of the party slowly progresses through the house. The rogue has been armed with the house key and charged with discovering the way into the basement. He finds the stairs and follows them down, with the ranger only a step behind. The pair emerge into the vast basement filled with a lot of chocolate-making equipment, and as the rogue turns a corner and comes face to face with a golem.

Do you remember the name of the module? That's right. In Mordenkainen's House of Chocolate, even the golem is made of chocolate.

The rogue is shitting his pants hard enough for liftoff. Fortunately, he's also the one carrying the house key. He waves the key in front of the golem and says something along the lines of "Please don't kill me, I'm allowed to be here." Then, he waits for his chocolatey death...except the golem just stares at him. So the rogue stares back, still without a clue.

But something is happening upstairs as well. A huge blob with the consistency of jello spills down the stairs from the second floor of the house and fills the entryway, stopping just short of the wizard (who's still outside the house). The wizard rolls Knowledge Dungeoneering, but he's way below the 10+HD DC. For all he knows, this is a massive ooze.

The bard, hearing the shuffling coming down the stairs, walks back to the door from the family room into the entryway and finds is completely full of solid green goo. Shouting "OH SHIT WE'RE ALL GONNA DIE!" he runs back as far as he can. He does roll a massive Bardic Knowledge check, so I tell him he's heard strange tales of gelatinous cubes you can eat...and he sadly assumes I'm just pulling DM bullshit.

Because, you see, all things are possible inside Mordenkainen's House of Chocolate. For example, what appears to be a Gelatinous Cube to the untrained eye could actually be a GELATINE Cube.

But no. The DM is out to get the players. That HAS to be the only explanation for a huge ooze in the middle of a house, even if the house's owner is a Mordenkainen.

The melee fighter, a female dwarf, reacts to the bard's cries of "RUN AWAY!" by predictably moving towards the now-blocked exit. She's got enough movement to get there and ask aloud what in the Nine Hells this thing is. Remember the Spellcraft situation from before? Besides the wizard, mo one in the party has Knowledge Dungeoneering (no, not even the ranger). All they know is they're screwed, but not how hard.

Seeing the only way out is blocked by a mass of goo, the druid panics. She breaks out a Flaming Sphere and rolls it out into the entranceway. The ooze isn't exactly dodging, so she manages to damage it. The party's spirits are raised. "If it bleeds, we can kill it" and all that.

The ooze pours itself into the room and attempts to glomp the dwarf, who wisely decides to avoid it and makes her Reflex. The cleric, who is too enamored with Light of Lunia and similar spells for his own good, casts his divine radiance. The wizard, still outside, predictably backs away from the entrance and goes invisible.

Downstairs, the ranger decides to investigate the basement instead of heading up to check on the obvious sounds of combat. He moves around the golem, expecting an AOO. The golem doesn't take it. The ranger stares at the golem. The golem stares back.

Meanwhile, the rogue runs up the stairs, sees the ooze, and decides to unlock a window because the ooze is blocking the party's only exit point. The archer, who was backing up the ranger and the rogue downstairs, follows him up. The mage, still outside and now invisible, begins summoning a celestial badger. The druid moves the Flaming Sphere back into the ooze - which somehow decides to flow around it and dodges the fire. The cleric, conveniently forgetting that he's standing within AOO range, fires off his ranged touch attack and gets smacked for about as much damage as he deals. The bard sings. The dwarf power attacks with a waraxe and does 0 damage.

This is where panic sets in. The waraxe is a magic weapon from an earlier adventure. It is the only magic weapon the party has access to, because neither the cleric nor the wizard memorized Magic Weapon despite my insistence.

It also deals SLASHING damage, to which the Gelatine Cube is IMMUNE.

Finding this out the hard way, the dwarven fighter drops her waraxe and pulls out a silver warhammer, her only backup weapon. It's the ooze's turn, and as it attempts to glomp her, she decides to take an AOO on it instead of getting out of the way. She swings the warhammer (power attack still in effect) and does 0 damage.

BLUDGEONING may be the only physical damage type the Gelatine Cube is not immune to, but it also has DR 15/magic.

Now everyone is in "WE'RE GONNA DIE" mode. The rogue runs into a pantry the party investigated earlier and tries to gather as much oil as he can to light the ooze on fire. The archer decides to help, thinking she could dip her arrows in oil and hurt the ooze that way. The wizard's celestial badger pops in and charges the ooze, with predictable lack of success. The cleric drops the last charge of his celestial light into the ooze, but rolls like crap. The druid rolls the Flaming Sphere back into the ooze and singes it some. Realizing how bad things are getting, the ranger runs up the stairs. The bard gets over to the rogue and snatches out the house key.

But the ooze is still in the room with things attacking it. It glomps the halfling druid and her riding dog companion. Both fail the Reflex to avoid AND the paralysis save...at which point I remember the acid damage and add injury to insult.

The bard has a plan, though. See, the rogue mentioned the golem in the basement, so the bard figures he can just get down there, wave the key in front of it, and tell the golem to go fight the ooze. It will be perfect!

And this is where I decide to throw him a bone, because they've been in this combat for almost two hours and it's time to wrap up for the night. I ask the bard for a Wisdom check which he fortunately aces, and as he thinks his plan over, he realizes something. If one of the monsters within Mordenkainen's House of Chocolate can be commanded using the house key, perhaps it would work on another?

Seizing the key, the bard steps forward and commands the ooze to spill out its contents...which it does, to the party's relief.

Now that they're not actively fighting it, party members also notice that the spaces the ooze moved through are remarkably clean, with no sign of their own dirty footprints. And as the Gelatine Cube wobbles in the corner, they raise their fists to the sky and cry out...

"Did we just get beat down by a Roomba?!"
I was expecting an actual Roomba. This is kind of disappointing.

Yup, they got Roombowned

Nice tale, OP, got any more? I love storytime...
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Sorry. I play D&D, not Engine Heart.


Not at the moment. But my hat of d02 (which know no limit) has just arrived in the mail, so I'll direct you to my d02 storytime from earlier in the year:

Actually, I thought back to another adventure the party's had.

There's a first-year LG module called The Future's Bright. Shades would have been helpful in it, because the mod has the party escaping a Scarlet Brotherhood blockade by running their ship into a storm and washing up on the shore of the Bright Desert. They're then sent out by the ship's captain to check out a nearby wreck for salvageable wood to make repairs, just to make sure it's safe before the sailors can take over.

Now, one of the running gags with my adventuring group is that the cleric is bad. The player's an OK guy, but no amount of reasoning can convince him the choices he's made are awful. For example, he loves Light of Lunia/Mercuria/whatever spells which let him do damage with ranged touch attacks...except he has no ranged combat feats, no Zen Archery, a 3/4 BAB and a Dex of 12. Oh, and he also wants to front-line in a party with 2 front-liners (dwarf fighter and TWF ranger) while having low Str and BAB, but he doesn't want to "waste" spells on buffs.

Me and my right-hand man, the buddy who got the ball rolling on our "Undead Greyhawk" campaign, have been trying to subtly (and not so subtly) nudge the cleric in more...let's say "useful" directions. We've done it away from the game because the table is chaotic enough with 8 people there, but sometimes I just can't help picking on his character.

So, anyway, the module. PCs advance to the half-sunken wreck and notice that there are two points of entry: they can either walk in through the busted bottom of the ship into the lower cabins or climb up to the deck level and check out the upper cabins. The rogue and the ranger take point, toss a grappling hook up, and climb up there. Not much of interest, save a pile of bones and the tattered remains of a sailor's uniform.

Soon as they shout this down to the rest of the party, the cleric wants to go up and check how the guy died. He's got a 14 Str, but he's also wearing medium armor and carrying a heavy shield, which leaves him dangling on the rope and unable to make progress. The rogue and the ranger now have to pull him up.
Phahahaha. I love stories where just failing just the one little check makes everyone panic, it's hilarious.
That party was also kind of terrible, too. Only one use of detect meagic? Really?

The problem isn't that they have only one Detect Magic, it's that neither the cleric nor the druid though to back it up with Spellcraft. The druid's player is new, but the cleric swears he's been playing for years.


So fine, he's finally up on the deck. Keep in mind that neither the rogue nor the ranger, the guys who were put in front of the party because of their exemplary Spot and Search ranks, have actually had a chance to check anything on the deck. Yet, as soon as they haul the cleric's heavy ass up, he makes a beeline for the bones.

The cleric kneels and attempts to use a Heal check to determine how the sailor died, even though the body's just a pile of bones that's been sitting in a desert climate for a while. This is when he gets the surprise of his so far short low-level life, as 4 scorpions emerge from the bones and into his space.

>small flessae

Yes, Captcha, it went something like that.

Now, when I say surprise, I mean surprise. He failed his Spot check against the 4 tiny monstrous scorpions. There's 4 of them, but they're tiny. He's flat-footed, but his AC is still 17. How bad can it be?

My dice go hot. I'm rolling 17s through 20s all over.

Three out of the 4 scorpions hit the cleric with their claws, dealing 1 point of damage each. One crits, for an extra point of damage. Two of these TINY scorpions manage to beat him on their Improved Grab grapple checks, which deals an extra 1 damage because they have Constrict.

Oh, and I also crit my initiative, which means they get to go again before the cleric does.

Regular round, top of the initiative order. One of the grappling scorpions constricts; the other falls off the wildly flailing cleric. The two free scorpions full attack. One manages to crit on a sting and the other successfully constricts, adding several more points of damage to the beleaguered cleric.

Then he fails his Fort save and loses 1 Con.

The cleric finally gets to go. He's still grappled, so he can't even heal himself while the tiny scorpions are constricting him. He flails wildly, shaking off a scorpion...but another is still hanging onto him. He can't move without making a grapple check to do so. He's still flat-footed.

The rogue and the ranger are in the initiative, but they're just laughing their asses off. The rest of the party is still down on the lower level and clueless.
Wait, isn't there like a -16 modifier to grapple if you are tiny? Doesn't a tiny scorpion have pretty much 2, 1 strenght?
Nevertheless, I'm loving the story.

Top of the round. The scorpions go again, with 3 of them full-attacking this time. Again, a sting crits. Again, the cleric fails his Fort save and loses 1 Con. More importantly, the Con loss and continued stream of 1 HP hits have dropped him down to 3 "real" HP. If this keeps happening, he's dead.

The Pelorite priest starts his (possibly last) turn very frustrated. There's a scorpion grappling him, but he decides to grapple it for damage instead of breaking out. Fortunately for him, the cleric succeeds, but he's still standing in the middle of three tiny scorpions which might bring him down on a full attack if I keep rolling the way I have been.

This is where the ranger finally decides to get off his ass and do something. He doesn't want to kill the tiny scorpions, though, so he asks if wild empathy will work. I know it technically shouldn't against vermin, but this has gone on far too long for a throwaway encounter, so I allow it...and he crits.

The ranger calmly walks over to the cleric, picks the remaining scorpions up and pets them. Then he sets them down on the far side of the wreck and turns back to the cleric, who just almost lost a fight to the death...against four tiny scorpions.

>Problem, priest?


Tiny monstrous scorpions have -8. He was level 2, so he was rolling at +3 (BAB +1, STR +2). He just could not roll above a 10 to save his life...literally.

Did I mention my dice were hot?
You should have let them work together on it.

Oh man. You have no idea how hard it's been to make these guys work together. It's like they all WANT to die alone. Me and my buddy, who are the only ones who played LG during its run, just keep shaking our heads.

He's the bard because he didn't want to steal the spotlight. He might have to reroll if this continues. I can't kill him off either, because, as he puts it:

"If the DM is rolling to attack the bard, it means all of the ESSENTIAL characters are already dead."
I mean, specifically, if like four or five characters had different components of Detect Magic but no one character had everything necessary for it, why couldn't you let them confer and each contribute their necessary component?

Because the caster needs to be the one making the Spellcraft check. And the wizard was perfectly capable of doing both. He just chose not to. Even after I prodded him at least twice.

After the "roomba incident" ran its course, I made sure to point that out to him. This was when he told me we apparently had the same issue in a previous session, so he had swapped another level 0 spell in order to have 2 Detect Magics prepared.

That's right. We could have saved 2 hours of gameplay if the wizard had just READ HIS GODDAMN SPELLS PREPARED LIST.
Oh gods this is hilarous

Anyway, back to the story.

After WTFing at the ranger just picking the scorpions up, the Pelorite did what every devout person would do in his position - raise his face to the Sun God and wonder why he's been forsaken. So I asked him to roll Knowledge Religion.

Natural 1.

Pelor looked down upon his human vessel and explained to him that scorpions, who lived in the most Sun-blessed regions of Oerth and basked in His radiance the most, were actually Pelor's chosen children, and the cleric had been wrong to raise his mace against them.

It was either that or the poison setting in.

The priest did redeem himself, however. The wreck the party was investigating for salvage was haunted by the spirit of one of the sailors. Despite his grievous wounds (HP damage was healed, but Con loss remained), the priest was able to diplomatically converse with the (friendly) ghost, who wanted his bones to be interred on his native soil. There was also the issue of a sailor who survived whatever downed the ship and had set out into the desert, and the heroic party pledged to locate the man and return him if at all possible. For this, the ghost agreed to not spook the superstitious sailors while they raided the wreck for salvage in order to repair the PCs' ship.

Of course, this meant the party was heading into the desert, so I brushed up on my heat exhaustion rules. I even graciously allowed the party to reconsider their prepared spells, considering they technically didn't know they'd be walking into the desert at the start of the day.

The druid, despite being a new player, agreed to prepare several Endure Elements spells for the most heavily armored members of the party (she and the dwarf fighter were wearing medium armor). Everyone else decided to tough it out.

Yes, including the cleric in medium armor. The cleric who had lost Con to tiny scorpions. The cleric who would need to make Fort saves against heat exhaustion. The cleric who agreed to have one of his prepared spells be Endure Elements, but refused to cast it in order to "save it for healing".

The cleric who was the only one to fail his heat exhaustion roll.

After trudging through the sands for a while, the party came upon a shallow canyon carved in the rock by the seasonal torrents. This was an obviously a good place to rest and cool off for the cleric, because this was the first place with an actual shade the party had encountered. This was also obviously an excellent place for an ambush.

Now I know what you're thinking. "OP is a fag. He's picking on a noob cleric for making terrible choices and should feel bad. He's making someone question their religion with that stupid 'Pelor's chosen children' bullshit. I mean, seriously, scorpions? In a fucking desert?"

If that's you, I can't tell you anything that will change your mind. But what I can tell you is that my dice were still hot.

It's really easy to hide a tiny scorpion. I mean, it's tiny. It's got a bonus to hide, for Pelor's sake. And when it's under loose clothing or inside a hollow bone? Forget it!

It takes real skill to hide a large scorpion, though. I mean, that thing's twice as large as a human, right? Where could it even hide? Like, what, behind that boulder there?

And seriously, what about Spot checks? Even if your Hide is massive, someone's gonna see a big friggin' scorpion just creeping up on the party, the middle of a cliff face or not...right?

What the people asking these questions forget is that Spot is modified for distance. If your Spot roll is low enough, and my Hide check is high enough, you won't see a damn thing until it's right on top of you.

Did I mention my dice were still hot?
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I had my Rogue Trade group exploring this spooky ancient space station once. They had faint contacts on the edge of the auspex, spooky noises in the distance, the whole nine yards. Anyways they stumble into a residential block, and find a control panel that still has power, so they immediately start mucking about with it. All of a sudden the wall near them starts making clanking and whirling sounds, and something bumps the RT's leg. Everyone freaks out and aims enough guns to lead a successful rebellion from the Imperium at the floor. To find out they just activated a DAoT Roomba.

So, combat # 2 of the day begins with two monstrous scorpions ambushing the party. Random rolls indicate one of them is going after the ranger, at the front of the marching order, while the other one picks someone in the back.

You guessed it. The cleric.

My Hide checks are 17 and 19. My initiative is low, but the important part is that the cleric is Improved Grabbed and Constricted, and these guys do a bit more than 1 point of damage.

To the party's credit, this time around they're working like a well-oiled machine - probably because the cleric is this close to being gone. The rogue rolls up to the grappling scorpion and sticks it for sneak attack damage. The ranger brings out TWF, and even though he's pretty beat up he manages to draw the scorpion's attention away from the casters. The bard sings. The wizard Greases the cleric's armor. The archer puts arrows in the non-grappling scorpion. The dwarf moves up to the cleric so that the rogue can still sneak attack when flanking (assuming the cleric is dropped by the scorpion, one way or another). The druid starts summoning.

I require you to be more specific regarding the part of posting which I am yet to learn how to do.


Amazingly, between the Grease and my dice finally going cold, the cleric gets dropped to the ground. Unfortunately, he doesn't learn. Instead of pretending he's no longer a threat, he stands up and takes a claw to the face, which drops him back to the ground - this time in negatives.

The rest of the party is handling the combat just fine, though. The ranger is on his last legs because he's going up against a scorpion on his own, but the druid drops a dire bat on top of it. The rogue and the dwarf make short work of the scorpion which downed the cleric, with the archer helping. The druid heals the cleric. The bard sings. The wizard plops an acid splash into a scorpion.

The last scorpion standing lashes out at the dire bat and tears into it badly. Everything hits, and the bat is now in its death grip. The rest of the party piles onto it, but it's still clinging to its last few hit points, which is when the druid tells the bat to roll opposed grapple in order to MOVE UP.

The bat wins and lifts the scorpion into the air as the druid heals the cleric. The archer goes "oh what the hell" and decides to shoot into the grapple anyway. Predictably, she hits the bat, which takes enough damage to vanish back to wherever it came from...which leaves the confused scorpion hanging up in the air for a split instant and then smashing back to the ground for lethal damage.

The first thing the cleric sees when he opens his eyes is the image of an air-dropped scorpion, seemingly coming from inside the Sun itself, crashing to the ground.

"And you doubted me," Pelor says.

>storyTra 1st

Something like that, Captcha. Something like that.

I am laughing my ass off.

And this is how sects are born in DnD.
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>I was expecting an actual Roomba.
The players always get owned by The. Dumbest. Shit.

I stupidly plotted out the ecosystem of a KOTOR Sith Academy one shot I wanted to run. It was meant to be like a battle royale deal. You had one survival item and your lightsaber - if you wanted to see the next day in any condition to fight, you killed or conquered the other supplicants.

I introduced a cave dwelling bovine that did nothing special but be loud. Not particularly strong and very unabmitious territorially (they lost interest after a few feet), they were a useful warning systm or trap or distraction or even food for a canny player.

A couple low rolls and bad decisions later and a cabal of young sith had been bested by a cave-cow.
I am reminded of the occasion on which my party was ambushed by a Gargantuan-sized spider.

Its legs were the size of the tree trunks it was hiding around. But our Spot checks were fucking abysmal and apparently its Hide checks were amazing.
My RT game has a Scarab doing that right now.

We found it on an abandoned Tomb World Manufactorum just scuttling about clearing up bits of flesh, chittin, metal and assorted other unmentionables. Our Techpriest decided to talk to it, a few flukey rolls later we've got a Scarab called Rolff doing janitorial duties on the Pilum Scipiones.
I'm convinced that it's going to self destruct or otherwise sabotage us, but nobody'll let me melta the thing.

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