Playtest session #3 was held today, very eventful and fun but not too rewarding. All four of the players from the previous session returned (including the guy who thought he wasn’t going to be able to make it) and they were joined by two new players - another cleric and a half-elf ranger.
Venturing back to the Perlammo Salt Mines after a week in town they found the main entrance barricaded and guarded, and surmised that somebody must not have liked what they did to the watchers they encountered in their last expedition. At first they wanted to fight their way through but upon seeing that the guards were in mail and armed with crossbows had second thoughts and decided instead to seek out the back entrance they had heard rumors of. Locating that shaft they climbed down the rope ladder they found there and encountered the ogre dwelling at the bottom who demanded a toll to pass but after some negotiation agreed to collect on their way out. They explored about 10 more rooms and even ventured down a set of stairs to a lower level but quickly lost heart and fled back up after encountering some giant sun spiders and then catching sight of the even bigger mother-spider.
Although they did a lot of exploring and filled in many of the gaps on their map, they found little by way of treasure and realized they were in a bind since to get back home they had to face either the ogre (who they didn’t feel they had enough to pay as toll) or the guards. Settling on the former they decided to offer him some platinum pieces they had found with a contingency plan to drop a sleep spell on him and hope for the best if that didn’t work. Luckily for them it did and he allowed them to pass back out, but for all their efforts (including going an hour past the scheduled quitting time) they didn’t have much to show for it treasure-wise.
Once again, nobody died but there were a couple of close calls with the 15 hp ranger at one point reduced to a single point. A paltry 400 XP apiece (50% from combat vs an assortment of unpleasant bugs) was enough to bring the gnome cleric to 2nd level but left the thief 100 XP short (don’t say the +10% bonus for high stats doesn’t make a difference because it would’ve here!).
Next game is scheduled for October 8th. I get the impression they want to stay on the first level longer (those 3d4 damage rolls from the sun-spider bites were quite traumatizing) but may not have much choice since they’re running out of areas to explore there, unless they change their mind about trying to murder and rob the ogre…