I had an opportunity to run a quick one-shot for some friends using my homebrew RPG system. It’s a little like Dungeon World, World of Dungeons, Blades in the Dark, etc. Level-less, class-less, roll 1d6 to resolve an action. Low hit points, no combat initiative.
And we ran it in one of the new mini-dungeons I am writing up for 13 Dungeons, along with my supplements for 13 Saintly Shrines and 13 Eldritch Altars.
Play time: 90 minutes
- Akeem the Ranger (Archer, Burglar, Thunderwalker)
- Elyss the Magician (Necromancer, Dreamweaver, Healer)
- Faruk the Guide (hireling)
Akeem and Elyss visited a small village of goatherds at the edge of the desert. Something was killing their goats, and there were strange flames in the northern desert. The village had little to offer but food. The heroes hired local man Faruk to guide them, and headed out into the desert.
Along the way, Faruk said they were heading toward the tomb of Dajkai the Merciful, a magician-king famous for his collection of magic wands. They spotted an ominous creature circling high overhead.
Akeem discovered a huge red stone skull buried in the sand. Elyss identified it as an ancient altar to the creature Hashaketh. She touched it and a voice asked if she would share her mind with it. She said yes. Her hair fell out as her head throbbed larger and she gained the ability to hear the thoughts of nearby creatures. Mostly she heard Faruk and Akeem thinking that she looked strange.
Later in the day, they found the tomb of Dajkai, a white pyramid. A trail of goat blood and scorch marks led inside. The flying creature dove down to snatch them as they ran into the pyramid. Only Elyss was torn by its talons.
In the first chamber, they found several charred mummy warriors. Elyss raised one of them as her servant. The others animated and attacked, but Akeem and Faruk fought them off, with some help from Elyss’s new bodyguard. Akeem and Elyss put on the warriors’ armor, and Akeem took a scimitar.
In the second chamber, two golden headdresses hung surrounded by open treasure chests. They sent their mummy inside to check for traps. But when the mummy touched one of the treasure chests, it turned to sand and the eyes of the headdresses incinerated him with rays of fire.
In the third chamber, they found several doors and lots of rotting mummies around a large rotunda. Elyss tried to animate a new servant, but the body crumbled to burning dust, searing their lungs. Akeem inspected a closed door and a razor-wire trap sliced off his fingertips. Elyss healed him, and he went into the next room. Inside he found many redwood boxes and a censer spilling purple fumes on the floor. Akeem grabbed one box and slammed the door shut just as the purple fumes resolved into a humanoid creature. Sadly, the box he grabbed was empty.
Elyss then peeked into an open door and found several small creatures chanting and arranging bones on the floor. But a clumsy gesture drew their attention, and the smoking Ember Pucks tore apart Elyss’s newest mummy servant. The party cried out in alarm, which woke the huge flaming monster beyond the third door.
Battling the big bad
The Firefox squeezed into the rotunda, but Elyss put it to sleep. She gave it dreams to make it angry at the small smoking creatures. Meanwhile, Akeem and Faruk shot several of the Ember Pucks and the rest ran back into the room they came from. The Firefox awoke and began tearing apart the dead Ember Pucks. The party ran back into the treasure room to hide, and the Firefox retreated into its den.
Akeem then dismantled the razor-wire trap and set it up at the entrance to the treasure room. He shot arrows at the monster until it charged at him, slicing its paw on the razor-wire. A few more shots killed the monster, and they harvested several obsidian claws from its smoldering corpse.
Stopping the ritual
They went back into the rotunda one last time to stop the Ember Pucks, but it was too late. The ritual had opened a portal and a giant crab claw was emerging from the ring of bones. Akeem shot one of the skulls to disrupt the ritual. The crab claw began growing out of control, and the party ran out into the desert to escape.
After a few moments, a giant claw burst through the pyramid walls, and the entire building collapsed. The claw lay still. The party went back to investigate and look for buried treasure. With a little effort, they found a redwood box containing a Wand of Scarabs. Akeem used the wand to send a group of beetles down into the rubble and bring back several gold necklaces and a tiara to help cover up Elyss’s enormous veiny head.
They returned to Faruk’s village as heroes!
This was a super fun little session. We interacted with a lot of creatures and traps. The players took a lot of chances. Some paid off really well, and some were disastrously exciting. Everyone said the new system was very easy and simple and fun, and made combat much faster and more fun.
(I know I’m saying “fun” a lot, but I believe the point of TTRPGs is purely to have fun, so this is actually an important metric for me.)
They also liked how the rules-light system allowed them create actions and solutions more naturally with fewer restrictions or mechanics. There was a ton of creativity at the table. I found it very easy to invent and resolve situations based on the notes in 13 Dungeons and 13 Eldritch Altars. There is still a lot to refine, but I’m optimistic about releasing them later this year.