Recommend
26 
 Thumb up
 Hide
13 Posts

Citadel of Blood» Forums » Sessions

Subject: My First Raid On the Citadel of Blood (In a Very Long Time) rss

Your Tags: Add tags
Popular Tags: [View All]
Anders Gabrielsson
Sweden
Uppsala
flag msg tools
designer
mbmbmbmbmb
For various reasons I decided to dig out my copy of Citadel of Blood and take it for a spin. It's been years and years since I played it so I'm starting out as a blank slate, other than some vague memories of it being a bit like a somewhat simplified cooperative D&D.

Reading through the rules (skimming the bits I don't need to know right away), those memories prove to be more accurate than I had thought. There is some very simple character generation, with a mix of pre-generated "Heroes" and more basic "Initiates", marching order, traps, wandering monsters, a randomly constructed dungeon, leveling up - even an aging mechanic! Also three out of the 12 pages of rules are charts and tables.

The goal of the game is to defeat the evil mage X the Unknown and destroy his Hellgate. X is a typical villain, having "betrayed the Free Peoples of the valley into the hands of the Empire during the Third War of the League of Ararlve". This sounds exactly like someone's first D&D game, complete with nearly unprouncable names. (Seriously, try to say "Ararlve".) Apparently the characters and premise of this game comes from Swords and Sorcery, which I know to be an old RPG but one I have no experience with myself. Is Ararlve taken from there? Who knows, and who cares! I'm here to slay monsters and get treasure!

PARTY GENERATION

For a solitiare game, the player gets three pre-generated Heroes and three Initiates. The Heroes are picked at random from among 23, and I get Alric, a seemingly pretty weak human with some minor magic abilities; Curvenol, another human with more magic but slightly lower abilities otherwise; and finally Lord Dil, a mighty human warrior.

All characters in the game are humans, elves or dwarves, apart from a couple of the heroes who have their races given as "Swam Creature" and "Demi-Cronk". (My brief skimming of the monster chapter told me that cronks have a powerful stench. I'm sure having a half-cronk in the party is very popular...)

Since a character's starting non-combat skill is entirely determined by their race all my heroes have the Hellgate skill, which will presumably be useful when confronting the Hellgate - it received no explanation in the parts of the rules I read beforehand. This means I don't have anyone with the Negotiate or Detrap skills, both of which seem more useful during the early stages of the game, so I will pick two dwarf and one elf Initiates to round out my party. (For those who are curious, the swamp creature and demi-cronk both get the dwarven Detrap skill.)

Initiates start out with stats pre-determined by their race, but each get to improve one of them. I'll improve the Detrap skill from 1 to 2 for one of the dwarves, the weapon skill of the other (from +1 Axe to +2 Axe) and the Negotiation skill for the elf from +1 to +2. The Detrap skill requires you to roll 1d6 under or equal to your skill value to succeed, so even after improvement the brave dwarf still only has a one in three chance of disarming a trap. I predict he will die first, unless we run into some terrible monsters who will kill us all.

Initiates also get to pick their primary and secondary weapons and randomly determine their magic potential, values which are preset for the heroes. My heroes all have a sword and either a throw dagger or a regular dagger, so I'll give the elf a bow (with which he gets a +1 bonus for being all elfy), the dwarf with the better Axe skill an axe and the other dwarf a crossbow. (Crossbows don't exist, but I'll be damned if I give a dwarf a bow. I'll just use the table entry for the bow.) The elf gets a sword for a secondary weapon, crossbow-dwarf gets an axe and axe-dwarf gets a crossbow. (Bows seem strictly superior to throw daggers, both in damage and in that they can be used more than once a fight. Given the apparently free choice of weapons, I'll go for the superior versions.)

Now I need to roll for the Initiates' magic potential. This is a triple value, related to which sun is dominant for any given game: yellow, red or blue. (I'm guessing the world of Swords and Sorcery has three suns.) Dwarf A, whom I have decided to name Arger, gets the maximum starting values of 2/2/2 - good with traps and spells! Dwarf B, whose name will be, uh, Butter I guess, gets the same! Wow, these are some tricksy dwarves. The Elf, Alvar, gets... 1/1/1. Pretty good, as he'll always have one spell available.

Now you're supposed to pick the spells for your characters but since I don't want to read all of them and try to weigh them against each other and also like random character generation I'll let the dice decide. Each character knows a number of spells equal to their highest Magic Potential value, but only has as many available as their value for the currently dominant sun. For my Initiates, Lord Dil (who knows no magic) and Curvenol (who has a massive 5/5/5, the highest total in the game together with another hero who has a 6/5/4) this won't make any difference since they have the same values for all suns, but Alric has a 2/3/4 which means he usually won't have access to all his spells.

Anyway, there is a total of 24 spells characters can know at the start of the game. (Two can only be learned during play from interacting with certain game elements.) I'll assign them randomly with the caveat that spells that if a character get spells that seem too similar I will re-roll. Interesting to know may be that casting spells costs Wound Points, and if you run out of those you die. As long as you have Wound Points you can keep casting, though.

I'll start with the Initiates. Arger gets Blast (a cheap attack spell) and Charm (which can take control of a monster and make them serve the party). Excellent! Butter's first spell is... Cow. No, it has nothing to do with bovines, it's a spell for intimidating monsters. (Well, if you encounter a minotaur I guess it's kind of bovine-related.) For his second, he gets Oratory which is another negotiation spell so I will reroll that and instead he gets Blast. Everyone knows dwarves like to blow things up, so that gets to stay. Alvar only gets one spell: Teleport. That seems very elfy.

Moving on to the heroes, Alric knows four different spells: Oratory, Thief (which gives a massive +3 bonus to Detrap for one attempt), Mental Attack (an attack spell that does massive damage... but casting it would cost him 4 of his 6 Wound Points) and Cease Fire (which can immediately end combat). Those probably aren't what I would have picked, so that's fun!

Now for Curvenol's five spells: Cow, Lock (used to block a door to keep from having to enter a room with a monster in it), Stone-Flesh (cures someone turned to stone by a medusa), Magic Shield (grants immunity to spells) and Redemption (makes a character who has been turned against the party back to fighting for their friends, so apparently that is something that can happen!). Clearly, Curvenol believes in being prepared for the worst.

The next step is to determine which sun is predominant. A roll of the die says "red", so Alric will only have access to two of his spells. I pick Thief and Cease Fire: countering traps seems like a good option to have, as well as being able to end a fight that's going badly.

Then I have to set the party marching order. From what I've gathered of the combat rules, you must have two or three characters in the first row, you can't have more than three characters in the same row, and only characters in the first or second row can do anything useful, so having three in front and three in the back seems obvious. When you stand in the front you can fight but not cast spells, and in the back you can use ranged weapons and cast spells but not use melee weapons.

Lord Dil, being a skilled and durable warrior with no spells, is a given in the first line. After that things get tricky. I'll put Butter in front - he's good with his axe and if he gets hurt I can pull him back later. Arger has useful combat spells so he is in the back, and Alvar has a bow and few Wound Points so he goes there as well. This leaves Alric (fairly weak in combat but with few spells) and Curvenol (even weaker in combat and many spells, but those are very situational).

I end up putting Alric in front.


My brave heroes. And initiates. Who may also be brave, though probably slightly less so.

ENTERING THE CITADEL OF BLOOD!

Finally I am ready for some dungeon adventure! I put the Party token on the entrance to the Citadel, the appropriately named Gateway of Evil. (Even for a half-inch blue token it looks pretty harmless, but appearances can be deceiving. I guess.)


The Gateway of Evil! Wooo!

During each game-turn you first decide where to go. In this case that's easy: forward, into the darkness.

If you leave the area you have already explored you draw a chit and fit it to the exit however you like, as long as you match the sides of all adjacent chits. Again, this is simple this time since I draw a corridor piece which can turn either left or right. With nothing else to affect my choice I pick the right-hand path. Since this is a corridor I need to make a Monster Check. I roll one die, and on a roll of 1 I encounter a wandering monster. And I roll... 1! Monster!


Monster!

When you encounter a wandering monster you roll on the Wandering Monster Table. I roll 1d6 and 1d3, cross-reference and get... 1d6 Dire Wolves. Roll again and... there's six of them big hairy buggers. This looks bad! Will my poor adventurers be eaten by wolves right away? Say it ain't so! (Right now, I have no idea how dangerous a dire wolf is, but they sound scary.)

But wait! All is not lost! Before we go to combat there's Negotiation and Bribery! Er... will that work on the wolves? Let's find out.

It turns out that any monster can be negotiated with. (Well, any monster except demons and X the Unknown. You are there to kill X after all, and I guess demons are just cranky.) You roll two dice, deduct the monster's Negotiation Value, add your Negotiation skill and check a chart. Hah! Alvar has +2 Negotiation and I only need 7 or more to succeed! This is as good as done! Oh, wait, the monster Negotiation Value... dire wolves have a...9. Er, okay, so that's a total of -7 to the roll... I can't get more than 5. I guess you can't negotiate with wolves after all.

Let's look into bribery.

Again, X and demons are immune. Fair enough. But what about wolves?

To bribe a monster, you add up the Wound Points and Negotiation Value of the monster with the most Wound Points and cross-reference that with the amount of money you're offering to find a value you have to roll under to succeed. Well, the wolves have 2 to 4 Wound Points (I roll them up now since it matters, getting 2, 3, 3, 4, 4, 4) so that's a 13 cross-referenced with... I don't have any money.

On to combat!

COMBAT: LET'S FIGHT SOME WOLVES

So. Combat.

In Citadel of Blood, every fight is a fight to the death. No running away, no giving up, no nothing. (Well, unless you've got a spell. Which I do. Let's see if I need to use it.)

Monsters set up three in each row with the ones with the most Wound Points in front. Each turn you fight and then reorganize, meaning you can move characters between the rows according to some rules I haven't read in detail. Attacks are made by rolling on a chart (no surprise there), and the party strikes first - unless they tried to bribe the monsters and failed, in which case they get jumped.

If you're in the first row you can normally only attack the enemy in front of you, so I'll start off doing that. Checking up on Lord Dil's stats, he's got a Combat Bonus of 5 and a +2 Sword skill, so he rolls one die and adds 7. That sounds pretty good! The combat chart has one column for each type of weapon and one for "Monsters", and rows going all the way up to 17! I hope the latter isn' just for the benefit of the monsters...

Lord Dil steps forward, striking the dire wolf with his sword! I roll one die, get a 4, add 7, check the row for 11 and he does... two wounds. That doesn't seem like very much. Looking at the chart, it turns out you need a 10 or better to do more than one wound with any weapon, so now I feel a bit better.

Initiates seem to start out with a Combat Bonus of 0. There's no mention of it in the character generation rules, and several of the Heroes start out with a 0 so that seems to be it. Butter does have his +2 Axe skill though, so with a roll of 5 he gets a 7 for one wound. (Checking the combat chart again, an axe is slightly better than a sword in a couple of places, so I guess that's a bonus for dwarves who all start out with the Axe combat skill. Hammers are even better, but Initiates can't be trained with those.)

Alric also attacks, with a Combat Bonus of 0 and a Weapon Skill of... nothing. Erp! A roll of 2 means he does no damage.

Now for the back row. There you can attack any target in the first row of enemies with a ranged weapon or cast a spell at anyone in the first or second row, so I look over Arger's options. He could fire his crossbow without any bonus to the roll, meaning he needs to roll a 5 or 6 to do anything, or cast a spell: Blast, which costs him one Wound Point and has a chance to do two wounds on the enemy, or Charm, which could turn an enemy to their side... but which costs three Wound Points! Three WP for a smelly old wolf? I think not! Arger casts Blast on the wolf in front of Lord Dil, having a chance to kill it outright. He pays one Wound Point, and unless the wolf succeeds on a resistance roll it will take two wounds.

A resistance roll? Yes, many effects, particularly spells, depend on resistance rolls. All characters and monsters have a Resistance Value and to make a resistance roll you roll one die and try to get that value or less. Dire Wolves have a resistance value of 1, so a roll of 2 or more will be a success and the wolf will die. I roll a 4 and the big bad wolf is dead! Hooray!

Moving on to Alvar, he targets the wolf in front of Alric with his bow. With a +1 to his skill and a roll of 3 he misses.

Curvenol looks over his list of spells and finds nothing useful. This also reminds me that both he and one of the dwarves has Cow which I could have used when negotiating with the wolves... Oh well, the fight is going well so far! He uses his turn to switch from his primary weapon (sword) to his secondary (throw dagger). He seems pretty useless right now, but against enemies who use magic he'll be my ace in the hole. I think.

So now the wolves get to attack. One is already dead and since they don't have any ranged attacks or spells only the two surviving ones in the front row get to fight. The one on the right has to attack Alric, which it does with a measly +1 bonus. Monsters need to get a total of 6 or more to do any damage, and with a roll of 1 it doesn't even get close.

The wolf in the middle can attack either Lord Dil or Butter and picks randomly, going for Dil and rolls... a 1. These are some pretty lame wolves.


Lame-ass wolves getting beat up by my mighty adventurers! The dice show their current Wound Points.

With all attacks finished we get to the Party Reorganization step. I can move a single character one row back or forward, but there can't be more than three characters in a row and I don't want anyone to move back to the third row so everyone stays where they are. Then the monsters get to do the same thing, so one of the dire wolves in the back move up front.

Round two: Lord Dil, Butter and Alric each attack the wolves in front of them, doing 1, 1 and 0 points of damage respectively. Arger chooses to Blast again, this time going for the wolf in the middle, who resists! Curses! Alvar shoots at it and misses, and Curvenol throws his dagger for no effect. The wolves strike back, doing one wound to Butter. In the reorganization phase Curvenol steps back to the third row, since he has no more ranged weapons and someone in the first row may want to step back later. The wolves stay where they are.

Round three: Lord Dil kills his wolf, Butter does one point of damage to his, and Alric misses again. Alvar misses, and Arger chooses to shoot instead of spending more Wound Points on Blasts right now, killing the wolf in front of Butter.

Dwarf power! The last two wolves step forward.

Round four: Lord Dil and Butter do one point of damage each to their respective wolves while Alric misses. Again. Arger shoots at Butter's wolf and misses, as does Alvar. The wolves all miss.

Round five: Lord Dil and Butter kill their wolves and Alric misses. Arger and Alvar both hit, each doing one point of damage to the last wolf which does one point of damage to Butter after picking randomly between him and Alric.

Round six: Lord Dil can't reach the last wolf, but Butter and Alvar both hit it and kill it. Victory! Yay!

THE RICH SPOILS OF SWEET, SWEET VICTORY

Killing monsters bring two things: experience points and treasure. Each monster gives a number of experience points equal to its number of Wound Points times six, split evenly among all surviving characters. With everyone still alive, this means each character gets 4 + 4 + 4 + 3 + 3 + 2 = 20 experience points. Improving stats can only be done outside the dungeon and costs 100 or 150 experience points or gold marks, so there's some way still to go.

But treasure! Is there treasure?

Short answer: No.

Long answer: Dire Wolves have treasure category A, which means nada. Zip. Zilch. Not a thing.

Well, despite what World of Warcraft and other computer games have taught us, in Citadel of Blood animals don't carry money.

MOVING ON

Having dispatched this pack of mangy wolves, the party moves on undeterred. I change the party marching order to have Lord Dil in the center front position with one dwarf on either side with Alric and Curvenol flanking Alvar in the back.

Moving along the corridor I draw a new chit, getting another corridor turn but this time with two doorways! I roll for wandering monsters and get... another 1. More monsters! This place is packed!

This time the Wandering Monster Table spits out and Evil Mage! Oooh!

Looking up his stats, I find out he has a Resistance Value of 3 (so spells only have a 50-50 chance of affecting him), a Negotiation Value of 3 (meaning he's pretty easy to deal with), he fights with a Dagger with a +4 Combat Bonus and can use the spell Lightning, and has 1d6 + 3 Wound Points. Looking up Lightning, it costs two Wound Points and unless the target resists it does 1d3 + 2 wounds! That's pretty nasty. Maybe we should try to negotiate?

Then I look up his treasure class, which is given as J/C. Checking the rules, the first value applies if he's encountered in a room and the second if he's a wandering monster, and unfortunately the latter case applies here. Class C gives him a few coins and a 1-in-6 chance of having a magic item. Magic item! I'm tempted... If I negotiate successfully, he will stay in place which could cause problems when I leave later. However, a very successful negotiation roll will make him intimidated, which not only means that he will leave us alone even when we return but also that he will give us a quarter of his gold. Let's try for that.

Alvar pushes to the front and uses his smooth elven ways to impress the evil mage while his companions finger their weapons in the background. I roll two dice, add +2 for Alvar's Negotiation skill, deduct 3 for the mage's Negotiation Value and with a bad roll I end up with a 3 - fight! (I still have neither the money nor the inclination to try for bribes.)

I roll a six for the mage's hit points, giving him 9! He's a badass wizard spoiling for a fight; no wonder a bunch of noob treasure hunters couldn't intimidate him.

I place him in the middle of his front row and everyone goes to town on him. Butter hits him for one wound, Lord Dil for two and Arger for another one. Alvar misses and Alric and Curvenol both throw their daggers to now effect. (I looked it up in the rules, and you can choose which weapon a character has equipped for each combat instead of always starting with the primary as I had thought.)

With five Wound Points still remaining, the evil mage unleashes his Lightning spell! Monsters get to cast spells even if they're in the front row (cheaters), targeting a random character in the front row. He picks Lord Dil, who has a Resistance Value of 3. He rolls a 6 and is hit! The bolt of electricity strikes him right in his noble face for 3 wounds, dropping him down to 7 - still the highest in the party.


Badass wizard not looking so badass anymore.

In round two Lord Dil and Arger hit for a total of three wounds, finishing off the evil spellcaster. Victory again! Hooray!

And this time there is treasure...

An Evil Mage automatically has 3d6 Gold Marks, in this case 8, and has a one-in-six chance of having a single magic item. I roll a six... but you need to roll low, so no go.

Gold is divided among the party members, meaning they each get one. I give the extras to Lord Dil and Butter for their valor in fighting the wolves earlier. Each character also gets nine experience points, bringing their totals to 29.

TURN THREE, IN WHICH THE PARTY ENCOUNTERS SOMETHING MAGICAL

Our intrepid explorers decide to enter one of the doorways and I draw a new chit with a room showing an intriguing symbol... This turns out to be a feature, an object in a room that can be interacted with. However, before we get to do that we need to check for traps and monsters.

When you enter a room for the first time, there is a one-in-six chance that the door is trapped. This time I do not roll a one, so there is no trap. There is also a 50% chance of there being monsters in the room, and now I do roll a one so there are! The Room Monster Table is different from the Wandering Monster Table with twice as many results and maybe worse ones? Who knows, I'm not going to check them all, but after a quick glance there do seem to be more results with multiple monsters. I roll 5 and 1 resulting in 1d6+2 Harpies! A roll of one means there's only three of them.

Checking up on their stats, they seem to be among the weakest monsters if not the weakest. They have a Combat Bonus of 0, 1d3 Wound Points each and a Resistance Value of 1. However, they have no treasure, even when encountered in a room.

I decide to try to negotiate. Even if I can kill them pretty easily it won't gain me much, and I don't want to lose Wound Points on a mostly pointless fight. Their Negotiation Value is 5, so I have a total of -3 on my roll and end up with a failure again so combat is inevitable.

Rolling up the harpies' Wound Points they end up with two each. During the first round Lord Dil kills his harpy and Butter and Arger each wound theirs. Everyone in the back row miss their shots, so the harpies get to strike back but both miss. In round two Butter and Lord Dil kill one harpy each and the fight is over, with the characters gaining six experience points each, bringing their totals to 35.

Now for the room feature! Looking up the list of features, this exciting object turns out to be... furniture. Yeah, that's, uh, real exciting. Wow. Fancy that. Dungeon furniture.


Furniture. Yay?

Reading the rules for this, which I hadn't before, this turns out to be a piece of magical furniture. Now we're talking!

Is anyone surprised that there's a table to roll on to see what kind of furniture this is? I'm not. I roll a die and find out that I just killed a bunch of harpies to get at their magical clavicord. Clavicord? What the hell is a clavicord?


This is a clavicord.

A clavicord turns out to be a Medieval instrument, kind of a precursor of the piano. Having that as one out of six possible pieces of magical furniture seems oddly specific to me, but let's roll with it.

Checking out the entry for the clavicord under furniture, I realize I hadn't nominated a specific character to investigate it which must be done before figuring out exactly what it is. How that makes sense I don't know, but I decide to pick a character at random since I've already noticed that I need to make a resistance check and I don't want to cheat by picking someone with a high value for that. The dice decide that it's Alric who can't stay away from the magical, self-playing pre-piano, but his Resistance Value of 2 turns out to be enough for him to avoid being swayed by the music. (Had he failed, he would have placed half his money inside it and retrieving it would have cost a Wound Point. No word on how he would have rounded his single Gold Mark, but it would have made sense for him to pay at least one.)

Well. That was... not very exciting. I hope other features are more interesting!

Three more doorways lead out of this room so our heroes press on.

TURN FOUR

The next draw gives me a choice between a corridor and a room without a feature. I pick the room anyway, hoping for a monster with more treasure. The room has neither trap nor monster - the first segment I've entered that isn't populated!

I turn north, finding another room with a feature that looks suspiciously like stairs. It turns out to be stairs. These can be used to go deeper into the dungeon, where the monsters are more dangerous. I will refrain from that, but before I even get the choice I have to check for traps and monsters, neither of which are present.

I send the party west to connect up with the previously discovered Magical Clavicord Room and draw two chits that don't fit before getting a room with doorways that can connect correctly. This turns out to be another empty room, so I go down to the clavicord.


Sadly empty.

When returning to a previously placed chit you have to check for wandering monsters, but there is nothing here. Continuing south I can either find another stairway or a corridor. Still not having any desire to go deeper I opt for the latter and turn west. It takes me four tries to get a chit that fits, and I follow the resulting corridor further south.

A doorway leading east leads to a featurless room with a monster! Or more than one. We'll see. (Still no traps, though. Making Arger good with traps and having a trap-handling spell seems a bit of a waste right now.)

The monster turns out to be a Wight! As any old-school D&D player can tell you undead are really freakin' scary in those games, but part of the reason for that is that they never flee and no monsters do that in this game. Let's read up on the Wight and see what it's like here.

It has a +6 Combat Bonus which is pretty scary, and rolls 2d6 for Wound Points which could be a lot or very little. Its Resistance Value is 2 so spells work reasonably well, and its Negotiation Value is 4 so you can talk to it with a bit of luck. Surprisingly, it has ho special abilities, and its Treasure Class is H which is so-so.

Alvar speaks up again, but with a die roll of 2 before modifiers there will definitely be a fight!

I roll 2d6 for the Wight's Wound Points, getting a fairly average 8.

On round one Butter, Arger and Lord Dil each do one point of damage in melee and Alvar one from the back row, reducing the Wight to four Wound Points. It strikes back at Arger and rolls a six, hitting him for two wounds! Curvenol pulls back to the third row to leave room for Arger to retreat... if he survives the next turn. (He probably will, since the Wight only does two damage on a six and attacks a random target in the front row. Still, better safe than sorry.)

In round two the Wight takes three points of damage, leaving it with a single Wound Point. It attacks Butter, doing one wound, and Arger retreats to the second row. Lord Dil automatically kills the Wight on round three.

Eight experience points each bring the characters to 43 each. The undead creature has 8 Gold Marks and no magic items, but it has jewels! 1d3 of them, which turns out to be two. Hoping for riches, the party examines their new treasures...

Unsurprisingly, there's a table for jewels. This is a simple 2d6 chart with values from 1 to 150 Gold Marks. These two turn out to be worth 25 and 100 each - quite good! (100 is the second highest value, gained on a roll of 11.)

Now the question becomes who will get to take the big shiny stone... I'm tempted to give it to Lord Dil, since he is so far the strongest character, but on the other hand it will be more useful to improve someone who could do with a boost. I end up giving it to Alvar: If I can improve his archery a bit he will become a lot more useful.

Moving on, I decide to pull Arger back from the front line since he's badly injured with just two Wound Points remaining. I let Alric move forward: he's not much of a fighter, but he's not doing much good in the back either.

I'm also looking towards the exit. If I explore much deeper in I will be almost certain to encounter one or more groups of wandering monsters on the way out, and I don't want to be too badly hurt if that happens. Still, I do have some spells that could help me in a crisis so I press on a little further.

Continuing east I find a room with a new type of feature - an altar! There are no traps or monsters, so now I just need to decide who I send forward to examine this potentially lethal object. I pick Alric: He's not doing much else that's useful, and he was able to resist the lure of the clavicord before.


That's an altar all right. Look, it's got a cross and everything!

Reading up on altars, it turns out they are all dedicated to demon lords and examining one requires a resistance check. Success gives a benefit, failure a curse. I re-check Alric's Resistance Value - it's still two. I warm up the die, roll it, and get... a two! Success! A roll on the Feature Table tells me this particular altar is dedicated to Malthus (The Earl of Death and Havoc). A success here gives the character the ability to cast the Wrath of God spell! Coooool...

This is one of the two spells that you can't learn during character creation, so I guess it should be pretty powerful. This turns out to be correct: for three Wound Points, a monster who fails to resist takes 2d6 + 2 wounds! Badass!

If I understand the rules correctly, Alric won't be able to cast this spell until the next time we enter the dungeon since he only has access to two spells and those have already been chosen. And now that I compare Wrath of God to Mental Attack which he already has, the only difference is that Wrath of God costs one Wound Point less. That's still an upgrade but it doesn't feel quite as... wrathy.

I go north from the room with the altar, going through six chits before I find one that fits. I'm out in a corridor again, this one free from wandering monsters. I follow it east to a turn, and just around the corner is... a monster! (Or wait, maybe more than one. I need to check the table.)

Ahem. A monster! A big, scary minotaur!

And I'm not kidding about scary. It's got a +10 combat bonus, meaning it can do up to four damage in one hit! Out here wandering around it doesn't have much treasure either so it's time to try to parley. (I'd love to Charm the minotaur and use it as a fighter for my own side, but that spell can only be cast in combat and the hairy beast has a 50% chance of resisting it. Also, only Butter knows that spell and he's on the frontline where he can't cast it.)

I have to spells to choose from. Cow replaces the negotiation roll and makes the monster automatically Intimidated... but it can be resisted, so there's a 50-50 risk I'll have to try bribes or go straight to combat, and the minotaur is hard to bribe with a lot of Wound Points (2d6 + 4) and a Negotiation Value of 7. That Negotiation Value also makes using the other spell, Oratory, a bit tricky, since all it does is add +4 to the negotiation roll. I need a total of 7 or better to avoid getting into a fight with the minotaur, which means I need to roll 8 or more (2d6 plus 4 for Oratory plus 2 for Alvar's Negotiation skill minus 7 for the minotaur's Negotiation Value), which gives me slightly worse odds than if I use Cow. A successful use of Cow also means the Minotaur will stay out of my way if I return the same way. Cow it is. It's more appropriately named anyway.

Cow costs two Wound Points and since Arger only has two remaining he can't cast it, so the solemn duty of Cowing the minotaur falls to Curvenol. He pays the cost and I roll the die, getting... a 3. The minotaur resists!

I roll up the minotaur's Wound Points just to check how impossible it is to bribe, getting 10. Even if I give it every piece of treasure I've got I will only have a one in three chance of bribing it, and if I fail I lose my first round of attacks. With negotiations breaking down, I decide to strike first.

BATTLING A BULL-MAN DEEP BELOW THE EARTH

Round one: Butter hits for one damage, Lord Dil for one, Alric misses, Arger spends his penultimate Wound Point to cast Blast which the minotaur resists, Alvar hits for one wound and Curvenol throws away his dagger. That's a total of three damage, leaving the bullheaded monster at 7.

Now the minotaur charges, attacking Lord Dil. A +10 bonus and a die roll of 1 (lucky!) only does one single point of damage. Maybe this creature ain't so dangerous after all!

Curvenol pulls back to the third row to make room for Butter who would very much like to Charm the minotaur and also not get killed.


Retreat!

Round two: Butter and Lord Dil hit for one wound each while everyone else misses (or cowers in the back - I'm looking at you, Curvenol!), while the minotaur strikes Alric for two Wounds, leaving him with four. Butter pulls back to the second rank.

Round three: Butter unleashes his Charm, spending three Wound Points for a 50% chance of getting a tame minotaur. The die says... yes! The minotaur joins our brave and apparently charming heroes and the fight is over.

Keeping in mind that the monster will immediately attack if Butter is killed, I put him back in the third row while the monster takes the center in the first.

The rules don't say what happens to the treasures carried by a charmed monster, but I rule they keep them for themselves. He's friendly, not a complete puppet.

Emboldened by their new ally, the party continues north along the corridor without encountering any resistance. Opposite the room with the stairs they found another doorway which they enter. There is no trap but the room is already occupied by two cronks. I still have no idea what a cronk is, other than that they stink and that the illustration makes them look kinda like Stinky from the Moomin books. They're also extremely aggressive, having a Negotiation Value of 9, even higher than the Dire Wolves. I don't even bother rolling. Death to the stinky ones!


Stinky.

A POWERFUL STENCH

The cronks' stink means every character in the party has to make a Resistance Roll or get a -2 penalty to their Combat Bonus for the entire combat. Ulp! The rules don't say if this can bring the bonus below zero, but I assume it can. It also doesn't say if the minotaur is immune, so I assume he isn't. (I would rule that a Charmed cronk would be immune, though.)

Resistance checks all around! Lord Dil (Resistance Value 3) fails, the minotaur (RV 3) succeeds, Alric (RV 2) fails, Arger (RV 2) succeeds, Curvenol (RV 1) fails, Alvar (RV 2) succeeds, and Butter (RV 2) fails. It seems my tame monster will have to carry this fight!

The cronks have a combat bonus of +4 and 1d6 + 1 Wound Points each (2 and 5).

Round one: Lord Dil hits the weaker cronk for one wound while the minotaur and Alric together do two to the stronger one. (That is, the minotaur does two and Alric does nothing. With the penalty, he will only hit on a 6.) Arger fires his crossbow at the wounded cronk but misses, as does Alvar. Curvenol doesn't even try since with the penalty he has no chance of hitting.

The cronks strike back, hitting Lord Dil and Alric for one wound each. "Cronk!", they shout again and again as their powerful stench make the heroes gag. "Cronk!"


Cronk!

Round two: Lord Dil fells his opponent and the minotaur kills the other with a powerful kick, sending the stinky creature across the room to die in a corner with a last whining "Crooonk..." Victory!

The minotaur doesn't get a share of the experience points, so the heroes each get 7 which puts them at 50 - halfway to an improvement. Cronks encountered in a room have Treasure Class E, meaning a one in three chance for each of coins, jewels and magic items. These ones have neither. Dang it.

Not wanting to move farther from the exit than necessary the party passes through a doorway to the north, finding a room with a new type of feature - a rectangle and a rhombus? This turns out to be artwork, but before I get to see what that means I need to check for traps and monsters. There is neither.

I could use the minotaur to check the art, but what does a shaggy beast know about such fine things? Instead I turn to Lord Dil, who, with his noble background (and high Resistance Value) is eminently suited to the task. I hope.

Rolling on the Feature Table I get a painting. Now I must roll a die for each character: On a roll of 1 they are depicted in the painting and immediately take 1d3 wounds from a curse! Considering I have no less than four characters at three Wounds Points or less this seemingly harmless feature is suddenly extremely dangerous! I roll for them in marching order: Lord Dil, the minotaur, Alric, Arger, Curvenol all make it... but Alvar turns pale as a ghost as he finds his own face staring back at him! Fortunately he was previously unharmed, but this harrowing ordeal leaves him with only two Wound Points remaining. In the back Butter is trying to see past all the others, not understanding what they're all so excited about.

The adventurers are starting to look a little ragged, and with a fairly long way to go I decide to start moving towards the exit.


Right now that exit looks to be quite a long way away.

This requires a roll for each segment entered with wandering monsters encountered on a roll of 1. With seven segments between the party and the exit the risk of at least one encounter is quite high, but luck is with me and they can leave safely.

According to the rules, there is a six month break between each raid on the Citadel. (I guess adventuring isn't a full-time gig.) Charmed monsters are assumed to wander off between games so unfortunately I wouldn't get to use the minotaur for my next attempt.

Characters who have amassed 100 or more experience points or 100 or more Gold Marks of treasure can increase their abilities. In this case the only one who has achieved this is Alvar with his shiny jewel worth 100. No, wait! I had misread the rules the first time around - you need 100 experience points AND 100 Gold Marks. No improvement for you, elf!

--- XXX ---

Thus concludes my first attack on the Citadel of Blood. It was a fun experience, but I'm not sure I'll continue. The gameplay is a little bit too shallow and repetitive to make me want to go at it again. However, I think that with a little more detail this could work as the foundation for an entertaining solo alternative if you want a quick D&D fix.
32 
 Thumb up
3.33
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Daleks stole my lunch box
France
Morbihan
flag msg tools
designer
Press 'X' to feel emotions.
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Nice in-depth session report! I agree it's a bit repetitive, especially with all the die rolls (I tend to give monsters average wound points and not bother rolling them up to cut down on wristage). For the record, the game world it's set in is the one in Swords & Sorcery, a (very parodic) fantasy wargame.

Also, you can upload your pictures to your personal gallery, dropbox-hosted images can't be embedded unfortunately.
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Anders Gabrielsson
Sweden
Uppsala
flag msg tools
designer
mbmbmbmbmb
Ah, I'll fix the images tonight when I get back from work.
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
The One
United Kingdom
Bristol
flag msg tools
Avatar
mb
Wow, simply wow! I've submitted degree coursework that was shorter than this. In my early days of PC gaming I loved dungeoncrawls (think Eye of the Beholder etc),and this just brought back many happy memories. You good sir just elevated this title to the head of my PnP 'to do' list.

1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Anders Gabrielsson
Sweden
Uppsala
flag msg tools
designer
mbmbmbmbmb
Aw, now you're making me blush.

I enjoy writing, I enjoy explaining stuff and I enjoy playing games. Getting to do all three at once is a pleasure.
3 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Lance McMillan
United States
Lakebay
Washington
flag msg tools
designer
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
AndersGabrielsson wrote:
...a fun experience, but I'm not sure I'll continue. The gameplay is a little bit too shallow and repetitive to make me want to go at it again.


Perfect summation of all the inherent flaws of the system. At the time this first came out it was okay, but 'Citadel of Blood' hasn't stood the test of time well.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Eric Smith
United States
Philadelphia
PA
flag msg tools
designer
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Thanks for the detailed replay of my old game, I enjoyed it.

Eric
7 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Anders Gabrielsson
Sweden
Uppsala
flag msg tools
designer
mbmbmbmbmb
ericleesmith wrote:
Thanks for the detailed replay of my old game, I enjoyed it.

Thank you! I enjoyed it a lot and it's given me some new ideas for my own tries at designing dungeon crawlers.

Thanks for a good game!
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Badger
England
London
Enfield
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
AndersGabrielsson wrote:
I roll a die and find out that I just killed a bunch of harpies to get at their magical clavicord.


Maybe a harpsichord would've been more appropriate?

AndersGabrielsson wrote:
The monster turns out to be a Wight!.....Surprisingly, it has ho special abilities.


Still sounds pretty scary to me!

Excellent report, this is the sort of game I would have played to death back in my youth, and it's now on my wishlist.

Thanks!
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Anders Gabrielsson
Sweden
Uppsala
flag msg tools
designer
mbmbmbmbmb
Badgeroonie wrote:
AndersGabrielsson wrote:
I roll a die and find out that I just killed a bunch of harpies to get at their magical clavicord.


Maybe a harpsichord would've been more appropriate?

Or a drum kit. Ba-bump-kssh!
Badgeroonie wrote:
AndersGabrielsson wrote:
The monster turns out to be a Wight!.....Surprisingly, it has ho special abilities.

Still sounds pretty scary to me!

Just the one wasn't so bad. And in D&D, undead traditionally have very scary special abilities. Including being scary.
Badgeroonie wrote:
Excellent report, this is the sort of game I would have played to death back in my youth, and it's now on my wishlist.

Thank you!
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Judy Krauss
United States
Pittsburgh
Pennsylvania
flag msg tools
but I'm not the only one
badge
My hands are small, I know, but they're not yours, they are my own
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Very enjoyable read. thumbsup
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Kim Meints
United States
Waterloo
Iowa
flag msg tools
designer
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Anders

Yes a very enjoyable session report. I do drag my copy(copies) out and play every once in awhile. I also use the large tiles from the files section to play it on. This and Deathmaze are still fun to play even if having some issues.

And yes it was Citadel & Deathmaze that got me into the dungeon type PC games back in the 80's
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Luke
United States
Boston
Massachusetts
flag msg tools
designer
Avatar
mbmbmbmb
I arrived home tonight to find that my printer was out of ink.

This was only a problem because I had been planning to PnP this game.

So instead I'll do that tomorrow.

I stopped by these forums to tide me over, and this session report was exactly what I was looking for.

Thanks!
3 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Front Page | Welcome | Contact | Privacy Policy | Terms of Service | Advertise | Support BGG | Feeds RSS
Geekdo, BoardGameGeek, the Geekdo logo, and the BoardGameGeek logo are trademarks of BoardGameGeek, LLC.