Ran the first session of a game set in Qelong using the ACKS rules tonight. Four players generated a fighter, paladin, cleric and thief. For a group new to ACKS I elected to start without picking proficiencies and just let them choose in play to get going quickly.
Starting in the Village of Suong, out of a couple of leads the party chose to follow up on rumors of goblins lairing beneath an abandoned watchtower outside of town. These goblins were known for stealing trinkets and food from the villagers, but lately one had been seen running off with the spear a plague-ridden warrior had claimed was magical before his untimely demise.
After seriously considering rushing the main entrance of the half-ruined tower on top of the hill, the party circled the base of the hill and found a game trail leading to a small cave... Entering they found a larger chamber, off which they found and killed several giant ferrets peaceably feasting on dead giant rats. Exploring further they found stairs downward and a very narrow passage on the same level; they descended.
One level down they found a more artificially excavated level with squared off corridors and rooms. Lucking past two encounters due to their fear of opening doors, they entered a small open room where goblins pelted them with hallucinegic toads. This had little practical effect, and the players swiftly dispatched all but one of them.
The last survivor fled. The fighter and paladin gave chase at a run, around a bend and into a door, and the cleric and thief followed them for back-up... at a more careful walk. Two giant-sized goblins almost as big as a normal man and several normal goblins came back out the door. The thief didn't like the odds and ran; the cleric was persuaded by his example. Clarifying, I determined both meant to move all the way to the dungeon exit, and the less-encumbered thief was not slowing to match pace with the cleric. All good so far.
The paladin and fighter decided to try their luck in battle... and strength bonuses plus cleave carried the day. From the bodies and the room they came up with 1000 gold pieces, two goblin potions and a fine human-made axe.
I caught up on wandering monster checks for the two more discrete party members; they were lucky.
The fighters pulled a wandering monster check from the noise; more goblins. They tried fighting again, but the Paladin got dropped at exactly 0 hit points. Fortunately this happened the same round as Fighter's attacks forced a morale check for the goblins; impressed, the last large goblins stayed out of his sword range as he slowly dragged his companion away. Their wandering monster checks were lucky on the way out.
Mortal wounds roll was a lucky sixteen, and a local monk was found to provide a cure light wounds.
The axe was lost when the Paladin went down, but the fighters got out with the gold and potion bottles. Cleric and Thief were lucky Fighter's a nice guy, because he still volunteered to split the gold, which I don't think they had actually expected.
The split came after paying for healing the Paladin and the Fighter buying four war dogs as a party expense though. Fighter took the Animal Training proficiency. Cleric took Healing and Divine Blessing. Paladin took Martial Training so he could use ranged weapons. Thief picked Alertness and Lockpicking from the book.
Then they went back! Fighter's player wanted that spear. First their dogs killed a watchpost of goblins for them. Then they found an even larger haul of gold searching in a (now) abandoned room they hadn't wanted to open the first trip. The Thief volunteered to carry the gold, and a straight face very nearly pulled it off, but the Paladin remembered him running last time before I moved the action on, so he carried the haul instead.
With a great deal of gold in their hands they... pressed even deeper! Fighter still wanted the spear. On to the end of a corridor, where two more large goblins herded a half dozen giant fire beetles to attack them. Fire beetles couldn't roll for **** and dogs made short work of them, then fighters made short work of the goblins.
Wounded but still up, the party decided to turn around... after searching. Which got them some gems, but pulled a wandering monster on the way out. More goblins, coming down the party's only exit route. Fighter and Paladin melee'd. Thief wanted to shoot one; rather than get into "rules say you can't shoot into melee at all" I told him "okay, don't roll a 1."
He rolled a 1.
Shot in the back and already wounded, the fighter dropped at -3 hp. Paladin cleaned house in his place. Mortal wounds roll didn't go as well this time. He needed magical healing within a day, and lost 1/3 of his (admittedly high) Con score. He took a chance on a goblin potion, which actually was cure light wounds in the adventure! That covered half his problem, but he's still down some Con and needs more frequent rest. They returned to town, and that's where we ended.
The group's stated goal for next session is to get to the larger port city of Quampong for a Restore Life and Limb. So a couple of hexes of overland travel and a city, and we may get to engage more with Qelong as a setting than we did this session.
Anyway, it was a good session. I thought we were close to a tpk twice, but Cleave did it's job and they swung a couple of combats that looked close to being tpk's.
They actually picked up quite a lot of xp for one session, enough to get the thief and cleric eyeing second level. At some moments, watching people cleave every round or not getting many wandering monsters on the way out, it felt like I was going easy for the gold they were pulling out, but again, two Mortal Wounds rolls and a couple of close combats. Too, the dungeon I was running didn't really present any traps on their line of travel, which would have changed some things given the front line's MO.
And of course, a Tampering with Mortality roll on the second session is their win condition at this point, so that's cool.