Actual Play: Whitehack in the Overrun Mines

Let’s try this experiment. Shane Ward asked me to review one of his modules (all PWYW). I chose The Overrun Mines, a Labyrinth-Lord-adventure for level 1 characters. It’s a simple location-based module.
I recently bought the 2nd edition of Whitehack (review of the 1st edition here), so I wanted to play the adventure with this ruleset.
There are 4 pre-gens included in The Overrun Mines, so I converted them to WH and will now run them through the module in a solo experiment. I’m playing the GM and will emulate the players with the Mythic GME. So most of the content comes from the adventure itself (I’m railroading here but nobody will complain, right?) and the PC’s reactions will be determined by Mythic.

Whitehack’s 2nd edition moves away from its 0e/Swords-&-Wizardry-roots in favor for more distinctive rules. The attack bonuses (BHB/BAB) and the armor class are different now. The Attack Value (AV) replaces BHB and starts at around 10-11 (BHB was 0-1). An unarmored human now has AC 0 with ascending armor class, so Cloth is AC 1 and Chainmail AC 4. These changes come with the advantage of a unified task system (roll under or equal) but the disadvantage of the need to convert things instead of using them directly from an S&W ruleset.

About the adventure: The mines are located near a small town and were its income for years. Now the mine is plagued by horrors. The town’s steward offers a reward for the brave adventurers that will take care of the problem.

Let’s check the provided rumours tables first.
Miners Rumours: There are traps in the mine, meant to keep bothersome freelancers out!

So, the four characters from the Adventurer’s Guild (I made that up as an affiliation group for the PCs) enter the mine now.

Actual Play

Scene 1

Mine Entrance

This is the entrance to the mine, there is a large cave entrance, inside a small path leads down into the mine, it is very dark. The tunnel is braced with large boards.  A door from the mine entrance lies in splinters upon the ground.  

(Please note: text like the above is more or less stolen from the adventure or made up by me.)

Two characters have torches which they lit.

What do the characters do? Do they approach cautiously? (CF 5, very likely) – Yes. (Mythic question)

Common Room

This room is 20` by 25`, it looks like it was used as a staging area to carry out the finished ore.  In the west corner are a few barrels, in the east corner, is a haphazard pile of iron ingots (10).  A passage leads to the southeast.  

Do the characters inspect the barrels and the ingots? (CF 5, 50/50) – Yes.

They find 2 days worth of provisions and 2 pickaxes.

You come to a junction, there are passageways to the left, right and straight ahead.  

Let’s just randomly decide where the characters go, as there are no signs to differentiate the corridors. (I roll 1d4, where I would re-roll a 1). The group goes ahead.

Does the thief scout ahead? (CF 5, 50/50) – Extreme No.

The group stays together and blunders ahead with no regards for their safety and enter …

The Iron Mine

This room is fairly large, 45” by 35”.  This is the main mine.  The miners have worked on the sections here, digging deeper into the ground.  There is a large 15” hole in the centre of the room.  The walls of the mine have also been worked on.  In the centre of the hole is a large grey worm!  The worm appears to be hurt, it bleeds profusely from wounds.  Littered throughout the mine are dead miners.  There are sections of ore that can be converted to ingots in the room; they are in large wheel barrows.  

Do the characters attack the worm immediately without checking the room first? (CF 5, somewhat likely) – No.

So, Haw-Thrig (the thief) and Galahad (the fighter) check out their surroundings while Wiz, the Wise Scholar (wizard) and Alhan, the Wise Cleric, stand back. (Wise is one of Whitehack’s character classes, with Strong and Deft as the others.)

Haw-Thrig gets a positive double roll for his skill check because his vocation group is thief and searching for traps etc. fits. He succeeds without getting hurt by the Worm.
Galahad doesn’t find anything. Instead, while searching the room, he slips while evading the Grey Worm (he rolled a fumble). While nothing happens to him, his torches fall down the hole.

Haw-Thrig finds a key and 15 CP.

Afterwards, the characters will want to finish off the creature. The characters get to act first (house rule).

Combat Round 1

Galahad uses the higher ground and jumps onto the injured Grey Worm. He has AV (Attack Value) 12 but gets combat advantage +2. That means his AV is 14. The Worm has an AC of 5, so Galahad needs to roll 6-14 (higher than the target’s AC but equal or lower than his AV). Galahad rolls an 11, so that’s a hit, he does 5 damage (his sword has 1d6+1 damage rating).

Haw-Thrig uses this distraction to try to disappear in the shadows so he can sneak up onto the Worm. Yep, success (DEX check).

Alhan also jumps into the fray but misses the worm.

The Scholar, Wiz, casts his miracle “Magic Missile” for an HP cost of 1 and does 3 damage. It hits automatically, no attack roll or save negates.

Next up is the Grey Worm. It has an AV of HD+10 (=15) but gets a penalty because it is injured (AV-1).

The worm trashes around and tries to crush you underneath his slimy belly. You are fast enough to evade its slightly clumsy attacks.  

Combat Round 2

Haw-Thrig sneaks up from behind and tries to stab the creature. Success (thanks to combat advantage)! The dagger buries itself into the Worm’s hide for 4 damage.

Galahad whirls his blade and cuts the Worm but to no avail.

Alhan goes next, but the Grey Worm just shrugs off his blows with the club.

Wiz moves towards the worm (close distance) and casts “Magic Missile” again, 1 damage. He loses 1 HP for the miracle.

The worm attacks Galahad (needs to roll between 4 (Galahad has AC 3) and 14 (the Worm’s AV). With a roll of 4 that’s a success, so he does d6+2 damage. That would mean 7 damage and put Galahad at Death’s doorstep. So he tries to save against the damage with a Constitution roll. Success! That means he can reduce the damage by 1d6 (= 4). That leaves Galahad at 4 HP and standing.

Combat Round 3

The three characters in the fray can flank the Worm (combat advantage). Galahad does 3 damage.

Alhan rolls a 1 for his melee attack. Even with +2 for combat advantage it isn’t enough to hurt the Worm (AC 3).

Haw-Thrig’s trusty dagger hurts the vile creature again (3 damage).

Wiz casts “Magic Missile” again (cost 1 HP). 6 damage! Whohoo!

The Worm retaliates and attacks the thief. That would be 7 damage. Haw-Thrig tries to save with a CON check. Success! He mitigates 1d6 (=3) damage, so that leaves 4 damage.

Combat Round 4

The Worm is still not dead. Let’s change that.

Alhan goes first. Thanks to the flanking bonus the creature can’t evade his attacks. 5 damage!

Galahad takes a stab at the creature with his short sword and finishes off. With a wet sound he cleaves the Worm into two halves.

You find  11 GPs, 4 Gems (worth 100 GPs, 75, 10, 750), 2 well-made Crossbow Bolts (+2). Galahad's torches were buried underneath the Worm and are unusable.  
  • End of Scene 1, the Chaos Factor goes up by 1

Scene 2

Alhan heals Galahad and Haw-Thrig with his miracle “Cure Light Wounds” (cost 1 HP for each miracle). That brings Galahad back to full HP and Haw-Thrig to 4 HP. Galahad binds Haw-Thrigs wounds (trained task roll) for 1d6-3 HP (rolls 2, so no effect).

At the other end of the room is another corridor. After a short distance it branches off into two directions.  

The characters choose the left corridor and come to a locked door which appears to be fairly new.

The thief listens at the door but everything is silent (WIS check). He silently picks the lock (DEX check) and they can enter the room.

The room is 20’ by 10’.  The remains of a recent fire scar the ground, blackened bones lie on the floor.  

Haw-Thrig scouts ahead. The others wait at the door. Haw-Thrig needs to make a perception check (WIS) to see if he is surprised by the rising skeletons. Failure!

3 skeletons rise from the bones and attack the thief!  

The Goblin Skeletons have AV 11 but with surprise they get combat advantage, so it’s AV 13 this time. That would mean 3 and 5 damage as two of them hit.
Haw-Thrig saves with a CON check to shrug off the damage and mitigates the 5 damage by 1 to 4. Still, the two attacks are enough to kill him. Ouch!

Characters go next, monsters last. Galahad charges with a battle cry and rips the first skeleton apart! (He needs to roll between 4 (skeletons have AC 3) and 14 (his AV of 12 + Charge bonus of 2. He rolls 4, so that’s within the margin.)

Alahan joins the fray (margin 4-12 (AV of 10 + 2 for Charge), he rolls a 4). His club hammers the Goblin Skeleton down and shatters it.

The wizard attacks with his quarterstaff but is hindered by his friends (Wiz rolls an 18, far above his AV of 10).

The remaining skeleton is too slow to damage any of the characters and after a second round it is also reduced to shattered bones (it only had 1 HP).

There is nothing of value in the room. The skeletons are Goblin skeletons.
  • End of Scene 2, CF goes up by 1 to CF 7

Scene 3

Do the characters go on? (CF 7, 50/50) – Extreme No.

So, that means the three remaining adventurers double back. They take the corpse of their fallen thief and retreat.

Do they try to recruit another party member before continuing? (CF 7, very unlikely) – No.

Ok, that means they go back to the latest safe room they found to rest. That would mean the Common Room. The characters get some HP back and the adventure can continue.

  • End of Scene 3, CF goes down to CF 6

Scene 4

The characters start again from the Common Room and come to the junction where they originally went straight ahead to the main miners area with the Grey Worm.

Do the adventurers choose to explore one of the other corridors they originally left behind (CF 6, likely) – Yes.

I’m rolling to see which way they go: right.

The corridor branches off, the right passageway is slightly wider and more used.  

Do they choose the left passageway? (CF 6, 50/50) – Yes.

In this tunnel there was a cave in and it is full of rubble.

(1 in 6 chance for another cave in – nothing happens.)

Do the characters search the rubble? (CF 6, 50/50) – No.

There's nothing of interest here.   

The adventurers now go back and choose the other way and find the

Miners Barracks

This room is 15’ by 20’.  The room has 6 small bunk beds, a large fireplace, food stuffs littered about, and a large table in the centre. 6 disgruntled looking miners live here.  

(45% chance that the miners attack the PCs on sight – roll of 78, everything’s ok.)

Upon seeing you, one of the miners sneers. "What a ragtag bunch. Bugger off!"  

Ok, now let’s try the Auction mechanic of Whitehack. The characters want to convince the miners to leave peacefully. The miners want to be left alone.
This one is a bit difficult to emulate as I know all the stats. But we’ll see. Every character bids for himself but the miners are one group, so the characters have a slight advantage.

Galahad: “Look folks, it’s dangerous here in the mines. We already lost a party member and there was a cave in in one of the tunnels. You better leave.” (CHA 11 + “secret” roll of 4) The Wanderer bids 5.

Alhan: “We are only concerned with your safety. In the main main there was a big Grey Worm and many dead miners. You don’t want to end like them, do you? I don’t think the deities will approve of this foolishness.” (CHA of 12 + “secret” roll of 3) The cleric bids 6.

The wizard chimes in with: “We know you are brave souls but you shouldn’t waste your lives.” (CHA of 4 + “secret” roll of 6) Wiz only goes for a one-bid as he doesn’t want to go higher than Alhan’s 6.

Miners: “You can talk all you want but this is our life. We need to make a living.” (HD1+5=6 for CHA and a “secret” roll of 3) They go for a one-bid as well.

Let’s dissolve the situation. Alhan bid highest so he has to make a skill check first: higher than 6 but lower or equal to 15. Alhan rolls a positive double roll for his CHA stat because he’s a cleric. He rolls a 15 (crit!) and succeeds.

After some more talk the miners grudgingly agree to leave. They also give you a key to a barred tunnel entrance. They were attacked by a group of mosquito-like winged creatures. "Man, these things were creepy. And they killed some of our comrades. If you want to go down to the next area you'll need to pass this tunnel, sorry."
  • End of Scene 4, CF goes down by 1 to CF 5

Scene 5

Do the adventurers go back and explore the rest of level 1? (CF 5, very likely) – Extreme Yes.

Lead Head Quarters

So, Galahad the Wanderer, the Cleric Alhan and the Scholar Wiz decide to inspect one of the other tunnels and come to a locked door. Unfortunately, their rogue is already dead. The three still have his lockpicks, though. The Wanderer tries his luck.

(It’s a trained roll so he gets a negative double roll which results in a 19.)

The lockpick breaks in this sturdy lock. No chance to open the door silently.  

Frustrated, Galahad wants to bash it in. He tries to destroy the lock with the sword pommel. Success!

The room is 10’ by 10’. Inside the room is a small study, with a table, and a bookshelf.  On the table are a few volumes and a journal.  

Wiz immediately goes to the books and deciphers them. There’s an inventory of the mining operation and some notes about a locust of stirges and a purple worm.

Do the characters search the room for secret doors or traps? (CF 5, somewhat likely) – No.

The characters now go back to the room where they originally lost their comrade. The room leads to a tunnel which branches off into two directions. The first enter the left passageway and come to the

Sleeping Quarters

The door to this room is unlocked and hanging by two bolts. Nothing here.

They go next to the

Throne Room

Do they approach cautiously? (CF 5, likely) – Extreme Yes.

They try to sneak up the room. Wiz is the clumsiest characters so he will make a check (DEX 6). He rolls a 1, so that’s a success.

This room is 20” by 25”.  It was previously the throne room of the goblin king who inhabited this section of the mines.  An undead goblin is strapped down to the throne. This room has also been firebombed, the ground is blackened and there are bones littered across the floor.  A fake wall to the southeast is partially open.  
The goblin zombie hasn't detected you yet.  

Do the characters choose to fight? (CF 5, 50/50) – Extreme Yes.

Combat Round 1

They stand back and Wiz will cast “Magic Missile” from a distance (-1 HP).

The undead shrieks, breaks free of his leather strapping and lurches towards his assailant. At the same time, 4 Goblin Skeletons rise from the bones on the floor.  

The entrance to the room is a bottleneck so the characters take a defensive position and let them come. Two characters can stand besides each other.

Combat Round 2

Characters go first. The skeletons are faster to arrive than the Goblin king so Galahan attacks one of them (AC 3).
(Galahan rolls 9, that’s higher than the skeleton’s AC but lower/equal to his AV of 12.)

He kills one skeleton and uses the momentum to attack another (a class trait, he is a Strong character). He only rolls a 2, that’s not enough to meet the enemy’s AC.

Now it’s Alhan’s turn. He pummels one of the skeletons with his club (roll of 4, success).

Wiz casts “Magic Missile” on the Goblin King (-1 HP) for 4 damage. The missile explodes the undead’s head and brain matter splashes all around.

Now, the 2 last skeletons can attack. One of them strikes Galahan at a gap of his armor and makes 6 damage. It extracts his bloodied bony hand from Galahan’s side with force.
Alhan can evade the other skeleton’s attack.

Combat Round 3

Galahan grabs the skeleton’s arm, brings down his sword (rolls a 6) and crushes the undead. He uses the momentum to strike at the last undead but misses (roll of 13, that’s over his AV). They now can flank the opponent.

Alhan uses the distraction and strikes the skeleton from behind (roll of 12, AV of 10 + combat advantage 2, crit!). He crushes the undead’s bony frame.

Wiz searches the body of the zombie and the room. There’s the exit to the not-so-secret room and the Goblin King also has a key on him.

  • End of Scene 5, CF goes up to CF 6

Let’s stop here. The adventure is a fairly generic dungeon crawl which is fun in itself but for the sake of trying it out I feel it’s enough. I will post a review in the future. The Grey Worm was quite powerful, yet that could be due to my clumsy conversion. 1st level characters can be quite squishy.

At first, Whitehack’s new system was unfamiliar and I needed to look up the rules. The first edition was very much Swords & Wizardry WhiteBox with heavy houserules, different classes and an own magic system. But the basic mechanisms (task rolls/skill rolls, attack rolls, monster entries) were the same. The new system is different. I like it so far but there is a learning curve.

I was already a fan of the 1st version and I think the 2nd edition is even better but still maintains the good aspects of the 1st edition. Perhaps I’ll write a detailed review in the future, we’ll see.


Links:
The Overrun Mines (aff)
3Toadstools Publishing @RPGnow (aff)
Whitehack
Mythic GME

2 thoughts on “Actual Play: Whitehack in the Overrun Mines

    1. The magic system is quite free-form, here’s a review from the 1st edition where magic was basically the same: http://dieheart.net/whitehack-two/
      The 2nd edition just made some things a bit more clear and made some slight balancing changes. There’s also explanation on how to use traditional spells which was missing from the 1st edition.

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