[D&D Curse of Strahd] Death House Play Impressions

Just yesterday I joined the local Adventurer’s League launch of the Curse of Strahd for Dungeons & Dragons 5th Edition by running the Death House adventure for a team of Level 1 Heroes.

As a first-time Adventurer’s League GM I had a slight case of the nerves working myself up for it. Then again as an experienced World of Darkness GM I do have some experience running horror so that evened it out.

That said, it was a LONG game, as the scenario involved checking out everything in a house and the dungeon below it, and as an investigative / exorcism scenario, there  were long periods of poking sticks at things to see if anything happens punctuated by vicious, vicious combat.

In any case, here are my impressions of the game (SPOILERS AHOY!):

SLOW BURN – The scenario starts off in a slow pace, with a lot of investigation. Some of the more combat-heavy players might get bored here, but with the right mindset, it will be easier to get into the feel of the game. It does get a tad long though, but I do like how the creepiness gets more and more overt as they explore more of the house.

JUMP SCARES – Some of the fights made sense, but there were a few that were uncalled for or seemed to just be there for the sake of it. This is purely subjective though, as I felt that the Animated Armor was okay, but that damned broom was weird.

TOO MANY GHOSTS – I understand that this is a horror scenario, but nothing sucks the fun out of an encounter than fighting more than one thing that Resists all your damage. The Spectre was a terrifying encounter that left one of the party dead in one hit, and it could Resist pretty much anything the party threw at it.

SHAMBLING MOUND – I’m not sure if the Shambling Mound was meant to be a combat encounter because the moment it appeared, the party just up and ran away from it. Thankfully they could all outpace it.

KILLER HOUSE – The last part of the module involved a mad dash out of the house. It was harrowing and made for a hilarious last nailbiter as the players prayed for high rolls.


Death House is a big scenario crammed into a tiny space. Play it in a quiet location, take your time, and let your players take in the ambience. While there’s no taking away the tactical thinking when you’re working with D&D, it does a commendable job in relaying horror tropes to help with transitioning the players to understand the nature of Ravenloft as being fundamentally bleaker than in the Forgotten Realms.

[August D&D RPG Mini-Convention Recap] Dungeon Delverz Extreme!


That’s me standing over to the right. Image courtesy of Rocky Sunico.

Last weekend was when me and a few other volunteer GMs kicked off our biggest attempt at a local mini-convention for tabletop roleplaying games in Manila. We try to run an event every month, and last month was our most ambitious event in the form of the August D&D mini-convention.

While the story behind the conventions and how it turned out is pretty cool, I’ll see if I can dedicate another blog post to talk about that. Today I wanted to share a little about the game I ran for the convention, which I called “Dungeon Delverz Extreme!”

Um, what?

Exactly. Here’s the pitch I gave:

In the near future, the most popular spectator sport to grace the holo-screens of every household is none other than Dungeon Delvers Extreme! Cyber athletes from around the world compete in virtual reality dungeon crawls against other teams, engaging in bloody spectacles of might and sorcery.

You and your team have made it as far as the qualifiers, and this match could mean the difference between moving on to the finals or going home as losers. Which will you be tonight?

As you can tell, there’s a fair amount of recursion here, with Players taking the role of Athletes, who basically take on the role of their virtual reality Avatars. I had initially opened the game up for 4 Players, but by the time the convention rolled around, I had 7.

Given that it was meant to simulate a holo-vid reality show, the experience wouldn’t be complete without a bit of audience participation. So I figured it would be a good idea to have a live audience.

Audience Participation

To get the audience more involved, I also added a small rule to the game.

Once per Encounter, a member of the Audience may request for a specific action to be taken by the party. If a player character is able to execute the action successfully during the encounter, they gain a Favor Token.

On their turn, a player may spend a Favor Token to gain any of the following:

  • Reroll a failed check or save
  • Stabilize and restore to 1 HP
  • Heal 1 Hit Die worth of damage

This let the Audience throw in some interesting curveballs towards the players in each Encounter. This ranged from random product plugs “Quick do an in-character testimonial of how awesome this Hand Santizier is!” to specific actions, “Take the Lizardman’s head off!” and even a few of the more bizarre ones like, “Seduce the dragon!”

That said, despite losing my voice towards the last encounter, the team had a great time, and the audience was getting way into it, thinking of more crazy ideas of what to get the players to do to earn those Favor Tokens.

[D&D 5e] Nosfecatu’s Monster Monday: Magwayen

Fellow Philippine Blogger Nosfecatu has been working on putting together D&D 5e compatible write ups for Philippine Myth Inspired monsters on his blog! His first entry is a strong start, talking about Magwayen, the Ferrywoman of the Dead.

Aubrey Miles as Magwayen, from GMA TV Network’s “Amaya”

I feel that it’s a great addition to any Fantasy RPG to throw your players off from the usual fantasy tropes and into something different for a change. After all, in twisting things you get to revive the sense of wonder of your setting.

Head on over to Nosfecatu and check it out! http://nosfecatu.blogspot.kr/2015/03/monster-monday-magwayen.html

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