In a few weeks I will be running "The Sleeping Place of the Feathered Swine" in Dungeon Crawl Classics at Game Con South Bend, so I thought it would be a good idea to run the adventure a few times so that I am intimately familiar with this terrible cave. The first of two play-throughs happened last Saturday with three players.
Here are the highlights and observations. Spoilers, obviously.
- The players selected the randomly generated Warrior, Dwarf and Thief characters. This may have increased their odds of survival since the Warrior and Dwarfs came out as killing machines, even though they were completely random.
- I think I will skip the encounter with Felix Longworm as he doesn't provide much incentive to go into the cave unless the PCs are really hard up for cash. In a one-shot context, the promise of gold that can't be used isn't very motivating. I will attempt an info dump for my next play-though and see if that works better.
- The players immediately picked up the resemblance of one cave feature to a part of the female anatomy. This landmark became known as "the vagina pit." I might note that this was my first time DMing a game for an exclusively male group.
- The players found the mushrooms and armor before getting a good look at the feathered swine. They spent an awful long time looking at the armor, thinking it had to be booby trapped. It was not until one of them ate the bio-luminescent mushrooms and gained perfect darkvision that they were convinced it was safe to put on.
- The Warrior did not seem too pleased when the armor attached itself to his body. The Dwarf immediately asked "How will he poop?" which I actually had an answer for.
- The players essentially ran the adventure backwards and made short work of the Worm Tumors, luckily avoiding any infection. However, they were terrified of the things and would not go near the group of four of them.
- Aspeth gave them her quest item and then hobbled off to become a suicide bomber. The players assumed that she killed all of the remaining Worm Tumors this way. They were wrong.
- The Thief performed the surgery on the feathered swine as he was the smartest character in the group. He did manage to get infected and had his left arm cut off at the elbow and cauterized immediately. He then removed one more cyst before calling it a day.
- The players decided that going up the vagina pit would be the best way out of the cave. The Dwarf and Thief have no problem scaling the walls. The Warrior was not so lucky and repeatedly fell onto the cave floor. Although his new evil armor absorbed most of the damage from the fall, he made enough noise to attract the three remaining Worm Tumors, charred and angry from their encounter with Aspeth. Although the monsters were quickly killed by the three PCs, the Warrior was still infected as the worms crawled through the plates of his sabatons.
- Tired of failing to climb the cave wall, the Warrior decided to walk the long way through the cave. By the time he got back to the rest of the party, the infection had taken hold and he was now a super-powered Worm Tumor in evil armor. Luckily for everyone, he could not pass the pit and remained in the cave.
- The Thief and Dwarf left him to die and got paid. The Dwarf had an awkward sexual encounter with Felix, who he had developed a crush on.