First Session Report – The Sinister Secret of Saltmarsh

If you’re not familiar with U1: The Sinister Secret of Saltmarsh and you wish to remain spoiler free on this 31-year-old adventure, then I recommend you stop reading now. You can read about the campaign background and get acquainted with the player characters on the Campaign Background and Characters page.

Our adventure started with the caravan of “Lucky” Thorek Copperpot arriving in the coastal fishing town of Saltmarsh. After receiving their pay, our heroes immediate set out to do what adventurers do best (or second best, at least): find a tavern. There was some debate between The Dancing Dryad Tavern & Casino and The Silver Raven Adult Club, but the group eventually settled on The Flounder Pounder’s Seedy Dive. En route, they encountered an old woman pushing a cart of crabs and lobsters (Crazy Nettie), but declined to get crabs from her.

While at The Flounder Pounder’s Seedy Dive, they started asking about stuff to do in town. The casino was mentioned, though someone pointed out that was not the ideal place to go if you wanted to MAKE money, the theater, and someone slid in a comment about the haunted house on the edge of town. This, of course, piqued their interests, so Finias Jinx led the group over the “sheriff’s” office (actually the town constable) to inquire if there was any sort of reward for clearing out the haunted house. The constable didn’t know of any; as far as he knew it was just an old, abandoned house. Still, the lure of excitement proved too much and our intrepid heroes decided to investigate.

Upon arriving at the decrepit old house, the heroes found it to be in a sorry state of repair. It stood on a cliff overlooking the sea, surrounded by a six-foot high stone wall. The wall was in a state of serious disrepair. Finias Jinx climbed over a portion of the wall near the well in the backyard while the rest of the party walked through a nearby hole in the wall. Except for Finias, no one found the well terribly compelling, so he was alone in his attempt to scale down the well.

Until the big snake came out of the wall and attacked him.

After failing to kill it by stabbing it, Finias attempted to climb up the slimy walls, failing in a hilarious fashion while a large snake tried to eat him. Kilos threw a rope down to him and pulled him up. Once Finias was more or less safe, Pat decided the backdoor of the house needed kicking in and proceeded to do so while Finias finished off the snake from above with his bow.

The party proceeded to explore room-by-room, finding little more than broken, moldy furniture and various creepy-crawlies (a nest of giant centipedes and giant spiders). Three books of interest were discovered in the library, as well as a fist-sized chunk of crystal hidden in a fireplace. Herrick took some red mushrooms they found, believe they might be of use, or at least worth further study (he’s an herbalist, mind you). Wikki managed to get himself poisoned by one of the spiders and was incapcitated. He might’ve ended up being dragged around like a ragdoll for the next four hours were it not for Kilos’s timely intervention and clever use of one of the mushrooms to stave off the poison*.

Upstairs, the found the house in similar sorry shape and Kilos almost succumbed to a colony of yellow mold infesting an old cloak he decided he had to try on. Fortunately, he did not die, despite adding one of the “magic” mushrooms to the mix of spores (hey, it worked on incapacitating spider poison!). In one of the bedrooms, they found a nearly-naked man tied up. When freed, he introduced himself as Ned Snakebite. Lorelei was suspicious of him from the start and refused to loan him a dagger. As a safety precaution, Wikki enchanted him and gained a new best friend (Charm Person). Kilos helpfully offered him the formerly-yellow mold-infested cloak to cover up his loincloth and with Ned in tow, they prepared to enter the attic….

So, this was my first time running Basic D&D since Gary Con III, and the first time I ran it as anything more than a one shot since the early 1980s. A few players did not have characters ready when they arrived (which was OK since I intended for us to make characters at the first session), but character creation took very little time, maybe 30 minutes since people were also concerned with acquiring food and getting to know each other. We didn’t both with tactical combat, even though I had Tact-Tiles and miniatures, and no one really missed it. The combats were very short. Everyone seemed to have a good time and even though there were no daily powers, no attacks-of-opportunity, no feats, and no skills, it still felt like D&D to me.
The next game session will be on Friday, February 24th. I’m expecting to be down two players, so we will likely play a different game that day. The next schedule session of Doctor StrangeRoll will take place on Friday, March 9th.

* The mushrooms were supposed to have no effect, but it was a ballsy move I felt needed to be reward with some psychedelic comedy. Wikki could taste the colors for quite a while, man.

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2 thoughts on “First Session Report – The Sinister Secret of Saltmarsh

  1. Very nice post. I just stumbled upon your weblog and wished to
    say that I have truly enjoyed browsing your blog posts.
    After all I will be subscribing to your feed and I hope you write again very soon!

    • Thanks! In theory, we play every other week. Since most of us have families and jobs, real life often intrudes. I’m sure I’ll have a lengthy Gen Con post (or series) next month.

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