After several years, I refereed Tower fo the Stargazer again for my current group; it ran for three sessions.
Yeah, whatever. The party were an educated barbarian (Fighter and the only male), a vivimancer (Magic-User with flesh-flavored spells), a regular elf, a regular halfling and a regular dwarf.
The dead body outside the tower had some loot: rope, a charred coin and some fancy boots.
The halfling was about to open the door but the vivimancer said, “Wait, where’s your education?” And she knocked on the door. If you try to open it, you save vs death, but knocking on it invalids the killing spell, making the door opening for you. That player had the right idea! (and he didn’t know it beforehand, he only reads WoD books).
They methodically explored room by room. In room there is a simple table, the elf said, “I search the table”, but there was nothing. The player contained, he said if you put something in an adventure, there should be something to be found. He’s a moder D&D player by heart so it was a little difficult to make accept the OSR ethos, but he ended up accepting it for the sake of other’s fun if not totally convinced. Good player, to be honest.
Very soon found the elevator shaft. Damn players, you know? They will make every possible thing to break the game. Good thing I had read the adventure entirely during the week, so it didn’t take my unprepared.
They didn’t find how to activate the elevator but they used the rope they found on the corpse (which then they deduced it was the famous thief Lorenzo (mentioned during the introduction to the adventure, the story hooks: “a famed thief, Lorenzo, went to loot that haunted tower; he hasn’t come back”). I also put his companions inside the tower. Dead all of them.
There is a trap in the game that states that the third person to cross a door must make a save or be crushed but the falling portcullis. One they entered this room and decided their order, the vivimancer said, “I go thord”. And she was crushed but survived. It was memorable.
They liberated the idol and were about to avoid being attacked but a bad roll said otherwise. The ran away but the elf died. Instead of continuing exploring, they went back to the town with a bunch a (fake) golden coins, they purchased the right to use the tavern as their HQ.
They hired a Cleric (elf replacement) and continued searching the tower. There was a new charred corpse just outside the door. Someone didn’t have the manners to know on and paid the consequences.
They collected found the wizard trapped inside it’s salt circle, but it was Shelley Duvall, as seen here:
She acted cool and nice, the halfling was getting close to disrupt the circle, liberating her, and one player must have noticed my impish smile or something because her bearded dwarf woman panicked and stopped the halfling. “It’s a trap!” someone screamed.
Shelley Duvall started threating them to kill them if they didn’t release her immediatly. They ignored her for the rest of the session, and looted a good portion of the tower, still no gold (real gold, they still dodn’t know the first gold is fake) but found many books the vivimancer would end up using to make a laboratory (I have special rules for labs called “The Magic Laboratory”. Don’t worry, Magick is Free!)
Then they found the secret treasure room, the real treasure. It was hard to run, this part. You have to pull some levers and deduce there are energy fields that can deal damage and avoid continuing on, but after a few tries the vivimancer said she wanted to try something. Using a 10-feet-pole, she searched the energy fields, and since it was just a matter of time until she found the right combination, we simply rolled 1d6 to know how many 10-minute turns it would take them. It worked, the players didn’t get bored, and left the tower happy with their new treasure.
After calling it a night, they traveled to Amsterdam to sell the books and all. Yeah, there are elves and there is Amsterdam. It’s a weird world after all. I actually forgot to rename the places for the fantasy focus, I had prepared my map for a real-world game, so in the end, it ended up being called Hamster Dam, silly name. But allowing fantasy races was the only way some of these boys and girls accepted playing an OSR.
The searched the remaining rooms, found the dead adventures that accompanied Lorenzo the thief and didn’t dare to challenge the chess ghost (the cowards). But they secured many more books and a map into Lawndon (where Death Love Doom awaits for them to scare the crap out of them).
In the observatory, the map includes three canisters, but only two are mentioned in the adventure text. One has power, one has charcoal, and the third one contains the sleeping body of no less than Shelley Duvall. When she woke up the players freaked out but this lady communicated with them telepathically. She was actually a Deva the wizard summoned and stole her powers (and appearance of youth and jolly as a side effect). The player who communicated with her received a special version of the spell Summon, here called Summon Deva, which follows the rules of Summon but any entity it invokes will be either a helping Deva (basically an angel of light) or an angry Devil (an “evil” angel of fire).
Oh, for this third session, one player invited her daughter, and she played a Specialist.
When they deduced they could operate the telescope, they made all preparations needed, including using the star crystal that would teleport the first one peeing into a strange planet. The Specialist said, “I watch first”.