[Elfs] Dyson's Delfs! - Actual Play

edited June 2017 in Actual Play
So a while ago Mike Holmes observed that Dyson Logos is so prolific that there's no chance of exploring even a fraction of his maps, even though they all look really nice. So Mike started working on a game called "Speed Dungeon," which has the explicit goal of running through dungeons in the shortest possible time. Mike's plan was to use "Speed Dungeon" to run me through some of Dyson's maps.

So I one-upped him by offering to run him through some of Dyson's dungeons using... Ron Edwards's Elfs. Naturally. And we did. We're going to (maybe) do it again on Thursday. Anyone is welcome to stop by to join in or watch. We play in #indierpgs on irc.magicstar.net

It's a slightly tweaked version of Elfs - Mike wanted to play it straight, so the potty humor is dialed down. Also, you don't have to be an Elf. You can be a Murder Hobo, or a Dungeon Commando, or whatever. (Mike is a Tomb Robber.)

Magic is the 1st level spells list from Swords & Wizardry, and I kept the unintended side effects list just as is, which resulted in Stror the Tomb Robber coming down with a bad case of "nasty rash" after a total failure while trying to cast Charm Person on a goblin.

We played for about an hour, during which time Stror failed to talk his way past some goblins, succeeded at running away from them only to hide in an undead-infested area where Goblins Fear to Tread. He managed to loot a sarcophagus and dispatch the zombie living (unliving?) in it by cutting off one of its arms, setting it on fire, partly decapitating it, and finally stabbing it in the brain.

Item and spell list here: https://wiki.wishray.com/doku.php?id=dyson_s_delfs


  • Very good!

    But: how's the time/content ratio? How much faster is Elfs in chewing through dungeon content? I could see it being slower as well, being as how humanizing the opposition into farcical setpieces is part of the method.
  • Hey Eero! Nice to "see" you.

    Good question. I think an hour of play is not enough to give you a really definitive answer. However...

    Elfs is *mechanically* fast, so the legendary hour+ long combat encounters of D&D don't happen. Mike's fight with a 2HD zombie took 4 rolls and concomitant narration. It took us 10 minutes or less to resolve on IRC, I'd anticipate that that would be even less (say 5 minutes) in face-to-face play.

    As you allude to, Elfs does really well with "dungeon politics" type scenarios. Ron's suggestions in the rulebook for using Elfs to run old-school modules involve really paring them down; reducing them to just a few interesting NPC / faction relationships. That's one of the reasons I think Elfs is a good fit for Dyson's maps: they're already set up that way! They're all about competing factions and weird "dungeon economy" type situations. They're inherently active, which also contributes to speeding play. There's not a lot of time exploring empty hallways and fighting off random monsters every 6 squares (or whatever). Every area you go to has some kind of power dynamic tying it to some other area, so you can get right to the "plot," as it were.
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