This contain spoilers for the Dungeon Crawl Classics level 0 funnel adventure The Portal Under the Stars by Goodman Games
To go to the start of this adventure visit my post - Dungeon Crawler Classics - Solo Play
Being a peasant is hard but maybe your luck is about to turn around. The stars have aligned in a strange pattern and that old tale you heard so long ago maybe wasn’t as foolish as you thought. Sure enough there is a shimmering portal right in front of you, just outside of town near that old and strange rock formation. There are riches there, you’re sure of it. And you’re not so sure it’ll still be there if you take the time to wander back home and grab more supplies. It’s been a hard and long winter and didn’t the tale promise vast riches inside? You decide it’s time to take a chance and make it big. So you step through the strange bluish light and to your utter astonishment it looks like a good dozen or more of the town’s folk had the same idea as you. You shuffle closer towards them into the stone hallway and unconsciously group up next to some familiar faces. At least you don’t need to ransack the crazy war-wizard’s hideout alone.
The Not So Brave Adventure Party
With some hushed arguments and a fair amount of shoving all sixteen brave-ish souls eventually formed four groups and one “lucky” soul was picked to march in front. You did notice that the crafty and more persuasive folks weren’t the ones out in front. They made themselves cozy in the back of their groups. Also, there were a few animals milling about as well. Who ever heard of a cow brought along in ransacking a dungeon? And was that a falcon on the elf’s arm? You grip your own “weapon”. It was better than nothing, and from the sounds of it your group was ready to begin exploring this hall and the strange door at the end of it.
Halfling chicken butcher
Area 1.1 - The Portal Entrance
While you waited for anyone to do anything, you appreciated how the entrance faded from the stone ruins you came in from to seamlessly becoming solid flagstones under your feet. Even the starlight filtered in from behind you. Down the hallway you could see that there was a large solid wooden door. It appeared to be banded with iron and was decorated with jewels in an odd assortment of star shapes and some unreadable inscription. You’d need to get closer to the door to figure out if that pattern meant anything. Your group came up with a plan and from the muttering around you it sounds like the other groups did as well. Even though you all had a rough game plan, nobody wanted to take the first step further inward. Eventually Gared, leading group two began heading to the door.
||inspect the entrance
||go to door
||inspect the door
||go to the door
||look for traps
||try and open door
||study the star shapes on door
||inspect the hallway
||check back on entrance
||check hall for traps
||inspect the door
||open the door
You watched as he jostled the door handle. Locked. Another group attempted to find hidden clues around the entrance, but came up empty (DC 14, rolled 5). There were no traps in the hallway, group four deduced this fact given that the second group waltzed right over to the door. But they double checked it anyway. The last group sent their best and brightest to decipher the meaning behind the door’s inscription (DC 20, rolled 13) but even they couldn’t make any sense of it. So everyone tried again, each replacing each other and trying anew. But once again all failed in their endeavor.
At last Gared attempted to pry open the door with brute strength. As a caravan guard one would think he could handle breaking open a door, but alas, his muscles failed him. He made a good show of it to impress the others (DC 15 STR, rolled 3) but his terror at what might lie behind the door caused him to falter in his task. While the groups wandered about the hallway and argued over who should try forcing open the door again, Walter, once again near the entrance, had a sudden flash of insight. The stars on the door were constellations! And in fact, in just a couple of hours the sky outside would probably match that pattern.
You’re not sure whether Walter convinced the others to wait the couple of hours to try opening the door, or if it just took that long for Gared or anyone else to overcome their fear enough to try and break the door open again. But either way, when Gared finally grabbed the door handle, the door swung open effortlessly and beyond it lay another dark hallway.
Wearing my DM hat: Mon did I roll poorly for the characters. But luck saved the day and they got through unharmed by the trap on the door, which would have triggered if it had been forced open. The poor peasants have gained 1 XP. Below are the notes I took as I was working through