I ran Oh, We’re In It Now on the weekend. It’s a 2-hour DDAL-legal adventure written by Luke Gygax and Thomas Valley. It’s the second time I’ve run it, and so I was much more confident about how to approach it.
The adventure doesn’t use a map. The adventurers are in the middle of a lot of mazey corridors trying to find the way out. It’s complicated by the fact that the corridors are also playing host to a battle between Kraken Society cultists and Yuan-Ti, both of which are more than happy to kill the adventurers. Instead of having a structure where the players choose which direction they go until they find the way out, the DM instead just chooses encounters for them until time runs out. At that point, an ending encounter triggers, and the adventurers escape.
Although I’m typically not fond of this adventure structure, where the players’ actions do not influence how they complete the adventure, it works fine in this instance.
The maze was built by a mysterious wizard, so there are a lot of old-school traps, strange features to examine, and a lot of combat; though the exact proportion of each depends on which encounters the DM chooses to use. Ten chamber encounters and ten hallway encounters provide a fair selection of encounters. There’s perhaps less range to the encounters than you might expect, as many are simply new ways of encountering Yuan-Ti or Kraken Society members, but there’s more than enough variety for a 2-hour slot.
It would be possible to run this in a very boring fashion, I feel. However, get the right group of players and Dungeon Master, and there’s a lot of fun to be had. The Dungeon Master is likely going to need to flesh out the descriptions of the rooms and situations further, but it provides most of the basic building blocks.
During our play of the adventure, we had the fun of having a druid turning into a giant constrictor snake. This huge creature is not the natural inhabitant of these walls. In fact, it should downright struggle. Despite the snake being a long, relatively-thin creature, the rules in D&D assume they occupy a square space. This is something that dates from the 3.5E revision to D&D. In 3E, a horse took up a 5-foot by 10-foot space. In 3.5E, this changed to be a 10-foot by 10-foot space. Why? Because D&D doesn’t assume combatants are facing one direction.
The trouble with facing is that you then need rules to cover how you change which way you’re looking (or which way is front). This is far fiddlier than you want in D&D. So, D&D uses square facing so each combatant could potentially be facing in any direction. It’s not too far from what should happen in combat: no combatant stands still and facing the same way all the time. Instead, Combatants always change their stance and move around. The square facing allows this movement without having the unfortunate situation where a creature can’t turn around.
So, what happens when a Huge Snake (15-foot square space) is in a 10-foot-wide corridor? Well, it can fit, but it’s considered to be squeezing. See the Player’s Handbook, Combat, Movement and Position to find the actual rules. Suffice to say the snake suffers disadvantage on attacks and Dexterity saves, is slower to move, and opponents have advantage to hit it.
It does require you to remember the rule though. I half-remembered it, and I didn’t want to stop the session to look it up. Instead, I played the snake as being able to move and fight normally and then made a note to look up the rule afterwards. People were having fun, so better to let the fun continue. Next time, I know what the rule should be, and I’ll advise the player of how it should be handled.
Even getting this rule wrong, having a giant snake wander through the hallways caused a few problems for the other characters. Fifteen feet of a corridor filled by a snake gives substantial cover to the creatures on the other side. Squeezing past the snake? It’s possible, but it’s effectively difficult ground. So, it takes 35 feet of movement to move past the snake for its allies. The effect of this? Characters had to use the Dash action to get past, and so had a round of doing nothing but letting the foes get another attack on them.
The best moment of the adventure came from the druid. In the previous round, he’d taken enough damage to revert to human form. On his turn, he declared “I bite the Yuan-Ti!” and immediately made the attack roll. He hit.
Typically, in such a situation, I would have pointed out that he was no longer a snake and asked him if he wanted to change his action. However, the Yuan-Ti in question had only one hit point remaining. So, I just allowed the action as described. The druid in his human form leaned forward and bit the Yuan-Ti. It died, and much laughter ensued.
Further amusement came from a hallway that had several sandbags and a layer of sand everywhere. The corridor was mined, with tripwires leading to magical bombs under the sandbags. The adventurers discovered the first of the tripwires and followed it to the first bomb. Their check for finding the bomb was less than good, so I described how one adventurer lifted the bag, to find the bomb below, but moving the bag any further or replacing it would set off the bomb! Oh dear!
This led to the players frantically searching for a solution. It’s fun when that happens – lots of crazy ideas are described, and you get to advise them on whether you’d think they’d work. The smartest idea was to get another sandbag and wedge the first sandbag with it. Great idea. I said it would definitely work. So, one of the adventurers went to another group of sandbags to get one. He picked it up – and triggered the bomb beneath it. The adventurers holding the original bomb stable had to make Strength saving throws to keep it stable, which they did, but once again everyone found this amusing.
It helps to know your players!
There are a few problems with “Oh, We’re In It, Now” for DDAL play, particularly in the way it awards magic items. Rather than giving out multiple staffs of the python and goggles of night, I ignored the permanent awards altogether. Take care with them; I’m not sure what the official DDAL ruling on it is.
However, we enjoyed it. The adventurers survived, and the players had fun.