(Just to clarify, everything below is not complaining, but rather elaborating on how balls-out awesome the game we’re in is.)
Tuesday night we resumed our Lamentations game. This game has taken OSR lethality to such Roguelike levels that we’re joking about needing to start savescumming. In just 2 sessions, we’ve had 4 PC deaths and a hireling death.
There was a near TPK on the second floor when a pack of NONLETHAL giant centipedes nommed us in to submission. The cleric (different from the one I had to trach) was gracious enough for my managing to pull several off her that she dragged me away while the mage and fighter got nibbled on. We came back with a few folks we’d promised a gold a piece to help us retrieve our friends, but they were both dead when we found them.
After the cleric player had to go home, we went back (my specialist and two newly rolled up characters), this time with a couple of hirelings and a mission to bring back some bird thing from the top floor. No amount of caution saved me from a poison gas trap; didn’t matter how carefully I opened the trap door to level 3, it was the rung on the ladder that had the triggering mechanism on it. The surviving characters loot my corpse and bully my hirelings into fulfilling their contract.
I rejoin the party as an incredibly ornery and vulgar halfling swordsman. We go back to the other side of the river and try to burn the building down. In response to this, a pack of Deep Ones emerge and charge at us. The Deep Ones got a lot of terrible rolls, and I got lot of awesome rolls, killing 5 out of the 8. Some 40 more Deep Ones started coming towards us from the south end of the wharf; we couldn’t go into the burning building (from which hideous night things were flying out of across the skies over town), hiding in another building seemed no safer, and we weren’t going to get the skiff back across the river in time. Jerry bravely tried to hold off the Deep Ones so his
friends acquaintances could escape, killing another before being cut down. The Deep Ones lunged into the river, of course, and attacked the fleeing party members. To the horror of her brother, Greta the torchbearer was flayed by a Deep One. I managed to get a cleric rolled up in time to have him meet the party on the other side of the river and cast cure light wounds on the fighter.
We stopped because we realized it was midnight. The fight wasn’t exactly resolved; either the Deep Ones go home, or we’ve led a small army of fishmen right into the “safe” part of town.
It has definitely been an interesting experience playing a game where death is not only a real possibility but the game world is not balanced for the players and the DM refuses to fudge results in either direction. I don’t really see any of us ever making it to level 2, though. The main downside is going to be in the XP economy, in which once the easy stuff is gone, future characters have even less chance to get treasure without risking life & limb against impossible odds.