Monday, 23 June 2014

What I Learned From Last Night's Game

I had two players, both girls in their early thirties with no previous RPG experience. They got into the swing of things fairly early although explaining the character classes was a bit difficult ("So if a cleric is a holy warrior and a paladin is a holy warrior isn't it all a bit religious?") Having just read some Brent Weeks "Eloise"'s player was straight in there with the assassin ("she's called "The Shadow" but that's not her real name, you can call her "Eloise" but that's not her real name either...") After some deliberation Geoff the Cleric ("Geoff is hands but he has high charisma so it come off as charming") was born but his deity was not named except that he was "lawful but a bit smitey."

For NPCs I picked a barbarian fighter, randomly generating the name Blithref from my overly complex table of Saxon pre- and suffixes, and a magic user called ("Quick, what's the first boy's name you can think of?"  "Geoff?" "Not Geoff." "Peter Rabbit?" The beloved children's book being under the table) PeterRabbit. Blithref being a typical slow witted barbarian, a Rekkar of the randomly generated Star Elk tribe. ("How is Blithref so stupid if his intelligence is 15?" "He's not book clever, more that he has a high natural cunning. Like a weasel.") PeterRabbit being a bit posh and slightly impressed with himself, dripping in false modesty.

The swords and wizardry rules worked really well and I was able to run pretty much the whole game off the top of my head. I only checked the books for the grappling rules (for the attempted rugby tackles towards the end) and for the damage a giant spider bite inflicts. We used ascending armour class, which was intuitive for the girls. I had to constantly convert from descending in my head but it wasn't a problem. Although the single saving throw looked weird to me when I first read the rules, it worked beautifully in play and is an elegant simplification of the original system.

They earned about 1350 XP each, not enough to level but still a good chunk, and walked away with a third each of approx 2000sp in loot (which is the equivalent of gp in the rules, I just can't get on with gold as standard currency and silver better fits the slightly gothic tone of my setting) the majority of it in hack silver.

I particularly enjoyed role playing the goblins as a bit mental, bickering amongst themselves while negotiating with the PCs and after asking what they could give them, fixating on the idea that the PCs had Absolutely Nothing and that they wanted it and weren't going to share.

My map, skull and crossbones showing where Blithref and Geoff the Cleric died

The players' map, showing the giant spider, the pit trap and some bats. Plus a pizza related stain. X marks where Geoff fell.

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