A collection of rambling posts about gaming, running, and politics. (and, in 2009, photography.)

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Old School D&D Actual Play

Big thanks to Michael and Jerry who got together with me on Saturday to play with Labyrinth Lord.

Now, straight to the game.

We chatted for just a few minutes about old school D&D, its mindset and comparison to more modern D&D. Turns out I was the minority, both Jerry and Michael had played old school stuff before, even if long long ago, while I only go as far back as 2nd edition AD&D. Anyway. We discussed some of the house rules for a moment, and then decided to go straight into creating some characters. I had each of them roll 5 sets of stats. Its done the old fashion way, 3d6 in order. We ended up with at least one 3. I do not think that we got any 18s. I told them that they could trash one set of stats if they wanted, and roll another set, which I know Michael did, and Jerry might have done as well. I told them that they'd each be playing two characters, so they spent a few minutes deciding what which sets of stats and which classes they'd be playing. We ended up with Jerry playing Richard, a Fighter, and Neemon, an Elf. Michael had Derek the Cleric, and Ciric, a Thief. I let Jerry pick the spells for his Elf instead of making him roll them randomly, and I think that going forward I'll stick with random rolls. They bought equipment, and before too long, we were off. Oh - I also had my AEG Toolbox book along, which is an awesome resource. Since I wanted to flex my dice, I offered them 100xp per character if we could randomly generate some of their character stuff, concept, traits, appearance, a miscellaneous personal effect, etc. It was kinda cool, and we got some odd stuff like a character that stutters, one that is being pursued by some kind of good aligned entities for some reason, a Thief that keeps being mistaken for someone else, and that someone else is ruining his reputation, and someone who has a woman who follows him from town to town, wanting to marry him. This was largely just flavor, we did not take the time to do much more with it, but it was entertaining nonetheless.

I'm using the Keep from 'Keep on the Borderlands' as the base of operations. We skimmed through their arrival in search of adventure, and their finding out that a small nearby village had been raided at night by parties unknown, stealing away some of the inhabitants. The local lord's men had tracked the unknown raiders back into the hills to a cave, but had not gone into the cave.

The characters picked up here, and made good time to the cave. I worked on providing good descriptions of the land around them and such, without becoming overly verbose. We grabbed some graph paper, and determined which character was doing the mapping, though I did the actual drawing on the grid. I figured it was going to be too explain accurately enough for someone to draw stuff without the game devolving into a grid drawing game, so this was the simplest fix, and it seemed to work just fine. The party had the elf scout ahead a bit, into the cave. He did not have to carry a torch, thanks to his infravision, and the party followed at a safe distance behind. The cave had some alcoves and branches, but did not extend very far, and was only a few thousand square feet. It was all smooth, natural walls, and with no other apparent exits, though one side passage did end in a pool of water. They quickly began to scout the walls for signs of a secret door, and luck with with them, for not only did they search in exactly the right spot, right off the bat, but the dice smiled upon them and they discovered the door. We did some searching for traps and found nothing, and proceeded inside.

Beyond the secret door was a long hall, perhaps 80 feet or so, about 10 feet wide, with many old tapestries hanging from the walls. At the far end of the hall was a large wooden door, closed. The party began checking the walls behind the tapestries, and immediately discovered a door on the north wall, and a hole in the wall on the south side, large enough for a human to crawl into. They peered down it by torchlight, and could see that it went south pretty straight for thirty feet or so into darkness. While the rest waited in the passage, keeping a sharp eye out, Richard the fighter, with torch and ax in hand, shimmied his way into the hole and crawled along on his belly. He saw that the narrow space ran for about forty feet in total before letting out into a small, apparently closet sized chamber. As he made it to the chamber, he was surprised by an attack from a creature within the small room. Richard dove in and was wounded by an albino humanoid creature with a sword, before Richard killed it with his ax.

I should note here that I was having a blast doing narrative and descriptive combat, and just 'winging it'.

Also, I'm lazy and am going to break this up into more than one post.

More later.

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