Thursday, March 25, 2010

The New Old Campaign - Session 2

One of my players was befuddled by a Twilight marathon for this session so I let the Apprentices take 3 characters each:

Apprentice Red: Horace the Dwarf, Drazier the Elf, Skullduggery II the Magic User

Apprentice Blaster: Apollo the Elf, Logan the Fighter, and Steven the Thief

We begin with the new party coming down the stairs and deciding to go back to the room where they fought the wizard last time as they want revenge for the death of Skullduggery the First.

Breaking down the escape door, they follow a long passage to a circular room where they face a giant snake - Continuing the tradition Horace rolls a 1 for his first blow and drops his axe but the rest of the party finishes off the snake in only 2 rounds.

The snake was guarding a spiral staircase which the party followed up through 1 trap door to a ground level room up in the city, then up through a 2nd trap door into the evil wizard's workshop where they encountered said wizard and an ape that was locked in a cage. Ignoring the ape the party took on the mage and although half the group was webbed they still brought him down in round 2. Fiddling with the cage, and after a brief debate, Apollo decided to let the ape out and when it attacked the party slew it too. Much time was spent looting the room and Skullduggery II was very happy to find the mage's spellbook.

The party eventually headed back down to the dungeon and ended up in the statue room. There was some talk of using the stone to flesh scroll they had looted on the statue but I quickly described it as non-human and they decided not to. Attempting to open the other doors proved frustrating but they quickly figured out that they had to rotate the thing to face the correct door and moved on - and I was pleased at the speed with which they figured this out.

The party next came to Room H, a large stone room with a river running through the middle and a door visible on the opposite side. Here my players really began to shine - debating whether to swim across, the perils of swimming in metal armor, jumping distances, lack of catches for a grappling hook, etc and finally decided to have the thief climb across one of the sides and then retrieve a rope shot over by one of the elves. He then secured it using his body weight as the others stripped off their armor and dog paddled across clinging to the rope. I had them make strength checks to do this without incident and it went smoothly. The magic-user was saved for last as he had the lowest strength, so he simply tied the rope around him and let the rest of the party drag him across. Having successfully bypassed the river, they paused to don their armor again and moved on.

The last encounter of this session involved Room I, the sundial and mask room (Basically if the sundial is made to show 4:00 then the mask will answer one short question per day). Reading the inscription they quickly figured out how to activate the mask and then did so to test their theory, but held their silence instead of asking a question. After a few minutes of debate
(some of which was quite entertaining) they decided to ask "What dangerous evil creatures remain in this dungeon" which I thought was pretty good wording for two new players with very little guidance from the DM. So I told them: Goblins, Giant Rats, Skeletons, Humans, Ghouls, and the Dagger of Pain. I loved the way they handled it so i was pretty honest with the answer. Plus I wanted to foreshadow the dagger - those of you who have played this one before know what I am referring to - and thought this was a fun way to do it.

We were running out of time at this point so we decided to pause in this room and pick up next weekend.

DM Notes:
- I am seriously going to have to dig up a fumble chart for these guys!

- Does Moldvay Basic allow a save vs web? I couldn't see it anywhere! Most spells say if there is a save allowed so I ruled there was no save but I know 3rd ed allowed one, and I think 1st & 2nd ed did, but there's nothing about it in Basic, so I didn't give them one.

- I decided that all magic-users started with Read Magic, Protection from Evil, and 1 spell of their choice, mainly because it came up with the mage's spellbook and what would be in that kind of thing.

- I was very pleased with the way the Apprentices handled the river challenge - they sounded like old pro's, not 2nd-time gamers as they debated how to cross it! This is exactly the kind of thinking I wanted to encourage and it's exactly why I went old-school instead of new-school - under 3rd or 4th someone would have most likely used a few skill checks and moved on. This way they had to think about it as a real situation, not just a die-roll.

- The sundial and mask was more excellent play by my guys. I couldn't have asked for a better effort and it was actually a smart question. After years of having my 3rd edition crew stumped by anything they couldn't buy, charm, or stick a sword into this was very refreshing.

- Apprentice Blaster was keen on finding some were-creatures to use his new sword on. I told him there were lots of lycanthropes around in lots of different adventures.

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