As you may know from my previous posts, last Friday I finally got back on the line with some D&D!
I haven't mentioned it before (or have I?), but after a long time of searching for some players, Julia (aka fishlemons) came up with an idea, that maybe her friend - Katja, would like to play with us. Katja proved to be intrigued enough to check my blog. After she read it (along with D&D with porn stars - thanks Zak) she got really amped about playing, to the point of buying her own set of dice a week early. Cool!
We decided to meet on Friday. We first made some pasta and, with our tummies full, decided to roll up characters. I had to take a small break beforehand to print all the spell lists, the dungeon map and so on. During that time girls got a bit restless at the kitchen table and I got really stressed out. My biggest fear was, that the girls will find the game boring and won't play ever again...
Luckily, seconds after we started to roll up characters, the atmosphere got joyful and we had a lot of laughs. Character creation took us quite a lot of time, since I had to explain everything and both players proved to be very inquisitive (which is obviously a good thing).
After everything got cleared up, the girls decided what race/class they want to play. Katja was very excited about my take on halflings, so that's what she decided to play. Julia, very in touch with the old school tradition, decided to play a half-elven cleric of Skaghe - a strategic choice aimed at the party's survival (apart from being an aesthetic one).
The most memorable moment of characters creation was a discussion that followed my question about the sex of their PCs.
K:"Hmmm, perhaps we should play men characters... They might have some special abilities..."
J: "What special abilities?! Peeing standing up?!"
More joy ensued, when I asked them to roll a d100 (on a special table that I made) to find out what their characters were doing before they decided to change their qualifications. And so we found out that Julia's PC used to be jester, while Katja's halfling was a candle maker (which btw. led her to quickly come up with a story that the nomadic halflings of my world make candles and lamps out of pony poo)
Here are our heroes (in order of appearance):
halfilng scout (thief) HP 5
STR 12 DEX 16 CON 15 INT 8 WIS 10 CHA 9
half-elf, cleric of Skaghe HP 8
STR 17 DEX 12 CON 13 INT 8 WIS 16 CHA 10
As you can see, both characters are rather powerful. After rolling and all that stuff, girls went shopping with the S&W manual and I must say, that once again, they behaved like veterans of the game - buying ropes, rations, grappling hooks etc.
And so I played Goblin for the mood and our adventure begun.
We started out with a little prologue in order to clear up why both characters decided to travel and fight together (instead of risking crude roleplaying of good friends pretending they are complete strangers getting to know each other).
Turns out that the half-elf Kai was tired of serving as a Jester on the court of some northern Jarl and decided to hit the road in order to become someone respected - like a cleric of the powerful and feared Skaghe! After she got to one of the mountain monasteries, she had to wait outside for several nights and days, in order to prove she's strong enough to become a cleric-warrior. Of course, her motivation was strong and she got accepted into the order.
Skipping all that time, we moved on to the final day of Kai's apprenticeship, when an old monk called her and said that for the last trial, she has to travel south to a small village of Stillwater. There, there is a small shrine devoted to the Axe Wielder; where a statue holding an axe was protecting the land. Now it has been desecrated and Kai has to set things right. The old priest also informs her that on her way to Stillwater she should join arms with the first person she meets outside the monastery... Needles to say, that someone turned out to be Juchi.
After that introduction we started playing. The PC's were just a few hours away from Stillwater and slowly cold winter night was approaching. Kai and Juchi decided not to stop for the night and try rush for the village. I rolled for a random encounter and it turned out that a lone hungry wolf decided to prey on the party.
The fight was short, the wolf managed to wound the cleric, but Kai made him pay by splicing his head open with her axe (That's right. Clerics of Skaghe wield axes! DUH!). After that she decided to heal her leg with a Cure Light Wounds, while Juchi made a successful attempt at skinning the dead animal.
The adventurers finally got to the village, heading straight for the only tavern. Inside they let themselves get ripped-off; renting a very small room for 1 Gp. However they managed to get some quite good food included in the price of the room. They also decided to pay extra and take a warm bath.
As Juchi was washing Kai was approached by an old man named Thorson. He turned out to be an old adventurer and offered to take them to the old shrine of Skaghe, for a small price of course.
Next morning, while eating their breakfast (which the girls managed to haggle into the price of the room) they were approached by Winston, a boy who wants to be an adventurer, offering to aid them in their escapade. Since the boy was cute and annoying, the girls decided he could be a live shield and agreed to take him with them (little did they know that if they boy died during the adventure, his old father would turn the village against them). After that they met up with Thorson and set out.
The shrine turned out to be a small, a bit neglected building in the woods, just two hours away from the village. Juchi tied her pony and decided to enter in first. When she opened the door a huge log fell from the ceiling, speeding at her. Luckily she made her save and dodged the trap.
It turned out that the floor of the shrine collapsed, opening a huge hole in the ground, possibly swallowing the statue. As soon as the party descended into the darkness, they were ambushed by goblins.
I won't detail what exactly happened underground. I think it's enough to tell you that I took the dungeon from Chgowiz's One Page Dungeon pdf (it's called The Lost Staves of Maurath and was written by R. Lawrence Blake).
The main highlights were:
- a giant frog, that scared the players a bit (apparently I acted it out quite well, although I think it was mostly Julia's frog-phobia) and they were afraid to kill it, leaving it for the end, setting it on fire by making it swallow a fire beetle's abdomen.
- an Ogre, that also scared them a bit. Julia managed to roll well, beheading the beast and finishing the fight quite quickly. Old Thorson almost got killed when the huge body collapsed on him.
After clearing the dungeon and finding the aforementioned axe, everyone returned to the village. This is where some confusion set in - no one knew what to do next. To me it seemed obvious that the players are ment to rebuild the statue and place the axe on it, but I realized those were the instincts of an old player, not someone used to the railroady nature of computer games and etc.
I quickly managed to introduce an old fisherman, who noticed the party drowning their confusion in beer and suggested rebuilding the shrine.
The adventure ended after a few days of work. The party repaired the old statue (which smashed on the floor of the cave below the shrine) and replaced the axe. When they were about to leave, the old fisherman turned up and revealed himself as the same priest who sent Kai on her quest. He congratulated the party and told Kai that now she's officially a priestess of the order.
I'm not completely happy with the way I handled parts of the game. I also think some of my role playing was kinda stiff, but I hope it's all part of me warming up.
Now, if you excuse me, I have a game to prepare for tomorrow...