Sunday, November 11, 2012

The Expeditions in the Northlands (11/11/2012)

I just got done running my first session of my new campaign, The Expeditions in the Northlands, which I talked about in an earlier post. No, this isn't a summary, just a few observations. The game went well. Three players showed up, but with each running 3 zero-level characters this wasn't a problem. No character deaths--yet. It was a short session because of character creation and a later start time, so they haven't reached their destination, still exploring in the wilderness.

Overall feedback was positive. They wanted to play again and are disappointed to have to wait until after Thanksgiving. So that's a good sign. Other stuff:

--Having three zero-level characters seemed okay with them. If one character had overall bad attributes, the two other characters could make up the slack.

--I had them roll on the occupation table in Dungeon Crawl Classics. Suddenly, with each character having an occupation, the characters as a whole were more fleshed out. The players were even roleplaying with them (though it got confusing at times since each player had three hats put on). These characters weren't just stats on a card, but possible would be heroes, should they survive.

--The players are far more cautious that in my previous games. For example, instead of going into a ruined town by the main gate, the sided with a crack in the wall. That's a first.

--Combat runs sooo much quicker using Swords and Wizardry/OD&D. I'm using group initiative. The only downside that might happen, especially at this early phase in the game, is that one poor initiative roll could mean a Total Party Kill. I mean, these poor 0-level characters have at most 4 hit points and Armors Classes in the 9=12 range (ascending). I've resisted the urge to fudge the dice, however.

--I feel less constrained as a DM using these old school rules. Heck, I'm not even using Swords & Wizardry as written, just as the basic template for what I want to do.

--More so, during this session, I used a mish-mash of systems and books. The first being, as mentioned, Dungeon Crawl Classics for the occupation tables. I even consulted the AD&D 1e DMG at one point and earlier I took something from an AD&D 2e accessory. To top this off, before the game started I rounded out an encounter with something from D&D 3e. This is very liberating to say the least, to have all of that material up for grabs, because Swords & Wizardry does not restriction options with mountains of rules.

--Finally, the players were paying attention to what was going on in game. They spent less time staring at their character sheets, wondering what to do. Instead, they engaged with me, the DM, to figure out what to do.

I had fun.

It topped off a great weekend of wargaming and spending time with my girlfriend.

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