Sunday, January 26, 2014

Playing Grimmsgate!

The plan to put the Swords & Wizardry module Grimmsgate aside and loan it to another Dungeon Master finally paid off--big time. 

Last night, five people came to play through module: 
Myself--whose been longing to play, not run, and old school game for a long time.
An experienced player who might have had more years of gaming than I.
Two new players who had never played tabletop RPGs before. 
And the DM, who was DMing for the first time ever. 

Character creation went fast, even for the new players, who both played fighters (Fighters are just the perfect class for newbies--to hell with anybody says otherwise--because they allow a new player to learn the game without being bogged down with options). I played a dwarven fighter/thief and the other experienced player rolled up a magic-user with 1 hit point! Yeah, we need a cleric--but the referee used the old Judges Guild rules for First Aid--which came in handy. (Not that it mattered--first level clerics in S&W can't cast spells).

Our characters then met on the road to Grimmsgate, each of us having his or her own reasons to explore the mysterious village surrounded by a countryside of abandoned farmhouses.

I'm not going to spoil the module for anybody, but let's just say that Grimmsgate is definitely old school. You've got rumor-gathering. You've got a mysterious village with an even more mysterious ruined temple. Strange NPCs you can't fully trust. A dungeon to explore within a half-hour of the game starting.

We only made it through part of the module. After coming upon something that was too powerful to fight, we turned back. This was after about 4 solid hours of play.

It was wonderful playing in a game not having to think about skill ranks, feats, attacks-of-opportunity, players gawking at their character sheets looking for a power that might be useful, 5-foot squares on a battlemat, and so on. (Heck, the way the dungeon map turned out, drawing it on a battlemat would have been a pain--so we used dice and a few miniatures to indicate relative positions).

Also, kudos to +Matt Finch and anybody else involved in the design and playtesting of Grimmsgate--you made it easy for a first time Referee to run an adventure.  The Referee enjoyed running the module. He said it provided everything he needed to run the game and was very straightforward. He now wants to run an ongoing campaign, in part, because of Grimmsgate, and said he already has some ideas for what comes after the adventure.

Even more important: the two players new to RPGs want to play again. 

I want to play again. I haven't enjoyed a meat-and-potatoes module like this in years. The only problem I had with the module was with mapping. Perhaps that's because I was the mapper, who hadn't mapped in a long time (years of using battlemats can make a mapper rusty) and it was the first time the referee ever described a dungeon map. But it worked in the end.

The next session is scheduled for this coming Friday, on the eve of the D&D 40th Anniversary Blog Hop Challenge. Are you in?

Happy 40th Birthday D&D!

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