Saturday 15 October 2011

First Timers' Dungeon Crawl

At the university's game club meeting today, I finished off the first foray into the Castle of the Mad Archmage. If the previous week's theme was "slaying easy foes" this one's was "RUN!!"

There were six people around the table and four were completely new to tabletop roleplaying gaming as of last week, with various experiences in boardgaming, computer RPGs and those online story games my niece is into. I think D&D provides a perfect entry point because its assumptions and cliches are so widespread that everyone slips into it like an old pair of loafers. From my viewpoint the run of computer RPGs these days tends toward the "line up and blast each other" Japanese style, so having real, running, 2 dimensional problem-solving tactics in a game may have been a special revelation.

Four of the eight people who were at the previous week's game showed up along with two new folks. It took a while to roll their characters up (I'm thinking of producing custom character sheets for each class to speed this up) and we decided that the turmoil of the party fleeing down separate corridors and splitting up would explain the disappearance of some and the appearance of others.

Incidentally, I may be going to Dragonmeet in London on 26th November in loose affiliation with the club (that is, more likely to stay with friends than take the minivan, coach or whatever they end up hiring for the day). If any UK or other oldschoolers are planning to be there, I might want to run for one session and play for the other. Let me know in comments.

Play report and Mad Archmage spoilers after the cut.

Cube from Otherworld minis
First, the split party had to be reunited. Thomas the fighter had fled down a passage and now had to contend with Ugo the ogre, who had been a friend to Thaddeus and now was eyeing Thomas up and muttering "Food!" in ogrish. Thomas had the brief idea to attack, and they traded blows before he decided to run back.

Meanwhile the nameless fighter was running right behind the barbarian and recovered from the fear effect just in time to hear the footsteps stop, then a sickening thud from far below. She made her way back to the remainder of the party, as did Thomas and the ogre who was pacified by his special friend Thaddeus. The two new characters, another priest (Christian, not Thorian, by the name of Nelson) and a dwarf, now made their appearance.

Exploring and pulling a lever which turned out to control the pit doors, what remained of the barbarian was nowhere in sight by the time they opened again. The party:
  • passed through some rooms occupied by peaceable gem sprites who claimed to possess only coal, 
  • ran into a wandering gelatinous cube, which they frightened off with a fire made from cloaks and other garments doused with lantern oil, 
  • hacked through a stubborn door only to find it occupied by foul-smelling, stone-spear-poking denizens, and ran when the cube made another appearance,
  • lost the ogre when he boldly charged a troll, 
  • and finally made it down the stairs to the next level where they were immediately surrounded by far too many dinosaur-riding lizardmen. A good reaction roll meant that instead of being dinner, the party was ordered to bring back dinner in the form of troll meat, and Nelson volunteered to stay behind as a good-faith hostage.
The afternoon winding to a close, the party made it back, opened the one-way door by brute force (18 strength) and made their way back.

1 comment:

  1. Awesome session.
    Dungeon crawls are the best way to get everyone involved and vested at the table. Sounds like you gave the noobs some exciting table time.