Thursday, October 28, 2010

lair of the cyclops, first test run

I got to try out my Swords & Wizardry adventure tonight. It went awesome!
Also, this:

We had a whopping FIVE players to start; this whittled down to four when one guy lost interest as the equipment list came out (I swear, equipping a PC is like a minigame in its own right).

We almost lost another over a rules dispute (someone basically wasn't listening when I called a house rule to a vote - - I had the players arrive at consensus over each house rule I wanted to use - - and he literally did not understand what we had agreed to, and got for-real upset when the confusion arose). I was nicer and more conciliatory than I should have been.

The house rule was: spend 10 min./spell level of a spell you wish to memorize, and you may memorize it right then and there. However, you're still constrained by the number of spells you may have at the ready at any particular time. The idea was to focus the constraint of resources to the bounds of a particular encounter, not a particular day of game time. On reflection, one of two things could happen instead: a) if time is a resource, it needs to matter consistently, and b) maybe just allow this with information spells/I chose to employ this idea BECAUSE of information spells.

Anyway. It was super-awesome: my notes were in pretty good order, the rules definitely had just the right level of complexity (on the low side, with lots of wiggle room), and I got to see what it's like to have PCs be a hair's breadth from death.
I fudged one thing, one time: I made a fall cause d3 damage, not d6, since a pit trap I'd placed ended up affecting three players at once! Oh nose!
This is why we ask what the marching order is, though ^__^ Next time, no fudging: I will let that character die, and have the player roll up someone new and see where it goes.

The players were pretty ingenious, asking good questions and giving me good chances to flesh out details that I hadn't really considered (but were totally the right kind of details that matter just enough as Color that it's worth thinking them up).
Also: I had a great time being a very neutral Referee, callin' it like I see 'em and being consistent and fair. Fun stuff!

The mini-con where I'm running this again is on the 6th - next Saturday! Holy crap! I may end up just taking a day trip to DE instead of a whole weekend, for my brudder's birthday. Whoo!


  1. Sounds like fun!

    Yeah, letting the dice fall where they will is scary... the first few times you do it. But in my experience it definitely improves play. Especially if you have players who understand that adversity = fun!

    If you're not already, may I suggest using one of the many Tables of Death & Dismemberment floating around the intrawebs? It keeps combat scary, but actually makes outcomes other than death more common.

  2. I think this adaptation of yours is pretty cool - the prospect of helpless PCs definitely came up a few times at the table, with opinions ranging from tactical concern for dead weight to callous laughter about leaving others behind.

    It also might do a little to relieve folks' chest-clenching fear of being stuck with 2 hit points -- all that'd mean is they're much more likely to get badly hurt, inconveniently so (or, okay, killed stone dead) than the other characters. Neat! It could also suggest that foes reduced to zero are disabled, rather than slain.

  3. It could also suggest that foes reduced to zero are disabled, rather than slain.

    It absolutely could. I don't usually go there, however, unless the players make a point of saying they want to take prisoners.