Monday, July 8, 2013

FLGS Game -- First Session Recap

I'm running a game at my FLGS now. It's my way of introducing everyone to the OSR, as the only RPGs going on there seem to all be 3.5 and newer. Variety, after all, is the spice of life!
(Disclaimer: I run old games, new games, storygames, OSR games... everything. This isn't a slight against or a stance for any one game. Just a thought that it would be fun to introduce these people to OD&D via Swords & Wizardry.)

I ended up with 7 players for the first session. They are as follows...
Steve, who lives just down the road from me, apparently, but I've known him on the Alehouse for a while.
Scott, having played since BECMI-ish time frame. I met Scott three years ago playing Pathfinder, and invited him to NTRPGCon.
Cale, who is the FLGS's Events Coordinator. He DMs 3.5/PF a lot, and has no Old School experience.
Garrett, also a DM of 3.5/PF, and a really creative guy. He plays Warhammer 40k with me from time to time. Recent high school graduate.
John, also a recent HS grad. He's played in lots of 3.5/PF games, but I don't think he's a DM.
Dave, one of my closest friends. Started playing and DMing with 2e.
and... Joel, bane of my existence for 2.5 hours. More on Joel shortly.

The Setup:
I had everyone roll 3d6 in order, but allowed one swap, so they can feel like they have some control
Everyone started with 3d6x10gp for gear, as the conceit of this world is that they are hired by a Baron to go on a long-term expedition. So the little extra starting gold helped a bit.

They ended up with two Clerics, two Dwarfs, one Fighter, one Thief, and one MU.

I walked them through a bit of the history of the game--what OD&D is, what B/X is, what AD&D is... apparently a lot of people who have no experience with Old School games think that 1e was the first D&D ever. x_x

The Adventure:
The PCs were all hired/summoned by a Baron--the Lord Jameson--to mount a long term expedition into the Chaos-infested wild lands. My world is very points-of-light... and the light is rapidly diminishing... so the PCs come from far away cities. Jameson wants to recapture part of the wild--centred around the village Grimmsgate--from the forces of darkness and Chaos that have ruled there.
After days of hand-waved travel, they arrived in town and set up a small camp on the outskirts.

- Players enjoyed it.
- They found a mysterious gem in a trick column in a cave and were so very cautious and so very paranoid (rightly so, as it turned out to be a daemonic influenced artifact).
- The local priest is suspected of collusion with Chaos by the PCs... in reality, he may or may not be. Remains to be seen.
- A quick defeat of a 4HD Ogre, thanks to the MU casting Sleep on it before the fighters (novices to Old School) could foolishly rush in.
- They spent time exploring the wilderness and enjoyed it!
- PCs found one of the big dungeons, The Elder Temple, and scouted appropriately to find it's entrances
- Within one room of the dungeon they encountered a guardian spirit of a tomb and, instead of rushing into combat, they talked to him and actually made more progress than if they had tried to fight (and they would have died--no question.)
- Excellent use of oil and FIRE!

- The aforementioned Joel... Joel is an odd duck. His past gaming experiences include some light-storygaming and some Pathfinder. He was *shocked* and a bit appalled that I would roll dice behind the screen when HIS character was checking for traps. (Yes, he played the Thief.)
We had to spend a good 5 minutes explaining why the DM should roll privately to maintain the suspense of the player not knowing whether or not the PC was successful in finding a trap. He complained that he might as well not have brought dice or some such.
Later, when the players decided to toss oil and a torch at a giant ant (WM) group, Joel declared he would throw a flask of oil. Knowing he had just re-fueled his lantern, I asked where his flask was (pack, pouch, or strapped to a belt somehow).
He spent at least a minute going back and forth with me saying "I don't know" and then "I DON"T KNOW" because "I don't know enough about the situation to be able to say."
All the other players at the table were aghast, honestly. I was giving him a chance to, essentially, retcon a flask of oil onto his belt so he could actually throw it this turn instead of fumbling in his pack.
We painstakingly explained that I really was asking for information. It's his character--only he knows where his gear is stored.

Honestly, that was my only disappointment.
Yes, they wasted a lot of time investigating the farmhouse of the disappeared couple, looking for clue leading to abduction or some such, but that's fine. It's a sandbox-ish world--they are free to waste time. I'll lay hooks into where they go, but I'm not bringing the dungeon or the adventure to them.

Everyone left on an upbeat note and said they were eager to play again on July 6th!
Joel will not be there on the 6th (yay) but may return after that.

I am very much looking forward to continuing this game.


  1. Don't be too hard on Joel. He probably meant well. Gamers can be weird people.

    Sounds like a good time. If this had been a one-shot, would you have facilitated the clue-finding, quickened the pace, and brought the adventure to the adventurers?


  2. The concept of OD&D (and old school games) can be shocking to younger players who have never had to deal with this sort of game, so I would cut him a little slack. Maybe it will take some time for the light to go on!

  3. @Venger: Probably wouldn't change a whole lot. Though, I wouldn't run such a sandbox-y world for a one shot or con setting. Usually there I have very obvious hooks and not nearly as many.
    In this case I have a wide world with lots of hooks taking the PCs in a number of directions.

    @Mike: They're catching on. I think in the end the aforementioned player had fun and started to catch on. Most others have had an easier time and have caught on much quicker.