Tuesday, March 31, 2009

OD&D Solo Game with my wife - Update

We're parents who are also raising our grand-daughter. So what do we do when we have a childless 24-36 hours? We play D&D! That's just how we roll. [Insert laugh-track here]

My wife also has left some thoughts on the game herself at the end of this post.

My wife's character, Aeli, has finally left the friendly confines of the city of Westport and is now venturing out for the first time into the hills and valleys of the Vale. I felt no small sense of satisfaction as I started to plot out her movement on a hex map and describe to her what she was seeing. The wandering dice were cold this time, though, and her travel for the day was uneventful as she made it to Valetown with no problems. Apparently, the bandits weren't fooled by her disguise.

The "mayor" (Patriarch) of Valetown had been pestering the Lord of Westport to solve a problem, so the Lord sent Aeli to do the dirty work, and she was told to investigate a mysterious tower. Unfortunately, she didn't get good directions or a map, so she ended up getting lost for the better part of a day. Still, no random encounters, and she made it back to town, where she got a better description. This time, she didn't get lost and found the area.

After taking a left at a fork in the trail, they came upon a door built into a hill. Within, her party encountered zombies. One hireling went down to the relentless battering, but the zombies would not pursue the party past a certain point, which allowed her to deal with them from long range. They found some nice treasure and hints that this may be an ancient complex. The party was roughed up by the encounter and Aeli wants a posse, so they went back to Valetown. There, they learned that they may have found something in addition to the tower, which they had actually bypassed in taking the left. More for Aeli to explore.

I finally cracked open the OD&D books during the game so I could use the Lost/Encounter chart for Wilderness Adventures. For some reason, the Swords/Wizardry rules didn't include this particular bit of 0e information; that's why it's good to have the originals available. In my campaign, unless there are obvious landforms and cues to follow or a map to be had, a person has a chance of getting lost, or at least turned around enough that movement isn't a straight line. It might seem "fiddly" but that is also part of what I think the 0e experience is - you're an ordinary person tramping around in the wilds. You don't have GPS and there aren't sign posts pointing you to your destination.

I continue to worry about how much "help" is too much or not enough. I probably struggle more with this than her, as I still worry about becoming the "story teller" instead of the referee. There were a couple of times that the NPCs suggested options on how to deal with the zombies, or suggested approaches to things. She sees it as valuable information, and as long as she's having fun and feels like it's still her game, I'm good.

I am mashing together the fantastic charts for Hirelings from Knockspell #1 with Garish's 140 Henchmen to create some interesting hirelings for my wife to find. If you get a chance, pick up Knockspell, this chart alone will add very cool options to your game. For instance, Aeli almost hired a goon who would have betrayed them all and stolen from them (all this from the random charts). She ended up not doing so, but that would have added an interesting element!

And thank you to ThePrincessWife who had this to say:

So, Aeli gets to venture out of Westport to Vale in some hair brain scheme to trap and trick bandit’s that did not work. Maybe that’s not such a bad thing. Hey, I did get a cart and two horses out of the deal. I was not told they would have to be returned so I am going to assume they are now mine. Under the rules “I have it so there for it is now mine” (ok I made that one up.)

I really feel like the story and the game are seriously crackling with a million possibilities now and it’s all got my imagination wondering what is next.

Ok, so I’ve learned Zombies are serious business and some planning needs to be done on my part, I’m always charging in and thinking later.

And so the amazing DM (hubby) says : “I probably struggle more with this than her, as I still worry about becoming the "story teller" instead of the referee.” This is true because I really never even think of this being an issue. I think it’s super cool I get to run the story of the game. I don’t think it occurs to me his playing along is “railroading” as he calls it ?


Viriatha said...

My favorite saying was always "If it's not nailed down, it's mine. If I can pry it up, it's not naield down!"


Great write up and I love the Princess Report :)

Spike Page said...

I told Garish you were using his 140 Henchmen...and his reply was "Good..you'll need 'em." ..and it's true. The first time I went a'wandering in the wilds with not-enough-hirelings, I ended up quite deceased. It would appear that the wilds, unlike the dungeon, are not conveniently zoned according to what a character can handle..and if a character can't handle, a character can always just RUN AWAY!

Matthew James Stanham said...

Sounds like a great time. I say let your wife hire as many extras as she likes, and let her play a few of them too. Eventually, factionalism may manifest itself in her own group, which can be an adventure in itself! ;)

Michael S/Chgowiz said...

@Viriatha - she's been talking about that phrase all day!

@Spike - hehe, yea, she's learned that lesson.

@Matthew - she already controls them in terms of what they'll do (some are subject to morale checks, but her followers are loyal in all but extreme circumstances) but she said that she likes me running them, so I guess I'm still the hireling guy. (Even the mean, traitorous ones! Muahahahaha...)