Tuesday, December 1, 2009

OD&D Solo game w/wife - One year campaign anniversary

A year is a neat milestone to achieve in a campaign. A year says that despite all of the obstacles that life throws at you, despite all of the issues of learning and adapting a game to the DM/players, despite setbacks and sometimes bad sessions, you've hung in there to make it through a year.

It was roughly a year ago that I played OD&D with my wife(@theprincesswife on twitter) as a solo game for the first time. I took a campaign setting that I had dreamed up long ago and took her into it. I started off using microlite74 as our game system, then switched to Swords & Wizardry to get more options and to bring it to the D&D I had grown up with. We started off in "Westport", with her exploring the Tower of Zenopus from the 1979 Basic D&D book.

It was fitting that over the Thanksgiving break, her character Aeli revisited the Tower to regain books for a sage, and to investigate the possibility of bandits using the cellar as a base. It was also fitting that she finally ran into the loot stash of the Tower - the underground beach base of the bandits. In the year that we've played, my wife has gotten quite good at various strategies - using doorways as choke-points, recon, and using the element of surprise to her advantage. She's also gotten quite ruthless at dealing with prisoners. Last game, she marched Notuk, a goblin, through town in the daylight tied up. This game, she forced a bandit prisoner to strip so he wouldn't run away.

In that year, her character Aeli has made some interesting discoveries and encountered some strange creatures. She's still on her quest to avenge the slaughter of her family. We had a good session where I recapped what has gone on and she took some good notes. We've also started using Obsidian Portal to document the setting and what she knows. That way, she can keep the thread going.

That's probably the biggest issue we've had. By the time we get home at night, done with the kids, the chores, dinner and all the other stuff we have, we're exhausted! We've tried shorter games, we've tried scheduling, but life for us has many things going on, and that makes it hard to get in some games. We both "get out of the habit" and have to shake it off and get back to playing. Memory fades though, and sometimes I forget something that she'll remember, or vice versa. Having a "recall session" to set up the next game helped.

One other cool thing happened in my campaign world - my son and youngest daughter also adventured in the same setting - making it a family campaign. My eldest daughter also played with my wife a game or two -- however, my wife has since learned she prefers to play solo! Ha!

So Aeli is now richer, she has finished some important missions and she's looking to get back to her original mission - find the murderer of her family. She's been given some interesting clues, there are still some adventure hooks dangling in front of her and some new places to explore. The next year should be very interesting!


TyBannerman said...

I love your solo-game-with-wife reports, it's just so cool to see the game from the perspective of someone fairly fresh to the hobby.

Michael S/Chgowiz said...

@Fitzerman - I forgot to add that she still doesn't read the rules or really care so much about them.

I've started allowing her a "cleave" type of neat trick, if she kills an enemy on her attack, since she's 3rd level, she can perform a second attack that round.

Norman J. Harman Jr. said...

Oh, I hope this means more game play reports. One of my favorite parts of this blog! I tje interactions with her posse.

Michael S/Chgowiz said...

tje? :)

Aeli's posse has shrunk a bit. Brother Atu, the cleric for Enotus has moved on, taking Rhoi with him as a student. Atu was a combo hippy-HariKrishna-stoner-surfer-metalhead fighting cleric. Rhoi was a drunk.

The three fighters who accompanied her this time were on loan by Sir Equay, Castellan for the Westport Keep. They have since returned to duty.

So now it's just her, Rather and Turchao her followers/henchmen and Tironell, the NPC mage. Tironell loves to poke at her now, especially since they are "getting along" - she likes Tironell despite the fact he's a mage.

TyBannerman said...

That's maybe one of the best parts about the Old School style- It's perfectly feasible for a player to remain in complete ignorance of the rules and still have a good time.

The last game I played before starting up a Swords & Wizardry campaign was Ars Magica. No ignoring those rules, and I don't even want to think about how many email exchanges we had hashing out the vagaries of that system. Very refreshing to return to a game where play comes first.