Friday, March 12, 2010

OD&D Solo game w/wife - Small steps

Previously, about two months ago, my wife braved the depths of chambers beneath the Tower of Alaxus to find clues to her ancient mage ancestor, Kellus Therran. She had defeated the Smoke Dragon guardian, but had fallen afoul of a nasty gelatinous cube, losing her "magical" sword in the process. She was subsequently robbed at the hands of a large band of goblins and slunk back into Valetown, broke and depressed.

The Patriarch of Valetown agreed to trade some of the valuable old books from the Tower in exchange for coins and a refit. Tironell, Aeli's erstwhile mage companion, agreed reluctantly. Subsequently refitted and rearmed, the group of Aeli and Tironell, along with her loyal henchmen Turchao and Rather and three hirelings - Fan, Jan and Chin, made their way back to the tower. (Hey... I wasn't feeling all that original and hirelings need easy names to remember... at least with the turnover that Aeli's group experiences...)

They planned on using oil to flame the cube to death, but that involved luring the cube into an ambush. Aeli volunteered to be the bait, so she crept down the corridor to the room that the cube was in. Her sword was no longer stuck in the wall, no doubt now in the belly of the beast. She peered into the room, and got the cube's attention to follow her. That's when disaster almost struck!

Aeli wasn't quite quick enough to dash away before the cube had a chance to lash out at her and paralyze her - beginning the process of enveloping her! [See DM Note #1 below] Her companions, hearing her cry, rushed down the hall and were able to kill the cube before it killed her - a short while later, she recovered. There was a great deal of happiness at the recovery of her sword, along with what appeared to be a potion of healing and some coins and a bejeweled dagger.

The cube had been sitting in front of a crack in the wall, a winding passageway that was barely wide enough for a human to squeeze through. Since the main passage forward was blocked by a cave-in, and apparently some creature(s) on the other side, Aeli chose this route. After awhile of squeezing through this passage, she found herself in another room similar to the one the cube had been in... except this one was populated by rat-like humanoids roughly 4 feet tall.

Aeli, not being much of the diplomat, asked if she could pass through. The ratlings were not impressed by her speech given that it was her vs. 10 of the creatures. She pushed forward to allow others to get out of the crack, but the fight went poorly for the party. It wasn't until Tironell cast sleep that the party was able to overcome the ratlings. Unfortunately, they had little in the way of treasure, a single ancient coin and a dead spider charm.

Aeli made her way out of another exit in the chamber and boldly walked down the corridor and opened the door to peek inside. [DM note #2] Something was peeking at her.. more ratlings! There was another group of 10, but this time, 5 of them were across the room with bows. Recognizing that this was A Bad Situation, Aeli backed up down the hall and managed to close and spike the door before the creatures were able to yank it open. The party decided to cut their losses and head back to town to regroup and restock - as well as persuade the mage to memorize TWO sleep spells (which I've not decided if I'll allow in this campaign.. I kinda like the thought of only one of a spell able to live in your head. Tironell might make a scroll though... )

@theprincesswife had a tough night with the dice not favoring her. She did get her sword back and she's now somewhat annoyed at these rat creatures for blocking her progress. Funny how princess fighters get annoyed at the world... LOL! ;)

Zack over at RPG Blog 2 is running a Friday article about our Significant Others supporting our gaming. I'm a very lucky guy that @theprincesswife enjoys playing our game and is very supportive of my gaming. She puts up with the games out of the house, with me obsessing over miniatures, she does enjoy playing in my game and hearing about my AD&D campaign (although she freely admits she would have a hard time playing with others... )

I'm a very grateful and lucky guy to have a wonderful woman like this.

She is, however, still insistent that someday there will be a Carebare-LittlePoniesw/Lasers-Tinkerbell-CutePuppies D&D game. I may not survive that one.

DM Note #1 - The cube is slower than Aeli, but she was trying to lure it away. In my head, movement is not simultaneous, giving the winner of initiative some advantage. So it caught up to her and next round, when she tried to run away, it won initiative again, so was able to get a free attack on her in her running away.

Now that's an interesting point and one that could go either way. In a way, that's why I like Philotomy's more complex rules that break down movement to "half" steps - it breaks up the movement to give running away a bit of a chance. Since she was probably moving slower to lure the thing, it was easier to rule that it caught up - had she been running full tilt in retreat, it wouldn't have had a chance. Still, this was made even more sticky when she was knocked out! At that point, @theprincesswife was pretty sure she was dead. Fortunately, it takes a few minutes to actually kill someone in a cube, so the hirelings quick blades were timely.

DM Note #2 - This is one of those times where I have to balance the NPCs going "What, are you nuts!?! Don't just yank open doors!" and allowing @theprincesswife to learn (relearn) some of the cautious lessons. It had been a couple of months and she's still new... so I ruled that although there was no surprise, the ratlings weren't in a killing position yet as she had basically marched straight down the corridor and opened the door. No time for anyone to prepare. If they had been prepared, there would have been a hail of arrows shooting at the players. Yea. 20 arrow shots in a round? People would have died.


Fran Terminiello said...

sounds like fun, in an intense edge-of-your seat way. I like that element to solo adventures. My husband planned a solo for me the other weekend but at the last minute my bro-in-law came too, I don't think my PC would have survived without him. Your wife is v lucky to have such a creative hardworking DM.It's not something I could ever do.

Anthony N. Emmel said...

Always fun. When my wife and I met in college (way back yonder in 1993!), she had never played a PnP RPG. However, she had played all the SSI AD&D PC games up to that point. These days, we have 4 kids, between 8 and 14, 3 of whom are girls. They all game. :)

My wife's one complaint is that she feels like I do the exact opposite of the boyfriend/husband GM trait: she thinks I specifically target her to kill. Not quite true: I do attempt to kill her off quick, but that's because she always plays a cleric or healer.

She got smart in our current game: she's playing a paladin! :)

Unknown said...

Non-simultaneous movement? Old school heresy! Send for the inquisition, there are malcontents hereabouts!

Michael S/Chgowiz said...

@Matthew - oh crap, did I completely miss that? I'm going to have to dig out my books again. Man, I hate it when I miss something obvious.

davidvs said...

Have you tried Toon? For a one-evening game of madcap cuteness it's quick to learn and flexible to use.

2eDM said...

A few months before 4e was released, I remember there being a thread or two on the creation of a "My little Pony" RPG. Some were in abject terror of the idea, and others were trying to figure out how it would work.

Saeblundr said...

"Carebare-LittlePoniesw/Lasers-Tinkerbell-CutePuppies D&D game"

Sounds like you should LARP for that one... and post photos.

Michael S/Chgowiz said...

@Saemundr - You sound very experienced at these things - do you mind demonstrating first?

Unknown said...

@Matthew - oh crap, did I completely miss that? I'm going to have to dig out my books again. Man, I hate it when I miss something obvious.

Nah, how you handle movement depends on a lot of factors, particularly preferences. Chain Mail presents you with a choice between "simultaneous movement" and "move/counter move", either is suitable for OD&D. The AD&D segment system allows for a similar simultaneous movement method, but remains vague enough for either to be inferred. B/X uses a move/counter move system, but does not seem to stick to it in the examples.

However, one of the major departures between D20 style games and TSR era D&D is that movement can be handled simultaneously, meaning that two characters can charge one another and meet in the middle, rather than one standing lamely by whilst the other charges.

None of that is required, of course.

Michael S/Chgowiz said...

@Matthew - interesting.

In my head, I see it not simultaneous, but in a way, it is...

How it's not is that the winner of initiative "gets there first" or is able to take full advantage of things like "free attacks" even if they are slower in feet per round.

How it is is that for things like pursuit or charging, all that plus melee happens within the round in an abstract simultaneous way.

It's really kinda dependent on how I'm flowing the battle, but I do give preference to initiative winners.