Well, I didn't think I'd have time to post this month, but what do you know, my NaNoWriMo novel is already at 35k out of 50k needed to win and it's only the 12th. By the way, it's hopefully an entertaining mix of S&S and Gothic fantasy, about a knight vs. werewolves. More on that when I read it through upon completion and see how much I can salvage into a second draft.
Anyway, on Monday, I brought D&D to the Board Game Group meet-up. Josh was out, quarantined because of the flu (he didn't say if it was H1N1 or not, not that it really matters, I'd rather my son not get either form if possible...). Dave, who's really keen to get some Classic D&D in, and July (Mi Young) were busy. Steve and Alex were out as usual on Mondays, but they don't like Classic D&D anyway. Erica was too lazy to go out on a cool evening (she lives kinda far away anyway).
That left me, Lucy, Pat, and Pat's friend Chloe who was there for the first time. Chloe and I arrived first, which was good because it gave me a chance to show her the basics. She's played Diablo and some other CRPG/MMORPGs before, so she was familiar with the basic tropes. The only really funny newbie question she asked was, "So if I use my mirror, does it go away?"
She decided to try out my home brew Illusionist class. Yeah! Aside from a short-lived Half-Orc played by Alex before he decided he didn't want to play Classic, we hadn't had anyone playing any of my new classes. She took Change Self for her spell, but as the game played out, she didn't actually get to use it. She was kicking some ass with her thrown javelins, however! (My Illusionist, being a cross between M-U and Thief, can use thrown weapons and 1-handed melee weapons if they want to...).
Because Josh, who was sick, is really invested in exploring the Ruins of Castle Mistamere and rooting out the kobold menace there, everyone decided to strike out into the sandbox and see what else there was to see. I had my rumors handy, and let each PC (Pat was playing both his Fighter and Cleric, and Lucy has a Cleric, everyone still Level 1) get 3 rumors plus or minus their Cha adjustment.
There were a few repeat rumors found, and of the short list of potential ones (they wisely ignored the one they got twice about hill giants), they decided to check out the rumor that the castle north of town, that of the town's founder, was haunted.
This was an area I wasn't prepared for them to explore yet, I had thought the ghost would be scary to them--but they don't know how nasty BECM ghosts are, let alone spectres or wraiths. Luckily for me, though, this was a dungeon I'd semi-prepped for the original version of the Silverwood Campaign for 3E years ago, so I had the map from WotC's Map a Week feature, and the knowledge that I wanted lots of spider monsters.
I also wanted to use my new Caesar goblins so I threw in a goblin encounter, as well. And the ghost, who ended up having a quest for them--recover his sword, stolen by looters. Rolling on my Unique Magic Weapons tables (something I'm still working on but plan to release to the RPG internets in the future), I got Chrysaor, a short sword +3. Not sure if I want them running around with that for too long, if they manage to find it (still got to figure out where it might be hidden!), but they're now on the lookout for rumors about this sword.
The actual play went well. They solved problems by thinking about them logically (can't unlock the door? Try to bash it down. That doesn't work? Try to jimmy the lock with a weapon or tool), not just by resorting to game mechanics or things written on the character sheet. They took what rumors they had, researched a bit, and chose their own course for the evening. They defeated the monsters they encountered, found a bit of treasure, and everyone but the brand new Illusionist made 2nd level finally by the end of the night.
And I got to DM by the seat of my pants for the first time in over a decade. Man, it was fun! And I'm no longer sweating not having all the pieces filled in on my sandbox map yet.