Sunday, January 22, 2012

No, You Can't be the Cow

Okay, so the newbie game was last Wednesday.  Out of the six of them, one had played once, five had heard of the game and as I said in a previous post, two of them had four, 20-sided dice.  I had a very newbie group.

I created the characters ahead of time and went over what some of the stats meant.  I gave them a very stripped down version.  The spell caster got spell cards so before we started I had the magic-users select two of them.  Also, I did a quick lesson on what dice were which.  This seemed to be the biggest challenge for players.  The 4-sided became 'the pyramid', 6-sider 'the cube', 8-sider 'the diamond', 10-side 'the top', 12-sider 'the baseball' and the 20-sider 'the big die'. 

Before we started the real game I ran them through a sample combat.  I find doing this helps a ton.  They were excited to see the battle board and the miniatures.  The one girl who was playing the elven magic-user wanted to be the cow miniature that Rob had jokingly put in the box.  "Can I be the cow?  Wouldn't it be cool if I was an elven cow who cast spells?"  For a moment I did think that would be pretty cool, but said no.  Let's learn the basics of the game before we run a gonzo version.

The initial attack, the players were greeted with an astounding number of critical failures.  The thief attempted to hide in a bush and instead got stuck in it.  The archer tried to archer and dropped her bow twice.  The mage tried to throw darts and hit a teammate instead and then the thief tried to throw a dagger and it flew into the woods never to be found again.  So the combat went about normal.  They thought their characters sucked, but I reminded them it was bad luck.  What they did learn was the power of a Sleep spell.  When the goblins took a nap the players cheered then the dwarf character said, "Why didn't we do that in the beginning?"

The adventure I ran them through was the one I created for Started Adventures.  They handled a group of maskers well, avoiding trouble.  The thief found a dead body in the forest and kept the minor loot he found himself (bonus xp).  When they reached the dungeon the players showed a good knowledge of tactics.  Covering entrances, having the thief check for traps and so on. 

One quick note on the thief, I stole an idea from Skyrim and all Elder Scroll Games (I've been stealing a lot lately) and thieves now have to buy a number of lockpicks.  If they fail over 20% the pick breaks.  This gives a sense of urgency in a way.  If a thief breaks a few right off that start he may want to conserve the picks for a more interesting score.  I made the picks a finite resource. 

The elven mage charmed one of the goblins they encountered and had a good rp moment.  Then the big battle with the goblins followed.  Again, they showed a lot of good sense.  The guy who played the dwarf used iron spikes to keep the door shut so they would only have to fight them from one way.  As a DM I was stoked to see them really embrace the things they could do in game.  Again it was the mage with the sleep spell that saved the day.  After he jumped into the fray he was immediately cut down by the leader, but the cleric was on the spot and was quick to save him. 

Another fun moment was when the elven mage, who wants to be a cow some day, told the cleric "Get up close and spray him in the eyes with your mace."  I had to take a short DM time out while a laughed. 

Although I had to cut some of the dungeon out they completed their objective with no time to spare.  After the game they were jazzed and talked a mile a minute.  All of them wanted to know what we were playing next.  The morning after the two girls who played said they stayed up all night on a 'gaming buzz'.  Said they couldn't stop talking about it. 

I plan on running it once a month, maybe twice a month.  I'm pleased with the way things turned out.  I look forward to the next game.