Two gamer friends (and sprog) collide with two non gamer friends for a game of Dungeons of Dragons (my first DMing since 1978) ; what could possibly go wrong?
Well, actually nothing... shock horror.
All the pressure was taken off the players (even Shaun and Steve had not played for a long, long time) by using the starter set pre-generated characters. Useful as they have all the info, including background, likes, oddities that they needed to play their characters. Possibly not as much fun as designing a character ground up but is brilliant for the intro to the game and the backgrounds include things that are going to impact in the campaign.
So we had Steve as a stuck up elven wizard who is resentful as he has been sent outside of the 'university' and has to actually have indulge in social interaction which doesn't include, 'Bring me some tea boy' ; Shaun as a dwarf cleric with an attitude, Craig as a human 'royal' who is learning to be a fighter to impress his dad, Rhys who is using a Halfling Rogue with a dark secret and my neighbour Ayer who was Ronan the human commoner who is good with a sword (which he liked to sharpen far, far too much) and a longbow.
Role playing for me is all about the role playing. I get bored easily when the action is, 'it moves over there', 'I hit the monster', 'it takes 4 damage, your go xxx' and especially the 'it dies' ending to the combat. I want voices, conversation and narrative description to the action. Sometimes it takes a while for people to embrace it but I haven't found anyone who hasn't yet. Also the action should flow with as little time looking up stuff and working stuff out as possible, I never have been a rules lawyer and getting flow is far more important to me in a rpg setting. I would like to think that this helps new players as they can concentrate on what the characters are doing and not how the rules are letting them do it.
Taverns (without any brawls disappointingly), roads, wolves and traps latter the party were ready to face their first real challenge - rescuing their benefactor from a lair of goblins, led by a bugbear called Klarg. By now they were pretty cocky having seen off some goblins and wolves pretty easily. In fact it all started well - a kennel full of wolves were dispatched (yes, yes I know - they could have befriended/tamed one etc but hey, they are newbies and getting their head around that in this universe, at least, they can go around killing people who piss them off !) and the dwarf even noticed a secret passage - while the magic user was trying to figure out what time period and by whom the door was made by!
Anyway, the back passage led up to Klargs main chamber (avoiding 98% of the rest of the dungeon) and for once the party tried talking to the bugbear. Might have been a mistake letting a stuck up, verbose, elven magic user try and negotiate a trade BUT hey, live and learn (Steve rolling a 2 probably didn't help). So it was on, bugbear, pet wolf and 4 goblins versus the party! Cockiness and enthusiasm evaporated when suddenly the wolf ripped out a chunk of Dave the fighter's throat, an archer took Stewie the elf down to near death and the others managed to miss and take wounds for the first time in the night!
Cleric heal spell latter and Dave was on his feet and swiping at the wolf - who was now incensed with Dobbi the Halfling who had speared him up the butt ! Swinging an axe near to a friend after just being bought back from near death proved near fatal (apart from a save roll) for Dobbi as he just managed to jump out the way of the wild (rolled a 1) miss !
But, eventually equilibrium in the party force was restored and they managed to pop off the goblin and bugbear. Now, it didn't seem to occur to the party that although they couldn't see around the massive corner next to the underground lake that there might be more gobbos awaiting the chance to get them! So they settled down for a rest and in Ayers case, a sword sharpen (pretty sure it's a euphemism) only to be disturbed by a shrieking voice getting closer "boss, boss, boss... somethings killed the wolves!"
Shock followed by inspiration ensued but let's summarise is thus...
- Stewie, as a bolt of inspiration hit dead centre, used an illusion to pretend to be the bugbear shouting at the gobbo.
- A 19 on Stews part and a 1 on the gobbo roll meant that the illusion/deception worked.
- Stew/Klarg then told the gobbo to take everyone 3 miles north into the mountains and damn well get some more wolves before he ate them all!
Yep, the story line sometimes goes unexpected...
Lair searched, companion of their benefactor found, information gleaned and a bit of treasure resulted in LEVEL 2 all round and a good close to the evening !
Hopefully I did alright, the party were brilliant and Ayer enjoyed the descriptions of his kills immensely - usually having to go off and sharpen his sword afterwards... bring on the next evening.