Friday, April 26, 2013

A tale of two sessions, Session 1 Swords & Wizardry

After dealing with family matters, I got back into refereeing, both the Swords and Wizardry campaign at Gold Star Anime and the Monday Night GURPS campaign using Fantasy Grounds over the internet. Both are set in the Majestic Wilderlands.

Swords and Wizardry
The last game I ran was a month ago using Champions and Hero System 5th edition. A grand finale to a excellent campaign involving the shutdown of an alien base on the moon and my son's herofactory toy subbing in as Giant Robots (capitals intended).  As a consequence all my fantasy material (both GURPS and S&W were scattered around the house). 

So I put away the Hero stuff, hoping it not another 10 year or so before I run it again, and gather all the Swords & Wizardry materials. Dang I now have four S&W print rulebooks, three of the Core version and one of the Complete version. I got the word I have four new players so I pack them all.

Also printed out some more characters sheet, and made duplicates of the cheat sheets that allow complete character gen in 20 to 30 minutes for an arbitrary number of folks.  If I still had the damn files I used to create them I would share them. Perhaps in a month or so I will spend some time recreating them and post them. With these you can jettison pre-gens and make character generation part of your game-store game or convention game.  And still need to fix the fact I haven't printed out an attribute bonus chart. Although I did finally reformatted Jeff Rient's starting XP chart from Tower of Xylarton. 

As for adventure prep I earlier adapted the X3 Curse of Xanaton for the Majestic Wilderlands so I didn't have much to do for that. So I decided to break out Dwayne's Dwarven Forge style tiles he made and give the newcomers a spectacle as the party was at the point of assaulting the Temple of Ceria. I did have to make a player map at the last minute as part of the clue to where the Shrine of Ceria was located. 

When the session started I found, I had ten players this time. About the limit I can properly handle individual roleplaying. Need to figure out a better table setup tho as jamming three together meant a bunch of space in the middle that was almost inaccessible. But on the other hand I could lay out half the dungeon with plenty of elbow space. Although I ran out of game tiles. Something I hope to fix with me backing the Dwarven Forge Kickstarter.

The adventure in this session had its ups and downs. The party succeeded but not before the Thothian Mage and the Rune-caster died due to an errant fireball. A couple of sessions back the Rune-casters in the party found that they could get runes on their bolts and arrows  and have them go off.  Naturally they gravitated to bolts and arrows with Fireball and Lightning Bolts runes.

This is not as unbalancing as it sounds due to the generous ranges the Swords and Wizardry spells already have. It is a consequence of how rune-casters, runes, and charms work in the Majestic Wilderlands. In fact it is probably sub-optimal due to the possibility of fumbling a bow or crossbow shot.

Which is what ultimately how the session ended. Since writing the Majestic Wilderlands supplement I have some up with some additional rules I use. One of them is that if you roll a natural 1 you fumble. If that occurs you roll on the following table.

1-3 You drop or lose control of the weapon and must spend the next round picking it up if you want to use it.
4-5 Your weapons breaks unless it is magical.
6 You hit yourself or a nearby party member.

In the last room where the bad guy mage was being attacked, Alaghazar the Thothian Mage decided to use a Knight Killer Crossbow and a bolt with a fireball run on it to shoot the mage. Mind you he could just activated it and cast the spell normally. But somehow in the coolness of having fireball arrows, everybody just forgot about it.  So he elected to shoot the crossbow. Now being a mage, he has a hefty penalty but all he needs to do it get into the room. Literally needing to hit a broad side of a barn.

And he rolls a 1, sigh, I tell him to roll a d6 to see what type of fumble it is.

He rolls a 6!

So not only he fumbles but manages to hit himself with it and activate the fireball.

Given that he is 7th levels the result wasn't pretty. Alaghazar and another player failed their save and died from the damage.

The rule I use you die at negative constitution starting at -3 at first level and decreasing by -3 per level until you hit your con.

Of course they were out of range of the enemy mage who teleported away to a nearby corridor. Where it just happen that the party's burglar was sneaking out. One quick backstab later and the enemy mage is eating dirt too. Which was nice as the players was pretty much taking a backseat in the adventure up to that point.

Here is a picture of everybody playing, courtesy of Jerry Humes of Gold Star Anime. Like I said before it was a big crowd with a lot of good players.

Regular readers know that I am the type of referee who likes to use miniatures. The next picture shows how I lay everything out for a game session.

The near wooden box has Dwayne of Gamer's Closet Game tiles that he made. The miniature are all in trays sorted by type. Across the aisle is my referee stuff and I use the wooden crates I carry miniatures as shelves to hold the prop trays. Finally on the left edge of the picture are the two boxes of big miniatures. 


Anonymous said...

Sounds like a lot of fun.

Bard said...

I love the story about the fireball bolt fumble. Sounds like something I might do. :)

Kelly Anne said...

The derp was strong with that one.