Thursday, January 7, 2010

A Swords & Wizardry experience richer

So, finally we managed to arrange for a session of S&W, and I even got to play. This last autumn I got the impression that everyone is ill all the time in this country. Even tonight one of our players couldn't show up, and one was ok but had a slight cold. Gaming prevailed.

It was interesting to have a group with so mixed experiences of D&D. Where one player was solidly a 3rd ed player, another have been playing since the seventies and are a regular 1st ed gamer who have also played 3rd and 4th. Then there was me who loves the old school, but have a solid knowledge and experience of 3rd & 4th and just disagree with it. It would be an experiment with old school to see how well it went over. Luckily we complemented each other and we had a good time.

While I had expecting roll 3d6 in order we actually had the generous option of 4d6 drop the worst. Those characters were good! I wanted to play a M-U and got the stats for it. Naturally, I started with Sleep prepared.

We got a background briefing, and it was clear that our DM had been working on the setting and the history. If I hadn't actually been talking to him about dungeons I might have become a bit worried there. Some haggling and in character interaction we positioned ourselves in our party roles and established some character traits. Since my fellow players rolled far worse than me for starting gold, I graciously offered to lend them some of my money. Naturally, I charged interest. Stiff interest. Miser? Me?

Then we set off for the ruined city. While the setting info had given me some sense of wonder about the olden days when the Empire was around I had already forgotten most of it. I always do that unless I take notes. I knew there was a ruined city, and we wanted to go there.

We scouted somewhat and got a good view of the city. Most of it was rubble, but some greater structures stood. Dice rolled on the table and we noticed some flying monsters taking off from some still standing tower. Lucky us. Taking cover we kept out of sight and nothing bad happened. Something bad did happen to a goblin skulking about in the city, he managed to get a throwing axe lodged in his back. Clumsy goblin.

Since it was late we had to find shelter, and did find just that in another tower. We had to fight a monster who poped out of a glass globe someone unfriendly tossed at us as soon we entered the tower. A seriously grumpy owlbear was dispatched and my poor mage missed with his darts five rounds in a row! The melee fighters was good to have around. After some negotiations we could enter the tower and managed to calm the crazy hermit living there. While everyone were busy talking to the hired hands I decided to kill the crazy hermit and take his library of glass globes as my own. For some strange reason it turned out my party was squeamish and after the deed expressed horror. At least he wouldn't slit their throats at night. We took possession of his camp and grabbed what valuables there were. That was the reason we wanted to seek adventure, right? Having counted the gold we decided this was enough for one session.

S&W was easy enough, with a very quick combat system. Much could be accomplished without being bogged down in rules, and I felt we got that thrill of exploration even though we hadn't even found the entrance to the catacombs under the city. Clearing out a building room by room is a special feeling. The only real discussion we had about the rules was about xp bonuses. One player felt they were unfair and undermined the idea of the party. I have been thinking that myself sometimes, since it's a reward given over and over again for someone being lucky with random generation of stats. A very good player might be punished even if he does everything right, while a player who lucked out and rolled 13 both for CHA and WIS suddenly advance quicker. I really hate the idea of a "balanced" system, but that rule is not one of my favourite. Letting go of it, without building a sense of player entitlement probably is on my wishlist. I've thought it before, but real play made it stand out.

Now I hope we can make this more than a one shot, and that there will be some regular S&W gaming. Our DM and his betrothed are expecting their first child pretty soon so we will see how that affect things. After some time at home with a newborn you probably want to meet some other adults, I hope. At least I now have had some S&W experience, and it was positive!
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