Friday, June 04, 2010

Rolling it Old School

We finally got in another session of Magpie Gaming Night this past Monday, and I ran a one shot adventure for Swords & Wizardry White Box. It wasn't anything too fancy, but I had fun, and I think the players did too. After a lot of indy games it was nice to get back to some classic hack and slash for a little bit.

The players each rolled up a 4th level character. We ended up with a Cleric, a Magic-User and an Elf. The adventure found them killing time at a tavern (imagine that!), when the small town they were in found themselves inundated by a horde of undead, mostly skeletons and zombies. The cleric went to turn them, but found them strangely resistant to his efforts. He could still turn them, but it was not as easy as it should have been.

The group held back the major push of the undead long enough for most of the villagers to make it to the keep before being forced to retreat into the keep themselves. As the drawbridge was being raised the cleric fell, and the others pulled him back into the keep where they were met by a Lieutenant Nunoz who led them to the makeshift infirmary to drop off their fallen comrade before heading to a meeting with the commandant.

The commandant outlined the situation, which they were already mostly aware of, and then conscripted them into the militia for the duration of the siege. He explained that they could spend the time on the walls if they wished, but that he had a special mission that he believed they would be perfect for, if they were willing to volunteer.

He had reason to believe that there was a necromancer behind the attack, and he wanted the group to find and deal with the necromancer in the hopes that once the necromancer was gone the siege would be lifted. The party agreed, and the cleric was raised from the dead by the local priestess so that he could help them (don't ask why a priestess of high enough level to raise dead couldn't deal with a horde of skeletons and zombies on her own, this is not the plot hole you're looking for...).

If this had been a campaign I would have come up with some sort of system other than the default one of zero hit points leading automatically to death, but as a one shot I tried to just let the dice fall where they may for most of the adventure.

Lieutenant Nunoz led them out of a secret tunnel that opened beyond most of the siege lines. A short skirmish got them the rest of the way through, and they eventually decided to follow the tracks of the shambling horde back to where they came from in the hopes of locating the necromancer.

They managed to track him down to a broken down tower on the edge of an old battlefield. On the way they destroyed one of his wight lieutenants. In the tower they found another wight along with the necromancer working on animating more undead. They destroyed the wight, but only after it drained one of the cleric's levels, while the necromancer decided to exercise discretion and used a combination of hold portal and dimensional portal to delay the group long enough for him to get away and join up with the main part of his undead horde.

This was the one point in the adventure where I decided to pull a punch for the good of the game. The necromancer had a fireball ready to go, but as I looked over the spell again, I realized it would almost certainly lead to a total party kill if he used it on the group, so I decided that instead of using it on them, he was going to use it to attempt to breach the walls of the keep.

So, instead of using his one fireball on the group, he escaped from them and returned to the keep, where he used it to burn through the gate of the keep.

It took a while for the group to figure out where the necromancer had gone, so they arrived just in time to see the gate on fire and getting ready to collapse, with the horde of undead getting ready to storm in.

They attacked, and while the cleric kept the undead away with successful turning, the others managed to take down the necromancer. As he realized he was about to be defeated, he polymorphed into a small dragon to gain the protection of its scales and to fly away, but just as he was about to escape, the magic-user thumped him on the head with her staff and brought him down!

All-in-all I thought it was a fun little adventure, and I think the ending worked out pretty well considering that I really didn't have anything planned beyond "confront the necromancer".

It was definitely a big change from the kinds of games we've been playing up to this point. We've been playing mostly games with systems built in for handling social conflict, and Swords & Wizardry doesn't even have skills!

2 comments:

Liz said...

Don't noise about this, but I had a lot of fun playing the White Box game. I did make a good break from the more social focused games we had.

Though, reading though the post-game, it seems like the cleric got beat up a lot.

Fulminata said...

Yeah, I noticed that too. I must have been hating on Jonathan, muahahahaha!!!

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