Monday, May 24, 2010

Playtesting N1...B/X Style

Did I mention I'm a hack and a slacker?

Now I know that it's not cool to get too down on myself...after all, I'm providing SOME small measure of entertainment to the folks that read my posts. But I did say I would get a conversion of N1: Against the Cult of the Reptile God out sometime soon, and I have not delivered.

Ah, well...what can you expect when it's all free?

Today, I've been playing ultimate frisbee (two intense games that both required showers), cabbed all the hell over Virginia, invented two new ways to play ping-pong (using a wall), chased (and bathed) a dog that had rolled in deer droppings, photo'd a deer, and consoled my wife who, it turns out, broke her foot while walking all over D.C. a couple days ago. Quite a full day really (besides eating...which I did a lot of...and explaining to a 16 year old the origin of Vlad Tepes and his relationship to the Twilight saga).

And yet I still managed to play a little B/X. Ahhh...dedication to the cause.

Ran a pair of 1st level characters through N1 (B/X style) today and the result wasn't pretty. Call it yet another TPK for yours truly, though our intrepid heroes didn't actually die. Rather, they suffered the proverbial "fate worse than death," which in this case consisted of being the living slave of a half reptile entity.

O the Humanity! Or (actually) the lack thereof!

I believe I mentioned this before...if not I should have...that N1 is an excellent module for experienced gamers that want to start a passel of new characters. Note the emphasis. Today's players consisted of rank novices and it showed.

I did my best to freak them out in the process...give 'em their money's worth, so to speak.

The thing with N1 is, it requires a plan of attack...unlike, say, T1 there's no major direction to go in. Characters need to explore the town and try to construct (or rather, "deduce") what exactly the hell is going on. The PCs in my game were more like, "where's the dungeon?" And in being led by the nose they were steered into a bad situation by cultists that drugged 'em, jailed 'em, then led them off to be "converted" into worshippers of the reptile god. Not a single saving throw was made successfully all game, and the end result was...well, about what one would expect from not making a single save all game.

MY mistake, as a DM, was thinking the PCs could handle an adventure like N1, simply because it's designed for "4-7 players of 1st through 3rd level." Had there been more PCs it would have simply been more lambs to the slaughter. Kids grown up on World of Warcraft (as these ones were) just don't have the necessary skills...or rather, they don't think the same as RPG players (which is a slightly nicer way of saying the same thing).

Where's the quest? What do I have to fetch and carry? What do I have to kill? Jesus H. Christ.

So they all ended up as slaves, which is fine by me, and they wanted to make new characters and try again, but instead we ate dinner and played more ultimate frisbee and then watched TV and talked...all of which was ALSO fine by me. I'm on vacation, after all.

But I do hope the rest of y'all have a bit more fun with this N1 conversion (hopefully finished by tomorrow). Good night, sleep tight, don't let the bed bugs bite.

[P.S. saw my first fire fly(s) today...don't know if anyone else noticed or not, but I thought it was pretty cool]


  1. I saw my first fireflys last night too. My cat was outside watching them.

    As far as D&D goes, nobody can survive any of the modules with just two 1st level pc's. If it says 4-7 characters, they mean 7 1st level pc's minimum.

  2. Oh, I don't know...I was reducing the encounter strengths to compensate for the fewer characters in the party. THAT didn't appear to be the problem. Lack of direction (and a ton of poor saving rolls) WAS.

    But we're about to try it again. We'll see how it goes.

  3. What timing - I'm about to run this module next week using Labyrinth Lord :)