Monday, July 6, 2009

The Keep on the Borderlands (Session 1, Part 1)

So Sunday night (yesterday) was my first session gaming with my wife in my newly created "solo campaign."  I intend to post my gaming sessions to the blog because some folks (like me) enjoy reading gaming reports, and some (again, like me) get inspiration from other folks' games.

Previously, I posted how M rolled up a new Elf character for B/X, Olaf Owlson (the surname was added this session).  I decided that for real OS B/X play, there was no better way to go than to start off with B2: The Keep on the Borderlands, which my non-gamer wife has never heard of, let alone played in.  How's that for crazy?  Wait till I spring the Chaotic priest on her!

Although, I am actively promoting Labyrinth Lord with kids that don't own the original B/X set, I do own the original rules, so I'm using 'em (thanks, Moldvay!).  The following house rules are in effect (my wife wouldn't know the difference, so I haven't bothered to explain 'em to her):

1) armor includes ring mail at BECMI prices
2) 1st level characters gain full maximum hit points
3) my variable weapon damage by class rules are in effect, and thus
4) any class may wield any weapon

Otherwise, everything else is as Moldvay and Cook intended (though I will be using the corrected combat tables from Mentzer should characters progress to high enough levels).  Oh, I'll probably use my own "dual weapon wield" rules, but since no one's trying that yet, it's a non-issue.

After a brief heated discussion of whether or not Zorro's companion Bernardo ever wore a mask, we decided it was necessary to give Olaf some companions.  Mainly, my wife felt a little lonely when I read the introduction and she had no buddies.  Fortunately, I already had a list of 24 ready-made 1st level characters, each with a little blurb-description.  I gave her three random rolls and here are the companions she got:

Caleb (F1): "A young human warrior wearing a horned helmet."
Burle Stoutfoot (H1): "A well-to-do halfling in plate and mail."
Sister Becca Nordagh (C1): "A barbaric priest of Thor."

As per the suggestion in B2, I gave Olaf both a magic dagger +1 and a potion of healing. We agreed that M would only have purchased one dagger, not two, because of the magic dagger, and so her character was left with 2 gold pieces to her name.

There was some brief confusion as she approached the Keep as M wasn't sure how to respond to the guards' demand to identify herself and her intentions.  After some some discussion I figured out why: M thought that the Keep was the stronghold of evil that she was supposed to invade conquer.  Whoops!  I explained that the Keep was a place of Law and was going to be her base of operations to launch attacks on the Caves of Chaos...after that she was all beaming and smiles, happy to make friends with the guards. *whew!*

B2 really does shine as a great introduction to D&D.  Several times in reading or giving descriptions, my wife would ask me "what's that?" Lo and behold, there's a handy-dandy glossary included in the back with easy definitions of "pole arms," "portcullises," and "melee(!);" all things I take for granted as knowing but which my wife has not a clue as too (she is a white collar professional that travels internationally for business...fortunately, she doesn't need to know what a "murder hole" is!).  Anyway...

Gave her a couple random rumors.  She was greatly disturbed to learn there were "little dog men" in the lower caves.  "What the hell are those?!" Um...I'm guessing they're dog-like humanoids; part man, part dog. Disturbed, scared, and weirded out, she was feeling more comfortable by the time the lackey* (*definition in module!) led Olaf and Co. to the Traveler's Inn.

Asked about the accommodations, I explained the common room versus the private room. "How many silver pieces to a gold piece?" 10 (in B/X...had to check since AD&D puts it at 20).  Olaf decided the common room would be good enough; "We plan on leaving in the morning anyway...right after breakfast!" Josef the innkeeper explained the Inn did not serve breakfast, but food could be had in the tavern next door.  Perhaps, they could pick up some additional henchmen there?

On to the tavern!  "Do they have beer?" Yes, 1 silver per pint.  "Beers all around" for her companions.  Food was another matter. "How much is 1 'electrum' piece?" 10 silver (dammit! I keep thinking AD&D!). "That's expensive!" She had stew for herself, made sure her companions could afford their own dinners (yes), and still bought beers for all of 'em.  Asked the taverner if there were any guides to the Caves.  "Frank the mercenary just got back from an expedition to the Caves...apparently things didn't go too well, as he's the only one that made it back. He's the one with the eye patch over there."

M decides Olaf will buy Frank a beer and ask him to tell her about his adventures.  "I would have told you for free, but for a beer I'll give you all the gory details!" He goes on to explain how he and a group entered a cave and got ambushed by goblins...everyone got killed except Frank and he fled back to the Keep. "I had TWO eyes when I started out," says Frank, "now I've only got the one, the clothes on my back, and the equipment you see (a sword, dagger, shield, and leather armor)."  Poor Frank! Olaf offers to hire Frank to act as a guide and mercenary. "How much are you paying?" "How much do you want?" "One gold piece per day, unless you're willing to buy me some armor and equipment." Wow, says M, that's expensive and she can't afford it.

"How about 5% of anything we will come out of my (25%) share of the treasure."  This is a pretty good deal and M rolls a 10 for her reaction roll.  "You bet! I'll meet you by the fountain in the morning!"  It appears the adventure is on!

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