Friday, August 27, 2010

D&D at the Baranof (Part 1)

So it didn't happen the way I thought it would, but I finally had a chance to play D&D last night (Thursday)...with my own brother of all people!

The original plan was to run a game at the Thursday night meeting of the Emerald City Gamefest. Unfortunately, things being what they were this week, I totally half-assed and botched the whole thing. First, I didn't get my game on the schedule until Wednesday night (*sigh* ...computers), then I was running around doing too many things Thursday after work. The end result...I didn't actually get to Wayward till 7:30 or so, and the gamers already had a game going...about 8 people playing Truth & Justice.

They invited me to join 'em but I really didn't feel like it...I'm kind of tired of being the newb that arrives late and has to get filled in on the rules as well as the story. Plus I really didn't want to play T&J or a superhero game anyway. I've been jonesin' for some B/X action for about a month now and well...drinking coffee and getting jittery throwing down hero narrative just didn't appeal.

So I left, and waited outside for my brother.

Yes, AB is back in back from North Carolina about 10 days ago and has been staying with me and the Mrs. (as usual) while searching for a job and a new place to live. Now I've mentioned before that ABles isn't big on the nerdy RPGs anymore (he's a World of Warcraft fan when he can afford the account and the much more cool), but tonight he was in the mood to play and had asked to tag along to game night. He's been pretty jazzed about the book publishing thang, but tonight he claimed he was simply bored.

I was waiting for him outside because (on the walk over) he had decided he needed to run down to the smoke shop to get chewing tobacco.

When he came up he wanted to know why I wasn't inside.

"It's a no-go," I explained. "They've already started and there're no stragglers waiting for another game; everyone's just playing around one big table."

Well why don't we join 'em? Asks he. If they already have eight or nine people what's one or two more?

"We could join, but I don't feel like playing in a crowd tonight, and I didn't really want to playthat game. Let's just grab a beer from the bar and head home."

Then he proposes that WE play...just one-on-one. Like the old times.

I am taken aback. AB has not played D&D...or any role-playing close to 20 years.

"Ok," I say. "But let's go play somewhere we can drink." And off we go to the Baranof.

The Baranof, or just "Baranof's" as Greenwood folks tend to call it, is just about the sleeziest, oldest dive bar / greasy spoon in the 'hood...possibly in North Seattle. It has managed to outlast many, many eateries, bars, and businesses in the area over the years...including McDonalds! It is beloved by many, possibly due in part to having Seattle's longest happy hour: 6am to around 8ish, if I remember correctly. When my buddy's bar burned down a few years back (also in Greenwood), I took him to Baranof's to drown his sorrows as it was the only bar open that early in the morning and serving stiff drinks. Hey, what are friends for?

ANYway...AB and I went to Baranof's which advertises on the door: "Bad food, warm beer, lousy service." Inside, another sign says "Beware pickpockets and loose women." The restaurant portion of the place was just closing (it was around 8:30), but the waitress told us it was no problem if we wanted to order a drink from the bar and hang out in a booth in the dining room. We got a pitcher and did just that.

AB asked if I had characters already made up. Yes. He wanted to roll up his own character and take along a few "companions." No problem...I provided him with pencil and paper. "How do you do this again?" he asked. I explained we were playing B/X so characters were rolled up the old fashioned way: 3D6 in order. Like a champ, he remembered the proper ability score order.

His character ended up being a fighter with an 18 Strength (after dropping his Intelligence from 13 to 9 and increasing his Prime Req from its initial value of 16). Wisdom and Dex were both 7 and everything else was average. After discarding the names "Meatball" and "Bolognese" (the latter was "too Italian") he decided on just calling his character Meaty. Meaty was 7th level and started the game with a handful of magic items rolled randomly: chain mail +2, shield +2, war hammer +1, and a bag of holding. He wanted to roll his hit points randomly...and I discovered I had not a single eight-sided dice! What?!

Fortunately, Baranof's is right next door to Gary's Games, and the shop hadn't closed. I ran over there with 2 minutes to spare, purchased a few random dice of varying sides (including two D8s) and made it back before AB had finished his pint.

Of the eight pre-gens, we decided he would have four joining his party: two would be under his control and two under the DM's. He was allowed to know their names and classes when selecting party members, and nothing else. He chose a halfling and a cleric (which he would control) as well as a dwarf and magic-user, which would be left in the control of the DM (the four pre-gens left behind? A fighter, an elf, a thief, and a second magic-user). It was an interesting selection for sure.

So ready, we began his adventure:

B1:In Search of the Unknown.


  1. Can't wait for more! My brother was one of my first gaming companions as well but he gave it up after high school.

  2. Please keep up with steady reports of your B1 journey!

  3. His starting character was 7th level... and you used module B1? I'm curious to see where this is going now.

  4. I've had drinks in the Baranof a few times. Seems like a good place to lose a few teeth, but I never considered gaming there.

  5. Looking forward to the next instalment of this!

    Playing RPG's with my brother is a rare but welcomed event- he is one of those guys that seems to radiate fun due to his unorthodox plans in LL (invariably with a brawny fighter of some kind) even when he is stoned enough to accuse me of swapping the room entrances around on the battlemat when he isn't looking...

  6. @ Everyone: Sorry it took 2 and 3 are posted now!
    : )