So...huh. Looks like I do have another post or two left in me before 2023.
Holiday playdates have been going on this week...Wednesday, we had Maceo over and Lo and Behold, the kids did not want to play laser tag, sing karaoke, or show off their Minecraft creations. Nope, they wanted Dungeons & Dragons and nothing but.
Not only that, but they're starting to get to the point they can sit and engage with the game for hours without needing 'brain breaks.' Kid got over to our house around 12:20 and after 15-20 minutes or so of the usual catch-up with buddy you haven't seen in weeks, they had butts at the table and ready to go. And stayed that way till 5pm. Could have continued, but we had to kick the kid out at 5 since we had plans to hear Beethoven's 9th at the Seattle Symphony in the evening.
[it was magnificent, by the way]
However, the kids did NOT want to run with their beefy, mid-level (elven) assassins. Instead, they wanted to make brand new 1st level characters. Reason being: level restrictions. Knowing they were starting to reach the top end (well, being more than halfway there) and seeing the writing on the wall, they decided to move onto new characters rather than invest more time in the old ones. The new characters: an elven thief ("Donc"), a human ranger ("Luther von Dink"), and a human cleric ("Brother Dank").
[yes, Dink-Donk-Dank...there was some silliness involved, and that's fine. Always some jitters/nerves when starting out...we can always retcon and rename later if we want]
Luther had a rolled strength of 18/93, which makes him the second-strongest ranger to have graced our table (Diego had previously had a ranger with...natural!...18/00 strength that perished in Hommlet). Using my updated height/weight tables we determined he was 6'2", 313# , giving him roughly the same size and build as Drew Desjarlais of the New Orleans Saints (I pick Drew because he's from Ontario and most rangers should be modeled after Canadians).
Donc is typical of elven adventurers in my campaigns: a lowdown scoundrel with a debased and incorrigible disposition. I don't get it, haven't these kids ever watched those LotR films? I suppose Diego ran a Legolas clone in his early days, but...well whatever. Mace just likes roguish wastrels with pointy ears.
Sofia refuses to play elves (half-elves are okay). She joined the game a little belatedly, jumping in with a new cleric to round out the party. Clerics aren't her usual shtick, but so long as her character can wield a flail (her preferred weapon) she's generally unbiased in what she plays.
SO...yeah, new characters, so no Desert of Desolation reclamation project. Which is, you know, fine. It's not really ready anyway...and, as with my (similar) Ravenloft project may end up being for lower leveled characters than the 5th-9th range, more like 3rd+.
[what I'm actually doing is reworking the whole thing as a more open "sandbox" environment for exploration with various interconnected plots/factions, all laid over a map of southern Idaho...however, the dungeons/monsters get bigger/meaner/tougher the deeper one gets into the desert. Fewer purple worms in the west than in the east, for example]
New characters need a new adventure and I decided to run B1: In Search of the Unknown, an adventure that I haven't ever run "straight" (at least, not in recent memory). For my world, Quesqueton is located in the Cascade foothills, just outside of Issaquah, up the side of Tiger Mountain in what the internet tells me is "the Issaquah Alps" (I have never heard this term and I've hiked Tiger dozens of times over the years). The party was hipped to the location by a local thief ("Garbo," halfling) who was willing to sell them a map to the 'legendary stronghold.' Little did they realize this is just the local scam business, and all number of adventurers have picked the place over during the last couple-three decades.
Turned out to be a fun little romp. My players are pretty solid with regard to adventuring logistics...outfitting themselves with lanterns, oil, donkeys, saddlebags, rope, rations and water. Upon locating the entrance to the old fortress, their first priority was building a shelter for the animals and a base of operations for themselves. Initial scouting found old guard stations that...with modification...could act as a makeshift stable. Thus securing their pack animals, the delve proceeded.
It was soon apparent the the place had long been picked over by prior invaders. Various vermin-type monsters were found and dispatched (giant rats, a pair of primitive troglodytes), as well as humanoid looters (gnolls..."we hate these guys"). A small tribe of goblins were found to be squatting in the fortress barracks and negotiations were struck up with them and bloodshed avoided altogether.
Lots of neat discoveries...B1 has a lot of "interactivity" within it, leaving aside monster encounters and plunder. The famous "pool room" accounted for quite a bit of fun, with the players using fish from the "fish pool" to test the waters of the various magical pools. Much harm was avoided in this way, though the cleric still managed to get himself magically silenced, prompting the adventurers to depart (no voice, no spells).
But, overall, it was a successful little venture. Three-ish hours of delving netted the characters a good amount of experience, and if they can somehow recover that statue, they should all level up (even the ranger!). Personally, I would have tried to harness the goblins as a work gang, but they'd still need some sort of cart to get the thing back to town (some seven miles distant on foot). An interesting quandary.
Anyway. Good fun. Not sure what 2023 is going to hold as far as gaming is concerned, but it's nice to see the kids are still interested in that old edition magic. If I get another post off before year's end, it will probably be some sort of "review" or discussion on new resolutions. Time to make the kids some breakfast.
Happy Friday, folks!