Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Office space roleplaying: Swords & Wizardry Quick Start


Last night I gathered a couple coworkers, and a buddy who works down the street, to try out the Swords & Wizardry Quick Start module. Jim, Dustin, Mick and I ended up having a smashing good time rampaging through the Dungeon of Akban, looting the hell out of the place and (so far, at least) living to tell the tale. The photo above shows our den of geekery, converted from a small conference room in our office building. We stayed late, sneaked in some beers and had a grand old time.

The session was my chance to introduce these colleagues of mine to RPGs. After a year of hearing me rave about how cool old-school tabletop RPGs are compared to video games, they would finally have the chance to decide for themselves. We were joined by a friend who's part of my regular gaming group—he added a little veteran perspective to our group of newcomers.

Character generation was quick and simple. Jim had played before, waaaay back in his elementary school years, and even he was surprised at how quickly stuff like Armor Class and Saving Throw came back to him. Mick had played a lot of video game RPGs like Fallout, so he really enjoyed the wide-open nature of the game—if you can imagine it, you can try to do it.

Mick and Jim rolled up straightforward fighters, and Dustin made an Elf fighter. So...three fighters. Veteran roleplayers will no doubt be wondering how the party survived without a magic-user or a cleric. But really, it's a testament to the quality of the Chgowiz's Quick Start adventure that we were able to plump the depths of Akban despite having a rather lopsided group of adventurers.

And so we delved. I introduced them to the concept of mapping, and Dustin took to that job with great aplomb. He gave advice when needed—based on his own D&D experiences playing Chgowiz's Dark Ages game—but he didn't smother the other two players. They all contributed to the evening's successes and failures.

We did a bit of exploring and saw three hard-fought combats: one when the group charged into a nest of giant centipedes, and two more running battles against the bands of goblins that infested the dungeon. In the first goblin combat, oil bombs took out 6 goblins in one round, leaving just one horribly wounded survivor who was interrogated and then summarily executed.

The second goblin combat was far more dangerous, and resulted in Spier the Fighter collapsing in a bloody heap (I quickly implemented the -10HP countdown rule to give them time to revive him). You can see Spier's prostrate form in the foreground of the photo above, with his fellows standing guard over him as the goblins move into position down the hallway. Only by killing the pesky goblin shaman—who tried his damnedest to flee the scene—was the group able to steal 3 healing potions off his still-warm corpse and use them to revive Spier.

And right around that point we decided to call it a night. We'd played for maybe 2 hours, with a break in the middle to check the doors and make sure we weren't accidentally locked inside the office. I didn't want to initiate them with a marathon session. But the best part came at the end, as I started gathering up my miniatures and dungeon tiles. Both Jim and Mick said they had a great time, and they asked to play again soon. I said sure, we'll make a note of where we are in the dungeon, and when we sit back down we'll play the same characters and go from there.

I don't care if you're rolling dice in 1980 or 2010: That's how campaigns are born, folks.

11 comments:

Rob Conley said...

Good thing they didn't run into the Giant Ants those things are murder!

Meepo said...

Best blog post I've read in weeks! Very enjoyable, thank you for sharing.

Daddy Grognard said...

Respect for recruiting your colleagues! I work from home now but when I did work in an office, I generally did not bring D&D up in conversation - my colleagues had enough reasons to colour me weird without that as well.

I reckon it all depends on your relationship with your colleagues and you seem to have a pretty good one. Work seems to me, from having read a lot of blogs, to be a fertile recruiting ground, if the recruiter can get past the geeky image that the game still has in some quarters and let people learn by doing.

Again, respect!

PatrickWR said...

Thanks for the words of encouragement! I should mention that we work in journalism, which is no stranger to geekdom...or creative expression. So it was a good fit all around!

bliss_infinte said...

Nice recap and fun session. It's amazing how one session can hook players (back) into the game. Hope you guys keep delving!

abhorsen950 said...

Excellent post your friends are in the same boat as me. Just starting out.
Glad they enjoyed i hope i will.

Zachary The First said...

Great post, and good on ya!

Nancy said...

Umm. Well. I don't know what to say (because I understand none of it) except that the photo of Mick is priceless!

Saemundr said...

Playing through the quickstart on googlewave atm with my brother, remembering rules and making it up in the worst possible way as i go... but we're both having fun (i think? i know i am at least!)

would love to hear more if you guys meet and play more!

Emperor said...

Awesome stuff dude! I've played ina few lopside parties before, I found a magic-item and potion budget was required, as most of our healing and such was done via potion.

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