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.