Saturday, 2 August 2014

RPG question a Day - First RPG Gamesmastered – Basic D&D (Red)

Even though we had the advanced D&D rules before we got the basic set, the Basic set was so good that we thought it would be better to start at the beginning and work up from there.  And so one evening in the earlier eighties, several of us sat around a table in the kitchen, we’d even been given permission to pull the table out and mum had fed us egg and chips before the game, so well fed adventurers all, I took the first steps into what was going to be so much to me over the next few years.

The Module was Keep on the Borderlands, the players were two elves, a dwarf, and a cleric, and they spent exactly zero time in the keep, going straight to the caves where all the gold and adventures were to be had.  No one (not even me) had any idea what was down the caves, so they picked a hole at random (as one does...) and off we went.

The Hole chosen was G...

F***ing Owlbear...

One dead party later (my first time out of the gate, had no idea to give them a break, it wiped them out in minutes), we all sat around the table in silence till one of them asked the question.

“So we’re dead?”

Now death was not a foreign concept for any of us to be sure, we all had home computers, and as anyone who knows will tell you, games that come in 8 bits usually leave you in 8 bits, so this was not so great a revelatory shock, but it did mean that rather than just start a game again, we did the right thing and generated new characters.  This led to the first moral quandary of the game, which was those characters were going to go the exact same way as the ones that had gone there before, the beast was still going to be there (with full hit points, because the rulebook said how many hit points it had), and was likely going to do for them again.

Then someone came up with the idea that they might have heard that a previous group had gone that way and thus they wouldn’t take that way.  Utterly implausible unless the owlbear dropped all the remains outside in a neat heap with “Food Deliveries accepted” on a sign in front, but still, it saved everyone from having to roll up again, so we went with it.

The Hole chosen was I...

F***ing Minotaur...

Anyone seen that youtube clips of “How animals eat their food?” I can tell you now that Minotaurs make noises like angry cows...

Or was that the players after it crapped them out..?

By this time it was past eight in the evening and bedtime was approaching, so we had a brief conference, because while 8 bit games kill you quite a bit, you just press new game and it does the rest for you rather than having to spend twenty minutes copying the character sheet out and rolling up again. 

So I said I’d have a look through and we’d try again next week.

Next week, they came back and found that one of their contacts at the keep had recommended that if they go down to the caves, avoid the ones at the end of the valley and try the ones lower on the hill at the front of it (having read the opponents in that one, it seemed easier), and so one set of dead kobolds later, they sat amongst the pile of bodies and counted the (meagre) loot.

Emboldened by their success, they didn’t go back to base and heal/reequip, but went instead across cave D on the other side, where, still weak from previous fights, they got mullered by the Goblins on the other side...

Week three was better...

I still see almost everyone who was at this table to this day, we don’t get to game every week these days and we’re never quite as fearless as we were back in those days, but we’re still playing when we can.

And that’s what it’s all about. 

1 comment:

  1. Ah the memories. Great story bro! Now I'm playing again its all coming straight back. Everyone is really enthused for the game too.