Saturday, July 17, 2010

Greyhawk session #1

There are some folks who don't enjoy reading campaign journals, and I usually lean on that side of the fence (some, like the Dwimmermount recaps over at Grognardia, are exceptions), but I thought I'd give it a go for the benefit of those who do like these sorts of things.

The game is a sandbox-style one, set in Greyhawk, using AD&D rules (but those might morph over time as more ADD rules come in as "house rules"). Tonight was our first session, set up through meetup.com (look over to the right for the link-- they do seem to be filling up fast!). I'm setting things up with the expectation that the adventurers will vary from session to session from a larger total pool; I'm allowing six players per session for now, and it's first-come, first-served.

The party, consisting of Nalania the cleric of Rudd, Ehrandar the elvish thief, Abo the magic-user, Mongo the half-orc fighter, J the dwaven fighter, and Theric the paladin, found themselves traveling on the southern shore of the Nyr Dyv en route to the city of Greyhawk, drawn by rumors that the fabled nearby ruins were once again filled with treasure and adventure.

Coming upon a Rhennee encampment on the shore, led by captain Voran (a terrific NPC I made up on the spot; larger than life, memorable Gypsy accent, funny and a font of knowledge of dubious origin), the party bargained for passage over the lake rather than the much longer and more dangerous overland route. The bargain was struck and the party was welcomed into the Rhennee camp with feasting, merriment, and gambling.

Just before dawn, however, the camp was attacked by a group of bandits. The attackers took more casualties than they inflicted, though, and ended up breaking and running. One curious thing that was noticed was that the bandits seemed well equipped and organized for "mere bandits". The party left the Rhennee temporarily to go in search of the bandits, managing to capture one of two bandit scouts they encountered (the other being felled in a very clever ambush-the-ambushers arrangement the party set up). A little *ahem* gentle persuasion yielded some information about the bandits and a crude map to the bandit camp.

Mongo and J decided to attempt to infiltrate the bandit group, posing as likely recruits and strolling boldly into the camp. A great deal of clever planning was done and obviously paid off almost immediately as they stated their intentions to the bandit lieutenant:
Bandit lieutenant: "Hey, you two were with those river-rats we attacked yesterday!"
J: "Damn!"
(Followed almost immediately by the entire table bursting out laughing for a solid five minutes.)

They still tried to carry through the bluff, though, and managed to pull off the plan, after a fashion, and after having to best Freder, a half-ogre, in unarmed combat. (As an aside, I used this as an opportunity to field-test the ADD unarmed combat rules, and the whole went off smoothly and without a hitch; 20 seconds' explanation and the dice started rolling. None of the agony of grappling and pummeling from days of yore.) The bandits broke camp and were traveling south to the Mistmarsh, and Mongo and J managed to steal a pair of horses and return to the Rhennee camp, arriving about the same time as their companions, who had seen them leave with the bandits.

Greatly impressing captain Voran with their bit of horse-thievery (and having given the river-folk most of what loot they got from the bandits), the party was then transported along the Nyr Dyv, with Voran pointing out the sights along the way; Tenser's castle, the shrine of St. Cuthbert on the Lake (with Theric, dedicated to Pholtus, none too excited about the prospect of his god's rival being so conspicuously represented in the area), the Selintan Gorge, and finally arriving at the quays of the River Quarter in Greyhawk city itself.

This game was an absolute hoot to run. We played at Mighty Titans Hobbies and Games in Randolph, NJ, and it's a terrific space; lots of room, brightly lit, pizza and Thai food next door (and a package goods store!). The players were terrific, with everyone seeming to manage to get input into what they were going to do, and things in the game went in a direction I certainly never anticipated. Can't wait for the next one!