Last night, more or less on a whim, I decided to go ahead and run the first session of my Labyrinth Lord game.* We were going to be short one C&C player and Tom, the DM for that game, has been exceptionally busy at work, so he was hoping to put that game on hiatus until we have full attendance. Last time we played Capes, which was a fun little game, but I’ve been itching to start, even though there is TON of stuff I’d have liked to prepare first (for example, a level or two of the local megadungeon, a key to the city map, some NPCs, some handouts, etc. — all I have done so far really is the house rules).
Still, Tom found time to create a custom character sheet (all on one side of a page, yay!) and everyone was OK with a “quicky” intro to the game, so off we went.
I had everyone make 2 PCs, and start at 1st level, despite my earlier inclination to start higher and with henchmen. Thinking it over I just didn’t think it would be a good idea to introduce a new game with higher level characters. Tom made a Dwarf and a Halfling, Richard made a Thief and Fighter, and John made an Elf and a Fighter. So, the party looked pretty formidable despite Richard’s abysmal starting gold rolls (something like 40 and 60 GP… Leather armor for his fighter and no tools for his thief!).
I had several OPDs printed out and thought I could use one of them, but ended up going with The Ogre Chief’s Grasp,** which was just right for a short session after character generation. Had I been better prepared, I’d have made extra copies of the equipment lists, as that proved to be the main bottleneck in creating the party. Otherwise it was quite a zip. I love older editions of D&D for that reason.
I should note that the module as written included five ogres (four cronies and the chief) and I thought that seemed to be too much for 1st level characters. Instead I replaced with two of the crony ogres with d6 half-orcs (Orcs with slightly better armor in LL terms). The party managed to kill everything without losing any PCs, although most were pretty beat up. The “Shields will be splintered” rule certainly saved Richard’s fighter’s bacon!
All three players are experienced (Tom mainly as DM, Richard as a casual but long-time player, and John as both a DM & player)*** so I wasn’t too surprised that they used caution and ingenuity. One moment of hilarity was near the start, when the Halfling was sent sent down by a rope through a trap door in the roof of the fort. When an ogre burst into the room that the Halfing had been lowered into, the Dwarf leaped off the roof to bring the Halfling out quickly…which smashed him against the ceiling, then pulled him through the trap door opening and finally pinned him between the crenelations of the battlement on the roof. The Halfling was hurting from that, and both characters were run by my brother, who I guess should be credited with getting the Halfling out FAST but also debited for doing something pretty dumb for a professional engineer. :)****
Anyway the module instructed the GM to roll the hoard class (XX) for EACH ogre present, which came an immense sum (valued over 6000 GP all told, and as luck would have it, including a ring of invisibility, which is an awesome score for a first level party). I think that might be excessive but I’ll check the LL rules tonight.
Fabulously well to do, the party equipped everyone (except the thief) with plate mail, which means I can definitely not worry about pulling punches, this party should have no problems with a level 1 dungeon! Unless they ever need to flee something big and fast, or swim…
Anyway this adventure was basically a “trial” put to them by the Adventurer’s Guild to see if they were ready to try entering Telengard itself. I think they are.
For my part, I’ll try to have a level or two stocked and also get my handouts together for next session.
*I could have put it off indefinitely. Like having a child or starting a business, if you wait until the time is “right” to start a campaign you’ll just never do it.
**I ended up winging quite a bit for this, though. I’d worried so much about which “quicky adventure” I was going to use that I never gave much thought to how to introduce the mission. Although I did not even think to name the “mayor” and “sheriff” of the halfling village, I did try to make them distinct characters and either could appear again later. The module only gave one way in to the “fortress” — the front doors — and I couldn’t imagine it would be unlocked, so I added an access hatch on the roof. Tom tried digging a hole in the roof to get in, which I thought was an interesting idea, while the other two began clearing a pile of rubble that looked promising (I figured there’d have been some way for defenders to get on the roof, but that the small wooden tower over the hatch had collapsed from disrepair). It seems to me that winging things will be important as I get more comfortable with the role of GM.
***Before the game I was pretty intimidated by the fact that both Tom & John are experienced GMs, but I think they both appreciate not having to be the GM enough that they were not too critical of the game.
****See his comment below. Apparently taking friction into account makes his move a lot more sensible. I was just looking it at as heavy dwarf yanking light halfling with the force of gravity, but friction could seriously reduce the force. I’m not 100% convinced there would be much friction for the entirety of the dwarf’s fall, but it looks like there should have been no falling damage for the halfling.