Help me, OSR Kenobi, you’re my only hope!

So I’ve been blissfully rolling along knowing I’m going to run my campaign at a convention tomorrow and none too worried about winging the dungeon crawl (or more likely using a OPD plus some extra Smullyan stlye puzzles) but then it hit me:

The new players will all be 1st level characters.  But two regular players will also be there, and their PCs are level 3 (a halfling) and level 5 (a fighter), which wouldn’t worry me except they both have a fair number of magic items, particularly the halfling who was given all three magic items the party found last session when they gakked a Jabberwock and now I am a little worreid they will completely overshadow the noobs…not so fun. 

Do I:

A. Stop worrying and let the dice fall where they may

2. Ask the regulars to use new characters for this one shot (which is kind of a bait & switch as I’d told them they could use their own and this their first convention for both of them…)

or III. Nerf the regulars a little (disable/steal/disallow their magic items for this one shot)

What would Gary do???  What should I do?

Published in: on May 20, 2011 at 11:21 am  Comments (11)  
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11 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. I wouldn’t do #3. That just seems odd.

    Is it going to ruin your one-shot if the regulars use their magical gew-gaws? Is this one-shot something that the regulars will visit later on?

    When I ran my campaign at GaryCon, I had a 3rd level mage from the campaign there. Even with his powerful stuff, most of the party being first level, the game was pretty intense and possibly deadly – save vs. poison is a helluva equal opportunity killer.

    Me personally, I’d go with A. You could always ask your players about 2, but given this your campaign, just at a con, I’d run the campaign as a campaign and let the dice roll. Good times! I’m glad you’re running your campaign at a con… it’s a great experience!

    • Thanks for the reply!

      1) no, should not ruin it, except their gew-gaws just make them pretty potent. But as you say, save-or-die isa great equalizer, as are puzzles/tricks…your +2 flail is no help against a riddle or whatever.
      2) yes, it will be permanent part of the campaign, so I can’t go too far in left field, altohugh the campaign is pretty farked as it is, the party has found Incan masks, a space suit, pirates, etc.
      3) I was considering a sort of ‘anti-magic portal’ at the entrance which would mess with magic items for some period, but it is kind of a screwy thing to do.

      BTW it is largely because of your description of opening up your campaign at Gary Con that I decided to do this. My other idea was to run my OPD entry but my regulars have all already been there/done that and it is just too deadly for level 1, and its pretty hard to scale down the “wear & tear” effect it should have, grinding down a party’s HP, when 1st level PCs ony have 4-8 HP.

  2. I say A. The gap between level 1 and level 3 is just hit points, with the warrior getting something like +2 to hit.
    There is not a huge power gap, lower level characters inflicting the same damage and being able to do the same stuff as the more seasoned ones (except for the bit where they hit less).
    Plus experience progression will make them reach the level of the experienced characters very fast.

  3. I’ll tentaviely say A but you need to make sure you don’t let the old PCs run roughshod over the new people.

  4. If it’s a one-shot, why not give the newbies higher-level PCs?

    • I did not explain this too clearly. I really meant it’s a one-shot in the snese that players will have to finish the small scenario in one sitting (it’s a con) and in the sense that at least some of the players will never be back — although my group is (sadly) desparate enough for new blood to hope we find meet a random gamer who fits in with us. One guy who wants to join the campaign is playing at the con for the first time just because we have been off our regular night since we met him and he’s been dying to join.

      So they need to start at level 1 both for practical reasons (the new guy will probably keep that PC, if it survives) and aesthetic reasons (I posted the event as an old-school game, and part of the baggage with that is you start as a first level nobody).

  5. The whole idea of having one-shot visitors to an ongoing campaign is interesting. I wonder what you could do to leverage that? Maybe have your players tasked to guide the newbies through some area they know (making the veterans feel important and bringing in actual player knowledge about your world), only things have changed (so the veterans are quickly put back on equal grounds with the newbies). Maybe the newbies have powers or items that are very useful in the changed dungeon.

    Have fun.

    • Those are some good ideas. I’ve been threatening to restock the “main” dungeon for a while, and the party has been away from from it for a while , so that might be a perfect fit!

  6. you could give the newbies some “beginners luck points” for re-rolls. Or Special Local Knowledge of The Area allowing them to get the answer to questions of their choice on the right roll….

  7. How come “give the new guys a magic item” is not an option?

    • What am I, freaking Santa Claus? They can have a magic item when they rip it from the cold, dead hands of a monster. 🙂

      Actually my players have been very quick to share their magic items whenever a new guy joins, so that might happen. But no freebies from me. Remember, the con is close enough to the man cave that gamers who play this event could even join the campaign if they like this “test drive.”

      My current plan is to include some pest/vermin monsters for the newbies to fight, and also include a goodly amount of tricks/traps/puzzles that make level irrelevant.

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