AD&D Yrth session #4: To kill a priest

So, the mostly by-the-book AD&D 1e campaign rolls on, and in the fourth session Tom,  our DM, decided that BTB initiative and surprise is bit “wonky” and he’s adapted a new, simpler initiative system after looking over Old School Hack.  The basic plan is, PCs (and monsters) choose from among four “phases” to act in: 1-Defend/protect, 2-Shoot/Throw, 3-Move/Melee, and 4-Use/Cast.  Each side then roll initiative and plays each phase in that order (winner does phase 1, then loser, then phase 2, etc.).  This has sped things up considerably, as we just turn up a card with a 1-4 written on it each round, then roll for initiative.  There is no “holding” actions or waiting, except that if you chose 2, you can shoot in a later phase but only once, regardless of RoF.  One result is that no matter what the initiative roll, spell casters will always be interruptible, since even if they lose initiative, the other side gets to shoot and/or melee before spells go off (surprise would be the exception).

Tom also introduced two pages of combat rules that clarify or change other things, but they are all either BtB AD&D or house rules similar to what we’ve been doing already.

Session four had several milestones … our party planned (and screwed up, and re-planned, and narrowly pulled off) an ambush, which led to my PC completing his first “mission” (Die, friar, die!).  We fought and defeated out first spell-casting opponents (TPK very narrowly averted when our ranger spotted that Friar Tanin was roused from a Sleep spell by my attempted coup-de-grace, and the ranger just had time to interrupt Tanin’s attempted Hold Person on our four-man party!).  And it only took four sessions for Richard to begin exploring his options regarding the torture of captives. 😦 

Although two players could not make this session, and we started very late, it was a blast.

One other thing the DM did which I never really thought of before was: although each PC has a ‘mission’ that led him to the Keep, and completing the mission is an XP bonus, said XP is divided among the whole party.  That actually makes a lot of sense and for some reason I always assumed Party mission = party XP, individual mission = individual XP. But dividing up an individual’s mission XP will have the (very good) effect of encouraging the whole party to cooperate on each other’s goals, rather than (say) having one PC run off to do his little side mission while the rest of the party is doing something else.  I like.  Maybe in a more cut-throat/PvP campaign I’d go the other way.

Anyway what follows is my XP-grubbing session report, mainly on interest to the DM and players, but posted here for posterity:

A letter from Morax the Hospitaller to his superior:

From the Keep on the borderlands

Dear Bro. Joshua,

I trust you will have had no problem decoding and translating this missive, and it will have found you in good health.  I am pleased to report success in my mission to eliminate the heresiarch.  I have attached myself to a party of adventurers who have proven themselves invaluable as allies, and also to provide an excellent cover for my operations, as they move freely about the Keep and its environs.  With them I have brought the sword to many unclean creatures of darkness. Surely Christ has smiled upon our cause and will continue to aid us in eliminating heresy and error.
In the course of the mission, we persuaded F*T* and two of his acolytes — a pair of half-orcs — to accompany the party on our expedition to the Caves of Chaos, a den of numerous humanoid tribes which have been harrying the Keep.  Once outside of town we split off from F*T* and his acolytes, crossing a raging river, in order to backtrack and surprise them.  En route we encountered a series of lizard men, which must have been a hunting party that had itself become strung out along a wide are as they did not attack in force but only one at a time.  I feared it was all a ploy to lead us into their own ambush but after we slew a handful of lizardmen we crossed the river again unmolested except by a giant fish.  Our ambush was aborted when we found that four more armed men were meeting with F*T* and wearing his livery.  In the end we slew them all and were unable to take a captive for questioning.  I suspect they must have a secret lair outside of the Keep and will investigate that at my first opportunity.  In the meantime I plan to pose as one of the acolytes back at the Keep, in order to gain access to F*T*’s chambers and discover what I can, if that be God’s will.
The Curate at the chapel seems to be an honest man and trustworthy enough. But I do not yet trust any in the Keep apart from adventurers Sir Ashcroft, The Mighty Geiron, Gladys of the Golden Egg, and — believe it or not — an elf and a dwarf who, so far, have proven themselves trustworthy and even brave, despite the debased and atrocious standards of their subhuman kinds.  With God, all things are possible, and perhaps I will even befriend the wretches.

Brother Morax

P.S. I have taken the precaution of concealing my affiliation and have assumed the name Borax and the identity of a Templar at the Keep, so address any replies to that name. 

P.P.S. The Lord has also blessed us with the catch of a monstrous Gar — enough to meet the Lenten needs of whole village, but I am afraid we will not be able to smoke or dry it in time to make use of it. Mysterious indeed are His ways.

P.P.P.S. While I have no interest in earthly rewards I do recall being promised a certain sum of silver on the successful completion of my mission, and would obviously put such funds to good and proper use.  Righteousness has proven to be an expensive companion and I must spend all my funds on the costly equipment my work requires.  My living at the Keep would scarcely support the lifestyle of an extreme Franciscan, and I fear my cover will be compromised if I can’t afford to make at least the pretension of being the humblest of Templars.  I trust your next letter will include ample funds keep me indoors and fed.  Also I have found arrows to be exceedingly expensive at the Keep due to wartime profiteers and should very much like an additional allowance to procure sufficient arms to meet my needs.   

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Published in: on August 26, 2011 at 12:00 pm  Comments (1)  
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One CommentLeave a comment

  1. Ah yeah! Nice initiative system. Fulfills a lot of my goals so I might steal it.


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