I'm part of this gaming group that calls ourselves Helga's Heroes. (Long story, and kind of a weird one where the name comes from. Suffice to say, it's D&D related.) We're composed of a wide and varied population of Boston area gamers. Once a month on a Saturday, we have a game day, at a volunteer member's house. This time around, I offered my place, and used it as an opportunity to kick off my next Sandbox capaign.
I had a total of three players, the first two played Assadola the thief and Mehmet the kedai, and were joined midway through the afternoon by a third who rolled up Kashmalaku the largoman. The adventure was made up almost on the spot, as I had the germ of the idea for the largoman and his stolen dewwok about ten minutes before folks started showing up. Its a tribute to the simplicity and flexibility of Labyrinth Lord that I was able to spin a tale from almost nothing so easily.
One thing I find tremendously funny was that the initial two characters, a pair of the worst scumbags ever to soil the sandy streets of the city of Kalabad, were the ones upon who I needed to work this tearjerking story of a naive bumpkin deprived of a valuable piece of property. Seeing the gold dinars flash in the eyes of the characters upon hearing Scrocmalaku's story was a hoot. I'd hoped for sympathy and nobility, but I can work with petty larceny.
This session also saw first blood, which was very satisfying in several ways. As I might have said before, I'm kind of a soft touch DM, or have been in the past. This exercise in old school is also an exercise in pulling no punches (or snapping of necks, as the case may be) and it was awesome how the deceased thief's player (namely Paul, who runs the Labyrinth Lord game I play in on Wednesdays) was able to whip up a character in barely ten minutes, as the others carried his prior character's corpse around to his relatives. Score another one for the oldskool.
As for the adventure, it worked okay. The upper rooms of the thieves' house were kind of boring, but then they were really intended as someplace for them to sneak into if they'd chosen the stealthy approach over brute force, which turned out to be the option they went for. I sketched the rooms out on a couple of gridded note cards as my first two players were putting together their characters.
So yeah, overall, a great start, and an easy campaign to manage, since it's almost all improv and constructing random tables. I'm steeped in enough Harryhausen Sinbad movies, and have read Sir Richard Burton's translation of "The Arabian Nights", with all its wonderful, flowery prose, that I think I can keep this rolling. So stay tuned.