Well, seeing as this is a gaming blog I s'pose I oughta talk about the gaming I do. Last night I just started playing in a new Labyrinth Lord campaign with my good buddy DH. Not a whole lot got done besides character creation, but even with a truncated session we got a decent start on things.
We rolled characters up using straight up 3d6's as they land (with one swap of stats if y'wanna be all namby pamby about it). My dice landed with some pretty average stats, with 13's on Wisdom and Constitution, so I was looking at either a Dwarf or a Cleric. As much as I love relentlessly speaking in a Scottish accent (it just happens with dwarves, can't be helped...) I decided to try my hand at a cleric. It was then I had the idea to pattern the character after Manly Wade Wellman's Silver John character, so I fixed him up with a silver stringed mandolin as his holy symbol, described him as a sandy haired Johnny Cash in chainmail, and set Deacon Django Silver loose on DH's world. I'll probably make a mini of him sooner or later, but being as this is no holds barred, full contact Labyrinth Lord, I'll probably hold off on that 'til he hits 3rd level at least.
The rest of the party consisted of an elf ranger, a paladin (both of which used expanded Labyrinth Lord classes that DH had downloaded, as well as a rule variant for demihuman classes that DH had cooked up.), a magic user, and a thief. Sadly, right now I can only remember the theif's name, which is because his player declared he was "The Man With No Name", although folks could call him Clint if they wanted. I'll try to rectify this lack of memorization skills in further sessions, but again, this being old school, I might not need to remember these names too long.
Anyway, the story began with the party trudging down a road along a river heading for a town on the sea coast. As the party neared a bridge, we narrowly avoided being waylaid by a quartet of pig faced orcs. Our paladin detected evil lurking nearby, and my character used his quarterstaff to tap out an approximation of footfalls on the bridge, luring the creatures out and surprising them. The party fired bows at them and the paladin charged in with his sword, mercifully shrugging off friendly fire from both the archers as well as a sleep spell from our mage. He got 3 hd worth of sleep out, and affected 2 orcs and the paladin, who thankfully made his save. Deacon Silver ran up to support the paladin if he needed it, which also put him in the line of fire from the rest of the party. We finished off the remaining orcs with sword blows and quarterstaff hits, coup de graced the unconscious ones, and rolled their carcass' into the river, where they sank out of sight due to their chainmail.
From there, we headed into town, pausing at a small guardhouse to speak to the town guardsmen who met us, mostly getting info about who the Captain of the Guard was, whether there was any evil afoot in town, and where we could get A: a good meal and B: a quiet place to sleep for the night. It turned out those would be in separate places. The fare at "The Dying Minotaur" was supposed to be good, but the place was reputed to be noisy, while the "Tavern of the West Wind" was supposed to be nice and quiet.
We went to the tavern and got a meal, some of us having the roast and others having fish stew, but all of us complaining about how much it cost. The tavern had a painting of a bull's head on the sign, and a bull's head mounted over the bar. We figured it'd probably go smoother for us if we referred to it as a "minotaur's" head, but we really had no way of knowing whether the proprietor had gotten it from an adventure or from the local butcher.
In the midst of our dinner, there was a really cool game mechanics thing that happened that I'd recommend to everybody running Old School editions. Our thief used his Listen ability to see if he overheard any interesting conversations around the tavern. This was essentially a B/X version of 3+ edition's "Gather Information" and I thought it was a really cool house rule for thieves, who'd naturally be tuned in to picking up tidbits of info while eavesdropping. I'm definitely gonna use it as a house rule when I get around to running some Labyrinth Lord.
So anyway, it paid off to, as "Clint" overheard a couple of fishermen arguing about one of them seeing a skeleton walking around in a burned out guardhouse on the other end of town. This made the paladin's ears prick up, so we found out the location and set out after settling our bill.
We found a building gutted by fire in the slummier part of town. Undaunted by its eerie appearance, we went in, scanning for evil from the paladin, using the ranger's tracking skills and elfish ability to spot secret doors, and otherwise just poking around. We didn't really find too much in the front rooms except wreckage and ashes, but the group decided to bed down for the night in the building due to a combination of cheapness, and certain members' preference to sleep out of doors. Since I'd bought a Camping Kit I unrolled my bedroll and we took turns keeping watch.
The night passed fairly un-eventfully, until the mage's turn came up. He heard something moving outside a large hole in the building's wall, and woke the paladin to investigate. Still groggy, the paladin encountered a giant rat sniffing around the perimeter, and ran it through with his sword. While fighting the beast, he spotted another back entrance to the building that we hadn't explored, so he and the mage went back and woke up the party. It was way too early to be awake, but we figured we might as well start the new day early, and went back to check it out.
The door opened into a small bedroom with a mouldy carpet on the floor, and a chest in one corner. The theif investigated the chest, and failed to notice a poison needle trap, which hit him. Now right then I figured "The Man With No Name" would become "The Man With No Heartbeat", joining the late, lamented Black Dougal in thief Valhalla, but mercifully the poison had long since dried and flaked off. (This, as DH said, was his single missed trap freebie, which is cool since the player was new to old school style play.) The party then proceeded to bust open the chest, finding nothing but mouldy old clothes inside. This aroused Deacon Silver's suspicion. Why potentially kill a feller over a pile o' cheap shirts? So I took my quarterstaff and busted out what turned out to be a false bottom, which contained a bag holding 15 gold crowns, which we split up among us right away.
Further searching of the room revealed a trapdoor hidden under the rug. We pried it open, and the paladin sensed a strong evil presence underneath. And it was there, with adventure beckoning, that we closed out the session.
All in all, a pretty good start. We're probably gonna need to work a little on party cohesion if we want our characters to make it out of rookie status, there were a lot of arrows flying at the backs of party members, although for a paladin this is a pretty common occurence. (I once had a paladin character who went through most of the campaign wearing a set of Armor of Arrow Attraction. Didn't really notice, 'cos he was a frontline guy and such a tank.)
I'm looking forward eagerly to the next session.
Vault of the Shadow Lich
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