Saturday, 5 February 2011

Back in the saddle after 17 years

And it was plenty painful. At least for me.

Keep on the Borderlands for my friends (five of them) who had never played before. Well one had once, when he was 12.

They left my place 10 minutes ago, as I start to write this.

I'll find out tomorrow whether they enjoyed it or were just being polite.

Initial impressions........

My starting character creation sheets helped. They can be downloaded here.

My character sheets were helpful but with 5 novices it was never going to be easy. See My Stuff (though these are older versions). Weapon damage by class was simple enough because it was on their class based character sheet. Did I gain anything over 1d6...ummmmm?

I baulked just at the last minute regarding ability score dice rolling. I was going to have 3d6 in order (reroll ability if <6). But at the last second I thought, who wants a duff character as a novice. My worst fear was that someone would be so unhappy they would purposely try and kill their character. So I went for 3d6, reroll all 1s. Highest score was a 16. Lowest a 6.

My silver based economy worked fine. Though I somehow said that 10 copper = 1 silver rather than 100:1. But hey it can stay that way. The starting funds per character of d6+cha bonus *10 silver pieces with my beefing up of chain mail costs kept the party very hungry for armor. They even contemplated casting a sleep spell on some guards of the inner bailey and stealing their armor - that would have been a TPK very soon! The party finished the night with about 500 silver, just enough to buy one of them 1 suit of plate mail.

My starting class based items and equipment packs, adapted from Basic Fantasy Role-playing, worked well. See here.

The keep seemed to work as a living place with personality but I was rail-roading despite my desire to give greater freedom as my players wanted to see combat. And they didn't want to talk to every citizen to make a new plan. They concluded their options were to join the guard - not great for an exciting night's out entertainment, wander aimless in the wilderness, or go with the quest presented. They went for the quest presented.

We were in the caves of chaos after 90minutes. We had one hour of dungeon time, 3 combats. Then it was after 2230, we were at a natural end so we stopped.

Miniatures helped at times and were annoying at others. This was my first experience and was mixed.

Both red shirts died - a torch bearer teenager and the jewel merchants guard (his war dog survived).
Cyclopeatron's downloadable fillable henchman card PDF using meatshields programme to generate names and ideas worked very well for me as DM.

No player's died. yep - nil.

They were lucky. They used their sleep spells early and then their next battle, where the two NPCs died, occurred right next to the hobgoblin cave entrance and they could make their escape after the remaining hobgoblins broke and fled.

They were going to kill the hobgoblin children - one player objected and the children survived - just.

And I think I survived the night, just, as well.

I'll blog some more after some sleep and some reflection.



  1. Thanks for sharing -- looking forward to hearing more.

  2. Sounds like your main issue was having new the wheels spin a bit in the Keep. This is a bit of a problem with brand-new players being dropped in one of the modules that start with a "community" location. My first ever run of B2 did in fact end in attack on the populace (and imprisonment of PCs for 30 years as of this writing...) Same problem can happen with T1.

    So think history: OD&D refers only to the "dungeon" and the town is totally off-screen; then, later, more "naturalistic" stuff was written like T1 and B2. I do recommend depositing brand-new players right at the door of the dungeon, such that their options are minimalized to "turn left or right". I like starting with B1 before rolling out the (much more dangerous) B2. B2 also needs some fixin' in how the wilderness play works out, really.