Tuesday, June 24, 2014
Free RPG Day Actual Play: Prince Charming, Reanimator
I arrived to Titan Games & Hobbies bright and early… a little too early it turned out. It was scheduled to be a busy day, starting with a small Warhammer Fantasy tournament, Free RPG Day events, and a magic tournament, plus the usual open gaming and hobby activities. I claimed a nice big table in the middle of the store to run DCC, and then spent a while watching the Warhammer games.
Around 1pm I had enough players to sit down and start playing. My table consisted of 2 guys who were pretty familiar with D&D, though neither had played DCC, and a mother and her younger son (8? maybe 10?). I dropped the pile of level 0s on the table, and let them pick their 4 to play. I went over the basics of DCC, and then jumped right into the adventure.
***Warning: Spoilers for FT0***
One weird thing - no one else brought dice! I don’t go anywhere without at least one set (I keep a spare set in the car… you never know). Luckily I brought my dice bin, and shared out some d20s, d6s, and d4s for everyone to use.
I ran Daniel Bishop’s FT0 Prince Charming, Reanimator, and my players made some really smart and lucky choices, making it into the castle without any combat or damage. They encountered Dr. Chapman’s lab right away. As they searched around, the kid found a 3-headed imp in a bottle. I had it beg, plead, and lie trying to get them to free it. It offered a wish, promising that it was a lawful being bound by strict rules! I even did a funny impish voice for it. Try as I might, I couldn’t get them to open the jar…
Dr. Chapman did his thing, and the peasants were suitably impressed by him. I did decide to add to his titles a bit - “Doctor, Doctor, Magus, Court Wizard of Castle Sefton, Wizard of the 9th Circle, etc. etc.” He passed out the holy symbol, orb, and buckler.
From the tower the peasants made it into the castle’s courtyard. The tax collector decided he wanted to bring his pony into the castle, so tried to go through the gap in the wall. The other 15 peasants watched in horror as rose covered vines shot out wrapping the tax collector in their thorny embrace, draining him of all vitality, and dropping his dry brittle bones to the ground.
They opted to explore the stable, and found the tunnel to the kitchen. The drop-crawler freaked them out more, but missed it’s attacks. Pulling the terrified peasant from the tunnel, the drop-crawler chased after them, and was smashed repeatedly in the general head area by shovels. Everyone breathed a sigh of relief… until the second one crawled out of the hole! This one was also dispatched, and then the dwarven stone-worker went through the tunnel, and declared that the kitchen was both unsafe and empty of anything of value.
The peasants then decided that they’d go straight into the castle’s main keep. Seeing the poor condition of the great doors, they used their 10 foot pole to try to open it up. They succeeded, and as I described the door falling, I slammed my hand on the table, causing all of my players to jump. They very carefully entered the great hall, and one of the dwarves smashed skeletons as he went. The 5 ladies asleep at the table woke as the peasants entered, and distributed their gifts and words of wisdom. I’m not entirely sure they picked up on who the ladies were….
Climbing the stairs they found the pile of roses… that nearly caused a TPK! If it hadn’t been for a few lucky fumbles, criticals, and a flaming sword, things would have gone quickly south…
A judicious use of the golden orb pointed the peasants in the right direction to find Aurora.
The bottomless pit flummoxed them a bit, though they did manage to get a rope tied to the far door with an improvised grappling hook. The first character made it across ok, but the second fell… Eventually someone used the mirror of truth, and dispelled the illusion for the party. The same trick revealed the truth of the sleeping princess.
Deciding that they’d accomplished their mission, they bundled the sleeping princess up and rushed from the castle, retracing their original path. The prince was thrilled, until he wasn’t, at which point the party opted to follow the core tenant of the OSR - Oh Shit! Run!! I still described in gruesome detail what happened as they ran…
3/4 of my players hung around to level up their remaining characters, including the mother and son, and everyone who played (and a few who didn’t) said they were VERY interested in knowing if I was going to run something regularly.
All in all I thought the adventure went really well. I was disappointed that the players missed the hobyahs completely, and kind of glad that I avoided a TPK with the dragon. Especially since I had a younger player at the table. Didn't stop me from killing off a few of his level 0s... in fact everyone lost at least 2 characters, except the guy to the bottom left in the pic above... he didn't lose a single one! The guy to the bottom right lost 3, and his 4th was injured.
My favorite part of the adventure was playing the imp. I’m pretty sure I was *this close* to getting them to open the bottle. I'm hoping that when I run this at the next Charm City Game Day, they'll stick around for Aurora's awakening.
Aside from my game, I know someone ran some Kobolds ate My Baby but that was the only other RPG I saw getting played. The free stuff wasn’t even pulled out until my game wrapped up, but then that meant I got the pick of the litter, snagging the 3 things I really wanted: The DCC/XCrawl, LotFP, and C&C modules.
I was pleased to see just how busy the store was, I just wish a bit more was RPG related. However, given that it’s the closest store to my house, I’m strongly considering doing a DCC campaign there.