Tuesday, August 26, 2014

First Adventure : Classic Dungeons and Dragons


First Adventure
Classic Dungeons and Dragons

A highly respected friend of mine, Jay, has a gaming place called LUDO: BoardGame Bar and Cafe in Manila, and they opted to celebrate one day as Gary Gygax day.   I was lucky enough to have been invited to run a game there so I opted to run a classic Dungeons and Dragons game.  Back when I was truly new to role-playing games, the old color-coded multiple sets of Dungeons and Dragons were the games that broke my geeky gamer hymen. Rocky, my partner, had never played any iteration of Dungeons and Dragons so I felt it would be a great time to share with him the hilarity and grit of the original system that I grew up with.  Wonderfully, four other players opted to join the game that day.  Erich, Rachel, Karra and Titus all grabbed a character sheet as well and joined us in what was to be a throwback thank you to Gary Gygax for creating such a memorable game.

This book.
After rolling up stats and deciding on their characters (yes back then you had to ROLL for your stats, then see what character classes you can qualify for thanks to the stats you rolled up), I explained to them the rules for the game and how each character class had this or that feature.  Oh and because this was meant to be a celebration of how hard core the game was back then, I required everyone to start at level one.

Yes.  Level one.

I began running for them the same original Basic set adventure which the book contained as a walk-through for first time players.   Anyone who had played through this book before would remember that would be the dungeon with the giant snake, the goblins, and eventually the most memorably tragic fictional characters that would scar us for what may have been for many the first time in their lives.

Yes, these two.
I also handed out graphic paper because as anyone who played Dungeons and Dragons knew back then, graphing paper was the best way to actually mark down the map for the session and find your way around.

Embracing fully the tropes of a fantasy adventure, I opened the game with the players having with the classic opening spiel: They were all at a tavern when they are tasked to undertake a mission for the town.  The quest was to enter the nearby dungeons and hunt down the villainous wizard, Bargle.

Their journey into the depths eventually has them meet the lovely Cleric Aleena who was the only survivor of an early party on the same quest.  With her joining them, the group manages to evade a room filled with horrible zombies and find a passageway leading further into the evil Wizard's abode.   As they reach the next level of the dungeon, however, tragedy strikes as Bargle slays the lovely Cleric with a well-timed Magic Missile!

Without wasting time to mourn her death, the group find themselves in a darker underground dungeon with winding passageways, a spiral staircase, goblins, and traps.  The fights against the goblins were swift, with the players managing to disable most of them quite easily.  But in their search for the path leading to Bargle they encounter a magically trapped room with a Magic Mouth that asks them to solve a tricky riddle.  Those who failed were locked away in an illusionary prison that made the others think they were devoured.

Erich (in black), Me (in light blue near wall), Karra, and Rocky (also in light blue) at LUDO!

Thankfully, however, the last remaining member of the party was able to solve the riddle and the group hurriedly attempted to chase after the goblins and question them further on their allegiance to the wizard.   The goblins fled, leading them into the waiting lair of a strange monstrosity that scavenged amidst a chamber of red dust.  A RUST MONSTER!  All were quick enough to evade the thing, with the cleric sacrificing a shield to delay the beast.

By the end, the group had found another passageway that lead deeper into the dungeon and all knew that if anything, the true adventure was just about to begin.


It was a one shot game, so we did the most of what we could with the time.  Ultimately, all had a great time reliving what at one point was the ONLY role-playing game I actually played.  There was a lot of laughs with how cruel the system was towards the players (with the thief struggling to roll the needed percentages to Move Silently and the like, or the damned Saving Throws and the hit rolls) but all in all, there was a general appreciation of how far gaming has evolved from what was once the Basic red box system of Dungeons and Dragons.

Favorite line for the session:  "Humans..." said with extreme derision by Karra's elf who hated how all the other human characters couldn't properly work together to deal with each threat and obstacle that appeared before them.

Thank you Gary Gygax for all the worlds we now can explore since you started one that you were willing to share.

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