Archive for the ‘Game Recap’ Category

The Rise of the DM – Chapter 1

Posted: September 4, 2011 in Game Recap, New DM

My son, Davon, showed a little bit of interest in running his own game, and to learn what it means to be a DM. I think that is fantastic, because being a DM means you will always have a game to play. I know lots of people that only ever want to play the game, and some of them are very good players, but they just have no ambition to ever be a DM.

To be the DM means that you are the fuel to the game. A DM is proactive, and players are generally reactive. Personally, I think a table full of players that also love to be DMs would make for the best game ever.

So Davon, to cut his teeth on DMing, has agreed to run the “Sample Dungeon” from the DM’s Guide, Kobold Hall. Awesome.

I am playing a Knight named Ederon Bladelaw, and two other kids are playing as well. Mikki is playing a Sun Cleric and Tiny is playing a Battle Mage named Jeleneth. All the characters are made with the DDI Character Builder using basic Essentials rules. Mikki decided her cleric would also be named the same as all of her other characters (who are usually elf/ranger-types), Sansalar (I originally created her character in the CB with the name of Luuci Brightwalker, but that’s just how I roll).

Our party agreed to help someone that has been missing some incoming shipments of thinks like dragon hide for making armor and such. He offered us 100 gold if we could come back with evidence that we had made the roads safe. Maybe we will get even more if we can recover any of his shipments. We’ll see.

We set off and found our way to a ruined keep and into a dungeon below. They call it Kobold Hall because the kobolds have taken it over. So we have a pretty good idea what we will find here.

Sure enough, we have been through three rooms now, and each had kobolds in them. Go figure. 🙂

The most fun part of this game is, of course, sitting across the table from the new DM, remembering what it was like when I started my first games just a year or so younger than he is. In those days, I also ran the sample module, where PCs come down steps to a long hall, and are met by a loud Magic Mouth spell warning them of dangers ahead, and to turn back.

Davon also wants to play his own character while DMing, against my recommendation that he just work on DMing. But I am amused by this whole “I could play this whole game solo” idea that might spark something in the future, as I watch him take his turn with his character and then the monsters as well.

He is still very enthusiastic about his character, like he gets with his DDO character, or his Pirates character, or his Runescape character, or his other D&D character in my game. This is the rudimentary aspect of role-playing wherein you can watch your character grow in experience, choose new powers and abilities, etc.

I am waiting to see the moment when he begins to see the game world the same way, as his character…the stage upon which all things exist and move at his will. A world that grows with experience, and he can choose new challenges and encounters for the players.

I wonder if there will ever be a “me vs. you” phase where he will attempt to conceive of challenges and enemies that are bigger and badder than what the players have, and how he will evolve over time.

For now, I will sit back, and enjoy the ride.  🙂

The players have all been asking for another round of Old School Hack, so tonight we gathered at the table and we played again.


Dwarvie the Shortbearded Facesmasher is the only PC that survived a walk through the Gauntlet, and she came out of it with a huge red gem the size of a dragon’s eye.

Sansalar the Cranky Elf Wanderer was true to her names-sake after her trip through the gauntlet and being ejected magically sans all her belongings. ALL of them.

The greedy thief, who also failed the Gauntlet, so grief-stricken over all the stolen property that was also stripped from  him as he was ejected from the Gauntlet, threw himself from a wooden bridge over a canyon near the entrance to the dungeon.

So our story tonight begins as Sansalar, now clothed in rags taken from a dead Orc, and Dwarvie started to head back toward town. Dwarvie stared into the gem because she saw something moving…

…it was a landscape, dark and red, with a volcano pouring out a river of lava. As she stared she felt the air around them warm up, almost like they were there…and then suddenly, they were. As quickly as their scenery had just changed on them, a goblin arrived, breathing hard, and asking if they had seen a short man running this way. Neither of them had, of course, so they decided to set out to explore the volcano to see if he ran into the cave at the base of the mountain.

In the lava river that flowed by, they saw (everyone at the table said it before I could) a lava shark! It looked Hungry.

As they approached the volcano, they could see a black billowing cloud coming out the top and swirling down toward them. The cloud got closer and they could tell it was not a cloud at all, but (again, everyone beat me to to it) giant bats! And they have little dark dervish riders on them, like little ninjas! They swooped down and swooshed and swirled around them, calling to each other to “take them out and get all their goods for the master.”

Dwarvie called out, “Come on Team, let’s get them!”

When a 4 year old playing a dwarf shouts the rallying cry at the table…that gets an awesome point!

The fight was an interesting one, with the the PCs all grabbing rocks and pitching them at the dark dervishes, knocking a couple off their mounts. These guys were carrying bows, so that did well to arm the Elf that had lost all her possessions in the Gauntlet.

Two riders swooped down to have their bats grab at Sansalar and Dwarfie, and pull them up into the “flying” arena. Sansalar got her shot off and missed just before she was grabbed and lifted into the sky. Dwarfie was missed, but then hit her target so hard that she also dazed the bat that came down for a rough landing right near her…which of course just begged for her to check out bat riding as a new sport. In shock at the weight and enthusiasm of his new rider, the bat labored back  up into the air after a successful Cunning roll.

Can you imagine a bat-riding, spikey-armored dwarf twirling her warhammer like Thor and flying right into the rest of the swarm of bat riders? Yeah, there will be trouble for the dark dervishes!

Meanwhile the Elf tries to make friends with the bat that has grabbed her. She has the Animal Friend talent, so this sounded pretty awesome, and she strikes up a conversation with the bat via high-pitched shrieks back and forth. After brief introductions, the conversation boils down to “Do you have better food than he does?” <long pause, knowing that her sole possessions now included a dervish bow and orc rags> “Uh, no, sorry.” “You may be nice and all, but he has the food.” So Sansalar shrugs as she is carried higher into the air.

The goblin has been firing arrows from a bow he picked up from a fallen dark dervish, too, and has been astoundingly accurate, rolling a 10 on his face die with nearly every shot. So in some cases, he not only shot the rider, but winged the bat in the process.

The number of bat riders is dwindling now, but the Goblin now targets the rider of the bat that has the elf. Without a rider, the bat lets go of Sansalar, and she awesomely flips down through the air to land gracefully on the back of another flying bat, and begins shrieking to it as well. This bat however, is completely taken by the elf and they become fast friends.

Dwarfie the Shortbearded Facesmasher lives up to her namesake and barrels through the remaining bat riders like a spinning bowling ball through pins. Lots of face smashing going on. She’s taking them out two at a time while they try to flee in fear. A short bit later, and the skies are clear. The bat carrying Dwarfie has come to its senses and dumped Dwarfie and flown away. Skrii is now Sansalar’s new friend, and the goblin has several new bows and arrows.

First a Little Background

Our first game night together with a new system called Old School Hack was a new experience for the players, and a resounding SUCCESS. This was the first time two players, Mikki and Destiny, had ever really played an RPG. Both have sat in before as observers, though, on previous games. Davon has experience with DnD4e, so this was new for him as well. The only other RPG experience the players have is that Mikki and Davon play DDO (D&D Online), which I don’t really count as role-playing experience.

Rolling Up Characters

We got together at the table and rolled up their characters. There were enough classes and variety to make everyone happy.

Destiny chose the Dwarf. Rolled an amazing 20 in front of me and got +5 Brawn. How perfect! I assisted with the rest of the character as she made all the important decisions about talents and such. I just jotted down a Dawrvish Warhammer and “Spikey Plate Armor and Heavy Shield” to keep the equipment simple and straightforward. We talked about her Name and Concept, and she decided on Dwarvie the Shortbearded Facesmasher. Quaint, no?

Mikki picked an Elf. The roll-up proved to be interesting as she rolled high on Brawn and Awareness and low and Charm. The rest of the character was also kept pretty simple and easygoing, and she chose Animal Friend for her Talent. She decided to go without armor and to just use the name of her Elf in DDO, and after discussion about her stats and class level title, she decided on her concept as well. Sansalar the Cranky Elven Wanderer.

Davon wanted to play a halfling rogue, so looked over both Goblin and Thief classes and chose Thief. Rolled stats were a pretty good fit, and he chose Endless daggers for his talent.  Also going without armor, he added a Rapier and Daggers to his load out, and wrapped up his character as “Chriss Goldfinger the Sneaky, Greedy Rogue”.

The Adventure Begins!

The adventure began in a small town tavern where the PCs had stopped in their travels because it was nearest to a ruined keep that is rumored by legend to bear a valuable treasure that might just contain what they are looking for. Chriss and Sansalar seek magical heirlooms that have been stolen from their family and lost in battle with monsters. Dwarvie just wants to spit in the eye of a dragon, so if there’s a dragon there, she’s good to go.

While relaxing and watching the stage act, an ogre wearing a brand new plumed, wide-brimmed hat entered the tavern and was followed by a small entourage of “snorts” as he called them. The little piggish grunties looked to be a cross of pot-bellied porkers and goblins. Everyone knew the ogre’s name immediately as he always referred to himself in the 3rd person as Trogus. He demanded a keg of ale to drink, some slop for his entourage, and began bragging about his new promotion that he was celebrating.

Lucky for the thief, who was at the bar and nearest the front door, he had a front row seat when Trogus pulled out his coin-pouch and poured out several gold coins and gems. He left a few gold on the counter and put all the rest back into his pouch. It was barely tucked back into the ogre’s belt before Chriss had liberated it and started heading toward the stairs up to the balcony and a quick escape.

But no. Trogus grabbed him by the shoulders, with one hand, while he bent down and breathed a nasty rotting cloud of stench into his face. “You like my new hat?” Trogus asked. Chriss succeeded in a Commitment Check to keep his lunch down.

“Uh..<cough, gag>, yeah. Where’d you get it?” Chriss replied.

“Some squishy man down street not need it no more. Hyuh, huh, haha!”

Trogus looked him over, and still stiff with fear, Chriss realized that Trogus had not noticed he had taken the pouch yet. Whew.

Trogus smiled with deadly breath and said, “I like your boots.” Chriss tried to offer them up hoping to distract him and allow his escape, but Trogus is no fool. Well, he is if that old addage applies, and the pouch as evidence of it, but in this case he pulled up one of his feet to illustrate, “But they no fit Trogus. Trogus feet too big!”

Wow. Chriss thought Trogus’ breath was the worst thing he had ever smelled, but then Trogus put his foot in Chriss’ face, and it broke new records. A failed check resulted in lunch and ale all over Trogus’ foot and leg. Crap!

The combat was creative and fun, and the idea of arenas was quickly absorbed and put to good use. A dense arena in the tavern on the main floor, with the bar, tables, and patrons. A tight arena awaited them up the stairs to the balcony. And there was always the open arena outside.

Dwarvie used a Protect to make sure that the Thief would make it up there safely. The elf fired an arrow at Trogus and missed. Chriss ran up the stairs into the tight balcony. All attacks that were aimed at the now-gone thief went to the Dwarf who took it all without even breathing hard. A 14 AC is formidable, even if it is an Ogre attacking. No counter attacks were made since everyone missed the Dwarf.

Sansalar the elf fired again, this time sticking the ogre in the arm. Three Snorts ran up the stairs after the Thief, who decided to make a new arena called “Chandelier”. Beautiful. However, a failed Daring check put the Thief back in the dense main floor arena, breaking a table in the process. However, he was awarded an Awesome Point for using a table to break his fall (but really for thinking up the Chandelier arena).

Trogus decided that the pokey dwarf was not a very smart target after missing her again and getting pricked by her armor (special effect, no damage). Dwarvie attacked back and hurt the Ogre because her warhammer was MADE for tavern brawls! Yeah! Trogus was now down 2 hits.

The Snort minions couldn’t touch the Dwarf this round, but wounded the Elf. The whole minion attack mechanic worked really well, I thought. 🙂 I thought it was interesting how the players basically ignored the minions, though, and kept attacking the ogre, even when the minions were actually wounding the unarmored elf almost every round.

The next round, the elf hit the stairs to the balcony while the Snorts up there climbed and jumped down after the Thief, who was, ironically, already leaping back up from the broken table to catch the bottom of the balcony and swing himself back up to the railing and prepare another jump to the chandelier.

Trogus and the remaining Snorts were unable to attack the Elf because she took off. (I think a Cunning check vs. Awareness would be good to impose on a fleeing character in melee in order to get to the new area unscathed. While an impede would prevent the Elf from fleeing, this would just allow some of these guys a chance to attack before the Elf succeeded in fully moving to the balcony arena. Maybe a failed check delays the move until 7.)

Destiny made a cool move this round by choosing to throw the Ogre through the wall into a new arena called “Kitchen”. Everyone thought the visual of a brawny dwarf picking up an 8 foot tall ogre and launching him through the wall was AWESOME. She got two awesome points for that, especially now that there was an “upside-down, ogre-shaped hole in the wall behind the bar”.

Destiny set Dwarvie up for a Push move the next round, while the Snorts that jumped down from the balcony frustratingly charged back up the stairs again in their wild-thief chase. The Elf on the balcony expected this to happen, so she swung over the balcony and down carefully to a table below. She had taken several hits so far and was just 2 away from getting knocked out or bleeding to death. Chriss, of course, leapt out to the chandelier again, and rolled really badly, but decided to use his innate ability to avoid falling again. Now safely dangling from the chandelier by his knees, he prepared some daggers to start throwing while swinging about.

Trogus tried to come back into the main floor arena through his new doorway he made, but a split-second later, a screaming, self-propelled (spikey) dwarf-bullet shot over the bar and sent them both back through the hole “Terrible” Terry Tate style. They smashed into a stove on the other side with the cook still trying to stir his pot of stew. He screamed and ran off. Everyone laughed and Destiny got another Awesome Point.

The next round Chriss threw a dagger at one of the Snorts, killing him and letting him perform a classic fall off the balcony, full-on spaghetti-western-style. The two remaining tried to jump onto his chandelier, both missed and conked out on the main floor when they hit the ground so ungracefully.

The Elf decided to use her longsword now against the Snorts surrounding her table, and got a face shot hit, splitting one skull in twain. Gross, she said, and had to wipe her blade off before continuing the fight. The Snorts got one more shot in on her, leaving her with no more hits to spare. One more and she was a gonner.

In the kitchen, Trogus won initiative and hit Dwarvie hard. Trogus was actually starting to get really mad about people ruining his celebration so I tossed in a few more AP’s and upped the damage, but Dwarvie’s shield saved the day and soaked it all up but one, which Dwarvie took with a smile. Ha!

Her return blow was not so ineffective as his…and 2 points later, the Ogre was toppled back into some sacks of flour creating a small explosion of white powder. He was done. So the next round the dwarf would check the Ogre to make sure, and see if he had any goods on him.

Two snorts had run into the kitchen to help, and when they saw the cloud of flour over the dead Trogus, they squeeled and ran back out. The remaining Snort joined it (his buddy had already “split” thanks to the Elf) and they ran wee-wee-wee…all the way home. (Sorry couldn’t help it).

Trogus was also carrying a map that Dwarvie found quite interesting…it leads directly to the ruins of Bellicose Keep and…TREASURE! Trogus was apparently just promoted to Chief Treasure Guard, and had this map to remind him where the treasure was so he could keep it safe by protecting the right place (or so the notes Trogus wrote on the map seem to indicate).

One more note worthy of saving till the end:

  • Davon is 10 years old.
  • Mikki is 9.
  • Destiny is 4.

My Star Players!

My kids are AWESOME Players! They are looking forward to the next game.

And so am I. 🙂