Saturday, January 14, 2017

B-Team S&W Light, Session 1 - Idi and the Cowbell

Last night we got the band back together. Doug, Tim, and I played Swords & Wizardry Light under the GMing of Erik Tenkar.

Tim's summary: We Achieved More Cowbell!
Erik's comments: Last Night the "B" Team Playtested Swords & Wizardry Extra Light & an Adventure I am Finishing Up

Doug's comments on SWEL: B-Team Makes Friends

Moldleaf, Elf Magic-User 1 (me)
Bertrum, Halfling Fighter 1 (Tim Shorts)
Doug's Ranger, Elf Ranger 1 (Douglas Cole)

We started in a town whose name I forget. We'd done some caravan guard work together and ended up in a small town that thrives on trade. However, they were seeking adventurers to deal with a problem - some goblins were raiding caravans and they wanted it to stop. A local hunter could lead us to a cave with some double doors in it that the goblins would spew out of, but no one would join us.

We talked to the mayor and he gave us the job. We asked for cash and they offered 25 gp each plus 50 if we completed the job, or a healing potion each, two vials of holy water, a silvered dagger, and an unidentified potion left behind in the local bar by some adventurers who'd presumably skipped out on their tab. We took those, with the ranger swiping the holy water, me the dagger, Bertrum the potion.

We got to the cave and found a pair of double doors with writing in dwarvish, which Bertrum could read. It read "Prince Calishan Lays In Rest Here." They were slightly open, enough for a goblin to squeeze through. Bertrum peered through and saw a sleeping goblin next to a cowbell. He moved in and shot him with an arrow, briefly stirring him before the goblin went silent. We grabbed his stuff and his cowbell, which I dual-wielded with my silvered dagger.

We found a door and heard noises beyond it. Bertrum opened it, because he's clearly impatient. Inside were goblins rolling dice and drinking ("I want to run an elf!" said our Ranger, who is clearly very meta.) As we gawked at each other, an ogre burst out of a nearby room.

So I threw Charm Person on him. He rolled a 1 on his saving throw. I'm not even sure Charm Person should work on him but, hey, natural 1.

We got to talking. I tried to convince him that his goblins were holding out on him, with our Ranger throwing some coins to the floor when the ogre picked up and shook a goblin empty. He spotted the drop, though, and assumed we were offering him money as tribute, just like the goblins. Bertrum palmed one of the coins and gave it to him again, and we were friends.

The ogre - we found out him name was Idi Ipaowagh (thanks to a random name generated) and started calling him Idi Ogremin. He basically said they live by raiding caravans, hunting, and oh by avoiding the "walking bones" that come out and walk around sometimes. I told him one of them had obviously killed their guard-goblin, and he bought that.

We got him to come with us to clean out the "walking bones" in return for treasure. We found some of both. Behind a pair of heavy dwarven doors that Idi yanked open for us (instead of out "goblin," Bertrum) we found a crypt. We moved past six doors to the obvious main crypt door and opened it. Inside was a coffin with a ghoul. It popped out after Bertrum forced it open and attacked. Idi was terrified of the ghoul, despite my best efforts to get him to move in. Bertrum slashed the ghoul, and then our ranger doused it with holy water, melting it into goo.

We looted it of some silver, a well-made axe claimed by our ranger, some gems (they'd turn out to be glass), and a little gold.

Of course, that's when five of the doors opened and out came skeleton dwarves with bits of armor and flesh on them, wielding halberds. We held the doorway, with our halfling in front and Idi cowering in the back. I rang the cowbell, hoping the goblins would come help. Nope.

We fought the skeletons, with Moldleaf spending half of the time trying to convince Idi to help and the other half swinging uselessly (I was rolling badly). Bertrum got taken down to 0 HP but was able to drink a potion to stay alive, even as our ranger finished off the skeletons.

We investigated the cells the dwarves came from, and the one that none came from. There we found a statue of a dwarf. We investigated and found a secret door and opened it, thanks to careful checking.

Beyond was another, better crypt. I bamboozled Idi into opening the crypt by saying it was too heavy for our "goblin" (who'd impressed him by destroying the walking bones) and it was full of treasure. He popped it open and out popped a wight.

It didn't last. We won initiative (I started rolling very well) and Idi punched it and did 5 damage. I went next and threw my silver dagger, and rolled a natural 20 and a natural 6 (-1 for a small weapon) and did 5 more. It had 10 HP, and dropped.

Idi was deeply impressed that he killed the wight. "You did! I saw it!" I said. We congratulated him and scooped out some treasure. This included a ring (I put it on), a shield (the ranger took that), a sword that detect elves (halfing took that, it worked, he found two of us), and some money. Oh, and a gold chalice with dried blood in it and crazy writing all over it. We gave that to Idi. "You drink from this?" he said. "Yeah, yeah, drink the blood of a sacrificial victim and become a cursed wight" said our ranger.

From there we found another chapel with 15-20 "walking bones" in it. Seemed like a big useless fight. So we closed the doors and spiked them shut.

So, then what?

Idi was pretty happy with his money, proud of himself for killing walking bones (which terrified him still), and wanted no part of fighting those bones that still were around. He started talking about having money that he could use to buy stuff, maybe set up a brewery. We equally had no interest in fighting him because he could kick our butts. So we made a deal. He and his goblins don't kill anyone and the caravans will give him some tribute. He keeps the road nearby safe for the caravans so they're happy to pay him.

Bertrum: "So we're turning the ogre good?"
Tenkar: "Maybe not good, but profitable."

Not Good But Profitable is the new B-Team motto. It should be the Tavern motto.

We headed back to town and met the mayor. At first, he was less impressed that we "solved the ogre's problems." "Solved the ogre problem?" "No, the OGRE'S problems."

It took some talking, but he went from, "Hey, you didn't solve our problem" to "hey, we have an ogre and some goblins who guard our road for us." I suggested that if the mayor and the ogre came to terms, they could set a nice toll, split the take, and keep the road safe. And how many mayors have an ogre working for them? The kicker was that Idi is illiterate (probably) so he couldn't read any contract he signed, leaving the town lots of wiggle room.

We got some gold for a reward and moved on, having solved the problem of the ogre in a manner I wasn't originally expecting.

And yes, we ended up with a cowbell. Enough for BOC or a One Way Ticket to Hell (And Back).


Why yes, Moldleaf is a Goldleaf reference.

Overall, it was a good session. We took a little time to get started because of the usual issues of starting new PCs in a new situation, and not having all gamed together since 2015.

I made my guy on the spot, with a series of terrible rolls and one good one. Lucky for me, this wasn't actually an issue since stats give a bonus or nothing.

Once we got going it was really good. SWL is easy enough - close enough to S&W to require close to no rules lookups or adjustment (beyond d6 HP magic-users, say), it's short enough to find everything, and if you rely on the DM to make binding decisions on situations as they occur it's enough. I can see the use of the system - pocket sized, little to remember, almost nothing to read, great for "let's play an RPG right now."

I actually had a few issues knowing what to do with Charm Person once it worked. It succeeded beyond my reasonable hopes and I wasn't really prepared for that. It went from "turn the enemies against each other" to "get their big leader killed against some powerful foes" to "Hey, this ogre is an okay guy, let's work out our differences." I can be ruthless and kill-happy but mostly I just want to solve the problem.

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