Today I ran the first session of my new Labyrinth Lord campaign. The game uses the Sea of Five Winds map of the Wilderlands of High Fantasy (Necromancer Games). Our starting village is Oathcoomb. It says that there is a male human lawful evil wizard (alchemist) called Pimple Purbody. One of the missions I had offered to the players was to go and buy glass wares in the Greydowns.
Since Pimple is lawful evil, I tried to play him like a little devil. He tries to trick you into signing contracts that will have you in debt, he tries to lure you into breaking contracts, etc. At first, the players were surprised that negotiations didn’t go smoothly. I suspect they felt that the negotiation was part of the prologue, not part of the game itself. I quickly introduced a new character mentioned in the village description, Esgarig the inn keeper. He warned the party of Pimple’s deviousness, and offered free dinner and drinks for a table of ten if they managed to thwart the alchemist in some way, or at least fulfill the contract without falling for any of his traps. I think this allowed the players to accept the challenge.
At the Greydowns, the players decided not to show Pimple’s introductory letter, figuring that maybe he wasn’t too popular. I decided that this saved them 10% of the price…
How much money to award for a simple trip back and forth, some haggling and dealing with the alchemist and the inn keeper, a session of three hours? I decided that 1000 gp was about right. Pimple gave them 1000 gp to buy the glass wares. Upon delivery of 1000 gp of glass wares, they’d get 1000 gp to keep. Since the players managed to get a 10% discount, they ended up with a 1100 gp reward.
If the players were really devious and managed to trick the alchemist on his own terms using forgery and the like, they could double the amount to be earned. If they felt like playing chaotic, they could just steal 1000 gp. If they messed things up, they could end up with a debt of 1000 gp. That seemed like a reasonable range.
I had prepared a thing or two for the forest half way to the destination, but the players decided to take the ship to Longbottle and travel from there, avoiding the forest. No problem, I’m sure there will be other opportunities. I improvised 2d6 (nine) bandits on the way back. They were taken care of by a single sleep spell. Apparently the spell allows no save!
Ok, what did I use at the table?
- I suggested that we try and do without the rule book at the table. The players liked the idea! Effectively those who still needed to buy equipment needed the book, and the elf looked up the details of the sleep spell when he needed it.
- Hopefully casters will write their own spell and prayer books. That would be cool. It’s what Claudia is doing in the Alder King game.
- Maybe I should produce a specific price list for the starting village and bring that as a separate sheet of paper.
- I did have four copies of the rulebook at the table, but they never got opened. How very different from my usual D&D 3.5 and Pathfinder RPG games.
- I had prepared two sheets of hirelings using the Meatshields website. Strange names, different backgrounds and secrets, fields of knowledge and equipment – just perfect!
- I had brought along a copy of JB’s B/X Headgear and my players loved rolling on the table.
- I didn’t use my Character Genration Shortcuts. It would have cut down on the time spent buying stuff, but I think my players expected to be rolling for starting gold and going shopping.
- One player with Charisma 17 decided to play a bard from JB’s B/X Companion. This player was a bit disappointed when he discovered that there was no random headgear for bards! We laughed…
- I had brought along a copy of JB’s 100 reasons for a relationship between player characters, but there somehow was no time to roll on it. The players were engaged and I went with the flow.
- When I needed stats for bandits I felt it was easier to use the Swords & Wizardry Monster Book instead of improvising. Shame on me!
- I had a copy of Micheal Curtis’ Stonehell Dungeon and Dyson Logos’ Dyson’s Delve and his Lair of the Frogs, and volumes #2 and #3 of Fight On at the table, but that was clearly overkill.
- I decided to stick a few tables to my DM’s screen for my players to see:
- a table with uses of the d6 (surprise, open door, hear noise, detect secret door, find trap, spring trap, avoid trap, disarm trap, sneaking, and exceptions for elves, dwarves, and halflings)
- a table with monster reactions
- a table with the morale table
- Trollsmyth’s Death & Dismemberment table
- We used the reaction table a few times, but none of the others.
- As we wrapped up, we talked about XP and gold. My house rule is that you have to squander the gold in order to get XP. No buying of useful things. Donate it to a temple, throw a party, that kind of stuff. Nine bandits gave them 11 XP each. Doing the mission gave them 250 gp each. Nobody wanted to spend the money on XP, though. Interesting…
- When I mentioned Jeff Rient’s Party like it’s 999 table, they really wanted to roll on it. I’ll have to produce a carousing table for next session! Roger the GS’ tables might be a good starting point.
Tags: RPG Old School Labyrinth Lord