Monday, December 12, 2011

First Session Winter 2011

We got back to it yesterday...And here's a brief look at how it went:

The girls started off in Sandpoint (where we left of before), and decided to spend the month touring Solomon around the local area in order to show him the sights. (Thistletop, the Lighthouse, etc.)

They also took the opportunity to have some of their magic items identified (free for their service to the community) at the academy. (ring +1 protection, ring of jumping, wand of knock, Nualia's talisman, adamantine sword, etc.)

Two things of note before they begin their 4 day journey to Magnimar:
  1. They've been invited to join the Pathfinder Society
  2. There are murders happening in Magnimar that are eerily similar to the Skinsaw Man's m.o.

Gearing up is accomplished and off they go. (Coral walks...opting to buy a more superior horse in the big city instead) Late September is a perfect time to travel the coast, and the weather does not disappoint. It is pleasantly cool during the day, with a breeze blowing in from the ocean as they make their way East, South-East toward the city.

Day one goes by w/out a hitch and they stay that night in a roadside flop house built specifically for the purpose. Day two dawns bright and sunny, promising to be unseasonably warm. As the day progresses and the party draws near their second stop (a roadside tavern and flop-house together), the wolf Jaeger alerts his master Quick Silver that he detects smoke on the wind.

She sends him off and he comes back quickly reporting that 4 large "men" were heading their way. Large as in larger than an ogre! Quickly moving off the road the party hides the horses in a shallow depression covered by bushes, and then climb some larger trees for a better view.

Mere moments later four exceedingly large figures come stomping into view. Obviously giants on a raid, the party notices the bags slung over their shoulders...and w/in one of them they notice movement! They must somehow trick the giants into dropping their bags so that whatever is trapped inside may escape.

A plan is concocted and set in motion. Dropping oil and flame from the trees the party members ply their ranged weapons to good effect. After a tense moment where the dwarf, Mock, is chased from hiding by a wandering giant, the group ends up dropping the leader! The rest turn tale and run, leaving the bags on the ground.

One young boy named William emerges, but in the end, that is all. The entire community was wiped out and the giants were taking the bodies...where? Hard to say, but east is the consensus.

A few more days on the road and no more encounters finds the party in Magnimar, the second largest city in Golarion! And a massive city it is. Marveling at the wonders, they make their way to the Pathfinder guild house in lower town. Where they meet Eando Kline, the chapter president.

Kline greets them and gives them the lowdown on the area. Especially the murders. He also informs them that they have been invited to a dinner with the Lord Mayor in four days time. The reason is not really clear, but the opportunity is! After he's spoken w/ Coral and Quick Silver, he pulls Shalelu aside and speaks briefly w/ her as well...what is said though is unknown. (But later she tells the two that she was the originator of their invitation into the ranks of the Pathfinders, for she is one herself!)

The next day is spent in the chapter house writing down everything they can recall of the Sandpoint area and their adventures there. Meanwhile Shalelu and Mock stay in the chapter house and wait for the two to free up.

Day two in Magnimar is spent shopping for the proper attire. Mistress Vyl, in high town, has done dresses for some of the most prominent ladies in the area, and she's happy (though a bit stuffy and proper) to do so for the two adventurers. 180 gold, and a day later the two have taken care of the preparations for the meeting w/ the Lord Mayor.

Day three is free...So they decide to go and check on Aldern's townhouse in high town. Just to look around and see if there are any clues leading to this Xanesha character. (a name at the end of a letter found in Aldern's laboratory) The place is boarded up on the facade, but the back, through the garden is not. They make their way to the back door and use the keys also found in Aldern's laboratory.

The townhouse is obviously empty. The dining area has obviously been ransacked and after looking in the next few rooms, it becomes clear that someone was looking for something w/ no small amount of urgency. Quick Silver's keen gnome ears picks up voices from one of the so far unexplored rooms!

Quietly the party moves into position, throws the door open to find...Aldern and Iesha sitting having a conversation!

Obvious confusion reigns. A confused and slightly outraged Aldern invites the 4 in while Iesha goes to get refreshments. He claims that he's been here the entire time and doesn't know one whit of what the group tells him about ghouls and ghasts. Just then Iesha comes back into the room...

And that's when they change.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Starting up Again

I'm going to use this "hibernating" blog to jot down some ideas for my girls. Wonder of wonder, miracle of miracles they've asked me to play again!

Where were we?

With the aid of the cleric Solomon Kane, they'd just conquered Aldern Foxglove and stopped his devious / diabolical plans to turn the population of Sandpoint into raving ghouls, and to win the attention of his Love, the elf Coral.

After their accomplishment, Solomon has invited the two to the city of Magnimar. Also, he's asked the two if they would like to join the Pathfinders, a group of "professional" adventurers.

Apparently there have been some murders in Magnimar that are too similar to what's happened here in Sandpoint to be of coincidence. And after the success here, the two adventurers have been requested from on "high"...things have become desperate indeed!


I've got an idea for a linked series, or campaign. After defeating the ghast, Aldern, in Sandpoint the characters are drawn into a series of murders in the city of Magnimar. The master mind behind these is the horror, Xanesha. Who's taking orders from others. (*a message notifying Xanesha that she's to keep Magnimar in terror and confusion in order to distract them from aiding Fort Rannick)

Next step would be Fort Rannick and answering the call of the Black Arrows, of which coincidentally Shalelu's father is one. The ogres are part of the giant incursion that has been spurred to madness and destruction by others in the shadows.

Mama Graul's "lover" is a hill giant lieutenant to Nosnra. He's also been feeding the Grauls information and weapons, which are of quite nice, if odd, craftsmanship. (made of an unknown black metal which can only be identified by the elves as Drow manufacture)

Naturally the trail leads to the despicable giant Nosnra who's been leading raids against small hamlets and villages located throughout the Sanos and Ashwood forests. Shalelu will ask the characters to accompany her in order to find out who was behind the death of her father. If this doesn't work, a small village that the girls travelled through (maybe even Sandpoint) will be ravaged by the attacks. Striking close to their hearts.

And on down the line: As they finish w/ Nosnra it will lead on to the Frost and Fire giants. From there down into the depths of the earth and eventually to Kiransalee and the city of Erelie Cinlu (sp), which of course has been decimated and occupied. The priestess has been waging a war against the surface world, as well as collecting bodies for an undead army.


- The Skinsaw Murders
- The Hook Mountain Masacre

Against the Giants
- Steading of the Hill Giant Chieftan
- Glacial Rift of the Frost Giant Jarl
- Hall of the Fire Giant King

City of the Spider Queen and The Vault of the Drow

This is LONG campaign that will be run w/ the White Box rules. We'll see how it goes. I'm fairly certain that it won't ever be completed. But we can dream, right?

Wish us well.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Idea: Black Plague

Ever seen 'The Black Plague' starring Sean Bean? The movie's not that great really, but there is a kernel of take-away: It's a perfect RPG adventure!

A baron or ruler of a territory beset by some type of disease or malady (could be of the biological or magical kind really.) has lost contact with one of his / her villages. They've hired the adventurers to go and check out why.

Turns out that the village is actually safe from whatever is plaguing the rest of the area. The reason of course is that the villagers have turned to demonism and are being blindly led (or maybe not so blindly?) by a necromancer. The mission is to get rid of this menace, whether it be the necromancer alone, or the village as a whole.

Although, I must admit, a bit of subterfuge is a wonderful thing. Some drugs / potions to falsely lead characters into believing something that isn't so... whatever. But there is a lot of room for head games here. NPC interactions could be a large part, and in fact should be, of solving who or what is behind this.

Sure, there are a couple of modules that are fairly similar, Danger at Dunwater, Temple of Set, etc. but overall, I think that after watching this movie, you'll agree, it's a really cool setup for a neat adventure.


Sunday, February 27, 2011

Rise of the Runelords - S&W whitebox

Wow, it's been a very long time since I've actually written any of my thoughts on my daughter's game. But I thought that maybe I'd better write this down in order to keep things straight. And what better place than here?

The characters:
  • Coral, a fourth level Elven Adventurer.
  • Quick Silver, a fourth level Gnome Adventurer (I've modeled this as a mix between a halfling and dwarf, something more akin to 1E AD&D's gnome.)

A quick recap of past events: Sandpoint has been saved from the goblin incursion but now a murderer is loose. And it turns out to be none other than the foppish noble, Aldern Foxglove. For the twist, he has fallen for Coral.

The depravations that he has enacted upon the innocents of Sandpoint are clearly some type of twisted sacrifice to "his love", Coral. It comes to the fore that not only is Aldern a murderous maniac, but also some type of horrid undead, a ghast by all estimations!

His murderous spree in the surrounding countryside has created an army of ghouls, which over the course of a few weeks provides no end of action for Sandpoint's militia. The only known cure for this horrid outbreak is to figuratively cut the head off the snake, and that means that Aldern must die.

Help is sent for and a iron-hard holy man of Pharasma is sent from Magnimar. A certain Solomon Kane (I know, I know...I just couldn't help myself. Could you, if your audience had never heard of this wonderful character?) shows up on the front stoop the church in Sandpoint, calling for Coral and Quick Silver.

His specialty is the hunting and slaying of abominations, specifically the undead. He is also interested in hearing what the two adventurers have found during their escapades earlier in the area. Apparently he's also a high ranking official in the Pathfinder Society, and an invitation to the two is given, provided they prove their worth in the upcoming fight against the ghast.

Gathering up the necessary supplies (plenty of oil and holy water) the group, consisting of Shalelu the Elf, Mock Rockson the dwarf, Coral, Quick Silver and of course Solomon Kane, ride of at first light, heading for Foxglove manor, better known as "The Misgivings".

Arriving a few hours into the morning, the group finds the horrid abode surrounded in odd-acting ravens and crows, chasing them away is not hard though, led by Kane's faith in his goddess. Yet, they don't go far. And this is troublesome.

Figuring that the best way into the house is either through the back, or down into the well, the party follows their noses, figuratively. And thus select the well due to the taint wafting up on the air currents.

Mock is first down due to his aversion to heights and climbing. He makes it w/out difficulty, lights a torch and secures a "beach head". The others follow quickly and they slowly make their way into the darkness.

As the natural tunnel widens out into a limestone cavern, they are beset upon by an enormous bat. The battle is brief though as the group ply their bows to good affect, bringing the beast down w/ nary a scratch. One of the bodies in the cavern proves to be a well known criminal, known by both Shalelu as well as Solomon. A bounty of 500 gold can be collected for proof of his demise. They take his ring, gold, sword and hat as proof. His rotted carcass is well beyond "ripe" and no one is interested in carrying it.

Further in the group runs afoul of a pack of ghouls. They quickly slay them but not before the noise brings four more. Solomon proves his worth and destroys three of them as they approach w/in 30'. (Turning range in my game) Carefully the group moves yet further into the dark, mold strewn caverns.

A huge natural ampitheatre is stumbled upon, wherein a ramp winds its way down to the surface of the water. And along this ramp opens the mouth of a tunnel as well as a stone door. But the group has not the time to explore much beyond a glimpse as out of the dark come howling yet more ghouls. These were once goblins, but are yet fierce opponents.

Arrows take down the first few while the last two are brought low by Solomon's turning. (He can do this but three times / day) Breathing hard the party takes stock of their situation and in the course of this a door is heard to bang open... Light spills forth as Aldern steps out, calling for "his love" to join him.

Coral sneers and throws curses his direction. This enrages Aldern, screaming obscenities, he sprints up the ramp towards the group, waving his gore encrusted razor the entire way.

Solomon steps forward and turns the ghast at the last possible moment! Yet Aldern strains as if against an invisible force to reach is one true love, Coral. And then, he spins on his heel and disappears back down the ramp, the door slamming in his wake.

The group rushes down in pursuit to find the door locked from the inside. Not having anyone in the group who can "force" a lock, they use their hammers, pitons and climbing picks to quickly chew through the rock holding the hinges. Soon the door is laying on its face upon the floor...Revealing a horrid sight.

Once used as some type of laboratory, the room is now a mess of trash, body parts and even stranger, a mass of black and dark blue fungus growing in the shape of a man on the far wall. The overwhelming stench that roils forth causes Shalelu and Quick Silver to collapse to their knees, retching.

By this time Solomon's control over the powerful ghast has ended, so both he and Mock rush into the room to put an end to this abhorrence. Cackling and asking Coral to "join him", Aldern lays into Solomon and instantly paralyzes the holy man. Spinning and kicking him over with his heel, he then faces off with the stout dwarf.

Coral hurls her knife with a curse, but the ghast sees it coming and easily avoids it. Mock and he trade blows with neither seemingly getting the upper hand. Shalelu and Quick Silver shakily get to their feet and advance. Quick Silver pulls her sword and slides beneath the table to take a hack at Aldern's exposed legs...she lands a blow but nothing telling enough to cripple him.

Meanwhile Shalelu stands astride Solomon's body, guarding him from further depredations. She slams home her blade (rolled a 20) and deals the ghast a horrid wound, nearly severing his arm...The creature snickers and lashes out w/ his grisly razor, only to have it pass harmlessly over her head.

Soon though the ghast succumbs to the combined attacks of the four assailants and dies w/ a curse on his lips. Mock brings Solomon back but the fever is running its course through his veins and the priest has already cast his cure disease for the day. He knows though after looking about the room that this was a failed attempt at lichdom and that the abomination on the wall is what is left of Vorel Foxglove...

This place must be cleansed by holy water, fire and then blessed. But is there time? Solomon knows that the disease in his blood will soon take affect but he also knows that this MUST be taken care of. So they quickly make preparations and after two solid hours the job has been done. Though it was not easy, as the house above seemed to groan and moan in protest.

As soon as they are finished they leave as quickly as possible and are greeted by the sight of a collapsing "Misgivings". Apparently the house was held together by the sheer hatred and evil force of Aldern's great grandfather, Vorel.

The trip home is nondescript and they get Solomon to Father Zantus in time as he hurries him into the back to cast the disease from him.

Healed, Solomon pulls the two heroes into his room the next day to officially invite them into the Pathfinder Society and to ask if they would accompany him to the great city of Magnimar, where there are murders taking place that are eerily similar to those perpetrated here in Sandpoint. Coral and Quick Silver agree to go and pack their meager belongings...

It is here we ended. Great session. It was a load of fun and I can't say enough about how wonderfully the Swords and Wizardry White Box rules seem to work for the girls. They love the flexibility and simplicity.

Friday, February 18, 2011

DCC RPG Report

I have just returned from Genghis Con here in Denver, and as promised, I am writing up my impressions of my first time playing Goodman Games' newest effort: The DCC RPG.

First off let me say that I had the particular pleasure of having the dynamic Harley Stroh as a DM...And I'll tell you right now, if you EVER get the chance to play in a game that this guy is running, do NOT hesitate to drop the dough (or whatever) and jump at the chance. I've been gaming for many many years (since the late 70's) and I can count on one tentacle how many DMs were better. (I don't actually have tentacles, in case you're wondering...That'll give you an idea how many I've encountered. That's right, none.)

So, saying that, this report might be a bit biased. Because, like all games 90% of the energy, pacing, setting, etc. comes from the DM. But I will in all honesty give you my most honest impression of the game.

I played in the second session of the day, a scenario called Beyond the Black Gate. Some of you have probably already read a bit about this at the Goodman forums...Douglas Keester wrote quite a nice review as well <>, go check it out. Yeah, Douglas and I played in the same game.

On with the review then. Our pregens were 3rd level and I got lucky enough to grab the Elf. I say "lucky" for a couple of reasons:
  1. I wanted to check out race as class and see if it had much of an effect.
  2. I wanted to sling some spells and see that dynamic in action.
  3. I didn't want to be a "squishy", and just stand in the back. I also wanted to mix it up in melee.
Oh, I must also premise this w/ the fact that I didn't roll all that well in the game (two '1's along w/ some basically lowish garbage), so keep that in mind. Yeah, you pay for poor rolls in this game. Which ROCKS on TOAST! I'm terribly fond of games where you react to situations, where all is NOT known and very little is truly under your control. Good fun. Very old school in "feel".

I'm not going to actually get much into the module part of it, just in case Harley and Joseph are thinking of publishing any of what we went through. Which btw, I certainly hope they do. This had such a cool feel to it. Sort of a mix of Greek myth that draws in a Persephone and Hades vibe as well as a few other things that were just flat out wicked backdrops.

As most of you already know, the character sheets were very brief. The standard things, attributes (named a bit differently), an ascending AC, hit points, some spell stuff, a few stats on how you hit things, some special racial or class abilities (e.g. I could see 60' in the dark and I wasn't affected by sleep and charm. Definitely old skool there.) and that's really about all the mechanical things on the page.

Now of course the spell slingers each got a small pamphlet of spells, which of course will likely be in the book when it's published. Each spell description had a few different little doo-dads on there that were kind of cool. The famous spell affect tables, listing what your spell roll actually netted you. (I'll explain a bit more about that in awhile.) There was also this area for how it manifested... I think that's what it was called, I don't actually have the spell sheets in front of me at the moment.

But under that manifestation area there were affects that you could roll for and it would be a cool descriptor of how the spell .... uh, well manifested. Duh. Kind of a neat "flavor" piece I thought. It reminded me a bit of that Savage Worlds mechanic of "trappings".

There are many different places that you can read about how casting works, but briefly you have only a few spells (I was third and I think I had a total of 5 spells). But the cool thing is that dependent upon the roll, those 'X' number of spells can last all day long, could fizzle out in a heartbeat (as I quickly found out), might grow in power and effect (thus actually nearly becoming something completely further for more on this.), and of course it might turn you into something pretty nasty if you roll poorly.

A cool mechanic I hadn't heard about before though was the arcane ability to burn a physical attribute point to regain a spell you've lost (usually by rolling poorly in the first place), which was kind of cool. And mechanically it really tied the casting to the affects of magic on the caster's body. I liked that.

Let me give an example: (No spoilers I hope) We were beset upon by some rather nasty beasties and were between a rock and a hard spot. So we decided to activate this item we had found. Now in order to activate it you had to have 3 successful arcane rolls. OK that's fine. BUT, we knew that the power of the item wasn't going to do exactly what we needed it to do in order to get us out of this situation. So, we decided we'd spell burn (spend physical attribute points on a one to one basis in order to increment your spell roll.) in order to change the parameters of the spell. (So in other words, the spell usually only effected one person, we needed it to effect ALL of us.)

Already the game had me. I mean how cool is that? You're able to change a spell on the fly in order to bend it to your will. You just have to pay for it.

So my elf dumped 12 points into his roll. Twelve. If you're counting, that's a lot. I was obviously betting the bank on this roll right? Well I rolled a '10'. Average, but it netted a 22, which was good enough. (It was actually the second 22, so we were cool there.)

But right before it was triggered I attempted to put the hurt on this prone opponent. Here's where things went south. And I actually said as I rolled the dice, "Why shouldn't I try and kill the bad guy on my way out?"... I rolled a '1' on the die, and said, "That's why." Ooops.

Bad things happened and we ended up in a bad place once the other item triggered. Magic is super fickle in this game.

We were lucky as all get out that our cleric was rolling like a champ. He didn't roll anything lower than a 15 on any of the heal rolls! Amazing.

Oh and speaking of rolls, our barbarian (a fighter w/ a barbarian background) missed one roll all night. Seriously? Glad he was on my side.

Another situation where things went sideways for us was near the end of play when our mage rolled a perfect 20 on a Prismatic Spray! The results ended up knocking out all the bad guys as well as the entire party, minus the mage. This might sound bad, but in all honesty it was a way out that didn't even exist right before he rolled that dice. So the game dramatically changed because of that roll. It was so cool. You can't script stuff like that.

Alright, so my impressions of the game. I liked it a lot. I'm an old school guy at heart. I play Swords and Wizardry Whitebox w/ my daughters here at home, and I love it. I play in a Pathfinder game every other Tuesday night, but I'm not in love w/ the rules. Way too much fiddly stuff for my tastes.

The DCC RPG ran incredibly quickly. Combats were fast. I mean really fast. Fewer spells to choose from might have given you less "flexibility" but it also makes you think creatively as well as speeds things up in terms of available choices. One attack per character made things go fast.

No minis really caused everyone at the table to be completely engaged in what the DM was saying. Therefore no one was doing their "own thing" while someone attacked, and relying upon the battle mat and minis to "tell the story" when they refocussed.

While I think the game would play just fine w/ minis, it plays VERY well w/out them. I don't use them in my games if I can help it.

Melee for warrior types is kind of neat. You get one of those wacky dice to roll w/ your d20 when you roll to hit. The number of sides goes up every "X" amount of levels. It reminded me of the wild dice in Savage Worlds a bit. Except w/ this system you actually added the two together.

Joseph had just come up w/ a new mechanic for the fighters as well. If you were descriptive enough in your attack, wanted some type of cool outcome (not on the scale of critical) and if you rolled above a certain number on your extra dice, the DM would come up w/ some mechanical advantage. (e.g. -4 on the monster's next dice roll due to blood in the eye, etc.) It worked out well I think. It may be a bit vague on the differences between a critical and this "cool" affect. I worry that it might not be clear cut enough for some groups who just don't trust their DM enough, or are too much the rules lawyer type.

Now obviously w/ Harley at the helm it wasn't an issue. We just rolled w/ it. Rule zero baby. Very old school.

The neat thing about this game was that it felt "loose" enough to add a ton of creative play w/out feeling like you were breaking some rule or another. Yet at the same time, it was well structured enough so that guys who had been playing 3.5, 4E, and Pathfinder felt as if they were in "good hands". Which is a pretty decent accomplishment if you think about it.

At times though I wondered how I might have felt if I were playing the straight up mage, while I was rolling so poorly. Here's the 4E trap: They attempted to give everyone something to "do" every round. In other words, no mage would ever "run out of spells". With the elf I had options, I could attack, I could fire my bow. I had things to do. The mage on the other hand was pretty much screwed if his spells didn't seem to be working right. (or in my case, my dice.)

But on the plus side, w/ the mechanic where you can burn attributes in order to regain spells available, you'd be pretty hard pressed to run out of stuff to do. Magic items are obviously rare in this game. We ran across one... And we were all third level. So you can't fall back on those.

I might like to see some kind of Gandalf rule though. Let the mages carry and fight w/ swords. Although, to be honest, I didn't see anything saying you couldn't as a mage. Hmmm.

It's getting late here so I'm going to wrap this up. I apologize if it's all over the place, but I'm tired, and I honestly wanted to get as much down as possible before I forgot. So there you are. I'll try and write more later as things sort of percolate and ideas bubble up.

Cheers and again, thanks Joseph and Harley for a tremendously fun game. I'm sold. I'll definitely be knocking on your door (figuratively of course) when that game is released.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Here's our chance

I'm sure that most of the OSR blog-o-sphere has heard about the wonderful, fantastic, humanitarian, Haiti relief sale that DriveThruRPG and its sister site RPGNow is putting on. But in case you haven't:

Go check it out. It's absolutely for a good cause.

Interesting side note on this whole thing though: I only saw a dribble of OSR material offered. Now I don't know how the authors were contacted, and I'm making an assumption that they WERE contacted, but I would imagine that this would be the PERFECT opportunity to get some exposure. At this writing, they've already generated over $23K in proceeds! That's well over 1100 eyeballs...And that's in just a few hours!

I'm a little bit disappointed that I didn't see more OSR material. I don't know the details on how the items were selected for inclusion to the list, but I'd be willing to bet that it was on the basis of "If you said 'yes', then some of your merchandise was included."

On the upside, it was so cool seeing stuff from Jim Raggi and Troll Lord Games in there. Good job guys! Bravo! Way to be on the ball and get your merchandise on the list.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Let's Give this Another Try

It's been ages since I've last posted. I apologize for that. Things have become absolutely crazy at home and at work. The holiday season is obviously busy for everyone, but man, this year was nuts. Work became absolutely kooky. I mean really crazy. But I'm taking a breath and thought that I'd write a small post regarding something kind of close to my heart: Playing Dungeons and Dragons with my daughters.

We played a game last winter (about a year ago) that also, for the first time, included my wife. It was a great time. But...all good things come to an end. The girls decided that the lure of the outdoors during the summer was just too great, so we put the game on hold. My wife reevaluated playing and decided that, even though she had a good time, it just wasn't her gig. Sooooo...I was forced to figure out a bit different approach.

Short story long, my daughters (especially my youngest) kept asking when we were going to be playing again. I buckled but decided that the old model (more of a sandbox approach) wasn't really what they were looking for. You have to understand, they don't have a lot of RPG experience, and they're young to boot, so real-life experience is lacking as well. That's not to say that they're not bright, inquisitive and eager. They are.

Like I mentioned, the sandbox just wasn't working correctly, they didn't have the right mindset, as kids, to be bold enough, to just go and "explore". Maybe it was specific to my daughters...I don't know. Either way though, something needed to change. I found myself sort of "guiding" them in order to get things moving.

A story seemed to be the ticket. I didn't want to introduce any type of "rail road" elements, but what I did want to do was give the girls both a sense of purpose as well as the sense that they were "in" a story. I know that this is sounding rather lame, coming from and "old schooler". Either way, I thought I'd give it a try.

I looked around a bit. Looked through my shelves, which are bulging to overflowing with material and thought about a "story" that I'd like to tell, that I thought the girls would like to be a part of. I came up with Paizo's The Rise of the Runelords adventure "path". Yes, that's what they're calling it. A path.

When I gave up my subscription to Dungeon magazine because of WotC (Hasbro) yanking it from Paizo, I had some money left so they sent me the first two paths. I never really looked at them in any great depth due to my quickly waning interest in 3.5. This was right around the time that I started looking around for an "old school" game.

But I thought, "what the heck" let's take a gander at these and see what all the brew ha ha is about. I've got a friend who owns a game store called Enchanted Grounds, and he's been playing (and selling) these things for awhile now. He's an old school guy at heart, and has been playing 1st edition for years and years, so I trust his judgement.

Again, short story long, I paged through it and really liked what I saw. Now this isn't some kind of plug for Paizo, I have nothing invested in their company per se, in other words, what I found is not something I read somewhere, it's my honest opinion.

The writing is clear and concise, the layout is FANTASTIC, the art is's some of that manga-esque type stuff that just doesn't turn my crank. One of the coolest aspects of the way they do these "paths" though is that they add all sorts of background, support and flavor pieces. It's not just the adventure, it's so much more.

But the adventure itself, is very well done. I can see how some might call it an exercise in railroading, but they're set pieces, not based on any type of forced schedule. There's an overarching story behind what's going on but it's not pushed. In short, I liked what I saw, and had made my choice.

Now, to choose the rules. I had sworn years ago that I would never again run a game of 3.X Dungeons and Dragons. The pain point was just too high. And I certainly did NOT want to expose the girls to that type of rules-bound experience. We'd played Labyrinth Lord and Castles and Crusades, so they had some experience with some of the older style rules. I went retro, I decided that Swords and Wizardry was the way to go. Something very very basic, that doesn't run over the story, but it flexible enough to allow me to adjudicate on the fly.

In the end, we sat down at the table, rolled up characters that ended up on note cards, (they loved that) and introduced them to the town of Sandpoint. All in all it took us about 3 hours. Time flew by and we had a hoot.

From what I remember we've got:

Quicksilver: A female gnome adventurer. (Styled after the dwarf with a bit of druid thrown in as well.)
Coral: A female elven adventurer. (Now this isn't a "normal" elf, she's 1/2 standard elf and 1/2 sea elf. Her home is somewhere out west of Sandpoint.)

They've just entered town and are having supper in the Hagfish. They've been involved in the "yarning" that goes on there, have met a few of the locals. and have been regaled to some extent with a small portion of what's gone on in town over the last couple of years. They're hooked.

So anyway, I'll post the adventure write-ups as they happen. This is going to be fun.