27 August 2010

Aremorican Addendum: Playtesting!

Today's the day that I get to take my recently released Labyrinth Lord supplement, Aremorican Addendum Volume 1: Player Option for a test drive! Exciting, right? It's a good chance to see what works and what doesn't, and to see what character options are the most popular. It's been a metric of mine for a long time that if you can't decide what class to be, then the classes are all awesome and your job is done. Keeping in mind player preferences, that is- there's no accounting for taste, right?

Anyways, it's going to be a group of four, with T. Hamingston being one of the usual suspects, and also my girlfriend and his as the other two. Three PCs isn't bad, especially not if you consider that half of the time, I'm DMing for two PCs instead of three. It's exciting, because Ham's girlfriend has never played any sort of roleplaying game before, isn't really into sword and sorcery and hell, doesn't even talk that much. So hopefully we can have a good session without me running her over with my evil, evil killer DM instincts. That's sarcasm, by the way. I know we're going to have fun, since we always do.

The module of choice in this situation is going to be none other than my own Servants of Plague module, mostly because it's the one that's freshest in my memory and all of my attempts to sit down and read through one of the more classic modules like Keep on the Borderlands or the Outpost on the Edge of the Far Reaches (available free from the Warlock's Home Brew, if you've missed it) have failed for a week straight. This is due to my personality, mostly- in case it doesn't come across in the blog, I'm an excitable fool, always chattering and thinking and writing and tinkering and all of that fun stuff. I'm not particularly good at sitting still unless it's at my computer and even then I'm not very good at it, preferring to write a couple of hundred words all at one sitting, without any particular foresight or direction. My girlfriend jokes that I'm bipolar sometimes. That just shows you how cruel she is.

But back to gaming! Servants of Plague is actually a pretty good module, assuming that your tastes in fantasy run towards B-movie zombies, nastiness, and a little bit of grit. For example, the first time I ran the game, the players made it to the first room of the keep, where the garbage pit lies. I looked at my skeletal notes, and decided that a couple of plague orcs were there, looking for scraps to eat or possibly any sorts of missed treasure. The players rode in on their horses, and the plague orcs, surprised, burst out from underneath and beside the piles of garbage. A deadly game of hide and seek broke out, as the plague orcs used the enormous filth piles to hide behind, while hurling straight lengths of rusted metal as javelins and smaller chunks as slingstones. One plague orc leapt out and attempted to use his own intestines to dismount a player!

The players did eventually win, though we weren't able to complete the module. It's for that reason that I'm using it again on poor Ham, since he had only gotten roughly halfway through. There's plenty of secrets to be had, even if I played it "by the book" both times. That's the real secret to using the Servants of Plague and something that I think marks a difference between old-school and new school; old-school gives you the bones and says "make something of it, or just steal from it, whatever" and new school says "I know better than you, if you don't run this as written you're doing it wrong."

But I digress. Heavily.

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