|Every good adventurer needs a Pigeon Companion.|
But it was a good time! Let me list each other players' credentials so we get a better idea of what's going on.
T.Ham: My longtime player, having played the Basic and Expert part of the BECMI game, 3.5 a good bit, a dash of White Wolf gaming in forms of Aberrant, Vampie, and Mage, Palladium (to the extent anybody can play Palladium), Donjon, Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay, and Dead Meat: Ultima Carneficina Dello Zombie.
A.O.(my girlfriend): Has so far played 4th edition, on my two-session runthrough of the system. Has notably complained about magic constantly missing (due to bad luck with rolls, but still), and about how combat takes forever to resolve. These are the two same complaints I had with the system. She's a big fan of Lord of the Rings, Alice in Wonderland, that Dracula movie with Keanu Reeves, and B-grade zombie movies. No wonder we're dating, right? ;)
J.B. (Hamingston's girlfriend): Has played nothing, ever. This would be her first roleplaying game of any sort. She was the reason I was nervous, since it's easier to game with people that already know how to play, and with people who know the sword and sorcery, fantasy, steampunk, or some sort of popular gaming genre.
The result: Everybody had fun! They managed to storm two of the towers, and smash some Plague Orcs into pulp. They looted a magic shield and managed to accumulate a small pile of gold and silver, just enough to whet their appetites for more looting and slaying. The session unfortunately ended short of what we would have liked since I had to get my uniform back from the tailor's, but such is life.
Some quick highlights, then I'll get out of your hair:
- Labyrinth Lord is easy as hell to teach to new players. Character creation took no more than five minutes, once I explained dice nomenclature and how both hit points and armor class works. THAC0 (my preferred notation) was also explained.
- The character sheets look great. No, seriously. If I haven't mentioned them before, they're the ones located here: http://dwdstudios.com/node/201. Use them. Seriously, they're beautiful. It might take a little tweaking to get them exactly where you want them, since you have to make sure your printer will put ink on the very edge of the page, but by god is it worth it. Easily the best-looking character sheet I've used in 10+ years of gaming.
- I used the house rule where on a natural 20, you not only do maximum damage, but you also get an additional attack. The caveat is that you can't make the attack with your primary weapon. For example, the Crusader got a natural 20 on his first attack roll of the game, where I informed him of the rule. He then decided to knock the orc on his ass with his shield, and then chopped the orc's head off. Badass.
- The other best house rule I used was the one where you tell me how your enemy dies. It can be anything- you earned it. The Crusader's sword turned vorpal, slicing heads and emptying braincases onto the dusty ground. The Diabolist was conjuring pillars of fire and exploding her foes like popcorn. The Marksman was emptying bolts straight into her foes' heart, and through their eyeballs. This really helped people loosen up, since it's a little silly to hear yourself say, "My bolt goes straight through his eyeball, killing him," but damned if it wasn't awesome. It helped that my players were rolling hot, often killing zombies and orcs with a single hit, so they got to feel pretty awesome while still being in danger.
- The Crusader (bless his soul) managed to get attacked by a putrid, obese, bestial plague orc with five-inch long nails that managed to rake him through his armor. I decided that this particular big nasty would grant Pus Pox, and he dutifully obliged by failing his saving throw. I informed him that the ragged wound had infected him, but hadn't taken effect yet. The next time we play, it will.
- The party ended the game by descending 40+ feet from a trapdoor in the laboratory/tower into sheer darkness. If you've read the module, it's a pretty badass place to be and my favorite section that I never thought of in the initial game. Hopefully they have as much fun as I have next time. We should be able to game again soon- wish me luck!