Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Dungeons & Chimneys: Ahoy, mateys! Welcome to Freeport!

It's on! IT'S ON!!

My D&D campaign started yesterday. Finally. After almost a month of problems and a thousand of postponed plans, we have finally started. We weren't as prepared as I would have wanted, and there was some trouble during the session, but in the end everything was OK.

One of my players couldn't get his character sheet finished on time (damn familiars, I curse them), and another one didn't have his at all, so we had to generate it quite fast just before the session, in the time I would have spent to prepare the first combat, a list of spells and things like that.

There were some awkward moments of tension while I rushed through spells, enemy stats and Attacks of Oportunity conditions, which caused the action to get stopped a couple of times - that's one of the things I'll have to improve from now on. I think mixed up the enemy's weapons with other enemy's ones, but instead of wasting more time looking for the correct ones, I just decided to nerf their attack a bit in order to compensate. It was an excellent idea.

It was an excellent idea because they were about to die once or twice (or three times). Luckily they had a cleric - that's me. A cleric who got a critical attack on his first turn, killed one of the enemies and decided not to attack again, because I was supposed to be underpowered.

Anyway, I'm getting into too many details without even telling you how it started.

The campaign was supposed to begin with the adventurers arriving at Freeport, but I thought a brief introduction to the " talk/roll d20/get used to do skill checks" system before combatting, so I decided that they would meet in the ship, have some drinks (with the compulsory Constitution check), introduce themselves and talk to get unhinibited (extremely useful for new players).

So, I stuck my head in my hat, prepared my best Scottish-Dwarvish accent and told them: "Ahoy, mateys! Me name's Scrooge McDwarrow, a Cleric of Rokee! What be yer names?"

A deathly silence was the only answer, because only one player had thought of a name for his character, and seemed to be too shy to be the first one to speak. So, while they thought, McDwarrow invited them to a drink and I asked for their first Constitution check (there would be some of them that day).

After rolling some dice, they started to get into the conversation a bit more, in which a drunk McDwarrow spoke about his friend Egil and the city of Freeport, so that they would have a glimpse of what is to expect. When I read a story, I like having little hints in the first chapter, without spoilers, of course.

When I thought they were prepared, the story started.

When the ship arrived to Freeport and they were on the dock, a gang of sailors sorrounded them and tried to get them and sell them as slaves, so the players had an excuse to fight. I taught them the basics, trying not to do anything too complicated to start with, and they learnt quickly what to do. Getting low numbers on the dice is a different matter.

Here I showed my lack of experience with magic (I'm always a Rogue or a Warrior). I forgot completely about preparing spells, both for the Mage and my Cleric himself. So, I said that, just for once, we could fight as if we had prepared all our spells. I'll repeat it: just for once. I ought to tattoo the words "prepare spells" on my hand to remember that on next sessions.

Just after the combat, one of the players was in a hurry, so I declared the session finished. They earned some experience, but I couldn't tell them, and right after the combat they were going to meet someone and start the real adventure. Since that would have been too long, we paused everything there.

Next time, I think I will start with something like "You remember you had a little fight with some sailors last week, don't you? Well, right after the battle, you see a man clad in a white robe that has been watching your fight."

All in all, it was cool. It was my first time as a DM, and the players' first time as players, so there were many new things for everyone, as well as some trouble and uncomfortable situations. But it was great. I enjoyed it, and I'm quite confident my players have enjoyed it, too. We will repeat.


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