Thursday, 25 April 2019

Lycanthropy for Fun and Profit!

Due to the Passover holiday, we had 13 gamers turn up for game night, including 8 kids(my daughter included). We decided to "split the party" and run an adults game and a kids game. Avi ran the adults game. I got the kids. It was not dull. Rarely has so much ADHD sat around a single table. We continued our long-running Swords and Wizardry Palace of the Silver Princess campaign. Here is the summary:

Characters:


  • Princessa- Human Fighter with a bastard sword, ring mail and a shot bow. Watch out for this one!
  • Minionoid- son Minion. A chaotic Elven thief with a two handed sword who has joined the party for obscure reasons
  • Ragnar- Chaotic Dark-Elf Assasin who backstabs people with his two-handed sword
  • Yoland- Elf Wizard with a staff and a Javelin
  • Blitzen- Tough Dwarven Fighter lady
  • Aragon- Elf Wizard who aspires to fireballing everything
  • Firestorm- Elf Druidess who loves animals

Summary


The party started off in N'Sau, a village full of war-refugees. First everyone got excited about fishing and made skill rolls. Minionoid then decided it was time to avenge his father, so the party started their journey to the Palace. Blitzen decided to stay and fish and was eventually eaten by Bears(I think her player realized she was ~5 years older than any of the other players, so she quickly lost interest)

They encountered a lone Wolf Warrior on horseback. They tried to kill him but he fled. Firestorm befriended his horse, so he was forced to flee on foot and she kept his horse.

At night, they encountered a Bugbear and two Orcs. Yoland charmed the Bugbear, and the Orcs were killed, with much excitement over the division of treasure. Minion was knocked unconscious and bandaged by Firestorm and the party took a few days for him to heal.

Updated map of ground level
(A quick DM note: I quickly realized that with 6 hyperactive kids shouting , having everyone roll for initiative to determine combat order, as I usually do, was simply not going to work. I chose to just go clockwise around the table, with the Monsters going last, which worked much better, especially with kids getting up and changing seats.)

Upon reaching the Palace the next day, the party saw two Wolf Warriors riding in the front gate. They climbed in through the tower window.

They did some exploring, encountered killer bubbles, and purple moss. They found a statue of mother and daughter with a hidden compartment revealing a riddle about My Lady's Heart. At this point, they have explored most of the ground-level of the dungeon, except for the Northwestern and Southeastern quadrants.

Ragnar discovered a treasure, including gold and a silver Wolf Warrior ring, but was discovered by the rest of the party. Princessa and Minionoid beat him up, divvied up the stuff, with Firestorm healing him and taking the ring.

They party then encountered a red-headed amazon. They chased her and when she turned to face them Princessa and Firestorm began to parlay with her. Her name is Aliegha and she is here because of her master. She was happy to hear that the party had killed some Wolf Warriors, since they have been hunting her.

At this point, Minionoid and Ragnar got bored and wanted to just kill Aliegha. This really upset the two girls, who were trying to befriend her. (Was a really funny pre-teen boys/girls dynamic for me to observe.) Finally, Minionoid declared he was shooting an arrow at her, while Ragnar snuck up behind her for the backstab.

Aliegha was injured, but suddenly shape-changed into a bear, knocked Minionoid unconscious and chased away Ragnar. Then she told the girls her story.

She is a Werebear, cursed with lycanthropy and hunted by the Wolf Warriors, notorious lycanthrope hunters. She is here because she works for her master, a powerful Cleric, Catharandamus. He made a deal with the Goblin king: he will help the Goblins take-over Gulluvia, and the Goblins will then help him find My Lady's Heart.

Princessa and Firestorm tried to convince Aliegha to revoke her support for this evil plan, but she sadly told them there was nothing she could do. She urged the party to flee this place and go on with their lives elsewhere.

Princessa convinced Aliegha to bite her, thus giving her lycanthropy too! With that, Aliegha bade them farewell and left.

We ended there, and everyone got 500XP, which just pushed Princessa to 2nd Level!

On Running Games for Kids

This was my first time running a game for kids who were mostly not my own. It was fun but hard! The kids' energy was high, but they also occasionally got distracted and wandered off. My daughter, for example, went and made herself an omelette at one point, but was also very engaged at other points and overall told me she had a great time and couldn't wait to play again. Another kid was very engaged for most of the game, but disappeared about 1/2 an hour before the end.

Character creation was a bit hectic with all the new players. Some ported over an existing character from another game to 1st Level Swords and Wizardry, others created characters from scratch. All but one of the kids had played some form of DnD before, either joining for one of our adult games or going to a paid, after-school DnD activity, run by a guy in the neighborhood.

Two brothers who were there were constantly fighting with each other. I didn't manage to separate them, but if I run another game in this series I definitely would. Their dad told me they had an amazing time though, so apparently the fighting didn't hurt their experience, even if it distracted me.

One thing for sure is that, if I run a game like this again, I will implement a "No Screens" rule during play(to be fair, I've had this with adult players, which is infinitely more annoying). One of the players was on his phone the entire time and we had to keep calling him over to the table and explaining him what was happening now. At some point I just stopped calling him over.

Finally, I think that I would cap the number of players at the end. Seven is just too much, and anyway, three of them dropped-off leaving us with four highly engaged characters at the end.

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