I invited a bunch of people to our place last Sunday for a hot soupy meal and some dungeon-crawling White Box fun. Only a few braved the cold and wet weather, but the low turnout didn’t prevent us from having a great time! Mrs. Gnombient, Barrataria, and a friend from the library (who shall be hereforth known as Miss N) were the players. Miss N had never played any RPGs before but was curious after hearing me rant and rave about gaming for the last two years.
The party that left Humbleton to explore the ruined monastery in the hills consisted of two fighting-women (Crimses and Gulshod), the wizard Trindo the Furry (referring to his golden-furred complexion, perhaps a result of a magical experiment gone awry?), and two adventurers-for-hire, the brothers Blundo and Crundis. The impetus for this foray wasn’t gold or glory, if that weren’t enough; Crimses had a set of complex legal documents showing proof of her family’s ownership of the land upon which the monastery was built, and she was determined to “evict” whatever tenants still called it home.
The party encountered some bandits camping in the ruins, preoccupied by tormenting some person tied up in a sack. Most of the villains were sent to the Dreamlands by Trindo’s well-placed Sleep spell, and the fighters captured the last remaining bandit at swordpoint. After their foes were securely bound, the adventurers woke and eventually released from the sack the strange, red-coated human captive, who spoke not a word of Common.
Our heroes decided not to spend any more time outside, but head into the monastery. For the remainder of the evening’s session they explored the single above-ground storey of the building. Through clever scouting they avoided an encounter with one or more giant spiders, but were beaten up pretty badly by a small swarm of stirges. They found a staircase and trapdoor leading down to what looked like the cellar. They also, after some careful searching, opened the secret passage leading from the chapel down into the crypt. As night fell the party holed up to camp, allowing Trindo to re-memorize his spell and the group to rest before descending into the crypt…
Referee’s notes: Attentive readers may notice that this seems like the same adventure I ran a few months ago for a different group. It is, and it isn’t. Many of the skeleton details are the same (Monastery of St. Finlay guarding gateway to underworld, etc.) but the meat of the adventure was different: the buildings are still standing this time and the dungeon levels are different. There were no returning players from the other game, so there weren’t any “continuity issues.” I told this group nothing about the broader world other than the few bits needed for the adventure, nor did they ask.
The “Dungeon Motivations” table really came through this time. Crimses’ “complex legal documents” was the most unusual; the other characters were motivated by friendship/loyalty and peer pressure. In the end, it seemed like something that the players could have cooked up on their own to explain their characters’ connection to one another.
The Deck of Stuff was popular, and it was nice to see the players putting some of their random items to use. Mrs. Gnombient/Crimses used her “sack of 200 marbles” to good effect…
I started working on a variant of the “Tress tints” & “complexion” table in JG’s Ready Ref Sheets (p. 6) the day before our game, but it wasn’t quite finished by table-time. I gave the players the option of rolling on the Ready Ref version to determine their characters’ appearances, which proved to be another entertaining new facet of character creation.\