Monday, 8 August 2011

TPKs are always memorable

Yesterday I introduced a friend of mine to the old school gaming. He is playing mostly DnD 4e and I had to teach him how harsh, wild and dangerous is a dwelling in a dungeon of the old school RPGs. No more superheroes! I had to be fair but also a bit of “evil” to achieve that.

We decided to have a fast one shot session before going to a full scale campaign along with other players. I grabbed my copy of "The Tomb of Sigyfel", a great introductory and fast module of "Labyrinth Lord", perfectly balanced for new players. My friend rolled three characters (a fighter, a cleric and a wizard) and descended into the darkness of the cursed tomb.

Lesson #1: Don’t forget to buy hirelings!
Lesson #2: (for the DMs) No mercy for the absent minded!

The heroic party entered the tomb of Sigyfel.
"There is 50 feet corridor in front of you."
"My party walks down the corridor."
"Ok. Suddenly the fighter and the cleric step on a plate and a great scything blade swings down from the ceiling. Roll a saving throw for these two characters."
"Ops… I rolled a 8 and a 12."
"Ok they didn’t manage to avoid it. I roll 1d8 for damage aaaand… it’s 8!"
Both characters died in a bloody mess!
The wizard returned to the village shocked and two new characters were rolled. Back to the tomb now…

Lesson #3: Don’t forget to buy hirelings! (again)

The party entered a room containing six sarcophagus. Six skeletons attacked the party. The cleric tried to turn them but failed miserably. The wizard was the only left alive (along with five skeletons), so he ran back to the village again (poor wizard). That was so fun!

Lesson #4: Don’t forget to close the door!

This time no more characters were rolled. The wizard (with a very very bad Charisma) tried to get some hirelings with no luck. Finally he decided to buy some ale for a group of ruffians in the tavern. Three of them joined him and… back to the tomb!

As the party was approaching the tomb they listened a man screaming "Help me! Skeletons!". Yup. The wizard run away from the tomb and forgot to seal the door. Five skeletons were out in the forest for their walk beating a poor logger. The wizard and the ruffians managed to take care of them once and for all.

Lesson #5: Capture humanoids and interrogate them!

The party managed to enter the room of an evil cleric accompanied by two orcs. Wizard’s magic missile and an arrow of a ruffian killed the cleric and the other two ruffians managed to kill one orc.

"Pleaz humie! Dan’t kill da poor Ugru!", the orc cried in front of the party.
Show now mercy!", the wizard responded.
The orc won the initiative and tried to run out of the room to his freedom. On his way out he made a final attempt to hit the wizard… a 20! Wizard is down! TPK! The ruffians of course run out of the tomb after looting the cleric, the orc… and the wizard! They had a story to tell while laughing and drinking ale and beer around the fire…

That was a great and fun session. My friend had a great time and he can’t wait for more old school awesomeness. He even talked about his wizard’s death with his girlfriend later on.

That’s old school gaming my friends. Unfair, harsh, perilous and full of dangers… but at the same time so fun and so memorable!

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