Saturday, December 31, 2022

Taking Stock: Part One The Game

Well, the solo sessions using Old School Essentials went south. It was the wandering monster list that did the party in:

1. Bandits, 3d4 appearing.
2. Sheep, 3d6 appearing.
3. Giant Ants, 2d6 appearing.
4. Ranger, 1 appearing.
5. Troll, 1 appearing.
6. Kobolds*, 3-6 appearing.
7. Mountain Goats, 2d4 appearing.
8. Mage*, 1 appearing.
9. Wild Horses, 1d4 appearing.
10. Wolves, 2d4 appearing.

Infi, I seem to be butting my head up against the concept of Random this week. I randomly rolled the number 3 several times too many. This is a rookie DM mistake and I shouldn't be a rookie DM 40 years in. Giant ants are far too imposing for 1st level characters to encounter. 

I'm equally a willy player and a willy DM, so I tried to make it work. Time was not on the PC's side, they have limited food and no capacity to heal magically. But they had other resources. 

In the first encounter, they faced 7 Giant Ants in an abandoned mansion. This played well as the party was naturally in 3 small groups with cover and the ants needed to advance on their positions. The Fighter, Halfling, and Elf all had bows while the Clerics had slings. The third group was the Magic-User and Thief with only melee weapons and spells. The MU cast light, drawing the first group of ants towards them. 

A halfling with a bow.
The rest of the party rained missiles down on them from two different positions. I had the ants roll modified morale. If they succeeded, the ants would pursue the FIRST person who shot at them. If they failed, they plowed on toward the MU and Thief. This had the effect of splitting the ants up and allowing the party a chance to shoot them from behind. Four ants fell to this tactic. When the party saw the next wave of 3 ants coming, they escaped to their hideout. 

This worked well except for the expenditure of arrows. This came back to hurt the party the next time. 

The party realized that the Thief was a better shot than the Fighter, so the bow was handed over.  

In the next combat, they encounter 4 ants in an alleyway. They downed all four ants in a hail of stones and arrows but lost one Cleric in the process. The party was also down just a handful of arrows. This is where slings shine as you can use any old rock as a missile. The party was dismayed when they returned to the mansion and the alleyway to recover arrows. They found the ones that missed their targets, but the ants carried off their dead, arrows and all. 

Later, the Party got bushwacked on a city street when the ants caught them again. The Fighter went down after a quick exchange of swings with the lead ant. The Halfling, Elf, and Thief took off to get a better angle on the Ants while the Magic-User and Cleric saved the day. The MU had an oil lamp in his hands and hit an ant on the first try, setting it on fire. The Cleric tossed a flask on the ant to finish the job. By now arrows were raining down. The party managed to kill five ants between missile fire and oil, but the Elf and Halfling were horribly wounded and the Fighter was dead. 

The party limped back home. The party was down by a lot: 3 characters dead, 2 injured badly.

The next day was better. They ventured out and encountered sheep. The Elf and Magic-User managed to kill two for food.  

They made one final foray, trying to make for the walls to get the heck out of this place. They were armed with torches and oil as they were out of arrows. They had one final encounter with 5 ants which was overwhelming despite the arsonist's mentality. Only the Thief and the last Cleric made it back to the fountain. 

The thing I like about this scenario is the mad card-playing Game Master randomly teleporting in new characters. I think this town has hopes as a good play environment so I want to keep it going. The petty little card cheater has unloaded another batch of heroes: a Half-Elf, a Paladin, a Cleric, a Fighter, a Thief, and a Magic User. Third level this time with a bunch of magic and good gear. Of course, I used the random Character Generator (Retainers), so all I need to do is name the party members. 

This post naturally leads to tomorrow's post about taking stock of my personal goals for the next year. 

PS: You can pick up a copy of Old School Essentials CharactersMagicMonsters, and Treasures on DriveThruRPG. You can also try Wordlographer before you buy.  

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