So I ran a game at a makerspace in Plano, Texas, not too far from my home. Despite my nervousness, it went pretty well. A few people had already played lots of D&D – one showed up with his original stuff including goldenrod character sheets! – which made me even more nervous.
When we finally got started, about half the group had at least some D&D experience (ranging from 1e to 5e) and the other half had never played at all before. We went through character generation, which actually took longer than I expected, but I super-simplified equipment choices. Pick an armor set, pick a weapon or two, let’s go. (Yes, I knew this would eliminate much of the resource management but I could see the newer players were already overwhelmed and some of the experienced players were confused that this wasn’t exactly what they already knew.)
I used Dyson’s Goblin Gully to get things started. As I expected, even a small dungeon like this took plenty of time. We played for about 2.5 to 3 hours, and having 6 players made things take a while as they got stuck trying to make a decision at a few points. Highlights included:
- A fighter having a crisis of conscience as soon as a goblin begged for his life. “Why are we even invading their home and taking their stuff?” “THAT’S WHAT WE DO!”
- Burning goblin corpses and kicking them down stairs to check for traps.
- The magic-user blowing into the vocal cords of a decapitated goblin head as sort of a “goblin call”.
- The thief dousing himself in goblin feces to cover his scent.
- Engineering a revolution among the goblin inhabitants so that the new boss would be agreeable to their plan.
- Half the group insisting on trying to find a way to defeat the flesh mass (black pudding) before giving up. Sadly, they did in fact give up before they took any real casualties.
I loved when some of the players talked about how much more they liked playing without miniatures and stacks of rule books. (One player kept calling for “arcane checks” and “morale checks” and “called shots”. He did not seem to understand the freewheeling nature of this type of play.) The only things we had were my S&W Core rulebook and the monster book, plus my Chromebook. They’ve already started talking about when to play again!