Saturday, March 08, 2008

Play Report: GaryCon I

As mentioned yesterday, my contribution to worldwide GaryCon was a trip through the Random Dungeon Generator tables in the back of the Dungeon Masters Guide. As those tables are in a 1st Edition AD&D manual, I opted for the 1e rules, and went at it.

My character was Ravel Utharien, an elf fighter/magic-user of chaotic neutral bent. I decided to powergame it here with the elf f/mu combo, as any character adventuring alone is always in for some trouble. I also got totally lucky with my random spell selection - my offensive spell was the much-coveted sleep! So, donning studded leather, and wielding longsword and shortbow, Ravel ventured into the depthless dungeons!

The first foray was a success. Ravel encountered a skeleton in the second room, guarding a whole lot of gold and platinum coins. He took a couple of minor wounds, before destroying the foul thing (it had 1 hit point, luckily). Ravel took the coins and made a hasty retreat, some 600-odd gold pieces richer.

One week later, rested and refreshed, Ravel returned for a second go at it. While trying to force open a door in the first chamber, he copped a random encounter with an adventuring party - 9 of the bastards lead by an evil cleric! One lucky initiative roll and a sleep spell later, the whole lot were asleep. Ravel took the opportunity to get out of there, as there was no obvious treasure to be had.

At this point, I really should have bought Ravel some plate mail, or had him hire a few men-at-arms. But I was getting cocky, and figured I could take care of anything with the almighty sleep. Also, I wanted to stay with the studded leather so that I could take advantage of the elf's increased chance of surprise, which he wouldn't get in plate.

The next day, sleep spell restored, Ravel made his final journey into the underworld. After a brief exploration he came to a dead end - only to be cornered by a ravening pack of 14 giant rats! The sleep spell was deployed, but five of the rats were unaffected. Ravel fought bravely, killing one, but the rest bore him down and tore out his throat. And so Ravel died, and the rats feasted on his corpse.

I've never actually played with the 1st Edition rules before, and the first thing that struck me is that the rules are very poorly organised. Character creation took me forever. I was flicking from one end of the Player's Handbook to the other, and I even had to venture into the DM's Guide a few times. Item weights were in the DMG, which threw me for a loop.

Actual play was pretty smooth, but there was a lot of paging back and forth. Mostly that's because everything in 1e requires a chart. The Random Dungeon Generator did the job, but there were a few instances where it didn't quite make sense. Mainly, I wonder how often you're supposed to roll on the Periodic chart. And I couldn't find how often you're supposed to roll for Wandering Monsters, so I went with OD&D's 1-in-6 per turn.

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