Sunday, August 28, 2011

Dungeons & Allies (Fishy the Ranger, Session 3)

Been a bit of a lazy sunday. Got up early with the baby but aside from time with her I didn't really do a lot of home-making today.

In the early afternoon my wife and daughter took a nap, leaving my son and I free to do some gaming.

First we tried out Axis and Allies Miniatures, which I picked up cheap in the "pick our bones clean" sale at Borders. Pretty fun, a bit of complication in learning the combat and movement rules. Beat my son with a point-inferior army (two units of which were pretty useless against his tanks) of a machine-gunner, a mauser, and a panzerfaust, and a panzer 3 (a 13 point tank, undergunned against his russian t34 and his sherman tank, 28 and 24 points)

So with such a deficient force how did I win? Cover and line-of-sight. Made a lot of "cover" rolls to avoid damage, and the panzerfaust's mysteriously unending supply of rockets won the day.

After a couple games, he asked whether Fishy could win versus a panzerfaust. I offered to make the german soldier as a D&D character and equip him out of the modern book, but he preferred to look at the meager attack numbers from A&A, pointing out that the panzerfaust could not hope to defeat his armor class with attack rolls that didn't go above four or five most times, especially as much as the d6s seemed to be hating my attack rolls in the last game. I mean really, if you throw ten six-siders, should not more than two of them give a result of more than three??

We only ran about an hour of D&D after this. Fishy effected an escape which is amazing, in that I am amazed I didn't have to fudge any rolls for him to escape with skin intact.

Fishy awoke on top of a table in the "banquet hall" (room 9 in your classic KoTB if you're curious and have that available) bound hand and feet, with two lazy guards in the room.

The winning strategy for escaping orcs, if you are curious, goes something like this.

1) Address the orcish guards in a random language, such as draconic or halfling.
2) Receive several beatings as you repeat step one, until you are reduced to a fraction of your original hitpoints.
3) Note that the guard, while he was smashing your face in with the non-business end of his sword, has accidentally dropped a small knife on the table next to you.
4) Having freed yourself, address the orc again, requesting he return your equipment. Fortunately the second guard has left temporarily to relieve himself (Legitimately he waited and watched for a moment after cutting his bonds with the knife)
5) Dispatch the orc with the knife, charge into an adjacent room carrying his sword.
6) After a couple rounds of combat with some orcish tribesmen and the other guard, flee through the banquet hall to exit B.

After it became clear the orcish guards were not going to go looking for them in the daylight, Fishy made his way back to the Keep, and tried to hire a patrol he encountered using the money that he didn't have.

Fortunately, his companion Jerin had been released after the first encounter, on his word he would return with ransom money for Fishy. Even more fortunately, Fishy did not go with his original plan after escaping of marching into the orcish cave with his two remaining HP and a small knife, demanding they return his equipment.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

How Players View ....

Just a couple meme images I made.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

This isn't minecraft.. (Fishy the Ranger, sessions 1 and 2)

Never you mind how the game design project is going. It is my pipe-dream and I will neglect it if I want to..

My sevenling has had a long-standing desire to play D&D, which I finally gave into last month, helping him create a 3.5 ranger(Fishy) and attempting to run the original Keep on the Borderlands. For reasons of (I believe) wanting to encounter some sort of giant sea creature, he insisted on arriving by boat, accompanied by Horsey(a horse).

Knowing that a good DM should always try to accomodate the wants and desires of a player, I had a pair of immature wyverns attack the boat, scaled down to about three hit dice each. One was downed and the other driven off, and Fishy bravely leapt into the sea to rescue a man from drowning (he actually had skill points in swim).

Fishy traveled with the wagon carrying supplies from the small dock to the Keep, at least for a little while before riding off, spoiling a kobold encounter I had planned. He later caught up with the same kobolds and dispatched them, finding a scarf one of the wagoneers had been wearing in the loot.

"He must have been one of the kobolds! Oh wait.. they probably just took it from him."

I am not proud of how I reacted to what happened next. My little seven year-old son started wanting to chop down trees and find metal to bring a forge. I talked him out of it, a little frustrated. "This isn't minecraft, it is D&D. You are supposed to be adventuring, not building..."

Again, it was not a proud moment, and I regretted it very much after the session was over, and planned to find ways to let him do what he wanted to do.. I would give him opportunities to hire craftsmen if he wanted to build a house or a little fort. He had money enough after buying starting equipment to hire some npcs for a few weeks. 50 gold goes a surprising distance in hireling.

The first session ended with him wandering the wilderness with a mercenary named Jerrin.

So we played again yesterday, and I was expecting more desire to dig in, punch trees, build things. I wanted to give him all the agency he wanted.

And apparently what the boy wanted was a fight.

"I move two spaces north to see if I get a fight."

This didn't prompt much but bemusement from his hireling, nor when he started literally beating the bushes for monsters.

He did end up wandering through the large "spider encounter, and failing a fortitude save vs what the module simply called poison. He was excited as this let him use his ranger bonus vs. vermin. He picked vermin as favored enemy. I love that boy sometimes.

Ah, poison. In the version this module was written for, that means "instantly fatal if you fail a save." I guess as I was running three-dot-five, I could have pulled out the monster manual, looked up the entry for Monstrous Spider, Large, and used whatever that was, but the lazy solution was to have it render him unconscious. He got one standard action, and used it trying to change weapons..

I could have left it fatal, and I don't like fudging dice rolls, but I don't want to have to staple this to his character sheet -

Don't know what he thought I meant by "you have only one action, use it well", but I firmly believe that second-guessing everything he does will not help him learn. I really don't like people telling me what to do in a game, and I don't want to do this to my son. Yes, I'm aware that I admitted to doing just that earlier in this post. Like I said, not a proud moment.

This encounter didn't end the session.. A fight with three orcs and a human mercenary did. I will talk about that when I write up the next adventure, whenever that happens.