I am scheduled to run a game using Old School Hack this coming Sunday and it poses a few obstacles for me to overcome:
1) I am a senior NCO, the players are all junior to me. For those of you not in the Army, this essentially means that I am higher ranking and typically in normal Army situations the mingling of the two does not happen that often. If it ‘should’ is a bit of a gray area,I am sure some will frown upon it, just as many who have heard of a mean old NCO “playing D&D” have done. Add to this the fact that I literally know two of the players by name alone, this fact alone should make this interesting.
2) Another possible area of concern is the group dynamic and experiences. I have been gaming for well over 30 years now and delved deep into story games, game design, world building…hell, you could say I have been around the block game-wise. Some of the are newer players who have experienced gaming via D&D 3.5 or 4e. I am convinced my sort of GMing, rather freeform and ‘rules carefree’ might be difficult for them to grasp. They are smart guys though, so I don’t think this will be a problem per se, will just be a speed bump on our road to fun.
3) The game system itself. OSH has some interesting concepts that are quite removed from the games the players have experienced thus far. Arenas for example. My session is going to start off in a tavern (!) and I plan on picking a fight between the patrons. To add to the arena concept in the session, I plan on the tavern being two story with a main floor open to a balcony above (will lure a player upstairs with women). So inititally we will start with two arenas, part way through, I am collapsing the floor to a cavern below, creating a third arena with the area below. As my initial combat, I am hoping this will show the rules for arenas to the players, but also add to the combat and make it more interesting. Below I have uploaded a quick map to help explain what I plan on doing.
I plan on having a few tavern patrons doing battle with the players, then when the floor collapses, having some wimpy orcs show up and start to make their way up from the depths below. I will use wimpy orcs, but loads of them to really mess with the players. With some luck, I am hoping to end up with a player on the top floor balcony, one of the main floor, and one in the cavern below. Should be total awesomeness and chaotic. My problem I am having is how to represent this effectively on a flat map and still present an exciting and easily understood map. Ideally, I thought of making actual levels by printing out a grid of paper and glueing it to cardboard then figuring out a way to make actual levels above the map, but that is a lot of prep and so anti-me…well, I don’t want to do that. Most likely will end up just drawing it on the cheesex map in sections and explain it to the players.