After nearly two decades I decided to head back to the table and run a game, it was on a whim really, I spotted some Soldiers playing D&D and approached them about the game and maybe sitting in. After over a month of being busy as hell and various attempts to get together Old School Hack was released. As I saw one of the players one day, I blurted out that I would run the game if we could use their map and minis. The games afoot!
In prepping for the game, I read the rules in their entirety literally a few hours before the game…what can I say, I GM best off the cuff. I had a rough idea of what I wanted to happen. We would start in a large pub in a town known to have miles and miles of mines, some abandoned, beneath it. At some point for whatever reason sounded good at the time, I would collapse the floor into a tunnel below.beyond that….I would wing it. The reason for the floor collapse, and the addition of a second floor to the pub with a balcony, was to introduce the idea of multiple arenas, a key aspect of OSH. See my previous post about the map layout. In the end I ended up drawing the map out flat, old school style (the one newb player explained me that on maps, you draw a door “like this” and proceeded to show me how they are shown on architectural drawings). My reason for going this route was that three of the four players were former D&D 3.5~4e guys and maps are important, I didn’t want to alienate them too quickly.
So we got together Sunday evening at 7pm in our conference room, one player was late showing up, but we spent the first 40 or so minutes creating characters, explaining concepts of RPGs to the newb, Kevin. I think the hardest time he had was the concept of his character. He picked an elf, but other than Legolas from the LOTR movies, he had nothing to base his choice off of….a victim of non-nerdiness I suppose. His elf was pretty straight forward, bow and short sword, nothing to ‘out there.’
The one player, Vos, proved to be the more projecting sort of person and made his character a bit more…out there, ending up with a fighter who prefers to think of two ways to be successful in life: kill things, and do all the princesses one comes across. He fights with no armor and selects dual ‘Thor’ hammers. His name? Con Seanery, yeah.
Jeremy picked the goblin, which was perfect and turned out to be probably my favorite character, small and underfoot, but always part of the action…if not the reason for it. Apparently he has a desire for nice whimsy things, including salt and pepper shakers (hey, our pubs are high end, deal with it). He selected the excellent name of Pee Wee.
Bryan, the guy who came late, selected the magic user. I believe he stated the character was an arrogant know it all.
The guys came with minis for me to use, I believe they said they were from the D&D minis games, nice and small plastic pieces. Worked great as there were plenty to choose from and the different beasts/creatures/classes represented provided ample inspiration and ended up really adding to the game. I had forgotten the joys of minis. 😉
I started by saying we were in town trying to find details about the mines beneath the town. Rumor has it that miles of abandoned mines lay beneath the town, just waiting to be discovered. So we were at the pub to find someone who knew about an entrance or ay details of what we might find in the mines. Yeah, I like to plan really deep, introspective adventures.
I drew out a quick pub, much larger and an odd jumble of rectangles, explaining that the pub had been added to over the years as the owner become more prosperous and that was the reason for the strange shape. I added stairs to an upstairs, a small room, a bar, tables and stools and a fireplace. I placed what was actually supposed to be a candle on the middle of one of the tables and a player remarked that it was “cool, they have salt and pepper shakers!” Then he made a comment about shinty and sounded much like he was saying “my precious!”
I added an upstairs level, complete with a balcony and after a player mentioned a chandelier I threw that in for good measure as well. The upstairs had lots of doors, I explained these were rooms….for rent for an hour, day, week….and away the minds spun. Con determined he wanted to find a woman. I used this as an opportunity to do an attribute check, he passed with flying colors and we placed him upstairs with a pub wench. The rest of the group sat at a table, minus the one newb who hung out in a shadowy corner. Guess he’s a loner.
Almost immediately I noticed a mini of a minotaur, the thought occurs to me to switch this to something else more fitting, then I said screw it and had the minotaur waitress wander up to the table. As she does, the goblin spontaneously swipes the salt shaker from the table. Another attribute check down and the minotaur is pretty certain there was a salt shaker, but not 100%, so she takes their order. Minutes later a group of rough looking fellows wander in and sit at q table across from the boys while one stops and stares at the loner in group. What’s he do? What every good adventurer would do! Run the bastard through.
Immediately the place erupts into chaos. The goblin tosses the salt shaker at their table, yells to the minotaur that he found it, and the minotaur’s husband charges. Con realizes he is missing a fight and jumps NAKED into the battle from the balcony, banging his head o the chandelier, landing on his face on their table. The player narrated that after he had made a successful check! More battling, the players mostly cutting down the minions I threw at them. The minotaur crashes into the table and gores one guy on his horns (the customer is always wrong, bitch!) and from all the ruckus and added weight, the floor collapses into the tunnel below.
More chaos as the group that fell find themselves in the midst of a digging part of orcs, numbering eight. Only the naked Con and the minotaur fell into the hole, but soon they are joined by the goblin. The Mage decides to help and cast magic missile, he cannot see into the tunnel and casts blindly, rolling randomly to see who it hits. Big fun. Orcs are slaughtered fairly easily, one gets s face permanently mounted to the tunnel wall by a Thor hammer. The minotaur is dealt using sleep spell.
I shortened that much and took out many of the insane silly parts. The arenas proved easy to deal with, no one complained or did not get it. The D&Ders never fought the loss of the “grid square” mentality like I thought they might, in fact they embraced it, moving here and there easily to combat enemies and do awesome things. The Awesome Points proved to be, well, awesome. Players really enjoyed tossing them out and when our newb earned his first one, the table all cheered this brief moment of stepping out of his comfort zone and into nerdiness.
I think I almost killed Con, no one seemed to worried about it. The group ended up with using roughly 6 AP each, so roughly halfway to second level in one session. Everyone got into the characters a bit and enjoyed themselves. I have to admit it almost felt like I was running a Risus game, everyone played how they wanted and did not let the rules hold them back. It was sort of magical watching them. I have to say OSH is a kick ass game, I absolutely love it. They better hurry and finish the next ruleset…
Afterwards, the players were all eager to play again. Two of their group had opted not to join us…they play D&D, not this OSH game…the resounding consensus was they really missed out. Later one player told me they had never had such a good time with their other games.
Warms my heart a little knowing this old guy can still kick it with the young fellows.