Monday, April 13, 2009

Labyrinth Lord - first play

I attended a hand-fasting ceremony in California this last weekend, and had to drive down from Oregon to get there - a friend Vince was coming along, and we stopped off at Shasta Caverns on the way.

Having some time to kill at a hotel, I brought out my recently purchased Labyrinth Lord hardcover, and we quickly rolled up a couple of characters - a neutral thief ("Thirsty Fiefel") and a neutral fighter. We really should have spent more time rolling up more characters, but Vince was eager to get playing.

We were using Matt Finch's "Tomb of the Iron God" module, and when Vince insisted upon going straight to the temple without a party of more than 2, I had the (wiser and more intelligent) thief insist on finding some hirelings in town to provide more targets and a way for them to carry more loot out.

Of course, this expedition was totally doomed from the start, as 4-8 characters are recommended, of levels 1-2, not just two of level 1 and three of level zero, but as he was being impulsive and just wanted to start as soon as possible, I ended up indulging this madness.

He immediately found a secret room in the very first chamber, and they dived down into the first level. He made out the embalming chamber and tools for what they were and proceeded to start exploring the level without benefit of making a map of the party's progress. The thief then fell into a pit trap and on the brink of death, they returned to town for a couple of days. Though the thief wasn't healed, the party returned again to the temple as money was running short and the hirelings were going to leave if it ran out.

Returning to where they'd left off, they found stairs leading down. Another foolish decision was made, this time to proceed to the 2nd level without finishing even a fraction of the first (and with a half-dead thief and a small low level party mostly consisting of zero levels!)... At this point a Gray Ooze (similar to Green Slime) fell from the roof above the entrance to the stairs. Although there was plenty of time for flight, Vince decided to stick it out. They all died very quickly - the thief first, then the fattest and dumbest hireling, followed by his 2 brothers who amazingly passed a morale check twice, followed by the slow witted and impulsive fighter.

It was a short game, and though hurried and little explored, we had a good time. It was fun to see how quickly a game could be arranged and how the ad-lib, on the fly nature of dungeon mastering an early edition game came back to me. Our first game in twenty-five years or more! I think Vince might have been indulging me, a little, given how recklessly he played the party. Of course, the large amount of beer might have been a factor. Still, I'm encouraged and know I'll be more confident the next game I referee.


Don Snabulus said...

Beer, hotel, the mountains...that's a good way to break back into RPGs.

Do you know what lives in that mountain?

ze bulette said...

Bats, mostly! The MMII from 1983 states: no. appearing, 1-100 (or 100-1000), AC 8, Hit Dice: 1-2 hit points, damage per attack: 1

We weren't afraid though, as bats are neutral in alignment and rarely attack unless severely molested.

Don Snabulus said...

Yes, but what of Lemurians or the government base.

I'm not sure you could tackle either with level 1 or 2 characters.

ze bulette said...

Ah! Now I understand. You thought I meant we were under Mt. Shasta proper, with its myriad lost civilizations and various other mythos! We were about 60 minutes south of the big guy. I remember telling passengers about the city powered by bells within the mountain back when I was a Green Tortoise bus driver!

Xenotourist said...

I love Labyrinth Lord! I've gamed for 25 years and am happy to return to the roots of gaming. It is more than just nostalgia though. I have started a campaign with my group and veteran and newbie alike love it.

ze bulette said...

Thanks for the comment Gortimer... I've been looking most closely at 1E as well as Swords & Wizardry and Labyrinth Lord for getting back into most of my role playing. For now, LL is the clear winner, although I might jump on OSRIC when it gets published this year. I'll keep an eye on your campaign's progress.

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