Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Game Play Journal: A Shell Game

Tonight was the first time Nick and I have been able to play our one on one game in weeks due to illness. Since we haven't played in so long and have a new party, we figured we'd test drive Swords & Wizardry instead of playing Labyrinth Lord. His party of a thief and dwarf met up with three others (including the chaotic cleric Agnal) outside of a town's pallisade entrance and agreed to join each other. The other two with Agnal were Snits, the beautiful female elf, and Berk, a very unremarkable fighter.

There was the usual wandering around a new town, getting their bearings, finding the fletcher and arms shop, grocer, general store, tavern, etc. It dawned on the thief that he was at the lowest point in his life, as he had only 5 silver pieces, no job, no real friends, and no prospects in this strange town. He enthusiastically brought out three nut shells for a quick attempt at some gambling/swindling by sleight of hand in the tavern - perhaps a bit naively considering it was breakfast time, and the tavern consisted of a total of nine individuals (five of whom were party members, one of whom was the serving woman/wife of the proprieter, and the others were travelling merchants with whom Agnal, Snits, and Berk had hitched a ride the night before).

Nick's role playing can be very entertaining to listen to, particularly his high fantasy speech, and he's very content to converse at length with NPCs. However, today the merchants avoided eye contact upon recognizing that they were being solicited. Fortunately the dice ruled that Berk was suckered into Wagstaff the thief's shell game.

At this point, I realized that Nick thought that this sleight of hand thievery ought be very easy for him to accomplish. He let Berk find the nut the first time, then tried to double the money and secret it away - my problem was in trying to determine the probability of success here and I didn't want to just rule that he succeeded, lest an easy money precedent be set. We're using a combination of Skathros' thief and Dyson Logos' 2d6 thief skills. As there's no sleight of hand skill, I thought of using a DEX check but figured this was more complicated than that (it would have required training to perform as an adequate illusion on a regular basis). The closest thing seemed to be pick pockets, but even that didn't seem right since in the case of picking pockets, you are (hopefully) not being directly observed and scrutinized. I decided to offer Nick the option of trading his pick pockets skill for this shell game business, assuming that he'd have had to practice it and that it was a general sleight of hand skill and not just moving shells. He was fine with this, and using his DEX modifier, was able to successfully hide the nut and earn a single silver piece from his comrade in arms. Eesh.

He has a job prospect as a rat catcher though, so the thief's upbeat for the moment.


christian said...

I'm going to print these out and give them a read. I love game play journals. :)

ze bulette said...

I'm glad you like 'em - I get the impression most folks think they're a bore, but I really get a kick out of reading other people's game journals.

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