Lacking Natural Simplicity

Random musings on books, code, and tabletop games.

AFF1e: Dungeoneer Adventure I: Tower of the Sorcerer, Part 1

Spoilers!

We're playing “Dungeoneer Adventure I: Tower of the Sorcerer”, from Dungeoneer, so if you haven't played that you might want to skip this entry.

As I've mentioned before I've been trying to use the RPGs derived from the Fighting Fantasy gamebooks for pickup games with the kids. This time around I switched from Fighting Fantasy — The Introductory Role-playing Game (FF:TIRpG) to Dungeoneer, the first book of Advanced Fighting Fantasy (AFF1e), and started “Dungeoneer Adventure I: Tower of the Sorcerer”, the first introductory scenario in the book, using the pre-generated characters from the book.

I wanted to get L.B. in the game through Google Hangouts, but unfortunately the scheduling didn't work out. She did pick a character, Alex Wolfric, and I turned modified the character sheet turning the character in Alexa Wolfrica.

Attending

Clockwise, starting with the Director:

  • T.K.B. — Director

  • T.A. — Grimbold Tornhelm

  • M.A. — Gordo Brondwyn

  • E.A. — Aspen Darkfire; she also played Alexa Wolfrica, L.B.'s character, since L.B. couldn't attend

Actual Play

Previously

On the occasion that the kids picked out their characters from the pre-gens I ran a combat between Gordo Brondwyn and Grimbold Tornhelm so they could see how combat and skills worked. Gordo threw daggers at Grimbold and kept out of his reach, but didn't have much recourse once he'd thrown all his daggers. I stopped the combat there.

More Rules Familiarization

We started out with some combat with Aspen Darkfire and Alexa Wolfrica versus Gordo Brondwyn, so E.A. could see how combat and surprise rounds worked, and how spells worked, since she was the only player who would be running spellcasters this episode, and everybody could see how combat between one character on one side and multiple characters on the other side worked.

Then I had them do some tunnel exploring under an abandoned temple to show them how some of the other Special Skills worked, including Trap Sense, Underground Lore, Dark Sense, and Awareness. There were pressure plates, a rolling boulder (ala Indiana Jones), and a chasm across the tunnel that the boulder herded them toward. Aspen and Alexa both noticed the chasm, but Gordo and Grimbold, behind them, did not, and right out into midair, luckily crashing into and grabbing hold of the other side of the chasm, and narrowly missed by the boulder. Alexa and Aspen helped them up afterward.

The Adventure

The kids' characters talked with Prince Barinjhar and Morval for a while, then headed off down the indicated path.

They entered the tunnel, and found the main cave full of Goblins, who they handily defeated, each killing three. Alexa managed to pick up the portcullis blocking the tunnel to the tower all by herself, an impressive deed.

Later she broke open both doors to the prisoner cells, freeing Xortan Throg's experimental subjects, the peasants Rufus (hunchback, one arm 6 inches longer than the other) and Sam (triangular head and deformed legs). The characters escorted them back through the portcullis and provided them with torches and directions out of the tunnel, then returned to the stairs leading upwards beyond the cells.

Reflections

The kids seemed to enjoy the game: E.A. and M.A. said so explicitly, and T.A. liked that the characters started out as super competent Heroes rather than 1st-level nobodies. They all liked how they mowed down the Goblins. T.A. liked the fact that it added detail to FF:TIRpG, since he likes game systems with more detail.

I think next time I'll add some examples of improvised tactical SKILL use, to show how combat can be something besides just opposed SKILL rolls.

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