Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Whitebox Session 1: Total Party Kill

Well we played our first game of Forgotten Realms using the Swords and Wizardry Whitebox rules last night.  It started with one of my players rolling up his guy because he had lost his character sheet.  It ended with both of them rolling up new characters.

How did we get there?  Is it that we played too late into the night on a week day (when two of three of us needed to go to work?  Was it the crippling bad rolls both of my players had in the 4 rounds of combat?  Was it the 3 natural 20's I rolled (using a double damage rule) which inflicted 10-12 points of damage per strike?

Let me back up a bit and explain the session.  It started well enough.  My players took vows as militia men in the town of Daggerford (I'm vaguely following the outline of the Under Illefarn adventure but I'm not planning to use the dungeon).  We did quite a bit of roleplaying, then the PC's had a call to action and went out to a local Baron Cromm's hold and investigated an attack by lizardmen.  They followed the lizardmen into the swamp, befriended a tribe of lizardmen led by a Shaman "Redeye" found the guilty lizardmen, defeated them and returned to town.  They ended up with some good loot, semi magical healing salve packets from the shaman and a ring of fire resistance.

At this point the tired GM called for an end of session, but my players insisted that we continue on.  An earthquake rocked the town, and they first helped with the clean up and then found out that the river had been polluted.  They left the village following the river up into a wooded region known as "Laughing Hollow".

They found a group of goblins dancing, singing, and shooting arrows at an elderly Elf who was almost completely hidden in a thicket between two trees.  I rolled a random check and the elf passed out due to his injuries (this was one of the factors that led to the total party kill).

The two PC's (2nd level dwarven cleric, and 2nd level fighter) and their 1st level fighter henchman, were all killed in 4 rounds by 6 goblins (none of which had more than 3 HP)...  all due to a volley of arrows.  A roll of 20, 10 damage!!! by the GM dropped their henchman.  The PC's charged in anyway (another factor leading to the TPK).  Another roll of 20 and I took down the dwarven cleric with 12 damage!!!! (I was rolling attacks and damage out in the open, so even if I had wanted to fudge it and make it a 19... I couldn't).

The lone fighter started to retreat but it was too late at this point, I rolled a few attacks on him and got another 20, the damage roll of 10 took him down and ended the adventure.

We ended the night with them rolling up new characters.  They decided on a Ranger and an Elf.  Both players are planing to have missile and melee weapons (I do think they learned something about the brutality of the whitebox rules system last night).  Although both of these players go back ~15-20 years of experience, they have been playing very little in the last decade and most of their gaming was with 3rd edition, in which a pack of 6 goblins are complete fodder.   In the whitebox rules system, any enemy can be lethal with bad rolls stacked against you.

Both the elf and ranger have spells, so they should be pretty well rounded.  I also said to them, spend a little money, get some extra henchman!  Get a party healer, and maybe another archer or a shield bearer...  lets see how next session goes...

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