Saturday, August 15, 2009


Well I saw that at least one person read about my attempt to start playing again, so I felt I should update what has happened since my first post long ago. I did get a chance to dm during the summer. I was visiting Nova Scotia, and had a chance to start running B10 Night's dark terror.
I started everyone at 3rd level, b/c even though it's a basic game, it is a "higher level" basic game. Now let's see if I rememberwho played what; my brother played a thief who's name I can't remember, but he decided to personalize him a little with a very distinct accent, his girlfriend played an elf (she was actually more of an Ad&d elf as a multiclass elf/fighter), having been used to 4ed, I think she found the whole limited spells thing somewhat annoying, but she pulled off some amazing stat rolls that if I hadn't have seen them, I wouldn't have believed them. Their neighbor upstairs played a cleric dwarf; I don't even remember if they were allowed, but my #1 rule of the night was to have fun, and he really seemed to get into the concept. Lastly was the new convert, my brother-in-law John who had never played before, he decided on a fighter (good choice); Sorry that I can't remember their names, but this was back in July.
I rolled 2 random magic items each ( one to be a weapon), a piece of advice I took from Grognardia's blog was to give the weapons a name as opposed to just stats, so although they were only +1 weapons (except 1 which actually rolled a +3 yikes) it gave the weapons an air of mystery to them.
Well without going through a play by play, the group really seemed to get into the game, even trying to get more information on the horse trading before heading out. They had two main battles, an ambush on the ferry , as well as the major seige of the small settlement of Suksikyn. as well as a couple of smaller encounters along the way. My only regret was not having more time to go further with them, but we were already way past our bedtimes by the end.

Here are a few observations on my part after the game:

1) Although I've never had a need for miniatures, I've a take'em or leave'em attitude, I was glad that I had made a large table sized map for the seige, and it makes me wonder that if I do get a chance to play regularly, if I shouldn't invest in some sort of writable table map.

2) Playing on the fly has some challenges that I had forgotten about, like the need for excellent record keeping. I got by that night but future dming would need more organizing and better use of space. AND WRITE EVERYTHING DOWN

3) A dm screen would have been helpful to have all the info I needed in easy reach. (I know some would probably say they have all their info memorized, but again not having played in almost 15 yrs these are all new to me again.

4) Memorize the module, or at least have all major info rewritten. We were lucky that we ended were we had, because although I had read the whole thing before, I didn't have it memorized much past where we had stopped. I don't want to have to stop the action by reading ahead during play, so I'm going to have to try to make some sort of index notes for these things.

Even barring these hiccups I'd have to say the the night was a great success, There was real anxious tension during the seige; in fact I wasn't sure they'd make it through, but a lucky moral roll after defeating one of the goblin kings cut down the enemies numbers, and allowed them to make it through the night. Everybody enjoyed themselves, which is of course the most important thing, and I'm pretty sure I made a new convert out of John who's anxious to play again. My brother who's more of a 4ed player had a blast, and really enjoyed the free flow of the combatand rules. I made a special rule that night where very high rolls, and very low rolls (18+ and 3-) carried with them some effect either positive or negative which led to some pretty humours and annoying moments...I couldn't count the number of times John would curse over fumbling with his sword. It was an experiment which I'm not sure if I'd repeat only because a large number of low rolls slowed down the combat ( I tried to offset this by making the fumbles very colorful).

Now a question for anyone who may be reading this:
I was somewhat soft on character creation, allowing 4D6 with the lowest die dropped now I know many would groan at this, and I too wasn't sure but I went ahead anyway, don't ask me why because I'm not sure myself. What i want to ask, are there others out there who have been soft on character creation, what did you do, and what affect do you think it had? I think if I had been doing a campaign maybe I would have been stricter but for a one shot ...oh well... I didn't find it made any super characters...just no below average ones. Give me your thoughts on this.


  1. I've recently had a chance to run 3 different B/X games from scratch; you can read about 'em on my blog if you like. For all of them, I started with 3D6 for all attributes; for one of them, I quickly scratched that and allowed a re-roll with 4D6.

    That was the solo game I ran with my wife. She is notorious for being a "poor dice roller" (at least in OUR minds). Her 3D6 stats all ended up as 9 or less...just awful.

    Personally, I don't find anything wrong with going with straight 3D6 own character I'm playing in Pat Armstrong's game ( has one 13 and everything else 8-10 and he's been kicking some ass. But every DM can shape their own game the way they like it. That's one of the fun things about the game!

  2. Like you, I'm coming back into the hobby after a hiatus--I haven't DMed in a decade. I'll cop to using the 4d6+drop method as well, plus the B/X rule that lets you raise a stat 1 point by dropping another 2 points. in addition, to starting every one with maximum HPs for 1st level. None of it kept the elf from dying when he failed his Save vs. Poison (giant black widow, as it happens--he joined the original "hapless elf" in the leaves.)

    All your points are well-taken; I found each one applied to me as well, although we only really needed miniatures once, and it was as much because I enjoyed the idea of using the pieces from our host's LoTR-edition RISK.

    Fun was had though, and the next night went even better, and I'm finding the on-the-fly nature of it enjoyable. DO write everything down, though.

  3. I use the 4d6 drop lowest method and used to allow point swapping (2 for 1), but I've dropped the latter. Few players ever achieve super characters with the 4d6 method. I don't have a problem with it.

  4. Like you I have recently returned to D&D after years in the wilderness, and since we have similar careers I can see where you are coming for the Character Creation...they are supposed to be heroes, so I have no problem with 4d6 for Stats, and start 1st level with full hitpoints.