[AP Report] First session and the Spanterhook Theieves' Guild.

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So, we ran DW yesterday!

Great time, and surprised at how it played just like older incarnations of D&D and similar (which for me is a mix between 2nd Planescape, 3.0 and Palladium Fantasy). I imagine, that depending on the GM and the prep, it might look more like B/X or something. The major difference is that it just runs faster and more smoothly. Combat is relatively straight forward, although I was surprised that the least tactical of my gamers wanted more variety in her Hack and Slashing and the more story oriented dude was quick to push the limits of Defend (“Can I reduce the damage to 7/8th?”). 

The party comprised of:

Corvus, Paladin of the Argent Heart, and his NPC attendants Secundus the Scrivener and Cedric the Neophyte. His mount was named Pepper.

Va'enya, the Elven Sorceress (Sorcerer? Elves have ambiguous sex characteristics. A magic user at any rate), it's raven Familiar and Bodie the Human Apprentice.

Hern, the Barbarian, and her tribe-sisters and handmaidens Morag and Sheena.

The Barbarian is a class I threw together after reading some discussion on it over at SG, particularly Johnstones' Berserk move. Making DW playbooks is way easier that AW ones, by the way.

I printed all the available dungeon starters and trifolds I have access to a asked them which one seemed most interesting to them.

So, the Adventure started out at the back entrance to the Spanterhook Thieves' Guild. The Barbarian promptly smashed her way in as we didn't have a Thief. This basically set the tone for the session where the Barbarian went smashing around and the Paladin and Wizard cleaning up the mess, taking prisoners and providing some healing. I got some interesting mileage out of random traps and poison darts. Cedric the Neophyte was turned into a Frog and the Barbarian was poisoned with Goldenroot. First level characters are fragile! Even Barbarians and Paladins! The party nearly TPK'd during the final conflict with the president and his pair of Minotaur guards but the Barbarian cut a deal with Death (More skulls for the skull throne! More blood for the Raven Queen!) allowing her and the Pally to live and aid the Wizardess in finishing off the president and retrieving the Eye of Entax.

They returned to the Shrine of the Argent Heart to rest, divvy up the loot and fence the Eye.

I'm using Gold/Barter spent for XP + Alignment Keys instead of Highlighted stats + Alignment Keys. This seemed work well, as I can pace leveling via Treasure and is more evenly distributed around the party.  It seemed to work well. Everyone leveled at the end of the adventure after doing some shopping.

I was nice to run a 'classic' style of game again. Lots of fun, easy to GM as I got to lean on the 'module' and use my energy to focus on the details rather than the plot or Fronts or whatever. Fronts will be useful next session but having a dungeon, a list of Mobs, and a list of NPC with a situation baked in is a breeze to run. Light, fun and scratches that D&D itch that was the core of my formative RPG experience.

We forgot to make saving throws against higher level Mobs often. I think I only remembered to do so once, despite many of the Mobs being level 2.

I made some changes to the rules. I let them pick their names. I gave them the option of having a few NPC mooks to start with (they act machanically like equipment). Slightly higher starting HP (equal to their Con Score) but gaining a randomized amount thereafter based on their class. Mobs did randomized damage instead of a fixed amount (e.g. 5 dmg becomes 1d10 dmg) which seemed to produce a little more tension. Although, occasionally, the Mobs hit pretty hard, but this is counterbalanced by the fact that sometimes they don't hit hard at all (when they roll under the armor value.) Oh, and we rolled the stats, which gave them better than typical sets as they all where quite lucky.

The first session seemed like just getting a feel for the characters and getting the ball rolling. Looking forward to building on the now established relationships and plot hooks to drive some sandbox play. I need some random tables for treasure and well, everything.



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Re: [AP Report] First session and the Spanterhook Theieves' Guild.
« Reply #1 on: January 25, 2012, 02:12:47 AM »
Nathan, that is a wonderful AP! I really like the Spanterhook Guild and its example of an urban starter. I can't wait to see what Adam and Sage cook up for the Barbarian at the end of the month when they will release the beta to the Adventurer's Guild, though I'm sure your version is just as tasty. It seems like once the playbook mix includes the updated Ranger, Bard, Barbarian and perhaps some other iconics (assassin or druid perhaps), combined with the new rules for improvisational play, the fully fledged DW is gonna rawk :)

Thanks for sharing!

Re: [AP Report] First session and the Spanterhook Theieves' Guild.
« Reply #2 on: January 25, 2012, 10:18:52 AM »
Awesome play report!  I actually implemented just about the exact same changes you did.  Variable monster damage adds tension and unpredictability.  An optional NPC bond lets them integrate with the settlement during character creation (I had them roll to see who of 20 NPCs they wound up with). I also plan to have them roll a hit die and apply CON modifier when they level up.

Interestingly, I also consistently forgot the Saving Throw if they got hit by higher level monsters.  As it stands, I think the game might be brutal enough to drop that use of Saving Throw. I'll probably reserve it for magic attack, dragon breath, or similar situations.

Re: [AP Report] First session and the Spanterhook Theieves' Guild.
« Reply #3 on: January 25, 2012, 07:32:33 PM »
I tell the players about Saving Throw to help me remember.

"If something really horrible happens to your character, you can probably make a Saving Throw to make it less horrible. Remind me if I forget!"

Not a perfect solution, but it does help a bit.

Re: [AP Report] First session and the Spanterhook Theieves' Guild.
« Reply #4 on: January 25, 2012, 09:27:36 PM »
Hey John, I was wondering if you've hacked the Saving Throw to introduce some way it can make things less bad.  The Move as written doesn't seem to include that intention.  I think your take is definitely closer to how Saving Throws were used in D&D, just curious how you handle it.

When you take damage from an enemy of higher level than you or when something inflicts an effect (magic, poison, calamity) upon you, roll+Con. On a 10+, nothing else bad happens. On a 7-9 the GM chooses one. On a 6- the GM chooses two.



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Re: [AP Report] First session and the Spanterhook Theieves' Guild.
« Reply #5 on: January 26, 2012, 02:20:21 AM »
Thanks ya'll!

The Saving Throw seems to be both the classic Saving Throw but it hasn't shaken the Harm Move from AW yet, which is also forgotten at tables. I think the Harm Move in AW serves a fine purpose, and I always to remember to use it in AW because one) being shot is fucking brutal and two) it's always not sometimes.

Re: [AP Report] First session and the Spanterhook Theieves' Guild.
« Reply #6 on: January 26, 2012, 09:30:56 PM »
Oh, right! I do hack Saving Throw a little bit. I always forget that. :)

I think it's okay as written, but not ideal for what I want to use it for. I use it more like a D&D saving throw, so when a bad thing befalls you (poison, paralysis, blindness, dismemberment, whatever) you can make a saving throw to just take some damage instead, or suffer a partial effect, or avoid it entirely, depending.