20 December 2010

Actual Play: Lamentations of the Flame Princess/Tower of the Stargazer

In my Monday group's usual holiday season tradition, we are trying a few one off in the lead up to Kapcon. Last time it was a Monster of the Week playtest, this week we did a bit of old school renaissance with Lamentations of the Flame Princess, using the introductory adventure Tower of the Stargazer.

The game certainly brought back a lot of nostalgia, and I thought that the rules lived up to their promise from reading through - everything was fairly streamlined and intuitive (at least compared to actual old school D&D or the old school rulesets that pretty much just recreate the old rules. It also had a lot more flavour in the character classes than Dungeonslayers (our only other recent foray into this style). Dungeonslayers is a fine lightweight set of rules, but it felt a little flat to us after a few sessions.

Anyway, we got some characters rolled up - one player taking two after I mentioned that multiple characters and/or hirelings might be a good idea. The fighter also bought a dog - obviously a terrier given its low rolled hit points!  So we had the Pants siblings (cleric of the Mist Goddess and specialist - that's a thief to the rest of us), a halfling and the fighter and dog. No hirelings, as they ran out of money but maybe there'll be some next time.

I basically set them up with the beginnings of a Western Marches style game, with a small village and nearby military fort on the border of The Empire, with only rumours and ruins beyond. The key rumour (given to the two siblings played by one player, because he put his hand up when asked "who has a wizard as a parent?") was a story about a place constantly hit by lightning containing lots of treasure and magic. This is about the most obvious lead in to The Tower of the Stargazer that you could have.

I'll hold off on anything spoilery about the adventure, but we had fun as they explored. They searched and tried this and that, finding lots of weird stuff, some treasure, some odd magical things, some monsters and a fair chunk of the story behind why it is all there and like it is. We got about half of the place explored in the evening, with a natural cutoff as they needed to retreat back to town in order to (a) heal up and (b) flog off some loot. I was happy to see the dog get the first kill of the game, and they narrowly avoided any of the party being killed (there were three or four chances that someone could have died, and the halfling only made it by 1 hit point on one of them).

Good fun, overall. Not sure if I'm ready to commit to a full on old school campaign, but I certainly want to see them explore the rest of the tower and maybe we can come back to the characters for some of the other adventures later on. Death Frost Doom also looks pretty cool, and Hammers of the God too. I should mention that I really respect Raggi's adventures, because they provide places that (from reading) look really cool to explore, they're really dangerous adding a big sense of caution, and for the GM there's  a good story as to why the place is there, why things are like they are and how all the little elements fit in. The sense of logic to each place really makes them work for me, and gives you a good base to improvise extra details off when you are running it. They're fun to read, and this one was more fun to gradually reveal as they explored it.