Friday, March 9, 2012

[LotFP] Beginners first EVER rpg session

I ran LotFP for first-timer using Google Documents. We both had priviledges to modify it and the gaming texts were written there. We used also msn for rules and off-game conversation.

This was a success! I enjoyed it and liked how my first-timer adapted roleplaying. Also he enjoyed it. We played in Finnish so I have to translate the game here. This is how it went with comments from me.

CHAPTER 0
Beginning of the game: Your character is a traveller. It doesn't matter where he comes or where he is heading to. He walks his own path. As a Magic-User he hasn't found his place in society. Society cannot offer him where his destiny is or in smaller places people are way too superstitious.
Walking the road in rainy evening character starts to be tired and cold. Next to road there are fields and few houses and barns. Houses and barns look like they are deserted recently.
After fields and buildings there is smoke from chimneys and lights from windows visible...(I wrote this pre-game so player can take his time to think about the beginning setting.)


CHAPTER 1
(I told player to write his character's thoughts about the surroundings and situation. This is how he wrote:)

  • (hmmmh.... huooh...
  • no God...
  • Abrakadabra!
  • Nice place this is. No one around :)
  • I wish I could get chicken soup made by my mom
  • Come Bowser (character's dog)
  • On the road again... Memories spring to mind on the road again...

(This was interesting. I gave player free hands not to do anything but describe what his character is thinking. I can see a little shyness and being kinda lost here, but everything started to go very well after I wrote my first description.)

Referee: Road goes through the village. Around the village is simple and traditional fence. At the gate opening there are two guards standing. The other looks like he hasn't held spear that much in his life. The other looks more seasoned even though both are hicks.

*Runs panicking towards the guards* Horrible! This is terrible! Pack of highwaymen are robbing travellers!

(Note: Player used * describing what character does. This is from mmorpg I guess. Also player decide himself about these highwaymen, but I told he has free hands to describe the situation. I informed him that it's Referee's responsibility to describe and decide situations, happenings, surroundings, other characters and player's responsible is to respond on these with his character. But I was okay with his idea of highwaymen now.)
Referee: Guards startle and especially inexperienced one is worried. "I was afraid of the worst. Where do they commit their crimes? We don't take part in highway business, it is count's problem. We defend our village." Older looks at Cameron eyebrows wrinkled. "Unless you are one of those robbers?" His grip tightens around the spear.

Highwaymen are soon here if you don't do anything! That will be the end of your precious little village.

Referee: More experienced orders the younger one. "Run to the village and summon the men!" Young does what he is told. More experienced guard starts to survey squinting his eyes. Field of vision is poor because of the weather.
"Are you up to a fight, youngster? I guarantee it will be appreciated in this village!"!”

Player: Oh, I could defeat three of the likes of you even my hands tied.
(Funny thing is when he was rolling HP 1d4+CON he thought that's not much. Still character is the main hero and better than others. Or is this his characteristic to be arrogant with high self esteem?)

Referee:Guard nods his head. "Good, I like your attitude." Through grey weather figures are seen closing up. "Here they come!" Guard says. "My name is Mark, if we die this night." He advances slowly and determined towards the goons.

Player: Follows the guard. Thinking: "What will this become..."
(I am not sure but I think player and/or character is a little worried about the inevitable combat.)
Referee: Goons advance in two rows. In front row two are running armed with short swords. Behind them three advance calmly. Older guard was prepared (wins initiative, second is Cameron, third goons) so he hits other goon with his spear and pierces his shoulder. Goon growls and lapses to ground. Second robber targets Cameron but Cameron finds time to stab him with dagger first. Goon is wounded and slashes Cameron, but misses.
"You doin' good?" guard asks and courageously advances three other goons in the back.
(LotFP rules are simple and player adapted them fast enough. At first I told what to roll, what to add or decrease from the roll and asked him to tell the result. Later he did rolls all by himself and declared the results. I naturally asked how did he come up with that result and he explained the process right. He asked once if he is doing right what is good also to confirm is being a little unsure.)

Player: Sure Thing!
Now you get what you are asking for, filthy thief! I yell and slice goon's throat. Goon falls down. Not yet dead, but incapacitated. In small time he is history.
(This was interesting. Player declared his action and then rolled dice. I told him that enemy is now 0HP so out of combat. I told player he can write what happened but reminded that it is not gory because it was exactly 0HP. This is how player described it all by himself.)

Referee: Cameron notices that the guard has killed one goon but two remaining are all over him. It also looks like guard Mark is wounded.Cameron näkee, että vartija on surmannut yhden rosvon, mutta kaksi on hänen kimpussaan. Näyttää myös siltä, että vartija Mark on haavoittunut.

Player: Cameron attacks from the behind to other goon. Sturdy hit with a staff should do the trick.
(Player himself described attacking from behind and this was ok for me as goon was busy with guard. Reward was bonus to hit ignoring goon's dex modifier entirely! I told him, that was a good idea.)
Referee: Goon falls down. Other goon fighting with guard slashes him with hand axe across his chest. Guard falls down on his knees and the blood splatters. With his last strength he swipes the goon wounding him on the leg.
(I told player, that I play by same rules as him. Even when guard fought the three goons when Cameron fought other. I roll dice like he does.)

Player: Cameron strikes wounded goon with his dagger.

Referee: Cameron misses. Goon grins bloodlust in his eyes, because all his four comrades are either dead or in weak condition. Goon rises his axe and strikes Cameron. Luckily the strike not only misses but also goons grip slips because axe's shaft was wet of the rain. Axe flies over Cameron into the bushes. Goon looks confused holding nothing but an empty fist.
(Yep, critical failure. It's obvious for me that natural 1 is always a miss but then you roll again. If second roll is a success, it's only a failure. If second roll is also a failure then it's a critical fumble. Something what sucks happens. I explained this to player why that happened what happened.)

Player: Cameron strikes soil with his staff. Bowser runs eager to join the combat.
(This was interesting. First player wrote Cameron strikes his enemy. I asked for a roll, but it was a miss. I was going to edit the text only to see that player unprompted had done it already. This was cool! He asked can his dog battle also and I said yes. His dog is kind of his second hand in combat. He can declare it's actions and roll to hit and damage. But I told that dog has morality, which is 9. If dog looses ½ or more of it's HP or is in life threatening situation I roll 12. If I roll over 9 the dog flees.)
Referee: Cameron's dog digs his teeth on goons pantleg and goon falls down and cannot manage to get up anymore (0HP, defeated). Goons are defeated now. Guard is laying on his side next to Cameron. From the village voices are heard and light of the torches visible when a couple of other guards and few of the village men with pitchforks are coming to the location - late. Guard immediately tells how this stranger Cameron saved him. A couple of the other guards would otherwise arrest the remaining goon, but are cautious about Bowser still hanging on.


Thoughts


I liked this. I remind that the guy I played with was a first-timer. Never before played any p&p rpg. So it went really well. LotFP was a good choice because the rules are so simple to learn. I could see the learning curve in this short game immediately.


I will game master this like encounters. Chapter 0 was the beginning encounter. Just a story what and where.
First Chapter was a combat encounter obviously. Player character decided those highwaymen to be there but I let it be. In future I'll be more strict.
Second Chapter will be more socializing in the village. I will write a small briefing so player can jump straight away where the action is. No need him to play how he walks to the village etc. That saves game and keeps game focused in action or situations.


I have this adventure in my mind I will put Cameron through. Now he's proven his capabilities and courage to the village and is rewarded with free food and place to stay. But village elder is curious could Cameron help the village with their problem...
Reward? Magic!


Player character is Magic-User with only "perception" spells. No buffs, defensive or attack... So reward could be an opportunity to learn combat spell. Interesting thing was that he didn't show any interest in looting bodies at all. I will reward him some sp. Villagers loot the bodies and give character his share.


Experience... gosh, that I had to house-rule. I declared that out of five goons character got 3½ worth of experience. According to rules that would be 35 experience. Problem? Fucking slow advancement! I want him to experience advancing in levels, but 35 experience when 2250 is needed is lame. It will take literally ages to advance in levels and because we play using internet the gaming won't be regular I guess. So he would be stuck forever in first level. My solution is xp multiplied by 10. So instead of 35 I rewarded him 350 experience. And being a good first-timer 50 extra (telling him what he did well and where he earned this bonus). 400/2250 sounds better in my ear.
How I handled experience would make Raggi kill me though.


Looking for next session. This was fun!
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