Sunday 5 September 2021

Session 1: A Humble Beginning





Welcome aboard! After many years I'm starting a new AD&D 1st edition campaign from scratch. I'm intending to play in the BrOSR sandbox style with use of:

  • 1:1 Time
  • Random encounter tables and generators
  • Theatre of the mind
  • GP = XP 

Many thanks to Jeffro JohnsonBDubs, and Chanticleer whose ideas and session write up formats I will be shameless copying drawing inspiration from.

This session was played on 02/Sep/2021 and the PCs adventured for 2 days.

Session Report

Two players available for session one; Clyde Foot the Dubiously Strong (Elf Fighter) and Dorf, just Dorf (Human fighter)

After some technical issues (all mine) the session started with a quick intro to the setting.

Castleport is an ancient city on the southern tip of a continent on the far side of the Argyle Sea. It is the Great Kingdoms’ most northerly outpost, having conquered, reduced its walls and taken the survivors into captivity at the beginning of the century, after a siege by the forces of the previous Great King. Twenty years ago the current Great King had a vision in which he was asked to allow the descendants of those survivors, whose name translates into common speech as people of the scroll, to return and rebuild the city. It has since grown to be an important part of the foothold the Great Kingdom holds in this land.

I’m sure I have no idea how well I described this as the session began, I was too excited at DM-ing again to remember.

The PCs arrived at the docks at lunch time, the weather was fine and they disembarked to join a large crowd of fellow travellers, adventurers, and merchants entering the low city through the port gate. A single bored sergeant greeted every single person with “Name and Business in Castleport”. I picked up this idea from Keep on the Borderlands but the effect here was only minor as both PCs had already teamed up by this stage and did not need any introductions to facilitate this.

Inside the gate was a square teaming with people heading off down several main thoroughfares. Within the square, built into the side of the watch tower/gate house, was a long stone bench. On the bench were a number of people looking to offer opportunities to new arrivals. The PCs watched as several adventurers were invited to go with these people; but, the only one who approached them was Pip, a tout for the local inn the Lucky Halberd. He immediately started selling them on staying there; and, at first, the pair listened to him. Then Clyde noticed another fellow sitting on the bench with a diffident expression, not looking quite game enough to approach anyone.

Clyde decided to see what was up with the fellow, who identified himself as Farmer Giles. Well Giles has had two of his family members go missing, and he had found traces of tracks which he followed to the ruins of an old mansion not far from his farm a couple of miles out side the city walls. Here he cleared away some rubble and found a stone staircase disappearing deep into the earth. All through this tale Pip tried to convince them to stay at his Inn; but, in the end, it was to no avail. Giles’ offer of a free place to stay in his barn and all the milk they could drink was enough to win them over.

The PC’s were keen to leave the city immediately; but, the city is a big place and very crowded. So, even with Giles to lead them, about an hour was taken just to reach the eastern gate, with twenty minutes lost after a merchant's cart over turned sending cabbages everywhere. It was then another half an hour before they reached the farm.

Once there Farmer Giles showed them around and the PCs were finally convinced he was on the level. It was at this point he introduced them to four of his cousins who had previously done stints in the army. They would be willing to help, but were too scared to do so without good leadership. They reacted well to the PCs and were soon off to fetch leather armour and spears.

However, when they returned, Clyde was not impressed by the look of them. Would they be more of a hindrance than a help? He wanted to test their mettle. I asked if he was going to draw his sword and have at them right there; but, no, he saw that would be too dangerous, so it would be test of hand to hand fighting.

I never would have thought that the first fight in my new campaign would be using the pummelling rules!

It was at this juncture that I discovered that the character generator Clyde’s player used had served him up an 18:83 strength (for an elf!) so the former army man turned farm hand went down faster than the Sorceress of Glovermore. Not having gained a better idea of the usefulness of the farm hands; but, now feeling quite sorry for one of them, the PCs agreed to take them on.

So down the stairwell they went. I struggled with theatre of the mind descriptions of room sizes etc and I’m not sure if they were mapping; but, in the end, they managed to get around with out getting lost. As a squad of six fighters they were of course handicapped when looking for traps and things but both players were prepared to do this the old fashioned way, feeling around and hoping for the best, at the cost of time and drawing some (harmless damn it) random encounters.

There was one solid fight with undead skeletons who achieved surprise while the party were examining a portcullis that had shut behind them. 


It was quite like this, except underground

The PC’s weapons were not suited to this enemy and two of the farmers were soon reduced to exactly zero hitpoints; but, the other farmers, wielding their spears like staves, caved in the heads of couple of skeletons between them and soon victory went to the party. Clyde and Dorf explored ahead and, after dealing with some giant rats, found a mechanism which Dorf quickly judged to be the means of opening the portcullis. Dorf bravely activated the mechanism to test his theory, which was correct, and then they decided a retreat was in order to allow everyone to heal up their wounds. 

At end of the session I explained the BrOSR concept of 1:1 time between sessions. I was amazed that both players jumped at this and suggested really solid downtime ideas considering there was so little in the campaign to work with so far. Big thumbs up for that ELITE level play right there.

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Treasure and Experience

Monsters 121 XP

Zero Treasure (party not interested in the skeleton’s weapons and shields)

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Session PCs

Clyde Foot (10% XP Bonus) Elven Fighter Level 1 44XP Gained. Total 44

Dorf (10% XP Bonus) Human Fighter Level 1 44XP Gained. Total 44

Supporting Characters

Hewy Fighter level 0 20 XP Gained. Total 20

Dewy Fighter level 0 0 XP unconscious. Total 0

Lewy Fighter level 0 0 XP unconscious. Total 0

John Fighter level 0 20 XP Gained. Total 20

Campaign Grave Yard

Empty (so far…)

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