This past weekend I took the plunge and introduced the family to the wonderful world of RPGs. I choose to use DCC as the basis as it harkens back to my early days of gaming, is simple and to the point and there isn’t a ton of over-complicated things the players need to be aware of. The group consisted of my two sons (ages 11 and 14) and my wife. The boys are new the the RPG arena, but seemed eager to go. My wife is an old RPGer, but mostly of ‘modern’ game system (e.g. 3.5, World of Darkness, etc).
I decided to start each off with 5 0-level characters and we spent the first session just rolling up characters. This turned out to be more fun than expected. They really got into the simple method of character creation and embraced the randomness of the system. My 11 year old was overjoyed that his character got to start with a Pig. Not sure what he was going to do with it, but he decided to start by putting it in the empty chest he got as his starting equipment!
There was an over-abundance of 10’ poles between the 15 characters and a quick discussion was had over their viability as a weapon vs. using a staff. I ruled that they could indeed possibly use it as a weapon, but a 10’ pole wasn’t designed for combat, so Luck may dictate how long it would hold up in combat.
I started them off in the next session using Sailors on the Starless Sea. It didn’t take them long to get into the mood and swing of things and before they knew it, they were down to 14 adventurers. One of the PCs was a blacksmith by trade (but not the stats to match) so we determined that he worked with the brothers (trying to be spoiler free) and was saddened by what he discovered.
The group quickly entered the courtyard and headed to the tower, attempting to find the mechanism to raise the portcullis (they were fortunate not to lose anyone there). The second PC fell during the tower encounter. The group was shocked by what they discovered inside. A humorous scene took place as one my youngest sons PCs (who had a Personality of 4) set about rooting through the rotting hides in search of anything. Many of the other PCs were disgusted by this, but his daring and diligence was rewarded and he narrowly avoided death by rot grub!
They were quickly into the dungeon proper, feeling good at only being down 2 PCs. Little did they know what was in store for them! In the ‘pool’ room, only one of them was drawn to the pool and the skulls. He probed the pool with a 10’ pole, but wasn’t able to find the bottom. Not to be deterred, the group used a bit of a 50’ rope to bind two 10’ poles together leaving them with nearly 50’ of rope and an almost 20’ pole. They were able to feel the uneven bottom and moving ‘rubble’ in the bottom of the pool, but none decided to venture into the pool itself. After much inter-parting talking, they left the room with 2 skulls.
The next bit of fun was when they tried to cross the underground sea. They felt like something would be amiss, and they were right. When the tentacles came out of the water, they observed. Seeing that all they did was appear above the surface, they felt safe with just ignoring them! They were quickly proven wrong! I let the creature take its time in sinking the ship, making a slow cracking noise and tightening its grip to give the players time to react. Once again, the youngest to the rescue. He was able to deduce that a sacrifice was necessary to safely cross based on the mosaic in the pool room. His solution? He dumped his characters chicken over the side of the boat. I had one tentacle grab the chicken and disappear to never be seen again as a hint they were on the right track.
There was much debate of throwing the pig overboard and if that would be enough to appease the beast. The PC that owned the pig, loved the pig and wouldn’t allow it to be thrown overboard. For the love of his pig, the PC actually threw himself overboard and into the depths of the ocean as a self-sacrifice to the beast. This was such a cool action and scene, that this did indeed appease the beast! Down to 12....
The last epic battle took place on the island in the ocean. A failed attempt to sneak up to the top brought the attention of the beastmen almost immediately. The group tried its best to maneuver on the narrow slope and battle the beastmen as they came. The halfling near the rear of the PCs decided to climb the surface up to the next ring in an attempt to get behind the horde of beastmen and to rescue the villagers at the top. It was an all around epic battle, with the effigy being summoned and defeated. Highlights:
- A character in the middle of the pack who thought it wise to attempt to hurl a flaming flask of oil at the beastman in front. One crisp female halfling later...down to 11.
- Not learning from the above, the peasant in the back who attempted to launch a sling stone into the foray. One knocked in the head from behind PC later....down to 10.
- Finally the realization that the skulls could be used against the effigy. However, due to the above fiascos, the PC with the skulls was reluctant to throw them. He instead charged ahead and used them in his fists to bash the beastman. Success!
- As the cavern began to crumble, all fled for the boat save our hero who daringly charged in front, wielding naught but glowing skulls. He just couldn’t resist grabbing the flail and armor the beastman was wearing. One blast of magma later...down to 8!
We ended the session with them being whisked away down the underground river into the unknown. My youngest had 2 surviving characters. My oldest and my wife each had three. I made them choose 2 to level up and now each has 2 level 1 characters and are ready for adventure.....