Today I ran the first session of Tomb of the Iron God (by Matt Finch) with both my kids. My son has played before, but this was the first time my daughter wanted to play.
Character generation took some time with explaining and all, and I’m glad I chose a simple system like Swords & Wizardry on that point. I let them create two characters each and raised all classes HD by one step to increase survivability (i.e. Fighter d8➞d10 etc). Some may frown at this heresy, but I see no point in PCs having a d4 for HD. They are heroes! (Or at least wannabee’s…). Also, boosting the starter hit points a bit lets me use tougher monsters and not having to pull punches too much. Still, I intend to run this old school deadly.
The character roster was:
Skogs Mulle, Male Elf Cleric (player: Astrid)
Asai, Female human Thief (player: Astrid)
Haldurth, Male human Fighter (player: Martin)
Kar Bang Li, Male human Monk (player: Martin)
We started in a small nameless village at the foothills of a mountain range in a nameless land. The PCs had heard rumours about this secluded monastery that had been destroyed by the wrath of the gods some months ago. Apparently, their god, the Iron God had been displeased with the way the monks hoarded treasure and had punished them accordingly. This had taken place a few months ago, but no one have had the courage to go there and see in the treasure rumours were true. The PCs went around the village, talking to the local priest and some other villagers and got to hear some rumours. Then (to my surprise) they tried to recruit some help in the form of three men-at-arms (straight from Meatshields). They also bought two mules to carry their stuff.
I decided that the abandoned monastery was about a day’s trek from the village and they armed with a hastily drawn map our heroes departed for adventure. I now decided it was autumn and quite rainy and windy in these parts. The trek took them though farmlands, then into more forested areas and finally into the mountains. In the afternoon they met and battled a Grizzly Bear (rolled a random encounter on the 3rd check for the day, and this came up from the encounter tables in the Monstrosities book. I rolled very bad, and the PCs managed to slay the bear unscathed!
Upon reaching the monastery ruins they made camp and posted a hireling to guard the camp and mules and the rest went searching through the ruins. Soon they found a dark opening and a narrow stairway down. Torches were lit and they went into the darkness…
So far, they’ve only searched the first room and opened the east and west doors. They did a quick foray in those corridors, but then decided to take a break for the night and rest. As it was a natural break (and I had to start on the dinner) we stopped the session.
It was a total success, and Astrid especially was very into the game and had some very bright ideas. I must say that they surprised me a lot by playing much smarter than my “old dog” crew, who sometimes seem to have get stuck in a certain routine.
Afterwards, I took out my old Forgotten Realms and Greyhawk maps and asked them which one they preferred. They both liked Forgotten Realms best, so FR it is. It really doesn’t matter because I do them both about the same and very non-canon. Still, it’s nice with a simple framework to weave the stories around.
I will also create that village (trying out the d30 Sandbox Companion by New Big Dragon Games Unlimited) with some entertaining NPCs and roughly map the area with interesting stuff to do. It’s really nice to start small and let the story unfold by itself.
Next time, I hope to bring in my wife also so that we can run a family session!