Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Weekend game in review

A little late in coming, but I have a couple of minutes to write up what we did this past weekend. Work keeps me way to busy, when I really would rather be working on fun stuff.

So my son invited a couple of his friends over and they wanted to go through a dungeon. It is interesting in that they go through phases where they want to play all the time, to phases where they just want to do other stuff. We decided on using the C&C rule set, and they made up new characters. Since having newly signed up for Monte’s Dragon’s Delve, I thought that I would sent them through an old fashioned dungeon crawl and see how they do.

Dragon’s Delve starts with the stairs going into the dungeon. I wanted to provide a bit more than that, so I took my ruined stockade from my Winter of Darkness campaign and placed it on top of the dungeon to create the classic castle and dungeon adventure site, and that worked out rather well. The stockade is not that big, but there is plenty of encounter areas for characters to go through, and they can pick and chose which areas they want to explore. Since it is ruins and fairly open, it does not force the players to a linear progression.

They probably spent about an hour or so going through the surface ruins before finding the entrance into the dungeon. As we were tight for time, they only made it through about 5 of the dungeon rooms. They have run into a couple of the traps and defeated some orcs, but that is about it. So far, they are still alive, and actually still in good shape.

I have a couple of observations after watching them go through this dungeon.

1. Clearly the concept of an old school dungeon is new to them. They think about the game differently. For a dungeon crawl, it’s about enjoying the exploration, finding plot threads in between encounters, finding the secret doors, solving the puzzles, etc. They think in terms of treasure and killing monsters.

2. They will actually run from encounters that they deem too tough. In one particular encounter with an orc leader and a couple of body guards, they ran first, and then came back later with a more organized approach, in which they were able to defeat the body guards, but the leader ran away.

3. They sometimes come up with some really crazy ideas. This is not always a bad thing. Sometimes it is kind of fun to watch.
4. They have not figured out the concept of traps and how to avoid them yet. They see to stumble into them quite a bit.

After the game, my son was flipping through the 4th ed Dungeon Master guide, and he stumbled on the section which described the different types of players. Now in general I would say that the 4th ed DMG is fairly light weight when it comes to actually content, but this section is rather interesting as it describes a number of different styles of play, and it attempts to provide insight on what these types of player like. While it is not anything new, it is still a nice summary and encompasses a large number of the frequently encountered play styles. My son read through this section and then asked me what type of player he was. I told him that I thought he was more of the power gamer, as he has a tendency to focus in on the class and race abilities, rather than focus on the player skill. He thought about this for a moment, as I think my answer surprised him a bit. Then I proceed to give him examples of a power gamer and they enjoy. I was intrigued by his questions and the fact that he is now starting to think about the game in a larger context, and that folks play for different reasons. We also talked a bit about his friends and what category they belong to. It was interesting to watch him think through this, as I do not think he even thought about this much prior to reading the chapter in the DMG.

After that discussion, I am looking forward to our next game to see how that effects his play and how that will influence how the group interacts with the dungeon.

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