I run a monthly AD&D game for my friends, and because of this, I try and make it an occasion for my players. Those of you that have seen my table can attest to this. But our last game I thought I would do something different, something…simple. If we were a band then this session would be our unplugged album instead of our usual full-on, theatrical world tour complete with smoke, lasers, dancing Ewoks, and a stage rider FULL of brown M&M’s.
Why the sudden change I hear the crowd, roar? Well, because I wanted that night to be just plain and simple and fun. Nothing more, nothing less.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying our regular games aren’t a barrel of laughs, they are, I swear, but that night I wanted us to be KISS… KISS without the makeup. Why? So we could just focus on the music for a change instead of the show.
It’s partly my fault. I tend to get caught up a few days before the game and create these fekkin’ elaborate missions and set pieces, and then I sit there trying my hardest to make sure that everyone else is having fun, that I forget to have fun myself.
So, as I said, this night was different. I bought some large bits of cardboard, colour-copied some dungeon tiles, gathered all my Hirst/Warhammer/LOTR bits-and-bobs and made a huge dungeon for them to go through. I pulled out all my Mantic/LOTR/Reaper miniatures and went to town. We had Beholders, Serpent Gods, Zombies by the score, Statues breathing fire, and Statues breathing cold, to name but a few.
The premise was simple: Seven Keys need to be collected for them to enter the Tomb of the Foreign God. Each key was around the neck of a Boss type creature that they had to slay to get the key. Every room had a monster, every corridor a trap, it was Hack and Slash in its purest form. And? It was glorious.
Everyone knew where they stood from the outset because I told them that it was going to be ‘Loot & Scoot’, nothing more complicated than that. If it moves? Beat it. If it sparkles? Take it. If it looks like a trap? It probably is. I also let them roll for their own treasure using Kelvin Green’s really cool Drop Table. My players had never seen one before so there was the added excitement of that as well. I rolled in the open too, and that really made them sit up and take notice.
The result of that night? Well, it was carnage on both fronts. The thief got sneak-attacked by a vampire of my own creation and lost four points of intelligence. We lost a fighter/squire to a Crypt-Keeper, (a level draining Mummy type beastie) who also managed to drain two entire levels from the ranger as well as the already maimed thief.
One of the mages went off wandering where he shouldn’t have been wandering, and woke what shouldn’t have been woken. It slithered, cast a sleep spell, and is about to eviscerate him, oh, and I almost forgot, I used my Mask Table. I rolled, and they found the Mask of the Whipping Boy. This promptly got stuck on Felonious’ face for a joke… well, let’s just say that no one’s laughing now!
In short? A great time was had by all, and I felt that I got to relieve a little steam from the pressure cooker. You couldn’t do this for every session because you’d just get bored with it, but for once in a while? I highly recommend it.