10/26/20

[Session Report] FKR Shadowrun, pt. 2

EDIT: so, this is a different group than the first "Shadowrun & FKR" post. I also didn't make a session report for the session 1 of this group though they actually went through the same adventures: Food Fight followed by Silver Angel.

Today I got to run some more Shadowrun with a solid crew! We rolled back and re-did the briefing scene with Eve Donnovan (from the module Silver Angel for 1st edition, a pretty standard run) to add two new characters, and retroactively described how the Stuffer Shack kerfuffle ended up with police on scene, which explained why Arel's player couldn't make it as he had to split.

Characters
-John McPain, Dwarf Detective with a Vengeance
-Nuwak Flowfull, a Two-Spirit Tribal Shaman following Wolf
-Yokai, a Street Shaman, under the guidance of Rat
-Joe Sleazebag, a former Bodyguard
-Whiplash, an Elf Rigger

What Happened
• Meeting with Eve Donovan, the crew got their mission - steal a file called Silver Angel from a secure server located in the Cavilard Research Center owned by Mitsuhama. Expect serious matrix and physical security. Job has to go down at 2am in three days - not before, not after.

• This session would be mostly legwork, so after asking questions and ordering some magical components as well as fixing a meet with one Haruhiko Blake (ex-security chief at the target location). After that, the crew went to Midnight Marauders to find Karen Whisper, whose fried deckhead boyfriend Blue Dreams allegedly had gathered intel on Mt. Cavilard's matrix security. There, Joe and Whiplash chatted up two of her colleagues, letting her know they were friends of Blue Dreams. McPain noticed two suits talking to the bouncer, and kept an eye out for trouble. Nuwak went backstage to talk to Karen and convinced her to come with them. The main crew went outside through the front door while Karen and Nuwak went through the backdoor.

• That's where Wolf warned Nuwak of imminent danger - she grabbed Karen and threw her back inside as the crack of a Walther PMM ricochet'd against the security door. Gripping her knife, Nuwak stayed in cover, making sure Karen didn't run off.

• Through the front door, the crew saw two other goons running off to the side alley. Whiplash jumped into his rigged patrol car while the others got in cover behind the suits' black car. They lined up their shot, waiting for Nezumy to cast a spell on the one lighting up Nuwak's cover. The chaos spell took effect and one of the three goons started singing in spanish, visibly shaken but unable to resist. The other two then realized they were being attacked through magic and took cover as well as they could.

• One of the goons sprayed his own car with an SMG, breaking windows but missing the crew who hunkered down. Another shot Joe in the chest - the bullet went through his armor vest, but not the subdermal plating, and he shrugged it off with a grunt. Then the crew retaliated, blowing up legs and arms of the three goons, while Nuwak ran to the front of the club from inside, to jump in Whiplash's car. The crew made their escape with no time to ask questions as police sirens crept closer.

• At one of Nezumy's hideouts (an old maintenance room in the sewers), Karen thanks the crew and explains how her boyfriend got fried one night working against the Azzies. They'd been looking for her since then so she went into hiding, along with Blue Dreams' floppy disks. She was glad to get rid of them and Nuwak offered to contact one of her tribesmen to help her get out of the city. The crew went to grab the floppy disks then left Karen at the hideout, until tomorrow morning where she'd get to the coyote.

• Next stop, the Barrens. A decker friend of McPain called Zero Sum, a paranoid elf conspiracy theorist, would gladly look at the floppy disks and help the crew if it meant taking down the man, one way or another. With compensation, of course. The visit went well: Zero Sum was off his meds at first and ranted about shadow monsters from another dimension, a great dragon being targetted for assassination and insect spirits taking over Chicago - the usual crackpot theories. He eventually calmed down though, and found the data the crew was looking for. The whole matrix architecture of the research center was in there, curtsey of Blue Dreams (RIP). All the crew would have to do is get Zero inside, protect him for about 5 minutes, and get him out. Zero also offered to add a fake delivery for the crew to act out at the research center, though they'd need info on who usually handles it.

• The next day, after getting Karen on her way to Vancouver, the party met with Haruhiko Blake in the early noon, in an abandoned warehouse on the docks. They played it safe, scouting the location with one of Whiplash's surveillance drone, and found only Blake inside, waiting for them. Talking to him was fruitful - he had maps of the research center, numbers (security, personnel, time windows in case of alarms, etc.) as well as an interest in Silver Angel - he offered 20,000 Nuyens to the crew (the main job is 100,000 if everything goes well, half if they end up making a noisy mess) for it, though no deal was made.

We stopped there after four hours of play. Before next time, I'll let the crew clarify the plan of action and we'll assume the disguises and so on are dealt with during the noon so that we can start session 3 in medias res at the beginning of the operation proper.

Some Thoughts
• No unnecessary rolling this time, I think this worked well - APIE's combat works even better when you treat it as guidelines and not an automated process. Made some good use of reaction rolls, but aside from that and one instance of "dice, tell me who should get shot", it was diceless. No numbers or ranks on character sheets, just descriptors of their abilities.

• The goons weren't very smart, but then again they were expecting one easy civilian kill, not a team of lethal shadowrunners.

• Nuwak's player (one of the beginners, alongside Arel - who couldn't make it - and Whiplash), the Wolf Shaman, wondered about her character's "viability", either because of a lack of motivation to be a shadowrunner in their background, or of appropriate equipment (the only character with no gun, though I'd say a Wolf Shaman can do well even with just a knife as long as they're going against unarmored baddies).

10/17/20

[Session Report] Tomb of the Serpent Kings, pt. 3

They're all dead! (Except the Duck...)

Alright, session happened some time ago now but I was too busy to write the report.

We had a full party again, with six players, only one needing to roll a new character as he lost his sheet.
(He rolled a Repressed Psychic with magnetism powers!)


If you missed the last report or need a reminder, The Characters:

• Daffy the Duck Barbarian returned for a second delve into the Tomb. The others used Failed Careers:
• Kōri the Alpha Tester
• Erik the Paid Fighter, and her snake pet-weapon
• Euphorialice the Estate Squire, who understands the language of horses
• Marik the Urchin Pack (actually two kids in a long coat)
• Bobbydick II (no relation) the Wall-Born, proud owner of a pack of rust-flavoured gum
• Bobbydick III, the Repressed Psychic with magnetism powers

What Happened

• The party went to Blightburg, a nearby town, to resupply and get their wounded some rest.
Euphorialice "negotiated" with a gnome jeweller and some treasures were sold back to him, though by the end of the exchange it was clear the shopkeep was not happy about rude adventurers cramping his business.

• After considering their options (including the famous CASTLE REDVALD) they decided to keep exploring the Tomb. On their way there they heard strange cries in the woods, and sent one of the kids to investigate.

• The kid did not come back. So Erik and Daffy went to see what was up, found a creepy cabin with a creepy lady and decided to leave quietly and tell the rest that the kid was dead. They moved on.

• Back to the room with all the stone doors, the crew breached a few of these, grabbing some treasure through clever use of magnetic telekinesis. Then they opened a coffin filled with a giant black slime.

• Running down the stairs to the east towards the chasm, then going north, the party quickly ended up stuck between a giant devouring black pudding and a bottomless pit. Kōri heroically sacrificed himself by shooting at the beast to give some time for the others to try and run past the monster on the ledge. Though they still needed to pass a DEX save as the ledge was quite narrow and they were running while dodging a giant black tar monster.

• Everyone but Bobbydick III and Daffy fell. Well, Daffy fell but he glided down and actually got out from the dungeon after going through a dark maze. Bobbydick III fell while fighting a strange skeleton monster made up of jelly while running from the black ichor.

Some Thoughts

• This group has a lot of energy, so much so that a lot of time here was spent yelling and repeating myself, which is untenable. People are definitely having fun and seem to be into the game, but I need to enforce a few rules to make it viable. No Cellphones, as they need to realize that the game is also (mostly?) about listening to each others, not just speaking when something happens to your character speicfically. And beyond the cellphones, they also need to listen to each others more and negotiate the group's next move instead of argue about it as that kills momentum very fast. If needed, I'll have a talk with the gang next time before the game. But some if not all of them are reading this so it probably won't be necessary. Yo!

A TPK is a rare thing to see in Bastionland. I had grown to doubt the potential threat of combat in ItO but nope, all you need is a big monster and little planning to screw even a big party. "Unconventional" creatures also seem to be way more scary to new players as they don't necessarily find them cliché yet.

• Next time, though maybe not next week depending on scheduling issues, we'll play some cyberpunk using Jason T's 2400 - Inner System Blues.

And it's just about time for my Traveller game. And I've got another one tomorrow so, stay tuned for more posts over the weekend.

10/11/20

[Review] Any Planet Is Earth

Any Planet Is Earth is a 6-page FKR/OSR space adventure game by Jim Parkin.
In a nutshell, it is to Classic Traveller what Into the Odd is to Dungeons & Dragons
It's 3$ and very good.

I don't know how to write reviews yet, this is a first.

Also I'm in the "acknowledgments" section at the end of the game so I may be biaised.

What You Get
It's six pages, landscape, four columns in small but readable courrier new. First page is all the rules for character genreration, dangerous things and combat.

Second page is a Traveller-like services "minigame" with stuff like events, mishaps, boons and benefits, as well as an abstract wealth system (petty cash, assets, debt). Being familiar with Traveller, I had very little trouble figuring it out, though it could benefit from some clearing up of both context and form (as it stands, the text feels a bit crowded).

Then you get some more setting-specific rules like interstellar travel, commerce, misjumps and advancement as well as some good examples of overloaded encounter dice to generate interesting situations, and a page of useful referee advice (keep crew debt in mind at all times!) and an example of play. Yes, an example of play in a 6 pages games, I love that. Show, don't tell.

The last two pages are maze rats like d66 tables (24 of these!) to generate sectors, planets, NPCs and situations fitting the Traveller flavour of Space-faring Sci-Fi Adventure. These are a great reason to get the book even if you don't use the system, as they are completely rules-agnostic.

How It Works
It's basically a 2d6 saving throw system with a few bells and whistles. It assumes Free Kriegsspiel or OSR type play, with the Referee being the final arbiter and using dice only as oracles. It is rules-light and focused on "diegesis" or internal engagement. You will have to make things up, and add rules when you feel the need for them (you don't actually need extra rules).

You have three stats, Strenght, Dexterity and Sociability (Social Standing) - you only record a descriptor for a very good or very bad stat. Then you enlist in one of the spacers' branches: military, expeditionary or merchant, and you get stuff. Eventually you come out middle aged and with some skills (descriptive), some gear and maybe a rumour or other adventure hook.

Here's a guy I just rolled:

Ensign Ariel Melss (age 22, 1 term in the star navy)
Strong, Quick, VaccSuit, Handgun (reach)

Most of the time you do stuff by asking the Referee if you can do it and talking. Maybe you make a save by rolling 2d6, 7+ to succeed if you're good at it, 9+ if you're not. The chance of success is low because it is not meant to be a "skill check", but a save for when things are already messy and difficult.

One thing I love is that violence is handled without rolling dice. You get four hits, and different broad categories of weapons have guidelines for how many hits it inflicts. Initiative is simultaneous, and you just hurt each others by default in a non-clever fight. Which means you ALWAYS have to think about tactical positioning if you want to win - otherwise it's a zero-sum game, or at least you'll come out of your first fight unable to take on anyone else afterwards. There's some details like armour reducing damage and tags like (auto) granting extra damage. Simple stuff. I talked a bit about why I think this is great so I'm not going to expand too much on it, except to say the following: 

BEGIN DIGRESSION

This way of dealing with violence puts the emphasis on Combat as a Puzzle (a War puzzle)
See, when players enter combat in a heavy RNG game like B/X, the framework kinds of tells you to stop thinking in terms of problem-solving and start thinking in gambler mode: "hah, I might get that sweet natural 20 and do MAX damage!", "hah! If we fight one more round maybe we'll get lucky and they'll run away" etc. Keeping combat diceless (though I would still recommend using Traveller surprise with APIE) removes that gambling impulse - there is no being torn between the optimal strategy and the most exciting choice (randomness) because the most exciting choice becomes whatever optimal strategy you cook up. That means that you don't have a scale of values with "winning the fight by killing the foes" insidiously tucked at the top in the players' minds. Suddenly running away is as fun as shooting because it has the same level of commitment and mechanical weight. When you enter a combat with diceless, auto-hit+auto-damage, there is no real distinction between exploration mode and combat mode. It's like fighting the Troll in Zork - "swing sword at troll" doesn't sound as wise as "run past/sneak past troll" and the gameplay rewards have the same shape (more description text).

END DIGRESSION

Moving on. Comparing it again to Classic Traveller. I said in the beginning that it gives it the "ItO" treatment. In the sense that it takes all of the good exciting bits provided by the old mechanics, but strips a lot of the technical complexity, removing the barrier for entry. Misjumps are interesting, so have a table just for that purpose. Commerce and trade is interesting, so have a basic way to determine demand and surplus, tied with the abstract wealth measures, and you can have rules-light space trading adventures now. Starships are great, and streamlined. Here's a ship.

The Rake
Scoutship, 6 slots, 2 hits, 1 armor
2-hardpoints, 1-cargo, 3-range

That's it.

In Traveller, generating subsectors is fun once you figure it out and you internalize all the numbers. The UPP is all well and good but it doesn't help me if I don't remember what each number ties into. Now, here's a planet generated with APIE:

AVERNOY
Terrain: Flat
Population/Size: 1M+, 1/2g
Main Faction: Scholastics
Guild: Seers (neuroscience)
Trade Goods: Plastics (+), Biotech (-)
Crises: Tectonic Shift
Rumors: Unknown Signal

Easy! Here's the description I came up with from these tables.

"Former imperial paradise world, the verdant plains of Avernoy are dotted with glass spires inhabited by tall elfin people fascinated by the powers of the mind. Their dwindling population is split into three castes – scientists, philosophers and traders. Thinking machines handle most other jobs, from menial labour to administrative processes. Recently, major tectonic shifts have caused natural catastrophes,
putting a dent in recent efforts in fertility-focused bioengineering research. A mysterious signal has been broadcasting from the largest, abandoned moon."

Did I mention the advice is very good?

"Let a PC swindle a merchant or sincerely ply their trade in serious honesty. Let a PC one-shot a heavily-armed merc with a knife because the opportunity presented itself and the player opted to capitalize on it, perhaps at great risk." (for Referees)

"Regardless of direction, the galaxy is yours. You dictate what happens, what interests you, and where you go. Follow leads, but make your own, too. If you want it, go find it. Fight for it. Whatever it is. Work as a crew and a family. Your debt is always shared." (for Players)

Some Issues
It's not perfect. As I mentioned, the text feels a bit cramped - it would benefit from more spacious layout, maybe a cleaner font. Some bits are difficult to parse if you have no prior knowledge of Traveller and would be more accessible with more in-depth explanations, especially trade rules and character generation. In a future second or revised edition (which I'm waiting for excitedly since Jim mentioned he was doing something like that!), I'd drop the four columns landscape, or figure out a way to have it less packed, like Maze Rats somehow did (how, I do not know). There's also some oddities when it comes to how stats can change during your terms, even though you're supposed not to record stats beyond descriptors in chargen (it's not a big deal to me but it could lead to confusion).

House Rules
I've mostly run it with Shadowrun as a setting, as well as a few solitaire delves, and picking up bits and pieces for my other games (like Classic Traveller). Here's a thing though:

Additional Protection, be it from Piecemeal Armor, combinations of Heavy Armor and Shield, or any sort of technological or supernatural protections, should grant extra Hits once you reach "Armor 2". That is, it makes sense to be immune to 1-Harm attacks like fists, and I can get behind Heavy Armor protecting you from knives. But once you get into 2-Harm stuff like guns, it should always stay dangerous. Yet there are cases where you have diegetic protections in addition to Heavy Armor. That's when you give PCs extra Hits. For example, if I was wearing Battle Dress (heavy armor for -2 to hits taken) AND using a Ballistic Shield AND wearing a force field belt, instead of reducing hits by 4, making me essentially invulnerable, I would add two hits to my character, for 6 Hits instead of 4.
Hopefully Jim can write it in a way that is clear and concise in the new edition!

Maybe add psionics? I like psionics.

Voilà. Go get it, it's like, three bucks.

The Neverending Drachenschwanz #1 - War & Zepplins

IT IS OUT! (click this)


When Norbert and I first launched the Free Kriegsspiel Revival server about a month ago, we didn't expect it to take off as well as it did. Turns out, lots of people are interested FKR type play. This APA zine is distributed for free and made up of the contributions of some members of said server. It's about war, but mostly zeppelins. It features some articles about some of our ideas about what FKR is, and examples of what you can do with it.
Thanks again to all our contributors!
I hope you enjoy this first issue. More to come in the future!

[Session Report] Classic Traveller - One-Shot pt. 1

Yesterday we played some Classic Traveller and it was good. About an hour of CharGen, two hours of play - took a while to make characters (one character was initially called Space Hero n°5 until it finally got to Mustering Out without dying), probably too long - will use generators in the future. Or APIE...


click to see the crew

 

What Happened

• Coming out of Jump Space from Castille, the Crew felt everything shake and horrible meat noises from the cargo hold. Something went wrong and the two hundred heads of cattle they were bringing to Picasso got squashed. They spent a week approaching the ISS Picasso while scrubbing meat and blood off the hold, and eating all sorts of beef-based meals to avoid having to skip on supplies costs.

• Turns out the inertial dampeners had glitched out and needed to be fixed. Maybe that happened because the Captain, Lt. Colonel / Lady Tera Gersimm, had been casually avoiding annual checkups to save on repairs costs. It'd take a day to get it fixed, and the crew needed money fast. Jan bullshitted a customs inspector to avoid extra fines due to the potential health hazard of rotting meat still jammed in parts of the hold.

• Jan called a local friend, Baxter Woolsworth, who might have a job for the crew. The spacer was happy to meet back with an old friend and figured the crew of the Rake was there for business, getting to the point once they reached a safe bar to talk shop.

• The job would be quiet hush-hush: Baxter said he didn't know much except that the client, a redhead fancy lady, was probably some noble. They'd go pick up a small cargo on the Typhon Ice Hauling Facility, in Picasso's planetary rings, and bring it one jump away to the Victory, a drifting black market in hollowed out asteroids, where they would receive their payment. In a pinch, they agreed.

• After a day of lounging about waiting for the repairs to get done, they went down to Picasso proper in about twelve hours to sell the frozen meat for cheap, covering for the few days they'd spend on Picasso and not making any profit. Then, they got to Typhon.

• A small mercenary crew waited for them in a shady corner of the docking bay. They didn't have much to say, except that some Navy Patrol officer had been asking questions and poking around recently. Calling himself Hercules Jean-Emmanuel Perdrieux. The crew didn't make much of it, and left with the cargo for a week of regular travel before they could get in Jump Space.


• The week went as usual, routine training, drills, maintenance and hobbies. They inserted the jump cassette into the ship's computer, double-checked the coordinates and parameters, and JUMP.

And waited another week, in Jump Space, where there are no stars and you always feel uneasy when looking out, as if the Abyss is staring back.

• Then they arrived somewhere that was definitely not the Victory space. Instead they were close, much too close for jump space, to a massive red world and its red moon. Surrounded by hundreds of derelicts. The nearest one's lights flickered on and off - The Alexis.

And that's where we stopped.


GM Notes
• I think there were two dice rolls. A reaction roll when bullshitting the customs inspector, and the Jump roll. I had planned a secondary adventure in the event of a misjump, and was pretty happy we'd use it.

• I'm quite happy with the management of in-game time this session. Lots of compression and skipping about to get to meaningful choices or at least somewhat flavorful IC interactions. In two hours, nearly a month passed, with scenes taking place on four different days.

• I'm getting the hang of running sci-fi, I think, mostly thanks to playing in The Revenant Sector game

• I kind of wish Any Planet is Earth was an easiest sell as Classic Traveller was, getting players was as simple of going "hey I'm running Traveller" around gamers, with about one day notice.

10/7/20

[Session Report] Tomb of the Serpent Kings, pt. 2

Whoop! Second IRL session with my university buddies - with six players this time! And we had four hours to play. 

I decided to retcon bits of the first session to accomodate almost everyone being new - since the Monster Hunter's player wanted a new character too, I figured the Duck had scouted the tomb ahead and everyone else had died. Character generation took about 30 minutes, which is a bit longer than usual for Into the Odd, but these are new players for the most part, AND there was a lot of talking over each others.

Characters
• Daffy the Duck Barbarian returned for a second delve into the Tomb. The others used Failed Careers:
• Kōri the Anti-Revolutionnary (RIP) followed by Kōri (no relation) the Alpha Tester
• Erik the Paid Fighter, and her snake pet-weapon
• Euphorialice the Estate Squire, who understands the language of horses
• Marik the Urchin Pack (actually two kids in a long coat)
• Bobbydick (no relation) the Wall-Born, proud owner of a pack of rust-flavoured gum

What Happened
• After character generation, I explained how the group was endebted to the Pittance Society (can only repay debt in loose change), and was tipped about an ancient Tomb in Deep Country ripe for pilfering. Daffy had already scouted ahead mapped the entrance. After some chatter, the crew answered and went straight past the first few rooms to the big room with three coffins, were in pt.1, Daffy had almost died.

• Despite knowing the danger, the party insisted on opening all three coffins to see what would happen. Skeletons attacked, Euphorialice went down, but the party won the fight (each skeleton had default EB stats, so 10 STR, 3 HP, d6 damage). From then onward, Euphorialice's player decided to stay in the back when fights broke out, with only 1HP and 5 STR left.

• Moving forward, the party found a not-so-secret entrance to the second level underneath a grotesque serpentine statue. They went down a set of stairs and reached a corridor full of snake-men warrior statues. They noticed one of them was not in the "right place" compared to the others, moved it and found a secret passage that led them to some loot as well as a hooked polearm, which Euphorialice grabbed with glee, to replace her blunt spear.

• Further into the dungeon, the party reached a large octogonal chamber with a pit of dark water and a bunch of stone slabs. They checked the water and something tried to pull Euphorialice down into the pit but she somehow wrestled her weapon out of the water, cutting off a rotting hand covered in wet bandages. They ignored the pit and proceeded to open the stone doors one by one.

• The first one led to a small tomb after a short corridor smelling of spices and ozone. Kōri and Erik went inside, noticed static in the air and a crackling, buzzing sound rising...and promptly ignored it. A few more steps and a ball of lightning zapped the corridor in a crackling shockwave of electricity. Erik somehow jumped out of the way reflexively... Kōri was vaporized (d12 damage, vaporized on Critical Damage).

• I lent Kōri's player the book so he could roll a new character while the rest of the party checked a few more doors. There was a corridor filled with rubbles that they cleared out a bit, saw a skeleton was on the other side (Marik shot it dead), then they opened the east door which led further down.

• Brave Erik and Daffy went first. And fell down the stairs when a trap turned the last flight of stairs into a slope. They landed in another similarly-shaped room with a giant living statue of a snake warrior carrying a massive flail (15 STR, 10 HP, Armour 2, d10 Flail or d6 Blast sweeping attacks). Noticing shields on the walls, they ran for it... but Daffy got caught by the flail and smashed into the wall, going down nearly instantly. Erik grabbed her friend and ran off further east, hiding on a ledge near a massive chasm.

• Everyone else but Euphorialice arrived down the stairs to help and attacked the stone monster. Eventually, Erik also joined the fray again, and after Marik (both of them) also went down, they finally finished off the massive creature. There was no reward but survival for their troubles.

• Checking out the chasm quickly, they decided it looked creepy as hell, with giant barnacles and vertiginous depths, and decided to climb back up (Euphorialice had tied a grappling hook and ropes upstairs while the fight went on).

• They went south-west, the only passage that wasn't blocked off by a door, found another room full of statues (clay ones) which they arrange to match tilings on the floor. While doing so they noticed a crack in a wall, broke it down and went through a short secret passage, leading in some room they have yet to explore...but something large and slithering lies beyond.


Some Thoughts
• I love Electric Bastionland's Failed Careers. They can be relied on heavily by players to infuse life into a character, or can be safely ignored and still provide interesting gear and gimmicks. I stopped making a fuss about how to handle the setting and just decided to embrace the kitchen sink aspect - Tomb of the Serpent Kings is somewhat "trad medfan" but it didn't pose any problems either in my head or the group's as far as I know.

• Six players is not usual to me anymore. When you're in a large room (a tavern, actually) with a lot of energy and excitment from everyone involved, it sometimes feels like herding cats. Didn't help that I wasn't in the best of shape today. I think it'll get easier as the players get more familiar with tRPGs. Tried implementing a Caller, though there's not yet a clear consensus as to who should actually handle that job.


Stay tuned for more. Hopefully getting some more Lost Dreamlands of Carcosa on Saturday.

9/30/20

[Session Report] Tomb of the Serpent Kings, pt. 1

I'm starting a gaming group at my university to get some IRL games and get more people into adventure games! Today we managed a small party of two players, plus yours truly. I started a somewhat classic fantasy adventure in a setting I'm tentatively calling YALBEG! - you are likely to be eaten by a grue!

I'm using Electric Bastionland/Into the Odd for rules, with some fantasy themed starter packs.

Characters
• Bobbydick is a cunning Monster Hunter, accompanied by Kristoff, his acolyte.

• Daffy is a fearless (but not suicidally so) Duck Barbarian, with the cowardly Donald as his henchman.

What Happened

• After doing character generation and briefly explaining some game concepts, we started off with a short intro: the PCs established how they knew each other (fought and captured a witch together), and I explained how the got drunk at a tavern to celebrate their victory, got hired by a mysterious Dame to steal an Idol from the Tomb of the Serpent Kings (for 1,000 gold + anything they can steal from there). They were given a map and decided to leave in the middle of the night while drunk. 

• Players started off waking up hungover in a bear's cave (bear was asleep), got their bearings and quietly exited the cave. There they realized they couldn't find the map. Daffy went back inside and found the map underneath the bear, which he managed to crawl under without waking it up.

• Looking at the damaged and somewhat graffiti'd map, they realized they had gone the wrong way in their drunken stupor and walked all day to the tomb. It was hidden under a hill, but some careful observation and excavation allowed the party inside.

• Exploring the entrance tunnel, the party uncovered two pairs of funerary chambers. In the first one, Bobbydick found an amulet attached to a stone statue of a snake-headed warrior, ripped it off its fingers, breaking the hollow statue and releasing a powerful soporific gas. Almost everyone failed their saves, though luckily Donald made it (he stuck outside the room out of cowardice), and managed to wake up the others after about an hour. 

• The room opposite that first one mirrored the first, so Daffy held his breath and ripped out another amulet and avoided the gas. The next two rooms were fancier, so they decided to not tempt fate.

• At the end of the corridor was a massive stone slab with a stone bar holding it closed. The group quickly noticed something was amiss, and Bobbydick eventually figured out a way to prevent a trap from triggering as the crew lifted the bar and got to safety. Releasing the trap, a massive stone hammer broke the slab and let them into the next room.

• A large diamond-shaped room with three painted coffins of sleeping snake warriors. Daffy cracked the middle one open, and the skeletons (with snake heads) inside immediately came to life and tried to murder the party. Kristoff destroyed one of the skeletons, and Daffy went down from a solid hit by the larger undead warrior. And we had class so we stopped there and rushed back to uni.

Some Thoughts

Real life makes scheduling a bit more complicated - out of five people we only got two players free for the first session. Hopefully everyone gets to play over the semester.

• The players quickly figured out "how" to play since it's almost all diegesis-focused (describe stuff, ask questions, done, you know how to play), and were pretty clever in how to explore the dungeon and its tricks. Overall, pretty fun if short (barely two hours!) session.