|Some classic 25mm scale figures finally painted after spending 20 years, untouched, in the lead pile.|
Last summer I took a brief break from working on my sci-fi game to play through a short Battletech campaign with my son. This summer I figured he was ready to tackle some Dungeons and Dragons, but I wanted to start him the with the classic edition I grew up with. I've been noodling around with some OSR variant rule sets and picking through the classic Keep on the Borderlands module in preparation. With the end of the school year in sight I was looking forward to rolling some dice and killing some orcs with the boy.
My wife must have picked up on my plans, because a few weeks ago when I suggested we pick a movie for our family's traditional Friday "wine and pizza night" she suggested "Why don't we play D&D?"
She didn't have to ask twice. (Thank you wine, ur the best)
So with five minutes of prep and only half remembered rules my wife and son each rolled up a pair of characters and were dropped unceremoniously at the mouth of the ravine that played host to the Caves of Chaos. (pretty sure the wine's effect would only last 1d4 hours, and I needed to get to the Good Stuff).
Light a torch and kick in the door with us after the jump.
The party trekked into the forest, stumbled across a goblin patrol, and followed them back to their lair.
|Wedged into the dead end between rooms 17 and 18 of the Caves of Chaos, preparing to ambush a goblin patrol.|
They slew the orange skinned villains, set ambushes, and were themselves ambushed by wandering patrols. Having repulsed the goblin patrols, their explorations discovered a door deep within the goblin warrens that had been spiked closed with pitons to prevent whatever lurked on the other side from coming through. After five hours we were well past my son's bedtime and had to pause then, but my son was thrilled with the game and looking forward to more.
The following night my son suggested we return to the game, but I wasn't too sure my wife would be up for it - "We can play," she replied. "We need to find out what's behind that door."
The party returned to town to purchase a crowbar, took the nickel tour of the keep, found a 'job board' with rumors, NPC connections, and side quests (stolen from Professor Dungeon Master) and picked up a pair of NPC hirelings: Radaxe the dimwitted fighter and Bemis an acolyte of the Curate.
Returning to the caves they negotiated safe passage with the surviving goblins, but only if they agreed to kill the creatures behind the door. Feeling sorry for the little buggers they made the bargain and got to work on the barred door with their crowbar. Prying it open they discovered a winding staircase which they ascended to the next chamber, hoping to trick the creatures inside into pursuing them into an ambush. I failed my "recognize a clever plan by the players" and in frustration they charged into the room atop the stairs and got stuck in with the hobgoblin inhabitants. After a furious battle (including a failed morale check by their NPC cleric Bemis who fled, and a magic missile that slew a hobgoblin just in the nick of time as he was running to warn his comrades) the party was victorious.
|A furious battle in room 23 of the hobgoblin lair|
Bloodied, battered, with half the party nearly dead and another bedtime blown by, we called it a night. Thankfully the family had a blast and this would not be their last foray into the Caves of Chaos.
- Having played for 20 years, so much of D&D is ingrained in me I've forgotten what it's like to encounter everything with fresh eyes. My son was mystified by ability labels like Constitution, was shocked that spells were cast once and then gone, and excited to be facing creatures such as goblins and hobgoblins.
- I was prepping the dungeon and didn't have time to watch their character generation carefully. The PCs bought multiple shovels and blocks & tackle. Awesome! Not a single ten foot pole between them though.
- Digging through my lead pile I recovered a number of forgotten 25mm figures from the 80s and 90's. I intended on only painting up a few, but the more I add to the party the more I like them. They're small, but they're well detailed, realistically proportioned and a lot of fun to paint up. I never thought I'd go back to 25mm from today's heroic scale, but I'm slowly picking up a few classic minis I missed in the past that will work well with them. Bulking up their bases helps even out the height difference between the classic and heroic figures, but I think I'm just going to ignore the scale difference at this point.
- My wife has never been thrilled playing D&D in the past. She claims she's enjoying "just hanging out" with my son and I, but the fact that she's mapping, taking notes, using character voices, and planning strategies for tackling the dungeon determined that was a lie. Still don't think we'll get more than half a dozen sessions out of her, but enjoying it while it lasts.