Sunday, July 9, 2006

Dino-Pirates, Take Two

So we had another successful run of THE SLAVE QUEEN OF THE RUINED CITY on Saturday with a trio of almost-complete strangers. I say almost because one of the fellows signed up turned out to be none other than Andrew! Andrew!

Allow me to explain a little further. Far back in the distant past (the era known to historians as "the 80's") Glenn and I decided to join forces and run a campaign at the university D&D club. We were in high school at the time, which made us a bit of a novelty at the club, as did our joint DMing process. Nevertheless, we gathered a good-sized group (at times gigantic) and ran a variety of folks through a campaign we'd more or less outlined in our heads from the beginning.

We hadn't really figured out WHAT was going to happen, but there was this bad guy, the Necromancer, who'd taken over a cult of druids and gotten them performing rituals and whatnot in order to free him from the millenia of bondage in which he'd been placed, yada yada yada. The usual stuff. We were in the middle of geeking out over Glen Cook's Black Company books, and so much of the campaign traded heavily on those influences. At least my contributions did.

The campaign went on for a goodly number of years. I think we launched it in 1985 or so, and I THINK it wrapped up in 1990. Glenn probably remembers better than I (that sentence is almost always true (for any value of Glenn)).

ANYWAYS, the reason I'm dredging up all this ancient history is so you understand when I tell you (as I am about to) that Andrew played in the final few years of that campaign. And then I moved to Japan. And never saw him again.

So I haven't seen Andrew (or even heard from him) in something on the order of SIXTEEN YEARS.

To say the least, I was surprised.

And delighted.

And as they say, a splendid time was had by all. And I learned yet more about running True20 games. For example, my NPC Record Sheets work GREAT. I've got another coming for minions -- even more fun! I am still frustrated by a lot of aspects of the True20 rules presentation -- it's just a pain in the butt working things out. Once you have them sorted, game play is fast and fun, but the rules are often very poorly explained, or hampered by outright errors in the text, and so for us newbies it's frustrating.

But it was a lot of fun. The adventure needs more scope for role-playing and less combat -- this game was pretty much four hours of wall-to-wall combat. That's not at all a bad thing, and nobody complained, but it needs some tweaking. Next playtest will required SOMEBODY else to run it. I will hunt down some poor sap and their pitiful protests I will heed not at all.

DINO-PIRATES is coming together. The first "official" DINO-PIRATES release will likely be this adventure. An adventure is an easy thing to compartmentalize, provides value even to folks who aren't interested in the setting, and can provide plenty of hooks and hints to gain the interest of said folks. A GOOD adventure, anywa, so I'm working hard to make SLAVE QUEEN as good as any adventure can be.

Stay tuned!