Why is it when I chose to spend the afternoon indoors, the weather is perfect? I should be outside doing yard work today! Well, duty calls, and the game must go on…er…that is, rather, the game needs to get started.
However, the characters were not yet complete. (See my previous post on creating characters.) I had major changes to suggest and implement. Fortunately the players all agreed to my suggestions. All that was needed now was to finalize the details, things like names, appearance (height, weight, age, hair, eyes, skin). Oh, and the small detail regarding equipping the party.
What can be so hard about buying equipment? When I was first planning out this game, I was going to have the PCs start out with nothing but the clothes on their backs, and make them purchase their items from the appropriate shops. But before we got to that point, I began to sense they just wanted to start playing, and not fuss with all that detail. So we spent a few minutes picking out items and filling in the details on the character sheets.
Wait, did I just say “a few minutes”? Hah! Try another hour or so. I was starting to think this would be a repeat of last night, spending all our time working on character sheets and never getting around to playing. So I took shortcuts. With a few books open on the table, and the GURPS Dungeon Fantasy 13 Loadouts PDF open on my pc, we were able to take care of business with time for an introductory session. One important thing for me to remember from the gear-buying portion of our evening: Caity made some comment that this was all way too much detail. She could care less how much a canteen weighs or costs. On the one hand I felt it was important-to-know detail, but I also understand why she thought this was a waste of time. After all, we had just spent much of the weekend trying to get the characters ready. Let’s just play already! So with character sheets in front of everyone, and my notes up on my laptop, we began.
Have you ever tried starting something you’ve never done before, but really wanted to do, but felt a bit awkward doing? Role-playing can be like that. I think Caity was the most prepared mentally, having spent many long hours playing RPG’s this past year in college. I was also familiar with the process, but it had been a long time since I played. Andy was gung ho and had no problems diving right in. It was rather funny, actually. Andy and Caity were doing most of the talking. Patti was silently listening, in pain (that part wasn’t funny). Elizabeth, not sure how she should be acting out her character, decided to be shy. She didn’t say a word. Of course it didn’t help she was having a bad day. (What was wrong with the color of the dice, anyhow?)
“Well, where should we start?” I said. “Let me see, you are in the nation of Ardania, in the town of Mosport, situated at the southern end of a very large lake, the Sea of Pearls. The lake is quite large, some 100-150 miles long end to end. Mosport is a large town of about 2,000-3,000 individuals.” And I proceeded to explain the background of the characters, how they knew each other (if they knew each other), and suggested why they might all be together.
“You are standing outside of the Beggar’s Crown, the only inn in town.”
“Well,” hesitated Gilwyn, “I suppose we should go in.”
This was going to be a long campaign, I could see that now.
The PCs entered the Inn, and were seated at a table near the front. There were several minutes of nonsense chatter…about what, I don’t remember. I do think Caity needs to work on role-playing Gilwyn’s No Sense of Humor, however. There was way too much giggling coming from the other end of the table.
I let them banter back and forth for a bit, waiting to see if Elizabeth or Patti would jump in and participate. Wynne, the serving girl, took their orders: one large ale for Merral, a cider for Camelia, and water for Sylvie and Gilwyn. Wait… did I hear that correctly? Water??
Caity and Andy were still dominating the conversation when I finally decided to take the story to the next stage.
“The door to the inn suddenly opens, and a disheveled man enters. He stumbles over to your table and mumbles, “The… legends… are… true!”, and collapses, shoving something into Gilwyn’s lap. Inspecting the item, she finds herself holding a jeweled medallion with the letter Q engraved on it.
This stirs up a bit of commotion in the inn, and Jago, the innkeeper comes over to find out what’s going on. Seeing the now dead stranger laying there on the floor, Jago motions to Perrin, the servant boy, says something to him, and Perrin quickly heads out the door.
While Jago is questioning the party, Perrin returns a few minutes later with Duncan, the caption of the town guard (and Gilwyn’s father, as it turns out), along with a couple other guards. Duncan asks the party what happened. Merral acts a bit reluctant or cautious to answer his questions, perhaps due to past events. Duncan notices the medallion Gilwyn is holding, and takes it from her, examining it.
“I’ll need to keep this and show it to the town mayor. Don’t leave town tonight. Kenrick will probably want to question you further in the morning.” With that, Duncan and the two guards left with the body.
Jago turned and asked the PCs if the would be needing a place to stay the night? At this point Gilwyn decided to invite every one to spend the night at her place. (I hope Duncan is ok with this…) It’s decided Merral can sleep in the hayloft, apart from the ladies. He is definitely ok with this.
The next morning the PCs are sitting around talking about events. Duncan had left earlier, before they were up, but he returned, and informed them the mayor wished to speak with them about last night. Again, Merral seems a bit put off by the questioning. I think he feels he doesn’t really want anything to do with this, or with these other PCs. Maybe he will warm up to them.
They make their way to the town hall. I had trouble putting a name to it. Maybe because my laptop decided to hibernate right about now. Seems the power strip wasn’t turned on. So after a minute or two of waiting for my laptop to restart, we continued.
Kenrick questioned the PCs about last night, asking some of the same questions again (I think Merral needs to relax a bit.) He asked if they had ever seen anything like the medallion before. The PCs responded that they had not seen it before last night, and they did not know who the stranger was.
So Mayor Kenrick proceeded to tell them about his passion. The medallion was from the lost stronghold of Rogahn and Zelligar, a famous fighter and wizard team that used to live in the region south of here. They disappeared some 50-60 years ago. Ever since, people have been searching for their stronghold, to discover what happened, and what they may have left behind.
Kenrick asked the PCs if they would be willing to go on a quest for him, to find this stronghold. He offered to send two of the town guards along to accompany them, Robert and Wallace. He will even lend them a horse or two to help carry their supplies.
During the discussion, a guard entered the room, informing Kenrick that they had discovered a document on the dead man from last evening. Taking the document, Kenrick opened it and discovered it was a rough map to the stronghold. “So it seems he was telling the truth,” said Gilwyn, remembering the last words of the stranger.
Kenrick told them to prepare for the journey and meet at the town gates at noon.
And so our first session came to a close. It took about 45 minutes to play through all of that. We covered much more ground than I anticipated for that amount of time. Fortunately, enough of the story had been prepared ahead of time. A few things needed to be adjusted based on the character background stories, and also because their actions didn’t follow what I expected. But all things considered, I think it went ok for a first session.
I have until next Saturday to prepare for our next gathering. It will be a good time to introduce the combat system. They thought purchasing equipment was unnecessarily detailed! I hope combat doesn’t completely turn them off to GURPS. I think if I’m careful and ease into the rules a little at a time, it will go well.
Until next time.