Yesterday I shared my rules for Strip D&D 1 and some of my thinking. (One thing I really like is the movement.) Today, it’s time to talk about how it went.
I was not confident I could put together something balanced and groovy for the characters, and I figured doing something published was a good idea anyway to try out the whole conversion idea. I went to Dragonsfoot and picked a scenario. I wanted to avoid anything with orcs and goblins and kobolds; we’ve killed all that at first level before. Monkeys with poisonous stingers? Cool!
Well, let us have a moment of silence for Achmed, Lucas, Gordy, Fabioso, Joachim, Teax, Mr. Clean, Marshall, and Lid. All those characters bit it, two waves in 3 hours.
The first group went down to a handful of 2 HD rats. The second group went down after exploring the exterior of the setting, and in a random encounter with poisonous giant spiders. Is this because of my inexperience working with B/X lethality? In part. Could they have acted differently? It might have mattered, who knows. Is it the fault of the scenario? Not really.
My players were good sports with the first TPK, but after the second, while we were still laughing and having a good time, the level of frustration at the table was really high. I got my test, and we quit while we were not too far behind.
I could break it down more, but there’s no reason. I learned some valuable lessons, and furthermore, I don’t think my players will be eager to try this out again (even tweaked) if they are willing to try again at all.
The paucity of choice reflected in the combat system (compared to my other games) left them cold, and they don’t have to start so totally low powered in any of our other games. They do not buy into the Old School ethos, and we aren’t going to devote the kind of time we’d need to devote to give them a chance to build canny, cunning characters they are proud of through sheer dint of survival.
So, a great exercise, and something to put in my back pocket to maybe revisit later. Also, the first and only time I’ve ever had 2 TPKs in 3 hours. I guess that’s something.