GenCon: The Other Labyrinth Lord Game
What was probably my favorite game of the convention really only happened by dumb luck. This game was sold out, but then someone had to return a pair of tickets, and was nice enough to post about it on the Goblinoid Games forum. I snatched them up, and sold my extra to BigFella, so the two of us got to sit down together for a little old school dungeon delving at its finest.
The game was billed as an intro to the system, but naturally the guy had incorporated a lot of his own house rules. With this system, I can’t imagine how you could not. I’m not sure it’s possible for anyone to ever run a “straight” LL game, it just begs to be tweaked. The game was a little slow out the gate as we got a feel for what this GM’s style was. He made a few choices I would never have made myself, and at first I chafed at them, but eventually I just chilled out and went with the flow and the game got very exciting.
I was playing a level 1 elven magic-user. His rules allowed me to use a bow, thank goodness, as the only spell I had was magic missle (sleep was not in my book, and thankfully so as we faced almost entirely undead) and when I finally cast the thing my target died before the spell went off and I lost it. The bow was really the only saving grace of this character, well, that and his torch bearer. The GM had actually listed a few hirelings on various player’s character sheets, under equipment naturally. We had a couple men at arms, and a couple torch bearers. I still bemoan the fact that I managed to have a torch bearer but didn’t own a single torch. Well, thankfully we found a few horses hobbled at the entrance to the dungeon, and nobody in the party felt any real compunction rifling our rival delvers mounts for goods, and thus I scored a couple torches for my torch bearer.
Eventually we reached a treacherous bridge over a chasm and our light could not reach the other side. Somehow, I managed to get talked into being the first one across due to my light weight and infravision. How many first level magic-users must I play before I realize I should never ever ever give in to this kind of crap? Sure enough, the chasm was full of stirges. I had a rope tied around my waste and they were able to haul in the dried husk of my corpse, but that was the end of the game for me. Or was it?
Remember that fateful torch bearer? Well, I immediately took over the personality of the torch bearer and insisted that my elven master had ordered me to take care of all his belongings should he fall. Even though the GM claimed the torch bearers were “non-combatants”, I kept pushing the envelope, trying to use the bow of my fallen master to help the party. Personally, I would never call any NPC a “non-combatant”. Sure, I might ratchet down his ability to fight by quite a lot, but given a choice between grisly death and trying to figure out how to swing a sword, I think most of us will go with the sword. Anyway, after some very good rolls my character was granted by the GM “man-at-arms” status, and we all joked that I would surely make level 1 by the end of the adventure.
But it wasn’t to be. At the end we found a big hall full of horrible undead, and though warned against entering, it’s a con game, so naturally we were feeling a bit more reckless than a normal party might be. In the picture on the left you can see the dwarf and the fighter, our final remaining two players, surrounded by horrible undead. It was at this time that our dwarf’s luck changed. The guy was nailing stuff left and right, but sadly in the final fight his luck changed. Ultimately it came down to a couple final rounds between him and the big bad creature, which we new was pretty hurt. In fact, the GM later told us that she was down to just 3 hp and killing her would destroy all the rest of the undead. But it was not to be, the dice just wouldn’t have it, and our brave dwarf fell. Yup, that’s right, TPK.
Quite possibly the coolest, funnest, most exciting TPK I’ve ever been a part of. Even though only one guy was still in the game, everyone was leaning over with anticipation every time the dice hit the table.
Really good stuff. My hat’s off to the GM, he ran a bad-ass game.