The RPGrrl's Blog

{February 2, 2011}   The G1G Ride Again!

Well, the holidays prettymuch whooped us, as far as having the time and inclination to gather for game.  Not only that, but the last session before Christmas (which doubled as a gift exchange for both the G1G and our Alpha testing group) and the first session back after the holidays (on January 15th) were basically big gab-a-thons where we got absolutely ZERO gaming done.  To their credit, though, the G1G decided, of their own accord, that they wanted to return to a weekly play schedule (rather than every-other-week.)  Every game suffers its setbacks (like unexpected cancellations due to someone’s roomate having a “superior liver” resulting in painful hangovers LOL) but as of Saturday the 29th, all my Grrls were at the table and rarin’ to go.

If you recall, previously, the G1G began a campaign I refer to as “The Count’s Carnival.”  The original intent was that they embrace the idea of collecting monsters and try to win the prize that the Count has offered, but they “went east,” so to say, and decided instead that the collection of monsters was immoral, and the Count must be evil for endorsing it.  They then proceeded to attack and destroy the nearest caravan, which happened to belong to Mommy Fortuna. (Thank-you, Peter S. Beagle, for such a memorable character! Side note: my inclusion of a character named “Mommy Fortuna” resulted in all five of us re-watching — or watching for the very first time! — The Last Unicorn, since two of us owned copies.)

Mommy Fortuna wasn’t with the travelling caravan (no, no!)  There were, however, many Roustabouts.  In the first encounter, the party slew 3 of them rescuing their 4th member from being sold to the Carnies, and in the second they pummelled the a skeleton crew who stood guard over the supper hour.  One of them got away, but the party ignored him and turned their attention to freeing the monsters caged in the carnival carts.  Unbeknownst to them, the majority of the carts contained smuggled people (elves, dwarves, humans, and the like,) magically disguised as monsters, but some of the carts contained the real thing!  In the end, the party freed all the slaves, and slew all the monsters, including my wonderful Solo Mummy, who they destroyed with a single casting of “turn undead” so they could slam the cage closed again, and then they torched the cart!  (This proves I’m a bit of a n00b DM — why didn’t I think of that? — but it makes me proud of my Grrls :-)! )  After all this skirmishing, they were drenched in blood and sweat and smeared with dust, so they opted to return to the inn, take some hot baths, catch some zzz’s, and replace their broken weapons and missing armor.  Instead of a good night’s sleep, though, they were interrupted by a demon-summoning ritual.

That all happened before Christmas.

In our most recent encounter, letting that one Roustabout go at the cage site came back to bite them in the butts, since he gathered up a bunch of his buddies for some payback.

We had a really great time, though we were all a little rusty after such a long hiatus, though KelsE continues to take diligent notes on game events, and draw gorgeous character portraits.

In the end all the Roustabouts fell, cinematic slaughtering was described, much blood was spilt, many ones were rolled, and vast amounts of XP were awarded.

KelsA and KelsE promised to get together and type out the story of the adventure so far.  I’m eager to read it, and will be posting it here when I get it!

Next week we get to level up, which will be interesting as neither I, nor any of the G1G have ever leveled a character using the 4.0 rules.  Wish us luck!


{October 25, 2010}   Going East

My 4th Edition All-Girl Gaming group met on Saturday for our second session.  (We have gotten together three times, but the time in the middle was all visiting and no gaming due to a series of unfortunate events and the fact that we were missing a player.)  This week we were still missing that player, so I decided not to wait any longer, and presented her as an NPC so we could move forward with the adventure.  Her character was serving as an adventure hook, really, as a way to introduce her to the group, since the other three players were all present for the backstory/RP session I blogged about before.

The players all took to that hook with no trouble, behaving almost exactly as I had hoped they would.  They did engage an NPC in combat that I hadn’t anticipated being a part of combat, but I was able to roll with that, and it was really my fault for not getting him clear of the “scene of the crime” faster.

What I didn’t anticipate, though, was their first and emphatic response to the campaign hook I introduced that night.  None of my girls read my blog, and if they do, I don’t mind them knowing this, anyway.  As I introduced the game, I told them that the Count of the region had announced a contest to collect the most impressive caravan of magical creatures, for him to keep as his personal carnival.  The winners would be granted an enormous island on a massive inland lake in the Count’s lands, as their very own.  I thought, surely, this introduction would make it pretty clear that the intention was for the party to collect their own carnival, too, and compete.

Instead, as their characters stood huddled on the dusty edge of Mommy Fortuna’s ring of cages, they whispered to each other about how wrong this all was, how these creatures (kobolds! a cockatrice! a mummy!) shouldn’t be held captive in these cages and put on display like side-show freaks.  They decided that they should free the monsters that Mommy Fortuna had collected, and then travel to the Count’s castle, destroying any other carnival caravans they may find. I was flabberghasted.

This is only my first time as a GM, so I expected rough patches, but this is what my husband (a veteran GM) refers to as “Going East.”  It’s when the GM invests hours and effort designing a carefully constructed game world, maps and locations and quest givers and the like, all hinging on the party taking the adventure hook and proceeding West, but then the party chooses to go East.

I have to admit that I’m not entirely certain how to recover from this.  I mean, yes… I can certainly trundle a caravan or two down the road every now and them for the ladies to liberate, but the purpose was not to have carnivals cropping up every night!  I am going to have to design another unifying arc for this group, I guess, and in the meantime, come up with some adventures/directions to encourage them to travel in the meantime.

I guess you’ll be hearing about it in the future!

{October 9, 2010}   All RP, All the Time!

So, I am currently involved in two all-girl D&D groups. Girl Game 1 (which I will probably rename, or let the players come up with their own team name) met for our first session this weekend. We were down one player, MIA, but the other three were there and raring-to-go!

In the week leading up to the beginning of this game, I e-mailed several resources to my mostly-new players. Before I detail what I sent, I have to thank the large and incredibly talented RPG blogging community for the helpful hints and tweaks they have released into the wild gaming world. There are so many of you out there, sharing and doing your bit to make gaming better!

I had decided early on that, since all the gamers wanted to learn the D&D 4th Ed rules, I needed to direct more focus on the role-playing aspect of the game, and deflect it from the roll-playing and combat.  I really wanted the girls to invest a lot of thought into their characters: their back stories, their personalities, and how they were going to play them at the table.  I sent them all a pre-game prep e-mail which explained that all they needed to prepare before the first session were elements of their back story, and included a link to Your Character’s Old Job from The Sorcerer’s Skull, to help them understand how whoever they were for the first 20, 50, 200 years of their lives can and should influence why they decided to become adventurers, and what sort of adventurer they became.  Also, I took a page from Gaming Brouhaha, who adapted Mouseguard‘s BITs for 4e.  His house rules really spoke to me as a useful thing to include in my campaign.  After the links and explanation of why I was including them, I copied out an old back story from one of my previous characters.

I was really pleased with the response!  We had some slight technical difficulties and two of the players didn’t get the message until very late in the week, but we managed.  When we sat down, each player took a turn telling her back story, which was loads of fun!  Then we took a break from personal narratives and explored the borrowed BITs in more detail, each player explaining how and why they came to have these beliefs/instincts/traits.  After that, I explained to them a little more about the world we were playing in, and told them the next part of our character building exercise was that they would do some shared story telling for me.  I wanted each of them to tell me how they had met one of the other party members.  Before I could even finish explaining the exercise, they launched into a raucous retelling of the bar fight during which they all first laid eyes on one another.  We had a grand time!

All in all, with a little bit of visiting, but a whole lot more character exploration, we were at it for three hours.  Not a single die was rolled.  In fact, I found out all their races and classes ahead of time and printed off randomly-generated character sheets for all the players so we wouldn’t have to take the time to roll up their characters.  I often find that players, especially new ones, get really hung up on all the numbers on those sheets (especially when they’re the one that fills them out).  I was a little worried the random sheets wouldn’t go over well, but to my surprise (and relief!) all the players were happy to adopt them, and even glad I’d printed out full sheets so they didn’t have to do all that page-flipping!

I do have to say, though, that the random character generator of the demo version of D&D Insider regularly spits out characters with one 20 ability score, usually one 8, and mostly 10s.  This caused a little discussion around the table — our cleric was “randomly” rolled with a 20 wisdom and an 8 intellect, for example.  What’s more, with that 8 for intellect, that meant her religion skill was at a minus value!  “So you’re worldly-wise, but not much for the book-learning,” I offered, which she laughed at.  “More specifically, you’re a do-er.  You learn by watching and doing, and you’re naturally inclined to be good at herbalism and spiritualism, but not dogma.  You can commune with your god wherever the moment dictates; you don’t need to go to a specific building or recite a specific prayer.”  We were all pretty happy with that conclusion.  I’m planning on buying a subscription, and hoping the full version has more customizability built in.

All in all, I felt it to be one of the most constructive character-generating sessions I’ve ever been involved in.

et cetera