Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Epithalamium - Post-mortem

Sorry to drag this out, it gives me a reason to come back and post. It also gave me a chance to reflect a little more coolly on the session (I'm pretty self-critical). I'll write about the session in general and then zoom in on certain themes.

Overall, the groom seemed to have a blast, laughing quite a bit. Kaiser's player who hasn't played since high school was enthused enough to suggest we meet monthly to game. Garrett's player is what my grandma would have called a card, he is quite funny and throws himself into roleplaying, and while he can be a little much at times I think he definitely added to the fun factor of play. I've been gaming with him in a 4e campaign as a fellow player but I think I'll invite him whenever we get together for S&W in the future.

As for the adventure, the start seemed to drag a little: they saw the opening ceremony, and had to decide how to enter the temple, then follow couples in. It took a while for any kind of conflict or tension to occur. Pretty much when Ehud cast charm person it shifted from an observation of a living temple to an adventure.

Even in the bowels of the temple there wasn't much going on until they encountered the room of birds. That combat lasted forever for old school play! I had all combat in the swirling screeching birds give -4 to hit, so the players survived but they couldn't hit their foes either. And they weren't just standing in the room wacking at each other, they were running from door to door as the guards tried to flank them and catch them outside the room. So, it lasted almost too long, but at least they had some tactical decisions to make.

They didn't really want to explore the temple much, that damn hole was too much a draw. Serves me right I guess. I suppose I could have had the priests put a stone cap on it or placed guards around it. So several of my interesting rooms were never seen.

Now that I think of it ol' Mah-Kuss was kind of a cliche-- the god which is really some foul creature being fed sacrifices? If I ran it again I think I would try for something more unexpected, maybe Mah-Kuss is a god, but his avatar require 665 bodies to contain his powerful essence. Down the hole, and the players are suddenly ringed by hundreds and hundreds of young women speaking with one voice.

I think I'll write more about how the goals worked in another post, but I was surprised that two of the players didn't seem to even try to pursue their primary goals. Maybe they were waiting for some sign from me or didn't know what they were supposed to do but . . . ?

We always joke about people wearing beards or capes when they game so this time, mid-game, I left to use the restroom and came back with an ornately embroidered robe on, representing the high priest of Mah-Kuss. They seemed to be surprised and amused by that. After 5+ hours of play by that point I was losing my spontaneous humor, so I invited them to put on the robe and give some words to the assembled couples-- I think some of that ended up as video on somebody's Facebook.

In the end, it was fun. I have some things to brush up on-- movement in combat, dungeon layout-- but that's how you learn and get better.

I think I'll make another post soon on some more abstract ideas from the session.

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