Five players; 4 new to D&D, 1 who used to DM (3ed I think). 3 of the newbies are super excited to play again, 1 is tentative but definitely coming back for another session. The former DM didn't do much during the game (distracted by health stuff) but had so much fun he's already at work getting his own game together for the first time in some years.
I forgot how chaotic character generation can be with players new to the game, but I checked in at several points and they were having fun with it. I decided they'd start with two items rolled from the d20 equipment chart and one from the d10 chart. They started asking questions about their parents, so I pulled up the Hill Cantons Compendium and we rolled on the first few charts, giving them a little more background and an additional item.
-started with a fierce jacks vs marbles competition, since 3 players randomly rolled a 15 on their starting equipment rolls
-good strategies come up with by totally new players
-party split almost immediately after action began
-nothing went according to my prep - I consider that a success for players getting involved enough to go off track
-over half of party 1 hit away from death for like half the time
-natural sequence of events made it very clear that infighting and separating brings them closer to death and awesome things can happen when they work together. I didn't force that in any way, but was pleased that's how it worked out.
-1 who plays video games and is good at strategy (my roommate) - he played a Waterkin Ranger. His stats were high enough to have 1 POW naturally. He used it to cast Light on a guy's eyes, probably saving 2 PC's lives. I was proud of him coming up with a classic D&D strategy on his own.
-1 who maybe played Vampire back in the day (a friend of mine for 7+ years and my roommate's girlfriend) - she played a Tiefling Witch. Split the party. Never used magic. Snuck around in trees a lot and ran right up to an enemy and grabbed his spear. Later kicked him in the nads from behind. Random rolls determined that the invading foreign army has her dad hostage. She was a pretty rad mix of brave and sneaky.
-1 interested but "never got a chance to play before" - He played a Firekin Barbarian. Spent a lot of time talking to NPCs and asking me questions. Super excited to play again. Quiet in real life.
-1 who is suspicious of the whole thing - I think she was worried it was gonna be obscurely nerdy or require her to read a huge book. She played an Airkin Ranger who got bored a lot. Got super good rolls for starting equipment. Spent most of her time on the town wall observing things with a spyglass, then running through town and observing other things from behind a house. I think her instincts will pay off when the party gets back together next time.
-1 player who used to DM 3rd edition - played a "retired old adventurer" Moogle Sorcerer. Spend half of session saying "I sit there and watch the kids." Spent most of session on rooftops or benches. I think he was waiting for something to cast a spell at, but didn't go out of his way to find it.
My magic rules are a success so far, but no one's looked beyond Cantrips yet.
I'm debating adding these two Cantrips, based on what people wanted to do:
Shock (Demon) - INT - cause 1d4 damage or target paralyzed for 1d4 rounds
Gather Shadows (spirits) - CHA - Automatically succeed on one Stealth roll, or improve Stealth by 3 for 2d4 rounds.
Too powerful? I'm not sure. I think the Ability check makes it fine. If they had pitched these instead of just going with what I had written up, I would have rolled with it.
They started in a mining town on the edge of an empire that uses steam-powered magitek machines. Their home town folk mine the ore that is refined to power these machines from the hills to the North. Background rolls determined that there's a Firekin tribe in the hills that have some kind of cooperative treaty with the town. The local Baron has kept the town safe and isolated from the worst depredations of the empire...but he's fallen ill, and his daughter has yet to prove herself.
When I mentioned her, the players immediately asked if she was hot and how old she is.
Players: "PERFECT! I have a crush on her." (remember they're playing teens)
We started playing with them in the town square in early afternoon, two of the kids (well, everyone was 14-16 except the Moogle) having a jacks competition. They heard shouting from the town's North gate, the one most of the adults pass through on their way to work in the mines. They ignored it for a little bit, then went to investigate. Three miners were on the outside, the gate closed and locked, the town guard nowhere in site. A foreign army had seized the mine, taking the workers hostage.
The Tiefling Witch (her name starts with an M, I forget) sneaks off in the woods along the road to the mine, her jacks/marbles opponent Waterkin Ranger (ugh, names) following. The others let the miners in, the Firekin Barbarian (Bik) follows them and gets knocked out. They put him in a storage house to keep him out of the way, and start going door to door telling people to just cooperate with the invaders.
The Airkin Ranger and Moogle mostly watch from the town wall, although the Airkin ranger made a funny noise to alert the other kids in the woods that some troops had spotted them.
The two sneaking in the woods have a slapsticky fight with two soldiers, and Bik shows up just in time to finish the last one off before more soldiers come. The three get chased to the town wall, get the Tiefling witch over it to operate the crank, and hold off three soldiers long enough to get in and close the gate, pulling in a dead invading soldier to loot.
The Moogle and Airkin have spotted what's happening at the South Gate - a bigger contingent of invading troops have taken the town guard hostage, but are being temporarily repelled by merchants throwing sandbags.
The session ended just as the invaders made it to the top of the South Gate and the three PCs made it in to the North Gate.
A good time was had by all!
(This is a pretty bare bones plotty retelling for my own benefit; I'll add some of the funny lines if I remember them. We were laughing a lot of the game.)
Blogger totally fucked up the formatting and moved passages around at random (go home Blogger, you're drunk) but I think I fixed it. It's weird because this was all written straight into Blogger and not cut and pasted.