So I proposed running an open table, once a month, running Moldvay basic (with just a couple of tweaks) to see how it goes. We're calling it 'The Wandering Monster Table'.
The first session, at a pub in my city called The Criterion (link to the Criterion's Facebook page here and the group's Facebook page here) was last night. Not much duneoneering went on (none actually) but the party (a Magic-User called Polly, a Thief called Gibbet and a Cleric called Gwynthor) tried to climb the front of a building, got involved in a street-fight resulting in the sudden, unexpected and temporary death of one of them (I'm looking at you Gwynthor), stole from each other (I'm looking at you Gibbet), befriended a Dwarf, an Elf and a Fighter and convinced them to come dungeoneering at the next session, found a pine-tree, considered buying some herbs from a wizardy-looking chap looking somewhat dazed, and wondered a bit about religion. Polly's and Gibbet's players also ate pizza, while Gwynthor's player and I drank beer. Hmm, 'beer iss goood' as Seggulf the Dwarf NPC has already said at least once in a Rainier Wolfcastle voice.
The idea of the dungeon was at least explored - a chasm or canyon of unknown depth and prodigious length called 'The Rift', looking a bit like this but bigger and badder and madder, and stuffed full of caves:
|East African Rift Valley - photo snaffled from here - http://www.zoharafricansafaris.com/the-great-rift-valley/|
|Unfortunately I can't remember where I snaffled this from but it's a very fine picture, I hope whoever did it is very happy with their work.|
It was fun and not too taxing, and starting with a small group has helped me with lessons for later sessions - for instance, despite trying to slim down character creation, it's still too long. I need to cut the process as much as possible, because it's going to eat into gaming time.
Printing off the intro will help too. It exists as a document on the group's FB page, and now here for you:
The Rift is a vast canyon high in the Mountains of Abomination.
Priests argue about whether it was caused by an angry God smiting the World from the Heavens, or by a vile Power of Darkness digging its way out from a Subterranean Prison.
Sages argue about whether it’s the consequence of an eon-old Mage War, or the perfectly natural result of the Planet tearing itself to pieces.
The Elves, with their uniquely-long take on life and existence and linguistic tenses, say that it is the Earth in the process of becoming That which it shall Always have Been.
The Dwarves say it’s a Big Hole full of Monsters.
The Halflings say What’s for Dinner?
Standing hard by the Rift is Rift City, a wretched hive of scum and villainy that is a temporary home to that most disreputable sort of people – adventurers. And where there are adventurers (grave-robbers, treasure-hunters, cut-throats, monster-hunters, assassins and murder-hoboes – sorry, ‘heroes’) there are the people that cater to them – drink-peddlers, prostitutes, snake-oil salesmen and 1,001 charlatans and ne’er-do-wells ready to remove some excess gold from said adventurers’ purses.
Rift City is a booming shanty-town, a rickety and perilous edifice built on the gold-rush of monster-hunting, literally and morally teetering over the abyss. Business is good; theft and murder were never so profitable as there are a lot of monsters down there. And if a few adventurers fail to come back, all the more for the next party of expendable suckers… err, brave heroes to find.
There is one rule about the Rift that everyone knows – near the lip of the canyon, the caves and passages contain less-dangerous monsters, but the rewards are less because those caves are raided more often. Unless you’ve amassed some experience – don’t go beyond the first bend in the trail! There are plenty of adventures to be had and even small fortunes to be made exploring the upper caves. But if you want to separate yourselves from the thousands of would-be champions and achieve true heroic status, you must sooner or later venture into the deeper caverns to confront the horrors that lurk there – and make off with the marvellous treasures you discover.