A friend of mine who I haven't seen in a while was in town for the three day weekend, though I only found out today. Seems its been a while as he said he emailed me but it turned out to be an address I haven't used in ages. Since he was only back in New York for one more day he said we should get together and game. Just so happens I was free as most of my clients cancelled for the day.
We met up along with a mutual friend (who I also hadn't seen in a while but more recently as least) and popped over to my boy's cribe to hang with his posse'. Or something. I'm never sure I'm saying it right. The guys laugh when I talk street since I do it very rarely and only in the most proper, uptight, whitebread voice I can muster.
When I get there I'm introduced around to some friends and some family and I find myself wishing I could add a least one or two of these guys to my regular group. They were a cool bunch and 'D''s cousin is easy on the eyes in addition to being a good player (oops, was that my outloud blogging again? Think it don't write it, think it don't write it...). We'll see...
Immediately 'D' says, "Shit. I forgot to tell you to bring something. To bring a game." Apparently they wanted me to GM which was flattering but also surprising as he hadn't said anything about it before this. "All I got is D&D."
Heh...of course. That's my lot in life.
Lemons into Lemonade my friends.
I said, "How 'bout we all make up characters and take turns DMing. You start, I'll take over after say an hour or two and than you can finish up." The idea went over pretty well and my friend Shawn even worked out that he would take over for the finale. Three GMs. Roughly running two hours each (more or less). Crazy but cool.
The D&D my friend had was AD&D 1st with a whole mess of 2nd books. We basically played it as 1st but allowed for the possibility of players choosing spells, equipment, weapons, etc. from 2nd. That also let us GMs choose 1st or 2nd monsters though I went custom creation of course (more on that later). We didn't get crazy about race and class and the character's were made to be roughly 5th level (which incidentally can take too damn long to generate. I much prefer starting at 1st. Luckily 'D' kept everyone motivated.)
The PCs were...
A Human, Male, Paladin, Level 5 - played by my friend Damian aka 'D'.
A Human, Male, Ranger, Level 5 - played by JJ, 'D''s friend.
A Half-Elf, Male, Magic-User/Cleric, Levels 3/3 played by my friend Shawn.
A Half-Elf, Female, Thief, Level 5 played by 'D''s cousin Wendy.
A Gnome, Male, Fighter/Illusionist, Levels 3/3 played by yours truly.
Small group but still pretty cool.
'D' set up the premise...The group were all old friends who grew up together in a trading outpost town nestled between a river, a major trade route road and a forest. Half-Elves were common because the forest had a large Elven settlement. At the far western edge of the woods was a small Gnome village which is where I was from. I added that I was a travelling entertainer who sometimes went to the Elven and Human settlements to amuse the kids or brighten up a dreary work week.
Apparently, one Friday night while I was in town doing just that at the local tavern, a large boat came down the river, burning and cracking apart. As the townsfolk gathered at the pier to stare in horror or in some cases try to help, several people thought they saw a fiery beast of some kind inside the merchant ship. The ship crashed into the side of the riverbank and began to fall to pieces.
The PCs lept into action - The Paladin (being run as an NPC at this time) rushed over and tried to board the boat as did the Ranger. I organized a line of people with pails and water to try and douse the flames. The Magic-User/Cleric, or 'Holy Mage' as he called himself, prepared to receive the wounded survivors if there were any. Meanwhile the Thief played the crowd, asking for anything they could contribute to help with this emergency. "Please, we'll need blankets, coats, food, water...gold, furs...anything you can spare." She embelished her background story later and it was very cool. But first...
So finally the PCs are onboard and we manage to rescue the first mate, the merchant who owned the boat and a young woman who was described as looking like an 'artist, sage or other learned person.' Those crewmembers who burned to death rose up as these sort of Burning Zombies which was pretty cool and bad ass if you ask me. Don't know if 'D' got those from a book or made them up but they were freaking mean. Since they were undead and on fire the usual 'Fire vs. The Undead' idea was right out. We did discover that Holy Water was like Kryptonite to these things though and once we realized this we made short work of the nasty things.
Just as things were settling down we were told that our characters saw a flash of red-violet lightning and heard a growling laugh mixed into the crack of thunder that followed. Racing up and through the wreckage of the vessel we finally reached what remained of the main deck and saw a flaming, dragon-like shape about the size of a large dog or small pony climbing the mast. It was night time obviously, a bit hard to see, though lit by it own flames and crackling electricity we could tell it was carrying something. The creature raised the item in the air, some sort of sceptre, and then a bolt of lightning came out of the sky, hit the scepter and the creature disappeared in a brilliant flash.
Next Up...Part 2...My Part!...of 'The Sceptre of the Scarlet Storm'