Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Giving the Wife a Tour of the Crypts of Aezoul Vhezian

I've been playing D&D on and off for nearly 20 years now.  When I met my wife she knew I played, but as most women who aren't into gaming, she just looked at it as sort of an odd curiosity.  We've been married for 12 years now, and recently she asked if I'd teach her what all the fuss is about, and why I enjoy this game so much.  Of course, I nearly jumped out of my chair at the opportunity to play D&D at the table just about every night, so we rolled her up a character.  She's playing Thanne the Ranger, a female human.  I rolled her up a couple of NPCs to aid her, and decided to give her a run through the mini-dungeon I created a few months back, called the Crypts of Aezoul Vhezian.
Originally I had crafted this as an old school dungeon crawl I was going to run for some of my friends at our annual camp, but things didn't go as planned, and we had to put off the game.  I had planned on creating additional supplemental levels and PDFs for this, but alas gamer ADD got the best of me.  Still yet, since I've been running it with the wife, and I already have level 2 drawn and keyed (just not put into PDF form), I may give the project another shot, and make the further levels available here on the blog.
So, after explaining the basics of the game to her, we were off and running.  She caught on surprisingly quickly, and after explaining to her the style of game this was (where character death was highly likely) she has approached each situation in the dungeon with an extreme level of caution.  Dare I say, she might be better inclined as a player than some of my own friends who have been playing this game with me for nearly 2 decades.  She takes caution upon entering every room, approaching each door and inspecting it carefully.  She goes through every room in careful detail taking time to explore the area albeit with the notion that this place is full of traps and hidden dangers. 
In one of the first rooms, she managed to find an eye shaped glass stone hidden in some rubble (a feature I thought would be vastly overlooked by most playing), which she quickly picked up and placed in her pouch.  She doesn't know it yet, but there is a spot in the dungeon where the glass eye can be placed to open a secret room with treasure.  She cleverly deduced there was a pit trap leading into the room with the carrion crawler and sprang it with a dead body, to which she simply walked around the edge of the sprung trap and entered the room.  Mind you, she did this without the use of a 10' pole.  Upon entering the carrion crawler's lair, she and her NPC companions, very carefully walked in, with the remaining party members being human, and restricted in their visibiilty due to torchlight, this further enhanced her cautious approach.  In the dungeon, the crawler clings to the high vaulted ceiling above the entrance to the room, waiting for its victims to completely enter before dropping down, blocking exit from the room, and surprising the party.  Before this happened however, she made careful note to look at the ceiling to which she saw the crawler inching down the wall near the door.  The crawler lost the element of surprise, and although he nearly paralyzed one of her companions (who made his save), she took the creature out in one round with a critical hit!
She has managed to survive using the NPCs in much the way you'd use a hireling as fodder, which has resulted in a couple of NPC deaths, mainly due to incredibly good dice rolls by the orcs they've encountered, but she is plugging along, and I am impressed with her progress so far.  I can say truly, although she is inexperienced in the game overall, she is a natural.  It's been a good time playing the game I love with her.