Monday, August 1, 2011

Skype Gametable Dread Rock Game Recap

About a week ago I asked a few of the players in my group if they'd be interested in running a skype game using some type of virtual table top system, to which they expressed a lot of interest.  After testing out a few different free virtual table top programs, I eventually settled on Gametable.  I simply found it had the lowest learning curve, and was the easiest to use to me.  Last night was our first session.  I told the players I would like to use OSRIC for the game, to which most of them reacted positively.  One of my players, who had stated he would play earlier, decided to drop out once the notion of 1e AD&D came up.  He's an old school gamer, but is more interested in running newer stuff like Pathfinder.  He barely tolerates 2e in our regular table top game, and only does so because it gives us all a means to socialize, so when it came to going further back for a skype game, he simply wasn't interested.

My group is only mostly vaguely familiar with 1e.  We only played it for a brief time nearly 20 years ago before switching over to 2e.  I sent them the PDF of OSRIC, and we spent some time working on character creation, and then installed gametable with some added tiles and pogs, and we were off and running.  The party consisted of a human fighter, a half-orc fighter, a dwarf cleric, and a human magic user (which I was running as a NPC) all 1st level.  I was a bit concerned going into Dread Rock with only 4 characters, coupled with the fact that they didn't want to spend the time or money to get hirelings.  They are veteran players, however, and so they are mostly capable of making the right decisions in the dungeon environment in order to stay alive. 

It took a bit of time doing pre-game stuff combined with the fact that for some odd reason, gametable did not save the map I drew up of the part of the dungeon they were starting in, which was about 3 hours of pre-game work out the window.  Luckily the practice of laying out the environments and playing with the pogs wasn't a complete waste, as it allowed me to recreate the dungeon as they explored without too much delay.

As to the game itself, it didn't last long, as we got a late start before actually delving into the dungeon.  For those who may be familiar from downloading the first quadrant, the starting area in the dungeon is relatively empty and quiet.  This sort of fits to set the mood as further exploration results in more encounters and more danger.  They managed to get through a few empty rooms, before squaring off with a group of orcs in areas 3 and 4.  They also discovered a dead kobold on a torture rack in one of the rooms, so they know there are kobolds in the dungeon, but they don't know what their role in the ecology is just yet.  After slaying the 6 orcs, and looting them, they went into the hall where we stopped the session.  The next one will open up with a roll for a random encounter.

I liked a lot of what gametable had to offer.  I told them up front they'd need to map the dungeon out because as they moved from room to room, I was going to "fog" out the areas they'd been in previously and make them unviewable.  After a bit of exploring, it's easy to get lost in Dread Rock if you don't map it out well enough.  Laying out the area was quick and simple for the most part, and the players soon saw after moving around a few cooridors, how easy it could be to lose your frame of reference with the other areas being "fogged" back out. 

The program has some built in dice macros, but you have to make some of them up, which is easy enough.  I trust this group well enough to allow them to simply roll real dice at their computers and tell me their rolls.  Besides, we all like to roll real dice anyway right?  Gametable has some nice looking pogs built in for characters and monsters, but I made some custom pogs to add.  Installation is simple.  You just copy the image file into the pogs folder on Gametable in program files and you're good to go.

Overall we had a good time, and the group was really getting into exploring the dungeon and trying to discover its secrets.  I had a lot of fun running it as well.  I'm anxious to see how the group reacts to some of the more challenging sections of the dungeon specifically if they decide to free the kobolds who will aid them in overthrowing the orc tribe.  The plan right now is to play every two weeks on Sunday nights for a couple of hours, as that is when our schedules fit together best.  They are excited about playing again, and I'm even more excited about running the game.