Thursday, April 8, 2010

Tower of the Stargazer Wrap-Up

Odd session yesterday. Because there were only two levels remaining to be explored, and because there was no combat, only puzzles, on those two levels, this session was a bit lopsided, according to the players.

One puzzle utterly stumped them, because while things changed when they pulled levers, the changes were not visual. They had to be touched to be noticed. A red herring stumped them here, and so they were within sight of the big treasure of the whole thing but did not get to it.

The other puzzle involved a game of chess actually being played. My concept was that it would be all the players vs the Referee (in this case me) in an intense game for one PC's soul. In actuality, it was that player vs me with one or two others giving an occasional assist, but more like most of the players twiddling their thumbs while the game went on. So that's got to significantly change. I had wanted the classic "chess board" included in my intro adventure but without making a gimmick out of it. Just play chess! Ah well... decent idea that fell down in practice.

But that's why you play these things before publishing them. Because not every seemingly good idea is a truly good idea, and the stakes are considerably higher in a for-pay product than just for the regular game group.

There was also uproarious laughter around the table for the fatality involved in one particular trap. It was later judged to be an unfair trap. But everyone enjoyed it tremendously at the time (including the victim's player). I shall examine it and see if I can simply put a bit more warning without changing the actual execution of the trap itself.

In all, five PC deaths, although three of those were because the one player, who had already lost two characters (to the chess game and to the aforementioned much-enjoyed trap), basically tripped the obvious "doomsday device" on purpose just to see what happens, since otherwise everything was completed.

So the only survivors were this new character that had just shown up at the end to trip up everything on purpose, and the magic-user who had decided to head back to town, faithful torchbearer in tow, when it was obvious they weren't getting the treasure and there was nothing more to do than fiddle with dangerous things. He didn't do too badly. Not much in the way of monetary treasure or XP for the two sessions, but he's got a spellbook and a small pile of scrolls, so he's well-positioned for future adventures.

1 comment:

  1. The old Chess game can work if you include all the PCs as Chess pieces.
    The PCs would have to fight the DMs pieces and vice versa.
    To speed the game up, use a board with only enough pieces for the PCs. So if the group consists of 6 use 6 Referee pieces. If you have 8players, use 8 pieces etc.
    Every Class has a resonating Chess piece.
    Henchmen would be pawn, a Cleric would be the Bishop etc.
    I used this in a campaign once and the players had blast.