Friday, October 22, 2010

Nightwick Abbey: Chat Session 1

Last night our chat game began in earnest.  I had four players show up overall, but only three played at any one time.  Two of the players hadn't made characters beforehand, so much of this session was spent creating those characters and establishing in the village of Nightwick, about five miles North West of the infamous abbey.

Unfortunately, I was feeling a bit tired and hadn't quite finished stocking the dungeon yet, so I wasn't totally on my A Game.  However, I decided, after taking some advice, that it was more important to start playing and to play regularly than it was to get everything completely right.  In hindsight, I think this is entirely accurate.  Now that I've seen what went strangely, I can correct for this in future sessions.  I had a bit of trouble getting the tone across, but I think this was largely due to my being tired from a full day of classes and seeing students.

Such is life.

That being said, the players all said that they had a wonderful time and they would very much like to continue. It could be that the inadequacies of the session were entirely in my head or, at least, invisible to the players.

The characters were:

Jahnnoc, a Cleric dedicated to the Church of Law
Ota, a Fighter whose with a penchant for stealth
Dr. Adrock, a Magic-User of some skill
and Archibold, another Magic-User

The first three characters arrived in the sleepy village of Nightwick at midday some time in late summer.  The sky was overcast and heavy with rainclouds, so the party elected to spend their time in town recruiting torchbearers and men at arms to serve them in their explorations.  Nightwick as a village seemed more or less desolate.  It looked as though at one time it was a prosperous trading town, and indeed it was, but now few of the houses were inhabited and it is only by some miracle that the village is able to maintain an inn and a stable market.  As such, the party was not able to hire as many mercenaries as they wished, finding only two men from the tribes to the East -- Ulric and Clodivec by name.  Jahnnoc chose to overlook their clearly pagan background in the interest of pragmatism.  At the Medusa's Head (the local Inn) Dr. Adrock and Ota were able to recruit two farmers, who were clearly followers of the Church, into their service.  Their names were Guibert and Adhemar.

Jahnnoc sought aid from the local priest, who tended to his flock out of a peasant's hut which had been converted into a Church.  Jahnnoc explained that he had come to cleanse the abbey and report on its condition to the Bishop in Lichgate.  The rather strange priest warned him to turn back, and that only darkness lay within that abbey.  Due to Jahnnoc's persistence, the priest gave him three bottles of holy water for protection.

After arranging for the distribution of treasure, the party slept through a stormy night and awoke early the next morning to find the clouds still heavy even though the rain had stopped.  They elected to journey through the woods to the abbey despite the threat of a storm.  They found that as they got closer to the abbey, the woods took on an unseasonal decay, as though it was fall or midwinter.  Upon arriving at their destination they found that the multi-building complex that once was they abbey now lies mostly in ruins.  It was overgrown with some strange vine of unnatural color they were not able to identify.  They also found a large group of goblins waiting in ambush.  (It was for the description of these creatures that I received the best compliment of the night: "thanks for the nightmare fuel").  They were hiding among the ruins of a small building, but the party was able to counter their ambush, dispatched half of them in the first round.  Unfortunately, a few disengaged goblins managed to hurl spears at the torchbearers, striking Adhemar dead and putting Guibert to flight.  Dr. Adrock's sleep spell quelled further resistance, and Ota took off after Guibert.

After calming the torchbearer, they began searching one of the buildings which was somewhat intact.  They were able to determine that at one time it had been a dormitory.  Clearing away some of the strange growth which riddled the floor revealed a large trap door, which they opened.  The sound of the rusty hinges attracted another explorer (Archibold) whose player had just gotten home from work.  At this point, due to internet connections, we lost Dr. Adrock, but it was agreed upon by all that he could be the one mapping this first delve.  They lined up and descended down the trap door.

The entry chamber was a large room filled with heavily worn statues, despite the fact that the Abbey has been unoccupied for under a century.  Jahnnoc attempted to reconsecrate these using his holy water, but this only prompted a strange, pale-green mist to surround the statues.   For a brief moment, Jahnnoc heard a terrible moaning, and then it was silenced.  The entry chamber also contained for doors, and the party was only able to see what lies beyond one of them before time dictated that we end the session.

They found a long hall which ended in a small chamber  covered in worn frescoes.  These frescoes seemed to depict knights in combat, but they were too worn to tell for sure.  Behind a door leading out of this chamber, the party heard a loud breathing noise, and anticipating a horrendous creature, they readied to attack it.  As they did, the door seemed to swing open by its own power, and two large creatures who horribly combined the features of men and pigs, burst forth.  Unfortunately for the party, a segment of the swiveled, revealing a secret door and three more creatures of similar type.  The party chose to engage the ones which came from the door, and sent the mercenaries after those exiting from the secret entrance.  Unfortunately, Clodivec triggered a pit trap and was taken out of the fight.   Guibert in the meantime pressed his body against the wall in an attempt to not become involved in the fight, and cried loudly.  The fight itself ended with no casualties on the party's side, but they were injured enough, and the time was late enough, that they retreated to town to rest and heal.

The Swords & Wizardry White Box proved a good rules set, and I'm currently only allowing the three core classes.  I have to meditate on how to incorporate the thief without denying other characters the ability to sneak and bypass traps, but once I do I'll begin to incorporate more class options.  The Monster and Treasure Assortment also proved useful, though I was miffed to discover that I'd have to reroll all of the monsters' HD, due to the fact that the White Box uses a d6 for HD and the Assortment uses a d8.

All in all I think it went pretty well, though hopefully some things will improve over the next few sessions.


  1. I wouldn't worry too much about your feelings about the game feeling "strange" or being worried about your performance. It's really hard to get a measure of player response, enthusiasm or enjoyment when playing via chat.

    Whether your using something like Teamspeak or a "typed" chat room, you're not seeing your players facial expression or hand movements. Since most emotional cues and communication is non-verbal, it can be really hard to get a handle on how things are going for the first few sessions.

    Even if your playing on Skype, you're only seeing the players faces, not their hand movements. SO don't worry about it. Place more stock in what your players say AFTER the game than how you felt during it.

  2. I'm glad it went well! What was the description of the goblins like?

  3. I described them as squat creatures in ill fitting rags with gaping maws and saucer eyes.

    I said one "made a sound like a lion laughing," which is what prompted the quote.