Thursday, May 12, 2022

Zero Level One-shot: Sailors of the Starless Sea

A combination of events - public holidays, school holidays, work events, family events, and travels plans - means that there would be an eight-week gap between our scheduled campaigns, so I decided to open our regular Monday evening slots to one-shots.

Dave kindly agreed to run the first session: a funnel adventure using the Zero Level 5E rules. We were asked to create four characters in advance, using the random tables in the rules - three to start the game with and one to spare in case we lost all three characters.

The fun started as soon as the characters were rolled up. I ended up with:

Lance Grindr, a half-elf lens-grinder, with high INT, high WIS, but low STR and DEX. I had him as the bookish type.

Barry Stier, a human barrister, with 18 INT and CHA 10. He would be an arrogant prick who bosses everyone around.

Forrest Grump, a dwarven woodcutter, with INT 7 and WIS 5. Sadly, Forrest was manipulated by Barry, and died early in the game.

K'urnel Xandaz, an elf with STR 13, DEX 14, CON 11, INT 13, WIS 13, and CHA 9. With stats like those he was told he could become anything he wanted, so he chose to be a chicken butcher.

The scenario we played was the Dungeon Crawl Classic classic Sailors of the Starless Sea. I don't want to give the plot away, but suffice to say that the scenario had a good mix of horror, combat, exploration, and fantastic landscape.

I had a lot of fun role-playing my characters - especially Barry - and also providing the maps and figures impromptu as they emerged in the game, even providing incense and a candle when they appeared in the game. I guess if you have been GMing long enough you accumulate stuff that will allow you to run a lot of scenarios.

Barry spent most of the scenario staying in the middle of the group and not exposing himself to danger, but instead encouraging poor Forrest and the other party members to take risks. We all knew someone like that in the army. One by one the other party members died - every player lost at least 2 characters, with Eugene losing all four of his! In the climatic final scene of the scenario Barry realised that the only way he would survive was if he risked his own skin and worked with the rest of the party, and in doing so he redeemed himself. At least in his own eyes.

This was the first time I have played in a funnel adventure, and like I said it was a lot of fun from day zero. This was especially so as we were all familiar with each other and we all played to the spirit of the genre. I am not sure if I will recommend a funnel adventure as a newbie's introduction to RPGs, but it's certainly something I will try one day when we need a filler session.

1 comment:

daveb said...

Character funnels are genius. I've only done it with DCC but everytime it's a memorable game.