Geek Retreat Birmingham, Sunday 24th February 2017
I came to to "Geek Retreat" in Birmingham as I do on the last Sunday of the month to offer my "Choose Your Adventure" set up.
The store was very busy because of a "Magic the Gathering" collectable card game tournament.
There were a couple of players who have been to my Sunday sessions more than once. I'm trying to get one of those to try her hand at refereeing a game. She's become quite familiar with 5th Edition D&D. I think Geek Retreat could do with a regular or semi-regular 5th Ed. D&D game group, but I'm not the person for the job for several reasons. So today I ran a D&D 5th version of my standard introductory dungeon with the two regulars and a player who was new to the game. I used the pregenerated characters from the excellent 5th Ed. D&D introductory set. When we started, only two of the players were present. They chose to play the High Elf Wizard and the Halfing Rogue. The Wizard generously cast a "Mage Armour" spell on the Rogue, allowing her to remove her own leather armour and move more freely. When they found the dungeon guarded by three goblins, they chose to manoeuvre round to a point on the cliff above them where the Wizard could attack them with his Ice Blasts. The brave Halfling distracted the goblins so the Wizard could attack. At this point the third player appeared and his Fighter saved the Halfling from the pursuing goblins. But, though they hid the bodies, whilst waiting for the Wizard to come down from the cliff top, and change of goblins guards came out, found their comrades missing and disappeared back into the dungeon below.
So by the the time the characters entered the complex, they found the children they were aiming to rescue set up as human shields by the goblins and their Bugbear boss. The halfling rolled herself in charcoal and sneaked in to free the children whilst the Fighter bravely charged in.
Good news! The two children kidnapped by the goblins were rescued and escaped with the halfling Rogue. Bad news! The high elf Wizard and brave human Fighter gave their lives in the rescue. But everyone seemed to have good time.
I then used my "Code of the Spacelanes" rules to run a Dr Who intro scenario with the two "regulars" and a young man whose mum convinced him to try. He has been running D&D using the introductory set and wanted to try a new genre. His mother was happy to watch him play, but I convinced her to play too. Everyone, more or less, chose from my pregenerated characters. The mother and son played - respectively - a student Timelord who'd sneaked into the Tardis museum after hours and the maintenance and cleaning robot she'd bumped into. The scenario started with them careering through Time and Space on an obsolete and rickety old Tardis, bickering about whose fault it was. Despite their attempts to get back to Gallifrey, all they succeeded in doing was to pick up an Ice Warrior and Cave Woman before crashing onto an abandoned space station. As they left the Tardis to explore, the cave woman accidentally activated the recall mechanism, sending the cylinder home to
Gallifrey, abandoning the characters.
Before they could find their bearings, they were attacked by a group of pigmen servitors sent from an spaceship docked on the far side of the station. After dispatching them, they tracked their route back to that ship where they encountered the evil Solomon, one of his giant red robots and more of the pigmen servitors. In the battle that ensued, every character was knocked unconscious apart from the Timelord Student. Despite obviously being an indifferent student, at best, and failing to recognise anything she'd encountered so far (Mars? Earth? Never heard of them!) she somehow recognised Solomon's robot and was able to pull up its command codes on her Sonic File. With its help, she won the battle. Everyone enjoyed the game, even the mother who'd been planning to just sit and watch.
After that second game the two "regulars" had to leave. As things quietened down and I started engaging customers in conversation to try and get a new game started, I bumped into the daughter of a fellow Tabletop Role-Playing game designer. It's a small world.
The proprietor brought me three players who wanted to try D&D. So I ran my introductory to D&D 5th Ed. adventure again. One of the player's mother arrived and was going to watch but, again, I inveigled her in. This is a hobby for everyone. This time, the team tackled the dungeon in a more headlong fashion, using a Sleep spell to take out the goblin sentries. However, the final battle proved to be extremely bloody and the adventure resulted in a TPK or "Total Player Kill". Everyone still enjoyed it though.
The day rounded off with my standard introductory steampunk scenario. I saw two young ladies perusing my game display and they chose the genre. They elected to play the Businesswoman (with mechanical wings) and the dissolute aristocrat (with her electrified sword-stick). One of the players remembered me from running the Actual Cannibal Shia Lebeouf RPG at London Anime con. It's a small world. We were joined by a young man who was interested and just wanted to watch. Of course we shoved a character sheet under his nose (the soldier turned hunter) and brought him into the game. After a short detour where the businesswoman was convinced the poor innocent Italian sausage merchant was putting human meat into his produce, the group soon tracked the true villain - an evil Prussian vivisectionist - to his lair and convinced him of the error of his ways.
One of the players wanted to see how she could make her own character and soon produced a werewolf she could play in a future game.
So today I ran four games. I introduced at least ten new players to our hobby including two mums who, originally, were just there to watch. I call that a successful day.