Sunday, March 10, 2019

Moat House Ambush

I have been running a "weekly" game (effectively 2-3 times per month) with a group of six players, none of whom have played D&D before.

For the last couple sessions, they have been exploring the classic Gygax Moat House. I added this dungeon on to my map, mostly because it has a reputation for being one of the first adventures that people experienced when they picked up D&D back in the day. I took satisfaction in connecting my new players to that tradition but I didn't expect them to feel particular connection to D&D history.

Totally wrong. It surprised me, but my players LOVE knowing that they are adventuring in an original Gary dungeon (I had to explain who Gary Gygax was) written before any of them was born. When an encounter is hard, or they fall for a trap, they blame him, "Damn it, Gary!" It's super great.

The response has been really cool.

A few notes on running the Moat House:

  • I gave my players a printout of the above picture. They used the detail in the drawing to drive their strategy (i.e. sneaking along the small bit of ground along the wall and scrambling in through the broken tower). It definitely helped my novice players strategize and engage with the world.
  • I am using Daniel's excellent annotated maps to run the adventure. So helpful, I plan to replicate them for other adventures. 
  • A few of my players have stared listening to actual play podcasts (Adventure Zone, Critical Role) and when things come up that they know about from their shows (i.e. Klarg the Bugbear) they get super excited.
  • I am texting out Gifs, to show players what monsters look like. Fun for me, and they enjoy the strange crap I find. Also the pics maybe make them scarier? 
Gnolls. So gross.
Favorite Encounters: 
  • When the ground floor bandits fled, Cordelia the druid turned into a spider and crawled under the locked door they had retreated through. While itsy-bitsy, she discovered the secret staircase down into the basement.
  • Bugbears! I don't use any Tolkien-y monsters/races in my campaign but I left the bugbears in this module. They came up on a wandering monster check and successfully sneak-attacked the party rogue, dropping him instantly, leading to a tense fight. Super fun. 
    • Reading the bugbear lore, and noticing that they are sneaky made them interesting to me. Big angry brute hulks = boring. Big, silent hulks creeping up in the dark... scary. 

Also a bugbear?

Next session is Tuesday!