Tonight, my son and four of his friends became the first players in my new campaign world. We’re using the original LBBs as the basic ruleset, with the addition of some house rules and a modified zero level funnel (idea courtesy of the OSR Blogosphere and Dungeon Crawl Classics). Each player created five zero-level characters for the game. For each character, they rolled on the Occupation Table (a modified table based on the table of the same name from the Dungeon Crawl Classics Quick Start Guide) to get their original occupation, a weapon and an extra item. They then rolled 1d6 for gold, 3d6 for silver, and 5d6 for copper. After that, they named each character and picked their alignment. No other stats were generated. Each character started with -500 experience points.
In order to choose a class, they’ll have to survive long enough to earn 500 experience points, and test each of their primary attributes in some way.
Here was our initial cast of characters:
L’s characters included a grave digger named Grimm, a minstrel named Bardzz, a scribe named Penn, an herbalist named Baisil, and a prisoner named Cage.
M created a cutpurse named Vriska, an outlaw named Caliborn, a wizard’s apprentice named Roxy, and two hunters, named Dave and John.
J’s characters were a ditchdigger named Ash, two scribes named Jak and Joey, a locksmith named Mordecai, and a cutpurse named Daxter.
V created a pair of sewermen named James and John, an alchemist named Bellatrix, a minstrel named Angara, and an orphan named (of course) Annie.
G had a cutpurse named Richard, a hunter called Robin, a Minstrel named Justin, Rose the herbalist and Pinky the jester.
After character creation, play started as the Feast in Milburn Hall ran down. After most of the crowd had gone to bed, Pyotr stood, and told them he knew they were not the type put up with years of indentured servitude. “The Master,” he said, “would accept payment of 70 gold each to void their contracts,” and he explained that there was work to be done and treasure to be found in the surrounding areas.
In the morning, Pyotr showed the characters their first and only mandatory task: The main door to Milburn Hall was blocked from the outside, and needed to be cleared. The characters decided to climb from an outside balcony down to the front of the Hall, then clear the obstruction and open the door. Those characters involved needed to do dexterity checks, so first had to roll their dexterity. Those who failed had to roll their constitution and hit points. Ash the ditchdigger slipped from the rope, and fell backward onto the logs blocking the door, breaking his back and dying instantly. Mordecai the locksmith, Joey the scribe and the outlaw Caliborn also fell to their deaths. Strength checks were needed as the survivors cleared away the rocks and logs blocking the door. After finally opening the main doors, the players decided to work both on clearing the field of brambles surrounding the hall, and exploring the paths that led through it. Giant rats were encountered several times in the maze, and when a path led underground, several characters crawled blindly into the tunnel. Vriska the cutpurse was clubbed by an unknown assailant in the pitch black tunnel, and dragged out only to die later from her wounds. It turned out the tunnel was inhabited by kobolds, which they learned only after killing one and retrieving the body.
Tiring of the brambles and tunnels, the party finally decided to set out for one of the nearby villages. On the way, they encountered (but avoided) a party of five orcs. After several hours of hiking, they found an abandoned village. They explored 15 houses, a few of which had their doors blocked from the outside, and the rest their doors torn down and their doorframes shattered. One of the houses had a basement containing a stone coffin. Opening it, they found a richly dressed corpse wearing a necklace. Cage the prisoner reached in to remove the necklace, only to have the corpse sit up, reach out, and strangle him before anyone else could react. They managed to cut off its head, then pulled the corpse out of the coffin and laid Cage to rest in it instead. The necklace had a red gem surrounded by a silver medallion, and seemed rather valuable… so they took it.
The game ended there… five characters lost during about 4 hours of play, and none reaching first level. Feedback at the table was favorable, both about how much they preferred the simpler rules over the 4e most of them learned on, and on the zero level concept. Looking forward to playing again Sunday!