Diary of a Gamer 7/25/2009

Posted by Labyrinthian in

Session 2 of my group's new Hackmaster game took place this past Thursday. The beginning of the night saw two new characters introduced. Josh, who's mage famously died last week introduced a new human mage. Though largely the same this new character distinguished himself by having a better spell selection and swearing less (no filthy mouth flaw). The other character, introduced by Christian, did have a filthy mouth, so there was no less profanity being used at the table. Christian's character, an Elven fighter immediately impressed everyone with his 14 hitpoints, and within five minutes had everyone at the table making bets about how long he would live.

After the first round of betting died down our GM got the game started. Our party had traveled from the village of View where the first adventure had taken place and come to a new city ravaged by a recent murder spree. This new city refused to admit us after dark so we were forced to wait outside until morning. Upon entering the city we secured lodging at the inn and met our new comrades. The meeting almost broke out into a bar room brawl when Christian's Elf, Kaliban, got a little too liberal with his language. Bryan's halfling thief (Lyell) took offense and threw his breakfast in his face. Fortunately the entire thing was resolved and everyone was ready to start fighting monsters instead of each other.

We began looking into the murders by meeting with Captain Flint (No, alas it was not the legendary pirate of Treasure Island fame) who explained how the murders had begun a few weeks ago and see a person killed every seven days. The original murder victims were the Burnett family and the Captain graciously offered to have one of his guardsmen show us where the victims were found.

The only clue we discovered at the murder scene was tracks leading off away from town. We followed those tracks to a cave and prepared for action. We didn't have long to wait, shortly after beginning our exploration of the cavern we were set upon by Spiders, Centipedes, and all other manner of vermin.

This brings me to one of the curiosities of the night. Already having one smoothly run HMB game under our belts you would think this night would run just as smooth if not more so, but this was not the case. Combats dragged certain rules needed to be looked up, and in general the game was slow and choppy. I believe that a good deal of the difference can be accounted to the new player at the table, but certainly there were other factors as well. I think I feel slow downs more acutely in a game of Hackmaster because one of the things I prize most about the system is its fluidity. Combats move naturally and realistically fast, things happen simultaneously, and generally every player is very active.

Things began to pick back up in the night's final battle, which was against two dwarf skeletons. This was a truly more dangerous encounter than any of us realized going in, partially because the skeletons were more potent opponents than we gave them credit for, and partially because we were misplaying the engagement rules for melee attacks. Essentially we were playing that any time an opponent faced a new enemy both got attacks against each other regardless of whether or not either were already engaged. This lead to a lot more attacks, and thus a lot more damage being handed out. My fighter, Gorman, had not been seriously threatened up until this point, but the skeletons certainly put him to the test. The first wound he took in the battle was for thirteen points of damage over his threshold of pain mark of eleven. Fortunately my dice were really serving me well that night and I made the check to stay on my feat. Despite surviving that wound Gorman was stuck a few other times and fell below ten hitpoints. I was forced to use the give ground combat option which added five to my defense roll. This turned out to be a crucial move as it probably saved Gorman's life. Thanks to that plus five bonus Gorman was able to block the blow with his shield. The seven points of damage the skeleton handed out were absorbed my his shield and his studded leather armor. Eventually we defeated the skeletons but it was a very close fight.

I learned two lessons in that fight...
1. Do not underestimate skeletons
2. Get a crushing weapon

Fortunately no one died as a result of our rules errors or our lack of proper weapon selection. The worst part? Christian's fighter lived... so I'm out five bucks.

This entry was posted on Saturday, July 25, 2009 at Saturday, July 25, 2009 and is filed under . You can follow any responses to this entry through the comments feed .


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