The Camping Trip - Part 2: Day One

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Day one saw most of us arriving late. James, Mike, Josh and myself all drove up together but didn't get there until after 8pm. Once there we spent the first hour augmenting the camp that Christian and his friend Nathaniel (who joined us on the trip) had already set up. Soon after Josh's tent went up Bryan arrived. Minus some problems with traffic and general lateness, the entire group made it without much problem.

We spent some time just catching up and hanging out before busting out our gear and getting down to the real reason we were there, Gaming. Everyone's characters were done, save Nathaniel's who still had some work to do. He and I finalized his fighter while the others laid out there gear and got cozy around the fire.

We opened the game during a small feast celebration in the character's home town of Ashvale. Sir William, the Knight who lived in the keep at the town's center had killed a wild boar and brought it back to roast for the townsfolk as a last hurah before winter. This celebration was mostly for the PCs to begin interacting with one another and with the NPCs in the town in a casual manner. Each sort of did their own thing. Christian's character Doran spent most of the celebration bemoaning the sinful way that everyone was spending their time. Josh's character, Farley, spent his time wooing one of the town's buxom young women in scandalise fashion. The other PC's action fell somewhere in between, and overall it was a good introduction.

The next few days passed fairly uneventfully as the PCs went about aiding the town in bringing in the critical fall harvest before winter. The first big event was when Sir William unexpectedly returned to the forest for another hunt. Several more days passed without his return, but eventually his horse did return to town. The PCs gathered their gear and entered the woods to find him. Lou, Nathaniel's character, thankfully took tracking and was able to follow the horses trail back to the clearing where the Knight and his squire still lay on the ground. A black bear was investigating the two men when the party entered and though they attempted to drive it off the bear attacked them.

The fight against the bear was very easy for the PCs. There were seven of them and only one bear, so they were able to quickly surround it and pummel it to the ground. I want to make some notes on the mechanics of HMB here. First, it is obvious to me that the mechanics of the game are at their very best when the party is opposed by a single foe. This fight took no time at all, and was amazingly fluid because everyone, including me, was controlling a single combatant. I'm sure that an experienced HMB GM can juggle many monsters at a time, but this being my first time I found it difficult. The second observation I would like to make is that some of the rules are just hard in general for new players to swallow. They were hard for me, and they were hard for Nathaniel whose first HMB game this was. I mention it in connection with this fight because one thing that was hard for Nathaniel to grasp was that he could be hit even on a miss because he was using a shield. There is a great side bar on page 111 that I pointed him to and I think it helped clear things up for him a bit, but I don't know that he ever really appreciated the rule. Shields in general were hard to him to handle since they are handled so differently in HMB than in other games that he is used to playing. For my part I love the shield rules. We use the AHM rule that a miss by more than 10 is a miss even if one is wielding a shield, so there are times that a miss is truly a miss even against a shield opponent. For me Hackmaster is the first game to really give the shield its due. Shields were by all account absolutely vital in combat yet D&D they are only worth a +2 (as much as leather armor) and in HM4 they were even worse. So like I said, I really like the rules, they just take some getting used to.

Back to the game.

After the party dragged Sir William and his squire back to town (along with the bear carcass) they did everything they could to revive them. They summoned Father Ellis who ran the town's church but he was unable to do anything. They were not able to revive the Knight until the following day when Doran's magic did what herbs and ointments could not. The Knight claimed he had no recollection of how he had fallen or anything leading up to it. Though Father Ellis suggested that the blow to the head could have caused him to forget the party remained suspicious.

We broke there with it being almost 3am and bitterly cold. My sleeping bag was warm, but my nose was freezing!

This entry was posted on Thursday, September 24, 2009 at Thursday, September 24, 2009 and is filed under , , . You can follow any responses to this entry through the comments feed .

1 comments

HackOrk  

Great blog. Sounds like a fun trip. Interesting to see how HMb is working for you.

Keep it up.

September 24, 2009 at 9:19 PM

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