At the beginning of January we started a new campaign, and we’re using Labyrinth Lord. I hope my readers will forgive me for posting infrequently about this, and being a bit guarded when I do, but I believe a few of my players likely read this blog and I don’t want to spoil anything for them.
In fact, if you do want a synopsis of the game, check out BigFella’s blog. He’s one of my players, and to date has been really great about writing up some pretty detailed play session reports.
Let me talk about the game in some broad strokes though. First off, I was fairly inspired by James Maliszewski’s approach to story: basically make it up as you go along. I wanted a game that would grow organically. However, unlike the grognard, I’m not particularly taken with the idea of a megadungeon. I prefer sprawling wildernesses dotted with smaller locations and dungeons to one giant monolithic dungeon.
So I took as my starting point L1: The Secret of Bone Hill (don’t read it players!) It gives a nice starting town with a few things around and plenty of room to grow. And then, well, then I stopped planning and started playing. Sure, I was worried it would end up just a cut and dry running of that game. I was worried that eventually it would run out of material and I wouldn’t know what to do next. These things could still happen, but I suspect not.
I’ve found interesting little twists slowly getting introduced into the game that have nothing to do with the original text. Apparently the Inn of the Dying Minotaur is a medievel Bennigans, complete with chearful staff and overpriced food. Falco’s Tavern, on the other hand, is now named the Red Cask after the brightly painted cask behind the bar (drinks from which cost an extra sp), and is a dive full of itinerant workers and mercenaries. I’m especially enjoying playing Pelltar the Magician, who is certainly not your typical Gandalfian old grey-beard, but a lively gentleman with a wry sense of humor and a somewhat overbearing personality.
Flavor aside, more interesting is that I find my players often asking why. Why is there a secret underground beneath an old burnt out guard post? Why does the furniture and decoration in there have many hexagonal motifs? These questions are the ultimate spur to my creativity, as I find I had better well know the answers before the players start looking for them in earnest. Don’t worry players, I do! Though it certainly didn’t come from the text. In fact, even if they did read L1, they’d find no answers in there about who created that place or what became of them.
Obviously, everything is still very much in the early stages. I think we’ve had all of three or four sessions so far. The players are still all level 1, though the thief is mighty close to level 2. And most of all, I’m really enjoying playing. And that’s just what I’m doing. For last night’s session, I wrote up and printed out a letter to one of the PCs, but that’s pretty much all the prep work I’ve done so far. It’s fantastic.