New Campaign: OD&D Set in the Wilderlands of High Fantasy
The Swords & Wizardry/Microlite74 campaign I’ve been running since early in the year (some 17 sessions) last Sunday. My players had looked through The Gray Book the previous weekend and told me then that they might want to convert the campaign to OD&D. What I wasn’t expected was three of their friends deciding they were interested in playing as well — provided I would allow thieves and set the campaign in the old Judges Guild Wilderlands of High Fantasy.
After some email discussion of this late last week, we decided that our Sunday session would be a chance for me to meet their friends and discuss starting a new campaign. Between this discussion and Sunday, one of the three potential new players learned that OD&D — despite many comments to the contrary online since the release of fourth edition — is not a tactical miniatures game and decided that it was not for him.
All five regular players and the two new potential players showed up Sunday. The new players had already heard about what I expect from players behavior-wise and what type of campaigns I run, so my player info sheet wasn’t a surprise to them. We decided to start a OD&D campaign set in the Wilderlands of High Fantasy with the new players on “probation” for their first few games to make sure they fit in.
After a lot of discussion, we decided the campaign would start in Thunderhold with the players heading toward the City-State of the Invincible Overlord with a few adventures along the way. This was a compromise as some of the player really wanted to start in the city-state, but I think it is more fun for the characters to start elsewhere and discover the city-state for the first time as their players do — especially when none of the players know much about the City-State.
We agreed to use OD&D with most of the additional classes and rules from the supplements (a la the Gray Book). Initiative would be a simple d6 roll on both sides not the complex DEX-based initiative rules used by Holmes and The Gray Book. I added a few minor house rules and warned them that more would be introduced with time. Everyone heartily approved my max hit points at first level house rule.
Next came character generation. We ended up with the following PCs:
Grimaxe, a dwarf fighter who favors axes.
Zal Green, a human ranger who favors bows.
Henry Knot, a human fighter who favors swords.
Rose, a human thief who was making a living as a dancing girl/pickpocket
Father Anthony, a human cleric of Thoth
Ian, a human mage
Farsinger, an elven fighter/magic-user
The players decided that they all knew Grimaxe and that he had persuaded them to travel with him to the city-state where he hoped to get his axe enchanted to slay goblins. Rose knew a courtesan from the city-state who had been stranded in Thunderhold when her lover was killed in a drunken fight over a crooked game of cards and convinced her to hire the party to escort her back to the city-state safely. The pay isn’t much, but as they are going that way anyway, they decided they might as well take the job. As they went around Thunderhold buying things they thing they will need for their trip and trying to find a few men-at-arms they can hire cheaply to provide some extra muscle, they occasionally noticed that some strange shimmering in the air was following them. Next week, the campaign proper starts with the characters beginning their journey to the City-State of the Invincible Overlord.
I’m really looking forward to this new campaign. It’s been a long time since I’ve ran a campaign in the Wilderlands of High Fantasy or used the City-State of the Invincible Overlord. This should be fun.