"More fun than 3.5" - Tom
"More terrifying than that OD&D game I played on the internet once" - Joe
"It's not cursed!" - Tim, about his sword (it's cursed)
Mission accomplished, I think. Monsters were stabbed, treasure was gathered, PCs were slain (sorry Joe), and fun was had. In eight hours of playing, the Dardantine Razors managed two expeditions into the dwarven ruins south of Deal with the aid of their trusty henchman (er, woman) Tormond and their pyrophobic war dog Monty. About an hour was spent before the game finalizing character sheets and hiring, followed by about two hours of adventuring for the first expedition, then an hour of pizza and dividing loot, three more hours of adventuring for the second expedition, and a final hour of more hiring and carousing (note to self - in future, roll once on the debauchery table, rather than once per 100 gold pieces spent. I think since the PCs decided they were going to bum around Deal for a week, I might have to spread those rolls out, because otherwise that was one hell of a night...). One thing that this timing analysis leads me to believe is that a 3-4 hour weeknight session is probably very viable, especially if hiring and purchasing is done via internet beforehand. This pleases me.
Other miscellaneous notes:
- Clerics and bladedancers may have the best saves except for craftpriests, but you wouldn't know it from the way Joe was rolling... On the other hand, turning undead turned a "We're screwed" encounter into an easy mop-up operation.
- Gelatinous cube paralysis lasts a long-ass time. Far too long for Joe's cleric to save himself from bleeding out.
- I was pleased with Tim's immediate response to "Well, you've lifted the portcullis, but it doesn't want to stay up." - "We nail it open with iron spikes!" Now if only they'd remembered to use the ten-foot poles on the gellycube pit trap...
- Reaction tables - with Diplomacy, +1 Cha, and no weapons drawn, sometimes the ogres are friendly. Likewise, sometimes the rodents of unusual size lurk around the edge of your torchlight, waiting for either an opportunity to attack or a reason to flee.
- Dungeon mapping - actually got Tim to map this session. He found it somewhat fun, I believe. I might be helping a bit much, but I have yet to develop a precise vocabulary for describing what they see in a mappable fashion. (See also this post from the future)
- Gridless combat - ye gods, why did we never do this before? Worked pretty well, I think.