Sunday, March 22, 2009

S&W, Session 6

One of our players was a no show today, which is unfortunate. We lost two hirelings, one to a trapped door that we didn't check, and one in combat against a monster that was designed with the Random Esoteric Creature Generator.

I have three thoughts from today's session:

1. The sleep spell is so damned useful that a 1st level magic-user or elf is really sort of foolish if he doesn't memorize it. It has saved our bacon repeatedly. No saving throw and 4d4 monsters are instantly put down and may be captured or killed at the party's leisure. I believe there are rules sets where it is only 2d4, and I know it doesn't work against undead or anything with 4+ hit dice, but I'd say its head and shoulders above charm person and magic missile in terms of sheer utility. I wouldn't dream of toning this spell down, because several times it has turned a random encounter of a dozen monsters from a TPK-in-waiting to a fair fight.

2. Checking for traps in every hallway and on every door and wall and unusual dungeon feature is an intelligent way to play; it is also occasionally tedious. Okay, so we've checked every single door we've found, and the one we don't check kills a hireling. We also cannot move down a hallway without 10' poles or polearms tapping every square inch of floor. It know it's supposed to be old school and everything, but at some point is it reasonable to assume that the guy with the pole is checking the floor, and that we check a new door? I like the game, but occasionally I do tire of saying "the guy in front checks the floor" for the 14th time in an afternoon.

3. There is no shame in running and/or hiding from an encounter when the wandering monster tables serve up a red dragon or a band of trolls to a party of mostly first level characters. Our party is rapidly becoming squeamish about traveling outside of towns.

Also, the game was moving in the direction of a Swords & Wizardry/Labyrinth Lord hybrid. However, the last two sessions we haven't touched LL. I think we're becoming more comfortable with winging most things, as S&W is far more rules lite. One thing I don't dig, however, is that S&W doesn't seem to have any polearms, and I arm my hired fighting men with nothing but polearms.

Edit: How could I forget? I also saved vs. poison. (Successfully, thank goodness)


  1. In answer to number two, we always established a standard procedure for travel and doors and both sides agreed that under normal conditions this would be followed without declaring all the actions involved each time. It speeds up play but still allows the dice to affect the party's fate.

  2. Sleep is a bit ridiculous. I once had a DM refuse to let me have it for that reason :-/

    The DM should expedite things like standard door checking and the specific procedures for traveling in 'explore mode', once it's established that the players aren't being lax. Making the players restate it every time smacks a little of a gotcha!

  3. I think next week I'm going to ask him if I can create a "standard door procedure" and "standard hallway procedure," with conditions that break us out of standard procedure. He did meet me halfway during session 6 on increasing movement speed through an area that we had already mapped and traversed several times.