|A moment in the action...|
To begin at the beginning, two gentlemen are doing a project on the origins of role-playing games, and approached me about running a game session for them so that they could get the 'feel' of what we used to do back in Ye Olden Dayes. I needed to come up with a game that was fast, fun, easy to understand, and still managed to give the right sense of time and place for them. This is also not likely to develop into a continuing campaign, so this was going to be much more like a convention game or 'one-off' as we used to call them.
The basic premise is that we're back in Hekellu, when I was filling in as the Imperial Governor there, and news has come in of a mysterious ruin that could use some exploration. Normally, we'd have been off like a shot to have a look, but Imperial Governors have many calls on their time so I asked some of the local clans to send me some of their people to go have a look for me - basically, it's Phil's 'Lady Mnella of Jakalla' gambit, where an important personage gets some lower-level people to get their hands dirty. I gave the players some NPC mercenary guards - always happy to get the roughnecks out of town, says the Governor - and sent them off.
I reused the stack of PCs that I'd rolled up for the Gary Con game three years ago, and had the players select their own skills and such; we were using EPT, both for the speed and vintage flavor, and the group was up and running in half an hour. Off they went!
And promptly avoided all the red herrings and diversions I'd thoughtfully provided. I specifically loaded the game table with lots and lots of Significant Clues and Astonishing Distractions, and the players gave them a quick look and moved on; they stayed focussed on the objective of exploring the ruins and surviving. They ran up to the top of the stepped pyramid, took a look around, and were down in the Underworld in no time flat.
It reminded me of the Gary Con game, where the players moved quickly, quietly, and with purpose. These players did the same thing, and got through one of the traps very easily by simply being polite - I had a Nexus Point leading to the Garden of the Weeping Snows, and they didn't fall for it. They took a quick look, marked it for a future adventure, and got on with exploration. They did finally encounter the ruins' guardians, my long-serving Qol from The Tekumel Project, and quite a running fight developed with lots of sorcery being used on both sides. We are currently in the middle of the fight, with the players getting the better of my poor Qol.
Lots and lots of photos to come; this is just the introduction... :)