In my last post, I talked about the "Dungeon GUILD" game I was starting with my family by marrying the GUILD: Sword & Magic for Hire rules by Disaster Tourism with the Wyrd Dungeon rules by Happy Jak Games. This was pretty easy to do because the 2 games share DNA in the Wyrd Engine (also by Disaster Tourism). On Sunday, we finally got the game to the table. We had to make a few changes, but it was a pretty rousing success; everyone had a good time (or at least said they did) and we managed to play a short game session that delivered on the things we planned to deliver on in a concise, tight format where the only person who got bored at all was the 3-year-old.
I mean really, we all knew that was going to happen, right?
My son & I had already made characters, but some changes between the early rules draft and the final game meant we had to move a couple of details around, but no big deal. One of my favorite changes from the early draft we had been using and the release version of GUILD: your motivation for joining the titular GUILD provides you with a unique situational benefit. We managed to stack these benefits in a very useful way. For example, my daughter's character was motivated by loot, so every time she opened a chest, it had 2 additional gold coins in it. Since we had predetermined that each encounter had a chest containing 1 gp worth of treasure at its end, this tripled the output of dungeon, which worked out really well. The other benefits (when we remembered to use them) were just as useful and we loved them. It felt like a good balance to have 2 people (my wife and me) motivated by Guts (and getting a bonus to our first attack roll every combat), 1 by Gold, and one more by Glory (faster in-GUILD leveling).
My favorite part of character creation, though, was when the kids came up with their characters' spells. Neither my wife nor I had rolled spellcaster-y types, but both of the kiddos did. Our 7-year-old son had previously invented the spells "Bloody Dreams" (a very gory sleep spell that causes gory nightmares) and "Fingergun" (no explanation necessary), whereas the three-year-old invented "Big Hugs" (provides the target with hug armor and my daughter goes to give you a hug, so, like, be seriously jealous of the recipient of Big Hugs) and "Sparkle Razzle Dazzle" (which didn't do much, but hearing her say "Sparkle Razzle Dazzle" was worth the price of admission.
In the end, our characters were a joyful mishmash of cruddy goofs who we did our best to kill off.
I wanted game play to be very loose for Dungeon GUILD. Really, I didn't want to push too many of the heavy RP elements of a lot of the games that I play as I've previously found these are a big turn off for the way my son approaches gaming. Rather than insist on a "one true way," I figured it was a lot better idea to meet him where he lives, so instead I decided to make the game feel like a lot of the games he's played and enjoyed. This meant that Dungeon GUILD was going to end up more Minecraft Dungeon than my beloved BX and I was going to just have to be okay with it.
To facilitate play, we used dry-erase maps and minis (Reaper Dungeon Denizens were perfect for this experience!) and a dice tray to keep errant dice under control. Teaching my son how to read a d6 as a d3 or any even-sided die as a d2 took a moment, but he was on board by the end. The one thing that complicated play was the occasional necessity to recalculate Aptitude. Aptitude is your Loadout (how much gear you carry) minus your relevant Attribute (Might, Agility or Mind) and this total is added to your d20 roll when accomplishing things. For starting characters, this means that most of your Aptitudes will be positive and apply as a penalty. Every time your Loadout changes -- which is to say, every time you change your gear, either gaining something new or losing something old -- your Aptitudes are likely to change.
Thankfully, my wife and I were the only people who faced that problem, but it might have been a little clunky for the boyo to manage.
I had created the first level of our procedurally-generated dungeon last Wednesday, using the generators and rubrics found in Jeff's amazing Wyrd Dungeon. Jeff has created a seriously good series of tables and general principles for procedurally-generating a dungeon that that's all the Dungeon GUILD game is going to be: level after level of p-gen dungeon. I determined what would be in the dungeon level using Wyrd Dungeon and I was very happy with the results. There were a few things that we left unwritten in those rules, however, and I found my own solution: Ld3-L; which is to say "roll a number of d3s equal to the dungeon level, then subtract the dungeon level from the total." This gives a neat little curve where the median of the range is the dungeon level (in this case, "1"), "0" is a real option but so, too are relatively large amounts. I used this dice expression to decide how many Traps were present on the dungeon level, how many treasures, etc. Everything that Jeff's rules didn't expressly tell me how many times I should use, I used this rubric.
The first level of our p-gen dungeon is The Cave of the Forgotten and the Dungeon GUILDers mission was to find the golden dog statue (was the dog forgotten? Just its statue? If I ever write this up, this would be worth exploring) at the end of the level as well as the stairs down to Level 2. I treated this dungeon as more of a railroad-ish point crawl (since the goal is just to find the treasure and get to the next level, I didn't need to worry about properly Jaquaying the dungeon), but that's in line with the more video-game-esque play style that we were going for. None of the factions that I had rolled up have any presence in the Cave of the Forgotten, but we did face sickly zombies, a wandering undead knight, some secretive kobolds and an ancient battered living statue.
Somehow, despite our best efforts, we all survived to delve again.
On Wednesday, it'll be time to design dungeon level 2, hopefully in advance of a Father's Day gaming session.
Joesky Tax: The Psychic Orb Trap for Wyrd Dungeon & GUILD
As the adventurers begin to draw close to the room, they feel as much as hear a sickening, metallic humming at the base of their own skulls. The humming shoots lances of pain like fault lines up the adventurers' necks, into their brains, making it impossible to concentrate. Make a successful Average test to drive the humming -- really, a buzzing now, and getting much louder -- out of your brain before -- IT JUST KEEPS GETTING WORSE -- you start having trouble paying attention to things and even -- OMG WHY WON'T IT JUST SHUT UP -- make it hard to do any -- //SCREAMS// //AGONY// -- thing. Adventurers who fail the test subtract 1d3 from any dice rolls for damage or degree (such as rolls based on Essence).
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