Thursday, October 25, 2012

Dungeon! The 2012 Reprint: A Review

I picked up the new reprint of Dungeon! earlier this week.  I have only played the game once before this. It is a very simple game and I remember the rules well enough that I feel like I can make a fair comparison.  I think in some ways is compare very favorably with the old one and in some ways it is better.  For the nostalgia factor, the old one wins hands down.  The art on the old printings is a little more DIY looking and the cards look like they were hand stamped and cut in Gary's basement (though they weren't).  This one is more polished and the counters included in the game make set up and clean up much faster than with the original game.  The board also has the table to tell you what happens when the monsters take a whack at your character, making reference back to the rules a rare occurrence.  

I played this evening with my 7 year old daughter and we had a great time with it.  Dungeon! definitely delivers on the fun factor.  Nearly 40 minutes after the game was over she was still telling her mom about the trouble we had with the green slime.  So, yes, we like it.  At $20 retail price for the game, you can't go wrong.

The box, board and components are well constructed though won't stand up to much abuse.  The characters are printed card stock standees.  They are not a heavy card stock.  As long as the person handling them are not rough then they should be fine.  The treasure and monster cards are the same weight as the standees but should handle years of use.  The board and box are very sturdy.  The whole package is fairly small, making it a decent game to throw in a suit case for pick up game at a convention or similar venue.  

Most of the differences between this reprint and the earlier printings are cosmetic.  The art on the standees, monster and treasure cards are in line with Type IV D&D standards.  While not my favorite game art, my 7 year old daughter liked it well enough.  The original game had very little art and what art it did have was rough line art.  The board set up in the original game had you putting cards for monsters and treasure in each room.  When you entered a room and defeated the monster, you discarded the monster card and took the treasure card.  The new version has you making stacks of cards for each level.  When you enter the room, you take the top card from the stack, defeat the monster, take a card from the top of the treasure stack and leave a counter in the room telling you that the monster was defeated.  It also has a set of markers so you can that a room has a revealed monster or treasure that a defeated adventurer dropped, without having a lot cards cluttering up the play surface.

The rules are basically the same and the play is, as far as I can tell, identical to the original.  One thing is for sure.  The game does not reward being hard headed about a monster you have to roll high to beat.  It also does not reward being fool hardy.  I took my wizard straight to level six without collecting any magic items on lower levels where the monsters were less tough.  That was a mistake and I got trounced early on.  I also had a series of bad dice rolls that were hard to come back from.  You might do OK in this game with a bit of bad strategy OR bad dice rolling but if you suffer from both, you can get into trouble.  My daughter played a conservative game, keeping her cleric in levels 2 and 3 most of the time and made it back to the dungeon entrance with the required amount of loot before I could come up with a third of what I needed.  She loved it.   This is a fantastic way to introduce the little ones to the concept of dungeon crawling without burdening them down with a character sheet a lots of decisions to make.  It is a straight forward game and a lot of fun.

A few other bonus's is that it can be played with up to 8 players.  I wouldn't want to play with eight 2nd graders but a few kids and several adults would be fine.  There are also suggestions for how to play the game as a solitaire style game. All in all, I have to say this is a $20 well spent and I highly recommend it.  I put a even higher recommendation on it for anyone looking for a fun family game to play with kids.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Fun and Games In the Aftermath of Societal Collapse

The group that plays at my house is three sessions into a new Swords and Wizardry Complete campaign.  I have been compiling and tinkering with materials for the setting for some time.  Here are some of the ideas that have been built into the setting.

- The "world" is a lot of islands.  Most are no bigger than Crete or Sardinia, though a few are the size of New Zealand.

- The characters come into the world about 150 years after a major societal collapse 

-The societal collapse is caused by a number of factors including: crop failures bring about famine, violent internal societal strife between important politically connected people, pestilence and barbarians dealing the coups de gras.  Behind it all are the demons of Chaos using guile to corrupt the rulers over a period of centuries which weakens the rule of Law.

- The barbarians stomp the rulers weakened by internal strife, famine and disease.  They kill anyone that stands in their way, enslave women and children, carry off any thing of worth that will fit on their boats and sail off to their home lands.  This goes on, with the barbarians making repeat trips, until all that is left is a smoking pile of rubble and a few survivors.

- There were no civilizations preceding this one.  This culture invented civilization though they did a bang up job of it...right up until the Chaos demons started teaching the rulers how to party in a proper sword and sorcery style.  Once the purple lotus powder and pleasure slaves displaced that dour discipline of the lords of Law things slowly went down hill. 

- Prior to the collapse, political and financial power was concentrated into a small number of hands.  Nearly everyone was either a ruler or little more than a slave.  The only people falling in between were merchants, mercenaries, criminals and the lowest in the religious hierarchy.

- When the collapse happened, the ruling class was completely wiped out along with a very small number of religious authorities... leaving merchants, mercenaries and criminals to exploit everyone and everything around them expanding the collective misery of everyone.

-The population contracts down to less than 10% of what it was before.

- The weak figure out they are on their own and band together into small communities for mutual protection.  Everyone fights everyone for the bits of whats left and what can be salvaged together.

- 150 years go by and while life sucks it seems to be stabilizing.  Scavengers (adventurers) are starting to explore the ruins that were abandoned only a century ago to bring back anything that might be useful to the small cluster of civilization that has survived.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Dungeon! to be released October 16th

Wizards of the Coast announced last spring that they would be producing a reprint of the classic board game first published by TSR in 1975.  This was particularly exciting to me since I had recently had the great honor of playing the game with its creator giving suggestions and rules clarifications at Gary Con IV back in March.  I reserved a copy this evening at my FLGS and from the photo off of WoTC's web page, it looks pretty cool.  I'm looking forward to playing this with my daughter.  She's just the right age for this sort of game to be somewhat challenging for her but not claw my own eyes out boring that games like Mouse Trap are.  The price seems very reasonable as well.

Friday, August 24, 2012

ACKs at the Mythos- Session 5: Kill More! Kill More!

The Characters:

Kiri- 1st Level Shaman + Her wolf pup and her henchmen Rothdred and Gax
Glocken- 1st Level Dwarven Craft Priestess

The session began back in the town of Helix with Kiri haggling at Adil's Mercantile with her two henchmen and her wolf pup.  Adil, the proprietor was trying to convince Kiri that she should trade her "dog" to for the hammer, pry bar, torches and other dungeon bashing supplies she was purchasing.  As they haggled, a Dwarf craft priestess entered to mercantile.  Dwarf folk are rare in Helix and a craft priestess skilled in the forging of weapons even more so.  The curious dwarf inquired as to why the shaman of a race of horse nomads would need such tools. The shaman explained that the undead walked in a chaos tainted place south of the town of Helix that required the skills of clergy such as herself to in order to be cleansed.  The dwarf considered this and thought perhaps that some relics of dwarves craft may be found in such a place which could be recovered.  She introduced herself as Glocken the craft priestess and offered to join the shaman on her journey into the Barrowmaze.  Glad to have the company, Kiri accepted and the pair prepared to enter the catacombs below the barrow moor.

The two adventurers and their hirelings travelled to the barrow moors and entered the central mound where they lowered themselves down into the dungeon.  The shaman wished to find out if her companion Aria had perhaps survived the day and a half of entombment in the silent Barrowmaze.  The dwarf and one of Kiri's henchmen went to work on the stone door that Aria was trapped behind.  After a considerable amount of toil, and a great deal of noise, the party was able to bash down the door to reveal seven skeletons ready to give battle.  The party was quickly pressed with the dwarf priestess being battered in the first round of attacks.  The party counter attacked successfully and Glocken's religious faith drove back the foul undead.  The henchmen gave chase and destroyed the abominations. Kiri's wolf pup happily gnawed the femur he had snatched from one of the undead skeletons whilst the rest of the party looked to the disposition of the blade dancer and the henchman Grub.

It was immediately apparent that Kiri's old companions were dead.  The corpses were beaten and smashed into an unrecognizable pulp by the skeletons.  The party salvaged what gear, coins and weapons they could.  The remains of their fellow adventurers were scraped up and the party returned to Helix.  Cremation of the remains was accomplished though firewood is dear here on the plains of the eastern borderlands.  Kiri was aware that Grub was the village idiot in Helix and sought to find any relatives he might have.  She found out that Grub's mother was his last living relative and lived in a hovel on the edge of town.  After seeing the squaller in which Grub's mother lived, Kiri gave the wretched woman what was owed to Grub plus a bit of a kicker.  Grub's momma, who thought her son would never amount to much, was pleased to have the coin.  Kiri's henchmen thought that was very classy and felt a little better about their employer, even though she smells like a horse blanket.

After a three days rest, some resupply, the party found there weren't very many available hirelings in Helix.  The only one available was an unlikely lad named Hilmar.  At first, Glocken misunderstood the boy's mumbling and thought his name was "Killmore."  "Killmore" she felt was a far more fitting name for a henchman than Hilmar and "Killmore" was what she called him from that point forward. Feeling it was likely they would meet further resistance in the Barrowmaze, they decided to make a trip to the refugee camp of Kuurmi and see if they could hire a few more fellows.  The trip was without incident and they made it to the old barracks where a number of mercenaries, brigands and unsavory sorts were staying.  She found two simple spearmen, who happened to be twins looking for jobs.  With the new hirelings, "Heave" and "Ho" the party returned to the Barrowmaze passing through Helix on the way.

Returning to the section of the dungeon that Kiri and her party had previously been searching, the party wondered why a small room and seemingly empty room was enclosed by a portcullis.  With the combined strength of the party, they were able to bend one of the bars enough to squeeze through. Glocken carefully searched the room but found nothing.  The party then returned to see if Glocken's faith could deal with the frightening phantasm that had frightened them on their earlier exploration of the crypts.

Glocken entered the chilly room and watched as the phantom rose from the disturbed bones of the crypts lone occupant.  She withstood the phantom's aura of fear and attempted to communicate with it but failed.  Noticing a strange stone tablet on the floor she picked it up and tried to read the script.  The letters turned into a swirl of chaotic signs and symbols that she struggled to withstand.  Her mind was able to hang on and she broke free from the curse bound up in the tablet.  The phantom receded back into the bones and the crypt was silent once again.

Seeing no need to linger in this part of the dungeon decided to move on. Just as they were departing, the party came across some ravenous rabid rats of uncommon size.  The horrible beasts attacked the party and most were dispatched quickly.  One of the rats was rather quick and avoided the blades of the adventurers.  Leaping through the air, the vile rodent lept up and latched onto the throat of the poor henchman Hilmar.  Failing to avoid the creature, Hilmar desperately attempted to fight off the beast but not before it punctured a major blood vessel in his neck and leapt to attack another of his companions. Blooded geysered from the wound and it was clear that Hilmar was going to die.  The other henchmen hardened their resolve and took up the call, "Kill More! Kill More!"  Slaying the last of the rats they briefly mourned their loss and headed back to town.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

ACKs At the Mythos Session 4: Aria Sings Her Last

Here is an actual play report from the most recent game at Modern Myths in Northampton, MA on Tuesday August,  7th.


Aria- 1st level Bladedancer with her henchmen Gax and Rothdred
Konrad- a wry 1st level Mage with his henchman Meddric
Kiri- 1st level shaman with her wolf and a henchman named Grub

Kiri and Aria had been to the Barrowmaze in their previous adventure and were nursing Kiri's poor wounded wolf cub in the crappy border town of Helix.  Aria was able to make a little money to keep them fed from singing in the tavern and doing her blade dance for the amusement of the animal handlers from the caravans.  The pup's eye healed up and the party had rested.  A new guy in town, running from the political purges in Zarbala happened to be a mage named Konrad.  Having no other prospects and looking for some coin, Konrad agreed to join Aria and Kiri on their next voyage into the Barrowmaze.

Feeling that the Barrowmaze's monsters were beyond their ability to fend off, the party decided to hire some henchmen.  The party spent some coin in town to get the word out and this resulted in four who were willing to travel into the moors.  The party successfully hired the four of them.  All were poorly armed and armored excepting the very large village idiot Grub.  He had somehow come into the ownership of a suit of mail and a shield. Konrad the Elementalist gave very specific instructions to his henchman Meddric.  Meddric was to protect Konrad at all costs, including his own life, and paid Meddric an extra two gold a week plus a 2 gold bonus for every undead Meddric could destroy.

Early the next morning, the party trekked overland to the entrance of the Barrowmaze and descended without a problem.  They checked one of the rooms that they had already explored and then turned up a northerly route they had not yet explored.  Stopping at the door of a room, the party checked for traps and found none.  Successfully opening the door, Aria and Grub stepped through and set off a trap that caused a large stone door to slide down and separate them from the rest of the party.  Immediately following that, seven skeletons came in from an adjacent room and slew Aria and Grub.  The rest of the party, unable to discern what was going on beyond the stone door had to turn around.  There was no way to open the door because Aria had the party's pry bar.

Trying to find a passage that went around in order to rescue their friends, the party went up another passage heading in the same general direction.  The passage did not lead them to Aria and Grub, but to a dusty hallway with three different crypts and another room with a portcullis blocking entry.  The first room held some skeletal remains and some ominous graffiti telling the reader to beware the tentacle beast. The second room had a locked door.  The door to the third room was smashed in and the skeletal remains of a man were laying on a slab.  Upon entering the room and checking out the corpse, Gax the former henchman and now PC saw some form of incorporeal undead, dropped his hand ax and ran for it.  Kiri felt it was important to retrieve the ax because they needed it to bash down the second door.  She too fled the fearful creature. Konrad attempted to grab the ax and dash out again and was successful.  The party decided that they needed to check out the second door and since their attempts to force it open were unsuccessful, decided that Gax should bash it down with his axe.

Two turns later, the door was down and a very surprised spider dropped from the ceiling of the room to be bashed into paste by Gax.  The party found a small pile of electrum coins and went back to the door to see if Aria or her corpse could be recovered.  Sadly the party had only one tool that could have opened the door and it was on Aria's corpse.  Hearing from scuttling from further down the hall behind them.  Konrad and his henchman Meddric (whom he called Metric) saw a group of fire beetles that weren't particularly interested in the party.  With time running out, the party decided to return to Helix to end the session.

Friday, July 27, 2012

Death By ACKs

I've run three sessions of ACKs and so far my favorite sub-system in the game are the rules for dying.  The "Mortal Wounds" table would work well in any old school game.  I've seen several versions of a "death and dying" table in the various OSR blogs but I find this one to be my favorite.

The basic mechanic is this; when a character's hit points go to zero the character is then incapacitated.  When another PC checks that character the judge checks the chart for modifiers that take into account how far below zero hit points the character has gone, the amount of time after taking the wound has elapsed, the character's constitution modifier and the type of healing received. The judge then rolls a d20 and a d6.  The judge applies the various modifiers to the d20 roll and looks on the chart to determine of the character is dead or wounded.  The chart also tells the judge just how wounded the character is and the d6 roll determines the exact result of that wound.  In some cases the wound is fatal and there is little or nothing left of the corpse to be restored.  In other cases, the character has only taken a minor wound and will be back in action after a period of rest.

Most of the results require several days to several weeks of bed rest and will leave the character with permanent scars, lost limbs and negative dice modifiers.  This result accomplishes several things.  It allows combat to have a broader set of consequences.  A player knows that if his character goes to zero it means something bad is likely to happen.  In AD&D, hitting zero doesn't mean a lot if you have a cleric or a healing potion on hand.  -10 means death but there are few consequences for going below zero and surviving.  In ACKs, the consequences can be quite harsh. This encourages players to think and practice caution before going into a potentially dangerous situation.  At the same time, zero hit points doesn't necessarily mean the character is dead. In several old school games, zero is dead, end of story.  This system allows characters to survive but leaves the player with a reminder.

These reminders allow for interesting role playing opportunities and thus interesting characters.  A character that has one eye or an arm missing is going to draw attention.  Now perhaps the character is known as "lefty" or "One Eyed Jack" in the ale houses of the city.  The character may need to get a prosthetic (Hand of Vecna anyone?) or may go looking for some sort of magical restoration to make themselves whole again.  Each session so far, has resulted in a henchman or PC being knocked below 0 and the results have been gnarly in some cases. One character was scalped, another lamed and a pet belonging to a shaman lost an eye. The player reactions are a mixture of dismay that their character now has some disability and excited that combat now has a consequence that is more than death or life.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Taking ACKs for a Test Drive

I started an ACKs campaign a few Tuesdays ago at Modern Myths in Northampton, MA.  It took a bit to get our momentum but everyone had a good time.

We spent more time than I had planned doing character creation.  This was mainly because I decided to let the players play any character class they wanted from the core book and and the Player's Companion draft that Autarch has made available to Kickstarter contributors. Choice always slows things down.  Once they made their decisions about character class, it wasn't long before they were finished with their characters.

The characters had fled from a in the city state of Zarbala and met up as fellow refugees.  For several thousand years the city was run by an elected official selected by a group of the city's leaders.  The Doge of the city is elected for life and wields nearly absolute power.  Unfortunately, this particular Doge was a necromancer and has managed to live for about 450 years longer than anyone expected.  From time to time, he uses his various spies, minions and magical means to purge anyone who might be of danger to him.  He does this Stalin style with nighttime disappearances, rewarding and encouraging informers and mass killings.

The characters being part of the "dangerous people" category were forced to flee and found themselves in a refugee camp on the borderlands.  The region has some scattered farming villages, bandits that extort tolls from passing caravans, ancient ruins, beastmen, nomads, chaos abominations and other opportunities for homicidal transients. Deciding they would go check out a ruined manor rumored to have a gobln infestation, the party travelled overland.  They got about half way there when they were attacked by some bandits in the middle of the night.  The guy on watch was taken by surprise but did manage to survive the first round of attacks and wake the rest of the party.  In the end, two henchmen died and one of the PC's went down after a single blow.  The PC did manage to survive but his roll on the "mortal wounds" table left him with a scalped head and a week's worth of bed rest.

It was a fun evening and I"m looking forward to the next installment next week.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

ACKs Campaign Description

Life is hard in the border lands of Zarbala. The stink of the nomads and their camels. Stale water and iron rations to eat. Rubbish and dung every where. Beastmen raiding the camp. Mercenaries drunk on the horrible green liquor called "Goblin Water", telling the same stories over and over. Thrassians picking fights out of boredom. Pestilence running rampant. Cadaver men scratching at the palisade after dark, searching for flesh. Slavers snatching the able bodied from their bedrolls. None of that is quite so bad as the sanctimonious rebels seeking a way to destroy the Doge and bring a new age of freedom and equality for all. Replacing his corruption with their own, more likely. 

The Doge of Zarbala is purging his city of all perceived threats to his rule. Anyone who has the means is getting out of the city and heading for what ever safe haven they can find outside the Doge's reach. So much gold in the ancient and corrupt city there is for those who can win it! A stable of gladiators, selling slaves in the slave market, wine from the south, lotus from the east and the sword arm of the mercenary are all for sale in the greatest of the ancient cities. When the Doge's lust for the blood of his rivals has been sated, you may return without fear of being caught up in the slaughter. Then! Then there will be wine, pleasure slaves and glory! For now, there may be wealth to be gained here amongst the ruins of the Durian empire. 

Long did the Durians rule over these lands. Zabala is the last of their ancient cities. The rest were destroyed by nomads, rivals to the south and the west, internal strife, plague and decadence. Perhaps not all of the treasure of the ancient world were carried away by barbarians and beastmen. It is said that lurking in the ancient ruins are abominations of Chaos, ancient dragons and warlocks seeking the true names of demons. What treasures are they hoarding away! Nearby, caravans from the east bring their rich haul to the Azure Sea. Some do not make it and are slain and pillaged by beastmen. That wealth can be won back with the bite of an axe! Old barrow mounds hold treasures for those who have gone to the afterlife. The dead cannot spend their coins. That wealth could buy many skins of wine while waiting for the passing of the Doge's fury.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Adventurer Conquerer King At Modern Myths in Northampton, MA

Starting on May 15th,  I will be Game Mastering at Modern Myths at 34 Bridge St, Northampton on the 1st and 3rd Tuesday of the month from 7PM until 10 PM.  The Mythos Room is in an upstairs space in the same building as the Modern Myths store but can't be reached through the store itself.  The door to the room is on the right hand side of the building.  The game will be a drop in/ drop out style where players can come as often as they like.  

The campaign will include the more usual sorts of monsters and foes that don't make an appearance in my home campaign such as orcs, goblins, ogres and the like.  There will also be the occasional surprising critter to keep everyone on their toes.  There will be a mix of dungeon and wilderness exploration and urban hijinks.  Playable races will include humans, elves and dwarves.  There are a few other human offshoots that are part of a current play test for the publisher that you may be interested in trying out.   There are a wide variety of character classes available to play.  To give you an idea of just how much variety I will list them here.  Cleric, Fighter, Mage, Thief, assassin, Explorer, Paladin, Bladedancer (a female cleric that uses swords as her only weapon),  Dwarven Vaultguard (dwarven fighter type),  Elven Spellsword (elven fighter priest), Dwarven Craft Priest (dwarven smith and cleric), Dwarven Fury (dwarven barbarian that wears no armor and has special abilities that are activated with magic tattoos), Dwarven Machinist (builds fantasy steampunk automatons),  Warlock (sort of a dark wizard with some nasty spell choices), Witch, Shaman (proficiencies and spells are similar to a druid), Barbarian,  Zaharan Ruinguard (human of ancient stock that also has some magic abilities), Nobiris Wonderworker (human of ancient noble stock that is a cleric/wizard),  Mystic (kind of like the Bene Gesserit from Dune).   There are also rules to create new character classes offering potential for even more options.  

The Adventurer Conquerer King System was published through a successful Kickstarter Campaign by the start up company Autarch. The underlying basis for ACKS is the Basic/Expert box sets published by TSR in 1981 and edited by Tom Moldvay and Dave "Zeb" Cook.  The system has been "modernized" by making Armor Class ascending, a very smooth proficiency system and most everything is a D20 roll high mechanism.  The magic system is similar to old D&D but instead of memorizing spells each day, a character can cast a certain number of spells from their repertoire of spells (which is limited).  Fighters have a cool cleaving ability allowing high level characters to kill as many mooks as the player has levels in a single round.  Character creation is simple and fast.  Task resolution is quick and easy to learn.  Various tools for game masters have been created to make city adventuring more consistent and easy to adjudicate.  There are also rules for arbitrage trading, managing strongholds securing domains and hiring mercenaries that are far easier to handle than many of the older editions of D&D.  I've been using them in my AD&D campaign and like them so far.   I played three sessions with the designers of the game at a convention recently with low, middle and high level characters.  It was about as smooth a set of games as I've ever played.  I'm very impressed by what they have done. 

Friday, May 4, 2012

JiffyCon Game Day 2012

I went to a small game day at Modern Myths in Northampton, MA last weekend.  Jiffy Con is a small event that focuses on indie story games.  The Pioneer Valley region of Massachusetts has a concentration of indie story game designers and publishers.  They get together a few times a year to put on a mini convention.

The event was held in the upstairs gaming space at Modern Myths.  Modern Myths, is in my opinion, the best shop in area for RPGs.  We have a number of game shops in the area and each carries most categories of games.  Each one seems to specialize in a particular genre of games.  Modern Myths is the best one for RPGs carrying all the most popular games and a wide variety of indie games.  I have picked up a lot of out of print games and modules at reasonable prices and in good condition.  Modern Myths is also the best comic shop in the area.

I decided that what an indie game convention needed was a retro-clone so I signed up to GM. I ran a Swords and Wizardry hex crawl with a few dungeons as possible encounters thrown in.  Having never been to any of the Jiffy Con events, I was somewhat unsure how something like that would go over.  I was pleasantly surprised to find out that several people I talked to at the con were familiar with what was going on with old school gaming and several had played Lamentations of the Flame Princess: Weird Fantasy Roleplaying.  I did get to GM for a group that was made up mostly of people who never played D&D or any of its variants.

There were three little girls that came to the event.  My game was the only one which was child friendly at all so they signed up for my game.  I'm a stay at home dad and participate in various programs at the school my daughter goes to.  I'm used to working with children so it wasn't too hard to adjust my plans.  The set up was that the party had been hired by high level adventurers going on a dungeon delve.  The PC's job was to guard the base camp, hirelings and extra gear.  Their employers entered the crypt of certain demi-liche but never returned.  After a week, the hirelings decided they'd waited as long as they could and the food was running out.  The party was to lead the group back to civilization and sell off what ever extra gear their employers had left behind.

The party of three little ones and three adults were aggressive in dealing with the monsters they encountered.  "Retreat" was definitely not in the vocabulary of the girls.  Intuitively, they looted their slain foes much to the amusement of the adults in the party.  I thought it was interesting that these girls who had no previous exposure to the game were figuring out some of the standard operating methods of old hands without any prompting at all.  The only instance where they ran away was when they came across a hobgoblin lair with over 100 of the nasty beasts present.

Their aggressive tactics led to a few close calls. Some well timed heal spells from one of the adults playing a cleric kept them from being wiped out.  One of the girls was playing a 3rd level wizard who made the most consistent attack and damage rolls of the group.  Once her daily allotment of magic missile spells was gone, she went to work with her staff and hitting as often as most of the party's fighter types.  I kept things moving along and letting the girls roll dice as often as I could manage.  Brief but colorful descriptions of the action kept them focused and interested.

Those little gals were as adventurous as any pulp fantasy barbarian ever was.  They were a lot of fun to have at the table and were asking for more when the session was over.  It was a bit of a heartbreaker to turn them down but felt good to hear one of them declare, "Mom!  I killed a hobgoblin!"

In the afternoon I played a reprint of the Tom Jolly classic board game "Wiz War."  Fantasy Flight has put together a nice version of the game with quality components.  I had never played the game before but found it to be very enjoyable. Fortunes can change very quickly in Wiz War.  One player who is close to winning can get mopped up in a few turns if his opponents play the right combination of spells.  Another player who appears to be lagging can win if no one is paying attention.

I met some very nice people at the convention.  I plan on coming back next year.  It is worth checking out if you are in the area and have the time.