Sessions report from the open table B/X-BECMI-OD&D-mix game played on a gaming weekend at a 900 year old castle with minimal internet access and spotty telephone reception.
Elfo the Elf (the BECMI-player) and Mira the Fighter (backstory: Esmeralda, but gets violent when called that) assembled a party of Dietrich the Thief, two chaotic Clerics (NVH of Baal, Kazu of Anubis, who both picked whips as their main weapons), a “Sniper” (the young player insisted on having a rifle, and I said okay and handled it as a longbow), and Murtagh the Magic User (spell: Sleep) to go west into the wild forests to the pyramid of Saresu, rumored to be filled to the brim with riches.
The implied setting was a faux-Mesoamerica-ish with slightly more northerly flora & fauna, with classic Aztec pyramids and hundreds of foreign adventurers swarming the land. The native inhabitants of this land were goblins who lived in small communities out in the wilderness.
Finding a marching order was the first cause of in-game-arguments, because everyone wanted to be in the middle. Mira stepped up to take point and the Elf took the rearguard, and that remained the group M.O., to put the best fighters in front and back.
First day of travel, no encounters. Night rest in three watches. And right at the first watch, blink dogs showed up and stalked the camp. “Blink dogs!” called Elfo, the meta-knowledge person. As an elf, he had insisted that the party made no fire, because he did not want to spoil his nightsight. With blink dogs active, he waked the sleepers and allowed them to light lanterns, but he went forward into the woods to keep the light far behind him.
Bad luck: two blink dogs targeted him as the lone guy in the dark, and took him down! The most experienced D&D player, got shafted right in the first encounter. That was a great wake-up call for the others, who took combat super seriously now.
The clerics kept the blink dogs at bay with their whips, trying to keep them from mauling the fallen comrade. The sniper rolled a 1 and his rifle jammed. The thief got attacked by blink dogs twice as well, but dodged them, and Mira stepped to him to protect him. They managed to wound three of the blink dogs, and the dogs decided this game was too hard to take. They grabbed fallen Elfo and dragged the body away into the forest.
The player quickly rolled up a Thief with horrible stats, except for DEX 16, and as Mira wandered out into the forest in the hope of finding tracks of the blink dogs, she stumbled across the new Thief, Adrian Blackwater, who had lost his own party and the way, and only now saw the lantern light. He joined the party, and the rest of the night passed quietly.
The next day they tracked through the wilderness again, this time huddled together more closely and wary of the dangers of the forest, but reached the pyramid by nightfall. It was a big, partly overgrown Aztec-type building with a tent city of about 150 tents all around it. The two thieves snuck in to learn things and found out that the camp was led by one “Faxo the Great”, who ran a tight ship with his enforcers and clerics, and who took 25% of every deal in the camp. There was rebellious opposition in the form of Gelbo the hobbit and his friends. But most importantly, they all had failed to get into the pyramid so far!
However, there was a black obsidian pyramid two hours south of here, run by another such boss called Hrolki Skullbreaker. Farther west, just past the Snake Rocks was the Pit of Nightmares with several smaller dungeons, and west of that the Wild Hills, where a “Murder Goat” lived and terrorized.
Goblins were a problem, because they tended to ambush adventurers. For every goblin head there was a reward of 1 gold piece. (They tried to haggle that up to 10, or at least 5, but that was a hard pass: nobody wanted them to go full time goblin-hunting, it was just a price that Faxo had decided to pay) For the head of the Murder Goat, there was reward of 1000 gold pieces. (This quickly spawned the idea to just kill a random goat and sell its head for 1000 on the claim of it being the murder goat — alas, further inquiry led to the impression that the murder goat seemed to be quite a bit bigger than other goats, and slightly demonic.) The thieves also used the opportunity to steal rations and money from tents in the camp, and did that successfully. We see: Trending towards chaotic.
Meanwhile, Mira felt that waiting out in the dark was dumb, so she had the team set up the tents in free spot. They were welcomed warmly by three fighters, who demanded 10 gold pieces for the privilege of setting up camp here in the abode of Faxo the Great. The party weighed their chances of fighting them about the money, but figured, especially in light of Elfo’s quick death, that 10 gold were not worth death, and paid.
They scouted out how easy it would be to assassinate Faxo but figured it was too risky. Then they went to sleep with no XP! (I ruled that stealing from fellow adventurers would yield the stolen goods as profit, but no XP. There was no treasure found, and the blink dogs had, factually, won.)
It was already late, and the players dispersed and went to sleep, chatting about the game and making plans for the next day.