Saturday Night Baron Fight

Saturday Nights Baron Fights

Deep Background

3 months ago I was gearing up to throw away or sell all my rpgs and just play war games. My wife mentions to a local priest, at after mass donuts, that I play role-playing games. The priest mentions he'd like to play sometime to see what it was all about. I hesitatingly agree and recruit one other guy at the table (turns out he's a political science professor). Neither of them had played before.

Background

The last two sessions have involved a pre-written module from one of the 0e/1e knock-off companies. It was easy, required no prep and was honestly lazy on my part. To make the world less boring I added in that a local baron, Baron Cooper needed them to go to a dungeon to get a healing artifact on a different baron's land (Baron Hedgewig). He'd have sent his own forces, but didn't want to start a feud. The two barons children were supposed to marry, but their men started a fight instead of arranging a dowry transfer.

Two sessions of dungeoning have taught The Priest, The Professor and my wife the rudiments of the game. I didn't expect it to last past the first session, but now I needed to plan a 3rd session. (We had a visiting seminarian in the 2nd session.) The PCs are flush with money from the last dungeon and have a treasure map labeled "The Caverns of Crystal Treasure".

PCs

My wife:

Priest:

Professor:

Seminarian:

Day of the Adventure

I can't bring myself to read the module. It's boring, but luckily it is presented as bullet points so requires no preparation. I decide to try some #brosr techniques. I spend a few minutes thinking about the two barons. So I flesh them out to 1/2 a printed page each. They both secretly want the marriage to go through. Agents of the king have indicated, in secret, to each that two barons are too many for the small territory. Instead of prepping the module I pray and read some of the bible. I also brush up on the Man-to-Man rules from Chainmail. Go watch Mr. Wargaming demo this system here The Joy of Wargaming: Chainmail: Man 2 Man. It is fast and easy and accurate. The only change I made is, if the soldiers score a hit on a PC they do 1d6 damage instead of instant kill. Basically normal fighting men get insta-killed by any hit because they have 1 hp, PCs get their normal hp and hits count as regular sword hits in Chainmail.

Each baron has to keep more fighting men on staff then is ideal. I inserted a vague orc threat here.

When everyone shows up I explain, "We're going to try something a little different tonight. It's a more advanced type of play that only works if they people playing have a certain level of emotional maturity..."

Here is a link to the info sheets the players were given on the barons, each player got just the part referring to their own baron. Hedgewig and Cooper

The Setup

Everyone got a few minutes to mull over their faction's decisions before meeting privately with me.

The Decisions

Discussion and voting.

The Saturday Night Baron Fight

On very short notice Baron Cooper mustered 19 (15+1d20) of his fighting men, 10 in leather with shield, 9 with chainmail all armed with swords and the 5 PCs. Baron Cooper stayed home.

After two guards died, one finally raised the alarm for Baron Hedgewig. Due to surprise Hedgewig's men were only able to grab shields and swords. Baron Hedgewig was able to muster a surprising 20 (12+2d10) fighting men from the barracks to meet the surprise attack. Baron Hedgewig and the head of his forces Sir Chancelot also took to the field as Hedgewig's 2nd in command.

Baron Cooper (played by the Professor) appointed Sir Chancelot as Head Orc Hunter as a show of goodwill.

End of the battle

Chainmail Man-to-Man

Silver markers (Chainmail and Sword) and Purple Markers (Leather, Shield and Sword) are Cooper's fighting men. Magenta markers are Hedgewig's men (Shield and Sword), Hedgewig lies dead behind Sir Chancelot. The PCs are all miniatures. (Had to reconstruct the scene a little as some of it had been cleaned up before the picture). Fighting men fought two to a square.

The Aftermath

So the PCs get a house, the marriage goes through and everyone goes back to the dungeon next session?

NO!

Baron Hedgewig's son Anders is still gone for a month. The Priest has hatched a plan for the PCs to double cross Baron Cooper, go kill the "Dragon of Forinwood" (which no one thinks is a real dragon) and then publicly have their party member the Saminarian (Paladin styled as a Samurai, played by the Seminarian in the prior session) claim Baron Cooper's daughter. Undoubtedly this will make Baron Cooper, Baron Cooper's daughter, Anders and possibly the king very grumpy. And who knows what the other local barons will think of these new developments.

What did I learn

1) No one cares about the dungeon if there is anything even faintly interesting anywhere else. Even if the dungeon is almost labeled, "huge shiny treasure here".

2) Chainmail Man-to-Man combat is easy, quick, and great for small scale fights (there were ~20 fighting men on each side and the battle took about 20 minutes to resolve).

3) The person most reluctant to pursue the #warpg (wargame first + rpg second -> #warpg) at first was also the one who at the end of the session was already plotting a reason NOT TO GO IN THE DUNGEON next week. The Priest doesn't have a twitter that I know of and might not want to be publicly outed, but in his 3rd session of RPGs already seems to have met the #ElitePCchallenge.

4) I zero prepped back in the 90s playing 2nd edition, went down all the bad rabbit holes for 2 DECADES I CAN NEVER GET BACK and my prep time was better spent reading two pages of Chainmail rules and the bible than another boring module.

5) This worked out with only 3 players, none of which had any lengthy experience with wargames or RPGs. You can do this too. #warpg forever!

How do you do this thing?

Watch these videos to understand:

The Joy of Wargaming: You Can Win At RPGs Playlist This is Dunder Moose:Why RPGs are Fake, Broken and Dumb This is Dunder Moose:What's wrong with your favorite Battle Braunstein?

There are lots of other things to read and videos to watch, but these are the ones I've watched so far and they will reference a world of other resources.

Thank the people in the #brosr who brought this too you. Even if you don't like them. Especially if you don't like them.