Tuesday nights are normally my Dungeon Crawl Classics game night with my online group. Between a vacation for one member of the group and school/finals for another it seemed best to take a two week break from the DCC game. But for the rest of us, we decided to step into the early depths of Barrowmaze for a two week break.
I’ve posted a bit about Barrowmaze here at The Iron Tavern before. Last summer I ran parts of it with the Swords & Wizardry ruleset. Regular readers know I am a big fan of Swords & Wizardry and post about it semi-frequently here. Iron Tavern Press even uses the S&W ruleset as its default rules assumption.
But for this Barrowmaze Delve we will be using Labyrinth Lord. The biggest reason is that a lot of the folks playing already use the Labyrinth Lord ruleset in other games. Their familiarity will let me focus more on the game than on the rules.
Others will notice I released a Labyrinth Lord conversion sheet for Kajak’s Kave. So I thought a little more time with the ruleset could be beneficial if I decide to convert some of the other Iron Tavern Press products to LL as well.
So what does one do when they decide to run Barrowmaze about 5 days before game time? Since I’ve read and run it before, a lot of the heavy lifting was done. I just needed to be sure my resources were close at hand and I would have the information at my fingertips. I typically don’t prep a whole lot for games, but I do like to have what notes and resources I do need easily accessible.
First, I needed to re-read the LL rules. Now I started on Moldvay, so LL is an easy fit for me. But I gave the rulebook another read so I had the rules more clearly in my mind and so I could look up rules if I needed to.
Part of this phase also involved started a Barrowmaze Delve info sheet to help my players know which optional rules we’d be using and which we wouldn’t. Nothing major here – no AEC, just the main LL book. Max hit points at 1st level, group initiative, variable weapon damage, and morale checks when I remember them!
Speaking of which – I did grab a Labyrinth Lord screen. It was for the AEC rules, but a few small tweaks and it was good to go. The biggest thing I wanted on hand as the Attack tables and Saving Throw charts. We are using descending AC as written. It has been a long time since I’ve run something with descending AC!
I tend to use index cards a lot when running a game. They make great name displays for face-to-face games, handy for not passing, NPC characteristics, and even session notes. The prep on this front was primarily gathering up my spare index card holder, making sure I had my different colored cards, and pre-labeling one for rooms explored, so I know which rooms need re-stocked. I still need to make up a few initiative cards, but that will likely happen as the hangout launches.
I had already read most of Barrowmaze and run some of the early portions of it. I re-read the unique characteristics of Barrowmaze. A few of these items made it to my notes on the folder to remind me of them when I run.
Then of course I read the early sections of it, where they are most likely to go first just to have those sections fresh in my head.
I will be using G+ Hangouts and Roll20. While I don’t use minis when I run online, I do like to have a map for some form of context (though I am tempted to have them map it out, but that takes so much time). So I bought the map pack and then loaded up Gimp to make a Player version of the map to use in Roll20. Now I have a version where the secret doors and trap indicators have been removed. I also split the into two sections to keep things snappy in Roll20.
In addition, since this is only a two week session, I modified a map the party of adventurers will have that help guide them to the main entrance of Barrowmaze. In a longer campaign I wouldn’t do this, but I want to see them get to things quickly – so this modified map they will find in character will help facilitate that.
In the info document I shared with the players already, I also included a map of the starting town, Helix, and listed a couple of places in town. Some of this is so their characters can have a bit of relevant background. And also so we can jump right into the game.
And that is how I prepped for a Barrowmaze Delve. We shall see how it works out, but I think I have things positioned well for a great two weeks of gaming before we return to our DCC campaign!