GaryCon 2008, Berlin

A local convention, Burg Con was held from Saturday to Sunday, in a the former mansion of an eccentric architect, which resembles a rennaissance castle, brick-style.

On the second gaming slot on Saturday, prime-time, I DMed „Against the Giants“ with AD&D 1st Edition rules (because it’s GaryCon!). Five players showed up, and they quickly found a character to their liking from the ones Gary provided with the module.

One of the younger players approached the Greyhawk maps I had laid out for the mission briefing with great respect, saying they looked like irreplacable antiques. Two of the five never had played first Edition, one never had played D&D in any form. One of the others had his 1e Players Handbook with him, which turned out to be handy for spell selection and referencing.

My DM side-table. I used the Lazzaretti-version of the map, alongside the original module.

The adventure started with plans being discussed for how to approach the Giant problem. After some more character introduction, which was influenced by the names for the characters (Fonkin Hoodypeak was interpreted as Funkin‘ which lead to all kinds of awesomeness later on, sadly nobody took Gleep Wurp the Eyebiter ), it was decided that a diversionary raid at the Ogre wood collectors was the order of the day.

As no more firewood came in for the feast in the great hall , the giants investigated, and sent the Worg-Pack with their Master. Acting quickly, the players crossed the river while invisible by different means, and approached the Steading of the Hill Giants.

As the Worgs/Dire-Wolves were away, nobody noticed them sneaking into the Steading via the great courtyard. They examinded room after room very efficiently and carefully, and avoided any chance encounters. After some more sneaking and debating (while I kept rolling for Wandering Monsters, which didn’t happen!), the Thief acted. He put another pinch Dust of Disappearence upon him, and carefully opened the door to the Great Feasting Hall.

What he saw:

22 Hill Giants, 3 Stone Giants, 1 Cloud Giant, 8 Ogres, a chief, his wife and a bear.

He carefully put his head back behind the door, and made a rapport to the party. The debate of what to do now and how to do it took more than ten minutes, all the while standing in front of the Door to the Feasting Hall. I kept rolling for every minute in real time, but no chance encounters whatsoever!

A decision was made: Assault!

Full surprise was achieved, and the assault was commenced with a Blade Barrier by the St. Cuthbert Cleric. The Cleric got lucky and rolled some whopping 46 damage for the Blade Barrier, chopping up a good part of the Hill Giant Feast-participants. From that time on, the bets were off, and everything got pretty violent and gory.

Many Giants died to bring you this picture. „This is better than cinema!“ the younger player yelled.

The remaining Giants retaliated with their traditional chugging of rocks, which dealt enormous amounts of damage.
St. Cuthbert was asked for support again, and the cleric managed to set off an insect plague, which made visibility a problem for the Giants, forcing them into melee.

View from the opposite side, the Cloud Giant is clobbering the ranger, Fonkin got some boulders on his head, the chief is firing spears. Puddles of blood mark the gore created by the Blade Barrierization of 16 Hill Giants!

The Giantess raised the alarm, and tried to rally the troops and to organize the resistance. Her husband was in a frenzy firing spears from his giant crossbow at the ranger, whom he had chosen to die first. The Cloud Giant ambassador gently said „LEVITATE!“ and was hovering over the Blade Barrier to „EXTERMINATE!“ the cleric.

The Bear and some Ogres are desperately seeking to get out of the insect plague, but can’t because they are too stupid. The above picture also shows the clobbering of the Cleric, and the Chief-Wife rally. Reinforcements are already under way.

Finally, the Cloud Giant is slain, he falls into the Blade Barrier, and was ground beef afterwards. The Giantess has put the time to good use, and reinforcements have arrived.
That’s were the Fighter decided he had enough of those Giant Clowns, and charged right into the fray, leaving the badly wounded rest of the party behind him.

The Cleric followed him after he healed himself, and tried to keep pace with the Fighter-Butcher to let him participate in his circle of protection.

The fighter insisted on impaling one giant to ram the impaled victim into the group of giants behind him. His rolls backed up his plan.

After that, he got cocky and rammed the spear into the brains of a stone giant, jumped onto his corpse and started stabbing the rest of the giants from above. The Cleric tried to keep pace to ensure higher armor protection.

Outflanking force vs. lone Thief. An unfair battle: the Thief had a rope.

Meanwhile, the other party members healed and chucked the odd fireball or icestorm at the remaining giants, the ranger let loose volley after volley to kill the Chieftain with the Giant Crossbow. The still-invisible-Thief also set up traps for the group of giants that tried to outflank them. He made a hill giant stumble into the Blade Barrier, which was the moment the players declared the evening to have surpassed the yuckiness of „Braindead“.

The final rounds of the battle saw the Thief, Fonkin and the Ranger dish it out against the last giants. The Fighter called it a day, and let himself be healed by the Servant of St. Cuthbert, all the while commenting on the other characters fighting moves.

The feast-hall was covered in entrails, bone splinters shredded wood and mutilated bodies. The Steading of the Hill Giants was at the commadn of the players.
Sadly, there was no more time (because of the time slots at the con) to explore the dungeon beneath, which is full of negotiation, weird traps, political intrigue and a Cthuloid temple.

The final battle took us about 1h and 45 minutes counting from the first roll of initiative to the last. It was pretty fast moving, and nobody had to wait long for his turn. Reinforcements kept the Battle fluid and ever-changing, the Fighters endurance balanced out his lessened impact on the start of the battle. Blade Barriers are ugly and mean, I can tell you.
BTW, we didn’t really count squares except for spell ranges and effects. Movement was guesstimated, which oughta be okay for the one minute a turn scale.

Everyone had a great time.

Thank you Gary.

3 Gedanken zu „GaryCon 2008, Berlin

  1. That sounds like a rockin‘ good time! I’ve run G1 more times than I can remember and no party has ever shied away from assaulting the chief’s feasthall. There’s just something about that set-up that players take as a dare.

  2. Dude, you Germans must have some awesome places to game. I wish my group could game in an old eccentric’s mansion…You also appear to be well set-up with miniatures. Even the spell effect chits looked great!Oh, and this quote:„This is better than cinema!“ the younger player yelled.…warms the cockles of my grognard heart.Thanks for sharing your experience with all of us!

  3. The miniatures were of all kinds: the bulk of giant minis were different kinds of large brutish humanoids from the WotC-line. I borrowed 9 Minis from a friend. In addition I used minis from the D&D Boardgame, the old heroquest and form my own collection of tin minis. Missing stuff was represented by self-made counters.Special note is due for ultra-cheap plastic toys I used for the Giant chiefs. They also came with toy weapons and other stuff, whic I used as furniture (along with Playmobil Knight stuff).Sadly we didn’t go down to the treasure chamber: 4 kit-bashed manticores were waiting. I took some china-cheap-plastic-lions and fitted them with wings: voila! -> manticores.So alltogether I can say I drew on a lot of sources and wasn’t afraid to go down the silly route.

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