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9/06/2019 7:10 am  #1


First Session Zero - feedback (long)

So last night I had my first session zero with ASSH. I do one on one session zeroes to help give the player a robust background and set up. 

My player Lazlow has played with me a good bit over the past few years in 5th edition and is a remarkable role player. He was very excited to see this system in motion after he watched the video I posted on my channel. 

We opted to use the 2d6+6 option for stats and to roll them straight. So first roll would be his strength and second his dexterity etc. 

We rolled his stats and he we ended up with were something like
Str 14
Dex 13
Con 18
Int 10
Wis 17
Cha 8 

Going through all of the character classes he was debating between monk and cleric. Then we flipped back and he saw barbarian. He stated that since he got a +1 to mind control resist because of his wisdom it would go well with the resist of the barbarian and go with the distrust of sorcerers. He started getting this idea of an "anti-mage" or 'mage-killer". 

He then rolled randomly on his back ground and race. Viking - Miner. As soon as he rolled Viking his eyes lit up and he looked over at me and said, 'Oh yea! Viking Barbarian it is!". 

Using the awesome name generator I found in the resource page on this site he rolled randomly and thus was born, Hallvardr Sigbiarner. 

At this point he was totally sold on the game and we haven't even started yet. He loved all the tables and the world intrigued him. Not being very familiar with Howard, Lovecraft or Smith didn't phase him. He saw it as a new world to discover. I started talking to him about Hyperborea and how it was in orbit around Saturn. I showed him the daylight calendar and the how each year was different. He asked if I had decided when the game would start which I hadn't yet. He wanted to roll randomly for it so we did. Our game begins in the year of the Mammoth in the second week on the 3rd day of the 8th month. (All random) 

I wanted to run a quick solo session with him and capture some tidbits of Hyperborea. I used the trusted trope of escaping from a slave ship. I told him how he had been an oarsman for the last 2 years after his clan was captured by a rival tribe of kelts. The strong were sold into slavery. He and two others escaped when the ship hit some rocks during a storm. They swam to the shore and then dashed toward freedom. (feat of constitution) 

After fighting off an esquimaux zombie they found some basic gear at a fishing hut and then continued on their way. Hallvardr spotted some wolf tracks and used his tracking ability to hunt them. He followed the pair of wolves to a cave where he stalked and killed them. I got to introduce him to phased combat and using the chart I found on the forums we easily navigated the encounter. We absolutely loved how initiative was dynamic and the different phases showed a lot of potential for future encounters. I also introduced him to advanced combat options. He was wielding two daggers at this point and he opted to use one as a parrying dagger in combat. 

The cave ended up being a lost tomb of some sorts. His keen intellect deduced very little other than it was shelter and now they had food in the wolf meat that he just procured. One of his companions roamed the cave and found a sarcophagus. Hallvardr checked for traps before opening it.

(Now he didn't have that skill so I just gave him a 1:6 chance to find anything. Could this have been done differently or better?)

Failing the roll he opened the sarcophagus and had to roll avoidance from a poison trap which he thankfully passed. Inside he found a skeleton knight holding a two handed sword and wearing some armor. He donned the armor lifted the sword and cracked the manacle off his ankle. 

We stopped there. 

Now I know I ripped a lot of that from Conan but he loved it. He left excited about his character and the world that lays before him. 

The bonus victory here is that he asked what Conan stories he should read which I immediately sent him a Robert Howard reading list. A new convert! 

 

 

9/06/2019 8:48 am  #2


Re: First Session Zero - feedback (long)

Glad to hear it went well!

 

9/06/2019 9:00 am  #3


Re: First Session Zero - feedback (long)

Thanks for the tips!

     Thread Starter
 

9/06/2019 4:35 pm  #4


Re: First Session Zero - feedback (long)

Great start! I hope there are many more to come. Cheers!


Astonishing Swordsmen & Sorcerers of Hyperborea - A Role-Playing Game of Swords, Sorcery, and Weird Fantasy
 

9/06/2019 8:15 pm  #5


Re: First Session Zero - feedback (long)

RollingWithAdvantage wrote:

The cave ended up being a lost tomb of some sorts. His keen intellect deduced very little other than it was shelter and now they had food in the wolf meat that he just procured. One of his companions roamed the cave and found a sarcophagus. Hallvardr checked for traps before opening it.

(Now he didn't have that skill so I just gave him a 1:6 chance to find anything. Could this have been done differently or better?)

That's probably how I would have done it, too: the Non-Standard Task Resolution (some chance in 6, based on Ref judgment and circumstances) is a powerful, broad system. I might also have simply said "no chance, infringes on a class ability", unless they specifically stated *how* they were checking for traps.


"My own concepts in this regard are easy and clear, and I am sure that the word 'simplistic' will be used by my critics. These folk are callow and turgid of intellect; I am reassured by their howls and yelps."
Jack Vance, The Face
 

9/07/2019 6:54 am  #6


Re: First Session Zero - feedback (long)

Sounds like a lot of fun! Thanks for sharing. 


Blackadder23: Insanely long villain soliloquy, then "Your action?"
BORGO'S PLAYER: I shoot him in the face
 

9/07/2019 12:10 pm  #7


Re: First Session Zero - feedback (long)

Sounds like a blast! You obviously did everything right because you were the Referee!!  Like to hear bout new player experiences.


“How can I wear the harness of toil
And sweat at the daily round,
While in my soul forever
The drums of Pictdom sound?” 
 

9/09/2019 10:14 pm  #8


Re: First Session Zero - feedback (long)

RollingWithAdvantage wrote:

. He left excited about his character and the world that lays before him.  

That's about the best praise a DM can get. I think you were wise to take inspiration from R.E.H. and craft a solid two-fisted yarn to hook your player. 

I think you're doing it right by feeding your player small easily digestable bites of exposition. It's a strange world with lots of things that differentiate it from high fantasy Tolkien-derivative kitsch; it's easy to overwhelm players with fascinating details!

 

9/10/2019 1:22 pm  #9


Re: First Session Zero - feedback (long)

Brock Savage wrote:

That's about the best praise a DM can get

Agreed!

 

9/10/2019 7:09 pm  #10


Re: First Session Zero - feedback (long)

Excellent! https://cdn.boardhost.com/emoticons/smile.png

If I may, I would like to suggest a couple of resources I created to make the referee's job easier. The first is random encounter tables for every area in Hyperborea:

http://www.mediafire.com/file/upzcor7vty783p6/Hyperborean_Encounter_Tables_II_Bookmarked.pdf/file

And the other is an easy method for instantly creating first level characters:

http://www.mediafire.com/file/9k7jidxz70f7oz3/Waifs_of_the_Boreas_2_Bookmarked.pdf/file

(I feel a little weird breaking into your thread this way, but everyone always tells me, "I wish I'd found these sooner...") https://cdn.boardhost.com/emoticons/embarrassed.png

Last edited by Blackadder23 (9/10/2019 7:18 pm)


Michael Sipe 1979-2018
Rest in peace, brother.
 

9/10/2019 9:29 pm  #11


Re: First Session Zero - feedback (long)

Funny; I can still only roll stats in the "proper" order:
Str
Int
Wis
Dex
Con
Chr

And for my D&D derived games, this shall remain the case, though I'm not above adding comeliness for AD&D if it's on the character sheet....

Last edited by Spider of Leng (9/10/2019 9:29 pm)


"Behind closed eyes,realize your sight."--Blue Oyster Cult
 

9/10/2019 10:28 pm  #12


Re: First Session Zero - feedback (long)

Spider of Leng wrote:

Funny; I can still only roll stats in the "proper" order:
Str
Int
Wis
Dex
Con
Chr

And for my D&D derived games, this shall remain the case, though I'm not above adding comeliness for AD&D if it's on the character sheet....

LOL!!

I've got it even worse - Original Order:
Str
Int
Wis
Con
Dex
Chr


3d6 straight.
 

9/11/2019 7:11 am  #13


Re: First Session Zero - feedback (long)

Following two separate session zeroes, this was our first full game. To start I decided to keep the party at just two players while we learn the system. Our players are running a common folk assassin named Fenn and a Viking barbarian named Hallvardr, who showed up ready with an amazing Swedish accent.

In their session zero games I helped them develop backstories that led them to both being slaves on a ship serving as oarmen. I played a little mini game with each of them on how they escaped during a storm in which the boat hit some rocks off the coast.In this game they find each other along with two other surviving former slaves. I wanted to capture a true swords and sorcery vibe for this game as one of my players had played a lot of D&D but only the newer editions. My other player is an old vet like me and for him it was a matter getting back into the way it used to be (and probably should be )

The first part of the game was them scavanging for clothes and makeshift weapons. We played a lot with survival and I had them hunt, fish and focus on just surviving the elements.After they had scavenged a few things they began to move into the wilds where after a day or so they came across some footprints on the beach. The barbarian was able to pick up the tracks and follow them into the night. They came across a party of kelts camping near the shore.The next scene witnessed a brutal assassination and the murdering of five kelts. The violence was intense and I really tried to emphasize the gore of their actions. I wanted the barbarian to feel glorious in the carnage as he was bathed in the blood of his victims. The assassin's ability to instantly kill in this system is amazingly good.

Now that they have some weapons, armor and supplies they camp for the night and begin to head inland. They are still unsure exactly where they are in Hyperborea.After a few days travel they pick up the sign of dust being kicked up in the distance. They quickly deduce that there are riders in the distance. They spend hours trying to catch up to them with little luck. Eventually they push through the night and come across a valley. In the valley they come across 5 bandits on horseback raiding a caravan. They rush in to attack the bandits and take them out.At this point we were really getting used to the combat system in ASSH and the players were figuring out the tactices of phased combat.

They save the caravan and are invited by their leader, Tychon, to feast with them. The emaciated former slaves quickly jump at the opportunity to eat, drink and partake of the feast. They are bathed groomed and "taken care of" by the ladies of the caravan.
The next morning they awake to see everyone gathered around the table as Tychon prays to Yog and another bountiful feast appears before them. Everyone dives in to eat but our players look at each other and suspect something is wrong. The barbarian playing to his class feature of distrusting magic is very angry that he wasn't told of the magical nature of the food the night before.Tychon apologizes and tries to assure Fenn and Hallvardr that he meant no ill will. He simply asks that they travel with them for another day to help protect them against future raiders. They hope to sell the wares to a merchant at a meeting point he refers to as the crossroads.

They spend most of the next day talking with the women they met and trying to figure out more about the nature of the business that Tychon is up to. They reach the crossroads and set up camp. Again they have a mighty feast which my players refuse.

That night as they sleep they are awakened by voices in the dark. Just outside the tent they can hear Tychon talking to someone. They quietly don their armor and weapons and sneak outside. They see a wagon has arrived and standing next to the wagon is a giant 7.5 foot white minotaur. They are spotted and chaos ensues.

They overhear a conversation just before combat starts that a second minotaur was negotiating the price of the manflesh that Tychon had brought him. The entire caravan was poisoned and unconscious from the feast the night before. 

Our players manage to narrowly defeat the minotaurs but not before our barbarian was dropped to exactly zero hitpoints. In this system if you are at zero you can regain consciousness if someone gives you spirits to drink. It fell to his turn next and he asked if he could make a extraordinary feat of constitution to drink from his wineskin before he passes out. It was such good flavor for the character I decided to let him make the roll. Which of course he made. The players erupted in joy as the barbarian saved himself with wine. Our assassin finished off the last minotaur and they decided to leave camp immediately.

The barbarian struggled to mount a horse and rode off hunched over clinging to life. The assassin quickly moved to wake their two companions and he moved to steal the wagon and loot the minotaurs. Just before he left he decided to run and pick up the lady he had been with the night before. 

They made off with horses, food, treasure and a new female companion.At the end of the game I told my players, "Welcome to Hyperborea". They loved it and couldn't stop talking about how much they loved the game and the system. ASSH is a great game and I only regret that I just know stumbled upon it.

Last edited by RollingWithAdvantage (9/11/2019 7:13 am)

     Thread Starter
 

9/11/2019 5:33 pm  #14


Re: First Session Zero - feedback (long)

Thanks for the detailed session report, sounds like you're having fun. I especially like how you went with the player's suggestion about the extraordinary feat of Con: that's the spirit I run with as well, open conversations between Ref and players and roll dice only when needed.


"My own concepts in this regard are easy and clear, and I am sure that the word 'simplistic' will be used by my critics. These folk are callow and turgid of intellect; I am reassured by their howls and yelps."
Jack Vance, The Face
 

9/12/2019 11:07 am  #15


Re: First Session Zero - feedback (long)

Love it!

The first part of the game was them scavanging for clothes and makeshift weapons.

In small doses, this kind of thing can be a ton of fun at the beginning of a game. Really helps set the tone.

Our players manage to narrowly defeat the minotaurs but not before our barbarian was dropped to exactly zero hitpoints. In this system if you are at zero you can regain consciousness if someone gives you spirits to drink. It fell to his turn next and he asked if he could make a extraordinary feat of constitution to drink from his wineskin before he passes out. It was such good flavor for the character I decided to let him make the roll. Which of course he made. The players erupted in joy as the barbarian saved himself with wine.

Classic!


Blackadder23: Insanely long villain soliloquy, then "Your action?"
BORGO'S PLAYER: I shoot him in the face
 

9/13/2019 6:41 pm  #16


Re: First Session Zero - feedback (long)

Outstanding and perfectly captures the spirit of "rulings over rules."  If it's in character and makes sense, let them try it.  I hate that skill/feat crap that over burdens so many so-called "modern games." 


"Behind closed eyes,realize your sight."--Blue Oyster Cult
 

9/13/2019 6:59 pm  #17


Re: First Session Zero - feedback (long)

Spider of Leng wrote:

Outstanding and perfectly captures the spirit of "rulings over rules."  If it's in character and makes sense, let them try it.  I hate that skill/feat crap that over burdens so many so-called "modern games." 

 
That’s one of the things I like about this system. The rules seem flexible enough for DMs to adapt to any situation.

     Thread Starter
 

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