Rather than burdening my players with all the new rules at once, I decided to introduce a few SW elements in our last DW session, namely initiative and movement.To date we’d used miniatures only in a very elementary fashion to show who was fighting whom where, without much thought to the surroundings. I wanted to see how it would work when the environment was an important tactical component of the battle.
The initiative went down very well. In DW, when you go in a round is determined by your PC’s reflex score. SW resolves this with a pack of cards with the highest drawer going first and bonuses for drawing a joker. Within a couple of combat rounds we’d got into the swing of it and it definitely enhanced play.
Movement was made interesting by the adventure itself. I’d DW’d an ancient AD&D adventure (by ancient I mean 1983) under the auspicious title of “The Taking of Siandabhair” published in Imagine magazine. A significant part of the adventure takes place underwater as the characters face sea monsters, poisoned eels and a sea hag. The characters are given a potion of extended water breathing at the beginning and then sent off to rescue a princess from a rocky underwater lair. I was very strict with them and told them that there would be no verbal communication between the PCs and also severely hampered their combat abilities. There were plenty of opportunities to use the narrow rocky passageways to bottleneck the enemies, but it all got a little messy, partly because of the relatively young age of two of my players (not yet 10), but also because the PCs weren’t allowed to talk.
They got away with the first large combat by the skin of their teeth, with one of the PCs stopping behind to block an onslaught of Sahuagin-like monsters whilst the others wandered off into the complex, oblivious to what was going on behind them.
The player with the fighter in the tunnel didn’t seem to think it was the best inauguration of a strict ‘by-the-map’ approach to adventuring. On the other hand, they all survived and have learned a valuable lesson about communication and using the environment to their advantage.
It’s also given us a good opportunity to roleplay some tension within the group. I’ve encouraged the player with the fighter who got stuck to – er – remind my son about the Code of Chivalry and not leaving friends in the lurch. Looking forward to the next session, where I’m thinking of unleashing my take on Savage Mystics – the only character in the party with an arcane background is a DW Mystic. I’ve tried to modify the SW Psionicist, taking elements from HellFrost’s magic siphoning for the Psychic Fatigue Roll.
More of that anon…