I’ve been kind of meaning to get back into RPGs for many years. Even when I wasn’t paying attention to much else, a few important books stayed out of storage, and I bought most of the GURPS Traveller line. When RPGGeek came out of beta a year ago, that temporarily went into overdrive.

One of the problems is that the logistics angle of getting more than two-three people (including me) into the same room at the same time on a regular basis is a problem (I’m burning most of the available points for that on wargaming meetings, and that is still more important to me). But Smudge has some free time, and needs to get away from the computer more, and I have a couple modules built for one DM and one player. Sadly, while I had plenty of free time in December, I didn’t get around to using it.

But we got started today on the old Expert ‘one-on-one’ module O2, which is much more plot-driven than the puzzle-driven O1. This involved a bunch of hunting through rulebooks for the last few days to find that one elusive rule that would be needed once the adventure got started.

Neither of us has played D&D in ages. In fact, I think the last time would be a memorable session when she ran X12: Skarda’s Mirror around ’88. Skarda got away, we were all hot to go after him; sadly the sequel never came about.

Anyway, things went fairly well mechanically. The main problem is that the level-7 elf the adventure is built around has a lot of options. Remembering those options, which are necessary, can be a problem for a beginner. I managed a TPK (okay, so one death = one party here) in the nastiest battle of the opening. We restored a ‘saved game’ and tried again.

Smudge was definitely having fun, which was good. I was having a lot of anxiety. Running something for the first time in forever, worrying about how it’s going, what should be next, have I forgotten something (yes, twice, I hate having to go back and mention something I’ve forgotten). All the dreams of knowing just what to do go up in smoke when I open my mouth. @_@

Spoilers start here, by the way.

So, Erystelle came home to Doneryll from years of adventuring to find it in flames, his family slaughtered, and goblins and hobgoblins everywhere. He ran off the outer guards on the road, killed the two ogres at the bridge across the Greenflow to his home and found the corpses of two of his younger siblings. Working towards Doneryll, he came across the scene of what had obviously been a great fight, with several members of family lying dead amidst the corpses of several goblins and hobgoblins. The apparent leader of the hobgoblins and his bodyguards were also there and started to move off without noticing him, and he attacked from behind, sending in his wardogs, and firing at the leader with his bow. The dogs kept the bodyguard busy while the leader charged to get inside bow range. One of the dogs was killed and the bodyguard charged forward to aid his leader. A couple of strong blows later, and our hero was dead.

The apparent leader of the hobgoblins and his bodyguards were also there and started to move off without noticing him, and he attacked from behind, sending in his wardogs as Erystelle fired off a lightning bolt aimed to catch the leader and one of the bodyguard. It was a powerful bolt, and both hobgoblins immediately died from it. The remaining hobgoblin charged, only to be cut down.

Looking over the scene, Erystelle found the remains of a letter from his great-uncle Druinder warning that something was up, with both a human and dwarven settlement destroyed recently. Between it, and the evidence on the ground, it was fairly obvious there was a red dragon involved. Erystelle moved off towards where the stables were, only to run into a group patrolling around the edge of the clearing. Five hobgoblins and two goblins on wolves. Sleep took care of all but one goblin and the wolves, who fought at first, but quickly took off. One wolf stayed and was killed, but the other and the goblin got away with a magic missile not enough to down the escaping wolf.

Continuing to the stables (which were also on fire), Erystelle found the goblin arguing with a pair of hobgoblins about a 10-foot-tall murderous elf roaming about. A quick fight saw all of them dead, and the mounts they had been holding for the leader and his guard not spooked enough to immediately bolt. A look through the saddlebags turned up a fair amount of treasure—this is where most of the loot that the hobgoblins had gathered had been put.

It seemed like that was probably the last of the monsters in the clearing, and it was getting to be late, so Erystelle decided to head immediately to Druinder’s for help and rest. Arriving late at night, he roused the household, and gave an abbreviated account of the day. Druinder recalled the legend of Gallanor Nightflame, an elvish hero who single-handedly killed the red dragon Gorkalk nearly 2000 years ago, and who was promised to return when needed again.

We ended the day there. Other events were scheduled, and act 1 (my immediate goal) is done. Now for the much more varied act two, which will start with a return to Doneryll to properly take care of the dead. I certainly needed a break, since the constant worry of ‘does she like it’ was getting to me. I need to remember how to relax and let it flow as the GM, I’m reacting more like I’m doing public speaking, except that that doesn’t quite hit me like this any more.

Oh, and Erystelle is turning out to be something of an ass.