Wednesday, May 29, 2019

Adventures in the Cave of Wonders!

Friday, I took the Geeklet to see the new Aladdin film, expecting it to be passable. But WHOA was I wrong--it's awesome! Disney did a great job updating their own material--and letting Will Smith take the Genie in a new direction that fit his style (since Robin Williams is basically irreplaceable). But the real boon came the next day. After a full afternoon of yard work for the whole family--Grandma included (my mom)--kiddo wanted to "play Dungeons and Dragons!"

I'd hoped that she might get that idea, and earlier in the day I made a quick trip to my FLGS to have a look at their used minis rack. I found a blue genie that I knew would be PERFECT for an Aladdin-themed game.

Let's make it a party!
But by far the BEST part was that the kid convinced my 75 y.o. mother to play. Now, my mom is the one who gave me my first boxed sets of D&D when I was a kid (I think I was 9? Maybe?). But she's NEVER played. And any time I begged her to try (hey, there were never kids around who wanted to play) she was steadfast in her refusals.

But she and the Geeklet have been playing pretend every weekend for years now. It's second-nature to them: making up super-powered princess characters and having all sorts of adventures. This is essentially that--with dice!

And I've talked about playing games with the kiddo before, but those were largely skirmish-focused. This was to be more in the way of an actual D&D game: off-the-cuff storytelling, exploring, combat and dice deciding our fates--but as light and easy as possible.

They had character sheets with stats and any time I needed them to make a 'to hit' I gave them a number to roll against. And if it was a save, I picked a stat for them to roll under. SUPER streamlined.

Arabian Fafrd and The Gray Mouser?
I thought a good 'ol dungeon crawl through the Cave of Wonders would work nicely. I wanted the story to be familiar to the Geeklet, so we began with their characters in the bazaar in Agrabah, the fabled kingdom from the film.

She played a brave fighter named Celia and my mom played a very skeptical thief named Hovy. [Sidenote: my mom, at 75, never having played ANY RPG came up with her character's name, backstory and general demeanor in less than 2 minutes???!!]

They found themselves duped into stealing food to feed starving peasants. It was a ruse by the evil sorcerer Jafar--he was testing their skills for a much bigger job: delving into the Cave of Wonders to seek out the magic lamp!

Picked up this colorful Wildlands map from Osprey. Kiddo and I played an adventure using the tower side last week.

After a brief incarceration they were carted off into the desert to the cavern, where they were tossed inside with some gear and weapons. Right away, I introduced the idea that the cave was filled with treasure that would tempt them (they passed their Wisdom saves). But dangled the notion that this would not be their first test in resisting something shiny to pocket.

If you remember the films--this is a big deal because anyone who takes anything other than the lamp will find themselves running for the exit while the cave collapses.

The crystal canyon/cavern side made for a nice Cave of Wonders to explore.

Soon after, they were ambushed by an armed band of skeletons--which gave them some trouble and a few bumps and bruises.

A tunnel of encroaching walls encrusted with sharp crystals made them dash into a room of complete darkness where a mummy was waiting! Regular combat wouldn't put this baddie down, but they did have a supply of torches, which came in handy for setting it ablaze.

As bedtime loomed closer, we came to a hall of golden mirrors. I cribbed heavily from Harry Potter on this one--they each saw in their reflection that they were holding something. This time I made them roll a Charisma check to test their vanity (it seemed like a nice swap since their Wisdom and Charisma scores were near opposites).

Celia the fighter passed and found herself holding the lamp! But Hovy the thief failed his save and was left holding...a giant jewel. And then the walls came crashing down!

They ran for the exit, making their way out along their path, but in reverse--having to avoid the same traps, plus a few new ones.

In the end, they woke Genie from his slumber and made their first wish: GET US OUT OF HERE!

Seriously, I don't think I've had this much fun making a game on the fly. And I think they had fun--at least, they said they did.

Here's hoping for more multi-generational RPGing. I mean... they still have 2 wishes left!