Mordecai, a Cleric-7: Adam
Forlorn, an Elf F/MU 5/5: Bo
Mister Moore, Magic User-6: Mike
Shy, a Fighter-6: JR
Leonidas the Paladin-5: Nogal
Digit, the Elf Thief-7: Z
Konstantine, Magic User-5: Smitty
Phat Kobra, a Dwarf Fighter-5
Grumble the Smug, Halfling Thief-7
Meatshield 1, Ranger-1
Meatshield 2, Ranger-1
Ireena, a Fighter - 5
Vlad the Inhaler, Magic User-1
Meatshield 3, Cleric-1
*Italicized characters are back in Barovia
If you read the bit earlier this week about My Big Mouth™, you already know about the Druid and his pet bear. The druid finessed the party past an encounter with some hungry grizzly bears. When they made camp later that night, I haughtily
So now the Druid has a pet bear, and the player is quite happy about it.
Overall, they're still slogging through the mountains trying to find… something. The adventure is to find THE LOST CAVERNS OF TSOJCANTH, but I think they're trying to find a valley of Gnomes, first.
(See what I did there? I'm rereading AD&D and Gygax always capitalized D&D product names. Lost Caverns of Tsojcanth: Not Gygaxian. LOST CAVERNS OF TSOJCANTH: Totally Gygaxian. This campaign is now totally Gygaxian.).
More interesting than the quest for Gnome Vegas was their fight with an army of hobgoblins. It wasn't a big army, mind you, but more hobgoblins than you'd face in a dungeon - 70 or 80, something like that - archers, skirmishers, and lots and lots of pole arm wielders. And not halberds, but military forks, glaives, guisarmes, and bill-guisarmes, in great detail, because this is Gygaxian! The hobgoblins were camped along the side of the valley, and the party noticed thin wisps of smoke rising into the air when they were still a good distance down the valley. A good portion of the remaining game time was spent with the players huddled over the table, intensely scrutinizing the hastily sketched map of the camp, the location of the cave, the deployment of the tents, disposition of the units, the pickets, and the archers. The party huddled behind a spur of boulders and rock-fall while the halfling scouted (with a ring of invisibility) and everyone else crouched and planned. Isn't that the essence of a good gaming night - the scouting, sneaking, planning, plotting, using up resources, figuring out the perfect attack plan? Good stuff.
They used Silence 15' magic to mask the approach of their armored guys and get them into position for a charge, while some of the unarmored guys quietly climbed into a position to rain magic down on the camp from an overlook. Mister Moore opened up hostilities with the wand of fireballs, raining blasts across the camp over the course of a number of rounds; Constantine sent his one memorized fireball down on the camp, too.
Once the magic started flying, the fighters jumped up from where they were crouched behind an embankment, and started their charge across open ground, yelling and hollering. The hobgoblins were scrambling to regroup after getting pounded by fireballs, but they had enough time to form a rank of pole arms against the charging fighters, and they inflicted massive damage on them - 20-30 points to each of them. But once the fighters got past those blades, the hobgoblin line quickly collapsed under a vicious series of slashes.
The DM's other moment of almost-glory was when an overlooked group of hobgoblin archers piled out of some hidden tents and formed a squad to pepper Mister Moore with arrows. 8 hobgoblin archers, using AD&D's 2 shots per round, meant the unarmored Mister Moore had close to 16 arrows coming his way (a few went towards the nearby Grumble the Halfling). But I had a disastrously bad run of d20 rolls, Mister Moore survived, and then he hit them with a fireball… in the FACE. It was all over for the hobgoblins except for the crying.
So that was another spectacular victory for Team BK Inc., beating up a horde of 1 HD mooks (albet in style). Now, about the title of the post. We switched back to AD&D this game, and it's been a long time since we played with segments and casting times and that kind of stuff. It was completely fun, and I loved pulling out those 1970's classic hardbacks. But the players were disappointed spells were taking so long to resolve; they'd win the initiative, but the spell might not happen before the monsters acted. Segments and casting times are a big change from BX's simplified approach. And thus, the great punch line of the night was set up:
Konstantine (seriously): "Mister's Moore's wand goes off so fast, it's faster than my magic!"
Mordecai: "Yeah, isn't that what his hot NPC wife was saying the other week, Moore's wand goes off too fast?"
Forlorn: "They have a term for that, you know; it's called Premature Evocation."
We could have ended the night happy right there.