Monday, May 30, 2016

No One Expects... The Building Inspectors (a Session Write Up & Play Review of Polyhedral Dungeon

Last night, while enjoying the calming sounds of rain falling on a tin roof, I hopped into a Roll 20 session of Polyhedral Dungeon run by none other than my good friend and writer of said game, +Jason Paul McCartan . Joining me in acts of virtual depravity were +James Spahn , +Keith J Davies and +David B .

Not so long set up shortened, we were recruited to recover three identical statues from a bunch of evil cultists. Of course, evil cultists means carte blanc for acts that aren't normally approved by the average adventurer's guild.

I'm going to borrow the following from a comment Keith posted on G+ earlier today with additional info provided by me:
We walked up to the big oak doors of this place, they weren't locked. So we pulled them open and, since they were on pin hinges, popped the pins and the door fell down.
Explanation: The halfling (James) wanted to remove a door so we couldn't get locked in. He wanted to borrow the dwarf's hammer (me) to do so. Instead, I took down the door
Cultist/priest came running out.
"Building inspector. You know what the penalty is for having doors that can fall on and injure someone?"
Yep, my line. Because of 20 years of civil service, I know the hoops you can make people jum through.
"They didn't do that until you go here!"
"Yeah, clearly they weren't to code. Have you got a signed inspection report?"
"GAH!" walks off
*twang* (crossbow)
That was all James. Halflings are violent, yo!
"What, he was coming right at us." removes crossbow bolt, rolls body over, jams it into the front
after following cultists who fled down some stairs 
"Inadequately lit stairway, no hand rail. Total health and safety hazard here. See? We've got a couple people injured at the bottom of the stairs right now." thoroughly apply hammer to the one still twitching "Head injuries are a serious problem in unsafe conditions like this. I want to see a handrail and proper lighting when I come back."
This was a bit of everyone throwing out lines ate this point. Polyhedral Dungeon expects you to come up with a Schtick or gimmick for your character to make them moire memorable, as well as a quote. For me, these came up in play during the first session.  "No one expects... the Building Inspectors!"

Beyond some excellent roleplay we got to give the PD rules a shake too. Keith remarked that they reminded him a bit of Far Away Land, and he's right, they did in a way. Just like in FAL, once your grok the rules they kinda fade to the back of your mind. Advantage, attacks (and defense), damage (and armor) and the painful disadvantage that taking damage does to both PCs and the adversaries.

Unlike D&D type games, a damaged opponent is less of a threat than an undamaged opponent. Whittling down multiple adversaries instead of concentrating on taking out a single one appears to be more effective.

I used brownie points to negate the small amounts damage I was taking in combat with a half dozen skeletons, because I immediately saw how a little damage can easily be a rolling stone towards death.

One thing that needs to be spelled out a bit more, at least for those of use coming from the OSR end of the spectrum, is how to effectively put oneself in position to gain advantage. Sometimes we just need some examples spelled out for us.

In the end, it felt like D&D without being D&D. I'm still partly amazed at how easily the rules faded into the background, just like they do for me when I play most OSR games that are built on the rules I've played since I was a teenager. That says a lot.

I'm looking forward to the next game session of "Calishun BrightAxe, Independent Building Inspector."

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