Monday, March 8, 2010

Lost Colonies Session 11

This session saw the addition of a new player, who must get some old-school kudos because he immediately picked up 3d6 and rolled his stats in order without complaint or question. He then determined that a 5 STR, 8 INT, 9 WIS and a 15 CON would make a perfect Halfling. Thus, Ponshee joined our intrepid adventurers.

It immediately dawned on me that in 30+ years of gaming I have never once seen anybody play a halfling before, let alone want to play one at the outset of a campaign. The group I play with are fairly human-centric in their gaming. If allowed to arrange their stats in any order, 9 or 10 times out of 10 they would end up with a human (and I know for a fact that none of their characters in their 3.5/Pathfinder game are demi-humans). Yet, my campaign has seen two elves, two dwarves and now a halfling.

I have an hypothesis as to why — rolling stats in order increases the number of demi-humans in a party. Ponshee is a classic example. He does not fit into any neat category — he'd make an equally lousy Fighter, Magic User or Cleric. Yet, despite the level limitation, the racial abilities that come with being a halfling offset the lower stats and "fits" better than any of the three core classes. Indeed, the +1 to missile fire that LL gives halflings has defined the way Ponshee does combat and he has proved to be an extremely valuable asset to the party (even if he sometimes refuses to engage in any combat if pure HTH is required).

I'd be curious to know if any one else using the "stats in order" method of rolling up a character has seen a similar phenomenon.

This session was quite straightforward. The party contacted several powers that be (including Bishop Iova and Turgon's mentor) in order to explain the impending danger of "the Gate." As a result, they received several one-use magic items including a few potions, a couple scrolls and a wand. Thus equipped, they descended into the dungeon below the Necropolis and fought the remnant goblin population, which seemed to be poised for one last defense. Having spent most of our session in this running battle, the party finally came upon "the Gate" guarded by four tentacled zombies. Immune to both non-magical weapons and the party favorite (fire and oil), the party was forced to retreat and lure the creatures into a narrow, where they could deal with each zombie one at a time. Hamlen, boosted by a potion of Heroism and the healing spells of his brother and armed with the scimitar Liberator, stood in the gap and hacked away until all four were defeated.

The Gate itself was a pit, full of churning blood with a pedestal in its center. On the pedestal was some kind of control mechanism. Having sabotaged the machine that powered the gate, playing with the mechanism only opened the gate briefly — the blood turned into a portal to an alien city encased in a blue cloud. The session ended with the party successfully destroying the mechanism, which resulted in the pit disappearing — replaced with a stone floor as if it had never existed in the first place.


  1. Carl,

    Wow. Thanks for the kind words.

  2. Somebody (James M?) posted an old article of Gygax in which he said that demi-humans were there to give characters with lousy stats soemthing to do. Things certainly changed in that regard, eh?

    I played a Halfling for the first time ever about a year ago. As much as I like the Hobbitt, I never liked Halflings. But I really enjoyed playing one--I did him as a West Country poacher.

  3. Matthew,

    I continue to find it fascinating how, when you give the old ways a chance, Gygax's original intentions continually seem to pop up of their own accord...

    Speaking of playing halflings, I've always been inspired by Jeff Dee's halfling fighter wielding a long sword two-handed on the cover of T1, but never got around to playing one... largely because it wasn't until my old age that I figured out how cool rolling stats in order could be...