I'd intended to post the second of my OSRCon 2012 reminiscences sooner, but better late than never, I suppose. On the morning of the second day of the con, I ran Level 1 of Dwimmermount for a different group of people, including several fellow bloggers: Brendan Strejcek, Ramanan Sivaranjan, and Steve Connor, in addition to four others.
this one. (That link leads to a blog post by Brendan Strejcek that, at the time, I somehow didn't connect with him, so it led to the amusing situation in which I recommended its use to its creator without realizing it).
One of the great aspects of rolling up characters at the table is that it helps players get into the proper spirit of things. I'm not, by nature, a high lethality referee (if my old school cred card hasn't already been revoked, this ought to do it), but I also don't shy away from killing off characters if that's what the dice dictate. Experience has taught me that this is a lot easier for all involved if characters are created using 3d6-in-order and character generation is kept simple so that rolling up a new one mid-game isn't an arduous affair. Plus, it leads to characters like this being played rather than discarded as untenable:
I adapt my own presentation of Dwimmermount (and even its contents in some cases) in response to the actions and expectations of the players. To one group of players, a room whose description -- if it has one -- reads "Former guardroom; wooden debris" is something quickly passed through and forgotten, but to another it's a source of endless fascination, investigation, and experimentation. For the latter group, I often make up details on the spot, details that, if I like them, eventually become permanent parts of the dungeon for future adventurers to find, should they ever make the effort of looking for them.
A final difference between the two groups is that the Saturday group discovered a pretty valuable magic item hidden behind a secret door -- a tome of clear thought. In my mind, I had confused the tome with the manual of puissant skill at arms, thinking that, instead of granting a +1 bonus to Intelligence, it increased the level of the magic-user who read it. Consequently, upon being discovered, the two magic-users diced for possession of it and then elected to leave the dungeon for a time to give the winner a chance to read it thoroughly. The rest of the group healed and re-equipped and they returned with a 3rd-level magic-user in their party. Aside from my obvious screw-up, this was interesting to me, since most con groups don't bother with leaving the dungeon for any length of time, instead forging ahead regardless of the cost. I found it a smart decision and so saw no reason not to allow it. Plus, it gave me a chance to use my dungeon restocking tables.
It was another good session and a reminder of the unique joys of playing with strangers, something I hadn't done since I was a youth, back in the ancient days when it seemed like D&D games broke out spontaneously whenever three or four kids were in the same place for any length of time. I highly recommend the experience, particularly for referees.