The kids game took a major left turn last night when they discovered a circle of rune-covered stones in a clearing in the woods. During their investigation of the strange stones, one character stepped into the circle and the runes began to glow. Before they could react to this development, a small group of pursuers entered the clearing from the opposite side and immediately attacked. As soon as one of their attackers stepped into the activated circle there was a blinding flash of light.
Combat continued where it left off with each character recovering their eyesight to find that they – and everyone else – had been knocked prone. As they stood to face their foes, the found that the stone circle was gone, the woods were different, and they had no weapons, armor or any other gear. [As each player’s turn came around, the DM took their character sheets and handed out new ones with all of their skills and abilities intact, but with no physical items listed anywhere.] Thinking quickly, they used unarmed strikes or grabbed rocks for improvised weapons. The combat took a bit longer than they would have liked, but eventually prevailed.
[As a DM to novice players I took the opportunity to remind them that their characters, now level 4, are so much more than the weapons they carried. I pointed out simple ways in which each player could have used their skills to better effect, dealt more damage, and ended the combat more quickly.]
With the combat over, they took stock of their situation. They decided that they had been teleported to a different plane and were not going to find a quick return to their own world, or find their old gear. They no longer had to worry about returning their rescued prisoner (left behind by the magic circle) to the local lord who had tasked them to do so. They had new and more immediate goals of their own: survival and finding some new equipment. Still worried about their lack of weapons, they quickly scrounged for some broken tree branches to use as clubs.
[They even asked the DM questions about how best to use them. ‘Can I use one in each hand and get two attacks?’ Yes. ‘Do I still get my DEX bonus with a club?’ No. ‘Can I make a sling out of the dead guys shirt and use it to sling rocks?’ Sure. I think it’s working!]
So armed, they set off in the direction of a small stone tower that sat atop a nearby hill, hoping to find some new supplies and maybe even allies. The rogue had always been good at using his stealth outside of combat, and used it here to scout ahead. The tower was occupied by a handful of poorly armed goblins, though they were still better equipped than the adventurers. After some debate, they stormed the watchtower.
They spend the rest of the evening exploring the tower and killing the goblins who were guarding it, as well as the Quaggoth living in the cellar. They used their new weapons more effectively. They discovered that swinging too hard [rolling a 20] with a tree branch may kill a foe, but will also break the branch into splinters. They took steel daggers from dead goblins and abandoned their makeshift clubs. [They sharpened pencils and updated their empty character sheets with new weapons, and new to-hit and damage numbers.]
They were momentarily excited to find a chainmail shirt that looked almost new until they realized it was sized for a halfling.
They ended the night with one dented but usable breast plate [AC 13], two small shields [AC +1 each], enough daggers to go around, two axes, two strung short bows, five arrows and 29 pennies.
And one small, abandoned, stone tower.