More weekend retroposting.
This is an earrrrly actual play from this blog:
Mandy's sister wanted to learn to play, and she wanted to be a witch. I said alright, roll some dice.
Like most 1st level AD&D wizards, my girlfirend's sister's first character had way more gold pieces than she could spend.
You can't buy armor, you can't buy weapons, so...?
When I last faced a similar problem, I noticed that the cp-sp-gp-whatever conversion rates made it possible to buy a phenomenal amount of beer for, like, 10 gp. So I did. My character was so drunk I didn't name him--I figured he couldn't remember. We called him "The Wizard."
Sis, on the other hand, her eye gravitated toward the "livestock" section.
"I want six pigs--three full size and three piglets."
Hey, it's on the equipment list.
She commenced to name them. She also figured out how to talk to pigs somewhere along the line-I think I was using Fairy Tale Rules for magic-user languages. Wizards willing to forgo Orc or Dragon can talk Pig--why not? There's gotta be some compensation for having the balls to walk around with one hit point.
So it was one of those "You wake up and you don't know how you got here and you don't know where your stuff is" adventures. (Because I am of the Walter Hill* school of DMing.)
"Are my pigs here?"
"Not in this room."
My girlfriend and her sister are funny. Promise them gp, xp, magic items, present moral dilemmas and opportunites for character growth, this does not motivate them particularly--take away 75 gp worth of stuff they bought during character generation, however, and in every room it's like "Is my stuff here? Did that goblin have my stuff? I cut open the dragon's stomach with my bastard sword--is my stuff in there?".
Too many video games I think. Because, like, in video games, if you lose your stuff, this is the apocalypse.
So anyway, in this dungeon, if you got past the baby black dragon hiding in the halfling vampire queen's coffin, the treasure includes "any equipment lost by first person who asks if their stuff is there."
So Sis asks: "Is my stuff here?"
"Why yes it is."
"And all my pigs?"
"Well, one of them,"
"I don't know, which one do you want it to be?" (Dig the thorough and meaningful integration of Cooperative Narrativist elements.)
"Charles." (or something)
"Ok, there's Charles, he is very pleased to see you. He bats his big piggy eyelashes. Squeee! Squeeeee!"
So there were some adventures, and then the party came to a dark stairwell. Who knows what lurks down there?
"Send the pig down," suggests one fo the boys.
"Ok, I send the pig down."
Now--the stairwell is full of undead birds.
Vultures with skull heads. They were inspired by things called "carrion" in Warhammer Fantasy, and there was a really nice one on the back cover of the original Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #17 by Bryan Talbot. Too tired to google it.
So the predictable thing happened. I narrate thusly:
"....as Charles is borne pitilessly aloft by the unliving raptor he cries 'Oh, why have you betrayed me? I trusted youuuuu....'"
"Awww..." Horrible look on sis's face.
The party moves on, talks to a sphinx, finds out about stuff, etc. etc.
So then I try to sleep.
I have trouble sleeping.
I keep picturing that pig in those bony claws "Why have you betrayed meeeeee.....?"
Next game starts.
I say Hey everybody, Settle down kids, and I recap last game then I go:
"...aaaand, ok, everybody if you were here last time you get 308 x/.p., check to see if that levels you up and, also, I made a mistake last time, Sis's pig's last words were not actually 'Oh, why have you betrayed me? I trusted youuuuu....' they were actually "It's ok! I regret nothing! I had a lot of fun I wouldn't have otherwise had if I hadn't gone with you on your adventure! I've had a full life, thank you, goodbye!"
"I very purposely--more and more so every time I do a script--give characters no back story. The way you find about these characters is by watching what they do, the way they react to stress, the way they react to situations and confrontations. In that way, character is revealed through drama rather than being explained through dialogue." --Walter Hill, quoted in David Thomson's "A Biographical Dictionary of Film" (New York: Alred A Knopf, 1994)