For years now I’ve been interested and curious of the world of TRPGs (Tabletop Role Playing Games) such as Dungeons and Dragons. I never played as a kid but as I got older (and geekier) the curiosity grew in me.
Then a couple of weeks ago I saw a sponsored post on Facebook (finally, they got their algorithms right and showed me something of interest!). The Labyrinth Adventure Game. I was drawn in by it being about the Labyrinth, but didn’t realise it was a TRPG game until I clicked on it to read more about it.
It looked special and I thought if I was ever going to attempt TRPG then The Labyrinth would be the one to woo me in to it. I knew I had a couple of others who I could rope in to it. At worst, I figured, if we didn’t get in to it, or like it then I had some new cool official Labyrinth merchandise for display anyway.
It arrived within a couple of days, and I had told Matt, Kayne and Dave that I wanted to play it next Saturday night. Kayne I knew would be interested in it the same as me, because it was related to The Labyrinth. Matt and Dave I knew would be interested on the understanding of not going out and having alcohol at our sides.
As soon as it arrived, I read the rules on how to play and create characters. It just sparked my excitement fire further. I told Matt all about it and he called shotgun on being the Goblin King, and off I went to inform Kayne of my excitement.
As it turns out it arrived in perfect time, because it arrived on Monday 16th March, within 24 hours I was advised I had to start working from home and by Saturday 21st all pubs are closed and we’re on the verge of a lock down.
I can’t quite remember the last time I was so excited about getting in to a new fandom! I wasn’t sure what to expect but Saturday evening arrives, Kayne and Dave pop over, I had printed the character sheets and we were ready to begin.
So it begins..
The goal is to retrieve an item of ours that the Goblin King had taken to the Castle at the centre of the Labyrinth and, as per the movie, we had to work our way through the Labyrinth to get it back within 13 hours.
Hours are marked off on the Goblin King’s character sheet and if he so chooses he could mark off as many as he wanted as often as he wanted – and oh boy, did he choose!
We decided that our goal was Toilet Paper, Pasta and Hand Sanitiser – nothing like keeping it real!
Below are our characters:
Name: Sir Ploppy
Kin: Knight of Yore
Traits: Honourable, Endurance & Bravery
Traits: Wall climbing, very small & Singing and dancing
Name: Gerbet “The Pigmy” of that there Stowmarket A.K.A The Imp
Traits: Mason & Sneaking and hiding
Equipment: Hammer & Chisel
And the Goblin King himself had his own Character sheet
Name: Goblin “C**t” King
Kin: King “C**t” Goblin
Description: Loves cleaning supplies and panic buying
**Spoiler alert – the Goblin King lived up to his name!**
The story starts a little slow and uncertain.
“Dawn. The Labyrinth is spread out before you, crawling over the hills surrounding the Goblin King’s castle. Descending the slope, you are confronted by a wall, beyond which lies the Labyrinth’s first ring, the maze of stone corridors you glimpsed from the hilltop. A square, stone-lined pond filled with brackish water lies nearby. No opening or gates can be seen. No footprints mark the sandy earth”
We all look a little blank, expecting more to be announced Dave asks ‘Can I use my hammer and chisel to go through the wall?’ – ‘No’, Matt declares still reading everything from the first scene to see what else can be done.
Matt reminds us there is a pond and perhaps we may like to have a look at it. We get the gist, we ask what is in the pond. A roll of the die will decide that, Dave gets a periscope, I get a 6 foot wooden pole and Kayne gets nothing.
There is a Dwarf and a Horned Beast guarding a couple of doors and we discuss our options, throw some more questions at The Goblin King and discover a secret door!
More discussions and fumbling questions and arguments later we decide to go through the secret door.
First scene complete! Woo! Yay!
Getting in to it now..
It probably took another couple of scenes and maybe 15 mins or so before we really got to grips with what the right questions where we should be asking. At one stage I said “We have to pretend like we’re in Knightmare and ask the questions they would “Where am I”, “What’s on the table”, “How do I escape”” etc – I think that was the moment for me when it all seemed to make sense.
Even though we were still figuring it out, the tension of having to roll a certain number or higher was just out of this world. I’m not sure I can recall such pressures I’ve faced!
I said there were maps to download from the RiverHorse games website, but it would have been 100 pages and I wasn’t going to print that. After 20/30 mins or so of asking Goblin King to repeat everything he said to try to picture the room we were in, I remembered I had a Surface (another + for working from home) so I brought the tablet down, loaded up the maps and we were able to now see what Goblin King was describing.
It suddenly became much easier. We were all getting in to it, Matt was going rogue and started adlibbing (and really living up to his Goblin “C**t” King name.
One memorable story line for me was stealing an egg for a big, mean, angry, mother bird. After I stole the egg, I was told it would hatch in to a steed if I were to roll a 6. I was a Knight and I gosh darn it I wanted a steed.
Goblin King was adamant it wasn’t when I threw any ol’ 6, I had to declare before I rolled that I was rolling for my steed to hatch. It took a while. Eventually my steed hatched and I called him Steve.
Unfortunately, toward the end and thanks to my epic failing at rolling high numbers on the dice Steve died in a horrific Goblin King incident. Sorry Steve.
Later in the story angry mama bird found me and wasn’t best pleased I stole her egg and wanted to know where her son was. This time the dice roll as in my favour and along with my potion of persuasion, Mama bird left happy in the knowledge her Son had flown off happy to live in Benidorm.
Along the way, we collected, used (and lost) many items and friends such as potions of fire, healing and ice, spell for door opening a secret passage, battle axes, swords and a ‘sensitive as f**k’ Goblin that Gerbet kept as a pet.
The end is nigh..
The last section of the game when we came in contact with The Goblin King to try to defeat him probably went on for over an hour. This was not helped by the fact that flaws were added to our character sheet by The Goblin King.
Gerbet ‘The Pigmy’ of that there Stowmarket A.K.A The Imp:
And to throw a spanner in the works Wurmple got a trait of “The One” instead of a flaw.
Some of us *cough* Dave *cough* took their newly added flaw quite seriously, which lead to the mutiny and the Goblin King reveling in the chaos he had created.
But, over 4 hours after we started, we did it and to para-phrase the immortal quote from the film:
“Through dangers untold and hardships unnumbered, I have fought my way here to the castle beyond the Goblin City to take back the toilet roll, pasta and hand sanitiser you have stolen. For my will is as strong as yours, and my kingdom is as great. You have no power over me”
Throughout this time there were actual cheers. Arms raised in the air and loud “Yeeahhh” cheers. There were high fives, gasps, genuine shock, nerves and tension.
We all thoroughly enjoyed our first TRPG experience and are looking forward to playing it again next week. Now we know what we’re doing and how to go about it next time will be smoother to start with and we’ll likely be more adventurous with our characters.
Even though the Goblin King lived up to his “c**t” name, he was still a little lenient and forgiving with us. I think this was because it was all our first time with it so, I’ve a feeling though, future games won’t be as kind, and especially not if Dave is the next Goblin King!
I believe we need to play The Labyrinth again, and would be just as fun with a couple more people too.
Now we are in actual lock down, nothing says ‘enjoy not going out for the forseeable future‘ than getting in to TRPG. Maybe even start skyping it to avoid physically leaving the house – or perhaps I’m getting ahead of myself right now!
Consider me converted to a new fandom, anyway. I’ve always been someone who has loved board games since I was a kid and I think this has revitalized my tabletop game love.
For Christmas Matt got me the Jaws Board Game. It’s not an RPG but it looks a super fun board game. Watch this space for updates on playing that for the first time in the future.
Until next week everyone, stay safe, and in true Jerry Springer sign-off style look after yourself and each other.
Love, Ray X