All The Treasure Of D&D With Half The Character Sheet!
"Do you want to play HeroQuest?" Stick asked me the other night after dinner. It wasn't exactly the way I was planning on spending our evening... my plan involved less clothing.
HeroQuest, for those of you who weren't propositioned so romantically, is a late-eighties pseudo-RPG boardgame, a kind of D&D lite. One person plays the DM, running the four characters through a module but actually trying to kill them off. Up to four other players can be the dwarf, the elf, the wizard and the barbarian. In my case, I was all four of them.
"Ok, so you're trying to find the tomb of Xyziglywoughyfarzough, guarded by the evil Ysliggaelliro, it's somewhere in this dungeon. You all start out on the steps."
"Even the wizard?" I asked.
"He's afraid of the dark,"
Stick got that look he gets when he thinks MapQuest has gotten us totally lost, or when he's just realized that the quick favor his mom's requested has turned into a week-long project. It's the look of well-laid plans slipping out of his control and going awry.
"Each player can search each room once. They can find either treasure, which you add to your character's sheet, or monsters." Stick explained, "It's going to get progressively harder since the monster cards go back into the deck and the treasure cards don't. The dwarf goes now,"
"Actually, her name is Sarah. And don't say she's a man because she's got a beard, once she makes 10,000 gold she's going to get facial electrolysis. Some women have facial hair problems, and they prefer other people not talk about that."
My dwarf, barbarian, wizard and elf set out along the dark passages. HeroQuest is a board like a gothic Clue, and as I explored more rooms, Stick arranged diminutive bookshelves, coffins, and chests inside. The game's pieces were studier than most, made of cardboard and plastic. I made sure not to call the miniature skulls cute.
The adventurers can take damage or receive bonuses from spells, and their changing stats are recorded on simplified characters sheets.
Because I knew this was supposed to be a group game, I made sure to include all the hallmarks of a dungeon-crawling D&D party. When I acquired healing potions, the characters argued over who'd get to carry them, and then hung on to the unopened bottle until it was almost too late. The adventurers bickered over which character sheet should be used to record the loot. There was some teamwork, though, they worked out an elaborate plan of who should go first and how to stay in the spellcasters line of sight.
"The barbarian goes the opposite way," I told Stick. He looked at me like I was totally insane. "He's a barbarian, he wasn't listening to the strategic plan,"
"Ok, he goes into the other room. What does he do there?"
"He looks for treasure,"
"You remember that that runs a risk of being a monster, right?"
"He's a barbarian, he doesn't care,"
"You find a femir,"
"An arm bone?"
"That would be a leg bone, actually. But this is a monster. He attacks your barbarian."
"In his leg?"
After rolling his eyes at me many times, Stick entered the spirit of the game. He waited until I'd lost my dwarf, and my wizard (I called him Gandalf the Teal -- I told you it was an eighties game!) and my remaining party members were bracing for the final battle, to decide that this would be the perfect time to break for some Mountain Dew.
When Meg says "Mountain Dew", she really means "sex".