Suitable one-shot to run for my parents?

I'll be running a game this Saturday for my parents, after all those years... They obviously have long known what RPGs are about, though they have never played themselves (beside humoring me when I was about 15).

I'm wondering if you have a scenario to recommend, beside Promises, Promises or The Short Way Home? I'm considering running The Pilgrims of Darkness (from HP 5) with a pair of suitably tailored companions. Something recognizably medieval, that doesn't necessarily require magi, and not too surreal.

Any suggestions?

Going Home, by Kevin Hassall. Available in several websites around the web. ... _Home.html

I always liked this adventure. Grog level challenge, and more based on actual wit use by the players than any specific skills by the characters.

I have used it successfully twice to introduce new players to Ars Magica. Easy to run, and can be done in an afternoon easily. It introduces a clear fantasy element, but can be `played using stable boys if you need that. I have on both ocasions used grogs returning from a town where they went to get supplies with a cart. Other fast play adventures can be found at


Thanks, that sounds like something I can probably use. :smiley:

Glad to be helpful :slight_smile: Best wishes on your experience. Make sure to tell them that it is like theater around a table. It helped non-roleplayers to get into the right mood in my cases.



I like to use the phrase "group storytelling" when describing what role-playing games are like.

I really don't need to explain to them what RPGs are. :slight_smile:

  1. What adventure did you run?
  2. How did it go?
  3. I'm in Paris for the next three days. From an Ars Magica perspective, what can't I miss? I've already visited Vincennes. Anything else medieval that I shouldn't miss?

Notre Dame and the Catacombs would be two suggestions off the top of my head..

I started with "Going home" as suggested, but they didn't take the hook :frowning:, so we eventually segued into "Pilgrims of Darkness":

"So, Sir Geoffroy, you and your companions have finally arrived to your lord's manor. After some feasting, you are summoned for an audience. Enters a monk pleading for your lord's help... ...and so he commands you to go forth and solve the monks' problem.".

There, railroad. :stuck_out_tongue:

Well, at first and although I did explain, they hadn't understood they were to make the decisions for their characters' actions -- they told me so afterward -- and that's why they missed the "Going Home" hooks. As for "Pilgrims of Darkness", being quite linear, they could hardly get off-track (well, except for my 18-month-old nephew's interruptions :stuck_out_tongue:)

I have quite a bit of progress to make as to pacing. I ended up cutting some, but we still didn't finish the scenario (we played for about 4h-5h, in two blocks). I tried tailoring the characters to the need of the adventure, but didn't quite succeed -- I should probably have gone all the way towards giving them precisely the skills they needed to solve everything, but tried to make credible characters... oh, well. We had a troubadour, a knight and (because she explicitly asked for one, though I advised against it) a magus (wind master).

In spite of all this, they are still interested in actually completing the game some other time. My mom's eager to find out what really happens to the disappearing pilgrims and my dad's claimed some interest in dropping by the club I game at to see what's going on there some time when he's in Paris (they're out in the country). :stuck_out_tongue:

We had some fun with them arguing with the guide about their fitness to joining him on the pilgrimage, as well as about my sister's character's Curse of Venus (which had her worried about homosexual proposals :laughing:)

They talked about it a bit the day after we played, which I guess is a good sign.

I'm going to have to think a bit about that one (and consult my mom - she knows :stuck_out_tongue:). I've been here for a bit over a year, but haven't really spent time visiting.

If you want to meet for drinks, I can PM you my cell number.

First of all, you can check for monument information. I think you should pay special attention to the 1st and 4th arrondissements which are the heart of Paris. In particular, the Ile-de-la-Cité, which is the original historical Paris, should be suitably medieval - if you can make abstraction of the tourist trappings. There should be a pretty good monument density for you. Of course, that doesn't mean there cannot be interesting stuff elsewhere, remember that I don't really know the town, alas (spending 3h per day in public transportation tends to put a crimp in your explorations).

Now, I've dropped my folks a call and here are some suggestions:
The obvious, Notre Dame (duh) and the Sainte Chapelle (expect to wait in line, last time I passed by there was quite a crowd).
The National Medieval Museum at Cluny

My sister says there may be manuscripts on display at the national library, but cannot be sure.

The municipality's web site suggests a number of routes you can walk:

Incidentally, I don't recommend the Champs-Elysées, unless you are looking for luxury shops: that's pretty much all there is there nowadays. Not interesting. :confused:

Notre Dame, les Thermes, La Sainte Chapelle, Cluny, the national library might have manuscripts, there is a nice chapel (might not be in period) near Beaubourg toward the Tower du Chatelet (which might interest you too), the whole Ile de la Cité (which is the original Paris)

My sister says she'll send me more when she has checked her books.

OK, here's the stuff my sister sent me.

She too does recommend visiting the Catacombs, as well as the Cluny museum ("the Middle Ages museum 'par excellence'") - it does show the "Lady and the Unicorn" tapestry -- assuming it has been restored, which she thinks it has.

The Louvre (the oldest part has been opened a few years ago, she says!) and Cluny have sculptures, jewelry, etc exhibitions, but she advises to check the programme to check on which days they are open (she believes they may be closed on Tuesdays).

She suggests that, for lunch, you head back towards the Halles and Rue Tiquetonne away from the Notre Dame area, which, though picturesque, will set you back a pretty penny.

The Conciergerie (early 14th century prison). :smiling_imp:

There are other sites you can visit, but you'll be getting further away.

The National Library has a collection of Louis XIV terrestrial globes (ok, that's somewhat later :stuck_out_tongue:) on permanent display.

There are plenty of private houses from later centuries everywhere, but you'll have to check with the Tourism Office (or Google?) for specific addresses.

Near the Chatelet and Beaubourg, there's the Tour Saint-Jacques (15th).
Near the Halles, the Saint-Eustache church (16th-Renaissance), the Fontaine des Innocents (oh, and the fountain on Place Saint-Michel between Notre-Dame and Cluny is nice too) and the Tuileries palace.

Nice areas to wander around in: Quai Saint-Micher, Boulevard Saint-Germain, Odeon, Beaubourg, Rue Tiquetonne (affordable good food), the Jardin des Plantes (been there recently, it's a nice break from being in a frigging city), Jardin du Luxembourg, Jardin des Buttes Chaumont (no monuments she can think of, but her favourite park), the Louvre, Jardin des Tuileries...

If you like contemporary art (she's an artist, can you tell?), you can go see Beaubourg, the Picasso museum, the photography museum and more...

She thinks you can get 1-day or 3-day passes which are cheaper than single tickets, which can cover multiple monuments/museums, but you'll have to check with the Office du Tourisme.

There, hope that gives you some more ideas. :slight_smile: