Archive | April 2013

The game that went bad…

… in-game, luckily. Last session was a blast, even though everything went to hell and back again. As you might know, I prepared a front for the game, even though it contributed little to the player’s experience, since everything and it’s mother went against the players!

It was glorious. First thing first; the players got back to Threebridges, and told the mayor, Dunstan, what they have learned. They decide to camp outside the city to escape notice from the cultist infiltrators.

They leveled up during downtime, Falafael bought multiclass dabbler and got Wizard Spellcasting, and Sinathel grabbed elemental mastery.

They went to the inn to hire some additional hands. This is where everything went bonkers; Sinathel aided Falafael, when rolling for recruitment, as per the move. Both rolled a miss. Trouble is brewing…

So, as they walk around trying to hire some help, Dunstan the mayor comes in, demanding they take him with them. Even though he wants revenge for the murder of his daughter, they dismiss him. He’s fuming at this point, so a friendly soul comes along, taps him on the shoulder and tells him to go home. Meet Rudiger, a villager who wish to tag along.

The player’s didn’t exactly say what they were setting out to do, only that they “are going south to explore some dangerous ruins”. This is a lie of course, they wanted to avoid attracting the attention of the cultists infiltrating the city. They accept Rudiger’s help, but they are mistrustful, since he seemingly popped out of nowhere.

The travel south out the city. After walking for about 20 minutes they reach a forest area, and the begin travelling north, in a wide arc around the city, heading for the tower in the swamps. They fill Rudiger in on what they’re doing, carefully studying him to test if he’s really as unknowing as he acts. Another miss. Perfect! I just told them that he looked really surprised.

Sinathel transform into a sparrowhawk, flying back to see if they are followed. He doesn’t spot anyone, so he flies toward the tower to see if the cultists have made preparations. They didn’t doubt they had noticed the bodies they left behind.

As Sinathel is away, Falafael is alone with Rudiger. After a few minutes they are attacked by an owlbear in the woods, and Rudiger seemed to give it orders to kill Falafael, who had now drawn his bow. Falafael placed an arrow firmly in the thigh of Rudiger, and escaped the owlbear, loosing it in the swamp.

I the meantime, Sinathel had entered the tower and were currently fighting for his life. As he fought some of the cultists, Falafael arrives and helps him out. Sinathel uses elemental mastery to make some stone explode in a shower of molten lava, killing one of the cultists. The lava flows down the stairs, nearly claiming the life of Falafael, but he evades.

They were inevitably captured by the cultists though, and were led down into the caverns below, stripped of their weapons, except for a concealed dagger, hidden up Falafael’s sleeve. They are tied up, and one of the cultists is put on watch, while the other is going for help. Needless to say, the cultist is killed by a 600 pound bear… They reclaim their gear and carries on.

They escape, but in the darkness they are attacked by an owlbear. Sinathel decides to use elemental mastery again, trying to form stalagmites to skewer the owlbear. This time he misses, so instead everything goes out of control; he instead causes a cave in, killing the owlbear, but blocking their way back.

In the room they are forced into, some cultists have taken up arms, only clad in undergarments. This was a sleeping quarter of sorts. They defeated the cultists, beheading one and subduing the rest. They bound them and made camp, getting a rest to escape the horrors of a remaining 5 hp each…

They woke up and forced three of the cultists to dig their way through the cave in. It took well over half a day, but they eventually made a hole big enough for two scrawny elves to climb through. They knocked the cultists out and tied them up again.

As they search the owlbear, Falafael claimed some of its feathers, as they could be used as a temporary supply of arcane ingredients. He uses them to cast an invisibility spell on himself while Sinathel changes shape into a bat with poor eyesight. And guess what; another miss!

Basically, this is where the session ended; the Fighter running around, thinking he’s invisible, and the druid can’t tell him he’s not, because he can’t actually see him anyway. Hooray! They’re gonna die next session…

We laughed so hard during this session, because every time they made rolls, everything went from bad to worse. It was so freaking hilarious.

As you know, I made a front after the first session. I want to stay true to my prep, but I’m afraid that their current condition will kill them, the fighter thinking he’s invisible and all that. I know what’s in the next room, and it’s not pretty. Luckily for them, they know something’s in there. The druid spent a hold to use his awesome powers of echolocation to get an idea of how many people were in the next room. I just told them “a lot”. Hopefully, this gives them a clue to be cautious…

This was the second session of the “The Rise of Ri’leth” adventure. The write up for the first session can be found here, and the write up for the third session can be found here.

Or maybe not…

As we didn’t finish the adventure at all last Thursday, I’ll refrain from posting the front for the time being. After the adventure is done, it’ll get posted.

I’ll make an update about the second session later, when I have enough time. Lets just say that I’d wish that my players had better dice skills.

Second half of the “two-shot”

So, I’m doing some prep for the second session now. I don’t want to over-prepare since the premise for this game is improvisation. I will make a front though.

I mean, I know what the cultists are currently planning, and to some extend the players do too. To make the story meaningful to the players, I will have to make the Impending Doom horrible, something that must be avoided at all cost. Something that only the players can put a stop to.

I think I’ll start with my Stake Questions, the questions I want answered by the players. I feel this will be a pretty solid start. I’ll post my front here when the adventure is completed.

I get to be a player now?!

So, I’m just about to participate in a play-by-post game of Dungeon Planet, a Dungeon World expansion for Sci-Fi Fantasy. I’m going to play a White Ape Wizard.

Also, the backstory so far is that the rest of the party members crash-landed on my hut. This is sure gonna be interesting… 🙂

New land, ahoy!

OK, so it was a long time since my last post. I had some trouble finding a group, but it seems this problem diminished somewhat, thanks to the wonders of Roll20.net and Google Hangouts. Will definitely host further one-shots using these tools in the future.

I played a one-shot session last Thursday with two complete strangers, the French guy Eric and the Belgian Bastien. I have actually never GM’ed for a group, where everyone was a stranger to me, so that was a bit daunting.

It went extremely well, even though I came to the “table” with absolutely no prep at all. All I came with was an idea that I’d like to run something about airships, because that just sounded awesome in my head. It didn’t happen though, but I’ll never admit to being sorry about it.

The session was a complete success in my book. In fact, it might just be the best session I ever GM’ed.

We started as any game should; make and present characters. This is where my plans for airship battles flew out the window, pun intended. I never even got to mention airships, before the players were knee deep in back-story about how their characters met.

I could have forced it a bit and asked; “So, how did you guys come to possess an airship?” I decided not to, because I really wanted to see where they’d go with this short description of their time together. So instead I asked; “So, you’ve been travelling together for some months, it seems. Where are you now?” Play to find out what happens

The elvish druid started adventuring because something that “smelled wrong” in his homeland and was thus compelled to seek it out. The fighter, who was also an elf, had a more mundane reason to travel, merely exploring human lands for the thrill of it.

I made moves whenever the players looked to me to see what happens. This started when we had established, where they were, or rather when the players had. They were currently in the village of Threebridges, a town with a population mainly consisting of halflings and a few humans.

As they woke up, and had breakfast (well, the fighter had, the druid lives on universe juice), they were hearing people gathering outside, shouting. A halfling girl had been murdered! This was my first move. They start investigating, rolling a miss on a Discern Realities roll. I decided that putting them in danger was kind of inappropriate, so I used my move to show signs of an approaching threath by telling them that her body was torn in half.

They spoke with some guards, and found out it was the Dunstan the mayors daughter, as by queue from an out-of-character remark that she was probably the daughter of someone important. I went with that, it worked for me. They talked to her sobbing father, and pledged to help this village. The fighter went to the girl’s room in the mayors house to investigate, while the druid decided to hang around town to look for clues.

Both rolled a miss on Discern Realities. I asked both of them what that meant. One of them got the idea that there was a conspiracy, people making a special beak-like hand-gestures to each other, while clearly faking sympathy in conversations about Dunstan and his daughter Olive. Eric, who played the fighter took this up a notch by finding a a blackmail letter. It said something about the lines of “Meet us at town square by midnight, or we’ll murder your family.” This was actually a great way of escalating the situation. Powerful monsters and a conspiracy? Heck yeah!

The druid went to speak with some bats that lived under the inn. They told him of three to four great beasts, three times the size of a bear, who entered the village at night and killed the girl. The fighter went to investigate, there must have been traces of such beasts. A partial success on a Discern Realities gave him the chance to ask “What should I be on the lookout for?”. I was a bit torn between answering either werewolves or owlbears. I chose the latter. They’re so fluffy!

So, in about an hour of investigation an entire plot had been revealed, and nothing was prepared in advance. In fact, I find it hard to take credit for much of it, since most of it was invented by the players, but I’m perfectly fine with that, I’d have it no other way.

The plot thickened; we had a fight with some cultists. They captured one and questioned him. They learned that about 10 cultists had been infiltrating the village, while the rest of the cult remained under the ruined tower where they had the fight. Also, they worshiped a demon-god, whose symbol was a bird’s skull, and the cult leader was experimenting on animals to shape their form into the image of his god.

I’d like to pause an reflect on how everything fitted together. The druid looking for the “wrong smell”, which turned out to be abominable experiments on animals. The beak-like hand-gestures fitted perfectly with a cult worshiping a demon-god with a bird’s skull as his symbol. Owlbears, a monster with the head of an owl and the body of a bear. Everything just ended up fitting so damn well!

The party decided an entire cult might be too much to deal with, so they returned to town and informed Dunstan. Their plan was to look for some extra hands to clean out the rest of the cult. In game-terms; they wanted to recruit some hirelings.

This was where the session ended. It was incredibly fun, and we decided to plan for an additional session, so we could finish the adventure. We also decided that this was a great point for introducing new players, if we could find willing souls.

This was the first session of the “The Rise of Ri’leth” adventure. The write up for the second session can be found here.