Show Posts

This section allows you to view all posts made by this member. Note that you can only see posts made in areas you currently have access to.

Messages - henrythewhite

Pages: [1] 2
Dungeon World / Re: Counterspell & Monster Spell Level
« on: October 15, 2012, 05:03:59 PM »
Thanks Scrape.  I've adopted it from a common move structure in AW (kind of like Seize by Force), and you can see something similar in Defend.  I hear what you're saying about giving the players what they want without compromise, but I think I disagree with you: the structure of the above move will always offer a player the ability to counter a spell on a hit, they just have to pick what they'll give up to do it on a weak hit.

With the new version of Counterspell I suggest (and without the suggested 6+ advance Virtuoso of Spell Disassembly), on a 10+ you can get exactly what the current move allows: you keep your spell, you counter something affecting you, and you don't get weird side effects.  It also makes more options available from the start: with the current move it is impossible to counter something that targets other people, meaning that the Wizard can't protect the party until they get the level 6+ advance Protective Counter.

But this new take I presented offers party protection as well.  If you are willing to take one for the team, you could counter something effecting other people, suffer no repercussions, and either keep your staked spell or counter any effects on you.  Finally, the 6+ advance I suggest offers 1 extra choice, letting you always counter no matter what and maybe get super amazing goodness on a 10+.

Actually, reading up on the current 6+ advance Protective Counter, perhaps the move I suggested is too good.  Here's Protective Counter (p.148) for reference:

Protective Counter
Requires: Counterspell
When an ally within sight of you is affected by an arcane spell, you can counter it as if it affected you.  If the spell affects multiple allies you must counter for each ally separately.

I don't really see a problem with choosing between yourself and the rest of your party (I think it lends dramatic tension), but if you wanted to have the new version be more like the old version, you could replace the option "-You counter the effects of the incoming spell on your friends" with "-You counter the effects of the incoming spell on one of your friends. You may choose this more than once."  That way you might still have to counter multiple times, like with Protective Counter.

Personally, I'm torn over having my players roll more times for something like that.  I enjoy players rolling dice and giving me more opportunities for moves, but I don't want to slow things down too much.  Also, the basic AW system is so elegant (and occasionally punishing) that I'm inclined to keep dice-rolling to a minimum.  Asking the wizard to roll once for each party member (and what about the hirelings?) offers much greater potential for failure.  Even spending choices through the move I suggest would still be risky for a moderately sized party.  You could argue that there's only one spell being flung, and thus only one counter is needed, but then you lose out on the tension of choosing between protecting yourself and protecting your party members, and the risks associated with losing spells or suffering strange side effects.

What do you think?  Should it be more like Protective Counter, or should it be more forgiving?  And Scrape, did I answer your concerns about compromise by putting the move in perspective?

Dungeon World / Re: Counterspell & Monster Spell Level
« on: October 15, 2012, 02:59:32 PM »
I and my group came up with an alternative for the Counterspell move, since I think we might play with it before the next version comes out, and I figured we should share:

When you attempt to counter a spell that will otherwise affect you or your friends, stake one of your prepared spells in defense and roll+Int.  On a 10+ choose 3, on a 7-9 choose 1:
-You don't lose your preparation of the spell you staked
-You counter the effects of the incoming spell on yourself
-You counter the effects of the incoming spell on your friends
-There are no strange repercussions for twisting the magical energies around you.  These would be worse if the spell you staked was not as powerful as the spell you tried to counter.

The 6+ advance could then be something like:

Virtuoso of Spell Disassembly, requires Counterspell
When you attempt to counter a spell that will otherwise affect you or your friends, you always choose 1 additional option.  On a 10+ choose all 4, on a 7-9 choose 2, on a 6- choose 1.

Other thoughts, and potential drawbacks:

This doesn't make any clear distinctions about power levels, but instead leaves such things up to the fiction.  That is perhaps sub-optimal, but perfectly good for giving the DM a free soft (or even hard-ish) move.

My Wizard's player also pointed out that Dispel Magic seems well suited to countering spells, though I think you'd have to defy some danger to get a vaguely similar effect.

This also increases the relative power of the move, perhaps significantly.  It allows countering to protect your friends without a second advance, and it doesn't specify that the countered spell must be arcane.  But it does these things with good reason; the differences between "arcane" magic and "divine" magic are inherently setting based, so there's no distinction in the move, and by offering the choice of protecting friends or self in the same move I think you give people the opportunity to make more fun choices.  You could protect the whole party AND keep your spell, but then you give the DM a free soft move.

Dungeon World / Counterspell & Monster Spell Level
« on: October 12, 2012, 01:39:18 PM »
I have a player who really wants to take counterspell (and who wouldn't, it seems pretty sweet), but I am not sure how to run it in the game now that monsters no longer have levels.

For reference, here is the counterspell move, from p.147 of the most recent release:

When you attempt to counter an arcane spell that will otherwise affect you, stake one of your prepared spells of equal or higher level on the defense and roll+Int. ?On a 10+, the spell is countered and has no effect on you. ?On a 7-9, the spell is countered and you forget the spell you staked. Your counterspell protects only you; if the countered spell has other targets they get its effects.

The crucial problem that I have run into is "stake one of your prepared spells of equal or higher level on the defense."  Back when monsters had levels, I could just assume that the monster's spells were of the monster's level.  Now, since I run most monster spells as monster moves and avoid using wizard or cleric spells (there being only one Wizard or Cleric, of course), I don't have a baseline by which to judge monster spell level.  I could try to draw a parallel between each monster move and a spell from one of the spell books, but I worry that that would be inconsistent and cumbersome.

What have you folks done?  Do you have a means of determining monster spell level that works well for you?  Is this a move that is going to be reworded as more editing is done?

Apocalypse World / Re: The Maelstrom Demands To Know
« on: October 09, 2012, 12:20:38 PM »
This wasn't a question asked by the maelstrom so much as how the maelstrom itself developed in the first game I ran:

The maelstrom turned out to be a rainstorm that covered everything, a deluge.  Opening your brain just let you see that it was raining.  But each raindrop was a memory from someone somewhere in the world.  Sometimes they were your own memories, sometimes they were other people's.  You could be washed away in memories and find your sense of self eroded by other people's selves intruding on your own, or you could learn new things as they happened by experiencing someone else's memory of it.  But my favorite moment came when someone missed a roll and our faceless volunteered his own memories of the horrifyingly abusive cult in which he had grown up.  We learned more of his back story, and the gunlugger who experienced this grew much closer to the faceless as a result.

I don't want to copy the maelstrom from one game to another, but I really miss that one.  Having other players volunteer defining moments of their lives (good or bad) and share them with the group so that someone else could experience them first hand... it was awesome.

Dungeon World / Re: Dungeon World a la Guy Ritchie
« on: July 14, 2012, 07:30:14 PM »
Well, if you do want to make your own version, I strongly recommend that you do something like what we did; the "first session" actually had no gameplay, but we spent hours just making things up about the city and the characters.

Feel free to have your own answers ready, but remember that your primary goal is to create a working cohesive vision that compels you and your players.  A few good questions to ask:
-what words or phrases describe the setting?
-what is definitely in the setting?
-what media (film, comic, book, tv, etc.) inspires this setting?

My group's answers to the first one were great, and gave us a wonderful jumping off point for talking about geographic features, thematic places, etc.  Here's the list:
-sprawling, crowded, metropolis
-tidal estuary, London?, coastal, port, river
-huge, really old
-councilors, republic & oligarchy (vestigal royalty)
-elevation change, river comes out of hills
-several universities, a magic university
-bureaucratic [the entire Council is on top of the Captain of the Watch]
-limited scrying
-ambitious bureaucratic underlings (who don't want to work as Captain o.t. Watch)
-5 quarters of watch: North, East, South, West, River
-new 6th quarter: underground

So, of course, I had to ask why the Underwatch had been created.  There had been some incident that really pissed off a council member but that the normal watch had refused to investigate, claiming that the areas below ground weren't zoned as belonging to any particular quarter, and therefor were not part of their jurisdiction (no one wants to go underground, it's just too frickin dangerous).

So the council created a new watch, specifically meant to deal with underground threats.  The pissed off councilor did his best to empower it, and several other councilors tried to cripple it so badly that it couldn't possibly succeed.  Members of the watch couldn't be forced to shift to the Underwatch, but every quarter had to put forward a minimum of ?five? volunteers.  The worst miscreants from each quarter were "volunteered," and the ambitious 3rd Lieutenant Marlow stepped forward to accept a promotion to Commander (skipping a few ranks).

I give you that background, because this was all stuff that we came up with once we had the basic setting in place.  Each character established their bonds (we did char. gen. after making the setting), and we created elaborate backstories for everyone, finishing with the reason why they had ended up in the Underwatch.  It really worked beautifully.

Dungeon World / Dungeon World a la Guy Ritchie
« on: July 13, 2012, 07:14:59 PM »
There should be an AP coming from one of my players soon, but I'll give you the short version.  My players wanted to be members of the City Watch in a seething metropolis, cutting deals and trying to uphold the law, with large sections done in homage to crime movies and police procedurals.  So we spent one long afternoon coming up with all of the various horrible problems that they would likely be facing and laying the groundwork for a campaign setting that continues to give us joy.

The players are four of the members of a newly created Underwatch, the section of the city watch meant to keep order in and investigate crimes in the city's underground sections.  Their jurisdiction begins and ends at the surface, but the city bureaucracy expects them to keep watch on the *entire* underground.

As the newest members of a terrifyingly large series of overlapping organizations, they receive very little help and even less respect, all while being expected to cater to the whims of their various bureaucratic superiors.  Since they have perhaps 1/6th of the normal funding and staff assigned to a single quarter of the watch, it is a recipe for very exciting disaster.

The first session started with a dead body sitting on the desk of the commander's desk (Commander Marlow, our party's Thief).  It's been pretty much non-stop problem time ever since.  Every time that it seems like they may have solved a problem, I make sure to Show Signs of Doom, either insinuating that there are other problems which are even more pressing or that whatever they did to fix the problem actually had a number of unanticipated side effects.  I love simply being able to look at whatever they've done and build others' responses off of it, more fiction flowing naturally from their own.  I'll leave further explanations to our dear Commander Marlow, who should be posting something here some time soon.

Leaving aside game stories, one thing that we noticed was that XP advancement felt awkward and uneven because of how I was running the game.  Since the game was less of a dungeon crawl and more of a series of criminal investigations with some bursts of action, we found that players had a hard time playing up their character's theoretical party roles.  As a temporary solution we decided to pool XP, but it appears to have worked fairly well.  This rewards each PC for asking for assistance from someone else better suited to solve their problem, and has fostered a sense of teamwork that goes well with the "us against the world" themes of the setting.

I'm not sure what else to mention, but I'd be happy to answer any questions you folks have.

Dungeon World / Re: Paladin Preview
« on: June 01, 2011, 04:20:11 AM »
Ludanto, which release are you referring to?  Dungeon Hack 11.05.04 doesn't show the hanging reference that you mention.  Instead, it is as follows:

Divine Favor
You gain the Dutiful Prayer and Cast a Spell cleric moves.  Count your cleric level starting at this level.

Of course, this is also problematic because there is no Dutiful Prayer cleric move.  I'm not sure, but I think it has been replaced by Commune.

Dungeon World / Re: [AP] In the shadows of Kraktur's Bones
« on: May 20, 2011, 05:03:41 AM »
The second installment is here.  I don't always do it, but I try to include bolded names of moves when and where they occur.

The session started with me fumbling about, knowing that I wanted some time to have passed but having forgotten to write love letters.  We established that the only library which Kieran (our dangerously heretical wizard) might want to visit in town was in the Chapter House of the Order of the Shining Heart.  Perhaps predictably, Kieran decided not to go inside just yet.  Kieran also learned that Brunhildt wanted some bloodroot (or anything magical he got his hands on) from the forest's hills, in exchange for more information about local planar gates (Offer an opportunity, with a cost).  Kieran also began to plan an enchantment for his spellbook which would cause its runes to glow when in the presence of extra-planar beings, settling on cannibalizing several sources of magical power in a risky ritual in order to reach his desired effect.

Belleros managed to threaten Jarl well enough to get Jarl's `protection' on the planned expedition to the forest (a successful parley roll did the trick, with the leverage of being strung up by the garrison's commander for disobeying orders).  Jarl reconnected with some old friends in the area, and handed me pure gold when he passed a note describing the friend that he was bringing with them towards the forest.  It turns out that his old friend Artok the Drunkard was connected with the bandits somehow.  I don't have rules for hirelings, but Artok was too much fun to say no to.  Now he's lost, but I'll get to that.

In fact, Artok's bandit-connection was just one of several wonderful things that Jarl's player did: he really likes being able to declare knowledge, a la Spirit of the Century, and has been doing so with Spout Lore (I marked his Int, despite it being -1).  And so it is that we learned that there are stories of Stone Giants in these parts (from a hit on Spout Lore), at which point both other players groaned.

I was also able to show that the armory was mostly empty (announce future badness), since they were invited to take a selection of equipment from there before they left.  Only Belleros took anything (a ratty suit of leather armor), but not before he had implicitly insulted the Commander in front of Sgt. Jindo, who was less than amused.  Jindo made this clear in no uncertain terms (Make a show of solidarity and power) by lifting Belleros off his feet and leaving bruises where he had gripped when he told Belleros to never insult the Commander again.

Now equipped, the party set out, meeting with Artok at the town's gates as they headed north, towards the very tall tower which was four days away, one day into the forest.  Here I fumbled a bit again: I dithered over whether to make them eat rations for every day of the trip.  The party didn't actually have enough food to make it there and back as things were, and they didn't have quite enough money to buy sufficient food.  We decided that rations wouldn't be expended during travel in non-hostile terrain (since Undertake a Perilous Journey specifies hostile surroundings), and that therefore they only really had to spend food once they got into the forest.  Presumably, they hunted along the way.

In fact, the main reason Artok was there in the first place was because Jarl wanted to go boar hunting with his friend (thus we learned that there were boar in the forest too).  Sure enough, Jarl found some boar scat and upturned earth soon after entering the woods.  He and Artok left the two elves behind as they trundled after where they thought the boar had gone.  They soon found a large boar, which paused in its rummaging and let out a great angry squeal at them, preparing to charge.  Jarl charged first, and his Hack and Slash actually finished off the poor beastie before it had a chance to do anything else.  The elves made fun of Jarl, but were duly impressed by the huge bloody mess Jarl's axe had made of the boar's head.  Jarl strung the boar up over a high branch, securing it with some of his adventuring gear (Offer an opportunity), and left it to drain of blood.

As they left the boar, Kieran tried casting detect magic (his cleric version) on the tower several hours away.  He was shocked to discover that he could sense its power even from where he was, and saw it as a giant pillar of blue and black glass, cracked with age, topped by a huge mirror.  He only managed a 7-9 on his Cast Magic, and chose unwanted attention... so for several moments he stood alone in the forest, watching the giant pillar as he heard huge, slow, wet breaths growing louder in the forest around him and knew he was being watched.

When he snapped out of it, he was still walking with the group and Belleros had begun to sing a lay he remembered about the tower (Bardic Lore).  It turns out that the tower had been built long long ago by a mage who was allied with the local giants (who built the city east of Jotunsholm, from whence Jotunsholm gets its name).  It was partially explored a thousand or so years ago by an Elf named Evengi, who reported strange magically formed creatures inside, as well as traps and magical signs and countersigns which had to be performed to go further.

As they walked further, Artok started whistling incessantly, repeating one particular short melody over and over.  He cast anxious looks all around, clearly keeping watch for something in the woods, and the party began to notice blazes on some of the trees (announcing future badness, starting very slowly and building).  Kieran was pouring over his spellbook, trying to switch his prepared spell (I said he could do this while walking, though it would take longer and he wouldn't be very aware, offering an opportunity), and he paused to try to parley with Artok, leveraging magical harm.  He succeeded magnificently, so Artok asked Kieran to take up the tune if he was to stop whistling.  Kieran started to whistle, but couldn't hold onto the tune for the life of him: Artok was clearly becoming more and more nervous, so Kieran gave up and Artok went back to whistling.  Belleros was getting paranoid by this point, asking what the whistling was about, and was unhappy with Artok's obvious (and nervous) lie that it was just a tune his mother had sung to him when he was little.  After asking Artok to stop and being rebuffed, Belleros drew his bow on Artok, ordering him to cease his whistling, but he flubbed his Parley and was surprised when Artok snatched the bow out of his hands, insulted him, and kept going.  Jarl joined in with the whistle, just to rub it in.  Eventually Belleros made clear that he thought the whistle was a signal to attack them, at which point Jarl laughed him down and told him that he was being foolish, since the whistle was clearly meant to tell the bandits that they were friends.  Belleros stewed for a while, and wasn't quite sure how to react... he was a spy and was glad to know that the situation here for the garrison was so tenuous and that people in the fort cooperated with the bandits, but at the same time he was supposed to represent that same vulnerable military authority, and would have a hard time convincing bandits that he didn't while wearing all of the military's gear.

Finally, the party arrived at the base of a magnificently tall tower made of seamless stone, almost ceramic in appearance.  It was incredibly wide around, and built in the center of a circular hillock, so the party set up a quick camp before preparing to check around the outside of it.  They couldn't find any entrance, and Discerned Realities to figure out what had gone on.  They realized that enough time had passed that perhaps they should go down first instead of up, and Jarl managed to find a spot that sounded hollow as he walked across it.  Using Bend Bars he set about trying to forcibly excavate whatever was there, eventually busting through the omnipresent pine litter and the rusted bars that it covered.  He widened the hole, and prepared several torches and a rope to use to enter the hole by the tower.  Though they don't know it yet, this cave is actually the natural formation that was used as the basis for the tower's cellar, sewer and drainage.

They lowered themselves through the hole one by one (with Artok quite excited to go spelunking), only to find an old staircase going down, occasionally turning around on itself, and eventually opening onto an acidic smelling cave.  Jarl, at the front, saw a beetle the size of a small dog clack its chitinous wings and buzz before it turned around and clacked its way out of the small natural cave.  Kieran decided that this would be a good time to fashion a magical light source, and settled himself down to magic an orb of light that would follow him around.  I said that it would take about 15 minutes, so of course Jarl and Artok decided to head off in pursuit of the big bug, leaving Belleros and Kieran to sit around while Kieran worked magic.

Jarl and Artok splashed their way through several puddles on the cave floor, eager to hunt down the bug, when Jarl's right boot squished instead of splashing.  The puddle that he had stepped in was wrapping itself around his boot, and he watched in horror as his boot started to dissolve.  Jarl hopped about and threw off his boot, watching as it slowly disintegrated, and the "puddle" rolled its way back to the depression it had started in.  He and Artok continued on their way, trying to catch up with the beetle, but now with Jarl only wearing one boot.

Kieran's ritual finished, giving him a small orb of light which orbited around his head and every so often blinded him by passing in front of his eyes.  He and Belleros set out, hoping to find Jarl and Artok, wishing that they had mentioned something about taking a predictable route.  Before that became an issue, Belleros stepped in the same "puddle" that Jarl had stepped in, which promptly wrapped itself up around his leg and started to bubble away at his flesh (taking 3 of his 6 hitpoints).  Kieran reacted first by slamming the thing with magical bolts of energy, casting Magic Missile, but he drew the attention of that same thing that he had alerted before, sensing that there was something standing in the room watching him though he couldn't see it.  Belleros, in his pain, failed his defy danger roll to act, and the thing spattered some of itself onto Kieran.  Fortunately for both of them, Kieran killed it with his second shot, and the bits that had gotten onto him died at the same time.

Hearing screams, Jarl and Artok grumbled and turned around, heading back the way that they had come.  By the time they got there, Kieran had already applied bandages, and tried to Discern Realities about the presence in the room, learning that it was tied to the tower somehow and that he did not want to anger it.  When the dwarves got back, Artok was conscripted to carry Belleros in a rather undignified manner, sack-o-potatoes style over one shoulder down the narrow and bendy cave hallways.  The party wandered on until they reached a fork, deciding on the left branch in hopes of finding the bug again.

They picked correctly, and eventually began to smell rotting meat and sulphur, gagging on the odor.  Belleros was hobbling by this point, and they soon came out into a small cavern filled with freshly dead, decaying, and long dead animal corpses covered in eggs and larvae, with five bugs waddling about buzzing and clacking.  Belleros did his best to determine an appropriate plan of attack, successfully coming up with the idea of sending Jarl forwards to defend while Belleros and Kieran provided support and Artok guarded their backs.  Jarl stepped up while Kieran killed the first bug with his magic and Belleros missed his shot terribly.  Kieran attracted their attention with his spell, and the bugs (fire beetles) set him aflame.  Jarl crushed one bug completely and wounded another, but one of the as-yet unhurt ones threw itself on Belleros' bow arm and set itself to gnawing.  Kieran Defied Danger to keep his head and roll on the ground to put out the flames, while Belleros stabbed the beetle on his arm with several arrows, spending one ammo (offer an opportunity), instead of protecting Jarl from the last two beetles setting him on fire.  Jarl hacked and slashed, killing the injured bug while being bitten himself, and then he took damage from the other one (perched on his shoulder), and was brought to 0 hit points.

Here I wasn't quite clear what to do.  I thought that it would be a good time to use the Last Breath move, but I also hadn't yet given our bard an opportunity to heal someone.  And there was still one more beetle alive.  I decided to wait until Jarl's "turn" came around next, and gave Belleros the choice of killing the last beetle or trying to save his companion's life.  Belleros did a little healing, and Kieran (his robes no longer on fire) blasted the last beetle.

So, our group read the rules as saying that the Bard cannot heal himself.  Since it says that you specify an ally, we took this to mean that it had to be someone else.  A small way in which the bard and cleric might balance.  This meant that Belleros had to wait a while to heal up, though he did gain a level and sped up the process.  Kieran leveled as well, and decided to prepare new spells.

The adventurers looted the cave, finding a scattering of gold pieces and an old skeleton with a backpack full of adventuring gear and dwarven hardtack and a ring on its finger.  Jarl Spouted Lore saying that he recognized the ring as a magical one that his uncle (a spelunker) had had many many years ago before his disappearance, and that it told you how deep you were at any given time.  While everyone healed and Kieran did some paranoid double-checking on the ring, they realized that Artok had been missing for a while (he had slipped my mind, and I didn't know what to do with him during the fight).  Jarl quickly pointed out that he had obviously fled when he saw things going poorly.  At this point, as they had rummaged through the rest of the room (collecting chitin and eggs, crushing larvae, finding several beetle sized tunnels and one that they might be able to squeeze into if they were desperate), they heard quiet squeaky guttural noises that might have been voices from the way that they had come (Announcing badness of course).

We had to leave off there, but I think we're all looking forward to finding out what might have actually happened to Artok, and what might be down that right branch.

Feel free to share your thoughts, and I'd love to know what you think of my rulings on Last Breath and our group's rulings on Bards not being able to heal themselves.

Dungeon World / [AP] In the shadows of Kraktur's Bones
« on: May 15, 2011, 02:17:16 AM »
This was the first time that I've run an Apocalypse World game, much less a Dungeon World one, but my players and I all had fun and we want to continue so we must be doing something right.  Also, to Ethan, Mattias and Gavin, please don't read too much of this.  Below be *spoilers*.

First off, a few notes on typos / other problems:
-We ended up without a paladin, both because the interested player also liked the wizard, and because the only automatic surplus listed for a chapter is hirelings, and there are no hirelings rules in the hack.  We solved this with fiction (too few people at the outpost to give hirelings anyways), but our player had already been seduced by the wizard.
-Thus we also discovered that there are a dearth of positive bonds for wizards.  This might just be a feature, but we started thinking up other bonds that could be used instead.
-I think this has been mentioned elsewhere, but there as of version 11.05.04 there is no reason to be a human bard (there being no complex weapons).  This worked out well enough, since our elven bard is also a spy for the elven kingdoms to the north, but still.

And a quick question: are there rules for groups, and alternate suggestions for fronts / moves / principles in the full version?  I can make it work with AW fronts / moves / principles plus some innovation, but I'm not sure what to do with respect to groups.

Ok, now to the game.

The setting which we came up with was a variation on the West Marches theme, focused on the frontier settlement of Jotunsholm on the northern border of an expanding dwarven empire which rules over many races and lands.  There is a range of mountains to the north, known as Kraktur's Bones (Kraktur being a giant who was supposedly slain by the king who founded the empire), and deep in the range there is rumored to be a place called Kraktur's Eyes, which people understand to grant vision or insight, but where few have gone.  In between the settlement and there are foothills, a forest, and a number of tributary rivers (flowing south), as well as a marsh to the NNE [north-north-east] (feeding one tributary).  There is a cautious / hostile Elven kingdom to the WNW, which is recovering from a civil war.  The players know of old city ruins to the East of Jotunsholm, an old quarry from which which the town's fort was built off to the West, and something very tall in the forested foothills to the North.  There are apparently raiders in the forest, but they haven't attacked in some time and no one knows why.

Our heroes:

We have Belleros, an elven bard from the elven kingdom to the WNW, who was sent to the dwarven empire to act as a spy, watching for troop movements on the northern border.  He was on the winning side in the civil war, and managed to protect his younger sister despite their parents' death.  He thrives on ordering others and manipulating them (he's evil), and is posing as an agent of the Special Internal Commission which runs the dwarven empire's spy and counter-intelligence network.  I look forward to introducing someone who actually works for the Commission, and to seeing all of the ensuing hijinks and attempts to prove one's loyalty that might ensue.  In any case, Belleros knows that there is a drop point for whatever intelligence he can gather to the NW somewhere, deep in the forest, but he hasn't been there yet.

Next we have Kieran, an elven mage and citizen of the dwarven empire, who was apprenticed to a master in the mage cadre of the imperial army.  Unfortunately for Kieran, not too long ago he watched his master lose himself to an extra-planar being that the master had summoned for research.  The thing pulled his master out of this realm and into the thing's own realm.  Kieran managed to get a handle on one of the minor beings which was drawn to the power surge, and has been asking it questions ever since.  However, he's had to do this very quietly since most people are of the belief that people shouldn't have any connection to things not of this plane.  The one exception to that is talking to one's ancestral spirits, but we'll get to that in a moment.  In any case, he headed north in hopes that he might make his way to Kraktur's Eyes and see something that would let him find his master.  Sadly, he was quickly marked as a weakling on the road north and was set upon by some thugs.

Happily, our stolid dwarf fighter Jarl was there to save him.  Jarl had been discharged from his conscripted service, but was told to escort Belleros north to his "assignment" on the frontier.  When he saw such an unfair fight on the road, he quickly evened things out and sent the ruffians packing.  He was feeling quite happy, being ready to return home after his mission was done, until he saw the ruins of his home from the road on his way north.  He only found charred remnants of his house and family, but there was enough there to tell him that a struggle had taken place.  He delayed the journey north, prayed, and conferred with his ancestral spirits at the family tomb.  He was rewarded with a feeling that whatever had killed his family had come from the north, and was told to take up the family axe, which would glow whenever he drew near to something like the thing that had killed his family.  As of yet, he has no idea what that is.

The game began with the travelers' arrival at Jotunsholm, a place with which Jarl was familiar from years ago.  Belleros, still acting in command of Jarl, sent Jarl to find lodgings for them at the local inn, The Cracked Skull (named either for the Horfuss the bartender's old barfight injury, or for the huge tusked skull found in the dirt when the place was first built years ago).  Jarl negotiated an agreement for rooms from his "old friend" Horfuss, with the result that the party now has a tab which they can't yet afford to pay.  He also got a free pint of moonshine out of sympathy for the loss of his family.  Kieran went and visited with the local apothecary Brunhildt, an old blind woman who wishes for younger days.  He tried to ask Brunhildt about Kraktur's Eyes, or other ways through to other realms, but while she was helpful she demanded payment in return.  When he made clear that he had no gold, she told him to come back the next morning, when she would have something for him to do.  Belleros headed into the fort proper and reported to the Commander, asking for a stipend and any mission assignments.  The Commander made clear that he didn't have any room in his budget for an agent's stipend, but told him that he wanted to have someone get out of the town and into the forest to find out what had happened to the usual raiders.  And, of course, the agent would be free to keep 75% of any bounties he brought in while working the empire's business.  Belleros was given access to the Commander's rough map of the area, and heard hints of future troop movements ("Don't bother copying it exactly, its not like there's a scale.  Last time we had good surveyors up here was when they built this fort.  'Course, we should be seeing some of them up here again some time soon.").

**Here start the spoilers**

Sadly, we had to stop there for other commitments.  I realized afterwards that I needed to bring forwards more named NPCs, and give them more conflict inside the outpost itself if I wanted good triangles.  However, I've gone to work on the few people and groups who were introduced and have the beginnings of things sketched out:

Brunhildt is a grotesque: mutant (or maybe a mindfucker?) who wants to be acknowledged as the power that she is.  Since going blind, she has been stuck in the fort and only been able to gather her supplies from safe areas nearby, never ranging far afield like she used to.  As such, her power has declined instead of continuing to grow.  However, she will offer Kieran more information and assistance in exchange for him fetching powerful ingredients for her.  Though she has dreams of ruling the outpost herself as a rejuvenated sorceress queen, what she really wants is recognition of her power and the respect she feels is due (instead of rotting away in a dingy old shack, where people go for a cheap love potion, or its classic companion the cheap contraceptive.

Horfuss is a warlord: collector.  He has already started on his process of owning the new people in town (the PCs) by putting them in his debt.  He eventually wants to bring everyone into his pocket, making him a very wealthy man as proceeds from all of the businesses in Jotunsholm would go towards paying off debts to him.

The Commander is a warlord: dictator, clearly enough.  He owns the fort, and through the fort he controls the land around.  He is actually pretty happy with how things are right now, except that he is running out of money, running out of supplies, and he has no idea where the raiders have gotten off to.  He would be happy about that if he weren't such a pessimistic man: if he hasn't been attacked recently, it is probably because something new and worse is going to happen, not because things have suddenly gotten better.

The garrison, headed up by Sergeant Jindo, are brutes: family.  They are the only ones out here who aren't all from around here, and they look up to the Commander as the head of their family.  They have a duty to keep the place safe, but more important to most of them is keeping each other safe.

All of that is complicated by the fact that the armory and vault are emptying out (affliction: condition).  As such, the garrison will soon be unpaid, without further supplies, and be unable to pay to repair any of its equipment.

The raiders are a group of mixed humans and goblinoids, and are brutes: sybarites.  I have no idea what problems they might be facing up in the woods, but whatever it is can't be pretty.  They've been raiding in order to furnish themselves with what they need to feed and protect themselves, and though they now have someone who is funneling supplies to them from the town (hence the emptying armory), they still haven't come south to make further gains.  I expect I'll come up with something before next session, but ideas would be welcome.

I have two more threats: the dark forest to the north is a landscape: prison, trapping those who venture in.  What all is held in there I don't yet know, but it can't be nice (maybe it should be a breeding pit instead?).  The ruins of the old and forgotten city to the east are a landscape: maze, winding about, crumbling into confusion.  There are certainly cool and valuable things there, but they'll be dangerous to find.

I don't know yet where they are planning to go first, but I should know soon.

I'd love to hear what you guys think.  Is there anything that you can think of that would be fun to throw in?  Further complications to make life interesting?  I expect that our heroes will start off very much in the dark, but I look forward to them slowly realizing what is going on in this outpost, and seeing what they do about it while they still try to fulfill their various goals.  Their conflicting loyalties will be especially interesting to watch (do I let the enemy ship sink, even though I'm on that ship?).  I do worry that this too focused on the conflict within the settlement, but hopefully more exterior challenges will come to the surface as they push into the wilderness.  Future sessions will be posted on this thread!

Dungeon World / Re: Adventuring Gear
« on: May 09, 2011, 10:13:36 PM »
Ludanto, are you talking about the current hack?  Which ability is it that allows the thief to produce an item?  Maybe I'm just missing something, but I couldn't find a move that would do that.

Apocalypse World / Re: Playbook Idea, The Viper´s tongue
« on: May 04, 2011, 07:17:31 PM »
I missed this when I was looking before, but Khimus, were you intending for the stat lines to be as unequal as they are?  It was my understanding that the total for a normal stat line was supposed to be +3, possibly lower or higher depending on the playbook, but that they were supposed to be equal to other stat lines for that playbook.  At the moment your second and fourth lines are both lower than average, coming in at +2, instead of the +3 for the first and third line (with the third line at +3 because the second +2 counts as +3).

Anyways, I really like Arvid's suggestion of Dirty Fingerprints All Over, and I think the suggestion of building your own web is cool too.  Though I wonder: how would that work out in terms of playbook balance?  Having a crowd of people who are (ostensibly) yours is a pretty big bonus.  Maybe you'd have one fewer starting moves?

Dungeon World / Re: Dungeon World Gamma
« on: May 03, 2011, 04:31:50 AM »
A small but important detail for future editions: the labels for boxes sometimes obscure the text in the boxes (this is especially true of the "gear" box on the character sheet).

Apocalypse World / Re: Playbook Idea, The Viper´s tongue
« on: April 28, 2011, 05:34:54 PM »
Perhaps one of the following: The Architect, The Broker, The Cipher, or The Diplomat

Or maybe L'Éminence grise?
The painting there is pretty cool too.

Apocalypse World / Re: A post-apocalyptic environment is ...
« on: April 25, 2011, 07:30:04 PM »
Dragonraven, your mention of surviving ruins of the old world reminded me of historical events which might inspire a PA setting: apart from not being sudden in the same way that nuclear war is (or something similar), the collapse of the Roman Empire changed the face of Europe for centuries to come.  Populations declined, some technologies disappeared, and the social fabric was strained or destroyed in many cases.  The few people who actually remembered what happened, or knew what had gone before, were few and far between.  While I don't know as much about the interim periods of Chinese dynasties or other empires, we could probably get some inspiration there as well.

All of this expands on what Margolette was saying earlier.  Just think of feudal lords as hardholders, yeah?  Who can you trust?  With whom do you band together?  How can you support your people, and how can you keep them following you?  Fun.  And it doesn't even require that the whole world has gone to shit!  Just enough of it so that the characters don't notice the difference.

Apocalypse World / Re: Proto-Playbook, The Rust Shaman
« on: April 11, 2011, 01:19:22 AM »
This looks fun.  For some reason, I am reminded of the wizard from the first Conan movie.  Actually, I see several different potential characters here which I really like.

Quick clarifications:
Did you mean to get rid of Warp and Weft with your second move list, or are you still intending to include it?

And Death Curse has you roll +weird, right?  As of right now it doesn't say, but I presume...

Pages: [1] 2