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Messages - Aaron Friesen

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Dungeon World / Re: Beta questions
« on: February 13, 2012, 03:26:35 AM »
From last night's play experience I have to say, it may just be my players being XP whores, but with the remodelled XP system, inter-PC Parley just seems too juicy to not jump on, with hefty use of the carrot. Was this intentional?

That said, outside of one holdout, everyone was keen-ish on the slowed advancement curve.

Dungeon World / Spanterhook Guild AP report
« on: November 22, 2011, 04:53:40 AM »
Hey all! This is my first AP, so please forgive if it's a little odd ;)

Awright, so, sat down to play Dungeon World with some friends of mine last night. Ended up running two modules in a rather zany fashion and they may be sold on it.

Character creation, the first -

Sitting down with Dustin and Stewart, I pitched the concept, and they pretty nearly pooped themselves. Leafing through the playbooks, The Fighter and The Thief immediately appealed to them. They picked their names, race, look, and alignment; Dustin made Gregor the filthy neutral Human, and Stewart picked Rook, the likewise filthy neutral Halfling. They figured they were a couple of filthy thieves, and ran with it. Next I offered to let them either take the stats provided or roll for 'em, 4d6, drop the lowest. They took the dice, and proceeded to roll absolute shite. Well, not that bad really, two +1s and a -1 each, in the end, with all of their stats being one or two points away from a bonus upgrade. Gregor's signature weapon was a big two handed battleaxe, sharp, heavy and ancient. Quickly kitting themselves out with starting packages otherwise, and then jotting down a few bonds. Apparently they had a con running where they ran some mercenaries out of town, used Goldenroot to convince the mayor that they were those mercs, and that he should give them all the jobs he could. Gregor's Str and Con were highlighted, and Rook's Dex and Wis.

The Spanterhook Guild

I figured that would be the easier one to run without any prep time, and it was a blast. Quickly brought on my best “run down mayor voice” and explained the situation. Guild stole a gem from the idol of the orcs, shit was going down if we didn't get it back to them. Doing some quick digging around town about the guild, and consulting their own knowledge (discern realities and spout lore), they discovered that the gem was worth a ton to the right folk, and that Gregor had a friend “not from around here” (complete with hand motions implying the friend was a demon) who would give, ahem, “favours” for the gem. As far as they were concerned, their con was paying off in full, and they decided to rob the thieves' guild and leave the city to burn. Yeah, “neutral”, gotcha. Oh well. They also discovered the back entrance, and learned about the trap there: a light triggered Goldenroot spray, leaving the victims hapless on the appearance of the door guard, Girard.

Approaching Dogleg Alley, the Dirty Duo waltzed in with the appropriate amount of light, “no dimmer than a torch,” after all, the trap was meant to catch sneaky counter-theives. Plugging the spray spout, and then quickly searching for the hidden entrance, which they found without difficulty beneath the false barrels. I told them it was a vent/crawlspace. Getting down on their hands and knees, Rook went in first followed not far behind by Gregor. Looking through the grate at the other end of the crawlspace, Rook could see two fellows playing a dice game in the foyer. Forgetting that he's a halfling, and thus carries a much smaller bow, Rook just figures there's no way he can draw in the vent, and tries to quietly pop off the grate. Defying Danger, he manages it without alerting attention. That said, Rook has the brilliant idea of pulling Gregor out of the vent and the two of them creeping together to murder the two hapless fellows. This time it's Gregor's turn to defy danger, taking -1 for the noise that plate armour tends to make. Snake Eyes. “Oi! 'oo are you?” and one of them is on the run to the door in the back to get “the boys”. Rook lets his arrow fly, and Gregor makes quick work of the other fellow with a very nasty Hack 'n Slash roll. Searching the corpses like good murderhobos, they find a pittance in coin, and a few knives and such, but they take them figuring that every penny counts, and then barge through the door that the running man didn't dash to, discovering the test chamber. Whirling blades, gas on the floor , two obviously trapped chests, and holes in the wall by the door with crossbow bolts in the other. This was entertaining. Disabling the blades, and then just smashing through the door hard soaking bolts, they fall into the Trophy room, not breaking anything valuable (damn that Bend Bars, Lift Gates. Oh well, inordinate amount of noise it is).

Stuffing whatever they can into their packs and strapping on a pair of solid gold swords, they just start making a makeshift barricade out of trophy cases and stuff they weren't able to strap to themselves, preparing for the feet stamping their way to the ruckus. Bursting through the door from the Footpads, a big bruiser and a pair of knife wielding bastages start rushing. Gregor stands in protection of his compatriot, taking a thrown blade to the chestplate (ting!), and proceeds to drop the ball entirely on a hack n slash, getting floored a bit by the musclehead. A soft hit on Rook's bowshots has him climbing on top of the barricade to get a good shot, and he takes a glancing blow from a knife, just enough to get through his armour. Gregor, fighting from the ground, hacks up into the bruiser's belly sending him flying. At this point, I forcast doom with a THUMP, THUMP, THUMP. Gurnak is coming...

The remaining knify fellow tries to make a run for it, but is laid low with an arrow to the back, just as Gurnak stomps in, club raising high. Rook now dashes up to the ogre, and a soft hit on his defy danger has him throwing Goldenroot dust in Gurnak's eyes just as the huge fist swings at him. Luckily, Gregor has two hold left, which he uses to hop up and dash in the way, taking the hit, and halving the damage. Another blow glancing off his armour. Of course, that makes him the next person Gurnak sees. Besties forever. Hilarity ensues. A really well argued parlay has the big guy crashing through the guild, leading our intrepid “heroes” to the boss lady with the eye, who we'd not long before established as being in a meeting with some potential buyers for the gem. BB/LL to smash the door open (and to pieces, loudly), and the confrontation begins. “Who are you? Never mind. Boys, kill them and I'll take half the gold for the Eye.” Both Gregor and Rook now dive in for some Hack n Slashing. Rook rolls first, missing completely. He takes a sword to the gut, and the blade, shock!, is poisoned! A quick saving throw later, and he's passed out. Gregor, enraged some, rolls boxcars, and decides the extra damage is worth it. Also he'd levelled not long before, grabbing merciless, so he's rolling 1d10+1d6+1d4, and proceeds to thoroughly wreck the poor bastard. Putting him in a spot, the fellow who just stabbed Rook shouts out, “Come any closer, and I kill him!” “Challenge Accepted!” Gregor Defies Danger, and then removes the fellow's head, and slaps his friend, waking him up.

Turning to the Guild President, Rook holds himself together and tries to Parlay, “Give us the Eye, or we kill you.” Dropping the ball on that roll (not a good day for Rook), she simply says that her men will be there any moment to kill them both, and she can make that not happen if, rather than take the gem and leave her with nothing, split the profit three ways and get the crap out of this town. Hearing Gurnak (now no longer affected) charging their way, they quickly agree. The huge ogre squeezes through the door, lets out a loud bellow, only to be stopped by the boss lady with a, “No no, they really are on official business for me.” A confused Gurnak rubs his head and sits down, and everyone involved laughs.

The sale we do behind closed doors (as we were running out of time at our current venue) and just jumped to their inevitable Carousing. They both missed the roll. This was glorious.

“You wake up in a strange city, with a weird tattoo that seems to run from one of you to the other... and that bitch seems to have run off with all of your money! What?!” From my two players, there were nothing but smiles and slow applause.

Anyway, needless to say, we're sold. When we got to my place, we ran another game with the same characters, plus a wizard since another player showed up, but that's a story for another time. I think we may have a new game of choice. Well done!

Apocalypse World / Re: New Playbook: The Traveller
« on: October 21, 2011, 04:42:57 PM »
Bit of a personal story.

My Grandpa and I were pretty close. Well, close for itinerant, generally distant folk. I mean, I don't think distant is quite the right word. Every time we saw each other, it was always picking up right where we left off, often picking up the conversation from our last phone call three four months ago. Hugs, smiles, good food, good discussion, and then we do our own thing. And I've never been a religious person, but I'd always go to his sermons whenever I was in Winnipeg, or whenever he'd be giving a guest sermon out my way. It was just amazing hearing him speak. He never dished out guilt. He never dropped blame. Pure love, and friendship, and motivation, from the most powerful voice I knew. And more than anything, that's what made my last trip to Winnipeg so hard.

I knew he'd been having health problems for some time. Dad had been keeping me posted for some time, Gramma too, but Grampa and I just both seemed to want to bury our heads in the sand about it. We didn't discuss it. We just kept going the way we did on the phone. When the call came from Dad that things were looking really dark, though, I dropped everything. I called my boss and said I'm outta town for the next two weeks. I called my brother and told him to do the same, cause I'd already bought his ticket and to hell if he was missing the flight.

The cab ride to the airport was jovial enough. My bro and I just don't have it in ourselves to be anything else, until actually confronted with stark reality, but our laughs and talks of good times were definitely down a notch or three. Any lull and we were getting a little hollow eyed. The plane ride was a bit easier for Rob. He dozed off (4am flights, yeah) about 5 minutes off the ground. I was stuck awake, though. I gotta say, I was shaking. It was a damned long flight for me. My Uncle picked us up from the airport after we landed, and again, conversation was a godsend. Of course, when we got close to the house, he stopped the car and tried to prepare us for what we were walking into. It made us a shade more sombre, but sure as fuck didn't ease anything. We arrived, and Gramma gave us both a big hug, and sat us down for some breakfast. Grampa wasn't awake yet, but she was sure he was getting up soon enough. His younger brother, the doctor, was there too, and we got to have some time just chatting, both about the situation and just about this that and the other. Gramma sure made a strong cup of coffee that morning. Heavy cream didn't dent it.

A few hours and a brief nap later, and Gramma comes downstairs to let us know Grampa is awake and would love to see us. We weren't sure he would, because, y'know, sometimes people just don't wan you to remember them... like that. Anyway, Rob went first. About a half hour later, he came down looking pretty broken. Wouldn't say a word to me, just kinda sat himself in the cozy chair and stared at his thumbs like they were his only friend. My turn. Gramma took me up to his room, and, like Uncle Thom, tried to tell me what was what, and I did my best to steel myself.

Again, all my life, Grampa was a strong man. Even after I sprouted up and had a few inches on him, he was just such a strong personality that it felt like he held you in the palm of his hand. Perpetually rosy cheeks, eternal smile, booming but kind voice, and a little potbelly to finish it off, with muscle to back it up. Walking into that room was earthshattering. A small hospital bed was set up, and in it there he was. Tiny, shrunken down to a near skeleton of a man. He looked up and smiled at me, that same smile, but on such a different face, skin drawn taught along his ashen cheeks.  In the hour I was up there, not too many words passed between us, outside of "It's so wonderful to see you," and "I love you." Other than that, there wasn't much to say. I just held his hand as he came into and out of consciousness, finished trimming his beard (yeah, to that very day, trimmed it himself every day, no matter how long it took), and reached for a few kisses with Gramma. When I left his room, I put my hand on his cheek and said, "I'll see you soon." He smiled again and grabbed my hand, and then dozed off again.

Shortly after 3, he went into what was either a really deep sleep or a comatose state, said Retired Nurse Gramma and Doc Great Uncle. We all did our best to keep up spirits, half heartedly watching baseball with Gramma (she loves the Jays), telling good stories or our travels with Grampa, and just chatting about everything. At about 8 o'clock, Gramma and Doc came downstairs and told us that Grampa had stopped breathing. Shattered and broken, but happy his suffering was over, we called my Grampa's sister and her reverend husband and held a small service to say goodbye to him in his room, each taking turns holding his hand and telling him that we love him and will miss him. Us younguns retired downstairs while the older family stayed with him until the funeral home folk came to pick up his body. I couldn't stop crying, and I just couldn't be around anyone, so I stayed in the living room and kept watch for them. I called my mum, my dad, my girlfriend. It was a long night.

After the Funeral Folk came, we cracked open a bottle of Grampa's favourite wine, and toasted to him, and soon after did our level best to catch some rest.

The next few days were a blur. Dad and his wife came up to town. Mine and my brother's significant others flew in. Family and friends started pouring in from all over the world, all offering condolences and telling more wonderful stories. The official service was beautiful, with many going up to the podium and telling their most definitive John Friesen moment. I gotta tell you though, that church felt hollow and empty without him, even with the place packed to the nines.

When I boarded my plane to go back home, all in all, I was glad to have been there. Visiting Winnipeg again will never be the same.

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