AP - Hawthorne and Hawk delve the Bloodstone Idol

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JEL

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AP - Hawthorne and Hawk delve the Bloodstone Idol
« on: October 02, 2011, 09:28:36 AM »
First session of Dungeon World. Playing the Red Box edition with two players. We used the Ranger Playbook as-is from the latest version of the Hack as well.

Hawthorne the Human Ranger and Hawk the Human Fighter both grew up in the Blackmoor Valley. Hawthorne's family friend, a carver named Holly, clued Hawthorne in to the fact that several children from the outlying farms had gone missing.

She sought out her friend, Hawk, former apprentice to Hal the town blacksmith. Together they geared up to search for the lost children.

[Note, the encapsulated backstory stems from the character generation process, which I treated as play. We ended up with a map for the Blackmoor valley, a place that includes the monster infested Dragon's Rift, the Unknown Forest and Hell's Hills. We ended up expositing the fact that the valley had been at peace for two generations, since the last war with Gobling tribes]

Hawthorne tracked the most recently missing kid to a trail leading into Hell's Hills. Hawk remembered hearing a legend about an ancient temple in the hills that had been swallowed by an Earthquake.

They found the cave entrance to the Hall Beneath the Hills. As Hawthorne stood guard (with her trusty companion Silver, a large northern Wolf), Hawk prepared his climbing gear to repel down to the mouth of the cave.

Just then, four Goblins stumbled out of the mouth of the cave. Hawthorne shouted a warning to Hawk from her hiding place. Which caused the Goblins to spot Hawk and begin firing their crossbows at him. He took a vicious shot to the shoulder while retrieving his Warhammer and Shield, and then slid down the cliff, in a kind of gravity assisted charge, Hawthorne unleashing arrows down on the Goblins from above.

The Ranger felled two with arrows and Hawk broke two of them to dust with mighty swings of his hammer. The Fighter also took a knife shot to the ribs, and had a Goblin take bite out of the knife wound.

They camped. The next morning, they found the entrance to the hidden temple inside the cave. Swining the doors open to a very large entry hall, they found themselves in the middle of a pitched battle between a force of Goblins and a force of Lizardmen. Each of the two forces hid behind makeshift forts behind junk and over turned tables, trading arrow shots.

Hawk moved close to the Goblin's fortified position, attempting to quietly take some out with thrown daggers. He felled two, but naturally attracted the Goblin's attention. A few of the little green menaces peeled off from the fight with the Lizard Men to charge Hawk.

Hawthorne, meanwhile, had climbed up to the rafters, twenty feet above the great hall, and rained arrows down on Goblins and Lizard folk alike.

Hawk broke heads and arms of the charging Goblins, including a wicked coup de grace move where he stabbed the last Goblin through the heart with the point of his shield. He'd taken several knife shots for his trouble, and was feeling a bit week.

It's at this point that the Goblins and Lizard folk recognized Hawthorne and Hawk as the bigger threat, and both started launching arrows at the two. Hawk tried to retreat, losing his shield in the process.

Meanwhile, Hawthorne used alchemist's fire (from her Adventruer's kit) to start a fire to block the duo's retreat from the Goblin & Lizard men forces.

We ended there, about two hours into the session.

It was a great time. Neither player was an experienced role-player.

The only major issues were on my end. I struggled to fit some of their actions into what felt like should be moves (like lighting the fire to block the retreat).

I'm also not sure about the balance between the opponents and the characters. Perhaps it would be more balanced if there'd been four players. I will say, Hawthorne did a good job of fictionally keeping her distance from melee to use ranged weapons (and never rolling less than a 10+ helps too).

Hawk waded into melee, but I suspect after basically being the only one of the pair to take damage in either melee, he's going to be asking if he can get a ranged weapon. :)

I didn't pull any punches, and it seemed like Hawk was easy prey for a small number of Goblins. Is that intentional design either on the part of the Bloodstone Idol scenario design, or the game overall?

I've read AW, so had some well written examples of how the players and the moves and the fiction relate. Still, I think I would've benefited from more such examples within the DW hack's rules.

All in all, a great success. Thanks for the hack. Really brought back fun memories from OAD&D.

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JEL

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AP - Hawthorne mourns two harsh losses
« Reply #1 on: October 02, 2011, 10:34:57 PM »
We gathered for a second mini-session, getting in about ninety minutes more of play.

Hawthorne and Hawk fled the hall that the Ranger had set on fire, and fled the cave that led to the hall.

Out in the open, Hawthorne and her wolf companion caught the trail of a small band of Lizardmen.

They followed them to a secret entrance, and down a flight of well-hewn stairs, Silver the wolf brining up the rear.

They peeked into an entry room, to see this band of half-dozen Lizard men warriors and what appeared to be a commander unloading boxes of very finely wrought weapons and armor.

Hawke's inclination was to charge out into the room. Hawthorne and Silver managed to restrain him for a bit, long enough for the wolf to retreat up the stairs, and the Ranger to slip into the shadows just inside the room.

It was then that Hawke charged in.

The Lizard commander barked orders, and three of his band charged Hawk, the other three knocked arrows and prepared to fire.

Hawke took out one Lizardman in a single blow, and injured another on the backswing.

Meanwhile, Hawthorne snuck further into the room, attempting to find a way to get to the crates of weapons.

Alas, Hawke's luck ran out. He swung his mighty hammer over his head, intending to crush the skulls of his nearest opponent, but the Lizard man proved surprisingly quick, it ducked to the side, and buried it's blade deep into Hawke's guts.

It was then that the other Lizardman in melee also swung, cutting a neat line across the fighter's neck.

And the three Lizard bowmen unleashed a volley, burying their arrows into his chest.

He heaved forward, and drew his Last Breath.

Hawthorne considered her options. She could tell from her hidden vantage point, as
the Lizard folk began searching Hawk’s body, that he was yet clinging to life.

In a Place Between, Hawk was offered a chance to return as a Holy Knight in service to the Lamplighter. He declined, and passed on to his eternal reward.

Hawthorne, sensing this, stepped from the shadows, her hands above her head.

The Lizard commander had two of his band grab her arms, and bring her to him.

She began to speak, “These weapons are forgeries. I followed the shipment all the way, and you’ve been duped. I’ll examine them for you, and help you get the gear you were promised.”

The leader considered, and in Lizard hissing and broken common he asked, “Why would you help us so?”

Hawthorne shrugged, and said, “Because I’ve been following you as well. You and your tribe are strong, and I would like to join you.”

The Lizardman saw right through her lies (as Hawthorne’s player finally rolled less than a 7 on a roll).

The band started to drag her down, and she managed to slip out of their grasp, with a psychically bonded call to Silver to attack, providing a distraction. (here again, the player rolled only an 8 – the hard bargain I offered was for her to escape fully, but sacrifice Sliver. She declined, and managed to get free of their grasp, but was left in the room surrounded by the Lizardmen, back to back with her companion.)

She drew knives, and attempted valiantly to fight her way to the exit, but the Lizards proved too tough, slicing her multiple times while her knife strikes caught nothing but air.

She too drew her last breath as well. She passed out, and woke up in the forest, her bow by her side, still severely wounded. Immediately she knew that the psychic bond with Silver was lost, and her boon companion had died.

She remembered flashes of how Silver fought the Lizards valiantly, but suffered several mighty sword blows for her troubles. Slaying all but the Lizard commander, who fled, the wounded wolf then drug Hawthorne to the surface, and out into the woods.

A bit of searching, and Hawthorne found Silver’s body.

We ended with  a touching ceremony, as Hawthorne buried Silver in the forest, and said prayers over her friend’s soul, and vowed revenge against the Lizards.

Again, the system worked very well. I felt better about the how the moves and the fiction related. I relaxed into it a bit, and went with the flow.

Not pulling any punches, it still felt like the adventure is a bit overmatched for two characters.

As we continue, I’ll have to tone it down, I suspect.



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JEL

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Re: AP - Hawthorne and Hawk delve the Bloodstone Idol
« Reply #2 on: October 02, 2011, 10:40:27 PM »
What I did better with round two was allow the moves to stretch out and back in time, meaning I stopped treating each move as a single blow or tactical move, only focusing down to that level when appropriate.

That willingness to, as I think the AW book puts it, let the moves elide with time, was key to a smoother interaction between the moves and the fiction.

Thought I share that, in case it proves an important point of advice.

As a specific example, in the second session above, when Hawk kills the first charging lizardman and wounds another on the backswing, I allowed the damage he rolled over the amount to kill one "splash over" onto the second one.

Again, thanks for all the effort that went into this AW hack. I'm enjoying it quite a bit, as are my players.

Re: AP - Hawthorne and Hawk delve the Bloodstone Idol
« Reply #3 on: October 03, 2011, 12:18:58 PM »
Very cool!

I wouldn't have thought two fighter-types would have had problems (although I have found that if the 2 characters in a 2 player game are Thief and Cleric, then they have difficulty with partial Hack & Slash successes).

Did they fail a lot?

What happened here, in terms of moves:
Quote
Alas, Hawke's luck ran out. He swung his mighty hammer over his head, intending to crush the skulls of his nearest opponent, but the Lizard man proved surprisingly quick, it ducked to the side, and buried it's blade deep into Hawke's guts.

It was then that the other Lizardman in melee also swung, cutting a neat line across the fighter's neck.

And the three Lizard bowmen unleashed a volley, burying their arrows into his chest.

Is that three consecutive Hack & Slash failures (6 or less)?

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JEL

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Re: AP - Hawthorne and Hawk delve the Bloodstone Idol
« Reply #4 on: October 03, 2011, 01:24:17 PM »
Anarchangel:

Thanks for the thoughts. I suspect part of the issue is that Hawk's player pushed into foolhardy territory.

Hawk failed a lot, yes. More than 50% 6 or less rolls, and only 1 10+ roll in ~4 hours of play across the two days.

About 90% of his rolls were Hack n Slash moves.

In the sequence you quoted, Hawk was down to 3 hit points, iirc, with an armor of 1 (he'd lost his shield). The Lizardmen do 4 damage.

Now, I pulled this from AW, but treated the Band of Lizardmen as a "small gang" versus Hawk just being a "guy or two", and upped their damage by 1.

So when he failed that Hack - n -Slash roll, the multiple strikes were merely 'color' or 'fiction' supporting his drop below zero hitpoints.

Does that make sense?

Even without the +1 from the difference in size between the band and Hawk, he'd have been at zero hit points.

Re: AP - Hawthorne and Hawk delve the Bloodstone Idol
« Reply #5 on: October 03, 2011, 02:51:27 PM »
So when he failed that Hack - n -Slash roll, the multiple strikes were merely 'color' or 'fiction' supporting his drop below zero hitpoints.

Does that make sense?

Totally makes sense. That's a nice bit of colour (narrating multiple attackers striking), I shall have to remember that.

I guess at the point where one hit will kill you, the onus is on the player to make a move that doesn't result in damage as an automatic consequence (like trying to escape [probably defy danger]). Mind you, a miss on Hack and Slash just means you (the GM) get to make a hard move. The rules (Red Book) don't say that move has to be Deal Damage.

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JEL

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Re: AP - Hawthorne and Hawk delve the Bloodstone Idol
« Reply #6 on: October 03, 2011, 04:04:59 PM »
You know, now that you say that, I totally think I was too myopically focused on dealing damage as a hard move in response to a failed hack n slash.

I need to vary my responses a bit, methinks.

Thanks.

Re: AP - Hawthorne and Hawk delve the Bloodstone Idol
« Reply #7 on: October 03, 2011, 10:16:27 PM »
As I thought about your problem, I realised the same thing, so thank you!

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noofy

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Re: AP - Hawthorne and Hawk delve the Bloodstone Idol
« Reply #8 on: October 07, 2011, 09:40:02 PM »
Wonderful AP Jel! Thank you for sharing. :)
I realised that, as DM, thinking beyond 'obvious' hard move responses in Hack and Slash is an enlightening mindset. It allows the group to narrate creatively visceral 'damage dealt' blow for blow, and into other, equally juicy narrative options. This is a great area to explore as a burgeoning DW DM.
Not that there is anything wrong with just dealing damage (as established), far from it. Just that it isn't the only hard move possible.

I like the hard choices you gave your players too, nicley done. Which led to that satisfying and heartfelt epilogue. You have a wealth of stake questions about the lizardman front too. Awesome!

Did Hawthorne Level up? How dis the Stat Highlighting / Alignment Xp go? How you narrate advances into the fiction is a great way of tying the story up with the character's motivations.

Thanks again. I love these APs, great stuff.

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JEL

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Re: AP - Hawthorne and Hawk delve the Bloodstone Idol
« Reply #9 on: October 07, 2011, 11:08:33 PM »
noofy: thanks.

On leveling, I'm not totally satisfied with the rules-as-written.

We played it that way, and Hawk would have leveled if he'd survived that last fight.

Hawthorne actually had WIS and STR highlighted, and that led to not much XP being marked, alas.

So will have to wait till this week's session, likely, to get a level up.

More to come.