Playtest from Tucson Az

  • 6 Replies


  • 23
Playtest from Tucson Az
« on: September 06, 2014, 02:44:41 AM »
This is our second attempt at running AW: Dark Age.  Our previous run went REALLY well and was done with the first ed playtest of AW: Dark Age so I'll probably be referring to that.


I gave the group the Stronghold sheet and had them get to work.  They did their thing and the only hiccup was the armory stat which confused us at the bottom where it says 10/20/60.  I get it now but at the time we didn't know if it was a legend for the other two dot options or something else.  I think we were thrown off by two dot costs.

Otherwise we came up with the Rosewood Stronghold that uses the old Empires Laws and holds within it's walls a monastic/scholarly order dedicated to enlightenment.


I didn't know exactly how to go about this so I had players each take a people half sheet and make their own people.  We ended up with:

The Solar:  The order of monks/scholars who lived in the stronghold.

The Roain:  A soldierly horseman bunch that is dedicated to the defense of the land.

The Sardian:  An old people originally displaced by the Old Empire and forced to become nomads.  They now no longer have a home and are reviled as thieves and lesser people.

The Braden:  A farmers known for their hard work ethic and loyalty.

The Yew Bow:  A group of hunters that live off the land.  They are the decedents of the people conquered by the Old Empire in this area. 

Overall this worked out well and I like the diversity of people we get from this.  I think however some kind of distinction between groups of people and the way they are settled around here.  I think I would want to create the peoples and their stats but forego the number of households and warriors at this time.  I like them as a description of peoples but setting the number feld a little strange.  Later when I wanted to use the people in other areas and other lands it felt awkward using a large group of the Roain being conscripted into another army up north when they were described as 16 warriors in 16 houses earlier.

Language caused a bit of discussion because we didn't like the words for languages we knew.  (English, Arabic, etc.)  We called the common tongue Imperial and made up languages for the people if they had them.  We didn't want the nationalities of this world to interfere with the peoples we had created.


Everything went very well here.  We found books we liked and got to work.  We had:

Dragon Herald: Roain son (black sheep) of the current ruler of the roain living near Rosewood Stronghold and sworn to defend them.

The Keep Leige: Solar nobility and heir to the throne in these parts by the old laws.

The Trollkiller: Sardian mercenary leader who has been living in Rosewood for a time despite the difficulty in the area.

The Blacksmith: Solar head of the metalworkers and person of import within the Solar.

I made each sheet double sided with the playbook on one side and the other side having the Household and Belongings on the other side for each player to fill out.  Not sure if that's what was intended but I DO AS I PLEASE!  Everything worked out great.

Some of my players enjoy my standard GM fuckery and took Ugly secrets or debts for their household items.  (I've trained them well.)

After this we were all sad with no Hx or Debts to go around the table so I pretty much just did it on the fly asking questions and making players point to each other to answer questions.  This did ok in a pinch but I think my players were sad they didn't have real Hx questions or something like that.


Our play was pretty varied.  We got most of the basic moves out of the first session.  We stumbled a little over the difference between and the best times to use Size Someone Up or Win Someone Over.  We're good now.  Just so you know it was a little stumble. 

We had one single combat.  It went fantastically and felt REALLY good. 

One player called on the aid of the gods and it was a good time for all.

Several Leap into action rolls.  They all worked very well.  It's a fantastic physical move with great options for a lot of different situations.

We had a player denied their right and declared the gods outraged by the offence.  I backed it up with a roll of thunder in the background.  Not sure if I went too far on that one...

No one mustered any soldiers this game but I promise that the next session will bring war. 

RP Highlights

My best moment was in the opening.  Last season the leader of the Solar Order had died and a new member of the Solar should take his place.  The Blacksmith rolled to win over the group and asked what she could do to get the seat over Joran (the next up for the seat.)  I told her she could easily take the seat from him if she publicly revealed that he had a Sardian lover and that no leader of the Solar should debase themselves thus.  I made her a racist!  YAY!  Racism is a big thing in this game. It's been very interesting.

The session opened for the Dragon Herald with two of his soldiers coming home from finding an abandoned battlefield each one wanting credit for finding the valley.  He sent them back with a quest to find the finest item from the battlefield and return.  The one with the best find would gain the honor of finding the valley.  Super cool solution.  They brought him a magical sword. 

We had plenty more... but those were fun little highlights!

Thanks for letting us play!

Re: Playtest from Tucson Az
« Reply #1 on: September 06, 2014, 08:43:11 AM »
We stumbled a little over the difference between and the best times to use Size Someone Up or Win Someone Over.  We're good now.

Can I ask how you resolved that? I haven't gotten to playing yet, but looking at those moves makes me expect a bit of stumbling on my own, and it would be great hearing what you learned!



  • 23
Re: Playtest from Tucson Az
« Reply #2 on: September 06, 2014, 08:55:37 AM »
It's pretty simple. 

If you're sizing someone up you look them over and ask questions now.  It's more like a Read the Sitch with a person.  I want to get an idea of what's going on with you in this moment.  This is almost a physical social move.  You can do this before a fight.  You can do this when the Leige of the Keep walks into the great hall with the head of the Son of the King in his hands. You can use this if you say to yourself, "Oh shit... what's going on with him?" It's important to note that you can size someone up without talking to them.

Winning someone over is when you want to do just that.  If you want something from someone then roll that.  The player in my game who wanted to win over the Solar council to elect her to the leader position was able to ask, "How can I get them to elect me to the position of leader of the Solar?"  My answer to that question was exactly what she wanted... even though it wasn't at all what she wanted. 

The questions in winning someone over allow you to know how to get your point across or get what you want or push some social objective by knowing exactly what to do during a social interaction to get what you want. 

Hope that helps!

Re: Playtest from Tucson Az
« Reply #3 on: September 06, 2014, 09:06:11 AM »
That's super, thanks!

It sounds like you've played regular AW a lot. What's your impression from substituting Win someone over for Manipulate, if I might keep asking?



  • 23
Re: Playtest from Tucson Az
« Reply #4 on: September 06, 2014, 09:31:19 AM »
I REALLY like win someone over better than manipulate an NPC.  It allows the player to ask questions of the MC and the MC to give interesting and story driven goals to get things done.  It's up to the MC to make those answers interesting.  If you find yourself saying, "There's nothing you can do to get what you want."  Either your players are being ridiculous or you're not thinking hard enough.  It's a WONDERFUL move with great ability to push the story and the characterization of the PC's. 

Re: Playtest from Tucson Az
« Reply #5 on: September 06, 2014, 09:48:15 AM »
Great to hear. Thanks again!

Re: Playtest from Tucson Az
« Reply #6 on: September 08, 2014, 09:37:55 AM »