The River Kingdoms

The Small Matter of Acquiring a Sword

"The Sword" Ophidians "First Adventure" Dungeon "Lord Jakab" Tragedy

At the behest of lord Jakab of the River Kingdoms, four young and relatively inexperienced adventurers set out to get a sword for him.

Not just any sword, mind you, but a Dragon-Slaying Sword. A powerful magical artifact that had been left buried and unrecovered in a small cave-system for a while. Why no one had retrieved it or why it had been left there, none of the four knew, but it couldn’t be that important anyway.

Arriving at the cave’s mouth, they entered after securing some light sources. Primarily their light source was Darian – the former court sorcerer made himself glow. With him and an additional torch (Viktor, who had actually brought one) they descended into the depths.

After this followed roughly 20 minutes of uneventful walking downward. There was some talk of taking a more leisurely pace, to search for interesting underground growths or mushrooms, but it was decided against. They were burning daylight, after all.

The first challenge was an underground river that intersected the tunnel and spilled over down the tunnel on the other side of it. Both the river and the tunnel going downward was filled with a strange underwater lichen with a bluish glow. Testing the waters it was discovered that the lichen made the river and, presumerably, the further parts of the tunnel, hideously slippery.

First attempt was Viktor walking across the river, using his axe for balance, with a rope tied around him. He slipped, but luckily Lhianna and Borun were able to drag him back. There was a brief discussion as to the next option, but Lhianna interrupted it by trying to leap across.
She succeeded, but slipped on the lichen at the start of the downward tunnel and started careening down on her arse. After a moment’s hestitation, Borun threw himself after her while Darian and Viktor used their magic to land safely at the other end.

First Lhianna and then Borun hit the wall at the end of the slide, in a room futher down. It was a clearly man-made room, with walls and a further tunnel clearly carved from the rock. The wall at one end of the room had a small gap near the floor that allowed the water to escape. From here they pressed on (after a brief interlude to search the bodies that had been skewered by the now rotten spears, where Borun and Lhianna had hit).

Soon they came to a T-intersection where the path on the left lead in the direction of torchlight and the path on the right led toward more glowy blue lichen. They turned left, driven by curiosity to see whom else was down here.

Lhianna sneaked ahead while the progressed more slowly and soon she returned, describing a room with two cots in it, from which a doorway lead to another room, from which she could hear voices. The small party entered the the room and decided to go further and meet the other people, while Lhianna hid in the doorway.

It turned out to be a pair of snake woman, Ophidians, standing in the room and having a discussion while one of the was holding an ornate sword… the Sword. They seemed to be discussing whom should hold or have the sword, when they were interrupted.

After a brief pause, slightly awkward greetings were exchanged. Both parties were surprised by the others and it seemed that both parties were here for the Sword.

The leader of the Ophidians introduced herself as XX of clan XX. They had found the sword, she explained, and were planning to take it back to their clan so they could sell it and thus bring wealth to their kin.
Here a discussion began. Borun explained that he and his friends were pleased the Ophidians had found the sword, because they had come here to bring it back to Lord Jakab, who had need of a Dragon-Slaying sword. If the Ophidians would come with them, he was sure that lord Jakab would give them a good price.
They declined, apparantly not really trusting the humans, nor interested in traveling further from their clan. Jakab could come to them, or his representatives, if he wanted to buy the sword.
After some minutes arguing it was clear that no mutually benificial solution could be reached, so the two parties withdrew from each other to discuss matters internally.

The adventurers decided that their need was Greater – Jakab needed the Sword and he need it soon. Also, reputations and gold was at stake here, which was clearly also what the Ophidians were after, so why not just MAKE them give us the sword.

The two parties met again and the Ophidians were given an ultimatum: Come with us or give us the Sword now, or else. Clearly already understanding what this “or else” was, the Ophidians leapt to battle. Borun slipped past the first one and went for the one carrying the sword, while Darian and Viktor engaged the other. Both Lhianna and Viktor loosened arrow and bolt before the Fight started, but neither seemed to do any major damage.

The next minutes were bloody and tense, as the fight rolled back and forth. The party had expected an easy fight, after all they outnumbered their foes 2-1, but the Ophidians seemed to be almost completely unaffected by their wounds… Bolts imbedded themselves in their flesh, they were hit by several glancing blows and were clearly injured… yet fought on as if nothing had happened.

Finally Darian’s and Viktor’s opponent went down, two arrows and one bolt jutting from her, after several hammer and axe blows. Meanwhile Borun’s face and neck had become covered in snake-bites. Lhianna loosened arrow after arrow into the fray, all of them finding their mark.

The last Ophidian first dealt a severe wound to Darian, raking her sword across the side of his face and breaking his jaw. Blood spluttering, he fell to the floor. Viktor was next, getting stabbed through the ribs and staggering away from the fight in fear and pain. At this point Borun’s snake bites had weakened him too much and a glancing blow felled him, unable to fight through the haze of pain. Lhianna succeeded in loosening a final arrow at the Ophidian, before she was injured and forced to flee.

A few minutes later, Borun forced himself back to awareness to find the last standing Ophidian tending to her injured comrade. She noted his awakening and let him drag Darian away to tend his wounds. After dragging Darian into the next room he concluded that he could do nothing for his friend other than binding his wounds a bit. The other’s joined him, Viktor bleeding profusely from his side. Time was running out.

Borun asked the Ophidian whether she knew of another exit and she graciously told him of another, easier way out. They left the dungeon, praying to the Gods that the travelling Doctor Borun knew, was visiting the other village. Lhianna went ahead and met the others halfway, telling them that the doctor indeed was up ahead.

They met with the Doctor and after receiving one of Borun’s axes as payment for previous services, he saw to Viktor’s and Darian’s wounds. Lhianna and Borun went back to the dungeon, to find the Ophidians and perhaps help them with their wounds or see if they were still willing to sell the sword once they had taken it back to their clan.

To their dismay they found the two Ophidians dead just inside the exit. They had both succumbed to their wounds… whatever magic they had used had only been able to postpone the effects of their wounds, not negate them. Struck with sudden grief, Borun and Lhianna fully realized that they had been the villains. They had come late. They had started the fight. The Ophidians were dead due to their actions and had even shown incredible mercy.

Wracked with grief and shame, Lhianna and Borun buried the two Ophidians and raised two small cairns. The only thing they took from them was the Sword, the rest of their belongings they buried with them.

Then they departed, returning to the village to rest up together with Viktor and Darian. In a month’s time, their wounds should be fully healed.

*

MVP went to Borun, for pushing things along and being tough in a Fight!
Workhorse went to Lhianna, for keeping us moving and being generally useful in sneaking about and stuff.
Borun, Viktor and Darian qualified for Embodiement, for generally awesome roleplaying.

*

Cool Moments (worth remembering when trait votes comes around):
- Lhianna jumping ahead after tiring of the discussion and being curious to see what was at the end of the tunnel. (Trait/belief)
- Borun throwing himself after, heedless of the danger, to aid his companion. (Instinct/Belief)
- Darian skillfully lying and almost persuading the Ophidians to come with them to Lord Jakab. (Falsehood)
- Viktor constantly assisting Darian with his magic and being generally useful. (Sorcery)
- Borun knowing a doctor nearby and having to give up his axe to save his friends. (Circles)
- Lhianna’s hail of arrows ultimately being the deciding factor in the Fight! (Bows)
- Borun’s strength saving Viktor from being pulled away in the river (Power, Belief/Instinct)
- Darian’s wound being infectious and costing him a point of Speed (Schadenfreude)
- Lhianna and Borun erecting two cairns to honor their fallen opponents.

Comments

Et par tanker…

System:
Der var måske plads til en kompromis efter den fejlede Duel of Wits. Vold var den åbenlyse løsning, men så længe løsningen ikke opfyldte nogen af sidernes “statement of purpose” ville det være ok. En anden gang kan vi huske at sige hver sides mål eksplicit, så er det nemmere at finde på et der ikke tilfredstiller nogen af dem.

 

Flere tanker…
Første og vigtigste:
Fuck hvor var det en fed spilgang. Hold kæft hvor er jeg glad for at Hartwig ville være GM et stykke tid, for det her? Det var godt.
En fantastisk eksempel, fra Hartwigs side, på at tage noget meget simpelt og ligetil og gøre det interessant. Det var spændende, der var noget for os alle at lave, tingene kørte bare. Det var fedt! Rigtig meget ros, både til Hartwig og os som gruppe, for at vi fik det til at fungere så godt.

Jeg har nogle tanker og noget kontruktiv kritik jeg gerne vil af med, men forstå at det ikke er brok… det er kigge noget rigtig godt og næsten perfekt efter i sømmene, for at se om det kan gøres perfekt :)
Noget af det her tager form af hvad der forhåbentligt er konstruktivt kritik. Det er ting som jeg observerede som Hartwig og os andre måske kan forbedre. Jeg håber ikke det tages som et forsøg på at være gm når jeg ikke er det og jeg kan sagtens tone det ned eller droppe det. Anyhoo…

Konsekvenser:
Konsekvenserne ved nogle af de fejlede rul der var undervejs i udforskningen af grotten er interessante at kigge på.
Da Viktor/Lars fejlede sin Speed test for at balancere over floden var der en konsekvens – han gled og var ved at bliver trukket under et klippeoverhæng… Power test redede ham, men der havde tydeligvis været ubehagelige konsekvenser ved at bliver trukket under det. Konsekvens: En risiko.
Da Lhianna gled ned af af slisken og Borun hoppede efter hende ramte vi en væg. Der var ikke spyd – cool at de var rådnet væk. Der havde måske været plads til at vi tog lidt skade (ved ikke… B4 VA 1 eller lignende). På den anden side troede vi at vi tog en risiko for skade… Så her var konsekvensen ved Lhianna’s fejlede rul at nogle af os andre skulle træffe en beslutning for at tage en risiko.
Jeg ved ikke – jeg tror det måske havde været bedre hvis der havde været skade (med eller uden VA… dunno) eller måske en risiko for at udstyr blev beskadiget. En agility test for at undgå at tabe noget… rustning eller bue der har brug for mending bagefter. Osv. I tilbageblikkets klare lys sænkede det måske fornemmelsen af farer ved udforskningen, at der ikke var nogen konsekvens. Vi kom til at se fjollede ud/der var mulighed for at spille på beliefs (Borun hopper efter hende, jeg spiller på min “beskyt de andre” instinkt/beliefs).

Test mongering:
Mikkel brokkede sig lidt over test-mongering i starten. Det var efter at Mikkel og jeg fejlede i at improvisere os fakler… hvorefter Lars og Bo nærmest faldt over hinanden i forslag. Der blev hurtigt foreslået og forsøgt et par ting:
Forest-Wise for at skaffe harpiks.
Sorcery spell for at skabe lys.
Og vist lidt andet. Dunno, der var nok noget der fik Mikkel til at reagere.

Wises tests og specielt unskilled wises test er et lidt funky emne, men ang. test mongering generelt, så er mine tanker at…
Det er et fælles ansvar at sørge for at ALLE tests har en pris af en slags og får os videre/leder i en ny retning/skaber spil. Når en siger han vil lede efter harpiks så er det også spillerens job at mindre folk om at det vil tage tid, at der kan være konsekvenser, etc.
“Prisen” for en test er meget kontekst afhængig… Nogen gange er det pris nok hvis man mister en mulighed for information, at man ikke gå ind i næste konflikt med en fordel, at man tager et risiko. Nogen gange skal der være en konkret konsekvens ved overhovedet at tage testen. Det er en fælles opgave, men ultimativt er GM overdommer på dette.
Det inkluderer også retten til at sige “Det her sker, ikke mere diskussion, vi skal videre”.
Jeg mindede folk lidt om det på vej ned i grotten da folk ville lede efter svampe/etc. Det ville tage tid og vi var i fjendtligt territorium.
Mikkel protesterede lidt over en failure konsekvens i den gamle kampagne – han synes det var uklart at det at jage den roden førte til at man blev ledt i en fælle… kunne sikkert have været klarere.
Jeg synes begge dele er ok og en god måde at sørge for at spillet er godt for os alle. Jeg overrulede Mikkel da jeg var gm, i valgte ikke at lede efter svampe/etc.
En del af det er også at stemning/pacing er en fælles opgave. I princippet kan man forlænge enhver situation uendeligt ved at blive ved med at finde på ting at gøre. Det er også ok at sige til de andre at du gerne vil videre fra denne scene… “Lad os komme ned i grotten!” osv.

Wises:
Wises er funky. Specielt unskilled wises.
Det er svært at give dem en omkostning og en pris. “Ved jeg noget om dette” tager jo ikke tid. Hvis man fejler sin test og får information alligevel har man en tendens til at metagame noget.
I princippet er den “optimale” strategi at stille en håndful spørgsmål hver eneste scene og få lov til at test wises for dem… og efter lidt tid har vi alle en hel masse wises og har egentlig ikke betalt nogen pris for dem og det har bare forlænget spillet.
Min tanke er at det også er spillerens ansvar at agere på en fejlet wise test – hvis du får fejl-information er det dit ansvar at få det ind i historien på en eller anden måde. Det behøver ikke at være noget stort eller dumt – men få det ind i fiktionen at din character tager fejl.
Ellers… Der stilles også krav til wises tests – man skal næsten have en kontekst. Pga af mine lifepaths/baggrund/det der er sket i kampagnen burde min char vide noget om X/Y/Z. Værd HÅRD med det. Stil krav.
Men vi er sgu nok bare nød til at være påpasselige med det. Som spillere – holde os til en håndful wises tests pr spilgang. Respektere at bare fordi manden ved siden af stiller et spørgsmål og tester en wise, så betyder det ikke at du kan stille det samme spørgsmål… for så bliver det sgu for trættende. Lad folk beholde deres lyse ide og og find på din egen i denne eller næste scene.

 

Ikke at der har været noget problem med overforbrug af wises egentlig. Det er fedt at folk får brugt deres wises – både til at samle information og til at definere setting. Jeg ved ikke… mine tanker gik måske lidt i selvsving.

Det er irriterende hvis det bliver således at hver eneste scene indeholder 10 wise-test eller hvis vi alle sammen har åbnet den samme gruppe wises efter et par sessioner… Jeg tror dog ikke det er en reel risiko. Tag mit tankespind for hvad det er: Tankespind :P

AlexanderMunck

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