Monday, March 3, 2014

Playing instead of GMing

The last month or so I've been on break from GMing which, as it turns out, is hellafun.  I don't get to play too often and I think it is partially because I'm kind of a crappy player.  I spend so much time in the GM seat, it is hard to let go.  As a player I've taken a bit of a leadership role within the party but I'm not sure if it is because it is the right thing or, as a bossy pants, I'm just declaring things as fact.

Either way, it is a damn awesome game.  We are a band of halfling freedom fighters in a world where demi-humans are pretty much all slaves (current, former, or potential).  While there is a vein of "free the oppressed" in the party it seems to have mostly turned into a bloodbath.  Serious full-on murder hobo style.  My halfling thief has killed more unconscious and "innocent" folks in the name of "good" and "freedom" that is remotely reasonable.

Also, I'm the party mapper.  This is a job that is vastly under appreciated.  It kind of sucks, but is necessary.  I'm also acutely aware of the "left or right" dilemma of dungeon exploration.  Without any context of what left or right may mean or what kind of impact the choice would have it becomes a crap shoot of irrelevancy.  This isn't anything against our current GM (who is doing a great job), just an observation and something I'm going to try and eliminate from my game.  Choices are meaningless (as in it could be a coin flip or die roll to choose) unless they are made with some insight.

Once this game is wrapped up I'll get back to the GM chair and I've got the campaign recap ready to go.  I thought I'd share:

Since the last session ended ...

The winter months passed quickly in New Hope and spring brings the warmth of the sun and a seemingly endless light rain to cleanse away the thickness of winter.  The Legion of the Phoenix Guild House is a constant bustle of activity.  New recruits were flooded the halls as preparations for the grand mission were laid out.  You each have been briefed in excruciating detail on the situation; but even with this it is obvious that much knowledge has been lost when the sundering took place.

In the heart of the cosmos lies the city of Sigil.  It is where all planes of existence touch and until recently it was at peace.  Many of you have fleeting memories from the City of Portals - visions of the great tor, of smoking stacks and streets crowded where humanity mingled freely (if cautiously) with things from the other worlds.  Many of you recall other incarnations of yourselves here on Zintharas, also called Sursumen the prison, and called Eradu the Egg of Life.  Each of the threads led back to a true self in Sigil that was waging the war here where the true enemy lies.

An ancient race of being known as the Xinthian once marauded across the cosmos and multiverse causing mayhem and destruction.  The last of their kind was imprisoned in a great shell and an accord was struck that the Keepers, the Pathorgia, would keep the prison running and the Xinthinan diminished and suffering eternal agony for the crimes against all life.  There was dissent, of course, and politics being what they are led to numerous clashes in the skies and heavens above the prison world on which you now stand.

Those times are long past, and the guardianship has faltered.  The Xinthinan was to become known as the World God, one of the elders, and worshiped in accordance with twisted interpretations of old documents, now long since withered.  Those who once imprisoned it now worshiped the thing.  Magic bloomed as the ages past and the world of Susramen began to crumble and was infested and bore life to all manner of creature.  One of these are a force of demonic things, the Altrudian. 

They have a strong connection to both the Xinthinan and the Patchwork Kingdom.  These are the foul forces, that have begun to wage the war in the name of the world god, attempting to free him from his prison.  They are parasites and flakes of skin from the ancient beast imprisoned below your feet; bits of filth given a kind of life through the influences of the Patchwork.

The war in Sigil has nearly been lost.  Pockets of resistance still stand against these Armies of Chaos.  But they are not alone.  The foul Greyjax, beings from the far edges of the known realities, have some hand in this.  The forces are growing here as well - minions of chaos, creatures of magic, things that hate life, all manner of beast and man are being corrupted and we have precious little time.  The gates which are locks have been compromised.  If the Xinthian is released his rage and revenge will destroy not only Sigil but the cosmos as well. 

The Lady of Pain, Her Excellency the Lord of Sigil, has been found by one of our other bands of adventurers and is safe but unconscious.
The Lady of Sorrow, Her Magnificence the Defender of Light, is still lost and we believe is still holding a resistance in the Vendegarr.  The Lady of Misfortunes, Her Exquisiteness the Protector of Faith, has been slain.  Her death was not in vain, though, as her death curse has place a seal over the final gate.  This is where you must go.  You must follow the path of the heroes who have already gone - their actions were a prediction and map of the journey you must take.

From an ancient book, the following passages are read.

"The Founders of the Legion set their sites on the edge of the world.  They travelled across The Sea of Woe through raging storms to defeat the Great Storm Serpent Aluu; in the gnole-infested Plain of Broken Stones in the Wastelands of Forlor they took the Soul Gem from the Lich King of the ruined city of Magperia; moving deep into the Ogre Nations they emerged with the rarest of victories - a blessing and thanks from the Ogre Lords themselves; and through the howling sands of Ptocnik they came triumphant to the Endless City Temple of Al Arij'Khahat.

"The pilgrims and dervishes, the faithful and those looking for truth sat in the enormous windblown tents of Al Arij'Khahat to stare into the Erasure and ponder The Meaning, Wonder at the End of All Things.  Some entered willingly, simply fading away never to return.  Some achieved a state of nirvana and knowing looking into that endless void, telling others that it is their own soul they see when they peer deep enough.

"The Legion is strong now.  They are legendary even in this remote place.  This place where the lost go, where the Seekers dream of Finding.  The Legion has one last task before them.  One final achievement before they may rest.  In The Anvil, an area that is said to be as utterly desolate as the Erasure is completely without substance, it is a claimed that a fabled city known as Midian stands defiant.  It is a place of monsters.  It is a place of demons.  It is where the Lady's sacrifice gave a glimmer of Hope.

"To Midian they went. Never to Return."

The Council of the Legion, members you are familiar with; Manamir, Carlisle, Brother Chayne, and several more give you their blessings.  The resources of the Legion are at your command.  Three great ships have been readied in the port of New Hope to set sail when you are ready.  An army stands behind you, but it is you who will save the world.  It is you who must do these things.  Prepare yourself.