Monday, June 2, 2014

Session Report: The Aldsburg Chronicles [T1]


We spent the first part of the session making characters for the new campaign (which we'll be playing when everyone is not prepared or ready for the last chapter of the Worldgod campaign).  A few notes:

  • Only human are allowed
  • Wizards are much feared and considered extremely dangerous
    • decide if you are hedge or from the Tower of Art
  • Clerics can be of any god bu use the base class mechanics of Hope or Light
    • specifics can be swapped out - control undead instead of turn
  • "Social skills" should be ignored - we'll tackle that through role playing
    • this generally applies to most skills
  • "Non-adventuring" skills should also be ignored
    • crafty type skills can be purchased as a talent at 3xBP cost for the skill
  • Ignore priors & particulars - they don't add anything 
    • make up your details
What we ended up with was awesomesauce.
  • Brother Flint: Cleric of The Wyrd (god of Death) [player took his character sheet home so i can't recall all his details]
  • Brother Lars: Cleric of The Wyrd (god of Death); member of the All Purvasive Church of Everlasting Darkness (cult dedicated to Baphomet)
  • Titus: Informally trained wizard who has embraced the Underworld and has some serious social interaction issues

Narrative & Player Driven

I wanted to try something new with this campaign - specifically making it more narrative and player driven.  Not just a sandbox that I build and let the players interact with, but more of a shared environment.  Answers to questions I ask the players become fact and the players are encouraged to add details to the setting and the world as they go.  My job as GM is to keep things in line with the vision I set and help keep things organized.

It took a bit for the players to get into it, but then it was nonstop.  To track all of the details, any new NPC, location, group, anything gets a new index card.  Players are just as responsible for getting things written down as the GM is.  Eventually I'll take over the cards and start adding secret details.

So in addition to the excellent characters, we defined the Iron Streets neighborhood in the Lion's Teeth Tower that the party lives in, some of the nearby neighborhoods and the players created their own conflicts to engage with and began driving to what is going to be some sort of religious expedition to found a new temple to The Wryd (who have an avatar that is a Red Knight) while combating the "insidious influences) of the CHurch of the Eternal Flame who tend to the poor and probably have some sort of Dark Grimiore that gives them wicked powers from demons or they are guarding it from others - or maybe they'll go check out the tomb that Titus has a map to.

Charts and Tables

I took quite a bit of inspiration from the Vornheim book by Zak S.  It is one of the best RPG products I've seen in ages.  Between that and some seriously dark and gritty flair from the Necromunda games we've been playing and a handful of amazing bits and peices garnered from the internets the Aldsburg Chronicles started with a BANG.  The random tables plus telling everyone that I was going to be GMing ON THE FLY created an incredible dynamic.  If you haven't tried this before holy shit go do it.

The Rules

I immediately realized that I need to trim down the Hackmaster rules even more.  I LOVE so much of them, but then they get excessively fiddly.  I want a combination of HM5e and BECM ... and I think I can do it.  I want to the mechanics to support fast and easy play.  I want the encumbrance system to keep things under control without worrying about that much damn book keeping.  Everyone at the game seemed OK with this choice and I don't think it will be a problem.

The Roadshow

After the game I was discussing with one of the players that we need some new players.  Nothing wrong with the existing players, but more folks to really get this campaign rocking and rolling.  I think I'm prepared enough to do a couple of "showcase" games with one or two of my usual players to "get things going" and show the style of game.  Perhaps some of the local game shops (Toys-N-Things in Danvers, Pandemonium in Cambridge, others?) and maybe even GM at a Con.  I've always been terrified of Cons for some reason - I think having a friendly face would make all the difference.

So What Actually Happened?

Oh yea ...
The clerics are going to try and start a new temple in the neighboring district of Smokey Hills (of which they know little).  Brother Flint god some "action" and had his fortune told ... something about a murder in a garden and that he would be swallowed in his sleep.  Brother Lars and Titus went down a paranoid delusional rabbit hole and murdered a (mostly) innocent family that Brother Lars thought to be conspiritors that were attempting mind control.  It was intense.