Monday, August 8, 2016

Session Report [T0.5] and Campaign Notes

I'm going to write us session reports for each of the games I'm running.  I've got groups planned so far and a third category I'll get to when I get to it.

T: Tabletop - this is my face-to-face group that meets every other week (or so).
O: Online - I have a few friends who live far away, so a little Skype gaming will be thrown down.
P: Pickup - eventually I'll want to run this at conventions and game shops, but no plans for that just yet.

Mini Tabletop Session Report
We finished the first adventures of the 5e Planescape game - it was pretty awesome.  J brought in some LotFP stuff from his copy of Slugs.  I was jealous because I didn't get one ... but as usual Raggi's insanity brought the awesome.  Some fucked up slug mist nearly TPK'd us!  However, this isn't about 5e, it is about the first Dawn of Eradu session!  We finished the 5e game early and ran about an hour to get the tone going.

Character Creation
Everyone generated 6 random 3d6 stats. If the highest was less than 16, the lowest score became a 16. Then they placed them where they want.  We rolled for random weapons and some random gear.   Interesting details from that:

  • Ian: has some sort of boiled leather armor made from lion hides, wields a pristine great axe, and has a holy symbol for an unknown god.  Seems to be speaking to someone who isn't there.
  • Proximo: rocking a pair of hard-core cestus he has a bag of steel ball bearings and a silver needle that won't bend.  Keeps talking about "the Engineer".
  • Duchess: a bloody cudgel, and fancy clothes, also bloodied.  Immediately has delusions of nobility.
  • Offender 3: goes by "Fen", has some raggedy temple clothes, an ancient war hammer, and a bunch of wooden stakes with the symbol of "The Morning Lord" on the end.  Immediately gets a little VanHelsing.
The fun part here is that no characters have any memories. None. No character class, no tedious background story, just some weird gear and the here and now. A previous post talks
about the mechanics for recovering memories, but there is more to it than a clever setting mechanic.

GM Design Notes: I really want to see if I can get players to play within a framework of rules but not get caught up in the numbers and abilities and archetypes of class. But I also don't want a completely free-form storytelling "game".  So to move things along at an accelerated pace, characters with nothing but some stats and some gear.  Players need to breath life into characters through their actions. No arguments about if a "Lawful Good Ranger" should be using Fekulon's Orb of Fire to lay waste to a village.  If that happens, it happens.  Consequences from actions, not restrictions from labels.  In less than an hour, however, the combination of Dungeon World Mechanics and a strange freedom from their "role" in the party got the group role playing smoothly.

Play Highlights

  • The party woke up around a campfire in a huge cavern where the floor was a gritty grey dust. 
  • After some investigation, this was determined to be cremated and ground bone dust. Ian picked up the campaign's first point of Darkness.
  • The party scouted around and found a 15' high cliff that was covered in damp flowstone.
  • One person made it to the top and glances a field of statues but then fell.
  • Someone else examined things and determined that they could all get up if one person was left behind.  They tabled that and continued to explore.
  • At the opposite end of the cavern they saw some 20' up there was a massive hole in the ceiling that some sort of huge mottled purple flesh was sliding by.
  • Fen nearly died when a huge gob of caustic goo fell from the passing thing, when was then gone leaving a second, if more dangerous and impossible to climb to, exit.
  • Proximo recovered the first memory
GM: What is the thing that you regret most in life, the thing that defines who you are today?
Proximo: I failed to win the Gladiatorial Games ... the honor was not mine.

GM Thoughts: As soon as the first memory came into play I realized that I needed to get a big list of questions ready for folks.  I also realized that I made the rules for recovering memories a bit too easy, so they are in rewrite. 6- now gets the character a Nightmare, which if they "deal with it" through role playing they can mark it off with XP.  It is like a bond with the character's former self.  Also I suddenly realized I could direct the kind of characters I want to have in the campaign. While there is no obvious back story, there is one I'm not telling, but as the memories form some things will possibly become more clear(?).  Alternatively Players are answering questions, so who knows where it will go!

The session ended there, and I introduced how I'm bringing Bond into play.  At the end of a session you can write a bond for a character that you interacted with this session.  Make it reasonable and applicable.  We stumbled a bit here, but got some good ones.

  • I need to keep an eye on Duchess.  I think this is going to be difficult to resolve, but it sets up some fantastic motivation for future play.
  • I must assert Mastery over Offender 3.  Oh hell yea!  I don't think I'm going to prep for shit any more with players writing bonds like this.
  • I owe a huge debt to Ian. You do!  Ian saved this character's life (see caustic blob above). I can't wait to see the debt payed off.
  • ... and while I know there was a 4th, someone forgot to write it on their sheet, which means they have forgotten it.  Such is life.

Summary
It was a fun session.  I immediately expanded the starting gear tables significantly and got around to create the character sheet I want these folks to have.  It isn't a playbook in the DW sense because it lacks moves.  Also, it has some things that aren't part of standard DW. I'll explain these house rules in future posts once the players figure them out. I can already guess that DW standard bearers might freak out about the second line of debilities, but I suspect it fits my game style better than it reads.  Of course I could be wrong ... in which case I'll fix it.  GM's gotta play too, yo!