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Author Topic: [Conspiracy of Shadows] Liars, Swords & Money: Part 3  (Read 2208 times)
Keith Senkowski
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Posts: 725

On A Downward Spiral...


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« on: September 09, 2004, 10:05:52 AM »

Hey,

So a day early and a dollar short we concluded our little story arc.  On a whole it was a successful enterprise and the Players enjoyed themselves.  We also had some neat things go one with the rules and Players taking bold steps in new directions.  You can read about the previous parts of this arc here and here.  I should also point out we are currently playtesting a slimmed down version of the rules that eliminates the use of Endurance Points and some other things that on hindsight might be a little too clunky.

So on with the actual play (bonus points if you catch Scene Two's movie reference):

Scene One: Now Who's Trying to Kill Us?
The episode opened up with the protagonists (Ruud, Elek, Humberto & Shovan) being brought forth to meet Vorno Talvan by Inigo.  Vorno is very pleasant, lets them verify the autheticity of the evidence of his rightful claim and sends Inigo with a message for the King's Hand that he wants to find a peaceful solution.  A little chit-chat latter and Ruud has decided to throw in his lot with the rightful king.  Vorno offers to elevate Ruud's House (he is a minor noble) and to give him the little walled manor they are currently in (House Talvan's summer home).

The next go to the dining hall to discuss what the current King (Talvan's cousin) might try to do.  After a little more chit-chat, 5 servants turn out to be assassins and attack.  Our heroes engage in battle with the assassins with a little flair (Ruud decapitates a man with one stroke, Elek uses pepper as a weapon, Humberto gets cut but faints after seeing the head fall off and Shovan skewers the last fleeing assassin).  With only a minimum of injury the battle ends well and after some more chit-chat go to their rooms for the night...

Scene Two: Now Who Are All These People
Morning, cold and snowing (yet again as Andy pointed out) they have a cheerless breakfast.  Inigo did not return and Vorno was less than pleased.  Shortly after breakfast a guard came running in and Vorno asked the heroes to join him on the outer wall.  It turns out a small army (280 men) are standing outside the estate wanting to come in and kill the people inside (25 armsmen, 20 of Inigo's thugs, some servants & the protagonists).  A messanger comes to the gate, demands an insulting surrender (Talvan is found guilty of treason and is to surrender and be hung) and gets the finger instead.

The messanger returns to the army and they start to form up to storm the estate.  Vorno puts Ruud in charge of defense and goes to write letters for help (sending servants with the letters through a secret tunnel).  Several breaches occur throughout the day and casulties are high but the invaders are kept out (more on how this worked below).  Fortunately 15 men arrived through the secret tunnel to help (from a minor house). Unfortunately reenforcements showed up for the bad guys too (a lot more).  That leaves the final count for each side 300+ to 35.  Not good odds.

Scene Three: Working On Those Night Moves
That night, during Shovan's lead of the watch, five men slipped into the estate and tried to open the gate.  Shovan was stuck facing them alone and by the time he had gotten there they almost had the gate open.  He opted to use his Witchblood power (Horror) which manifests with his hands and anything he is holding in them (like his sword and shield) with a bright flickering blue flame (see Issue 3 of Exposing the Shadows).  This of course freaks out 2 of the guys (they go running) and stops their attempts to open the gate.  He proceeds to kill the 3 remaining and send men off to hunt down the other two.  However, his men saw what he did and are a bit freaked out about it.

Scene Four: Peace In Our Day
Another morning and they man the battlements waiting for the next attack.  Instead, Shovan sees, with his newly heightened senses (more on this below), the King's Hand has arrived and he is argueing with someone.  A little while later the same messanger arrives and says the Hand wants to meet with Talvan.  It is agreed and Talvan meets the Hand and 4 other nobles in his throne room (really just a very big office).  After some chit-chat, the Hand decides there will be a meeting in the town of Fuurst (Ruud's home town) in two days and that he will take the evidence with him.  Everyone is happy (sort of) and the protagonists are free to go about their business until the meeting (Talvan wants his strong allies with him).  They head back to the Scholar's Quill to check up on Danya and to formulate a plan to find Lucian.

Mechanics: Scene One
Okay, neat stuff that occured.  In the assassins battle, two of the assassins turned out to be bad asses.  It was a tough fight against the last two standing.  Humberto got cut pretty bad, twice and the knives were coated with some sort of substance.  Elek has some herb lore type knowledge and made a check.  Mark (Elek's Player) then proceeded to tell us what the poison was, what it did and even gave me the difficulty rating for Humberto's checks to resist the effects.  Trey cool to have Players finally taking control in a more concrete manner without any prompting on my part.

Mechanics: Scene Two
This was tough, but it worked out really well in the end.  When I wrote up my beats for this episode I never stopped to think how I would run a siege.  I know I didn't want to transform it into a minitures game so I decided to wing it.  It ended up being a very tense and fun scene.  Here is how I broke it down:

    [*]Each player declared odds/evens and I rolled a D6.  If they missed it a breach occured at their post with that many guys coming through.  Ruud didn't participate in this part as he was leading the battle.
    [*]If they didn't defeat the men they faced in two rounds, two more came in.  At one point the one character (Elek) was facing 7 men.
    [*]The players always had initiative.  They would go and then the surviving goons went.
    [*]Each round I rolled a D6 to see how many arrows came in their direction.  They then had to dodge those attacks too.
    [*]After that intial wave I mixed it up a little.  I had a second wave come and Ruud had to make leadership checks (TEM/REF vs DR of 15) to see how well he was commanding the troops.  He and the other protagonists then had to go fill the gaps (same rules applied as above).[/list:u]
    If I could do it over again I would have had made Ruud make leadership checks instead of the odds/evens thing, but I didn't think of it until later in the scene.

    Mechanics: Scene Three
    Shovan and Elek are both using the new Witchblood rules, which gives them the option of having more powers.  Andy (Shovan) decided he wanted his to develop from game play and Heightened Senses kicked in when he heard a clash of steel on the other side of the estate (the sneaky bastards).

    Mechanics: Scene Four
    This was pretty cool.  Since Ruud (George) and Humberto (Pete) were the only ones that needed to be in the meeting (or even should be in the meeting) I gave Mark and Andy each an NPC to play with a brief three sentence motivation to run with.  Mark played the King's Hand and Andy played the pain in the ass nephew of the king (he led the attack).  It was great, kept everyone involved in the scene and took it and the game in new directions (Mark set the terms of the council and stuff).  

    -----------
    We had one other half of a scene that night, but it was really the begining of the next episode and I'll cover it when we come to it.

    Keith
    Logged

    Conspiracy of Shadows: Revised Edition
    Everything about the game, from the mechanics, to the artwork, to the layout just screams creepy, creepy, creepy at me. I love it.
    ~ Paul Tevis, Have Games, Will Travel
    Ron Edwards
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    « Reply #1 on: September 12, 2004, 08:50:01 AM »

    Hi Keith,

    In your experience with the game, how significant is initiative? In my limited contact with it, I wonder if play is often about who gets to go first, with the rest of the mechanics being mop-up.

    In this particular game session, how did going first (or not) factor into the successful (or not) outcomes?

    Best,
    Ron
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    Keith Senkowski
    Member

    Posts: 725

    On A Downward Spiral...


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    « Reply #2 on: September 12, 2004, 12:44:42 PM »

    Hey Ron,

    Initiative's importance varies depending upon the skills of the opposition.  Against weaker foes it doesn't matter as much with the exception of when they might overwelm you with sheer numbers.  Against foes that are of equal or greater skill/power it sometimes can be the difference between life and death.

    To use an example from last session, Humberto lost initiative to the assassin who was a bit more skilled and suffered for it.  If it was a toe to toe fight he probably would have died, but the assassin had to split his time between Humberto and Shovan.

    However, I wouldn't say that the rest of the actions are mop up.  In Dog Day Afternoon the Balzeer gained initiative, the characters suffered for it, but Shovan was able to roll an incredible amount of damage on his attack even after he was imolated.

    In our playtesting and regular play we figured out that you want initiative, but losing it ins't always the end of the world...

    Keith
    Logged

    Conspiracy of Shadows: Revised Edition
    Everything about the game, from the mechanics, to the artwork, to the layout just screams creepy, creepy, creepy at me. I love it.
    ~ Paul Tevis, Have Games, Will Travel
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