[Endgame] In A Wicked Age in 2 Chapters - Soul Binding; Ghoulish Assassinations

Started by WildElf, March 17, 2008, 09:04:18 PM

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(This is sorta cross posted from Story-Games, but I've actually rewritten this which I may put into my S-G post)

Endgame, in Oakland, just had their latest Minicon. I ran In A Wicked Age in a morning slot. It was a blast. I'll refrain from mentioning other players by name, but if you were there, feel free to out yourself.

Oracle: God-Kings of War:
KS - An enemy champion, fearless and bellowing.
9D - A much-decorated company of the enemy’s light cavalry.
AS - A fortress guarding the only pass through treacherous mountains, overseen by a corrupt and voracious war-captian.
QS - The campsite of a traveling army, not long deserted.

From this, the player characters:
Rom Roma: the champion was out to get soul binding magic for his king, has been tricked to think the magic is in a pot, but it doesn't seem to work.
Kurosh: the wounded were left behind at the campsite, as a wounded captain held the secret of soul binding, determined to keep up a ruse that it's not in his chains.
Archibald: the cavalry commander, wanted revenge for the murder of their mutual brother by his half-brother the wounded captain.
Balashi: The war-captain and Under-Duke who wanted to get the soul binding magic for himself and see the champion gutted.

We started with Rom Roma and his men, unable to make the pot work its magic. His squire says they should smash it, but the champion accepts no back talk and throws him to the ground for his insolence.

Balashi has snuck into Kurosh's camp, taking a uniform from one of the dead. He avoids notice as he watches Kurosh bind the souls of his dying men so they will not be left behind as they prepare to flee the area with the survivors who can walk. The chains on Kurosh's arms work the magic, not any pot.

Archibald in bed with Balashi's wife, as Balashi's lieutenant bursts in to discuss a treacherous plot with her. Finding Archibald he tries to escort him out but Archibald resists and knocks him out, and then finds out the plan from the wife, pretending to go along with it.

Rom Roma and his men catch Kurosh and his men in the woods. Roma lets the rest go, but he's taking Kurosh back to his king to make him demonstrate the soul binding magic.

But Balashi knows the only way out of the valley is either through his fortress, which they cannot pass or another pass, and cuts them off at it. There is a big fight as the lieutenant tries to assassinate Balashi, but is foiled, Archibald destroys the pot with his magic sword, Rom Roma tries to kill Balashi, Balashi tries to get the soul binding chains that Kurosh holds, and Kurosh ends up strangling him, trapping his spirit in the chains, though Balashi, trapped within, immediately takes over the other bound spirits.

We ended there, with a little over an hour left. I wanted to fit in a second chapter, though it was a bit rushed. The second Chapter featured the War-Captain, Balashi, as a 15 year old boy.

Oracle: Nest of Vipers
Chosen - A ghoulish eater of dead flesh, driven by unusual lusts.
AH - A vicious gang of cutthroats and alley thieves.
2S - The unscrupulous landlady of a roadside wayhouse.
6S - An innkeeper who murders and robs his wealthy guests.

Player characters were:
Balashi, at 15.
The leader of the gang, keeper of the secrets of the ways of the Assasseen.
The innkeeper.
The ghoul landlady, with a special interest in the flesh of children.

Balashi's father, the current Under-Duke and a ghoul hunter.

We started by watching how the innkeeper lures wealthy partons upstairs, like even the well equipped ghoul hunter, and murders them.

Then the gang leader, disguised as a monk, signaled his men to enter upstairs as he met with the Under-Duke to discuss their business plans. The Under-Duke tried to get him to work for him permanently instead of contracting jobs to him, but the gang leader was proudly independant and declined. Furthermore, he asked for the Under-Duke's most expensive horse, a gift to his son, as payment for the next job.

The ghoul, using her powers of mesmerism, tried to draw the young Balashi to her attic, but he was able to fight it off.

At night, the Under-Duke woke his son, and prepared him for instruction on how you deal with a problem. They burst into the gang leader's room, with the intent to kill. But it was then that Balashi played his hand, killing his father instead of the gang leader, to take over the Under-Duchy.

The last chapter was a little rushed as it fit into about 30 minutes or so (playing 15 minutes over the 4 hour period). As a result, the player of the ghoul (I felt, more than others) and the innkeeper's player were a little left out. I've learned to cut the first hour shorter to give them both some good time, but for the most part, people were happy in getting to see how the game flows into a second chapter, so it was good that we did it anyway.

If we would have played a 3rd chapter, we would have seen a story about the wounded captain with the chains of soul binding.

There were problems, all of them mine. Either not explain the rules well enough or not using them right. A few times it was uncertainty how to deal with a rule, or forgetting something, but the consistent problem was how to deal with multiple people in a conflict when there weren't clearly defined "sides."

There were four players, and there were a couple of conflicts with all four players, plus one or two NPCs going for different things. Like the final battle in the first Chapter had: Rom Roma trying to kill Balashi. Balashi trying to get the chains of soul binding. Kurosh trying to stay alive (and never rolled because no one got to him and he didn't have any actions he wanted to do, he just wanted to defend himself). The lieutenant trying to kill Balashi. Archibald trying to defend Balashi from the lieutenant, but not the Champion.  So, when Balashi was taken out, even though Archibald was on his side, he had no interest in taking on the champion.

I have a good feel for it when it's one on one or two on one, other otherwise two sides. It felt a little awkward when everyone was involved with different aims, there were three sides usually, and felt a little weird for characters to be "waiting" for another conflict to finish before they jumped in, and then when characters were taken out of the conflict, depending on who took them out, it felt odd sometimes. Any tips, advice or insight in this area would be much appreciated.

Two specific problems. Someone was taken out answering to what felt like a "side" action (defending themselves or such) and the person who was really gunning for that person couldn't be involved in the negotiation.  It felt weird and like it took some of the steam out of their direction.

The other one was who gets the advantage die.  So, say there was three of us. The second person would defeat the first person. And then the third person would come in and defeat the first also.  Who gets the advantage die? Both the second and third person or just the third, since that was the last victory?  A couple of conflicts had two advantage dice floating around because of things like this. Halfway through it didn't feel right.

But the game was fun overall. I had a blast and think I'll run it again at the next one in July - hopefully I'll have my hard copy of IAWA by then.


Hey, you're in the US? You should have your book by now for certain. If you aren't the person who wrote me a couple days ago, write me privately, I'll make sure you get one.



Yup, in the US, I'm one of the San Jose people on Story Games.  I sent you an email just over a week ago, but I'll follow up with a post since I haven't heard back, so I'm not sure if maybe hotmail gets dumped with spam or something.


It must have. Send me a private message here at the Forge with your mailing address?