[Tensided] Knights of the Broken Sceptre (split)

Started by arthurtuxedo, March 10, 2008, 04:45:19 AM

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Apologies for the prolonged absence. Real life has an annoying tendency to intrude.

OpenRPG Chat Log for Session 14. Played January 27, 2008.
OpenRPG Chat Log for Session 15. Played February 10, 2008.
OpenRPG Chat Log for Session 16. Played February 17, 2008.

We began the session at the start of a confrontation between Kraylen and Cassie. This fight did not go well at first. Even unarmed and unarmored, Kraylen was a dangerous man, and he managed to get Cassie's knife out of her hand. This came to nothing, however, as Conrad made a called shot to Kraylen's elbow, cutting his arm off. As the wounded Lord made a mad dash for the exit, attempting to bullrush the closest party member to get there, Conrad followed it up by chopping off his foot. This caused Kraylen to pass out. We unfortunately had to cut this session short here, as I had a commitment, but the action picked up again next session.

The party's method of subduing Kraylen may have been effective, but it was also dangerous, and it was only due to some very lucky rolls that they managed to stop him from bleeding to death, which would have ruined their plan. The incident made me adjust the healing rules, since it shouldn't be possible to stop the amount of bleeding that goes with two severed limbs in under a minute, no matter how gifted the healer. Whereas before it took at least 10 seconds to heal, it now takes at least one minute. While the healers stopped the bleeding, Conrad was fighting off the incoming mercs, and he wouldn't be Conrad if he didn't get all cut up in the process. Conrad used his Action Point to force a crossbowman to reroll a shot that would have gone right through his heart and killed him instantly, which caused Velkan's player to realize his mistake in taking the Unlucky flaw, which removes the one Action Point that each character receives each session. Even without that killing blow, Conrad "caught" a crossbow bolt with the palm of his hand, meaning it punctured all the way through. As always, though, Conrad cleaved heads until there were no more heads to cleave.

Making their escape, the group made their way to the nearest horses to find a fully armed and armored man-at-arms blocking their way. After a prolonged fight where Conrad managed to get stabbed in the chest, they played it smart and let Nova the dog pin the armsman to the ground while they made their escape on horseback, leaving the man with no way to catch up. The group rode off into the night, their harebrained scheme actually having worked thanks to some lucky rolls and the fact that it takes several minutes to suit up in armor, so they had already gone by the time most of the knights and armsmen were ready. I also had Sir Langard's other soldiers mount a diversionary attack to take the heat off them.

Next session we picked up where the last left off. The group traveled as far as they dared in darkness before making camp. I had Cassie and Nova break off from the group, which I usually do for PC's with absentee players. In certain past games, I used to have absent players' characters played by those present, and they usually stepped up and did an amazing job. In certain cases, the guest player did a better job than the PC's actual player, and while simultaneously playing their own character to boot! In this game, though, nobody really seemed eager to play each others' characters, so I tried to find excuses to separate link-dead PC's and get them out of the way. The group's camp was discovered by a pair of men from the faire, but they didn't have the chance to blow their horns to alert the others, thanks to a fast, lethal dog named Nova. At first, however, the grapple didn't go well for Nova at all thanks to some horrible rolls and it was only because of an AP reroll that Nova wasn't put into a sleeper hold that made him pass out. Things soon went Nova's way, however, and he locked his jaws around the guy's temple until he died while Conrad rode down the other one and chopped his head in half. As I was setting up the encounter, I idly wondered whether the group would hold back on the lethal attacks since these weren't Kraylen's men, but honest folk who were searching for people who had caused a battle at a faire that resulted in many deaths. The thought never seemed to occur to the players, however. Even forthright Velkan didn't spare a stray thought to these men.

Making their escape, the party ended up at the keep of a friendly lord to rest and heal when they learned a terrible fact. Because of Sir Langard's soldiers' involvement with the incident at the faire, he and his retinue were set to be hanged two days hence for murder and inciting violence. Rather than jeopardize the mission with a rescue attempt, the group decided that Sir Langard would have wanted them to carry out their task, and continued on with heavy hearts.
Tensided, From Realism to Fantasy and Everything in Between.

Don't forget to visit our attached forum!

Ron Edwards


The above was split from [Tensided] Knights of the Broken Sceptre, due to time limits. I've been wanting to follow up on some questions about this game, so we should continue the discussion here. People who are interested, check out the parent thread too.

Best, Ron


OpenRPG Chat Log for Session 17. Played February 24, 2008.
OpenRPG Chat Log for Session 18. Played March 2, 2008.
OpenRPG Chat Log for Session 19. Played March 9, 2008.

The 17th session was a short one on account of the fact that I had to go to work that day. The group was being smuggled by wagon until the driver saw some of Tallbrook's men approaching to search the wagon and signaled the party to sneak out and into the woods where they tailed the wagon and waited until it was searched before rejoining and unhitching their horses. They were then faced with the choice of traveling north and eastward through the Geldish or Dunnish lands. The Geldish lands were wild, mountainous and untamed, yet the Gelds would never lift a finger to apprehend fugitives wanted by Duns. The Dunnish lands were civilized, but towns and cities would have to be avoided. The group chose the Geldish.

In session 18 the group came through the Geldish town of Keldorn and found it to be besieged by hungry ogres and bandits blocking the pass in the hopes of starving out the town until they would cave in and pay a hefty ransom. The group managed to talk their way through the bandits' blockade for the price of one horse thanks to Velkan invoking the name of Tallbrook as their enemy. It just so happened that Tallbrook was a very unpopular fellow among the Geldwar, and the delusional bandit leader fancied himself as a competitor to Tallbrook for control of the kingdom of Dunsburough. I was impressed by the group's nonviolent solution to the problem. I half-expected them to try and fight, which would have been a bad idea (tm).

Once through the Yatuk mountains, the group was back into Dunnish territory and headed toward the last of Sir Langard's friends, Lord Barnes of Anterdell. Little did they know that Lord Barnes had given up on the cause and concluded that Tallbrook's ascension to king was inevitable. To protect his family, he had decided to betray the group. As the group spoke with him, I rolled their Empathy several times to see if they noticed anything amiss. Cassie succeeded three times, with each warning slightly more dire than the last. Velkan only succeeded once, so his warning was only that there was something insincere in Barnes' words. As usual, no action was taken by the players receiving the warnings and the players walked headlong into another ambush (sigh).

Session 19 picked up with Lord Barnes returning and bringing a host of Tallbrook's hunters with him. Nova ran to the window and started barking, and anyone who passed their Alertness rolls noticed there were a lot more hoof clopping sounds than when Barnes left. Velkan lazily went to the window to see what was the matter and realized they had been betrayed. Dashing upstairs to recover their prisoner, Conrad smashed the lock on the cell and with Kraylen slung over their shoulders, they made a harrowing escape through the keep, using Nova to tackle the hunter who managed to cut off their escape route. With the hunters in hot pursuit, they made their way to the stables and rode into the woods where they shook off pursuit with their smaller, faster horses. This session was almost all narrative-based, with few dice rolls to decide the chase. Since they were so badly outnumbered and outclassed, it really wouldn't have been very sporting if there was actually a chance the hunters would catch up. The group would have been slaughtered. But of course the players didn't know they were destined to get away, so a feeling of tension was (I hope) maintained.

Next session I believe we'll cut to the group approaching the outskirts of Kingsvale. The story is coming to a conclusion, and I don't see much point in dragging it out for more than 2-3 further sessions, especially since people are eager to start the next campaign.
Tensided, From Realism to Fantasy and Everything in Between.

Don't forget to visit our attached forum!


OpenRPG Chat Log for Session 20. Played March 16, 2008.
OpenRPG Chat Log for Session 21. Played March 23, 2008.
OpenRPG Chat Log for Session 22. Played March 30, 2008.
OpenRPG Chat Log for Session 23. Played April 6, 2008.

In session 20 the group arrives at the capital city of Kingsvale with their prisoner in tow. After a brief, futile attempt to access the sewer using the oceanside drainage gate, they instead knock Kraylen unconscious and pretend to be warrior priests returning from a mission in the Geldish lands. Using the ruse that Kraylen is badly injured and needs expert medical care, they managed to talk their way past the guards without being detained. The battle of wits only went moderately well for Velkan for a while until he steered the conversation into an argument based on an accepted premise. When he was simply lying through his teeth he was using the Manipulation concentration which he wasn't great at, but once he had changed the conversation to an argument over the proper course of action for a wounded man he was able to use Argumentation, at which he is much better.

Session 21 opens with the group standing at the royal castle. It wouldn't have been very interesting to have a repeat of the previous conversation, so I made this guard easier to convince. Once before the king, Velkan boldly announces why he is here and what he has done. They are all taken in for questioning, and a few hours later the truth of the matter is ascertained. The king had been waiting for a long time for a good excuse to strike at his rival, and a host of Royal Guardsmen is dispatched to arrest the traitorous Archduke.

In the last two sessions, the Guardsmen are ambushed by a waiting force of knights and crossbowmen who the Guardsmen defeat. They return to the castle to find the coup underway, but manage to drive back the assassins. The kingdom settles into a tense time, ready to explode at any moment into the civil war that everyone knows is coming.

This second Large Scale Battle went fairly well. I had tweaked the rules after the first one, but they were already pretty solid. Even though I thought this battle was more engaging than the previous, the players thought it dragged on too long. Goes to show that GM perception doesn't always equal that of the players. The conversation was closer to what I hope they will become with future rule revisions, although it was still Velkan doing all the talking and the transition from Manipulation to Argumentation wasn't supported by the rules as they're currently written. Nevertheless, it was a pretty good example of the direction I'd like to take "talking" rules.

All the players wrote great epilogues for their characters on the forum, which I will link to here for your reading pleasure. Very well written and engaging. If characterization of this caliber could have come through this well during the game itself, it would have been one of the best we had ever done.

All in all, this was a very good campaign. Not one of the best, but very solid all around. The players were engaged, although we eventually dropped below the minimum optimum number of players (4). I didn't feel like there was a lot of player-generated storytelling to be had, so it was mostly me pushing the story forward more or less on rails, but they reacted to the story well and it turned out to be a good yarn. MVP of this game was definitely Fatalis_Prime playing Velkan, but Gerard and Hawkwings were very good as well. The epilogues were probably the part where the campaign shined the most, and they make me look forward to doing a sequel campaign someday. I hope you all enjoyed reading the recaps of this campaign, and I look forward to bringing you recaps of the next campaign we do, a Post-Apocalyptic / Cyberpunk adventure set in 2030.
Tensided, From Realism to Fantasy and Everything in Between.

Don't forget to visit our attached forum!