*
*
Home
Help
Login
Register
Welcome, Guest. Please login or register.
October 25, 2014, 10:08:25 AM

Login with username, password and session length
Forum changes: Editing of posts has been turned off until further notice.
Search:     Advanced search
46709 Posts in 5588 Topics by 13297 Members Latest Member: - Shane786 Most online today: 26 - most online ever: 429 (November 03, 2007, 04:35:43 AM)
Pages: [1] 2
Print
Author Topic: [Final Hour of a Storied Age] An Empty Throne Beckons  (Read 2000 times)
Dan Maruschak
Member

Posts: 128


WWW
« on: January 24, 2011, 01:05:21 PM »

Leo, Nolan, and I got together on Skype for a two hour session on November 15, 2010 for a playtest of Final Hour of a Storied Age rev 0.67 (An audio recording of this session is available as episode 14 of the Designer vs. Reality podcast). This was the start of a new story arc so, as usual, we all roll for words on the theme table and transform them into story seeds:

Nolan gets one group of eight words: Male, Throne, Power, Inherit, Female, Learning, Family, Star
He rearranged them to inspire the seed: A man and woman must learn to work together to obtain the throne of the celestial family and the power that it represents. (1 intersection).

Leo rolls enough words to form three groups, and creates a seed for each one.
Leo's first group: Belief, Crown, Large, Greed, Learning, Poor
Leo's first seed: A prophet claims that a king's immense lust for knowledge will leave the kingdom impoverished. (6 intersections)

Leo's second group: Ring, Underground, Family, Farm, Throne, Fire
Leo's second seed: A magical ring beneath an ancient family farmstead hides a throne of fire. (7 intersections)

Leo's third group: Female, Sea, Return.
Leo's third seed: The Goddess of the Sea will return to the mortal realm. (0 intersections)

I also roll eight words in a single group: Large, Belief, Noble, Learning, Division, Power, Prophecy, Duty
Dan's seed: A young prince, being groomed to take the throne one day, believes in a prophecy that the kingdom will be torn asunder. (11 intersections)

Plot

With all the seeds created we figure out the plot axis. Since the star chart for my seed has the most intersections that is the protagonist seed. Leo's magical ring seed has the next most intersections so it is the antagonist seed. Figuring out the protagonist is pretty simple: the young prince is the protagonist and the kingdom is the community that's in jeopardy. We discuss several alternatives for the antagonist, and Leo expresses excitement for the challenge of playing the ring itself as an antagonist. We synthesize some of the ideas from various seeds and come up with the backstory that the ring is the earthly embodiment of the god of fire who tried to seize the throne of the heavens eons ago so that he could remake the world into something more to his liking (a hellish inferno), but his plans were thwarted when the other gods sent the throne of heaven to the mortal realm for safekeeping. The fire god has embodied himself in a magic ring in the mortal realm where he can complete his original plan if he takes the throne. We decide that my prince character has been raised in secret by a cabal of prophets and scholars who are trying to thwart the fiery apocalypse.

With the main plot axis sketched out, Leo and I elaborate our competing three-stage plot threads.
My protagonist thread is: Learn true heritage, Find the prophet, Take the throne.
Leo's antagonist thread is: Be discovered from underground "prison", Find the True Host, Ascend to the Throne and Assume True Form.

Nolan thinks that a fun supporting character for him would be the woman who needs to learn to work with a man to obtain the throne. We decide that his character has an arranged marriage with whoever is next to sit on the throne, and that she is actually the daughter of the Sea Goddess who has lived all of her life to this point under the sea and hasn't yet learned how to live among humans.
Nolan takes the subplot: Learn to live with humanity. This will complicate the antagonist's third segment and support the protagonist's first segment.

Characters

With the plot outline established, we created characters:

Dan's Protagonist: Marcus. Traits: Young, Scholar's Apprentice, Quick-witted, Yearns for adventure.
Leo's Antagonist: Pyrotenax. Traits: Fire Magic, Mystical Will, Beguiler of Mortals, Ancient Spirit.
Nolan's Supporting Character: Marian. Traits: Demigoddess, Sea Creature, Virtuous, Adaptive.

Based on the backstory (and a little bit of foreknowledge about how the game plays out over this and the next three sessions) here is what might be the prologue of the story:

Prologue

Long ago, beyond the memory of even the oldest dragon, there was a war in the heavens. The fire god Pyrotenax wished to return the world to his forge where he might refashion it to his liking. The other gods resisted, so Pyrotenax tried to overturn the celestial order and seat himself on the throne of the gods from whence his will would dictate the cosmos. To safeguard the throne, the sea goddess Hydrallia transported it to the mortal realm and gave it to her most devoted followers. They founded a peaceful and prosperous kingdom around it where the throne would pass from father to son throughout the generations, thus guaranteeing by the magic of the throne that no god could sieze it.

But, with time, even the strongest traditions can go awry. A king ascended the throne with a lust for knowledge so intense that it bordered on madness. In all the books and scrolls and songs and stories there was one secret that eluded him, one question that seemed to have no answer. It was said that the sea goddess commanded that the very throne he held be passed from father to son through the generations, but what would happen if there was no heir? What great celestial truth would then be revealed? A cabal of prophets and scholars saw the folly of the king's path and smuggled his infant son out of the palace where he could be raised in safety and secrecy so that he would be ready to ascend to the throne when the time was right.


Chapter 1
Viewpoint: Dan 19. Leo 5. Nolan 5.
Adversity: Leo 7,7,3. Nolan 16,7.

For as long as he can remember, Marcus has lived in a small, secluded house with his mentor, studying a wide variety of topics in the scholar's immense but eclectic library. [Nolan spends his 16 to introduce an NPC, an envoy of the king who has been sent to consult the scholar. Since it's a reasonable implication that a king would have vassals, Nolan has to pay the implied-by creation tax of 2. In describing the location I said that people occasionally came to consult the scholar, so we decide it is reasonable and expected for this NPC to be at this place at this time, so the plausibility tax is 0. A 16 normally activates 4 traits, but there is a tax of 2 traits, so Nolan can activate 4 – 2 = 2 traits. Nolan names the NPC Robur, and gives him the traits: Strong, Fiercely Loyal, Knight, Courtier. He activates Fiercely Loyal at d8 and Courtier at d6] The influential knight Robur, Assistant to the King, arrives to consult the scholar and Marcus is relegated to a back room. Robur and the scholar get into a heated argument. Robur is clearly intent on following his liege's orders [Fiercly Loyal d8] with regard to some mysterious courtly intrigue [Courtier d6] and is trying to force the scholar to do something against his will. [I spend my 19 to activate all four of my character's traits (I don't owe any tax). I activate Scholar's Apprentice at d8, Quick-witted at d6, Yearns for adventure at d6, and Young at d4.] Ever eager to be where the action is [Yearns for adventure d6], Marcus prepares a pot of tea for his master [Scholar's Apprentice d8] and takes it to him, hoping he will be able to insert himself into the converation. [Dan 4,3 vs. Nolan 5,5. Nolan wins and bumps Courtier up to d8, my Scholar's Apprentice and Yearns for adventure are exhausted] Robur is too clever a courtier to let anything important slip in front of a mere apprentice, however, so Marcus's efforts are for naught. Despite the scholar's reluctance, Robur is able to manipulate the scholar into leaving the house with him [Courtier d8], in furtherance of the king's plan [Fiercely Loyal d8].

Marcus quickly realizes that he needs to follow them surreptitiously if he has any hope of figuring out what is going on [Quick-witted d6]. [Dan 5 vs. Nolan 8,5. Nolan wins but I don't exhaust.] Robur hears Marcus following and orders the scholar ahead while he turns around and blocks the path. [Nolan spends his 7 to activate Strong at d6] "Don't think I don't know what you're up to," Robur says, taking Marcus more seriously than he is used to being treated. The burly knight readies himself to physically confront Marcus [Fiercely Loyal d8, Strong d6]. Marcus quickly deduces [Quick-witted d6] that, even though he is not being especially courteous, Robur is still bound by the code of honor and shouldn't raise a sword against an unarmed young man like Marcus [Young d4], so Marcus marches right up to him to call his bluff. [Dan 3,1 vs. Nolan 7,6. Nolan wins and would bump a trait if there was going to be another exchange, both of my traits are exhausted.] Robur grabs the scrawny apprentice and lifts him up to say directly to his face, "You're right, my honor won't let me draw my weapon here, but it won't stop me from breaking you if I need to." Marcus is terrified, and Robur tosses him to the ground and stalks off after the scholar [Nolan won as adversity so he gets an extra viewpoint die. He takes the d12 on the first phase of his subplot].

Chapter 2
Viewpoint: Dan 8. Leo 11. Nolan 9,3.
Adversity: Dan 2,1. Nolan 12,8.

After millenia of waiting, Pyrotenax's consciousness, embodied in a golden ring buried in the earth, senses that the time has come for him to make his move and claim the throne that will allow him to impose his will on all of creation. [Nolan spends his 8 to introduce a d4 passive threat: buried under a farmhouse] The ring is not just underground, but under a cornerstone of the farmhouse, built there to contain Pyrotenax's evil. [Leo spends his 11 to activate Beguiler of Mortals at d8 and Ancient Spirit at d6.] Pyrotenax calls out to the minds of the mortals in the area [Beguiler of Mortals d8], hoping to find someone who can rescue him. [Leo 2 vs. Nolan 1. Leo wins but his d8 is already maxed out so he can't bump any traits. Nolan's threat is exhausted.] The psychic influence weighs heavily on the men who work the farm, especially on a farmboy whose work begins to suffer. [Nolan spends his 12 to create a new NPC, the farmboy Agricola with the traits Pig Headed, Strong as an Ox, Eagle Eyed, and Farmer. He's part of the family mentioned on Leo's seed, so Nolan has to pay the mentioned on seed creation tax of 1. It's expected that he'd be on the farm so there's no plausibility tax. A 12 normally activates 2 traits on a character, so after tax Nolan gets 2 – 1 = 1 trait. He activates Pig Headed at d8] Although Pyrotenax is able to communicate with the boy, he's so dense and set in his ways [Pig Headed d8] that Pyrotenax finds it difficult to manipulate him effectively. "Listen to me, child," Pyrotenax whispers to his mind. "I am your ancient god [Ancient Spirit d6] and I need you to help me [Beguiler of Mortals d8]." [Leo 7,3 vs. Nolan 2. Leo wins and would bump something up if the chapter wasn't ending, but Nolan's trait is exhausted and he's out of traits and dice.] Agricola the farm boy finds this argument compelling, and Pyrotenax knows he can exploit this weakness to begin bending the boy's mind to his will [Leo wins the chapter as viewpoint so he marks his first plot phase complete].

Chapter 3
Viewpoint: Dan 11. Leo 8. Nolan 10,7.
Adversity: Leo 12,11,9. Nolan 9,8.

Marcus has returned to the house [Leo spends his 9 to introduce a d4 passive threat: Alone] where he is alone [d4] and left to his own devices without guidance about what to study. [I spend my 11 to activate Scholar's Apprentice at d8 and Quick-witted at d6] Marcus figures [Quick-witted d6] that his master [Scholar's Apprentice d8] must have some notes about what lessons he was planning next, so he begins searching for them [Dan 2,1 vs. Leo 3. Leo wins and would bump Alone to d6, but I'm out of traits so the chapter is over.] but finds nothing but a sense of directionless confusion. [Leo won as adversity so he gets a new viewpoint die. He takes the d10 on his second phase.]

Chapter 4
Viewpoint: Dan 3. Leo 3,1. Nolan 7,6.
Adversity: Dan 10,10. Leo 11,11,6.

Marian, daughter of the Sea Goddess, is aboard a large sailing ship bound for the capital city where she is destined to marry the land-dweller who becomes king. [Leo spends an 11 to introduce a d6 active threat: Lightning Storm] The god of thunder must not want Marian to reach land, because a huge thunderstorm heads straight for the ship. [Nolan spends his 6 to activate Virtuous at d8 and his 7 to activate Demigoddess at d6] At first she is unconcerned, knowing she can survive perfectly well in the water even if the ship is smashed to splinters, but then she remembers that she should care for the humans who crew the ship as well [Virtuous d8], so she extends her power over the water out to calm the waves around them and drive away the rain [Demigoddess d6]. [Nolan 1,1 vs. Leo 1. Nolan wins and bumps Demigoddess up to d8. Leo doesn't exhaust.] Thus protected, the ship begins sailing through the storm. A huge bolt of lightning [Lightning Storm d6] strikes the mast, shattering it [Leo spends his 11 to introduce a new d6 active threat: Adrift] and leaving the ship adrift. As the crew rushes to attend to the burning splinters of the mast, Marian feels her obligation to help these people [Virtuous d8] and calls on her power to have the waves themselves push to vessel in the direction in needs to go [Demigoddess d8]. [Nolan 3,2 vs. Leo 6,5. Leo wins and would bump something if the chapter wasn't over, but both of Nolan's traits are exhausted and he has no more dice so he can't continue.] Unfortunately, the chaos of the storm has so befuddled the captain and crew that they are hopelessly lost. [Leo won as adversity so he gets another viewpoint die. He takes the d10 for his fourth phase.]

That's where we broke for the night. The story will continue in the next playtest report.

Final Hour of a Storied Age is currently in beta testing. I really need feedback from people trying to play my game without my direct involvement. I would deeply appreciate it if you would consider giving the game a shot. I want to produce the highest quality game I can, but I can only do that with the help of playtesters. If there's anything I can do that would help you get a game going just let me know.

One interesting thing to notice in this session is that the spotlight time was distributed pretty equitably. It was a short session, but we all got to participate as both viewpoint and antagonist. Since there's a die-rolling element to determining which players take which roles at which times this isn't guaranteed to happen, but my belief is that if the players cycle through chapters quickly enough (Leo, Nolan, and I seem to take about 10 to 15 minutes per chapter now that we're all pretty familiar with the rules) and the players regard their time in the adversity player role as "spotlight time" then no one should be frozen out for an overly long stretch. Since all the players have a hand in crafting the story, my hope is that players will find their "audience time" compelling even when they aren't interacting mechanically with the system. I don't think it's that unusual for players to enjoy giving their friends some time to shine but since my game doesn't provide a "release valve" of a GM determining spotlight based on social cues like fidgeting players it makes some people nervous.
Logged

my blog | my podcast | My game Final Hour of a Storied Age needs playtesters!
Ron Edwards
Global Moderator
Member
*
Posts: 17707


WWW
« Reply #1 on: January 24, 2011, 05:59:42 PM »

Hi Dan,

10-15 minutes per chapter! Wow, that is dense content per story unit.

I'd like to know what is it like to play a chapter. Is it more like group construction of a movie script, or is there an audience-like experience of enjoying the story in an emotionally-involving sense?

I'm thinking about the key rule in Universalis, often mis-read or simply not followed at all, in which, when person A is taking his turn, and if they bring in a character who is currently owned by person B, person B is automatically "thrust" into play from that character's point of view and must role-play the character's responses and whatnot, just as in standard role-playing. This is what mainly keeps Universalis from being a storyboarding technique with currency.

Best, Ron
Logged
Dan Maruschak
Member

Posts: 128


WWW
« Reply #2 on: January 24, 2011, 06:52:21 PM »

I'd like to know what is it like to play a chapter. Is it more like group construction of a movie script, or is there an audience-like experience of enjoying the story in an emotionally-involving sense?
Mechanically, I think the closest approximation is playing through a conflict in DITV without the decisions of whether to give or escalate (not surprising, since that was one of my major influences), although there tend to be less rounds with more story-content per round at a lower level of intensity from your average DITV conflict since the type of story being told in Storied Age isn't as in-your-face and gritty as the usual Dogs story. There isn't a lot of collaborative group construction within a chapter since the viewpoint and adversity players tend to be able to figure things out for themselves (I think collaboration has its place, such as in the overall plot arc formulation step in my game, but I think that too much collaboration can lead to flat, groupthink-y play) which means you frequently get fun surprises when the active players go in a direction you didn't expect or come up with ideas that you weren't involved in formulating. I definitely enjoy experiencing the story when the other players are the viewpoint and adversity players (although I also have a vested interest in observing players playing my game, so it might be hard to separate those two feelings). In some later sessions in this series when Nolan wasn't given as much spotlight time he still said he enjoyed the sessions and was engrossed in the story (I'll probably be able to discuss that in more depth when I review the audio for the later sessions). I think the Epic Fantasy story structure of hinging the fate of the world on whether the protagonist or antagonist succeeds might contribute to that, too.

Quote
I'm thinking about the key rule in Universalis, often mis-read or simply not followed at all, in which, when person A is taking his turn, and if they bring in a character who is currently owned by person B, person B is automatically "thrust" into play from that character's point of view and must role-play the character's responses and whatnot, just as in standard role-playing. This is what mainly keeps Universalis from being a storyboarding technique with currency.
There is a mechanism for bringing other players' PCs into a chapter, and those players would usually play their own PCs when that happens, but NPCs are usually played by the player that introduces them into a chapter (although there's an optional mechanism for "deputizing" other players to do that). I'm not familiar with Universalis so I can't comment on how similar or different that is. By "storyboarding" are you using it in the sense that I've sometimes seen it used to describe the phenomenon when people overspecify their stakes in a game like PTA and after winning say, "So, that thing I said would happen if I win? That happens", and the fiction seems to have no immediacy? If so, I haven't seen that happen in my game. In some previous playtests with people who have played a lot of PTA-style games there has been a reflexive desire to discuss stakes for each roll but I have tried to discourage that because I think it can take away from the immediacy of the fiction. I prefer to think of results narration as being bounded by an appropriate scope.
Logged

my blog | my podcast | My game Final Hour of a Storied Age needs playtesters!
Dan Maruschak
Member

Posts: 128


WWW
« Reply #3 on: February 07, 2011, 01:00:03 PM »

On Monday November 29, 2010, Leo, Nolan, and I got together on Skype for a 3-hour playtest of Final Hour of a Storied Age rev 0.67, continuing the story started in our previous session. An audio recording of this session is also available as episode 15 of the Designer vs. Reality podcast.

Chapter 5
Viewpoint: Dan 1. Leo 8,7. Nolan 9,9.
Adversity: Dan 4,1. Leo 5,4,3.

Tossed by the storm, Marian's ship is wrecked on a beach. [Leo spends his 5 to introduce a d4 passive threat: Don't Know Where You Are] Looking around on the desolate shore, Marian realizes she has no idea where she is [d4]. [Nolan spends a 9 to activate Demigoddess at d8]. Marian centers herself, trying to use her divine nature [d8] to commune with the spirits of the world and figure out where she is. [Nolan 7 vs. Leo 3. Nolan wins but his d8 is already maxed out so he can't increase it, and Leo's passive threat is exhausted.] Hidden to most by the noise of the surf, Marian makes out the whispers of some sea spirits saying the name of the place she has landed. [Leo spends his 4 to introduce a d4 passive threat: Hundreds of Miles Off Course] Marian is on the continent she was headed for, but is hundreds of miles off course [d4]. Having supernatural capabilities far beyond mere mortals [d8], Marian sets off running toward the capital. [Nolan 7 vs. Leo 2. Nolan wins but still can't bump, Leo exhausts again.] The wind blows through her hair as her breathtaking, tireless pace carries her swiftly to the capital, her destined home. [Leo spends his 3 to introduce a d4 passive threat: Tattered and Dirty Clothing] Although Marian's journey on foot was little effort for her body, it didn't treat her dress kindly. As she enters the city, the residents see only a girl dressed in dirty, tattered clothes [d4]. She strides into the city, trusting her divine nature [d8] to shine past her earthly raiment [Nolan 1 vs. Leo 2. Leo wins and bumps Tattered and Dirty Clothing to d6, Nolan exhausts Demigoddess.], but the people scoff at her claims to divine heritage. They see her only as a filthy urchin [d6]. [Nolan spends a 9 to activate Adaptive at d8] Marian calls out to the people around her, daring them to name any challenge [Adaptive d8] and she will prove that she is who she says she is. [Nolan 3 vs. Leo 3. Leo wins and bumps his Tattered and Dirty Clothing to d8, but Nolan doesn't exhaust.] A priest emerges from the crowd, saying that she speaks nonsense, since they know what the hero Marian is supposed to look like, and she doesn't match the description [Tattered and Dirty Clothing d8]. Unphased by this new challenge [Adaptive d8], Marian turns to the crowd and begins asking questions about the prophecy of Marian's arrival, pointing out the many aspects of the story that do apply to her. [Nolan 7 vs. Leo 5. Nolan wins, Leo exhausts. Leo is out of traits and dice so Nolan wins the chapter] The people, forced to look past their initial rash judgments, are compelled to admit that Marian is who she claims to be. [Nolan won the chapter as viewpoint so he advances one phase along his plot thread.]

Chapter 6
Viewpoint: Dan 19. Leo 6,6. Nolan 3.
Adversity: Leo 12,5,2. Nolan 6,2.

Marcus, having had no luck figuring out what he should study in the scholar's absence, realizes that this is the perfect opportunity to set out on an adventure, just like in the stories he's read! [Leo spends his 2 to introduce a d4 passive threat: Don't know where to go] Despite his enthusiasm, Marcus realizes he doesn't really know where to go [d4]. [I spend my 19 to activate Yearns for Adventure at d8, Quick-witted at d6, Scholar's Apprentice at d6, and Young at d4] He says to himself, "I may not know exactly where to go, but the first step is obviously to head down this road and I can see where it leads from there! [Yearns for Adventure d8]" As he walks, he remembers the years he's spent with the scholar [Scholar's Apprentice d6], hoping to notice a clue that will point him in the right direction. [Dan 4,1 vs. Leo 4. I win and bump Scholar's Apprentice to d8, but Leo isn't exhausted.] He finds the scholar's glasses lying on the side of the right, reassuring him that he's headed in the right direction. [Leo spends his 12 on a d6 active threat: Goblin bandits] As Marcus ponders how to proceed [Don't know where to go d4], a band of goblin bandits [d6] bursts out from the undergrowth! Thinking quickly [Quick-witted d6], Marcus employs a tactic he recalls from his studies [Scholar's Apprentice d8]: he climbs a tree, knowing that goblins are poor climbers. [Dan 6,4 vs. Leo 4,4. I win and bump Quick-witted to d8, but Leo doesn't exhaust.] The plan works to the extent that he isn't run through by their spears or stabbed by their knives, but as he clings to a tree branch Marcus realizes that he's till in quite a predicament. The goblins [d6], crafty little schemers, light a fire at the base of the tree, leaving Marcus no place to go [Don't know where to go d4] as the smoke wafts up into his eyes. Having studied trees like this [Scholar's Apprentice d8], Marcus realizes that the fire will weaken the base of the tree and cause it to fall before it spreads up to him, and if he can time it right [Quick-witted d8] he ought to be able to leap from the falling tree and over the goblin's heads. [Dan 3,2 vs. Leo 6,2. Leo wins and should bump up a die size on one of his traits but it seems like he may have forgotten, but I don't exhaust.] Unfortunately, his studies didn't cover how trees respond to particularly dry weather, as they'd been having in this area lately, and the tree goes up much more quickly than Marcus was anticipating. He tumbles to the ground and is captured by the goblins [d6], making it less likely than ever that he'll be able to get where he needs to go [Don't know where to go d4]. Marcus quickly realizes [Quick-witted d8], however, that goblins are unlikely to hurt someone they've taken prisoner, and if he goes along quietly he may be able to band together with other prisoners, as happens so often in the tales of adventure that he's familiar with [Yearns for adventure d8]. [Dan 7,2 vs. Leo 6,1. I win but can't bump anything above a d8. Leo exhausts Don't know where to go] As he's trundled into the camp, Marcus sees that there is indeed another prisoner: his master the scholar!

[Leo spends his 5 to introduce a d4 passive threat: The scholar is weak and close to death] The scholar seems to have been badly roughed up [Scholar is weak and close to death d4], but the goblins [d6] that swarm about the camp don't seem to care. Marcus rushes to his master's side [Scholar's Apprentice d8], quickly [Quick-witted d8] administering some of the first-aid techniques that the scholar taught him. [Dan 2,2 vs. Leo 3,1. Leo wins and bumps the goblins to d8, but I don't exhaust.] Marcus stabilizes the old man, but he's still very weak [d4]. More goblin hunting parties [d8] return to the camp, making escape seem that much more difficult. Marcus immediately realizes [Quick-witted d8] that his situation won't improve by waiting, and he doesn't want his adventure to be cut short by lowly goblins [Yearns for Adventure d8], so he hefts his master [Scholar's Apprentice d8] over his shoulder, hoping that his youthful vigor [Young d4] will be enough to get the both of them out of there. [Dan 8,6,6,4 vs. Leo 5,4. I win and bump Young to d6, Leo doesn't exhaust.] He exits the camp, his legs pumping as fast as they can. The old scholar, weakened as he is [d4], weighs heavily on Marcus, and the goblins [d8] run screaming after him, their pursuit relentless. Unwilling to leave his master [Scholar's Apprentice d8] to these horrible goblins, Marcus keeps running, hoping he won't tire before they do [Young d6]. [Dan 6,5 vs. Leo 2,1. I win and would bump Young, but Leo is exhausted and doesn't have anything else to throw at me, so the chapter is over] Eventually the goblins, lazy and indolent by nature, give up the chase and Marcus eventually stops in a place to relative safety to rest. [I won as viewpoint and advance one phase in my plot thread.]

Chapter 7
Viewpoint: Dan 4. Leo 7,3. Nolan 7.
Adversity: Dan 5,2. Nolan 5,5.

Despite Pyrotenax's contact with the farmboy's mind, [Nolan spends a 5 to activate Agricola's Pig Headed at d8] Agricola is so stubborn [d8] that he continues his normal routine instead of attempting to dig up the ring. [Leo spends his 7 and 3 to activate Pyrotenax's Beguiler of Mortals at d8 and Mystical Will at d6] Pyrotenax focus his will [Mystical Will d6] and speaks directly into the boy's mind, saying, "Agricola, my child, come to me [Beguiler of Mortals d8]." [Leo 5,5 vs. Nolan 3. Leo wins and bumps Mystical Will to d8, Nolan's Pig Headed is exhausted.] "You must free me from my prison, child." [Nolan spends a 5 to create a d4 passive threat: Buried deep] Even with the boy's reluctance overcome, the ring is still buried deep in the earth [d4]. [Leo didn't actually narrate anything here, but rolled both of his traits.] [Leo 7,1 vs. Nolan 3. Leo wins but his traits are already maxed out. Nolan doesn't exhaust.] "You must come rescue me," Pyrotenax says. "Whatever the cost, whatever the effort, I need you." Even a strong boy like Agricola has trouble digging deep enough to reach the ring [d4]. Pyrotenax forces his will [Mystical Will d8] upon the boy, commanding him to work through the pain, and promising that his rewards will be great once he succeeds [Beguiler of Mortals d8]. [Leo 8,6 vs. Nolan 2. Leo wins, Nolan exhausts and is out of traits and dice so Leo wins the chapter.] Agricola digs feverishly, getting ever closer to the buried ring. [Leo won as viewpoint so he advances one phase along his plot thread.]

Chapter 8
Viewpoint: Dan 13. Leo 11. Nolan 10.
Adversity: Leo 12,10,10. Nolan 7,5.

In the forest clearing, Marcus [Leo creates a new NPC: Artax the Scholar with the traits Old and Frail, Learned, Enigmatic, and Stern. He isn't mentioned on any seeds but he has been discussed in the fiction, so Leo must pay the implied-by creation tax of 2. Since the previous fiction established the scholar here, the plausibility tax is 0. Leo spends his two 10's, each of which would normally activate 2 traits. After the tax, Leo gets to activate 4 – 2 = 2 traits. He activates Old and Frail at d8 and Enigmatic at d6.] realizes that his mentor Artax is breathing shallowly, and begins to cough [Old and Frail d8]. [I spend my 13 to activate Scholar's Apprentice at d8 and Quick-witted at d6] Remembering his old lessons in herbology [Scholar's Apprentice d8], Marcus dashes off to find an herb that grows in the area that is supposed to be good for ailments of the respiratory system [Quick-witted d6]. [Dan 8,6 vs. Leo 4. I win and bump Quick-witted to d8. Leo exhausts.] He gathers a few handfuls and rushes back to Artax's side, crumbling it under his nose so that the vapors can calm the old man's cough. [Leo spends his 12 to activate Stern at d6 and Old and Frail at d6] "Boy, what are you doing here?" says Artax. "You should be at home studying, as I instructed you to do. [Stern d6]" Thinking quickly [Quick-witted d8], Marcus answers, "But Master, you didn't tell me what to study, so I came to find you! [Scholar's Apprentice d8]" [Dan 8,4 vs. Leo 6. I win but my traits are already maxed so I can't bump them up. Leo doesn't exhaust.] Artax's expression softens slightly as he realizes his apprentice has a point. Looking at Marcus with the eyes of a father figure, Artax says, "Boy, must I spell everything out for you? I am old and frail [d6], and you must study the ways of life so that you may take over when I am gone. [Enigmatic d6]" "But Master," Marcus protests, "you need me as much as I need you! You may be wise in the ways of learning, but if I leave you who will cook your breakfast? [Scholar's Apprentice d8]" [Dan 4 vs. Leo 6,3. Leo wins and bumps Enigmatic (I think), but I don't exhaust.] Artax replies, "Child, there are many things you must learn but I cannot teach you, you must find them out for yourself." He continues, "You have not learned who you truly are [Enigmatic d6]. Until you learn that, you cannot fulfill your destiny." Tempted by the thought of adventure, Marcus quickly recalls [Quick-witted d8] what a dangerous place they're in. "But Master, there are still goblins about, I can't leave you alone! [Scholar's Apprentice d8]" [Dan 5,3 vs. Leo 4. I win but can't bump anything, Leo doesn't exhaust.] Artax concedes the point. "Child," Artax scolds [Stern d6], "when did I tell you that what you needed to learn about yourself was anywhere but at home? [Enigmatic d8] Now help me home so that I may rest [Old and Frail d6] and you may study!" Marcus comes to a sudden realization [Quick-witted d8], "Wait a minute! This is another one of your tests, isn't it? [Scholar's Apprentice d8]. That's why you're saying so many contradictory things! You want me to figure out what you really mean." [Dan 5,2 vs. Leo 5,5,4. Leo wins and bumps Stern to d8 (I think) and I exhaust Quick-witted.] Artax merely scowls at the boy as he is escorted home.

Marcus helps the scholar into bed and is left alone in the library to ponder just what his master meant [Enigmatic d8]. Not knowing what else to do, Marcus starts at the topmost shelf of the leftmost bookcase, and hopes that he'll be able to stumble across whatever it is he's supposed to find [Scholar's Apprentice d8]. [Dan 3 vs. Leo 1. I win but my d8 is already maxed out. Leo's Enigmatic is exhausted.] In the second book he opens a piece of paper falls out. He examines it and finds a list of names with every one crossed out except for "Marcus". Artax shuffles past on his way to the kitchen, saying, "Ah, you've found some names have you? Find the meaning of those and you may begin to understand." He takes a few sips of water and then shuffles back to bed [Old and Frail d6] without giving Marcus any better clues. Having worked with Artax for many years [Scholar's Apprentice d8], Marcus knows that the old man has a habit of talking in his sleep. After he dozes off, Marcus sneaks into the bedroom and begins whispering the names from the list into the scholar's ear. [Dan 4 vs. Leo 4. Leo wins and bumps Old and Frail to d8, but I don't exhaust.] Unfortunately, none of Artax's mumblings are decipherable. The old man stirs in his sleep [Old and Frail d8] and sees Marcus watching him. "What are you doing here? You have studying to do! Back to the library! [Stern d8]" Knowing that Artax doesn't have the best handle on the passage of time [Scholar's Apprentice d8], Marcus prepares the morning tea, hoping he can trick the old man into thinking he's had a full night's sleep the next time he wakes. [Dan 4 vs. Leo 5,4. Leo wins but is maxed out. I don't exhaust.] Artax does awake, but quickly figures out Marcus's ruse since it is still dark when he goes to the outhouse. "You'll have to do better than that, boy. Now back to your studies! [Stern d8]." With none of his tricks paying off, Marcus realizes he has no alternative but to hit the books [Scholar's Apprentice d8]. [Dan 2 vs. Leo 2. Leo wins, his third in a row, so he wins the chapter.] He studies long into the night, still puzzled about what he is meant to learn. [Leo wins as adversity so he gets a new viewpoint die. He takes the d10 for his fourth phase.]

Chapter 9
Viewpoint: Dan 2. Leo 9. Nolan 8.
Adversity: Dan 8,3. Nolan 16,11.

Pyrotenax, still buried, feels he is on the cusp of freedom. [Nolan spends his 11 to introduce a d6 active thread: Other farm workers] Under the ring's influence, Agricola has been surreptitiously digging, but the other farm workers [d6] are growing suspicious of his odd behavior. [Leo spends his 9 to activate Pyrotenax's Fire Magic at d8] Pyrotenax extends his consciousness out beyond his earthly prison and feeds energy into the hearth burning in the farmhouse, causing it to flare up and set the house ablaze [Fire Magic d8]. [Leo 7 vs. Nolan 3. Leo wins but his d8 is maxed out. Nolan's active threat is exhausted.] The farmhouse quickly catches fire and the farmers' attention is focused completely on this emergency. [Nolan spends his 16 to introduce a new NPC: Marius, the owner of the farm. He has the traits Tyrannical, Savvy, Well-off, and Experienced. Since he's part of the family mentioned on Leo's seed, he has to pay the mentioned-on-seed creation tax of 1. It's reasonable and expected for the owner of the farm to be here at this time, so there's no plausibility tax. A 16 normally activates 4 traits, so after tax Nolan can activate 4 – 1 = 3 traits. He activates Savvy at d8, Tyrannical at d6, and Experienced at d6] As the rest of the family is fighting the fire, Marius the owner of the farmstead notices that Agricola isn't helping but is instead digging near the cornerstone [Savvy d8]. He confronts the boy and demands and explanation [Tyrannical d6]. As the farmboy stammers excuses, Pyrotenax focuses his magic upon Marius brain, heating it and giving him a scorching headache [Fire Magic d8]. [Leo 5 vs. Nolan 6,2. Nolan wins and bumps Tyrannical to d8, but Leo doesn't exhaust.] Marius raises his hand to his forehead and notices the unnatural heat and recalls from his family history that a great evil supposedly lies under the farm [Experienced d6] making him realize [Savvy d8] that Agricola is up to more than simply boyish hijinks. He orders [Tyrannical d8] several of the farm workers to fill in the hole that Agricola has dug and to keep him from any more digging. Seeing that the time for subtlety has passed, Pyrotenax turns his power on the workers' tools, turning the wood to ash [Fire Magic d8]. [Leo 2 vs. Nolan 3,3,1. Nolan wins and bumps Experienced to d8, but Leo doesn't exhaust.] Although the tools are burned to uselessness, Marius knows from family history that he can't afford to let the work stop [Experienced d8], and is such a furious taskmaster [Tyrannical d8] that he demands the men use their hands to finish the work. Pyrotenax turns his power on the earth itself, heating it so that the men won't be able to touch it, to the extent that it begins to melt into glass [Fire Magic d8]. [Leo 5 vs. Nolan 6,2. Nolan wins, his third in a row, so he wins the chapter] The men, fearing Marius's wrath, work through the heat and pain, and the hole that Agricola had begun ends up filled with glassy slag. [Nolan won as adversity player so he gets another viewpoint die. He takes the d12 for his second phase]
Logged

my blog | my podcast | My game Final Hour of a Storied Age needs playtesters!
Dan Maruschak
Member

Posts: 128


WWW
« Reply #4 on: February 07, 2011, 01:01:44 PM »

Chapter 10
Viewpoint: Dan 14. Leo 5. Nolan 10,4.
Adversity: Leo 11,8,4. Nolan 9,4.

In the library of the scholar's house, Marcus continues his studies. [Leo spends his 4 to introduce a d4 passive threat: tired] Marcus has studied so long that his exhaustion is causing him to not remember details [Tired d4]. [I spend my 14 to activate Marcus's Young at d8 and Scholar's Apprentice at d6] Marcus knows from previous all-nighters [Scholar's Apprentice d6] that if he keeps pushing, he ought to get a second wind of youthful [Young d8] energy. [Dan 6,1 vs. Leo 4. I win and bump my Scholar's Apprentice to d8, but Leo doesn't exhaust.] He does perk up a bit, but is still deeply fatigued. [Leo spend his 8 to introduce a d4 passive threat: faded scroll] Marcus finds an old genealogy which seems to be relevant, but many of the names are faded [Faded Scroll d4], and his tired [d4] eyes are having trouble making them out. Reminding himself that he'll have time to sleep when he's old [Young d8], Marcus holds the scroll up to a candle to try to decipher what it says [Scholar's Apprentice d8]. [Dan 5,1 vs. Leo 4,2. I win but my traits are maxed out. Leo doesn't exhaust.] Fighting back yawns, Marcus thinks he's beginning to make progress. Even so, the scroll is difficult to make out [Faded Scroll d4], as are the other references that he consults, and it's made even more difficult by the exhaustion [Tired d4] creeping into his fingers, his clumsiness making it difficult to treat the ancient texts with the care that they need. Marcus prepares some tea, Artax's special blend. Although Artax has warned that you should never drink more than one cup a day, Marcus thinks that his constitution can take it [Young d8]. He gulps it down, nearly scalding his throat in the process, and returns to the scrolls with his eyes a little wider. [Dan 7 vs. Leo 1,1. I win, my third in a row, so I win the chapter.] Marcus is finally able to decipher a family tree in which all of the descendants match the list of crossed-out names he has, although the top of the tree, the person from whom they all descend, is still unclear. [I won as viewpoint so I advance a phase along my plot thread.]

Chapter 11
Viewpoint: Dan 5. Leo 3. Nolan 11,10.
Adversity: Dan 3,1. Leo 9,7,5.

Marian in in the church dedicated to her mother, where the priests are preparing her with information she needs to live her life among humans. [Leo spends his 5 to create a d4 passive threat: beggars and urchins] A matron comes to escort Marian to the palace, but on their way there they must travel through a virtual sea of beggars and urchins asking for alms and help. [Nolan spends his 10 to activate Marian's Virtuous at d8 and Demigoddess at d6] Marian uses her divine power [Demigoddess d6] to conjure things that they need [Virtuous d8]. [Nolan 4,3 vs. Leo 2. Nolan wins and bump Demigoddess to d8, Leo exhausts.] Marian blesses the hungry with full stomachs and the sick with healing, and the crowd is satisfied. [Leo spends his 7 to create a new d4 passive threat: more beggars] However, as word of Marian's benevolence spreads, even more needy people converge on her [more beggars d4]. [Nolan spends his 11 to activate Marian's Adaptive at d6 and Sea Creature at d4] Instead of trying to address each one individually, Marian changes course [Adaptive d6]. She calls out to the people of the city, her divine voice carrying to everyone [Demigoddess d8], imploring them to have compassion on each other and to take care of their own [Virtuous d8]. [Nolan 6,3,2 vs. Leo 4. Nolan wins and bumps Adaptive to d6, but Leo doesn't exhaust.] Some people begin heeding her call, helping the crippled to stand and bringing bread from their homes to the hungry. [Leo spends his 9 to create another d4 passive threat: cold rain] A cold rain [d4] begins falling on the crowd [d4], making their misery that much worse. Sensing the hand of the storm god at work, Marian calls to the heavens [Demigoddess d8], praying to the storm god not to harm the people [Virtuous d8] with any anger he might be directing at her. [Nolan 4,2 vs. Leo 2,1. Nolan wins, his third in a row, so he wins the chapter.] The rain subsides and the clouds part, and as the sun shines down on the city Marian sees that even more people have come from their homes to heed her call to help each other. [Nolan won as viewpoint player so he advances one phase along his plot thread. This completes his supporting character's Learn to Live with Humanity subplot. For completing a segment, he gets two traits worth of narrative special effects. He chooses to change his Sea Creature trait to Champion of the People. Also, since he's finished with his subplot he will no longer roll for viewpoint, but he will now be able to use his support and complication segments when they apply.]

Chapter 12
Viewpoint: Dan 14. Leo 7.
Adversity: Leo 12,8,1. Nolan 5,1.

Still in the scholar's library, Marcus has fallen asleep on top of the genealogical tome he found. [Leo spends his 12 to activate Artax's Learned at d8 and Enigmatic at d6] Artax wakes him up and congratulates him on identifying the correct book. "What have you learned about yourself in all this?" he asks enigmatically [d6]. [I spend my 14 to activate Marcus's Quick-witted at d8 and Scholar's Apprentice at d6] Rapidly collating [Quick-witted d8] the results from his studies the night before [Scholar's Apprentice], Marcus replies, "Clearly my name fits in this family tree here, so one could deduce that these other names are brothers and sisters." [Dan 8,2 vs. Leo 3. I win and bump Scholar's Apprentice to d8 but Leo doesn't exhaust.] Artax smiles approvingly, glad that his apprentice is at least on the right track. "You deduce correctly, my boy, but you must go further. You have not uncovered all of the secret that is you [Enigmatic d6]," clearly referring to some fact that Artax knows [Learned d8] but wishes Marcus to discover for himself. "But master," Marcus protests, "I know all of the books you have here [Scholar's Apprentice d8], and surely you wouldn't have records from a humble orphanage..." The wheels of Marcus's mind turn [Quick-witted d8]. "These people aren't just random orphans! They must be important people!" [Dan 5,2 vs. Leo 3,1. I win but can't bump any traits because they’re maxed out, and Leo exhausts Enigmatic.] Artax nods and Marcus realizes he's on the verge of figuring out what Artax is trying to teach him and heads over to the shelf with the rest of the genealogies. "You are looking in the right place," Artax says. "Let me tell you a story." He begins a tale of an ancient royal family, filling it with so many obscure details [Learned d8] that Marcus risks nodding off from boredom. Having worked with him for so long [Scholar’s Apprentice d8], Marcus knows that even though his master's memory for detail is strong he is easily distracted. He "accidentally" knocks over a teacup, hoping Artax will lose his place in the story and can be convinced to cut to the end [Quick-witted d8]. [Dan 5,2 vs. Leo 7. Leo wins and I exhaust both traits. I don't have any traits or dice left so Leo wins the chapter.] Unfortunately, it does little more than annoy Artax who demands that Marcus clean up the mess while he continues his rambling tale. [Leo won the chapter as adversity so he gets another viewpoint die. He takes the d10 for his fifth phase.]

Chapter 13
Viewpoint: Dan 10. Leo 3.
Adversity: Leo 8,5,1. Nolan 9,5.

Marcus, listening to his master drone on and on, struggles to pay attention. [Nolan spends his 5 to introduce a d4 passive threat: The mystery of the story] At the conclusion, he's puzzled as to what the point could have been [Mystery of the story d4]. [I spend my 10 to activate Quick-witted at d8 and Scholar's Apprentice at d6] After pondering for a bit, Marcus realizes [Quick-witted d8] that sometimes the genealogies are written in a more archaic form of the language that doesn't exactly correspond to how it's commonly spoken. He consults the translations [Scholar's Apprentice d6] to see if he can correlate them. [Dan 8,5 vs. Nolan 2. I win and bump Scholar's Apprentice to d8. Nolan exhausts.] He does, figuring out exactly how Artax's tale fits into his earlier research. [Nolan spends his 9 to introduce a d4 passive threat: illegible name] The only missing piece is the one illegible name that would explain Marcus's parentage [illegible name d4]. Marcus realizes [Quick-witted d8] that, with the story to work with, he can cross-reference [Scholar's Apprentice d8] the histories as well as the genealogies to find the information he's seeking. [Dan 7,4 vs. Nolan 3. I win and Nolan exhausts. Nolan doesn't have any more traits or dice so I win the chapter.] He turns a page and runs his finger down, stopping on the key name: Aurelius, the current king. Marcus is stunned. If Aurelius is his father, that makes him a prince! [I won the chapter as viewpoint player so I advance one phase in my plot thread. This completes my "Learn true heritage" plot segment and I get two traits worth of narrative special effects. I change Artax's alignment to Ideologically aligned w/ Protagonist and change my Young trait to Secret Prince.]

Chapter 14
Viewpoint: Dan 11. Leo 6.
Adversity: Leo 8,4,4. Nolan 14,5.

Having learned all he can at the scholar's house, Marcus says his goodbyes to Artax and sets off on the next stage of his adventure. [Nolan spends his 5 for a d4 passive threat: Journey to Whitehollow] Following a map given him to Artax, Marcus begins traveling to the nearby village of Whitehollow [d4] where he is supposed to find a man named Astrin. [I spend my 11 to activate Yearns for Adventure at d8 and Quick-witted at d6] Eager to get started [Yearns for Adventure d8], Marcus hurries down the road. [Dan 8 vs. Nolan 1. I win but can't increase the d8, but Nolan exhausts.] He arrives at the village without incident, his enthusiasm only slightly mellowed by the journey, and begins hunting for Astrin. He quickly discovers that the village is deserted and many of the buildings are in ruins. In the center of the village he sees a figure standing among the wreckage, Robur the knight who took Artax away from the house! [Nolan spends his 14 to bring Robur, Assistant to the King, into the chapter. For distance tax, we determine that this village is nearby to the last place he appeared in the story, since Marcus was in those places too and we didn't establish them as very far away, so he doesn't have to pay any distance tax. For plausibility, we decide that it's plausible but unexpected for him to be here. It's certainly not expected, but it's also not a surprise that he would show up again, so Nolan needs to pay a plausibility tax of 1. A 14 normally activates two traits but it seems like Nolan mistakenly believed it was activating 4. Starting from there and applying the tax Nolan gets 4 – 1 = 3 traits. He activates Strong at d8, Fiercely Loyal at d6, and Knight at d6.] "So, the scholar figured a way around his curse," says the burly knight [d6]. "But I can't permit you to go further than this. [Fiercely Loyal d6]" Not wanting this new adventure to be over before it begins [Yearns for Adventure d8], Marcus runs to one of the abandoned buildings where the cramped spaces will make it harder for Robur to fight with his sword [Quick-witted d6]. [Dan 8,2 vs. Nolan 5,4. I win and bump up Quick-witted to d8 but Nolan doesn't exhaust.] Marcus positions himself in a low-ceilinged corner of one of the burned-out buildings.

Undeterred [Fiercely Loyal d6], the mighty [Strong d8] knight [d6] runs in after him, swinging his sword in fury. Thinking quickly [Quick-witted d8], Marcus realizes that the half-collapsed building could readily become a fully-collapsed one. He hurls his weight against one of the partially burned beams, hoping to collapse the roof. [Dan 3 vs. Nolan 6,6,1. Nolan wins and bumps Fiercely Loyal to d8 but I don't exhaust.] It breaks, but Robur is so burly that he is barely staggered when the building comes down around him. He continues his furious [Fiercely Loyal d8] assault [Strong d8 Knight d6]. Seeing a man acting like an enraged beast, the idea dawns on Marcus [Quick-witted d8] to try to connect with whatever spark of nobility might still be in the man's heart, saying, "Is this all you wanted from your life? To be an assassin? Don't you want something better? [Yearns for Adventure d8]" [Dan 4,3 vs. Nolan 4,4,1. Nolan wins and bumps Knight to d8 but I don't exhaust.] Robur hesitates, but only for a moment. "I do what my king requires! [Fiercely Loyal d8]" he shouts. Marcus, trying to edge backwards, stumbles to the ground and Robur brings his sword to the boy's throat [Strong d8 Knight d8]. Terrified, Marcus's life begins flashing before his eyes, but so much of his life was spent listening to Artax tell him stories of adventure [Yearns for Adventure d8] that these are the details that stick out most, and he especially recalls one tale in which the hero triumphed over a foe by throwing ashes in his eyes. He realizes [Quick-witted d8] that his hand is in a pile of ashes right now, so he hurls them at Robur. [Dan 2,1 vs. Nolan 8,1,1. Nolan wins, his third in a row, so he wins the chapter.] Robur flinches reflexively, the blade of his sword slashing Marcus's neck as the ashes fly into his eyes. Marcus collapses to the ground with his blood flowing freely, and Robur rubs the ashes from his eyes. With his vision impaired, he thinks the deed is done, and leaves Marcus for dead on the floor of the ruined building. [Nolan won as adversity so he gets a new viewpoint die. He takes the d12 on the first phase of the segment that complicates the antagonists third segment.]

Chapter 15
Viewpoint: Dan 10. Leo 7.
Adversity: Leo 12,12,5. Nolan 12,4.

In the burned-out ruins of Whitehollow, Marcus [Leo spends a 12 to create a d6 active threat: neck wound] feels himself growing weaker as the blood flows from his wounded neck [Neck wound d6]. [I spend my 10 to activate Quick-witted at d8 and Scholar's Apprentice at d6] Although Marcus's education was eclectic it did include medicine [Scholar's Apprentice d6] so he knows it's important to stop the bleeding instead of giving in to unconsciousness. He quickly tears a strip of cloth from his own shirt to serve as a bandage [Quick-witted d8]. [Dan 7,3 vs. Leo 1. I win and bump Scholar's Apprentice to d8, and Leo exhausts.] The bleeding slows and Marcus is thankful that the blade didn't strike any major vessels. [Leo spends a 12 to create a d6 active threat: wind] Marucs emerges from the ruined building and a wind kicks up [Wind d6], blowing ash around the village, seemingly directly into Marcus's lungs. He quickly [Quick-witted d8] tears another strip of cloth from his shirt, fashioning a crude mask. [Dan 3 vs. Leo 2. I win but my d8 is maxed out, Leo exhausts.] The mask does its job, keeping the worst of the ash out as Marcus explores the village looking for clues as to what happened here. [Leo spends his 5 on a d4 passive threat: night] Night begins to fall [Night d4], making visibility poor. Marcus, however, has often studied late into the night [Scholar's Apprentice d8], and his eyes are well versed in making out details in even poor lighting. He rushes around the village, hoping he can make sense of some clue he passes by [Quick-witted d8]. [Dan 7,4 vs. Leo 4. I win, my third in a row so I win the chapter.] He notices a soot-blackened doorframe with a name carved over it: Astrin. He approaches the house, knowing that this is the home of the man he was supposed to find here. [I won as viewpoint so I advance a phase along my plot thread.]

Chapter 16
Viewpoint: Dan 3. Leo 11.
Adversity: Dan 10,4. Nolan 15,8.

At the farmstead, [Nolan spends his 8 to create a d4 passive threat: still buried] Pyrotenax is buried under earth and glass. [Leo spends his 11 to activate Pyrotenax's Beguiler of Mortals at d8 and Mystical Will at d6] The imprisoned god stretches out his will [Mystical Will d6], sending a message to the minds of all the workers: "The master has deceived you. You should not have buried me. He fears having me uncovered. You should dig me up and free me from my prison. [Beguiler of Mortals d8]" [Leo 6,5 vs. Nolan 2. Leo wins and bumps Mystical Will to d8, and Nolan exhausts.] Many of the workers, not especially sharp-minded men, believe Pyrotenax's words and begin digging for him. [Nolan spends his 15 to activate Marius's Tyrannical at d8, Savvy at d6, Well-off at d6, and Experienced at d4.] Marius, brandishing a whip [Tyrannical d8], rushes at the men, demanding that they stop if they value their livelihoods [Well-off d6]. Pyrotenax calls out to them [Mystical Will d8], "Do not let him deceive you again! Destroy him if you must, but you must free me from this prison! [Beguiler of Mortals d8]" [Leo 7,1 vs. Nolan 7,4. Nolan wins and bumps Well-off to d8. Leo exhausts Mystical Will] The men haven't learned to fear Pyrotenax yet, but they do know to fear Marius when he is enraged, so they return to their normal duties. Marius realizes that it is dangerous to have so many weak-minded people near Pyrotenax [Savvy d8], so he orders them all away from the farm [Well-off d8]. Pyrotenax whispers into Marius's mind, "Marius, you are mistaken. You were told my power is dangerous, but it could be useful to you [Beguiler of Mortals d8]." [Leo 6 vs. Nolan 4,2. Leo wins but his d8 is maxed out. Nolan's Tyrannical and Well-off are exhausted.] Marius becomes intrigued, realizing that he could wield considerable power if he allied himself with Pyrotenax. However, he's a shrewd man [Experienced d6], so he demands [Tyrannical d8] assurances of his own safety before he commits. "Once you have freed me," Pyrotenax whispers, "you will have enough power that you won't need to worry about such things [Beguiler of Mortals d8]." [Leo 8 vs. Nolan 8,2. Nolan wins and bumps Experienced to d8, but Leo doesn't exhaust.] "I know the physical world [Experienced d8]," Marius replies, "but all I know of magic is that it's dangerous. Why should I trust you? [Tyrannical d8]" "You don't need to trust me," Pyrotenax says. "Trust yourself. When you free me the power will be yours. [Beguiler of Mortals d8]." [Leo 3 vs. Nolan 3,1. Nolan wins but is maxed out. Leo doesn't exhaust.] "My gut tells me to leave you alone [Experienced d8]," Marius says as he turns to stomp away and tend to his own concerns [Tyrannical d8]. "Look inside yourself," Pyrotenax calls after him, "can you honestly say that you do not desire more power? [Beguiler of Mortals d8]" [Leo 3 vs. Nolan 7,2. Nolan wins, his third in a row.] Marius is silent as he departs. [Nolan won as adversity so he gets another viewpoint die. He takes a d12 of the first phase of his segment that supports the protagonist's third segment.]

That’s where we broke for the night. The story will continue in the next playtest report.
Logged

my blog | my podcast | My game Final Hour of a Storied Age needs playtesters!
Dan Maruschak
Member

Posts: 128


WWW
« Reply #5 on: February 07, 2011, 01:02:37 PM »

Related to the topic of spotlight distribution, Nolan completed his character's subplot in chapter 11 in this session. That means his character won't be the viewpoint character in any more chapters (although she can be introduced in a supporting role, like any other character). It also means that Nolan will only interact with the game in the "adversity player" role from that point on.

Also, in chapter 7, we had an instance of a possible weakness in the game. We were usually pretty good about actually narrating fiction instead of just naming the traits and rolling the dice, but the temptation to skip the narration is strongest when the trait configuration doesn't change and it's sort of implied that earlier narration still covers the present situation. When no die sizes get changed or traits get exhausted there aren't any mechanical prompts that suggest changes in the fiction so the game is entirely reliant on player discipline to do the right thing and narrate. (I don't think my game is alone in this -- people just naming the skill they're using to give a helping die in Mouse Guard instead of narrating an action is a common breakdown, for example). There was an exchange in chapter 7 where it looks like Leo skipped past the fiction to a degree (not trying to call him out as a bad player, just pointing out where it happened). I think the game might be stronger if there was always a change in the dice/trait situation between exchanges to prompt new narration, but mucking with the dice mechanics to make that happen would have other consequences, potentially negative ones.
Logged

my blog | my podcast | My game Final Hour of a Storied Age needs playtesters!
Ron Edwards
Global Moderator
Member
*
Posts: 17707


WWW
« Reply #6 on: February 08, 2011, 07:27:53 AM »

Hi Dan,

I'm not sure that's necessarily a weakness. If it characterized the use of traits, then I'd be concerned, but as an occasional feature of using traits to help other traits,

I've been wrestling with this issue for a long time, especially since playing Hero Wars so extensively. In some cases, when an ability was named as an augmenter (to use the jargon of the game), it seemed instantly obvious. When Maura said, "I'm using Dope Slap to augment my Lawspeaker," it was so clear that no one even blinked. I can't remember whether she accompanied the statement with a hand gesture to show us what she meant, but if she didn't, I think all of us incorporated the image of her character doing this so immediately, upon the mere mention of the ability on the sheet, without fail.

However, in other cases, players would seize upon various abilities for augmenting in a rapid-fire way, relying solely on naming them. Sometimes they'd make sense to us, other times they wouldn't, and in either case, the fiction itself was being omitted, dropping the collective level of shared understanding of the fictional imagery.

Since all sorts of games now utilize variations on this technique, most especially Dogs in the Vineyard and its overwhelming horde of imitators, I've seen the same trends for years across many groups. I think the question is whether the first kind of quickie-use, without descriptive narration but with immediate imagined participation anyway, is the norm, with the latter being an occasional, possibly acceptable exception. If that's so, then I suggest it's no big deal.

I should also point to the opposite trend, which is extensive bloviating, empty-Color narration to whore for bonuses. The curse here is Wushu, a game built on nothing except this problem, which has unaccountably gained some kind of credit as a good thing. I'll take the occasional quickie-no-description helping trait any time over the risk of enforcing talk for talk's sake.

Best, Ron
Logged
stefoid
Member

Posts: 657


WWW
« Reply #7 on: February 08, 2011, 01:31:29 PM »

Havent played  Wushu, but just read the wiki.

ron, what do you mean by empty color? 

At a guess, the popularity might be that the color isnt empty for the players who like it -- for one thing you get a mechanical reward for embellishing your descriptions and for another, the player is guaranteed that their descriptions happen in the fiction, even if the consequences are then judged by the GM, so that is a form of narrative control, maybe micro control if you like.  I can see how that would appeal to players who havent played a game where they get any narrative control at all.
Logged

Ron Edwards
Global Moderator
Member
*
Posts: 17707


WWW
« Reply #8 on: February 08, 2011, 01:53:15 PM »

Hi Steffen,

I don't intend to justify my point to an imaginary set of third parties who represent the counter-claim. Nor, even if I did, would I find value in the argument that Wushu play is at least superior to infantilized play in which one's ability to talk at all is stifled. That's like saying a car which runs very badly is at least better than one on concrete blocks; it's an argument of no relevance to those who want to build excellent cars.

To answer your question, it's a circle in the sense of being tautological. You talk in order to roll dice, and you roll dice in order to talk. There is no subject to be colored, nothing that the conflicts are about except to see the traits get talked about.

But that should end here. I only went this far to answer in hopes that it clarified my point to Dan.

If the issue seems like a big deal to you rather than a momentary posting, or if anyone wants to discuss Wushu as a game (or as I see it, pseudo-game), then begin an Actual Play thread toward that end, following the forum requirements. Getting into that here is drifting the thread topic from Dan's stated questions.

Best, Ron
Logged
Dan Maruschak
Member

Posts: 128


WWW
« Reply #9 on: February 10, 2011, 09:37:26 AM »

Ron,
  I think I agree that I'm not so much worried about talking as about development of the fictional situation -- talking is the most common way to do that, but you've got a point that it might not be the only way. I think in this particular instance neither one happened, though. I agree that it's probably not worth worrying about if it's only an occasional glitch. If it happens a lot, it's a bigger issue. If the fictional situation doesn't develop between the rolls I think there's a risk that the fiction starts to break down a little bit, or else the earlier roll could seem meaningless if the exact same situation applies to the next one. I'm looking at this more as a potential stress point in the game where problems could show up, not as a confirmed bug in the design. If I see a pattern of this in future playtests then I may need to start investigating solutions, but there's not enough evidence of a real problem to justify changing the game just yet.
Logged

my blog | my podcast | My game Final Hour of a Storied Age needs playtesters!
Dan Maruschak
Member

Posts: 128


WWW
« Reply #10 on: February 16, 2011, 10:02:02 AM »

On January 3, 2011, Leo, Nolan, and I got together on Skype for a 3-hour playtest of Final Hour of a Storied Age rev 0.67, continuing the story from our previous two sessions. An audio recording of this session is available as episode 16 of the Designer vs. Reality podcast.

Chapter 17
Viewpoint: Dan 16. Leo 2.
Adversity: Leo 10,2,6. Nolan 16,6.

Marcus peers through the doorway of Astrin's house. [Nolan spends his 6 on a d4 passive threat: ash and debris] The debris and swirling ash that fill the house [d4] make it difficult to find anything inside. [I spend my 16 to activate Marcus's Quick-witted at d8, Scholar's Apprentice at d6, Yearns for Adventure at d6, and Secret Prince at d4] Having studied such things [Scholar's Apprentice d6], Marcus knows that these are mere annoyances, not actual dangers. [Dan 1 vs. Nolan 2. Nolan wins and bumps Ash and Debris to d6, I exhaust Scholar's Apprentice.] The residual heat from the fire makes it oppressive inside the house, and the swirling ash gets into Marcus's eyes, making his search all but impossible. [Nolan spends his 16 to create a new NPC, a fire drake. He gives it the traits Fire Breathing, Lizard Like, Powerful Musculature, and Tough Hide. This is a new NPC so we have to figure out the creation tax. We settle on 2 for "implied by previous fiction". It's a bit of a stretch, but we have established fantasy creatures in the world with the earlier appearance by the goblins, and something had to be responsible for burning the town. For plausibility, we choose the plausible but unexpected level, which is arguable since you could make the case that this is a surprising development rather than an unexpected one, but we all thought this character was cool so we were inclined to accept the tax levels that would allow Nolan to introduce it. A 16 normally activates 4 traits, but after tax Nolan gets 4 – 2 – 1 = 1 trait. He activates Fire Breathing at d8.] From under the rubble [Ash and Debris d6], the lizardlike form of a dog-sized fire drake emerges, a gout of flame streaming from its maw [Fire Breathing d8]! Rather than fear, Marcus is thrilled that he has come face to face with a dragon [Yearns for Adventure d6]! However, he's no fool [Quick-witted d8], and knows that the most dangerous place is in front of its mouth. He reasons, therefore, that the safest place would be on its back. [Dan 4,3 vs. Nolan 5,4. Nolan wins and bumps Ash and Debris to d8, I exhaust Yearns for Adventure.] As he tries to move around it, it seems to thrash around as if defending something, shooting flame indiscriminately, and Marcus is forced backward. Marcus deduces from its behavior [Quick-witted d8] that the drake isn't acting like a mindless animal. He calls out to it, "Please, mighty dragon, I am a prince of this realm [Secret Prince d4] and seek an alliance with you." [Dan 5,2 vs. Nolan 6,5. Nolan wins, his third in a row.] The drake gives no sign of comprehending Marcus, but also no sign of allowing him to enter the house. [Nolan wins as adversity so he gets a new viewpoint die. He takes the d12 for the second phase of his segment that supports the protagonist's third segment.]

Chapter 18
Viewpoint: Dan 12. Leo 1.
Adversity: Leo 7,7,4. Nolan 5,4.

Marcus looks on apprehensively as [Leo spends a 7 to activate the drake's Fire Breathing at d8 and its Tough Hide at d6] the drake chuffs smoke [Fire Breathing d8] and generally makes it clear that he has no intention of being dislodged from the house any time soon [Tough Hide d6]. [I spend my 12 to activate Scholar's Apprentice at d8 and Yearns for Adventure at d6] Marcus recalls from his studies [Scholar's Apprentice d8] that, while dragons are very territorial, they always emerge from their lairs to hunt for food. He hunts around the village and finds a partially intact smokehouse and takes a generous cut of meat which he can use to lure the drake out into the open. [Dan 6 vs. Leo 8,6. Leo wins and bumps Tough Hide up to d8, but I don't exhaust.] The drake moves forward, his hide [Tough Hide d8] scraping on the door frame as he approaches. He snorts some flame [Fire Breathing d8] at Marcus who panics and drops the meat, only to have it snatched from the air by the drake who withdraws back into the house. He seems to have a particularly smug look on his face as he eats the meat. Knowing he'll have to get past this standoff if he ever wants to get on with his adventure [Yearns for Adventure d6], Marcus recalls from his reading [Scholar's Apprentice d8] that dragons will often sleep after a big meal, so he settles in to wait until that happens so that he can sneak past. [Dan 2,1 vs. Leo 3,1. Leo wins but his dice are maxed out. I'm not exhausted.] Marcus waits. And waits. And waits. And eventually concludes that the meal wasn't large enough to trigger the sleep response, as the dragon simply sits there watching, occasionally chuffing smoke [Fire Breathing d8] and scraping its scales against the floor [Tough Hide d8] in a dominance display. Racalling that Artax would always be thirsty after a meal [Scholar's Apprentice d8], Marcus hopes the drake will have a similar tendency. He goes to the village well and raises up a bucket of water, hoping to tempt it out that way. [Dan 8 vs. Leo 7,3. I win but my die is already maxed out. Leo exhausts both traits.] The drake is tempted, and Marcus perches the bucket on the edge of the small stone wall surrounding the well. As the drake climbs up to drink the wall crumbles beneath him, causing him to tumble into the well. Marcus dashes back toward the house. [Leo spends his 3 to activate the drake's Lizard-like at d8] [Leo narrated the drake dashing back into the house ahead of Marcus, but I asked him to rewind that a little bit since I was having trouble dealing with the adversity of the drake inside the house.] The drake uses his talons to grab onto the walls of the well and scamper back up to the surface [Lizard-like d8]. Based on his studies of the effects of light and darkness [Scholar's Apprentice d8], Marcus suspects that the beast will be disoriented for a moment when he emerges. He figures that this might be his one opportunity to get on its back, since he would certainly like to experience what it's like to actually ride a dragon [Yearns for Adventure d6]. [Dan 4,1 vs. Leo 4. I win and bump Yearns for Adventure to d8, but Leo doesn't exhaust.] Marcus is able to get on top of him, but is quickly reminded of the old adage about being careful what you wish for, as the agitated dragon races around town trying to buck the boy from his back. The frantic dragon tries everything, even occasionally rolling to toss Marcus off [Lizard-like d8]. With the initial shock fading into thrill [Yearns for Adventure d8], Marcus recalls from his study of horses [Scholar's Apprentice d8] that if you ride it out the animal will eventually accept your dominance, and he hopes dragons are the same. [Dan 4,4 vs. Leo 4. I win, my third in a row.] Eventually the drake does give in and allows Marcus to explore Astrin's house in peace. [I won as viewpoint player so I advance one phase along my plot thread.]

Chapter 19
Viewpoint: Dan 5. Leo 10.
Adversity: Dan 3,1. Nolan 18, 2.

At the abandoned farmstead, Pyrotenax [Nolan spends his 2 on a d4 passive threat: encased in rock] realizes that the earth he previously heated to liquid has cooled and hardened around him, encasing him in rock [d4]. [Leo spends his 10 to activate Pyrotenax's Fire Magic at d8 and Mystical Will at d6] He focuses his fiery energies on the earth, returning it to liquid [Fire Magic d8], and changes his own density so that he can float to the surface [Mystical Will d6]. [Leo 6,4 vs. Nolan 2. Leo wins and bumps his Mystical Will to d8, Nolan exhausts.] The ring surfaces and the ground hardens underneath it, with the ring slightly indented into the liquid-smooth surface. [Nolan spends his 18 to introduce Robur into the chapter. We decide that the farmstead is a short journey away from Whitehollow for a distance tax of 1 and that it's plausible but unexpected for Robur to show up here to investigate the fire for a plausibility tax of 1. An 18 usually gives 4 traits, so after tax Nolan gets 4 – 1 – 1 = 2 traits. He activates Strong at d8 and Fiercely Loyal at d6] Robur, intent on carrying out his mysterious task from the king [Fiercely Loyal d6], crosses paths with Marius and the farm workers, who warn him away from a fiery evil at the farm. Pyrotenax detects the strong-willed Robur [Strong d8] approaching, his mind focused on getting on with his task as quickly as possible. Pyrotenax heats the air around himself [Fire Magic d8], creating an eye-catching heat haze, and wills [Mystical Will d8] the sunlight into him, making the ring shine temptingly. [Leo 7,3 vs. Nolan 6,2. Leo wins but his traits are already maxed out. Nolan exhausts Strong.] Robur is unable to resist the dreamlike image and approaches curiously. He uses his dagger to pry the gold ring free and holds it up to examine it. [Note: the back-and-forth nature of the exchange broke down a little bit on this one as Leo and Nolan negotiated back and forth what was happening in this exchange. I think Nolan was having a hard time justifying the use of this character to himself, and that tentativeness came across in his contributions. I think he felt a little bit trapped by his own earlier narrative choices, since he had Marius and the farm workers leave the farm at the end of chapter 16, but his story die showing an 18 required him to introduce an NPC.] Even though he's distracted for a moment, Robur's mind is never away from his task for very long [Fiercely Loyal d6], so he pockets the ring and resumes his journey. Pyrotenax heats the air around him [Fire Magic d8], hoping the haze will distract and disorient the knight while he hammers away at his mind [Mystical Will d8]. [Leo 7,6 vs. Nolan 2. That completely exhausts Nolan, so Leo wins the chapter.] Robur succumbs, believing himself too tired to continue with his journey, and makes camp. He idly reaches into his pocket and brings the ring back out, growing increasingly fascinated with it. [Leo won as viewpoint, so he advances one phase along his plot thread. This completes his first segment, "Be discovered from underground prison". For completing a segment he gets 2 traits worth of narrative special effects. He decides to adjust Robur's alignment to ideologically aligned with antagonist, and also gives Robur and Pyrotenax the traveling together relationship.]

Chapter 20
Viewpoint: Dan 9. Leo 10,5.
Adversity: Dan 10,10. Nolan ?,?.

Robur breaks camp and marches stolidly toward the capital, with Pyrotenax safely in his pocket. [I spend a 10 to introduce Marius. He was last seen at the farm, which we decide is a short journey away from the current location, so I have to pay a distance tax of 1. We decide I don't owe any plausibility tax. Normally a 10 can activate 2 traits, but after tax I get 2 – 1 = 1 trait, so I activate Marius's Savvy at d8.] Marius, savvy [d8] enough to know that there's something unusual going on, has followed Robur. "That ring is evil and must be destroyed, or at least cast off!" Marius shouts. [I spend my other 10 on a d6 active threat: angry mob] Robur turns and sees that the farmer is at the head of an unruly mob of peasants bearing farm implements [d6]. [Leo spends his 10 to activate Pyrotenax's Beguiler of Mortals at d8. Normally a 10 would activate 2 traits, but Pyrotenax was last seen in the same vicinity as Marius so he needs to pay the same distnace tax of 1. He also spends his 5 to activate Robur's Fiercely Loyal at d8. Since Robur is traveling with Pyrotenax he doesn't have to pay any tax since Leo already paid it when activating Pyrotenax's trait.] Pyrotenax reaches out to Robur's mind [Beguiler of Mortals d8] and warns him that these peasants are trying to steal his ring, boosting his motivation to protect Pyrotenax [Fiercely Loyal d8]. [Leo 8,4 vs. Dan 6,2. Leo wins but his traits are maxed out. I exhaust my angry mob.] Robur draws his sword and charges, and the peasant rabble scatters, unwilling to face the wrath of a trained knight. Marius, more clever than most [Savvy d8], slyly suggests, "If the ring is not evil, then you should have no problem praying to the water goddess while wearing it!" "Ignore this nonsense," Pyrotenax whispers, "you have more important things to do." "I'm on important business! [Fiercely Loyal d8]" Robur growls. [Leo 8,1 vs. Dan 1. Leo wins but is maxed out. I don't exhaust.] "Don't trouble me with any more of your religious foolishness," Robur calls behind him as he stomps onward, "I'm on an important mission for the king." "Well you certainly don't want to go that way!" Marius says. "The bridge is washed out in that direction," he adds, hoping he can use his superior knowledge of local geography [Savvy d8] to get Robur and Pyrotenax lost and confused. "That's what the king wants us to investigate," Pyrotenax whispers to Robur [Beguiler of Mortals d8], and Robur marches onward with determination [Fiercely Loyal d8]. [Leo 7,1 vs. Dan 8. I win and Leo exhausts both traits. He doesn't have any dice or traits left so I win the chapter.] The seed of the idea planted by Marius grows under Pyrotenax's exhortation, causing Robur to fixate on the idea of a bridge as he makes his way toward the river. [I won as adversity so I get another viewpoint die. I take the d12 for my seventh phase.] [A lot of interesting conceptual stuff came up in this chapter based on Leo's understanding of how the game is supposed to work, the nature of adversity, how it's difficult for the adversity player to introduce adversity if the viewpoint player isn't pushing strongly toward a goal.]

Chapter 21
Viewpoint: Dan 15. Leo 12,6.
Adversity: Leo 10,8,5. Nolan 7,4.

In Astrin's house in the burned-out village, Marcus [Leo spends his 5 to activate a d4 passive threat: rubble] sees that everything in the house is covered by ash and debris [Rubble d4], not to mention the cast off bones from the drake's feeding. [I spend my 15 to activate Marcus's Scholar's Apprentice at d8, Quick-witted at d6, Yearns for Adventure at d6, and Secret Prince at d4] Marcus quickly realizes [Quick-witted d6] that the principle of searching the house for information should be no different from searching the library [Scholar's Apprentice d8], a task with which he's intimately familiar. [Dan 4,3 vs. Leo 4. I win and bump Quick-witted to d8, but Leo doesn't exhaust.] Marcus begins shifting the rubble, hoping to start on some system of organization, and gets a glimmer of hope when he begins to notice books and papers mixed in with everything else. They are, however, so dirty and grimy that it will be difficult to make anything out [Rubble d4]. Marcus knows he'll never be able to move on until he figures this out [Yearns for Adventure d6], so he concentrates harder than he ever has before [Scholar's Apprentice d8]. [Dan 4,4 vs. Leo 2. I win and bump Yearns for Adventure to d8 and Leo exhausts.] He finds a journal which indicates that there is a prophet who is supposed to live in a nearby cave, so he sets off in that direction.

[Leo spends his 8 on a d4 passive threat: thunderstorm] A thunderstorm brews up quickly. As Marcus rushes toward the apparent safety of the caves, [Leo spends his 10 on a d6 active threat: dragons] two dragons who were battling each other nearby and focus their attention on Marcus. With multiple threats to deal with, Marcus racks his brain trying to remember everything he can about caves in order to find some safety. [Dan 4 vs. Leo 5,2. Leo wins and bumps Dragons to d8, but I don't exhaust.] Marcus finds a suitable candidate to give him shelter from the storm [d4], but it isn't long before he discovers that the cave is inhabited -- by dragons [d8]! Not wasting a second [Quick-witted d8], Marcus dashes from the cave the moment he sees the dragon, hoping it will chase him, because he knows [Scholar's Apprentice d8] that dragons are particularly vulnerable to lightning. [Dan 8,3 vs. Leo 5,1. I win, and we mistakenly believe that it's my third win in a row, so we continue as if I won the chapter.] The beast chases Marcus, and as it raises its head up to strike, its sinuous body acts as a lightning rod, and its corpse is left charred and crackling. [I won the chapter as viewpoint so I advance a phase in my plot thread. This completes my "Find the prophet" segment.] As Marcus stares in disbelief that his longshot plan worked, he is buffeted by the flapping of enormous golden wings as a mighty dragon lands before him. She explains that she is the prophet that Marcus has been seeking, and that she has waiting a long time for him to come. [For completing a segment I get two traits worth of narrative special effects. I choose to make the fire drake ideologically aligned with the protagonist and he and Marcus are now traveling together] The dragon prophet explains that she has been working with a secret cabal of scholars so that someone trustworthy like Marcus will be able to take the throne, keeping it from the grasp of Pyrotenax who will tear the mortal realm asunder. She dispatches her youngest offspring, the young drake that Marcus met in the village who has been surreptitiously following him, to assist Marcus in his quest.

Chapter 22
Viewpoint: Dan 6,3. Leo 12,9.
Adversity: Dan 9,5. Nolan 4,2.

Pyrotenax and Robur arrive at a bridge across the river. [I spend my 5 to introduce a d4 passive threat: lost] Pyrotenax has been hammering Robur's mind so heavily that he has become confused and lost, and Pyrotenax himself has been buried for so long that he has no better idea where they are. They are lost [d4]. [I spend my 9 to introduce another d4 passive threat: water] In addition to the river, rain begins to fall from the sky, and Pyrotenax finds the proximity of so much water [d4] to be oppressive and uncomfortable. [Leo spends his 12 to activate Pyrotenax's Ancient Spirit at d8 and Beguiler of Mortals at d6 and spends his 9 to activate Fire Magic at d6] Pyrotenax creates a shell of heat [Fire Magic d6] around them, causing the rain drops to sizzle away into steam as they hit it, and exerts will upon Robur, letting him feel an ounce of his immortal calm [Ancient Spirit d8], hoping it will help him get his bearings. He promises that the sooner they can finish the task, the sooner Robur will be free of his burdens [Beguiler of Mortals d6]. [Leo 5,2,2 vs. Dan 4,2. Leo wins and bumps Fire Magic to d8, but none of mine are exhausted] In the center of the bubble of warmth, Robur finds his center, and accepts his role in finding a suitable host for Pyrotenax. However, none of that gives them any better idea where they are [lost d4], and the rain begins to pick up [water d4], with a few drops even managing to make it all the way through the shield. Pyrotenax intensifies his shield to drive away the rain [Fire Magic d8], and begins communing with the world [Ancient Spirit d8] to find the direction and the distance to the place where he'll be able to connect with his true host. [Leo 5,2 vs. Dan 1,1. Leo wins and I'm exhausted. I don't have anything left so Leo wins the chapter.] Robur confidently strides forth in the direction Pyrotenax decrees, and the rain tapers off with help from Pyrotenax's not-so-gentle touch. [Leo won as viewpoint player so he advances on phase along his plot thread.]
Logged

my blog | my podcast | My game Final Hour of a Storied Age needs playtesters!
Dan Maruschak
Member

Posts: 128


WWW
« Reply #11 on: February 16, 2011, 10:03:36 AM »

Chapter 23
Viewpoint: Dan 9,4. Leo 7,1.
Adversity: Leo 9,3,2. Nolan 17,2.

[I am moving through my third segment, and Nolan has a support segment that targets it. He chooses to roll his first phase of support dice: 4,5. He gives the 5 to me, so my dice are story dice are now 9,5,4.]

On the road to the capital, still some distance away, Marcus spies someone ahead of him on the path. [Nolan spends his 17 to introduce Marian. We decide it's a short journey from the capital to the current location, so he has to pay a distance tax of 1. We decide that it's possible but surprising for her to appear, so he has to pay a plausibility tax of 2. A 17 normally activates 4 traits, so Nolan gets 4 – 3 = 1 traits after tax. He activates Marian's Demigoddess at d8. He also spends his 2 to activate Champion of the People at d6.] As Marcus gets closer he sees that it's a radiant woman [Demigoddess d8] in a dress like seafoam. "I am looking for the true prince that will lead the people [Champion of the People d6]," she says. "He is supposed to come this way, and I feel he must be near," she adds, as if expecting Marcus to give her directions. [I spend my 4 to activate Marcus's Secret Prince at d8 and my 5 to activate Scholar's Apprentice at d6] From his studies [Scholar's Apprentice d6], Marcus recognizes the signs of Marian's divine heritage and addresses her by the proper title. He explains, "I am the prince. There's this prophecy you see, and I need to take the throne or it will be very bad for everybody." [Dan 6,4 vs. Nolan 2,1. I win and that takes out everything Nolan has.] Marian is quite impressed that Marcus knows her title, even pronouncing it correctly, and listens to his story and accepts him as the prince. [I still have a story die left over, so with Nolan's consent I use it to update Marian's alignment to ideologically aligned with protagonist. I won the chapter as the viewpoint player so I advance one phase along my plot thread.]

Chapter 24
Viewpoint: Dan 2. Leo 9,8.
Adversity: Dan 7,4. Nolan 11,2.

Pyrotenax urges Robur forward over a bridge on the river, toward the direction where he will identify his true host. [Nolan spends his 2 on a d4 passive threat: the river] The river is swollen and racing, covering the bridge [river d4]. [Leo spends his 9 to activate Pyrotenax's Mystical Will at d8 and spends his 8 to activate Robur's Strong at d8] Pyrotenax exerts his will [Mystical Will d8] to increase the pull of gravity, keeping Robur solidly grounded as he moves stolidly across [Strong d8]. [Leo 8,1 vs. Nolan 4. Leo wins but both his traits are maxed out. Nolan doesn't exhaust.] Robur marches across, nearly to the far side, when the bridge finally gives way under the force of the river [d4], plunging Robur and Pyrotenax into the water. [Nolan spends his 11 on a d6 active threat: sucking current] Furthermore, the rush of the current past the ruined pilings creates a terrible suction, pulling Robur back to the center of the river [Sucking current d6]. Pyrotenax focuses his attention on the water [Mystical Will d8], making it frothy and foamy so that Robur will have an easier time moving through it [Strong d8]. [Leo 2,2 vs. Nolan 6,3. Nolan wins and Leo is out of stuff so Nolan wins the chapter.] It isn't enough. The big man is swept downriver, barely maintaining his hold on Pyrotenax. [Nolan wins as adversity so he gets another viewpoint die. He takes the d20 for the first phase of his support segment.]

Chapter 25
Viewpoint: Dan 3. Leo 11,6.
Adversity: Dan 1,1. Nolan 14,7.

[Nolan spends his 14 on a d6 active threat: the river. He spends a 7 on a d4 passive threat: water] Immersed in water [d4], Pyrotenax feels his power almost smothered as he and Robur are swept down the raging river [d6]. [Leo spends his 11 to activate Pyrotenax's Fire Magic at d8 and Ancient Spirit at d6 and his 6 to activate Robur's Strength at d8.] Pyrotenax reaches out to the fiery molten core of the world to strengthen his power against the river [Ancient Spirit d6] and heats the water [Fire Magic d8] to create a counter-current to assist Robur as he swims to shore [Strong d8]. [Leo 1,1,1 vs. Nolan 4,1. Nolan wins and bumps River to d8, but Leo doesn't exhaust.] Despite their best efforts, Robur is swept further downriver. The water [d4] presses in on Pyrotenax as the current [River d8] tries to pull them under. Pyrotenax and Robur redouble their efforts [Fire Magic d8, Strong d8]. [Leo 6,5 vs. Nolan 2,2. Leo wins and Nolan is exhausted. Nolan's out of stuff so Leo wins the chapter.] Robur makes it to the riverbank, the water virtually steaming off of him as he pulls himself ashore. [Leo won as viewpoint so he advances one phase along his plot thread.]

Chapter 26
Viewpoint: Dan 9. Leo 8,5.
Adversity: Leo 10,7,5. Nolan 9,1.

[I am moving through my third segment, and Nolan has a support segment that targets that. He chooses to roll his second phase of support dice: 9,7,1. He gives the 7 and 1 to me, so my dice are story dice are now 9,7,1.]

Still on the road to the capital, Marcus [Leo spends his 10 on a d6 active threat: orc and ogre bandits] is surprised when a swarm of orc and ogre bandits spring out of concealed positions at the side of the road [Orc and ogre bandits: d6]. [I spend my 9 to activate Marcus's Quick-witted at d8 and I spend my 7 to activate the fire drake's Fire Breathing at d8] "Quick, boy!" Marcus calls to the drake [Quick-witted d8], "give them a good roasting! [Fire Breathing d8]" [Dan 1,1 vs. Leo 2. Leo wins and bumps the bandits to d8, I exhaust both traits.] The ogres turn out to have far tougher hides than Marcus and the drake suspected, as they merely shrug off the flames while they pummel the young drake. They move in around Marcus and he realizes he's completely surrounded by bandits [d8]. [I spend my 1 to activate Secret Prince at d8] "Oh, you've got me!" Marcus cries melodramatically. "I'm sure that once you take me to the capital, my father the king will pay a princely ransom for me! [Secret Prince d8]" [Dan 2 vs. Leo 3. Leo wins and I exhaust. I'm out of stuff so Leo wins the chapter.] The bandits seem to take little notice of his words, merely bundling him off to a makeshift cell in their bandit encampment. [Leo wins as adversity so he gets another viewpoint die. He takes the d10 for his seventh phase. He also has some left over story dice that he could spend on narrative special effects like making it hard to re-introduce the fire drake, but I'm not sure he realizes that and I forget to remind him.]

That's where we ended the session for the night. I'll have the conclusion of the story in the next playtest report.
Logged

my blog | my podcast | My game Final Hour of a Storied Age needs playtesters!
Dan Maruschak
Member

Posts: 128


WWW
« Reply #12 on: February 16, 2011, 10:16:24 AM »

There were a few interesting points during this session where Leo and Nolan made mental connections with regard to how the game should be played. If you're listening to the podcast, I think that Chapter 20 (from 0:55:04 to 1:23:38) and the end-of-session discussion (from 2:23:50 until the end) are the most interesting from this POV. We talked some about the proper way to "present adversity" and "respond to adversity". Nolan explained that some of his problems came from a reluctance to attribute attitudes or actions to the viewpoint character, but that his solution was to trust that the viewpoint player would say something like "I don't see how that's adversity" if they had a problem with it. Leo was having slightly different issues, and I'm not sure I completely understand them (I wish I did so that I could do a better job explaining my game), but I think we made at least some progress in addressing them (Leo also hadn't completely read the rules and was relying on my in-game explanations, so that may have been a contributor, too).
Logged

my blog | my podcast | My game Final Hour of a Storied Age needs playtesters!
Dan Maruschak
Member

Posts: 128


WWW
« Reply #13 on: March 01, 2011, 07:40:47 PM »

On January 9, 2011, Leo, Nolan, and I got together on Skype for a two hour and twenty minute playtest of Final Hour of a Storied Age rev 0.67, concluding the story from our previous three sessions. An audio recording of this session is available as episode 17 of the Designer vs. Reality podcast.

Chapter 27
Viewpoint: Dan 10. Leo 10,4.
Adversity: Dan 6,2. Nolan 2,2.

Pyrotenax and Robur are swept down the river. [I spend my 6 to introduce a d4 passive threat: freezing cold water, and I spend my 2 to introduce a d4 passive threat: powerful current] The cold water [d4] weighs heavily on Robur's body and Pyrotenax's spirit as the river's current [d4] makes it difficult to get to the bank. [Leo spends his 10 to activate Pyrotenax's Fire Magic at d8 and his Mystical Will at d6] Pyrotenax heats the water around them [Fire Magic d8] and begins exerting his will [Mystical Will d6] upon the currents, urging them to push himself and Robur to the shore. [Leo 2,1 vs. Dan 1,1. Leo wins and bumps Mystical Will to d8, but I don't exhaust.] Pyrotenax keeps the chill from setting into Robur's body as he swims, and the current begins to slow, but they aren't safe yet. The cold chill of the mountains still runs through the river [cold water d4], making movement difficult, and the current [d4] still pushes them toward the sea. Pyrotenax unleashes more of his power, heating large swaths of the river [Fire Magic d8] and concentrating his divine will [Mystical Will d8] to persuade the currents to push them to the bank. [Leo 7,4 vs. Dan 3,1. Leo wins and I am completely exhausted so Leo wins the chapter.] The currents shift and Robur is able to gain purchase on the bank, pulling both of them to dry land. [Leo realizes here that he has just completed his "Find the True Host" segment as is caught a little flat-footed. He has been playing as if Robur wasn't the "true host", but also feels like it would be awkward to introduce a brand new character as the closing narration of a chapter (and, mechanically, we aren't able to stat out a new character here). We discuss a few alternatives, such as the river having washed them to the capital, or deciding that Robur is the best host as a matter of convenience. Leo synthesizes these a bit for his closing narration.] As Robur emerges from the river, he and Pyrotenax realize that they aren't far from the capital. Pyrotenax considers that Robur has been carrying him loyally and tirelessly for some time, and has been a good and faithful servant. He decides that he is content to let Robur carry him to the throne as his true host. [Leo gets two traits worth of narrative special effects for completing a segment, and also has a story die he can use for that. He changes Robur's alignment to personally aligned with antagonist. He also changes Robur's Fiercely Loyal trait to True Host.]

Chapter 28
Viewpoint: Dan 10. Leo 7,5.
Adversity: Leo 12,10,9. Nolan 9,9.

[Nolan uses the third phase of protagonist support segment to roll a d10. He gets a 5 and gives it to me, so my story dice are now 10,5.]

Locked up in the camp of the mountrous bandits, Marcus [Leo spends his 9 on a d4 passive threat: wooden cage] finds himself trapped in a cell made of wooden branches and tree trunks [wooden cage d4]. [I spend my 10 to activate Marcus's Scholar's Apprentice at d8 and Quick-witted at d6.] As soon as he can [Quick-witted d6], Marcus studies the branches to identify the ones that come from the weakest types of trees [Scholar's Apprentice d8] and begins working on escape. [Dan 6,2 vs. Leo 2. I win and bump Quick-witted to d8, but Leo doesn't exhaust.] He selects one branch which would appear strong to the untrained eye, but that he knows is weak if bent and twisted in the proper manner, and begins working it back and forth. [Leo spends his 10 to introduce a d6 active threat: ogres] A pair of ogres [d6] comes over and sits down next to the cage [d4] that Marcus is still locked inside. Knowing that they'll be able to hear him, Marcus begins remarking on the weather, rattling off several indications that a storm must be coming [Scholar's Apprentice d8], so that when the branch he's been working on finally snaps he claims the noise is thunder from a nearby lightning [Quick-witted d8]. [Dan 7,2 vs. Leo 4,4. I win but my traits are maxed out, and Leo doesn't exhaust.] The ogres do fall for the trick, but it only succeeds in getting the ogres riled up, not dashing off to investigate the lightning strike as Marcus had hoped. With no further signs of the storm materializing, the ogres [d6] look skeptically through the bars of the cage [d4] at Marcus. While few people know much about ogres, Artax was something of an expert [Scholar's Apprentice d8], so Marcus knows that they aren't the smartest creatures. Marcus figures they're sure to fall for the old throw-a-stick-to-create-a-distraction trick [Quick-witted d8]. [Dan 2,1 vs. Leo 4,3. Leo wins and bumps ogres to d8, I exhaust both traits.] The ogres turn out to not be quite as dense as Marcus expected. He creates his distraction and tries to wriggle through the gap in the bars, only to hear a deep, "Back in the cage!" as he is walloped back into his cell. The ogres [d8] scowl at Marcus through the bars of his cell [d4]. [I spend my 5 to activate Secret Prince at d8] Marcus rubs his head where the ogre smacked him. "Fine," Marcus says, scowling. "But if you just keep me locked in here until someone pays the ransom [Secret Prince d8], you can be sure you won't be getting a fair share. Smart ogres would get me out of here so they could get all the money for themselves." [Dan 6 vs. Leo 3,1. I win and am maxed out, but Leo exhausts both.] "Ransom?" one ogre says to the other. "Nobody said anything to us about ransoms." "Yeah, and nobody said anything about shares, neither!" They pull Marcus out of the cage, looking surreptitiously over their shoulders at the other bandits, and carry him away from the camp and start marching toward the capital. [Leo spends his 12 to activate a d6 active threat: ogres] The ogres [d6] have Marcus securely tied and one of the ogres carries him under an arm. "You know they won't want to see you treating me like this," Marcus pleads. "In order to get top price for a prince [Secret Prince d8] they'll need to see that you've been treating me well!" [Dan 2 vs. Leo 3. Leo wins and I'm exhausted, so Leo wins the chapter.] An ogre growls in reply, "If they know what's good for 'em, they'll be happy just to see you alive!" as they continue their journey. [Leo won as adversity so he gets another viewpoint die. He takes the d10 for his eighth phase.]

Chapter 29
Viewpoint: Dan 1. Leo 9,8.
Adversity: Dan 9,2. Nolan 5,1.

[Nolan chooses to roll the d12 and d10 from the first phase of dice from his complication segment. He gets 9,8. Since I only get two dice as the adversity player he can't give me extra dice, and his rolls aren't more powerful story dice so he doesn't manage to help make my adversity more powerful.]

Pyrotenax and Robur move confidently toward the capital city, and the sight of it ahead reminds Pyrotenax how tantalizingly close he is to achieving his goal. Ahead, on the road that leads to the city gates, Robur sees some ogres carrying something. [I spend my 2 to activate Marcus's Quick-witted at d8. Since we had previously established that Marcus was headed for the capital it's reasonable and expected for him to be here, so the plausibility tax is zero, and Marcus was last seen nearby so the distance tax is also zero] The bundle under one of the ogre's arms calls out, "Hey, look behind you! There's a knight! You could capture him and hold him for ransom as well! [Quick-witted d8]" [Leo spends his 9 to activate Pyrotenax's Beguiler of Mortals at d8 and spends his 8 to activate Robur's Knight at d8] Robur draws his sword and charges at the brutes [Knight d8] as Pyrotenax whispers into their minds, "If you value your lives you will kneel and surrender to this knight [Beguiler of Mortals d8]". [Leo 8, 5 vs. Dan 7. Leo wins but his traits are maxed out. I don't exhaust.] The ogres are somewhat confused, which lets Robur get into a dominant position for his assault. "Be careful!" Marcus calls to Robur. "This fellows are quite strong, you wouldn't want to get too close!" This, of course, is merely a distraction [Quick-witted d8], [I spend my 9 to activate the Fire Drake's Fire Breathing at d8] so that the fire drake that has been following Marcus at a distance can charge in and breathe fire at Robur and the ogres [Fire Breathing d8]. "I am your master now!" Pyrotenax whispers into the ogres' minds [Beguiler of Mortals d8]. "Protect this knight!" Robur circles around, positioning himself behind the ogres to avoid the worst of the drake's attack [Knight d8]. [Leo 8,2 vs. Dan 4,1. Leo wins but is maxed out. I exhaust Quick-witted.] Pyrotenax's insidious will worms its way into the ogre's minds, and they do a good job of shielding Robur from the worst of the flames. The drake, seeing that Marcus is still in the clutches of an ogre, concentrates his fire [Fire Breathing d8] on the least ogre-like target he sees: Robur. Pyrotenax urges the ogre that has its hands free to rush to Robur's aid [Beguiler of Mortals d8] and Robur hopes his armor [Knight d8] will protect him from the flames. [Leo 8,6 vs. Dan 5. Leo wins and I exhaust. I am out of stuff so Leo wins the chapter.] The ogre gets there in time to take the brunt of the attack, and Robur's armor protects him from the little that gets past. Robur sets off toward the city at a run, not wanting these distractions to delay Pyrotenax's path to the throne any longer. [Leo won as viewpoint, so he advances one phase along his plot thread.]

Chapter 30
Viewpoint: Dan 2. Leo 6,4.
Adversity: Dan 9,2. Nolan 4,4.

Inside the capital city, Pyrotenax and Robur make their way toward the palace. [I spend a 9 to activate Marian's Demigoddess at d8, deputizing Nolan to act for her (we kind of forgot to discuss tax, but it was probably zero). I spend my 2 to activate a d4 passive threat: crowd] A throng of people clog the streets [crowd d4], making it hard to move. Almost instinctively, the demigodess Marian detects the divine presence of Pyrotenax, and the mystical force of her presence makes it even more difficult for Pyrotenax and Robur to move toward the palace. [Leo spends his 4 to activate Pyrotenax's Mystical Will at d8 and spends his 6 to activate Robur's Courtier at d8] Pyrotenax pushes back against Marian [Mystical Will d8] and Robur uses his position of authority in the court [Courtier d8] to bypass as much of the crowd as he can. [Leo 5,4 vs Dan 4 and Nolan 5. Leo wins but his traits are already maxed out. Neither Nolan or I are exhausted.] Shrugging off Marian's interference, Robur makes his way steadily toward the palace. However, the crowd [d4] is even denser close to the palace, making it difficult to move at all, let alone quickly. As Pyrotenax draws closer, Marian finds it easier to focus on him, and tries with all of her divine might to hold him back [Demigoddess d8]. Pyrotenax, not wishing to waste his time with a direct confrontation yet, exerts his will [Mystical Will d8] to disguise his divine aura, making it harder for Marian to pinpoint him. Robur, meanwhile, loudly demands that the people make way for him [Courtier d8]. [Leo 8,7 vs. Dan 2 and Nolan 6. Leo wins, exhausting both of us, and wins the chapter.] Robur arrives at the palace, requests an audience with the king, as is quickly ushered off in that direction. [Leo won was viewpoint so he advances one phase along his plot thread.]

Chapter 31
Viewpoint: Dan 8. Leo 7.
Adversity: Leo 10,8,4. Nolan 17,5.

[Nolan chooses to roll the last phase of his protagonist support segment, rolling a d20, d12, and d10. He gets 18,6,6. He gives an 18 and a 6 to me, making my new story dice 18,8,6.]

Trying to recover from the chaos of Robur's passing, Marcus and the ogres see [Nolan spends his 17 to introduce a new NPC: Hydrallia the Sea Goddess. She has the traits Goddess of the Sea, Unfathomable, Beutiful, and Good. Since she is mentioned on a seed her creation tax is 1. For plausibility, we considered possible but surprising but ultimately settled on plausible but unexpected, since her return to the mortal realm was promised by one of the seeds, which gives a plausibility tax of 1. Normally a 17 would activate 4 traits, but after tax Nolan gets 4 – 2 = 2 traits. He activates Hydrallia's Beautiful at d8 and Goddess of the Sea at d6] the moisture in the air coalesce into a painfully beautiful being. Her awesome presence [Beautiful d8 Goddess of the Sea d6] is too much for the ogres, who run off, and threatens to shatter Marcus's mind. [I spend my 6 to activate Marcus's Scholar's Apprentice at d8] However, one lesson that Artax drilled into Marcus from his youth was the proper prayer to offer to Hydrallia upon her return [Scholar's Apprentice d8]. He covers his eyes and begins reciting the prayer. [Dan 8 vs. Nolan 2,2. I win but my trait is maxed out. Nolan exhausts both of his traits.] Like her daughter, Hydrallia is quite pleased when mortals know the proper greeting. [Nolan spends his 5 on a d4 passive threat: feels sick] In a blur of color and motion, Marcus finds himself teleported by Hydrallia's power inside the palace, a decidedly unpleasant and sickening experience [feels sick d4]. Artax was also sure to teach Marcus how to treat nausea and dizziness, which Marcus had always assumed was in case his elderly mentor had needed help [Scholar's Apprentice d8]. He crouches down and tries to recover his composure. [Dan 5 vs. Nolan 2. I win and Nolan exhausts. Nolan is out of stuff so I win the chapter.] He stands up and sees that the fire drake was teleported along with him, and is pleased to be so close to his destination. [I have left over story dice which I use for some narrative special effects. I adjust the alignments of both the fire drake and Hydrallia to personally aligned with protagonist. Since I won as viewpoint, I advance one phase along my plot thread.]

Chapter 32
Viewpoint: Dan 6. Leo 9.
Adversity: Dan 5,4. Nolan 3,1.

[Nolan uses his second phase worth of complication to roll a 1d10 to potentially help my adversity against Leo. He rolls a 1 so it doesn't help.]

In the palace throne room, Pyrotenax and Robur barely notice the mourning displays as they approach the empty throne. [I spend my 4 to activate Hydrallia's Goddess of the Sea at d8] The air begins to shimmer as the moisture coalesces into the form of Hydrallia [Goddess of the Sea d8]. She cries out, "I shall never allow filth like you to sit upon this throne!" [Leo spends his 9 to activate Pyrotenax's Fire Magic at d8] Pyrotenax puts forth his divine power and Robur's hands seem to burst into flame. A deep, booming voice comes from Robur's mouth. "The throne shall be mine. I am as ancient a spirit as you, and I won't let you stop me this time." He raises his hands and balls of fire shoot from them toward the goddess [Fire Magic d8]. [Leo 2 vs. Dan 7. I win and Leo exhausts. Leo is out of stuff so I win the chapter.] Hydrallia laughs as the fire slams into her and dissipates harmlessly. "Fool! Do you think you are more powerful than I am, here in the center of all my worshipers?" Pyrotenax realizes for the first time how many of the courtiers in the throne room are displaying Hydrallia medallions, and that many of them have dropped to their knees in prayer for Hydrallia. Pyrotenax feels water beginning to condense all around him, sizzling away to steam at first, but knowing that there is more to come. [I won as adversity so I get another viewpoint die. I take the d12 for my ninth phase]

Logged

my blog | my podcast | My game Final Hour of a Storied Age needs playtesters!
Dan Maruschak
Member

Posts: 128


WWW
« Reply #14 on: March 01, 2011, 07:41:13 PM »

Chapter 33
Viewpoint: Dan 9,5. Leo 8.
Adversity: Leo 8,7,4. Nolan 13,1.

From the room where Hydrallia teleported him, Marcus swiftly makes his way to the throne room. [Nolan spends his 13 to activate Pyrotenax's Beguiler of Mortals at d8 and Ancient Spirit at d6] As the two divine entities battle each other [Ancient Spirit d6], Pyrotenax's mind-warping power affects Marcus's perceptions [Beguiler of Mortals d8]. Instead of the reality of the situation, Marcus sees the reverse: a fiery manifestation of Pyrotenax defending the throne, with Hydrallia on the attack. [I spend my 5 to activate Secret Prince at d8] Regardless of the fight, Marcus decides he should trust that Artax and the dragon prophet have a good plan, and that it should be his top priority to get to the throne [Secret Prince d8]. He tries to skulk around the side of the throne room, staying out of the crossfire. [Dan 4 vs. Nolan 4,1. Nolan wins and bumps Ancient Spirit to d8, but I'm not exhausted.] He makes progress toward the throne, but the awesome presence of two gods is nearly impossible to ignore [Beguiler of Mortals d8 Ancient Spirit d8], and Marcus is nearly transfixed by the vision of them. He is sorely tempted to just wait and observe, perhaps even take some notes on this miraculous event, but he knows that getting to the throne is important, and wonders if people might start following his orders for a change if he does [Secret Prince d8]. [Dan 4 vs. Nolan 5,2. Nolan wins but is maxed out, but I'm not exhausted.] He manages to take a few shuffling steps toward the throne, but is unable to rip his eyes away from the gods. [Nolan spends his 1 to activate Pyrotenax's Mystical Will at d6] In the illusion that Pyrotenax is projecting, the image of Hydrallia is nearly overcome by the image of Pyrotenax [Ancient Spirit d8], and she cuts such a pathetic figure that Marcus feels an overwhelming need to rush to her aid [Beguiler of Mortals d8], an impulse that seems almost alien in its insistence [Mystical Will d6]. [I spend my 9 to activate the fire drake's Fire Breathing at d8] "You've got to help her!" Marcus calls out as the fire drake finally manages to make it to the throne room through the passages that weren't designed for easy travel by dragons. The drake, however, is unaffected by the illusion that was meant for human minds (perhaps the reason that the dragon prophet sent him along to help). He attacks the actual Pyrotenax [Fire Breathing d8], disrupting his mental control enough for Marcus to make more progress toward the throne [Secret Prince d8], [Dan 4,1 vs. Nolan 7,3,1. Nolan wins, his third in a row.] but it isn't enough to completely shake off the illusion. [Nolan won as adversity so he gets another viewpoint die. He takes the d12 for the third phase of his complication segment.]

Chapter 34
Viewpoint: Dan 8,6. Leo 3.
Adversity: Leo 5,4,3. Nolan 14,6.

[Nolan spends his 14 to activate Pyrotenax's Beguiler of Mortals at d8 and Ancient Spirit at d6 and he spends his 6 to activate Pyrotenax's Mystical Will at d6] Pyrotenax pours his will [Mystical Will d6] into the illusion of the two battling gods [Ancient Spirit d6], and Marcus's desire to rush to Hydrallia's defense is greater than ever [Beguiler of Mortals d6]. [I spend my 6 to activate Scholar's Apprentice at d8] In its befuddled state, Marcus's mind goes back to the very first lesson that Artax ever taught him [Scholar's Apprentice d8], a nonsense rhyme that never made any sense. As he runs through it over and over in his mind the fog over his thoughts begins to lift. [Dan 5 vs. Nolan 6,4,4. Nolan wins and bumps Mystical Will to d8, but I don't exhaust.] Although he has an instant of clarity, Pyrotenax detects a mind seeing through his illusion [Beguiler of Mortals d8] so he focuses his power [Mystical Will d8] on Marcus. The image of Hydrallia, in all her simulated godlike glory [Ancient Spirit d6], calls out to Marcus to help her. Marcus, however, remembers from all of the stories he's read [Scholar's Apprentice d8] that Hydrallia is quite proud and would never beg for aid from a mortal. [Dan 8 vs. Nolan 6,3,1. I win and Nolan exhausts all his traits. I win the chapter.] The realization that the image he's seeing isn't the true Hydrallia helps Marcus break through Pyrotenax's illusion. He rushes to the throne and takes the crown of the recently deceased king. He places it on his head and proclaims himself the rightful king of the realm. As he sits on the throne a wave of mystical power emanates from it, breaking Pyrotenax's hold on the assembled courtiers. Pyrotenax shrieks in fury when he realizes his opportunity to claim the throne has passed, and Hydrallia discorporates into mist form only to rematerialize inside the ring where she can keep Pyrotenax locked in constant struggle for all eternity. [I won the chapter as viewpoint player so I advanced my plot thread. Since this was the last phase of the protagonist's plot thread the story ends.]

Epilogue
[Nolan's supporting character completed her subplot and was ideologically aligned with the person who won the story, so he gets a minor positive change in the world. He suggests that Marian uses her influence to reform the city, making it more accepting and egalitarian. Since Leo's antagonist was able to complete two segments of his plot thread we get a bittersweet ending. He decides that Artax dying would be a suitable bitter note for the end of the story.] As had long been arranged, Marian and Marcus agree to wed, with Marian planning to use her position as queen to be a champion of the downtrodden. Marcus goes to his mentor's house to invite him to the wedding and ask him to be a royal advisor only to find that the old man has died while Marcus was away on his adventure. Saddened by the loss of his friend and mentor, Marcus returns to the capital with a heavy heart, knowing that he now only has the lessons Artax taught him rather than the wisdom of the man himself to guide him as king, but glad that he has the compassionate heart of Marian at his side.

That's where we ended the session. We were all really satisfied with the story, and it was a real nail-biter at the end. The game worked well enough mechanically in this series of playtests that I decided to move the game from alpha testing to beta testing.
Logged

my blog | my podcast | My game Final Hour of a Storied Age needs playtesters!
Pages: [1] 2
Print
Jump to:  

Powered by MySQL Powered by PHP Powered by SMF 1.1.16 | SMF © 2011, Simple Machines
Oxygen design by Bloc
Valid XHTML 1.0! Valid CSS!