Actual Play – A curse on this island (6/12/14)

dungeon_world_finalGM: Justin Evans
Players: Greg Bailey, Josh Curtis, and Sean Nittner
System: Dungeon World
Dungeon/Adventure: The Black Spot

Before the Game

Justin sent this out…

The waves roughly shove your long boat onto the small sandy beach in the hidden smuggler’s cove. Kalgan Quay isn’t much of an island. A fine place to lie in wait for a fat merchant ship or a handy spot to hide from the Colonial flag. Dawn is just starting to break, casting everything in sharp silhouettes. As you catch our breath, questions rattle around in your heads:

  • Why did Captain John Crofford and the crew of the Savage Fall attack the Landguard?
  • Why is the Reefmonger working with his crew?
  • Why did he point you out as the ship went down?
  • What the hell should you do next?

You hope you’ll live long enough to answer a couple of them.

A day and night on this cursed island

I so love that Minotaur is in charge of the “corrupted nature” element in the game (if that doesn’t make any sense, see our last adventure The Black Spot for the skinny). One of the first things that happened when we pulled our longship ashore was that Left Hand Lew found a dog that was passed out on the beach. Clearly the ship dog from the Landguard. But something was wrong with it.

Justin turned to me and asked what happened to the dog. Oh the horrors. The barbs in his skin (that was courtesy of Justin), his lips peeled back to reveal rotted gums and blackened teeth. Despite his appearance Lew tried to help the poor mutt. He brought him further on shore and tried to feed him. Only for the beast to snap at him, it’s bloodshot eyes wide with terror and malice. And things just went downhill from there…

Showing off

This move has got to be my favorite vanity move

Showboat

When you perform a feat of strength in front of an audience, roll+Str. On a hit, you keep their attention as they watch in amazement or dismay. On a 7-9, you also draw unwanted attention to yourself.

When the decided to move inland to camp, Minotaur just picked up the longboat by himself and started carrying it to their eventual campsite. Because I rolled an 8, when we hit the tree line and the boat wouldn’t fit, Minotaur just kept pushing and the the boat cut a swath in the trees, leaving a clear and obvious path right to our camp. That’s fucking awesome.

Adventure Camping

These moves are really cool. They make “downtime” part of the game:

Make Camp

When you settle in to rest consume a ration. If you’re somewhere dangerous decide the watch order as well. If you have enough XP you may Level Up. When you wake from at least a few uninterrupted hours of sleep heal damage equal to half your max HP.

Take Watch

When you you’re on watch and something approaches the camp roll+Wis. On a 10+ you’re able to wake the camp and prepare a response, the camp takes +1 forward. On a 7–9 you react just a moment too late; the camp is awake but hasn’t had time to prepare. You have weapons and armor but little else. On a miss whatever lurks outside the campfire’s light has the drop on you.

We did well on both, which was great, because the colonials were on our tail. Watching out for them William Golden saw the figures trying to sneak up on us and when jumped into our camp, pistols drawn, it was they who were ambushed. Left Hand Lew and Minotaur had a pissing contest with first mate Thomas Parker, confident the power in his pistol was wet from the drink (he was soaked) and Golden snuck up behind his men and put daggers in their backs. It was tense for moment but the first mate’s desperation to help captain Grace Harrington (who he had carried unconscious to our camp) won out and he lowered the gun.

He told us that he survived the attack and the creature beneath, but had to swim to shore since someone had taken the longboat (yep, that would be us). So far as he could tell the Reefmonger was after one of us, but not a soul in that camp knew why.

We agreed to work together. We’d camp for the night and set out in the morning for Sovereignstead, the free city.

Divided we fall

While scouting before making camp Minotaur found a pool of clear water and after the peace was made he set out with with the two privates to gather water and supplies. Meanwhile Golden and the First Mate stayed in camp to watch after the captain. Left Hand Lew went to find a good look out spot to watch for the Reefmonger.

In camp Golden could tell that the first mate was completely in love with his captain. He was uneasy learning that a colonial was a man just like him. It was harder to classify them all as heartless bastards when he saw one so worried and concerned.

A Deadly Kiss

Up the hill Minotaur was trying to turn the junior officers against their captain. “We’ll be the first ones to die you know that? When trouble comes, and it will, we’re t he brutes and the fodder that will take the fall so that our ‘superiors’ get away.” It was just as Pip began to retort that he had always felt respected and valued on the Landguard that he disappeared. A tendril grabbed him and pulled into to that clear water where down below and beautiful and naked woman lied. Only now she was awake, her eyes milky and her her lower body a hundred vicious tentacles.

She pulled Pip down, pressed her dead lips to his and with a kiss drained his life away. Much violence ensued. Minotaur dove into the water was was entangled by the tentacles himself. Left Hand Lew swung down from his perch to cut Minotaur free, but only enough for him to get a huge gulp of air and go back down, this time with Golden. Together they fought the creature, Golden with his quick blade and Minotaur by choking the creature, apply his massive might to squeeze her to death.

At one point before they were both down there, Golden dropped Minotaur’s blade down to him and it rested in the sand, he used the edge of it to cut them free and escape the terror. Golden, however, noticed the remains another adventurer below on their way to the surface and snatched it up on his way out of the water. Both of them barely made it free of the water when an avalanche of rocks came tumbling down the hill to bury the water hole and the evil creature inside it!

A notable treasure

Inside that backpack was a short rod that appeared to be of great value. From the mouth of the MC:

In the rotting remains of the pack you found a dull iron rod untouched by rust. Once the muck was cleaned off you could see faint etchings or inlaid patterns in bronze or gold. A half dome of onyx decorated one end of the peculiar metal bar. William Golden suspects it may be a button…but he also suspects it could be a trap.

(No help from the audience please!)

Reefmonger upon us

There was other bad news. Before his swung down from his perch Left Hand Lew saw the Reefmonger’s longships closing it. We all made haste to flee the quay but when we got back to our camp to gather up Thomas and the captain we say Meriwether, who had fled the creature of the lake, take an arrow right through his throat. There were upon us!

Thoughts on the Game

I am completely turned around on Dungeon World. I love this game. Our characters are larger than life, but the failure results mean even though we can try amazing things, failing them brings some brutal consequences. For instance when Minotaur was choking the undead woman, she punctured his blind eye with one of her tendrils, driving it into his brain. Fucking brutal!

I dislike negating actions. Player A says I do X and then player B undoes X. It’s a super buzz kill for player A and a waste of everyone’s time. So I had a lot of reluctance when Left Hand Lew pulled Minotaur out of the water to go back in. He had given Minotaur a chance to breath, and freed him form the tentacles so it wasn’t a totally lost effort, but having him dive right back in seemed antithetical to Lew’s intent of saving him. Josh, comment if you had thoughts on this one way or the other.

Derp, was just at Go Play North West and I didn’t bring my copy of DW. Could have had it signed by both Adam and Sage. Arg. And yep, still a fan boy.

We had some interesting interactions with Discern Realities. I got a strong hit when surveying the island, learned some things about it, but not all of them were strictly the answers to my questions or something that gave me +1 forward, some of them were useful resources like finding a fresh source of water… you know, that had a undead sea monster in it, but that’s just part of the fun.

Edit: Justin’s comments incorporated.