Actual Play – Fairyguard (2/28/09)

As I mentioned in the previous post, Zach and Skippy ran games in tandum, but after Dirty Secret’s finished up, I hopped out to the den to check on the other players and they were one player down with about half the game still left to go. So I greedily picked up Aurora, the matronly 11 year old who tried to coddle the other orphans, nevermind that we were all touched by either Fairies or Trolls and most of us (myself included) carried flintlock firearms.

The adventure was centered around our nanny, who had disappeared and we were out to find her. At some point before I arrived the characters were approached by an odd couple who handed a baby over to them, touched by both Fairy and Troll, also known as an abomination. An evil Faery Puc was going to use the baby to spread a plague throughout the lands.

We saved the baby by taking away her faery and trollish nature (making her human) and defeated Puc with our strength of arms. Hell Yeah!

What rocked

First and foremost, Skippy did an awesome job bringing the NPCs and the environment to life. Each of them had such clear personalities, that I loved watching him play them all. Specifically the Hobs and his description of them was just great.

The Magic system Skippy created. He took the Once Upon a Time cards and handed a few of them out to the wizard representing her spells. The cards all have a single word and a picture which gave a general sense of the spell’s aspect but it was left to the player to describe the particular effects. It was very cool.

Mouse Guard using a single Dueling system for all extended conflicts. Unlike Burning Wheel, which has three different mechanics for different types of conflicts (DoW, Range and Cover, and Fight!), Mouse Guard only has one, but depending on the conflict, different skills are use to do different maneuvers (which include Attack, Defend, Maneuver and Feint). This works for fights, arguments, chases, foraging, traveling, etc. All very cool. Notably, there isn’t one for a magical duel, which I think really needs to be made. It hasn’t been since Certamen in Ars Magica that I’ve seen a decent magic dueling system.
Burning Wheel – Light. In addition to the codified conflict system, the overall game mechanics are much more streamlined that Burning Wheel. I’m not sure I like that in general, but it worked very well in a con environment, where the players need pick things up quickly.

What could have been improved

Skippy seemed to have too much to fit in the time we had. He really wanted to play out certain scenes but in the end we just ran out of time.

I also got the impression that the “Player’s Turn” which I wasn’t really there for didn’t allow much character driven plot. I think this probably had to do with the abundance of story elements, but I know Shaun from TMD had some thought as to how the “Player’s Turn” could give the opportunity to players give the story more direction of their own. Not sure.

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