Actual Play – Kuld at the wall! (12/21/2014)

War-of-Ashes-Front-Cover-Mockup (1)GM: Edmund Metheny
Players: Sean Nittner, Karen Twelves, and Sophie Lagacé
System: War of Ashes

Back to the Playtest Grindstone. My kids weren’t with us but we persevered,

Focus of the playtest session

  • Froth as a separate create advantage action during the Roar Phase. Aspects associated with frothing are tied to the approach used, and if any but the approach or those adjacent to it were used, the aspect is lost.
  • Weight tested with 2:1 odds granting a fixed “+” before the roll and 4:1 odds granting a fixed “++”.
  • Spellcasting both during the Roar Phase as and in the conflict proper.

What all of that needed was a good conflict to test out and thankfully Edmund was more than happy to offer it with a horde of Kuld descending upon us!

Roar Phase

We decided the that the GM would take turns “Roaring” with the characters. So, highest Quick PC Roars and generates an aspect, then our opposition does the same, on through the list. This way a single big opponent doesn’t miss out on the Roaring, nor do huge swarms of little guys get tons of aspects created.

kuldshamen_fullresAll difficulties set at Fair [+2]

  • Vala rallied the Vidaar with Flashy – “Vidaar, to me!”
  • The Kuld Augurst and began summoning forth The Source to suck up all the water in air and leave us “withering with thirst”
  • Lele coordinated the Jarl to intentionally open up one hole in the brambles to channel all of the kuld into the stone wall surrounded temple district where as a choke point. Frothing with Clever.
  • The Argust continued to summon (adding another free invoke to the aspect).
  • Semela called to Atronia, goddess of the earth to make the ground devour our foes, creating the aspect “churning earth” in the temple district zone.  She was frothing with Flashy as well and gained a minor Divine Interest consequence.
  • The Argust finished their battle magic (adding a third free invoke to the aspect) and we all the dry cold chilling our blood.

This worked out pretty well. It meant we all started with a few aspect we could use, were tied to an approach (or in the case of the NPCs frothing restricted to doing anything but what they are listed as “bad at”). and ready to jump into the fray. As I hoped it reminded me of the charging up mechanics from Anima Prime.

Where it was slightly less clear was that the Froth aspect is meant to be a personal one (with the exception of spellcasting) but “Hole in the Wall” (Lele’s aspect) was definintely not something we interpreted as personal, where as “Vidaar, to me!”, was very tied to Vala. More thinking on that later.

The Fight

MahrnnThe first to break through where the Shuda, vomiting horrific bile onto all of us. Mahrn were outside as well but thanks to the Ice Wall aspect created last session by Ficca and Mac and Cheese, they had to work a bit to get through it (Edmund required a number of successful overcome rolls for them to break open enough of the wall to get through.

Oh the havok we caused. Pillars toppled over. Braziers burning with incense for the gods thrown into the open mouths of Shuda, and all the while the earth churning and gobbling up our foes (Semela counted four devoured by the gods).

When the Marhn broke through it was trouble. Mechanically they have weight 4, so even one throws off a battle in a big way, Two is super bad news. Semela used a maneuver “Hey dum dum, look over here” to get the Troll onto the wall with her (and out of temple district with the other). It worked but just barely (tied on the overcome action). Edmund decided the bad news was that I got him in my zone… and that mean it was IN MY ZONE!

Vala and Lele pulled some pretty awesome heroics. Plunging a sword in the foot of Marhrn and then smashing him in the face when he bent down to pull it out. Vomiting Shuda were plugged up with other Shuda. It was a mess.

On the wall Selema ran from the Mahrn who destroyed everything around her. Even though it slipped and fell off the wall, it just clambered over it and kept up it’s chase.  She snatched a farmers sickle and prayed to Atronia to enchant it to delver fatal blow to the Marhn. Mechanically this is a standard use of a spell to make a stunt, in this case the stunt was “once per session, my farmers tool can deliver a lethal blow”.  Charged with a bunch of aspects and a stunt, Semela jumped off a building onto the back of the Mahrn and like separating the wheat from the chaff, she cleaved off it’s head.

Inside sword removed from the Mahrn’s foot, it was them emailed in his stomach!


Notice from the Gods

Semela’s 2nd spell cost another divine consequence, which pushed us over the edge (we had a few others from +4 and -4 rolls that I hadn’t mentioned) and we were “taken out” by Divine Interest.

A huge thunder shook the ground, we heard a massive bellowing voice, and then we looked down. To find a very short Elvorix with Ylark horns (note Semela had grown Ylark horns during the first as a consequence as well so they matched) and holding a keg of kog. He looked up at Selema and asked with divine frankness “What the hell?”

Thoughts on this game

Spell tested (from both PC and NPC) and worked well in the Roar Phase. I’ve got some concern about players getting confused about the difference between a normal ritual (which generates a stunt) and the battle rituals you can do in the Roar Phase.

We haven’t talked about what being taken out by Divine Consequences means yet, but we’ll work on that next session.

Froth as Roar worked well. It put enough aspect on the board that Edmund could hit us pretty hard when he wanted to, but we also had many resources ourselves.

Weight as dice not rolled (but fixed to +) is clunky and hard to remember. We’re going to work on revising it to be easier to manage. We noticed at the end using Fate Coins to mark weight was really helpful.

Maneuvers worked great. Given the weight rules, there is a strong incentive for player characters to push (and pull) around their opponents which is awesome.

To test next time:

  • Froth and social conflicts
  • Divine Interest Milestones

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