Actual Play – The Priestess and the Bad Joke (7/28/2016)

dungeon_world_finalGM: Edmund Metheny
Players: Sophie Lagacé, Karen Twelves, Adrienne Mueller, and Sean Nittner
System: Dungeon World
Setting: Land of 10,000 Gods

In a rare event, I didn’t take notes during the game. In some ways that actually meant I was a lot more present. I didn’t bother to stop myself from playing and jot down everything we did. On the flip side, however, writing this a month later, I’m hoping that between Adrienne’s report and my memory I can piece together the bits of what happened.


  • All but Kanta drank potions of change our form so we looked like gnolls and another so we could speak with the gnolls as well.
  • Keiker To was totally disgusted that we could speak his language. Which was odd because they revered Kanta when she could do it with magic, but simply speaking it (rather than summoning spirits of wind and knowledge to translate) was an abomination in his mind.
  • We didn’t understand the battle at all. Two gnoll armies fighting each other because apparently Kanta’s mirror self had told them to, so Kanta thought that she would have sway over them, however when we first approached the outside of the battle, the contingent that saw Kanta were incensed and immediately dropped what they were doing to slay her and her allies (still not technically possible, but the would have chopped us all up to bits if they could).
  • In an absolutely horrific scene we realized that the gnolls had be chopping people up and eating them, despite the fact that nobody could die, only suffer horribly. The “food” wagon we stopped was filled with people in various states of dismemberment. We gave them all our healing potions but that was like trying to put out a fire with a water fountain. For the few we could help, hundreds more rolled in on wagons.
  • After that debacle, Kanta reluctantly took a potion to change her appearance to that of Gnoll as well. Though she loathed deception in any form, a false image was much less harmful than a false word.
  • Advancing through the enemy line was successful until we came across a Gnoll Emmisary who wanted to know our orders…seeing that we had none, she gave us some: to be meat shields for a towering Bhakshak that would breach the walls of the city they were sieging.
  • We followed this plan not at all. Merit and Rahi, along with Keiker To split off to find the secret entrance that he knew about. Eventually they made it in, but not without running into some scrapes.
  • Ram and Kanta stayed by the side of the monster and Ram got a chance to inflict violence on Gnolls, which was something of a delight, until we got close to the wall and then agian, by hook or crook we made it over, though we were separated in the process.
  • Inside we found the priestess who was now a queen. Ram was dismembered by Gnolls [Fell to 0 hit points but still no dying]. Merit asked the priestess what the hell this was all about and when the priestess laughed at Ram’s plight as if it was a joke…Merit put a dagger in her.
  • Kanta, catching this at the last moment, finished the job of cutting out her own tongue and jammed the waxen Gnoll tongue into her mouth so she could speak once more…or rather so she could summon her magical wrath to bear down upon the still loving priestess and her minions.

What Rocked

I’m a big fan of characters being irrevocably changed. Gnoll wax tongue seems very fitting for the cursed Kanta.

I love that Merit was not going to endure anyone laughing at her friend’s peril. Who caries if she’s the high priestess mucky muck, Ram is Merit’s friend and nobody is going to laugh a his suffering.

Kanta’s confidence in “oh, I got this, they will all follow my lead” being shattered when the first band of Gnolls attacked was great. As a player I didn’t understand what was going on, but I did love her being totally perplexed by the situation as well!

Watching Rahi deliberate over her decisions is wonderful. She is the really human element of our story. She always asks the moral questions the rest of us either don’t both asking or are unconcerned with the answers.

What could have Improved

We’re all eager to understand what’s going on a bit more. Two Gnoll tribes at war because of a priestess (who we stabbed) and Mirror Kanta (who they now hate). It’s all very outside our characters. We went to a party to gather some information witnessed a Gnoll attack and then Death died. We care about Death, but really don’t understand any of the circumstances around what happened. So for now we’re just moving forward until someone can explain what happened.

As much as I just said I love characters changing irrevocably, I’m not sure what to make of Ram being dismembered. I mean, yeah, 0 hit points may very well mean your character is dead, make a new one…so I can see loosing all your limbs being an adventurer’s equivalent to that when death isn’t really on the table. I’m concerned for the outcome though. One possibility is that when Death is restored Ram dies (as do many, many people who have enduring grievous wounds) which would be poetic, especially if Ram was able to make that choice or do something to make that happen.  The other is that somehow Ram is healed and that all that mutilation is undone. I’m sure there are other options as well, but both of those leave me wondering what Adrienne’s role in all this will be.

4 thoughts on “Actual Play – The Priestess and the Bad Joke (7/28/2016)”

  1. Merit’s rage might drive her to the end of her story (if death were still possible, that is). Ram’s her bestie even when she’s unreasonably mad at him for whatever new reason she’s cooked up that week.

    To her, this whole quest has been for Ram, and to see it end this way strikes her as pointless and not what heroes should be doing. She may not want to go back home and be a baker, but she certainly doesn’t want to be a tool for another’s war.

    1. Oh I’m such a fan of Merit’s rage! Her response to Ram’s plight was wonderful!

      I hope we get to finish the quest together. Ram badly, badly wants it. And then we are going to deserve so. much. gold. when we get back to that Sirdar in Fish-for-Dinner.

  2. Talking to Karen after writing this I had forgotten that the Priestess wanted to change from worshiping their demon god to worshiping Death. So great… she took Death and we can get her back… right? No, she doesn’t know where Death is either. Dang!

  3. I’d forgotten how the false image potion / deception tied into Kanta’s beliefs! Very cool! Wax tongue moment was indeed also golden.

    And dude, I’m definitely wondering how to handle Ram’s current state. He’s very helpless and it is going to be soooo hard for him to take. He’s had no sweet embrace of Death and now has/is no weapon to wield against his/Her foes!

    I both liked and was unsettled by having this happen to Ram. It was good because it generated a strong emotional response in me (Oh no! Oh shit! Oh wow!) and was a catalyst for some really cool drama. Unsettling because I wasn’t expecting it at all; didn’t occur to me that the possibility was even on the table.

    I’m happy that your not taking notes let you engage in the game more, Sean. I feel like I’m less ‘on’ in skype games; which is restful, but maybe a little too restful.

    One thing that I really liked about this game is that, right at the beginning, we elided a short battle because it was clear that we’d win it. Let us move right along with the plot!

    Favourite Bits:
    – Merit’s use of her power of infighting to get us past some gnoll warriors. ‘Yeah, your people back at that food wagon are useless. Someone needs to go take care of them.’ Also, because she can’t help herself, asking for refreshments from the priestess ‘in your finest goblet please?’ And then pocketing it.
    – Kanta gave Ram the opportunity to slay some gnolls. He’d been doggedly following Merit, having her back, and wasn’t doing any killing despite being in the middle of a battle – when Kanta pointed out to him that now would be a fine time to slay. He did leave Merit, but fortunately she was okay! (Kanta at some point also caught Ram’s attention by tweaking his nipple piercing. I don’t remember what it was for, but I love that little detail. And that it maybe kind of furthered their atypical courtship.)
    – Rahi defying danger to save Merit and sending her into the hole first. Rahi is my Hero! I also loved her getting so enraged about the gnolls treatment of people she had to seriously restrain herself from just killing them all.
    – I was so happy that Ram got to conclude the move that Kanta set him up for! Bashing that goliath and then being tossed onto the wall! Also, I’m still excited that evil Kanta is somewhere on the scene. Soon, there will be a reckoning. Soon.

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