Actual Play – Humanity for Sale (6/22/2013)

FAE-Bookcover_300x450GM: Josh Curtis
Players: Sean Nittner, Justin Evans, and Zach
System: Fate Accelerated

We checked into the Hotel Tomo, where BoyCon would continue and got our fill of Anime themed hospitality. After some board games and awesome pizza at Infero Pizza, we settled in for a nice game of FAE, set in an early (2025) Cyberpunk setting.

The Setup

Josh, perhaps because he knows a few things about environmental studies, proposed the most awesome segue between life as we know it and a grim cyberpunk reality. From his description – which included Greece exiting from the Euro Union, global warning advancing faster that society could bulwark themselves against, and international theft of Cyber-ware trade secrets – I imagined that he had been reading Cyberpunk settings or work on this one for quite some time. Nope, he had thought up all of it on the drive in that morning.



Josh opened us up playing three security guards at a skyplex owned (at least in part) by Bio Gen. The twin skyplexes security network has been under attack by an invasive virus, and the power to both buildings had just gone out. We were there to keep people calm in a time of possible panic.

There really wasn’t much panic. People leaving to get a pizza until the power came back on mostly…. Until a scientist walked out of the elevator (emergency power) and while we were distracted by her long legs and feigned dripping of her badge, her built-like-Fabio boyfriend came charging out of the elevator and cold-clocked one of us!

After a scuffle they escaped into the night and we faded to black over the urban swamp of LA 2025.

Game Aspects

Josh put out one setting aspect and then asked for others. His was.

Urban swamps surround worlds largest port

The port in LA was built up, but everything around it has been submerged as the tides rose, leaving most of LA a swampland. Many buildings were abandoned on the lower floors (as they were under water) and the 3rd floor was the new 1st!

We made up some new stories, added some details about the state of things and then decided that once a person had a certain amount of their body replaced by Cyberware (3/5), they stopped being recognized as citizens with rights, and were indentured servants to the company that owned their Cyberware. Second class citizens known as “fractions”.

Humanity for Sale (the 3/5th Law)


Character creation wen’t beautifully smoothly, as I think it always will in FAE. Josh mentioned that both Cyberware (Obvious in this setting, no wetware or concealed cyber components) and being wired (able to jack directly into the “Net”) required and aspect that defined us as such, and then allowed us to spend down some of our refresh for cyber/wired stunts.

I thought that was a nice bit of mechanical crunch to signify the difference between the pure humans, and those that had been modified by nascent technology. He also allowed two stunts to “stack” so long as they were Cyber or Wired. So, for instance you could have “Because of my Hyper-Kinetic Cyber Arm I have +4 to Forcefully Attack when fighting in close quarters” and have that take up two stunt slots. Some pretty hefty might there.

He also said we could define said cyberware in play, which was great, because I got to add all the flavor I wanted and then define it as a stunt as needed, which leads to our characters.

I played a Grexit (Greek Euro Zone Exit Refugee) loaded up with Cyberware by jointly held corporations. I think my name was George, but I went by SNix, a shortening of the Serial Number SN68v4, which identified George as corporate property.

Justin was playing Hu Kai, a freelance Net Runner associated with a grey market think tank called the Walled Garden. Hu Kai was deep in debt (to various organizations) but was a genius prized for his security compromising skills.

Zach played a fixer named Schmitt. He owned a swamp boat (the Schmitty) and was friends with everyone… literally everyone. Schmitt helped people find people. He was an addict though, hooded on memory stims, and often pursuing a high at the extent of all else.

Good stuff.

The play is the thing

Josh started us off with a job. We were hired to recover stolen property (reference the prelude above).  I won’t go into the details of the plot since he might run it again, but here are some of the highlights of play.

The system was really seamless. We typically used overcome obstacles to deal with trouble, and compels to get into it. Josh made sure to play up our trouble aspects (Hu Kai’s debt, SNix’s servitude, and specifically the hit of the entire Library of Congress in three seconds, Schmitt’s addition). They were both prompts to action as well as complications along the way.

We started the the game late so it was a shortish session, but in that time we saw the inner workings of Josh’s world concept, finished the job, and had some fun character development.

Thoughts on the game

FAE once again impresses me with simple and elegant character creation.

Josh’s ideas for the setting, though not all new, formed a comprehensive picture that was just awesome. Just imagine if everything we were afraid might go wrong (global warming accelerating, privatization of all government services, and the denigration of human rights) did… and then did some more. Josh had it spot on.

Playing a pariah character who really didn’t accept that he was any different than anyone else was fun times. Legally he was bound to service, but this was new to him and he wasn’t ready to accept it.

The wide latitude given to approaches in FAE is great for flavoring your actions, whether they be using cyber-eyes to scan and record a transaction or Future Facebook to make friends with people in real life, it was easy to fit the fiction into the mechanics and back again.



Actual Play – Damascus Falls at BoyCon (6/22/2013)

Apocalypse GalacticaGM: Sean Nittner
Players: Zach, Josh Curtis, Justin Evans (aka J-dog, aka Mr. Boy, aka the only survivor)
System: Apocalypse World
Hack: Apocalypse Galactica

Mr. Boy was turning 40, and his wonderful wife thought what better way to celebrate that to throw him a weekend party of gaming with his boyz.

And so it came to be that we happened upon EndGame as the doors were opening, settled into the Carl Rigney table in the corner and played ourselves some Apocalypse Galactica.


Mr. Boy – Commander Abram Raptis -The hard as hell Commander of the Battlestar Argonaut who had taken over the fleet after his brother Admiral Acario sacrificed his life and the lives of everyone aboard Battlestar Athena to buy the fleet time to escape.

Josh – President Desma Yen – The conniving president who rigged her own election (before the Fall) and was now finding out what it really meant to be the steward of humankind.

Zach – Deepak Teng – A visionary who saw truth in the flames. We had a bit of license crossover here, he worshiped the Lord of Light, and instructed his missionaries to make merry and burn everything around them.

Opening Moves

The purpose of the love letters is to make sure something is going on at the start of the game. The scenario is set just after returning from a jump gone wrong (landing right in a Cylon ambush) and is laden with trouble. Damaged ships, suspicion of a traitor that led them into it, and the controversy between the President and Commander over the latter introducing Martial Law. It’s rife with problems but…

The guys make plenty of problems of their own. Deepak rolled his Fortunes and came up with want: Savagery. We decided that his missionaries had set the prisoners free on the prison ship Precipice, and they were now rioting.  When rolling her campaigns President Yen got the catastrophe “Malfucntions” and to keep them tied into each other, Josh through out that the prison ship had listed into the Condor (the agricultural ship) and cracked the dome, O2 was blasting out of it, even as ships were arriving from their jump.

Also, during Hx when picking their +3 connections, the guys all made deliciously contentious relationships. Commander Raptis blamed President Yen for his brother’s death and for the danger the fleet was in. Yen was in love with Deepak but didn’t believe in his “Lords of Light at all”, and Deepak, though a member of the presidents cabinet didn’t care about the president, but did want to teach the Commander that he needed to see the Truth.

Man, so take all that and add more complications from the love letters… it was a shit storm of crises (see Thoughts below).


There were a ton of great moments in this game. Many of the highlights surrounded the Visionary Deepak, simply because he was so out of control.

His first “vision” was a baptism by fire as he sought wisdom from the Lords of Light about a pilot “Allycat”. Holding Allcat’s head over the edge of a raptor he had a vision, and watched the pilot die and be born again in a resurrection ship, surrounded by the likeness of himself. This vision was too much for Deepak to take and he dropped the pilot off the raptor, on his head where he broke his neck…

…just above two mobs of angry and potentially violent people! This was the only game where I saw Colonial Marines and Raptor pilots draw small arms and fire on each other. And that was only because the Commander decided to stop the fist fight from erupting by shooting his chief engineer in the brain pan. Chief Hsing was quite dead, but all that did was escalate the violence.

President Yen, set up her own VP Hye Su to take the fall on the prison ship. The self-same ship that with the visionaries guidance declared themselves a sovereign nation. The Nation of Light. This was the first time population was removed from the Presidents’ total, only to be added to the Visionary’s. The ship was declared and enemy vessel, and would have been nuked by Commander Raptis, if not for the Cylons suddenly arriving in overwhelming force.

In the end the President made a play to “sacrifice” herself by surrendering her ship to the Cylon’s while sneaking a Raptor armed with the sole nuke in her ship’s tylium wake. This worked just until the end when her faithful aid caught her trying to flee in an escape pod. And thus the President went down with the ship and aid Yeliz became the new president of the twelve colonies, or what was left of it.

Thoughts on this game

Gods Damnit these guys are great players. I set the stage and they took off with it.

The president’s political assassination of the Commander went a little like this. “Your CO has a new XO”, which was code for airlocking the XO. This game was a blood bath!

Since no-one was playing a pilot or CAG, when Deepak when to rouse the pilots into a frenzy, I should have had them ask him the question “how did our scouting go so wrong? Why did we jump right into a Cylon ambush?”

This is the first time I saw the President use the Well Connected (allowing her to spend Favors to describe someone owing her something and taking +2 going forward on a roll). I really liked how it worked. It pushed the president to go back for more favors and introduce more Fleet scale problems. Aces!

Also, the president move “Personable”, which allowed her to treat any interaction as an intimate moment and thus trigger the Special moves, was hot.

I wonder if rolling on the love letters (to introduce more problems) is a good idea if you see your players creating tons of their own. As is we had a great time but it did feel a bit like everything and the kitchen sink was going out the airlock.

Actual Play – Rescuing the Royal Robin (3/1/2009)

Sunday morning we woke at Justin’s casa and had a nice breakfast of pancakes, fruit, and yogurt. For the morning slot Justin was running his horror games “Ribbons” which I had already played at DDC and Josh ran his Swamp Call of Cthulhu game. A few posts back I mentioned that I was in every game this weekend, and this is where it comes through on a technicality. I didn’t play in Ribbons, but I already had at the con, so as far as I’m concerned I scored.

The game was using a free system (that I can’t remember the name of right now) which seemed to be a mash up of Fate and Star Wars Saga Edition. The setting that came with the game as a 1920 costal town, but for his game Josh used present day Louisiana. Hurricane Igor had just hit and on its tail was Hurricane Justinian (a plug to the birthday boy I’m sure). A cruise boat, the Royal Robin was on the Mississippi during the hurricane and several hours ago all contact was lost. Our characters were sent out by the coast guard on a rescue mission to find the Robin and call in reinforcements when we located it. Because of Josh’s experience as a Coasty himself, the story came off as very reasonable. We were a rag tag group with a single Coast Guard, a red cross aid worker, a businessman with family on the boat and a renowned reporter who wanted to do a piece on Coast Guard responsiveness and was willing to do lend a hand in the mission in order to go on board. At least that is who we thought we were… and what is what we thought we were doing. Just in case Josh runs this again, I’ll remind readers that this wasn’t called a Cthulhu game for nothing.

What rocked

The system worked very well for what we were trying to do. A mixture of skill challenges, whose outcome meant either navigating an obstacle safely and efficiently or getting held up and the next Hurricane closing in. This was represented by a series of skill checks. Failure meant we eventually moved on but gained a “Hurricane” token, which later would be used as fate chips to compel us in all manner of horrible ways.

Josh’s experience as a Coasty clearly came through in this game. He put us up against some real life difficulties, like what you do when you can pack all the supplies you need on the little boat you’ve got. Or what happens when you get bit by a water moccasin. His depictions of the storm and the aftermath were great. Cows in trees, buildings who’s 2nd floor was untouched but was reduced to its support beams (and nothing else) on the 1st floor, and industrial tanks spilling oil throughout the swamp were all part of his lush descriptions.

Sanity decks. I’m not sure if he made them in cooperation with Justin or in response to his decks, but Josh made us all decks that we flipped every time we took enough sanity loss. They usually started off as a passion that would drive someone and ended in total depravity and/or madness. These decks really rocked.

Killer closing scenes. We each got our own ending signifying the completion of our personal journey and also offering a glimpse into the mad future the world would face. I’m not sure if Josh had these planned out or not, but they were very intense and really brought closure to the game.

What could have been improved

Were I to run this game I’d probably use fate without a stress track (only consequences). The reason being that d20s are just too wild. Arguably we had some pretty decent control of the rolls when invoking our aspects (treat the die like it was a 20 on a trained skill) when we didn’t use our aspects, the curve was (as in all d20 games) too unpredictable for my taste. Also, our characters didn’t take points of damage or loose sanity points, but Josh was doing some math behind the scenes to figure out when we should be flipping sanity cards or taking consequences. I don’t think any of that math added to the game and in several cases slowed things down.

The skill set in the game was bordering on overload. We had nearly a full page of skills but in the end only used a few of them. Another case when I think using the Fate system would probably improve it. I’d just take the character’s main skills and put them on a pyramid. Everything else is unimportant.

And thus concluded The Boy, The Bad, and The Ugly. Thanks mrboy for being born and celebrating it once a year and thanks to everyone else who came, I had a blast.

Actual Play – _CENSORED_ (02/28/2009)

We weren’t told the name of this game. I think it came out after it was over but I didn’t catch it (maybe Tempus Frigit, not sure). Zach and Amanda ran a special 10 person LARP as a birthday present for Justin. The LARP centered around his character Mordecai (usually just called Mortie) and the trouble he was in. I won’t say much about the LARP as I’m not sure that Justin isn’t planning to run it again and I don’t want to give anything away.

What I will talk about is my experience. Though I’ve been a fan of using props in my games, having players emote their actions and even a fair bit of moving around to get immersed I’ve never properly LARPed before. There is a lot about LARPs that have been interested in, the costumes, the props, the immersion and the focus on player driven story. There are also bits of LARPing that have intimidated me; the constant immersion, the expectation of acting skills, fear of having an inadequate costume, being outside the LARP clique, etc. This opportunity seemed like a great way to check out all that was cool about LARPs without worry about my fears. My costume was created by the GMs, most of the players were people I knew and liked, and most people knew I had never done this before so there weren’t any huge expectations of me.

What rocked

The story presented was one that while confusing during the game made sense by the end. I don’t think this is an easy thing to do. Even in good mystery movies and books, sometimes the plots get complex enough you can’t understand what is going on, add players to the mix and it’s even more chaotic. This story unfolded as we played and the GMs had certain tactics including the timing of clues being presented and of flash-back/flash-forward scenes to further illuminate otherwise clouded mystery. I give them mad props for holding it all together.

Some of the players were really great, having just met a number of them, I was really impressed with their skills as player, actors and collaborative storytellers.

The GMs fed us just enough information to keep things constantly active. I can’t remember a scene when I wasn’t talking to someone about something we thought was very important. The space was very closed off (only two rooms, both physically and within the context of the game) so we were always in one of a few conversations.

You didn’t know who you could trust. I could read minds and I still didn’t know who I could trust! Now that is impressive!

Flash-backs and Flash-forwards. The game was regularly interrupted by scenes where some of the characters remembered something or saw something in the future. These were VERY cool. They allowed two things: One was a window into the mind of the characters and the other was an opportunity to break character for a moment and either observe or change roles.

What didn’t work for me

I normally call this “could have been improved” but the thing is I don’t know what the standards for LARPs are so I don’t know if my concerns are actually something that should be addressed. All of the LAPR veterans at the table said this was a really killer game, so my feeling is that my issues are more with LARPing in general than with this one in particular. Anyway, here I go.

Engaging the system. When I got my character sheet there was a rating system (1-5 I think) and the trait I had of mention was Intelligence (5). I was supposed to be a brilliant child (only 11 years old) but the problem is that Sean isn’t brilliant, he’s only moderately intelligent with some areas of retardation (like languages, spatial orientation, and rote memorization). My character should have been able to figure things out that I couldn’t but I didn’t have any way to “use” that. When I asked a GM I was told that if something needed to come out she would pass it through me, I assumed like the way the plot of many Harry Potter books is pushed through by Hermione. That didn’t happen however, so my “ability” didn’t even serve as a plot device. I think I would have far preferred to not have any system at all and just be told that I was very curious and a critical thinker. I’m not sure what the other characters had but I never saw someone say “I’ve got a 5 in X so I want to use it.” My guess is that nobody thought about this, but being someone who thinks a lot about game mechanics, it troubled me.

Fear the GM. Here’s another case of game engagement that I felt uncomfortable with. In a tabletop game there is usually four ways to find out if you “can” do something. Look on your character sheet, ask the GM, make some kind of roll (either to know if you can or declare that you can), or just try it (usually meaning announcing to the GM that you are trying something and then finding out the results). In this game it was alluded that my character was more than he seemed, that he had powers in fact. There were no signals however given to me and none of the other players knew more than what I did. So eventually I just walked up to a GM and said “I want to get in his brain… can I do it?” The reason I say “Fear the GM” is that we were specifically directed on our character sheets to play out our characters and to avoid asking the GMs if we could do things. So I often felt like I was “breaking” the game by trying to figure out what I could do. What I would have really preferred was a prop that could be given to me in the game once I figured out my powers that said something to the effect of “give this to someone and they need to answer a question honestly or obey one command, then they give it back to you and you cannot use it on them again for X minutes”. That way I’d be able to keep my actions in game rather than constantly running to the GM for help/guidance/refereeing.

Constant immersion. While I did like the confined nature of the game, I’m not particularly good at staying in character non-stop. There are times when I step out of actor and into author role. I’ll talk about my character in the third person, for example “Mirumoto is stunned by your actions, his face blushes and his eyes widen in confusion. He looks away, ashamed.” That is easier for me to say than to act out. Sometimes I want to act it out, other times I’m just not up for it. That wasn’t an option in a LARP.

Concentration of plot. I was having a pretty good time during the game just figuring out who I was and what was going on with some of the other characters. When “end game” came however and the shit was hitting the fan, the only thing that mattered was solving this mystery. A mystery that others had been working on for hours. When I tried to contribute I just felt so far behind that my actions were actually slowing people down. I was told  when trying to create a process that it had already been done elsewhere, so eventually I just checked out. It felt like there was enough plot at that time for five characters, but there were 10 players concerned. There were some other people who joined me on the sideline.

So, there it is, my first LARP. I had fun, but I don’t think I’ll do it again, at least not till next year when they have another one. At the end of the game I was told this was the best LARP I’d probably ever be in and while I was really happy to participate in such a good specimen of LARPing that statement doesn’t bode well for my appreciation of the species as a whole. There were as many things that I really liked as there were things that didn’t gel with me and I can only imagine in other LARPs the ratio would be worse. My mind is still open and I’d probably go for something if the theme or setting was really attractive, but I won’t be tearing down the walls to get into every LARP I see on the roster.

I’m curious what mrboy or anyone else that was at the LARP thinks, specifically of the things that didn’t work for me. Are these normal? Am I “wrong” to have issue with them? Do you agree? Is this a case of managing expectations?

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.

Actual Play – Dirty Secrets (02/28/2009)

The second session of Boycon hosted two games, Zach’s Dirty Secrets and Skippy’s Fables game (using the Mouseguard system).

I got into Dirty Secrets as it was a game I’d heard about but never played. The setup is that crimes have been committed and we’re going to tell the story of how an investigator discovers the sordid details of “who done it” and why. The game is set with a single protagonist and several “GMs” that each provide conflicts for that protagonist to spring them forward into the mired connections that eventually explain the game.

What rocked

Like zombie cinema, this game is truly a pickup game. All you need are a couple of people who have seen L.A. Confidential to understand how this game should work. The game encourages you to work up theories of who done it, but like a good crime novel or movie, you never know until the end.

The “revelation” mechanic is really amazing. It forces an exposition from some character or clue that shows two characters are connected in a romantic, familial or business relationship. The protagonist can pick one of the characters involved but the rest (with some small influence from the current GM) is up to the dice. This made for some great connections and some amazing twists in the story.

Scene directed by the protagonist vs. scenes directed by the GM. In each Chapter, the protagonists states he’ll either had an investigation, revelation or reflection scene. The GM then has the option of either accepting the protagonist’s scene or blocking with a different investigation scene (example “you went looking for the idol to do some research, but when you get to the museum it’s stolen, but you find a different clue that sends you in a new direction”) or violence. What this means is that at any time guys with guns come kicking in the doors. Very noir.

The collaboration. All players (GMs and protagonist) can and should suggest ides for the current narrator. We had a number of time when connections were made and we all looked a little confused for a bit until someone thought of a way to fit it into our story. This really took the pressure off any individual GM

What could have been improved

The learning curve for understanding scene framing, conflict resolution and the crime resolution mechanic was a bit steep. Once we had run a few scenes it was easier, but it took some time to learn.

Immersion was difficult as we kept wearing different hats between GM, audience, and designer. We were able to get some good role-playing scenes in, but it wasn’t consistent.

It seemed liked our GMs were depleting their resources rather quickly, while the protagonist never lost any of hers. This probably came down to lucky rolls and the player being a better player of Liar’s dice (the core mechanic of the game) than the rest of us. By the end we had two (of the four) GMs that had been totally taken out so scenes with them meant the protagonist automatically won any conflict. It was fine because the story was about to end anyway, but had it been a longer game I would have been worried that there would be no challenge.

A somewhat awkward attempt at rich rolling. There game is all d6s but it tries to use different color dice to do different things. The problem is that some of them you roll and some you just set to a value you want. The one you set, even though hidden with the once you roll don’t work in the same mechanic as the rolled dice, but later may be rolled itself if re-rolling the other dice. Sound confusing? Well, it’s not so bad as it sounds, but it certainly isn’t as elegant as the rest of the game. I think the designers were trying to cram an extra idea inside the roll, couldn’t figure out how to do it so they tacked on an extra die.

Actual Play – Justin’s Gift (02/28/2009)

This weekend I was invited to “The Boy, The Bad, and The Ugly,” a weekend long birthday party convention at mrboy ’s house. In one way or another I played in all of the scheduled games (I’ll talk more about that as I review the con itself) but I had the honor of kicking off the weekend with a new installment of “The Gift”.

This game ran VERY different from my previous two. The dwarven prince (MrBoy himself) didn’t care nearly as much that the elves didn’t bring a gift, but wanted to see some action… post haste! Within minutes Prince Vost (better known in the game as Your Lordship) asked the elves to show their skill in battle by participating in a duel. The scene ended quickly as the prince sent the elves away and both sides prepared for a fight.

The duel itself had some pretty brutal stakes. The dwarven warden wanted to take the sword arm of the elvish captain, where as the elf wanted the match to end in a tie (for political reasons) but make an absolute mockery of the dwarf and make him loose his station because of his incompetence. First challenges and the stakes were already through the roof. I thought about entertaining Fight! (it certainly would have been appropriate) for the duel but the game was still very early on and I was still getting people used to the core mechanics so we decided on using a blood versus. The dice pools and corresponding results were through the roof. Yet somehow, despite the gigantic numbers, the roll resulted in a tie (I believe 18 vs 18, I know… crazy). Neither participant got what they desired and the duel (which neither had an “intent” to win) was determined by a die of fate. It was epic.

Meanwhile the uncle and the seneschal had noticed the mithril armor and the scheming began. Uncle Oxen sent cooks to rifle through the elves belongings to see if they had any other items of value in their quarters. After the duel the Captain in private told the Warden that even though he won, the Warden was the greatest warrior he had ever faced and handed over his bow. The bigot ranger, not privy to this gift returned to his quarters and found them ransacked. He found the Warden with his men inspecting the bow and assumed the greed dwarves had stolen it. The gloryhoud shouted his challenge to the warden as he let an arrow fly. Woot, using the range and cover rules!

The alarm was sounded and the ranger was captured by the troupes before he could finish off the nearly slain warden. The final scene was a court trial to determine the fate of the ranger, who wrongly attacked the warden but all of that was just pretence to test the steel of the elves. In the end they were given the choice, blood (give up the Ranger to the dwarves) or mithril (give up the prices armor) and they chose blood! It was freaking awesome!

What rocked

Every conflict was supercharged. The players were all amazing and they all played their characters to the hilt. Artha was flying like mad as every roll was critical. We had two different ties that both resulted in crazy, unexpected results.

Each duel of wits was filled with both sides vying for something they REALLY wanted. The players were very clear when they didn’t agree and the system backed them up.

Two characters “died.” The ranger was given to the Dwarves to be imprisoned for life (which is pretty damn long if you are immortal) and the Seneschal was overcome with greed, seeking out the Mithril heedless of the judgment made, only to spell his own doom. The captain and the warden however, developed a deep respect for each other and in the end the captain was ready to sing his song of boding to the first dwarf to ever receive such an honor. The outcomes were amazing.

What could have been improved

I am still not very comfortable with the range and cover rules so when we got into a ranged combat, I was feeling pretty shaky. Unfortunately, Shaun from TMD who was also in the conflict hadn’t used them much either so we all kind of bumbled through it. It worked but it was slow and I don’t think we got it all right.

There are SO many skills and traits on the character sheets that need a reference. I printed out the ones for the ranger but it took forever so I didn’t finish the other seven characters. I’ll definitely have to have that part ready before Kubla, looking them up in game takes WAY too long.

I’m wondering if Mouseguard has it right. One system for every type of conflict, fight, Duel of Wits, chase, etc. I’m going to have to play more MG.