Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Current Campaign Updates 7/14/09

Current Campaign Updates

Lyceum Aegis: This is the irregular campaign for my niece. We've done four sessions so far and she seems to be enjoying it. She's headed off to Indiana Academy at the end of the month, so we'll have this happening even more infrequently soon. However they do have extended home weekends from the school (quite a few of them) where they have to be off campus for a three-day weekend. As for the game itself, I've introduced all of the other students as well as most of the teaching faculty. They explored on campus and managed to get chased by the Big Bad Wolf. The explored around a bit more, eventually finding so pretty clear evidence about the magical nature of the school. Eventually they confronted the Headmaster with that and suggested that understanding that moved them to a new stage of their learning-- one which would teach them to use their powers but would also make them more vulnerable to some of the strangeness of the school. I ended last session with a cliff-hanger-- as they see one of their fellow students sneaking off along a moonlight bridge. They're unsure if she's running away or doing something else and have decided to follow her.

Wushu: I'm pretty pleased with both the mechanics and background I've been able to develop for this in under a month. Mind you I had some of that sketched out, but I'm happy with the adaptations I've done. My plan is to have the game set up for easy drop in of Dusty and Gene when they can make it-- or for other guest spots as needed. We have four players at the table and did the character creation this last Saturday. Kenny's taken a classic warrior, with some nice detail he's built in to his background. I'm looking forward to playing off of his disadvantages. Scott's a Scholar focusing on elemental magics. He's got a nice personality set up for his character-- a little shy/fearful of strong and/or beautiful women since he was kidnapped by an Ice Queen in his youth. Sherri's doing a classic Courtier and a tag-along who's very excited to be going on the big adventure. Brandy's doing another scholar, but an alchemist focusing on pulling potions out of her enormous bag to fling at the bad guys. Again I'm looking forward to playing out some combats here to make sure I've balanced things correctly. I've changed a number of the primary variables in the system. Theoretically they should shake out fine-- but I've also got some ideas on how to make minor modifications, depending on how it falls. I'm pretty pleased with the breadth of character choices-- from magic to diplomacy to combat styles. Certainly everything's not tweaked to perfect balance but I'm hopeful it will run smoothly in play. I think the way to picture this is as a kind of superhero game in a historical-esque setting.

Third Continent: I still need a better name for this campaign. We're a little early in to read the full theme of the game. I previously ran a campaign which began in the same place they're in now, so I can't call it the Pavis Campaign. In any case, as promised, I did a prologue set of sessions in which I burned their village to the ground. They saw the faces of their adversaries, the major villainous NPCs of the Godchainers. We then jumped forward five years with the players drawing random cards (good, bad, and neutral) describing events which had happened to them in the interim. Everyone did an excellent job integrating those things into their character conception. Right now we've just started the first adventure/exploration bloc-- with them heading out into the badlands. We had a couple of great scenes last time, between NPC interactions, Will's calling of the dead, and Alan's liquoring up the potentially dangerous Storm Bull cultist. I'm pretty pleased with how things look here-- but I want to see a couple of combats to make sure the mechanics shake out as I hope they will. We'd normally be playing this weekend, but we're bumping that a week because of the various upcoming complications with my mom's surgery and prep for that.

Changeling: Moving forward on things here. The players made their choices about which Courts to join up with. I'm pretty pleased with how those structures have fallen out. We have the first real encounter with a fetch, as Black Annie ended up placed in a particularly difficult situation by hers. We haven't touched on the other fetches yet, but we'll get to those. Evan's had some interesting character interactions-- including some tie backs to his own overlord from the Hedge. He's also run tangentially to a couple of other plots. We're seeing his interactions with some of the other strong male characters within the Freehold. Sarah's trying to get her hospital set up and figure out some details from the past. That plus the difficult balance with a particular NPC and his fetch has been some strong character work. Pisca slew me with his adventure checking out the lost cache of the former Smith of the Freehold-- that ended up being a great scene. We also had a nice investigative track that gave us a nice scene with school NPCs. I think most importantly we had some payoff for some of the threads the group had been tugging on last session. They'd been working from several directions trying to uncover the identity of the mysterious headmaster of their school. He turned up-- primarily because they'd been doing that. He provided answers, but as always some more questions. Strikingly, when offered the removal of the group geas/bond they suffered under, they refused. I thought I'd get at least one or two considering the offer more visibly at the table-- or I even thought they might take it up en masse for the freedom it would have afforded them, but they declined.

Libri Vidicos: Well, we hit the end of volume two of this series. In my head I have the campaign structured around the five class years of the school-- like the HP series. I have a general arc in mind for each year. This year I had some driving forces as well as an end scene strongly in my head. However the actions and interactions of the group significantly shifted the course of the story. I'm always pleased when that happens. They ended up changing the driving force of one of the NPCs-- putting him into a more proactive mode rather than reactive-- for the better for the group in the long run. I still had various threads that got cut and some that got retied in other places. I'll admit I had a hard time juggling the events this year, but I'm pleased with where we've ended up.

The last session saw them racing towards the big climax. Sokka's character finally had a face-to-face confrontation with his father. That revealed more about his familial relations and his connection to the school. It brought out more questions, but answered some significant ones. One NPC they had with them, Mercer Spoon, I'd come into the session not intending to kill. However the cards fell out badly for him, giving him a fairly dramatic death in which he managed to temporarily neutralize Sokka's father. The group did well in that scene-- coordinating their efforts and magics. However a number of them got pretty banged up there. Following that we had a couple of encounter puzzles which they managed to work through pretty quickly, but still made them think. Then we got to the big fight. And they pulled out a couple of tricks I hadn't foreseen-- actually quite clever things. The major bad there didn't want Scott's character harmed for some reason, so Scott dropped illusions of himself across the entire party. A few of the bigger bads could see through, but it kept the lesser figures from attacking anyone aggressively. They also managed to pop the mind control on a few students who were there-- which I'd intended as another line of stopping them.

Still-- a nasty fight that they managed to get through. They got out the people they needed to get to safety and took out some major hitters. In some cases, they also took significant damage. I came into the evening with the idea that players could die during this session-- it would be a good place for a heroic death. And I did come close in a couple of cases. However we had some big fallout from the session in any case-- closure to some questions and hints about other threads. The most significant event may have been the death of the Headmaster, Gravast Direlond. The mover behind many of the events and an ambiguous figure, his death dramatically changes the stakes of the game. We'll see this coming session exactly what impact that will have. I see this next session as the coda for the year-- going through the various changes and setting up for summer and the next year. We also lost Lady Ardani, another major NPC, with the revelation of her role in the headmaster's plans. That will have some fallout for some of the other NPCs on campus related to her. I'm looking forward to some of that, even as I'm a little saddened to see three major NPCs plus a major NPC villain die in a session.

Couple of more rpg posts coming up (at least in my head)-- talking about the evolution of the shared world I've been running, some campaign post-mortems, and the role of being wrong in rpgs.