Aeric got in the weay of Floki the Berserker when the red mist was upon him and took a knife in the gut for his troubles. Floki was bereft at having stabbed his grandmother-in-law’s trusted huscarl.
Aeric’s wound festered. I wrote up a countdown clock, advancing it when he made a roll. First, he had visitation/hallucination from/of the dead earl he served. Then he was Doomed, -1 to his Wyrd. Then he could see the dead, which came upon him on the Howling Mountain, at Floki’s duel with Mord One-eye’s son, Attar the Slayer. Now he is about to marry Mord’s daughter and if someone doesn’t do something, he will surely perish.
Hrefna Rolfsdottir led her family through its struggle with Mord’s nearby boys after having a dream that her late husband walked into her home and warned her that blood was coming. She told tales of the old days, raised her voice to Thorkil the Godi in front of everyone at the Howling Mountain. He later asked if she would marry him, saying that he would be near her steading in the summer to receive an answer.
Yrsa slept with her aunt’s husband again, Ulf the Fair. Her aunt told her that the first time they slept together, it was because she wanted her niece to know something about love-play but the second time was a mistake. Yrsa handed out wyrd proclomations, visited the House of the Unborn and warned Aeric of his doom.
Great stuff, fun times.
So, to start, I made sure the players made a family unit, rather than a group of tossed together murder-hobos. No “I’m a Wanderer and I’m a Monster and I’m a Woman…we fight crime!” We immediately started filling out who was related and how. I asked lots of questions and the relationships do much of the heavy lifting once the playbooks were chosen.
The nicknames were really valuable for giving each character a spark, something to build with and add depth to through play.
I jotted down an ugly map with their steading and their neighbors and family members’ steadings along with a ruined monastery and the Howling Mountain, where the local community gathers under the Godi when the spring comes.
I jotted down names and shared them so people could connect them to their relationships while they made their characters.
Mord One-eye was the leader of the rival neighboring family whose homes were all built around Dark Fate Lake (“It sounds cooler in Icelandic.” “Do you speak Icelandic?” “No.”).
The violence is so fast and brutal but I did not fear a deadly result like I have with AW and DW. I’m not sure why that was. Death can be a real source of anxiety to me as a GM/MC/whatever but not in this game. I’ll come back to that later, I’m sure.
We had about a dozen names written down and I tossed in trouble. Floki the Berserker had killed one of Mord’s son-in-laws and 4 of his thralls when Floki found them on his land. Floki is married to Asa the Tall, who was Rich’s character, the Grandmother of the family. Asa is the eldest and her husband is introverted and awkward until the red mist rage is on him.
The rest of the game was sorting out that mess, simple situations became really complicated. Ulf got Yrsa pregnant when he found her nearly freezing to death in the wilderness. Yrsa is an odd seer, because she has a view into the otherworld and the wyrd but she’s a naive young girl. I’m curious to see that play out and see her grow.
Rob did a great job keeping his prophecies vague but ominous, with little specific details to latch onto.
Aeric’s relationships allowed Nick to set his character up with a real hum-dinger of a problem, where Mord One-Eye had incited him and done him wrong but he was in love with Mord’s daughter and wanted to marry her. It was that friction that caused Aeric to get between Mord and Floki in the midst of Floki’s berserker rage, take a knife to the gut and slowly start to die.
Rich held the game together with his Matriarch. Sometimes he would sit by and not much would happen with her and then, all at once, everyone would go to her for guidance and it would be up to her to set things in motion and make the big decisions.
Now I am writing fronts, thinking about some custom moves and countdown clocks, looking forward to the next session, where we might be adding a few players who could not make it to the first game. Should be interesting.
If you add a new player I’d strongly suggest letting them pick from the built and implied relationships already in the game..
I posted about a small piece of my thoughts on the session: https://plus.google.com/u/0/115105688391873512546/posts/7CRkLJ7Yr6e
Murder-hobos!! Also, this game’s moved from “interesting” to “must-buy”. Hooray!
I was avoiding the murder-hobo phenomenon…that was clear, yes?