The Dragon and its children, personifications of greed and power, rule this area by tooth, claw and fire along with their dragon knights (knights in cool dragon-adorned armor) and loyal bureaucrats and dragonsworn nobles. The player characters were a part of a resistance, a rebel force that fought the Dragon and its armies on 4 brutal fronts and lost. Now they are all that’s left…
Paraphrasing what it says in the PDF below, I asked the players to roll up their Strength, Dex, Will, HP and Coin, marking down anytime they get a 1 or 2. Those 1’s and 2’s allowed for extra rolls on the d66 tables below. The tables coincide with different fronts of the war against the dragon and its forces. They can choose whichever front interests them for each roll. The characters had terrible stats, so there were lots of rolls on the tables.
Moving forward, I’ll have an equipment package with each front, asking the player to choose which one, of the fronts they rolled on, that they get. I also have an odd idea of someone who has ZERO 1’s and 2’s in their character creation having a reputation as some kind of prophesied Chosen One, with no mechanical back-up but some in-setting awe and maybe a little fear.
I had evocative stuff on the tables and did not define any of it. At the time I thought I didn’t define it because I was getting this playable fast but after a session of play, I like that the players define it.
Jay‘s character, Adler, had General’s Red Right Hand as a reputation. Jay defined that as having a rep for being a killer but the truth of it is that he killed someone assaulting him entirely by accident, a kind of reverse John Wick-pencil-situation.
Aaron’s character, Drift, had a reputation of being the Betrayer of Green Devil Gorge and Aaron defined that as meaning he had leaked intel to the dragon’s knights to draw them into a battle where the rebellion had an advantage but in doing so fed another group of rebels into the dragon’s maw, hoping for a good trade but in the end, both groups of rebels were destroyed.
Jim defined a contact as a talking green devil-bat, somehow related to the Green Devil and defined his Manticore Spear as having spikes that cause extra wounds when they meet flesh.
The map is set and the situation is firm but the players get to define things on their character sheets. Everyone assuming that Adler is some kind of bad-ass assassin while he insists that he is just a tailor is so much fun. The world has gained lots of details and richness from discussions about what different reputations, weapons and magic abilities mean. I’m there to offer ideas if needed because I definitely have ideas but also like it when the setting goes into areas I had not anticipated from character definitions.
We played our first session today. I wasn’t sure until we started if I was going to start the mission Blades in the Dark-style and start at the fort where the captured gryphon-riders and their gryphons were being held with a roll to see the starting situation. As it was, I’m glad I didn’t. Going through check-points through the Green Devil Gorge, meeting soldiers and dragonknights and their squires helped get a feel for the world and the characters. The players weren’t planning things to death.
When I wasn’t exactly sure how someone would react, I’d make a reaction roll and if a player did something that I just wasn’t exactly sure how an enemy would react, I’d ask for a Willpower check. When Draven pushed his ass-kissing to a dragonknight at the first gate, the Greengate, a little too far, everyone winced noticeably and I asked for a roll. It was a failure, so the knight sent word ahead to the next gate and that gate really took their faux merchant cart apart and asked lots of questions.
Drifter’s reputation as the Betrayer of Green Devil Gorge got him into the good graces of the Twingate’s knight, getting them out of trouble. They stayed at Twingate for a few days, letting Adler do some needed mending and gathering intel. I asked for a Willpower roll to see how the intel gathering went and it was a successful roll. I gave a broad overview of the soldiers and then dropped the big into bomb on them – The Young Storm, one of the Dragon’s own spawn, would be coming through the Green Devil Gorge to check on things.
I rolled once a day of travel time to see if the dragon arrived and when they got to Sixbridge, the bridge above the fort where the soldiers and their gryphons are being held, I rolled double 6’s. The Young Storm flew by and Jim said, “Fuck you.” I asked him if Draven said that. He said that he did say that. Maybe it was because Jim’s mic was a little louder than the others. Maybe it was because Smaug had amazing hearing. The Young Storm wheeled around in the sky to attack the person who dared drop an eff-bomb at him.
Aaron and Jay watched, awestruck, as the dragon and Draven tilted, the Young Storm breathing lighting on the fearless rebel. I could’ve easily killed him in those rolls but I didn’t, just took him down to 0 HP.
Aaron described Drifter’s eyes going white as his eyes rolled up and he went into Dragon Dreams. Wtf are Dragon Dreams? I decided they were how the dragons communicate and their most trusted knights had the ability. The Young Storm’s knight had entered the dream to talk to The Dragon and report that his son had been attacked.
The Dragon ordered his son to retreat to Tensgate and let his knights deal with whoever it was who had the audacity to attack a dragon. The son thinks it is an agent of the Manticore, based on the spear Draven had from chargen.
Adler, insisting that he’s just a tailor, is on the edge of the bridge, watching the Young Storm glide in the distance on thermals. Drifter is on the cobblestones of the bridge nearby, in Dragon Dreams. Draven, with a successful Dex check, has dropped from the netting meant to keep the gryphons penned in into a tree and to the floor of the gorge, where dragonsworn archers have their eyes looking up, trying to suss out who is brazen enough to attack the young dragon.
And that is where we’ll start next week. I have no idea what is going to happen. Can’t wait.
The above PDF is a rough playtest doc with only a first shot at writing down character creation.
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