Dragonslayers: Consequences to telling off a dragon

Dragonslayers: Consequences to telling off a dragon

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.

From Last Game
PIC: Cool-ass dragon eye made from an alligator eye pic.
TEXT: Dragonslayers / Military fantasy built on Into the Odd

Jay couldn’t make it, so we played for about an hour and then pumped the brakes a bit.

I was more than ready for Draven to die but that wasn’t what the fickle Dice Gods had in store for him today.

Draven had explosives divvied up into small packets and he threw those into the unaware archers, who were looking up to the bridge, expecting a larger battalion of soldiers brave enough to face down Young Storm, the blue dragon. I had Draven roll a d12 and the archers, caught flat-footed and unaware as they were only rolled a d4. The d12 did 10 points of damage, decimating the 20 archers and the squire who led them. They weren’t all dead, just not ready to organize as a group of soldiers until someone came and took control.

That said, Draven failed his Strength test and so he took Critical Damage, falling unconscious. I might’ve missed a roll on a critical damage table, something to watch out for next time. Long-story-short, Draven was captured, thrown into the brig with the Gyphon riders they were here to save.

Meanwhile, Drifter was in the Dragon dreams when the explosives went off. Young Storm followed his father’s instructions, getting the eff out of there. Drifter had one-on-one time with The Dragon in the Dragon Dreams. Looking back, I wish I had taken some time to describe that a bit better – something to watch out for next time in the Dragon Dreams, a missed opportunity to describe the villain of the story. Drifter sold himself as a Dragonsworn spy, built on the reputation he had as the Betrayer of Green Devil Gorge.

Some fun back and forth between Draven and the Gryphon Riders. “Wait, aren’t you a rider? Which unit were you with?”

“7th Courier.”

“Fucking couriers…”

Spear Subject Divider


Playing the turncoat to the hilt, Drifter got into the brig with the Dragon-knight he had seen in the Dragon Dreams. Draven and Drifter jumped the knight, using the chaos from the grenade and the decimated unit still trying to put itself back together outside. We rolled some dice and they stabbed the knight and got the riders to their flying steeds, letting them know to meet them at Crone’s Pass.

Drifter had an ability from chargen, Summon the Saint of Goats. We pictured a non-Satanic Black Phillip vibe and they got help climbing out of the Green Devil Gorge.

I like the way the dice all roll at once and we look at the damage and figure out what it all means. It feels like the Fair and Clear phase dice rolling from early Forge games. The damage and people’s hit points all make for a visceral result in ways that are always interesting.

I’m also digging the way the d66 tables from chargen have added spice to this stew.

Next week we’ll head northwest towards Crone’s Pass, avoiding the dragon’s forces who will be on high alert after this flagrant act of rebel terrorism.

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Dragonslayers Character Creation & First Session

Dragonslayers Character Creation & First Session

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…

PIC: Cool-ass dragon eye made from an alligator eye pic.
TEXT: Dragonslayers / Military fantasy built on Into the Odd

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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Dragonslayers: military fantasy built on Into the Odd

Dragonslayers: military fantasy built on Into the Odd

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…

Dragonslayers / Military fantasy built on Into the Odd

Red dragon's yellow eye, built digitally from a crocodile eye

I made 4 different d66 tables, one for each front of the war. The Northern Front is where the dragon’s lair, a front where mountain pass battles with dragon knights and very possible engagement from The Dragon itself. The Southern Front isn’t a proper front, but where a city-state is, where lots of intelligence battles and back-alley knife fights occurred – the only battle mentioned on the Southern Front’s d66 tables is The Knight of a Thousand Knives. The Eastern Front is where the Green Devil Gorge is located, lots of hit and run battles in the hills and gorges, trying to make a dent in the Dragon’s overland merchant caravans. The Western Front is the Riverlands, covered in fortresses and castles, lots of prolonged sieges, starvation and fallen walls.

The characters got one free roll on any of the fronts of their choice and then got another roll for every 1 or 2 they rolled when rolling up their 3 stats, HP and Gold. We ended up with interesting characters who had an array of gear, named weapons, magical abilities, reputations (some well earned, some not so much), intelligence and contacts. I had a vague idea about getting more rolls through trying to level up and possibly taking scars but nixed it as too complicated; we had more than enough rolls on the evocative d66 tables.

One of the players had a child as a kind of contact/NPC/ally and I realized that, in a brutal war story, that could be a really poor choice. We X-carded it and had them roll again. Moving forward, I’ll take those options off the chart and come up with something better.

We had to cut the first session off early so we made characters, described said characters and the players decided that the first mission would be rescuing a unit of gryphon riders and their steeds who are held captive in a fort in the Green Devil Gorge. I wanted that first mission to come to them, not that I think any of these folks are going to have any trouble being proactive.

I’ve got ideas on statting out the dragons and some houserules on characters gaining more hit-points but more on system stuff later as it migrates from my ink in my notebook to a Google Doc. Looking forward to seeing this shake out at the table.

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