We played our first game in June, so it was a bit hazy. Luckily, it was a good stopping point, jumping to another world aboard an artifact throne. I asked folks to remember moments where they felt their character come forward and that led to a fun discussion about things we did in the last session.
We ended on the Throne of Air, with young Mallory, a runaway squire from a Temple of Telak (“No, it is tel-AK.”) the Swordbringer asking the artifact to bring them somewhere cool. I said that we’d start the game at the Temple of Ten Thousand Swords but I think there is an adventure with that name already, so in an ancient tongue, ten thousand is shorthand for, more swords than is reasonable to count. Many.
A nameless Necromancer with a co-dependent ghost named Rory, a Nunslinger named Sister Falconius Silvanus and Adamson ‘The Kraken’ Mallory, runaway temple knight of Telak the Swordbringer found themselves in a mountain range, near a temple. Mallory could tell it was a Telakite temple but something seemed off.
Last time we played I rolled dice and inserted factions based on the d66 character types but this time I knew I wanted a temple to Telak the Swordbringer but with a dragon sleeping in it. When I opened the book to look over some rules, I found the Vengeful Child character type. Instead of making a mad libs and rolling dice, I wrote:
Vengeful Children are running amok, wanting to kill the dragon and avenge the burning and pillaging of their town.
BLANK has a spy among the Telakite Monks.
Telakite Sword-Monks are trying to avert the dragons’ wrathful awakening.
I grabbed a map from the amazing Dyson Logos and did a touch of editing. More on editing next time, we ended this session in the midst of some Big Decisions. When we sat down, I filled in the BLANK and it fit into the
story whole mess perfectly.
I knew I’d need to make swords and so I made three tables.
Shit, do I now need a table of elements? Sure. Do I need two tables of elements? Yes.
These were dropped into a pretty format for the blog but were just jotted down into my notebook quickly so that I could get this thing down in hopes of getting in a workout and a shower before the game (I got both in!).
I only used the tables once during the game. When they met their first vengeful child, I decided that he had grabbed a sword off the wall and rolled. I got a katana that I called Spring Blossoms on the Wall. Later in the game, when Mallory would use this magical katana to try to thwart a 13 year old girl with a longsword from stabbing the abbot, he’d fail his roll. I asked if he wanted to Try His Luck and see if he could activate the sword’s arcane power. He declined, not wanting to hurt her by accident, which I really liked – felt like a soulful, very real reaction.
The posse we’ve made are in their teens and early twenties and they feel very young. We laugh a whole lot at their shenanigans but it isn’t goofy. There is an emotional core there that I dig. Sister Falconius is a kind of old, cool sister with a laser pistol. The Necromancer without a name who is in an unhealthy relationship with a ghost feels so very much like a young woman before she comes into her own. Mallory is the teenage boy who wants to see the dragon, even though it might spell death for the entire party, because its cool. He carries around swords and has spent his life worshipping a sword-god but isn’t good at swordplay.
They are a hot mess and I adore these teens. Will we see them grow up? Will they survive?
Even without dragons, how did any of us survive those decades growing up?
For whatever reason, I don’t like the roll under option and use the versus roll for everything. I need to think through what exactly I’m doing when I do that and write that down.
As the game began, I wasn’t sure how the Vengeful Children were doing as they tore through the Temple. I rolled 2d6 for the Sword-Monks and another 2d6 for the Vengeful Children. It was clear that the Sword-Monks had the upper hand and so the game began with a few monks tossing out a bruised and battered kid. I used those numbers I initially rolled for the first few conflicts where the characters tried to use their skills to get some kind of upper hand.
At one point, Sister Falconius tried to kneecap a Sword-Monk and failed the roll. A miss felt wrong. She shot the monk in the head, killing them instantly and accidentally. The monks dropped their staves and put their hands up after that but I feel like we’ll need to see a consequence of that death at some point. I’ve got ideas. I want failed rolls with firearms to be messy affairs.
This is what happens when you send teens out into the worlds with only laser pistols, swords and necromancy to solve their problems but they also have tools, right out of the Troika! chargen that are better suited for solving actual problems – skills like Awareness, Etiquette and Relationship Counseling.
When we left the group, they had the vengeful children and the Sword-Monks rounded up. The abbot had been stabbed by a child. The six-step countdown clock for the dragon waking up had a few ticks on it. As always, I have no idea where this is going.
After our next game I’ll write about how this mess resolved and will also peel back the curtain more on the prep without worrying about spoiling any sense of mystery for friends at the table.
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