A collection of rambling posts about gaming, running, and politics. (and, in 2009, photography.)

Monday, June 19, 2006

running and tSoY

Weekend festivities! WooHoo!

Saturday morning Krissi and I got up and were over at Maddie's place at 6. Jason met us there. Maddie and I went on a run, while Krissi and Jason walked, and we all did a 10 mile track. Good stuff. I'm hoping that I do not develop a splint or anything from it.

Saturday afternoon we gathered at my house to try out The Shadow of Yesterday. Jason and Krissi were present, but Maddie was home catching up on lost sleep. Still we had a good time.

Jason came up with a stealthy and deceitful human character, and we set Krissi up with a warrior-woman type of character. Winging it, I told them they were bandits, who preyed off of those who were unable to keep ahold of their valuables. They were in the forest of Khale, and had gotten word that a small village held a valuable ruby. Off they went to the village, and found the elder's hut. It was night. We started rolling dice. The door was held closed by a latch inside, and Jason wanted to defeat the lock. We decided on stakes, if successful, the door was open, if unsuccessful, the lock remained fastened, and there was a chance of waking the occupant. In retrospect, I probably should have made the failure stakes that they had defeated the lock, but that it had a chance of waking the occupant. But on a second attempt Jason got the door open. Now they stood in the entryway to a dark hut, which appeared to be two rooms. They were after the ruby. I asked what they wanted to do. They were interested in finding the ruby, but I explained that they were moving into a dark hut and had no idea of the obstacles or layout etc. After a moment, they decided that they would try to find the elder in his bed and knock him out, so that they could interrogate him. I had them roll, with I think 1 penalty dice. The stakes, I think, were success = finding the elder in his bed, failure = waking him and him sounding the alarm (I was ratcheting up the stakes a little). They rolled and were successful, so found him sleeping in bed. Krissi wanted to knock him out with her spear, with which she got a bonus dice anyway. Stakes were either knocking him out cold, or not, and him rising and sounding the alarm. *Thump* he was out cold (and Krissi got XP- Key of Bloodlust). They bound him and turned the light on to search the place. Just when they were certain that the ruby was not hidden in the hut, they discovered a locked box hidden in the floor. A roll later, Jason had opened it and inside discovered.................. a human skull. The roused the tied up elder and asked about the ruby. After some resistance he told them that it was in a locked box in the floor... and countered that it was not, and what was the skull all about? The elder looked horrified, and said that the Forest King must have taken it. The Forest King, he explained, was an evil sorcerer of the woods, who would kill or steal, and leave a skull behind. Our heros, er, villans, whatever, decided to head out and look for a sorcerer with a ruby.

Out in the woods, they made camp, only to be awakened by the sound of people in the woods. They saw three people carrying sacks, and called out to them. The three ran. Krissi and Jason wanted to stop them, and so Krissi threw her spear, while Jason threw a dagger. Dice were rolled, and two of the three were winged and fell (xp for Krissi). They went and questioned the two, who warned Jason and Krissi that they were messing with the Forest King. Jason told them that they were also in the service of the Forest King (xp for Jason- Key of Impersonation). After a bit of arguing, the four of them headed toward the Forest King's camp. After they passed into a marked area, obviously growing close to the camp, our adventurers decided it was time to take out their two charges. Dice were rolled and down they went (xp for Krissi). They snuck further in, but were not especially sneaky and were called out by a pair of guards with crossbows. Again, Jason insisted that they were supposed to be here (xp for Jason) and managed to convince the guards. Krissi lured them off, and with a brilliant ability stacking, got herself into position and then took both guards out with a smooth sweep of her spear (xp for Krissi). They continued into the camp. They now saw a small but busy village, hidden away in the trees. Jason used his Secret of Contacts, and bumped right into his second cousin. Jason told him that he was here doing odd jobs (xp for Jason) since he was no longer with the Thieves Guild (xp for Jason - Key of the Outcast). They agree'd to meet up later at the meeting hall in the center of the village. Looking for the Forest King, they headed to the only two story structure in the village, the meeting hall near the center. Inside on the first floor, they found a large meeting hall that doubled as the watering hole. It was one huge open room, with fireplaces, benches and tables, and a set of stairs going up to the second floor. There were a small number of people at the tables, apparently enjoying themselves and some grog. They went straight for the stairs, and told the guard at the foot of the stairs that they had been attacked outside the camp and were told to report to the Forest King. The guard gave them a funny look and asked if they'd spoken to their captain, and who was their captain? The dice came out. Jason wanted to convince the guard that they were supposed to be there (and then to convince him to let them upstairs), and the guard wanted to ascertain whether they were supposed to be there or not. It was Jason's deceit vs the guard's um, truth detection or something. Well the dice were not in Jason's favor this time, and he lost the conflict, by two points even. We took the chance to Bring Down the Pain. The stakes were: Jason would convince the guard that he was supposed to be here, or the guard would divine that they were NOT supposed to be here and sound the alarm. Now we broke it down, and this is where I'm not sure if we did BDtP correctly or not. Anyway, not knowing how to really further refine those stakes, we started rolling. We figured this was Parallel. We figured they could do these at the same time, Jason trying to convince the guard, while guard tries to see through his facade. Either way, it worked out pretty well, we rolled dice, Jason took 1 point of harm, and the guard took 3, as Jason apparently was doing a good job of convincing him. Another round, and the guard managed to inflict no harm, and Jason inflicted 1 more harm. The guard backed down, satisfied (or cowed) that Jason was indeed supposed to be here. (xp for Jason) Next Jason and Krissi quizzed him about the Forest King, certain that they were about to be able to meet the mysterious sorcerer of the woods. The guard said, "There he is." and pointed across the room to a fellow with his head in his arms, snoring softly at a table full of rough looking fellows.

Our heros walked over and plopped down next to the sleeping fellow, and Jason immediately put his hand in the guys pocket, looking for a ruby or some keys. Instead, someone grabbed his collar from behind and pulled him off of the bench, demanding to know what the hell he though that he was doing. Jason, being fairly quick - told the burly fellow that he was just trying to collect some money. Jason did a good job of passing it off, and then they engaged the rest of the table in rowdy conversation as the sleeping fellow woke and demanded more grog. It turned out the sleeping fellow, who they continued to refer to as "King" was a guy named Dave, an accountant. Actually he was the Accounting Captain, so he was an important enough person, but he wasnt quite a king of anything.

We left off there, as we were running out of time, and I needed to be able to prepare some more cleverness for these players.

During a brief intermission in play, I'd asked the two players what they thought of the system. They both said that they liked it. They both seemed to like the dice mechanic. They both liberally spent their Gift Dice, and I'm certain Krissi ran out, and Jason probably did too. Krissi didnt know that Gift Dice did not refresh so quickly though. I went ahead and let them refresh some pools during the meeting hall scene. Jason got involved in a game of darts and refreshed his Instinct, while Krissi caroused and carried on with the accountant and the folks at the table, refreshing her Vigor and Instinct. After the game I quizzed them more about their experience with the game and system. I asked point blank if there was anything system related that they disliked or thought would be better some other way, and they both shook their heads. I asked what they did like, and they immediately volunteererd that they liked the xp system. Jason had managed to really ding his keys, and was holding 10 xp at the end of play, which I think took us about 3-4 hours, even with small breaks. Krissi hit her keys well early on, but ran out of opportunity once they got into the camp, and was holding 5 xp at the end of play. I think they really picked up quickly on the Keys idea. Secrets worked pretty well but did not end up being used alot, though both Jason and Krissi managed to use their Secrets. Conflict resolution flew, and was great. I'm really excited for myself and my players that we seemed to do some fun and interesting things with stakes and conflict resolutions. Bringing Down the Pain was an interesting concept to the players. I think they were skeptical of it, being from more traditional role playing stock, but Jason seemed to enjoy his spotlight during the BDtP.

So.. two thumbs up! I'm looking forward to trying to do some more with it next weekend, and we'll see if our third player can join us :)

Before closing (and since I'm now a day or two later posting than I'd intended to be) I should mention that I've gotten a pair of new running shoes. My old ones were, I think, at the end of their useful life. They're Brooks, same as my old pair, but these are an awesome Sunray color. I'm a big nerd [PDF].

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