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Cam­paign So Far 6 years 8 months ago #3436

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Hello,
For those who might be inter­ested, I will attempt to post a Cam­paign Sum­mary.
I can only do a sum­mary, as my writ­ing skills are not up to a detailed recount.
But it can be assumed, there was plenty of detail going on.
My group is one on one. Refer to other posts as to my par­tic­u­lar play­ers sit­u­a­tion.
My player requested a Star Trek Voy­ager type game. My take was Dying Earth — Cud­gel saga.

Started with a res­i­dent of the Shin­ing Hills Xoth.
He trav­elled to a nearby town with a major fes­ti­val.
He needed a patron to par­tic­i­pate in the games and was recruited by a mage of ill-​repute in town.
Dur­ing the series of games, he became falsely accused of attempt­ing to rob/​or kill the mage.
Along with another man who was caught try­ing to rob the mage (game mas­ter con­trolled char­ac­ter), the mage in typ­i­cal mage like jus­tice, sum­moned a demon to trans­port the two to some hell­ish other plane.
The Demon, seek­ing escape from its servi­tude, instead took the player’s to a des­o­late ‘hell­ish’ beach, in the King­dom of Nabastis.
My GMing inpira­tion for this part came from a pub­lished series of Adven­tures pub­lished for Dying Earth RPG, called the Foot­steps of Fools series.

Escap­ing from their cage after a ardu­ous flight across the land and sea. With a promise to seek aid to help free the Demon.
They moved down the coast and came across a Mage/​Scholars home near a town and became involved in events there.
Again using details from the Foot­steps of Fool.
Even­tu­ally they had to flee the area and make there way west down the coast.

I set Nabastis in the mid­dle of a bloody civil war, called the Hun­dred Kings War, as any­body with enough power attempted to increase there reach.
Inspi­ra­tion taken from Conan RPG, Zin­gara.
Book series by Mark Lawrence, Prince of Thorns etc.
They were cap­tured by forces of a.…

Allan
Mourn for us oppressed in fear
Chained and shack­led we are bound
Free­dom choked in dread we live
Since Tyrant was enthroned
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Cam­paign So Far 6 years 8 months ago #3437

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…Petty war­lord.
At about this part of the game, we were joined by a new player.
Dur­ing there incar­cer­a­tion, they learned that the man was plan­ning an attack on his ances­tral city, that his fam­ily had been forced to leave as out­casts.
They encoun­tered his secret ally; an aquatic race of shark­men, who where going to launch a sur­prise sea­ward attack, this would dis­tract the city defend­ers enough to help the Lord gain entry over the walls.
The PC’s also encoun­tered a grim Priest of a reli­gion called the ‘Red Right Hand’, with part of his attire a sev­ered right hand hang­ing around his neck. He wanted the PC pris­on­ers as part of some proph­esy. (At this stage I had no idea what I was on about just mak­ing stuff up)
The Lord offered the PC’s a choice; either be handed over to the priest or per­form a covert oper­a­tion (paid) into the cities har­bour, through the sew­ers to the palaces under­ground vault, there to guard it until the Lords troops could relieve them. Then they were free to go. Much dis­trust was evi­dent on the PC’s part, but they went with the mis­sion.
The priest was annoyed, but marked them with a magic tat­too on there chest of a red hand.

Back­track; before there cap­ture, as they trav­elled down the coast, they wit­nessed a ship out at sea sud­denly attacked by crea­tures com­ing up out of the water.
Inspi­ra­tion for this part was com­ing from; again one of the chap­ters of the Foot­steps of Fools (much changed).
And, a gam­ing prod­uct called Razor Coast.
I should also men­tion, that a lot of my descrip­tion of the land, had lots of old gigan­tic ruins — stat­ues — roads — etc

The PC’s are then taken to the cap­tured ship (see above), still awash in blood stains), sailed down the coast to the city. At dawn they are placed aboard a row boat and towed by the shark­men into the har­bour.
GM’s ratio­nal for PC’s doing this mis­sion and not the Lords troops, was it was con­sid­ered sui­cide. Also the shark­men could not get close to the poi­soned sewer out­let or even ven­ture inside.
Small Digres­sion; I should point out that as a GM I have always need believ­able rea­son for things to hap­pen. This can be a real down­fall some­times as I read gam­ing mate­r­ial that just does not make sense. If I cared less like obvi­ously a large part of the gam­ing com­mu­nity, I could use a lot more mate­r­ial. Case in point, the Razor Coast men­tioned above had prob­lems — all this pirate activ­ity, yet the set­ting is across the other side of a ocean with no ship traf­fic etc??? Another prod­uct I just bought from Dri­veThru called Red Tide by Sine Nomine, after (for me) a long debate whether to get it, if inter­est find my reveiw under the name Jar­ick Prewett (he bought it for me as a christ­mas present).

One of the few games I have never had a prob­lem with is Harn.

Any­way back to the story and another small point about the set­ting I was work­ing up. I had planted the info that this land at some time in the past had seen an eso­teric war fought between mages with allies from other planes/​realms. As a result there is a lot of Sub-​Men or Half-​Men races about, liv­ing in the wilder­ness etc (cre­ated by mages in vats for fight­ing or what­ever task a mage wanted — again thanks to Dying Earth). Like Mer­maids (which the play­ers had seen at a dis­tance). This is again taken from the Dying Earth by Jack Vance.
Enroute into the har­bour, there is sud­den com­mo­tion around the boat and then a mer­maid flops over the side with a bite injury, other heads pop up around the boat, I was going with Half-​Men, so Mer­maids are not the same as leg­end, but more fish like, I think I went with Turtle-​men and some­thing else.
Any­way, she gasps out a mes­sage that the Shark­men are only help­ing the Lord as they are look­ing for an ances­tral item stolen by a Human thief and believed to be in the city. (Again taken from Razor Coast). If they find it, don’t give it to them…
Then she has to leave, as the Shark­men regroup and start to attack back.
The Shark­men regain con­trol of the boat and tow it to the sewer grate, that they have already weak­ened dur­ing high tide, but that is as far as they can get with the foul water.

PC’s gain entry to the sew­ers and fol­low­ing direc­tions pro­ceed to the vault/​crypt under the palace. They could have devi­ated to lead them into side plots about the Shark­mens ances­tral arti­fact and another plot con­cern­ing a hid­den mages lab­o­ra­tory. But they did nei­ther, but went straight to the vault.
Had a fight with city guard sent to make sure the way was clear so that some­one from the palace could empty the vault . Even­tu­ally relieved by the Lords sol­diers and they decide to go back through the sew­ers, as they did not trust the Lord.
Tak­ing the boat they beached along the coast a bit and wit­nessed the sack­ing of the city, espe­cially the Shark­men, who had rounded up a bunch of vic­tims on a barge soaked in oil and demand­ing the thief return there stolen goods. (For me, I fig­ured the thief had spells that allowed him to breath under water and this would have come to light if they had fol­lowed that sewer). The Shark­men then torched the barge. Then the player see a group of rid­ers form­ing up at the city gates with a priest of The Red Right Hand lead­ing them, who points in there direc­tion.

They flee…

I should point out, that as a GM I have never been one to come up with my own adven­tures very eas­ily. That is until I really wanted to get of the GM designs every­thing band wagon and started look­ing at games like TROS and Burn­ing Wheel. They have always been a bit of a mash up of pub­lished with alter­ations and where pos­si­ble, run­ning mul­ti­ple plot threads. I have always felt like a bit of a sec­ond class GM due to this, as I would some­times take to other GM’s who never touch pub­lished adven­ture mate­r­ial. Any­way that is enough navel gaz­ing, just thought I would men­tion it as I am list­ing the mate­r­ial I have used for inspi­ra­tion in the game.

Allan
Mourn for us oppressed in fear
Chained and shack­led we are bound
Free­dom choked in dread we live
Since Tyrant was enthroned
Last Edit: 6 years 8 months ago by Allan.
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Cam­paign So Far 6 years 8 months ago #3438

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I do need to point out, that there was a lot more depth of story going on than I am men­tion­ing.
For exam­ple, the PC’s found a sailor still alive on the cap­tured ship, cow­er­ing in the hold. Part of this was to make my player get into the neu­tral S&S spirit. He did not have to help this fella if it ment risk­ing his own skin for no gain. They gave him some water and a dag­ger but told him he was own his own.
Plenty of other encoun­ters that would take to long to detail, as I attempt to just gloss over the cam­paign details.
And if you want some­one to blame for this band­width ram­ble, you can look to Phil who men­tioned he wanted details.

Allan
Mourn for us oppressed in fear
Chained and shack­led we are bound
Free­dom choked in dread we live
Since Tyrant was enthroned
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Cam­paign So Far 6 years 8 months ago #3440

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I will just start by apol­o­giz­ing for my poor Eng­lish. I would like to claim that its not my mother tongue, but that would be untrue. I sim­ply left school to early.

So the play­ers are flee­ing on foot along the ris­ing cliff edge fol­low­ing a road. Pur­sued by mounted ‘evil’ priest and guard.
They spy a trail lead­ing off, down the cliff face.
Tak­ing it, they come to spray cov­ered ledge with an iron door.
Here I am using the Beast and Bar­bar­ians adven­ture, The Cliffs Queens Court. I think I changed the idea of the vil­lians to be more Vam­pire like.
They gain entry to this strange under­ground realm, but soon real­ize some­thing sin­is­ter is going on.
Ref Note; By this stage of the game with my sec­ond player, he just was not work­ing out, as he was too ingrained with D&D and just could not think out­side its bub­ble. So think­ing I may have a prob­lem with an encounter that was sup­posed to be fled from not fought, I had the posse show up just at the right time to start a fight between the Court and the new com­ers.

Flee­ing again out of the weird court…
As the place col­lapses around there ears.

Allan
Mourn for us oppressed in fear
Chained and shack­led we are bound
Free­dom choked in dread we live
Since Tyrant was enthroned
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Cam­paign So Far 6 years 8 months ago #3442

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Allan wrote:
I should point out that as a GM I have always need believ­able rea­son for things to hap­pen. This can be a real down­fall some­times as I read gam­ing mate­r­ial that just does not make sense. If I cared less like obvi­ously a large part of the gam­ing com­mu­nity, I could use a lot more mate­r­ial.

(…)

That is until I really wanted to get of the GM designs every­thing band wagon and started look­ing at games like TROS and Burn­ing Wheel.

First of all thank you very much for tak­ing the trou­ble to type this up, it’s always nice to read an account of some­body else’s exploits, and also ref­er­ee­ing prob­lems.

I am 100% with you about the need for believ­able rea­sons. The lack of them almost urned me off gam­ing once in the past, as I was hardly ever happy with the shtick of being either hired or forced to do some­thing. The sto­ries I like to read an watch are about peo­ple who fol­low their very own desires and “mis­sion goals”, not peo­ple just hir­ing out to do stuff they don’t care about or else tools who are repeat­edly forced to do some­thing they don’t want to.

Blade, with its PA mechanic is indeed a game that fully pro­fesses to player-​driven sto­ries, not only because that’s what I like myself, but also because I am an adult who doesn’t any­more has the tons of time at my hand to prep sce­nar­ios I had at teen and stu­dent, and we designed the game with just that kind of adult play­ers in mind. But for this to work you do of course also need the right kind of play­ers, play­ers who want to and are, at least with some help, also able to break out of the pas­sive mind­set of other games, to set their own goals and fol­low them through and not just to wait for the ref­eree to present them with some­thing to pur­sue and also with a few lim­ited choices what to do to pur­sue it. Do you want to go left or right?

We talked about the dif­fi­culty with pas­sive play­ers when you were prep­ping this cam­paign.

An aside: I have sev­eral times argued about “shared author­ship” with play­ers who claimed that well-​refereed (which invari­ably menat ref­er­eed by them) tra­di­tional cam­paigns leave plenty of options for the play­ers to regard the cam­paigns as authored comu­nally, to which I liked to reply that they should ask a player to write down a ten­ta­tive out­line of the plot of the second-​to next ses­sion and at the same time to write such an out­line them­selves — the dif­fer­ence in cor­rect­ness of the two out­lines being equal to the dif­fer­ence in author­ship between play­ers and ref­er­ees. Shared author­ship in tra­di­tional games is a smuch a lie as shared author­ship in Fight­ing Fan­tasy books.

But I digress. What I want to say is that the PAs are delib­er­ately set up so that the plot springs directly from them (and thus player desires), which in turn does of course mean that pub­lished adven­tures don’t work at all, or work only if the ref­eree either ignores the PAs (and thus both the core mechan­ics and the play­ers’ wishes) or spends a lot of time adapt­ing the adven­ture to his play­ers’ PCs (a work­load of which we wanted to relieve him of). That said I feel that you have done a really good job with this, keep­ing in mind what we dis­cussed about your ini­tial player’s PAs.

But I would still like to remark that the type of pub­lished adven­tures that are best to use with Blade are pure sand­box set­ting books, not those with out­lined plots. A decent sand­box can be used very well, and it is usu­ally easy to firmly link a PC into a sand­box by mak­ing a few only very minor alter­ations to the sand­box. Your player cre­ates a char­ac­ter who has a long-​standing enmity with (and PA towards) some out­law in his back­story? Iden­tify this name­less player-​created out­law with the ban­dit leader from the sand­box. Your player cre­ates a char­ac­ter who has been deposed as leader of a sor­cer­ous cult by a rival? Iden­tify this rival with some cult leader or high priest from the sand­box. In both cases you will imme­di­ately, almost with­out any work at all, have linked the PC firmly into the sand­box and given him a lot of things to do and pur­sue of his own free voli­tion, with­out any ref­eree prompt­ing — all the plot hooks in the sand­box con­cern­ing the ban­dit leader and cultist(high priest will imme­di­ately have become plot hooks for your play­ers, all the adven­ture ideas involv­ing those two NPC in some way have imme­di­ately become adven­ture ideas for you!

But may I quickly ask you about some brief info about your sec­ond player’s PCs and his PAs?
Bow down: I am the emperor of dreams;
I crown me with the million-​colored sun
Of secret worlds incred­i­ble, and take
Their trail­ing skies for vest­ment when I soar.

Clark Ash­ton Smith, The Hashish Eater or The Apoc­a­lypse of Evil
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Cam­paign So Far 6 years 8 months ago #3443

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Back on the sur­face, they scout for and find the posses horses with guard.
Deal­ing with the guard they steel the horses and take off.
I now pre­sented them with the sit­u­a­tion that my GMC Alim has a drug addic­tion and one of his passion’s is to keep it.
He has not let on that he is addicted to drugs but sim­ply is ill.
He needs an apothe­cary to mix up his spe­cial med­i­cine.
So I steer them inland to a small town call Green Meadow and its old female cranky healer with cute appren­tice girls.
Green Meadow and char­ac­ters comes from a book series by Peter V Brett The Pained Man and maps from a Harn prod­uct call Pot­tage. Books are great and Pot­tage is free and also great.
Recov­er­ing at the apothe­caries hut, she reveals that she can make up some med­i­cine for Alim if they first go and get some blood from a crea­ture called the Orange and Black, up in the hills.
They are then sur­prised by troops at the door with wounded. The are another petty war­lords hench­men — Sir Csaay ‘Lords­bane’, his men had tan­gles with troops of there for­mer patron SIr Kent the Marsh Lord now Lord of Cil (the city, see above).
The old crone helps them escape from the troops who think them enemy and at the least want there horses.
Flee­ing again…

Into the hills.
At this point I lost my sec­ond player, no great loss…
Fol­low­ing direc­tions to where this mon­ster the Orange and Black lives, they encounter more war type encoun­ters.
Then they come across a Man at Arms block­ing the road through a pass with a vil­lage just beyond.
He is chal­leng­ing all to first blood or find another road. He has some issue with the town behind him and being a hon­ourable sol­dier can only hurt them in the money.
Ridik accepts the chal­lenge and goes down. While recov­er­ing he gets friendly with the man and his brother but is still forced to find another road.
He even­tu­ally ends back at the vil­lage and gets the impres­sion that they are a very sleazy mob, some­thing about a lot­tery and girls forced to go to the nearby Half-​Men camp. Lots of bango music…

Mov­ing on there quest.
They arrive at a Lum­ber vil­lage up in the hills, near to where the Orange and Black lairs.
They learn about a mage who ran a inn down the road and trained ani­mals for the are­ana on the low­lands.
But the Orange and Black killed him, but they have no trou­ble from it, prob­a­bly gone.
They also meet a young man (Anton) who was a ser­vant at the mages inn but escaped when he was killed.
Down the road they go to find the inn. Enroute they are attacked by sling from the bushes but cant catch there attack­ers. They had learned that there was a Half-​man tribe in the woods but they had not been sighted for a long time and believed to have moved on.
Ref; the attack­ers was the young man and his friends who had rea­sons to try to stop the PC’s.
Fur­ther Ref; If inter­ested inspi­ra­tion for this adven­ture was from an old Dun­geon Adven­ture called Orange and Black issue 66. Inn maps again form Harn Pot­tage.

They approach the Inn ruins and spy some­one peak­ing through the coach doors at them.
Scout­ing around they find a blood trail at the back lead­ing to the rear wall.
Going back to the front they go in via the coach doors to a court­yard and a young man yelling for his friend — Anton, to flee. This other man is going to the rear wall where a lad­der is.
Anton finally emerges from a barn, curs­ing the PC’s that they should leave the crea­ture alone. Fol­low­ing him out is a Giant Tiger.
Ridik goes in for the kill but first has to drive Anton away as he keeps shoot­ing stones at him.
Anton and friend flee over the back wall.
Ridik is then attack by a man from the Inn build­ing who looks and acts like a total sav­age.

Ref note; The Mage was train­ing ani­mals for the are­ana and was very suc­cess­ful because he

Sorry have to do some house work, what a cliff hanger (if you have read this far?)…

Allan
Mourn for us oppressed in fear
Chained and shack­led we are bound
Free­dom choked in dread we live
Since Tyrant was enthroned
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Cam­paign So Far 6 years 8 months ago #3444

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Thanks Michael,
My sec­ond play­ers PA’s did not hap­pen, as he could not grasp the con­cept very well. We tried each ses­sion to refine them but then he left.
When I asked for some back­story about his char­ac­ter, he re-​regurgitated some­thing from his gam­ing back­ground as he just blurted it out on the spot and it was pretty weak.
I men­tioned at one point that the com­mon weapons were bronze or poor iron but there was a place that made steel. So one of his PA’s was to acquire a steel weapon as he thought it was going to be so cool. His only gam­ing expe­ri­ence was really D&D. He used to buy from me when I had my gam­ing shop that is how I knew him. He made no real attempt to learn Blade and could not under­stand the lack of races and classes even though claim­ing he new what S&S was. Or infact why bother try­ing to learn another gam­ing sys­tem when you only really need to learn one, as it could do all the gam­ing styles you want. We were infact not Role Play­ers but Roll Play­ers.
Prior to him com­ing to our group I did try his cam­paign of D&D he was ref­er­ee­ing, but I can’t begin to explain to sad state it was in. Spoilt by Blade…

So he thought the steel weapon would have great gam­ing stats…
His only usable PA was to increase his loot level, so escap­ing from the The Cliffs Queens Court, I had him find a trea­sure map on a corpse.
His prob­lem was he kept on try­ing to design PA’s from his char­ac­ter goals, which gave me lit­tle room to move, what I kept ask­ing and giv­ing exam­ples, was sto­ries that he wanted to be involved in.

Allan
Mourn for us oppressed in fear
Chained and shack­led we are bound
Free­dom choked in dread we live
Since Tyrant was enthroned
The admin­is­tra­tor has dis­abled pub­lic write access.

Cam­paign So Far 6 years 8 months ago #3445

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Allan wrote:
My sec­ond play­ers PA’s did not hap­pen, as he could not grasp the con­cept very well. We tried each ses­sion to refine them but then he left. (…) He made no real attempt to learn Blade and could not under­stand the lack of races and classes even though claim­ing he new what S&S was. Or infact why bother try­ing to learn another gam­ing sys­tem when you only really need to learn one, as it could do all the gam­ing styles you want. (…) His only usable PA was to increase his loot level, so escap­ing from the The Cliffs Queens Court, I had him find a trea­sure map on a corpse.

Oh my, the player from hell… :ohmy:

But may I ask how Ridik’s player is com­ing along under­stand­ing and using the con­cepts behind PAs? You wrote that he was not used at all to being proac­tive. Any progress here?
Bow down: I am the emperor of dreams;
I crown me with the million-​colored sun
Of secret worlds incred­i­ble, and take
Their trail­ing skies for vest­ment when I soar.

Clark Ash­ton Smith, The Hashish Eater or The Apoc­a­lypse of Evil
The admin­is­tra­tor has dis­abled pub­lic write access.

Cam­paign So Far 6 years 8 months ago #3446

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Absolutely great.
Partly from the dis­cus­sions with the other player.
He is now a lot more switched on to look­ing for sit­u­a­tions to use them.
Part of the learn­ing curve was to get him to under­stand that it does not require me to be feed­ing the story ideas.
If he asks a ques­tion about a sit­u­a­tion that could fire his PA’s. What I mean is help­ing co Ref the game.
But hav­ing said that, he under­stands the con­cept but its still out­side his com­fort zone. He knows he could do but is still happy for me to present the mate­r­ial.
Small steps.
Gamers are in short sup­ply in lit­tle old Dar­win :lol:

Allan
Mourn for us oppressed in fear
Chained and shack­led we are bound
Free­dom choked in dread we live
Since Tyrant was enthroned
The admin­is­tra­tor has dis­abled pub­lic write access.
The fol­low­ing user(s) said Thank You: Michael

Cam­paign So Far 6 years 8 months ago #3447

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I am glad to hear that he is slowly see­ing the light, even if it is a slow process! He will then be able to uti­lize the pos­si­bil­i­ties of role­play­ing to its fullest, and you will have a part­ner with whom to actu­ally uti­lize all the pos­si­bilites of Blade and player-​driven sce­nario cre­ation. And work­ing together it will also be much eas­ier for you to “edu­cate” another player, for a proper group — once your pal is fully com­fort­able with the pos­si­bil­i­ties afforded him a game like Blade.

Let’s hope! :)
Bow down: I am the emperor of dreams;
I crown me with the million-​colored sun
Of secret worlds incred­i­ble, and take
Their trail­ing skies for vest­ment when I soar.

Clark Ash­ton Smith, The Hashish Eater or The Apoc­a­lypse of Evil
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