War-torn Lands Arc – Session 2

We established that two months had passed between the sessions, the bard was unable to attend but we had a new player, Ryan, who chose the Immolator playbook and named him Solomon Searskin. Mark chose to make a Halfling Thief named Sketch, and I allowed him to begin as a lvl 2 character.

Mark established that his Halfling was in league with the militant halflings from session one, that he was a fanatic and was working with Rebus despite knowing that Rebus was a different faction. That he was a spy of sorts, infiltrating the party and sharing information back to the militant faction.

We took some time to establish that the halflings had spread their faith and many adherents had seized on the promise for rebellion and had identified with the militant millennialism of the halfling monks. Their adherents are called the “Flames of Randall Army” or “the Reds” or “the F.R.A.”

Ryan had been following along and was excited to create his Salamander Immolator. He chose the neutral alignment and said that his character concept involved encouraging others to sacrifice their comfort/safety/complacency in order to pursue their inner desires. I asked him what a Salamander was, and he described a snake-like body roughly 10’ long that had arms. We established that we were all holding a “naga” concept in our minds and discussed a few advantages and disadvantages of this form. I made sure that he wanted to commit to this form instead of something with arms and legs and he affirmed.

I asked him then if he was the only Salamander, which he considered and then hesitantly affirmed. Sensing his uncertainty, I asked if he had an origin idea or if he would like me to propose one, as I had something in mind. He assented to my proposal, and I suggested that the great weapon that the dwarves had unleashed to destroy the forests had been an opening of many portals throughout the forest into the plane of fire. I suggested that he might have come through the portal then. Further, I said that I did not want his race to become central to our campaign by making him so monstrous that he would be the focus of each social encounter. I described that the setting could have an element from Planescape, where it is commonplace for townsfolk see an entity of which they had never before been aware.

The players liked these elements, and Ryan reconsidered the desire to be the only of his kind. He said that perhaps many entities from the plane of fire had come through when the portals had opened. I assented but suggested that if many entities had come through then they might be more of a known faction.  Seeing his agreement, I went on that many locals still harbored ill feelings towards the “Ashen,” or those who had come out of the fire.

New Bonds

Since we had only one character from the first session, we did all new bonds.

Rebus added a bond for Solomon, suggesting that he had stood by him in a battle. Also, Rebus respects the beliefs of Sketch, but hopes that they will change in time.

Solomon said that he had burned something belonging to Rebus, and owed him a service in return. We discussed this a bit as none of us really understood what it meant, but we decided that Rebus had known about Solomon’s ability to read the inner desire of others and had sacrificed a token of his past to the past in order to secure Solomon’s assistance with his quest. Ryan then added that Solomon sought to teach Sketch the true meaning of sacrifice.

Mark created a single bond, suggesting that Rebus would have Sketch’s back.

I asked everyone to take a short break, after which we would begin a scene.

The Execution

I framed a city scene in which many of the working poor had begun to wear red patches on their clothing. We saw the townsfolk pause what they were doing after a heavy bell began to ring. As the fourth strike echoed through the streets the people seemed incredulous, all knowing that four bells signaled a public execution. I asked the characters where they would be, if they would be near the execution.

Rebus stated that he was likely meeting with a noble, but perhaps they were on a veranda or in an apartment with a view of the public square. Solomon said that he would also be in the meeting, but Sketch said that he was likely in the crowd at the execution. Sketch and Rebus had a brief in-character conversation about public execution and about the tension between the two religious factions. We established that Rebus was a moderate of the “Randox” faction, short for the Randy Orthodoxy, and that those who would be executed were “Reds” of the militant faction inspired by the Halfling monks from the first session.

Rebus claimed that he had long known those who were to be executed, and that they used to belong to his parish. We talked a bit out of character about the city and the power structure of the factions, I also asked Phil how he pictured his role with regards to the parish. He saw that he had been ceded a structure that had been damaged in the war, and further that he had a number of loyal “Randox” adherents in the ranks of the low and middle classes of the city.

I brought us back into the flow of character play by introducing the sound of a rattling tea pot on a platter, and a door swinging into the room to reveal the beautiful Lady Constance, a war widow who had become a charitable leader responsible for feeding many of the poorest in the city. Solomon gazed deeply into her eyes as she sat, using the Immolator ability “Give Me Fuel, Give Me Fire.” He saw that while she was passionate about her mission to feed the poor, she had an inner revolutionary spark that hated the system for which her late husband had fought as an officer. She despised the outdated morality and rigid social structures that her husband had unjustly given his life to defend.

The Gallows

I hard framed a scene-fade, knowing that we had been neglecting to pull Mark into the discussion. The image I painted was of the hastily-erected gallows set against the old wall of the inner fortification. This was a place of power for the Johnstone nobility, but was just outside the walls so formed a main public square. I began to describe that the noble Johnston was approaching the stage, and that the square was heavily defended by town guards and noble retainers.

I asked Sketch where he would be in the crowd. He asked if he would have observed a place where he could make a difference, at which point I suggested that he seemed to be trying to Discern Realities. He rolled a 7-9 and asked where he would see something of value. I pointed out two things he had noticed, one was that the guards were on edge and seemed on the brink of violence, the second was a group of three men who he knew to be sceptics of Randy but seemed disturbed by the execution and thus possibly open to conversion. He decided to position himself near the three skeptics.

I asked if anyone was trying to do anything before the execution, and after everyone declined I narrated Lord Johnston’s denouncement of the crimes of these three “Reds” fanatics who had desecrated statues of “The Founders” and who stood opposed to “the forces of order, industry, and progress.” The trapdoor was triggered, and three necks snapped as six feet twitched and kicked in the air. After a few tense moments the bodies stilled, and the crowds began to disperse. I asked Sketch if he was following the skeptics, he assented.

The Plight of the South Ward

Back in Lady Constance’s sitting room, the Lady seemed much disturbed by the violence. We had a lengthy discussion about her mission of feeding the poor, and as players we realized that we did not know why Rebus and Solomon had sought her out on this afternoon. When they did not have an immediate idea, I had Lady Constance prompt them by saying “I don’t believe I will be able to help you with the plight of the South Ward, my resources are stretched thin already.” This was all the prompting that the players needed to begin riffing off of, and after a few minutes of good dialogue Rebus tried to convince the lady to assist them by rolling a “Parley” where the offering was that they knew the lady was interested in bettering the city and the stakes were that she might be offended by their impolite insistence. Sure enough, Phil rolled below 7, so she asked that they leave her be to grieve the unnecessary deaths and to consider her next steps.

Ryan wanted to bring the party together, and asked if he had seen Sketch pursuing the men through the streets from the vantage of Lady Constance’s room. I agreed but added that they were a bit behind of Sketch and that the streets were thick with the dispersing crowd.

I asked Mark where the three sceptics had stopped, suggesting a bar in the South Ward. He assented and I asked him to describe the bar to me. He suggested a low thatched roof building amidst muddy streets. I added that there was the sound echoing through the street from a nearby smithy and the smell of animals. Further adding that he had just seen an emaciated goat bolt across the street, pursued by a scrappy youth.

I said that the men were Edan, Herne, and Maddox. I asked Sketch what he did as they took a seat in a corner table and ordered a round. He approached them and began a discussion of the execution. After a few minutes of dialogue we had established that the men were much disturbed by the execution, but didn’t believe that either religious faction could offer any answers to them. They complained about corruption and incompetence, asking what Lord Randy could do when the Baron Garrulo continued to rule the South Ward with an iron fist and exorbitant taxes.

I declared that this was overheard by Solomon and Rebus, as they entered the bar. Sketch parleyed the skeptics by offering assistance to take up arms against the Baron that very night if they would take up with the Reds. As players we discussed that while the Randox and the Reds were opposing factions, they were united in their opposition to tyranny and unjust rule.

The Barony

I asked Sketch to roll 2d6+dex to establish how they approached the Barony, as we were low on time and I wanted to get us right to the action. The result was 7-9, so I described an infiltration where the three party members and the three skeptics had snuck into the fortified manor house occupied by the baron. I hard framed a scene where they had entered the sitting room and saw a lantern light about to round the far corner.

Solomon immediately acted, saying that he wanted to use the move “Zuko Style” to have the lantern light flare and blind whoever is holding the lantern. Ryan rolled a 7-9, and I began to narrate a situation in which the lantern had exploded violently, killing the guard and making a loud noise. Ryan read the text of the rule, asking if instead of my narration the effect could be short lived and that no noisy explosion would have taken place. I assented after reading the Move, and described the guard as shouting out as his eyes were blinded by a brief flash of light.

Sketch ran forwards and tackled the blinded guard, after a brief struggle he stabbed him in the neck. I had him “Defy Danger” with strength to succeed. He rolled a 7-9, and offered that the guard had shouted out as he was tackled. The man was dispatched, but the sounds of feet rounding the corner alerted the party to the arrival of the Baron and three guards.

Solomon attempted to use “Burning Brand” to conjure a weapon of fire but he rolled a 6-. I asked Ryan what it looked like when Solomon attempted the conjuring and he imitated the drawing of a scimitar from a sheath. I added that as he drew the weapon, it had taken form but had not stopped growing, eventually overtaking his control and growing into the ceiling to spread on its own. I explained that he had tried to summon his fire directly from the plane of fire, and that it is difficult to limit such a connection.

As the fire spread down the hall, Rebus took a defensive stance and Sketch stood up from the ground. Solomon attempted to use “Zuko Style” to attack the four foes with fire. He succeded with a 7-9, so I had him roll damage. He rolled a 7, so I killed the three guards but had the Baron charge him with fury in his eyes and a mace held in his thick fist.

During the combat, I mixed damage results with combat positioning and the threat of fire to make every moment count. Solomon left the hallway, attempting to prevent the spread of the fire into the foyer and guarding the retreat route. Rebus retreated from the combat, believing that the fire would end the life of the Baron. Sketch dealt the killing blow as the ceiling was collapsing around him. The baron hit the ground and a necklace slid into view, I made it clear that it would require a “Defy Danger” roll with dexterity if Sketch wanted to get the necklace as the ceiling was continuing to collapse around him. He chose to forgo the attempt and to run for safety.

Session on March 8th, 2018

War-torn Lands Arc – Session 1

I approached this campaign of Dungeon World with the intention of allowing the setting and plot to develop out of character creation, as intended by the DW core book. I imposed one story element when we were getting started, which was that a cataclysmic war had ended recently. Also, we began with the understanding that this would be a short 3-session campaign.

The Characters

The players perused the character sheets briefly and then chose Paladin, Bard, and Druid. The Paladin is a human named Rebus, played by Phil. The Bard is a human named Kal Meza, played by Charlie. The Druid is an Elf named Hikorax, played by Mark.

I began by asking the druid about his land, and Mark read that as a Elf, Hikorax is from the Great Forest. I asked him to elaborate on the nature of the forest and to describe the elf civilization and Mark described a thick rain forest where the tribe was mostly isolated from the rest of civilization. I asked him how the great war had affected the tribe, and through a conversation we ended up establishing that the tribe had originally been neutral in the conflict but had been persuaded to take sides. As a result, a great weapon had been unleashed which had burned the forests and destroyed much of his tribe.

After we had a good idea about Hikorax’s background, we transitioned to the Paladin. Phil began by saying that Rebus was an adventurer spreading the work of Lord Randy. That he was a missionary in a far-away land. Further, that the infidels are the enemy because they worship a heathen religion.

So at this point we had the makings of a somewhat colonial situation, and we took a few minutes to discuss if we were all okay with the implications of unpacking colonialism and engaging with that topic. Everyone was on board, so we transitioned to the Bard.

I asked the bard about his instrument, he wanted to be a vocalist but I wanted there to be a physical instrument involved as well so I asked that he also have something to carry. He decided that he would carry a fine lute. I asked him how he had come by such a fine instrument, and he established that the lute had been handed over by the beautiful Rhonda, daughter of the noble Lord Johnson. From this, Charlie began to discuss that the bardic lore was “known history” and we talked about the setting a bit to flesh it out.

The Setting

We talked casually about the setting that we had established and it became clear that we were all holding a post-colonial South American archetype in our heads as we were establishing the setting, namely a Brazil inspired city. We decided that there is a major city named Suttolk that had been a trading post a millennia ago but had grown over the last few centuries as the world moved towards and into war. The great forests around Suttolk had been burned in the war by a great weapon devised by the Dwarves, who were the antagonist in the war.

As we discussed the city, we established that it was a somewhat segregated city but was very diverse as a result of all races and cultures coming to the city as soldiers and as migrants. We established that it was a city with a high degree of intermingling between peoples, but that there were also many culturally distinct neighborhoods and distinct factions. Finally, we established that the existing aristocracy was analogous to the English, and that they controlled some of the oldest and most fortified parts of the town.

The Bonds

The druid Hikorax had bonded with Rebus by showing him a secret about the land. Hikorax thinks that the bard Kal Meza smells like prey.

Rebus thinks that Kal Meza holds misguided beliefs. Rebus thinks that Hikorax is a brave soul.

Kal Meza makes jokes at Rebus’ expense. Kal Meza is not trusted by Hikorax, for good reason.

The First Scene

I asked everyone to take a five minute break, and when we came back I asked Rebus where he would find himself in the city. He said that he would be near the aristocracy, and in dialogue we established that he had ingratiated himself with the aristocracy, even though he did not hold any love for them.

I framed a scene where Rebus was in a café erected against a defensive wall, on the inside of a protected area in town. We had a few scenes where he and Kal Meza were in dialogue as characters, but Mark said that Hikorax would likely not be welcome to patronize a bar in that part of town. This led to a further discussion around racial hierarchy in town.

I scene-faded away from the bar and described Hikorax outside of the guarded entrance, roughly 100 yards from the patio on which the other characters sat. I described a bizarre scene, five halfling monks marching up to the guard post and demanding entry. Hikorax was interested in observing but not getting involved. The guards were unwilling to allow the monks entrance to the aristocratic sector without a writ of passage, as it became clear that the monks were willing to resort to violence I asked the Paladin and Bard what they had observed from their position in the bar. I told the paladin that he would recognize these monks as belonging to his religion, adherents of Lord Randy, although seemingly from a different sect.

The paladin said that he would be upset to be surprised by their arrival, that he was the representative of the church in this land and that he should have been told that others were being sent. He said that he would’ve moved to get involved as the monks had approached, so we framed his as within short distance as the violence broke out. The guard put a hand on the halfling monk’s shoulder to dissuade him, calling him “boy” which anyone who knows Halflings would know is a commonly used insult. The monk erupted in violence, cracking heavily into the shin of the guard with a heavy staff and continuing the assault.

Rebus attempted to halt the scene by commanding attention, this was the first move that had been made in the game so we briefly discussed the rules and set the stakes of the roll. I told Rebus that once he got involved the guards might associate him with the monks of Randy. Sure enough, the roll was a failure so the guards moved to arrest Rebus and the monks.

In the chaos, Hikorax snuck into the guard tower and looked about for symbols of civilization. A flag of the nobility was present and we established that he could take it without needing to roll. He then asked if there was a lantern he could knock over to start a fire. We established that there was a lantern, but that he would need to throw it across the room for the best chance at starting a fire, as there were more flammable materials available there. This was a defy danger with dexterity roll that he failed, we established that the stakes were that he might take too long to accomplish this task and sure enough a guard arrived. I made this as a soft move, with the chaos outside the guard simply wanted the elf to leave and was not aware of the attempted violence.

We faded back to the guards, and the arrest of the paladin finally convinced the bard to get involved. He was able to parley with the guards to secure the freedom of the men by offering an easier resolution to the situation. He said that the monks were new arrivals and that they would take on the responsibility to teach them the ways of the town, that the guards should tend to their injured companion and that the party would take on the monks. A successful parley roll led to the release of the paladin and the monks, but with the guards threatening that any subsequent disobedience would implicate the party as well as the monks.

At this, Rebus asked the guards to hold off on leaving until he was able to secure a promise of behavior from the monks. We had a conversation then which established that the monks had been sent from a militant faction, which had surged into leadership in the old world taking advantage of the power vacuum left after the war. The halfling monks were furious and militant and when Rebus demanded they swear to respect the laws of the town, we set up another roll for the paladin’s special rule “I am the Law,” the roll failed so  they accosted him for his weakness and assured him that now they saw him truly as a pawn of the old powers and a failed representative of the deity which sought to serve the poor and to improve the plight of the marginalized. Rebus responded by asking the guards to lock up the monks.

The Hunt

We did a hard scene fade and I asked the druid a few questions about what sort of ways he was involved in the town, he wasn’t sure so I asked about whether or not he would take a job as a guide for expeditions into the great forest. At his assent, I asked him for a 2d6 roll plus his wisdom. I wasn’t sure what rule I was using, but was essentially trying to set up something similar to an “encounter roll” like BitD. We had a 7-9 as a result, so we briefly described the expedition of the Noble Orisa who wanted to take his retainers and many wives to explore a grotto which had survived the great fires. The scene opened to reveal deer at the edge of a grotto, unmoving. The druid said that he was scouting, and he waited to see if the deer would move. Within moments, a giant crocodile-like beast emerged from the water and bit cleanly through one of the prey animals. The other animals remained unmoving, the first clue that the beast had a power beyond its sheer might.

The characters ran into combat without taking precautions about being frozen, I set up the situation as anytime they tried to engage with the foe they would need to also defy danger to avoid being caught by the gaze. I used a d12 for the damage of the foe, and we had a few rounds of tense combat. The crocodile beast threw the party around in addition to doing damage and then charged the retinue. The druid was brought to zero hit points when he ran to intervene, and only after the beast was weakened by some of the rear-guards was the paladin able to slay the beast. Mark decided to allow the druid to remain dead, wanting a new character. In the lair, the group found an enchanted horn that could produce enough water each day, straight from the plane of water, to quench the thirst of a score of people.

Session on March 1st, 2018

The Loom of Doom

My wife just started weaving and I've been dong some reading about looms. This one-pager just kind of evolved out of that. I reached out to Slade once I realized I had made something that would work really well with The Indie Hack and got his input on a few mechanics that needed tweaking. I think this would be a really fun object to drop into a creepy cabin in the woods or behind a heavy locked door in a castle. This tool is meant to provide an opportunity to give players some world building agency. They can provide brief glimpses into these other lives, perhaps opening doors for adventures down the road. If the blanket is finished and they carry it around, it should be very powerful but also should require great sacrifice. The stolen souls within are not happy that you took their time and their potential.

The War Torn Lands

Thanks Slade for letting me make this little scenario for playing The Indie Hack in a war-torn land. I really like The Indie Hack for games where players and GM are working together to play an emergent story. For me, this emergent play hinges around using good questions that invite creative investment. I think the questions need to establish a strong tone and establish some shared tropes. It is also key that the GM not over-prepare in this style of play, and should be willing to give the players room to request scenes and tell their own story. I tried to format this one so that it could be a print-out for a group starting a new campaign or playing a one-shot. 

EotE – Assassinate Chaz Duchet

After about 15 months without playing Edge of the Empire I thought it would be interesting to try to run it again with a story game mentality instead of a trad mentality, so I put a couple sessions on the calendar with my gaming group. To be fair, my local group is more of a trad group than a story group, so I feel like we had some mixed results. Overall it was fun, but the tone was pretty far from where I originally intended. I guess it felt like the new Star Wars, a bit disney.

I began the game with a high level overview prepared, but I had written no scenes or npc’s. The overview read as follows:

Your worlds are strip-mined and your people are wage-slaves working to fuel the imperial war machine. As the galaxy suffers, a handful of industrialists know a level of profitability that would have been unfathomable to previous generations.

Their deaths would cripple the war machine, and they have signed their own death warrants with the atrocities they have committed.

The rebellion is unwilling to resort to the tactics you all know are necessary to end the empire, so you have started a splinter cell to do what needs to be done.

I then gave the players the following questions to generate the scenario:

Past Tragedy Questions: (Each player answer one)

  • Someone you love was killed by them. What happened?
  • You used to work for them, until you learned of a great misdeed. What?
  • This city used to be something special, now they own every inch of it. What do you miss most?
  • You were in an orphanage when it was acquired by the company. What labor did you do?
  • You had a good job until they destroyed the market. When did you realize they were responsible?

Resistance Recruitment Question: (Each player answers)

  • They found you at your lowest and gave you a glimpse of hope. What were the circumstances of your recruitment? What promise or opportunity convinced you to join the resistance?

Job Preparation Questions: (Each player answer one)

  • You know their routine, when are they the most vulnerable?
  • This is your city, where can you always go to disappear when they heat is on?
  • The law is in the hands of the wealthy, but one of the officers is an idealist. How did you meet?
  • Their rise to power was fraught with conflict. Which of their enemies could offer you aid?
  • Those closest to them have even more grievances than most. Who did you turn?

The players and I discussed character creation for a little while, and they strategized while looking at the pre-generated characters. One had a character that he played back in 2016 and chose to play that character, a Twilker Smuggler specialized as a Charmer. The others played pregens from the Age of the Resistance beginners game, a Human Pilot and a Human Soldier.

As the players began to answer the questions we started to establish a humorous tone. The Soldier was an ex-sports star from Alderaan who had a contact in the local law because he was recognized as a sports hero. The pilot said that her cover story was as a celebrity chef. The charmer had infiltrated the twilek brothel that their target liked to frequent.

The Sporting Match

After talking for a bit, I established the first scene was at a sports match, no rules rugby with Trandoshan athletes and humans making bets. The soldier was coaching one team and saw the target, Chaz Duchet, arrive in his private box. The soldier used his comlink to reach out to the smuggler and the pilot. After some time passed, Chaz Duchet got a hologram call and departed the match. The soldier left his post beside the match as the head coach yelled at him for neglecting his responsibilities.

On the soldier’s way out some angry sports fans blamed him for the team’s poor performance. They started a brawl, but the soldier was easily able to disengage. (brawl roll - succeeded with advantage) As he exited the arena, he saw Chaz nearing his armored caravan with an entourage.

Follow the Caravan

At this time, the smuggler and the pilot arrived in a small speeder. The party began to tail the caravan intending to follow the target to his next destination. They wanted to find out what had happened with the holo-call. The smuggler tried to access the memory reserves of the old speeder to look for a shortcut to cut ahead, but this ended up freezing up the vehicle. (knowledge roll - failed with disadvantage)

After kick-starting the vehicle, the pilot wanted to catch up with the caravan without being noticed. (piloting roll - failed with advantage) She was able to pilot the vehicle and track the target to their destination, but was stopped over by a trailing police vehicle.

The police wanted to know where they were speeding off to, the smuggler told the authorities that they were undercover security for the imperials. (deception roll - succeed with disadvantage) The officers seemed willing to look the other way in exchange for a bribe. The charmer gave a tiny bribe of ten credits, saying “you boys understand, we just need to do our job.” The guards responded by saying something like “of course, after we do ours… we’ll just make sure your registrations checks out and then you’ll be free to go.” At this point, the pilot handed over 100 credits and an apology. The officers smiled and released the party to pursue their target.

[The smuggler wanted to resist the disadvantage result of me requiring a bribe by rolling an additional charm test. I was resistant to doing this, but after some discussion I was willing to allow it as an escalated difficulty roll. The other player decided to pay the fee rather than risk an additional loss. I feel like there should be a better way to resist a failed result. In retrospect, I might’ve allowed flipping a Destiny point to accomplish this.]

Enter the Weapons Facility

I asked what the players had found out about the weapons facility, as it would have been something they had already identified as a potentially significant target. The pilot said that she knew there were some elite dining establishments within the facility for the executive staff. The party decided that they would use her identity as cover to infiltrate the building, and would then try to locate Chaz Duchet once inside.

They knew that the facility was highly secured, so they left most of their weapons in the speeder. The smuggler had a holdout blaster and the soldier had a vibroknife that they both intended to sneak through security. The first room was a sterile room with two heavily armed guards near a large airlock door, and a woman behind a high-tech desk. They approached the woman and convinced her that they were there to film a reality cooking show as part of the celebrity chef’s holo-presence.

The woman looked unconvinced as they did not have any appointment in the system. Once they mentioned that they were here at the request of Chaz Duchet’s father to prepare him a special meal for his birthday, she looked frazzled as she would have no way to confirm this information. (deception roll - succeeded with disadvantage) She allowed them to proceed but required that they leave their weapons in concealment. The party members with concealed weapons chose to continue to keep them concealed. As they walked away, they turned back to ask her name. She wheeled back from the desk and revealed herself to be some sort of experimental droid, she gave her name as “X6.”  

The party walked past the armed guards into a secure room with no adornments roughly 15’x15’. The opposite wall appeared to also be an airlock seal. The party walked in and the door closed behind them. Red laser beams scanned each party member for contraband, but miraculously each party member avoided detection. (skullduggery against 3 purple - successes)

The Restaurant

They took an elevator to the third floor and the doors opened up to reveal a courtyard with a massive tree, imported from offworld. Around the room were seated diners of a fine establishment. The party approached the maitre’d who had a previous relationship with the pilot. They wanted the maitre’d to assist them in getting food to Chaz Duchet. (charm roll - succeed with disadvantage) The man was so flabbergasted that he immediately went to get the manager.

The manager quickly organized the kitchen staff and got them to work making an entire meal for the official. The party was forgotten in the busy-ness, they managed to find some kitchen uniforms and got changed. They were looking around for the access badges (perception - failed with advantage) but instead they found a small container filled with small white pills.

They decided to try to find Chaz Duchet before the rest of the kitchen staff had made the meal ready. They stole a badge from a kitchen worker (skullduggery - succeed with advantage), luckily the badge looked just like the pilot. They then decided to get soup and put the drugs into one of the servings, despite being unable to identify the drugs.

The party made it past a door guard and accessed the conference room. Two expert guards stood guard at the door, they seemed unwilling to let the party in. The party again claimed that the food was courtesy of Chaz Duchet’s father. The guards seemed doubtful, but they were unwilling to send the party away. (deception - succeed with advantage) The guards opened the door as if to ask permission, but Chaz Duchet was yelling at the weapon manufacturers so the guards were unwilling to interrupt him. They waived the group in, who placed the soup in front of each member.

When the soup was set in front of Chaz, he raged at the party. He demanded an explanation for the interruption. The group convinced the man that his father had sent the soup (deception - succeed with disadvantage.) Unfortunately, he hates his father so this set him into a further rage. He demanded that everyone else eat, after some more yelling he consumed his soup as well.

The drugs appeared to slowly take effect, amping up the official to emotional highs even greater than before. He began to complain about the supply-chain and low quality materials. He commented that some specific walkers had no resistance to ion damage. After some time, one of the manufactory leaders made to respond to the ranting. As he began to speak, Chaz stood up and shot him in the head.

At the sound of the blaster shot, the guards ran in from the hallway. The kitchen staff were lined up in the hallway, faces looking shocked. Chaz Duchet marched out from the room, still raging. His staff followed him out.

Ambush at the Brothel

The party knew that Chaz tended to go to the brothel at his most disturbed moments. The scoundrel led the group to the establishment and let the madame know to expect the officer. She thanked them for the forewarning and allowed them entry. They set up an ambush in the room of his favorite twi'lek. Once Chaz Duchet arrived, the party emerged from hiding and took him down in a hail of blaster fire.

Final Thoughts

I found it a lot easier to run the game thinking about the success & advantage rules as a sort of “yes, and” or “yes, but” mechanic. The players definitely engaged throughout the session and made the game feel like it belonged to them. I had thought the game would take a more serious quality, but I was willing to go where the player answers took me. Especially since these players enjoy keeping a humorous tone and lite gameplay. 

Session on 1-28-18

Nightmare Incursions

I have been going back to Johnstone Metzger's The Nightmares Underneath, but I haven't really used it to run everything nor had I read all of it. I kept telling myself about how it was a cool hacked system that hinged around the idea of "nightmare incursions" springing up into a fantasy middle-east. I've been wanting to run some of the incursions, as I like running short campaign arcs and one shots. I like these incursions as a conceit for why there are various dungeons that spring up in a single location, and a good excuse to hand-waive a lot of the pieces of the game that I don't always want to directly engage with.

I wanted an easier way to conceptualize how to write & run one of these Incursions so I made this one-pager and am sharing it with Johnstone's permission. There are only a few slight edits to the original text. I wrote these nightmare fuel questions so they are distinct from Johnstone's. The anchor valuation is slightly different but Johnstone's is also exponential. Finally, I think I would likely determine the "emotion" of the Incursion as a first step, before determining the Crown or Anchor.