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Author Topic: [TROS] Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil  (Read 2829 times)

Posts: 186

« on: March 31, 2004, 06:45:13 PM »

Last night we wrapped up the first story arc in our TROS Midnight game.  I'm still thinking about how amazing the game was over the entire six sessions.  With the small exception of the hiccup in the fourth session, just about every moment we had was exciting, saw really amazing character growth and development, but perhaps more importantly it saw us actually create a story in a game where creating a story was our focus.  At times the game exhibited aspects of Sim (the combat) but these only worked to backup our dual premises and make the story just that more amazing...too cool for school!

I'll post some details about the game to give people the idea

The setting: The Sarcosan towns of Qadiss and Damkass situated in the Eren River Valley, south of the Ardune.   Each town is made up of low, flat-topped stone buildings and holds a Star Tower each.  While Damkass is the bigger of the two, Qadiss has, until recently remained relatively unscarred by the armies of Izrador.  Till now the town of Qadiss had not garnered the attention of the local Legate.  Damkass is a larger stopover point for the forces of Izrador and home to the Legate Ardalir Doje and warleader Garak Thule.  In addition it is also the home to a small band of resistance fighters.  We'll be playing around Autumn, dark clouds brew constantly overhead, though don't let loose their rain just yet - the calm before the storm.  

anyway.. on to the characters.

The PCs:
Anlon: Dornish Stoneborn, has visions that hint at his long lost dwarven ancestors.  SAs:Conscience(3),Faith(Dornish Ancestor worship - 1), Drive (find a weapon against the shadow - 2), Drive(discover the reason for his visions -2), Luck.  His visions hint at power and dwarven last stands
Gareth: Dornish Steelblooded, a bit heroic and a bit thick.  SAs: Conscience (4), Drive (remain free -2), Destiny (To lead a major revolt against the shadow -1), Passion (Loyalt to resistance... - 0).
Blayne: Sarcosan peasant kid (16), lost family in attack on town of Qadiss last session.  SAs: Passion (Love of Arya, daughter of town councillor), Drive (Higher social status), Destiny (to become a member of resistance), can't recall others.  

I'm only including these three characters as they played the most significant roles in the game.  There were two others but they either drifted away from the game or left the country altogether (and i thought i was an ok GM ;) )

Qadissan Townsfolk
Arrok Thariss:Town councillor; owns stockyards, presides over a small nexus point.
Burlen Vramash: Town blacksmith; ally of Arrok Thariss
Arya Thariss: Daughter of Arrok Thariss; in love with Blayne but forced to await him attaining a suitable station
Zhmar : Town horse breeder;  lusts after Arya
Brun: enforcer for Zhmar, local boro farmer, stocky
Ssabriel : Town Sahi (holy woman)
Samir: Ally to Ssabriel

The Shadow
Jahzir the Night King: won't really figure too much directly just yet.
Ardalir Doje: Local Legate in Damkass aka:Sahi Al-mahida Kvass
Garak Thule: Local Oruk Warleader
Ssar Aresh Khassir: Puppet “Sussar” in Damkass put in place by Legate Ardalir Doje
Ksan Ssovess: Damkass shadow-spy

The Resistance in Damkass
Antonio Al-Ksaul : Resistance leader in Damkass
Alaya Al-Ksaul: Daughter; in love with Ksan, with resistance
Mrasso : Resistance Spy inside the Sussar’s house

Others - won't figure too much, but have popped up previously.
Selenil : Elf Spy
Sequen Ellae : Gnome trader

Katanapunk...The Riddle of Midnight... http://members.westnet.com.au/manji/

Posts: 186

« Reply #1 on: March 31, 2004, 06:59:11 PM »

Alright.. the game had a strange start.  We had originally played one session in a world we'd created specifically for TROS however once people started reading about Midnight they got excited about the prospects.  Some thought a world where "Sauron wins" would be cool, some liked the idea of playing a "behind-enemy lines insurgency" campaign, some thought the setting had some really meaty hooks to place some cool premise on.  A nice mix of GNS there.  So we flipped off the other game and got into Midnight via a heavily modified version of the intro adventure in the back of the main rulebook.

  Right...  Setup was kind of messy as people joined the game over two sessions.  As such character generation was a little messy.  We had Dorns (Northmen) with Sarcosans (Southern Saracen types) in Souther Erenland (Sarcosan territory).  Noone was connected but thats all good.  We were all interested in giving a Narrative game our best shot so over the course of the first two sessions laid down the guidelines for using Stance etc, ensuring everyone knew that they were real protagonists and had the power to control the story.  I got the R-Map sorted early using the adventure in the main rulebook as a guide, tweaking it here or there.  

Sometime after the first session we spoke about premise.  We took a look at the events in the first adventure and the setting as a whole.  At first we came up with just one premise "Is the price of freedom worth paying?".  It seemed to fit Midnight in a way that isn't really emphasised in the books.  Sure you can play these freedom fighter guys and try and hit back at the Shadow, "freeing" people etc but whats the price of that kind of freedom, and whos willing to pay it.  To foreshadow a little, in a world littered with broken souls and collaborator scum being a hero aint' easy.  

Later a second premise seemed to emerge from play... the trust issue.  "Who can you trust?" became important and shared the spotlight evenly with our original premise.

Katanapunk...The Riddle of Midnight... http://members.westnet.com.au/manji/

Posts: 186

« Reply #2 on: March 31, 2004, 08:38:54 PM »

Herein lies the tales of a disparate group, wracked with mistrust and deceipt though ultimately forging ahead to overcome their combined misgivings and more than a few Odrendor...

The road was less obvious now, nothing more than two furrows in the grass, wet from the previous nights rain. The sun broke the clouds beyond the far side of the great river, reaching down from the opening illuminating for but a brief second, then going dark again as a wave of rain swept across the grass plains. The Dorns, Anlon an escaped slave, Ehram the introvert and Gareth bold, trudged on. Where they were from such weather was commonplace, though the landscape differed greatly. These open plains had proven milder than tales would have them believe, an early winter encroached upon mid autumn. At times they wished they'd brought their heavy furs though the days were warm enough. They travelled light and usually under the cover of night in these lands but the open terrain here had afforded them little cover at all. The late afternoon brought with it a wind from the south west and the promise of foul weather on its breeze.

Something caught Ehram's eye. As they rounded a bend in the river the path sloped down an embankment where the quiet Dorn saw a wagon travelling at haste in the distance rounding a bend near a wood. Overloaded with perhaps a score men, women and children each bump it took looked as though it would sunder the rickety thing.

“Ahead brothers, a wagon at pace” his voice quiet yet decisive. Ehram's eyes always saw such things first and the others were glad of it. Many times they had been saved by his senses. Though they carried no weapons as such this made things trickier in confrontations however, especially when Odrendor wield vardatch and are covered in plate and mail. They wanted no excuse for a toll-master to question their passage however and to date their travels south had been uneventful.

The others looked around them for a place to hide though to no avail. The woods were far off for them and the only other place would be the river bank. Ehram took off in that direction, as did Anlon. Gareth however maintained his path and continued on. His companions cursed his obstinance.

“Hide yourself fool!” Ehram glared at his compatriot as Anlon skidded down the bank next to him.

Gareth cared not spitting onto the road and continuing down the sloping road. As soon as the wagon-riders caught sight of this lone traveller on the road though, they skittered and ran for the woods, abandonning their cart on the road in the process. The Dorns hiding on the bank looked on while Gareth stopped and called out to the people below.

“Damn fool is going to get us killed, tis not as if they can understand his rantings” Anlon cursed while Ehram just shook his head and looked around, suspicious of the situation. More than once this side of the Pellurian Sea their failure to understand the sibilant tongue of these dusky people had gotten them into tricky situations. The Dornish temper and tongue seemed ill-suited for the complexities of the Sarcosan's hissing, snake-like language where one word might carry a thousand meanings.

Gareth descended upon the wagon in his usual haphazard fashion, tossing its contents onto the road one by one. The others caught up with him, still casting glances to the woods where the owners had ran. The wagon seemed to hold a fair amount of food, cast iron pots and blankets. Fair trade items which Gareth saw no problem taking. Anlon looked on dissapprovingly while Ehram checked the horses.

“Here there's blood... one must be wounded”, Anlon looked over to where Ehram was pointing. Indeed one of the horses seemed to have a black arrow jutting out from its forequarter. It got skittish as Ehram came near its hooves were covered in muddy ash. Ehram looked to the sky and sniffed at the air. Anlon always felt decidedly uncomfortable when he did that, he was sure Ehram's eyes took on a more bestial quality. Ehram's keen senses drew his gaze to the sky above the woods from the direction the wagon was coming from. A greasy trail of smoke billowed into the afternoon sky.

“Their town perhaps?” Ehram motioned to where his gaze was fixated.

Anlon turned and considered it.

“Aye perhaps ye be right, say we give it wide birth nay?”

Gareth continued to sift through the refugees belongings.

“Tis naught of value here, not even a staff nor a hock of meat”

The others grumbled with distaste. Anlon especially felt empathy for those on the run with little or no possessions to speak of. Gareth seemed not to care much for the suffering of others, frequently looting what he could to survive. Though a neccessity, Anlon always found it a distasteful one.

“We've no time for looting, if their town is aflame there's not too much guessing as to the cause of it, Izrador's armies must be nearby” Anlon's thoughts filtered all the possible solutions to this problem quickly. “I still think we should head for those woods and give this town a wide birth”

“Bah...if the fires burn that dark and thick the armies would be far gone by now... tis not their ways to stay that long after a slaughter.” Gareth murmered, more to himself while rifling through a duffel-bag.

He was right and the others knew it. Odrendor were vicious yet ultimately predictable. Ehram's stomach growled, reminding him that their last meal worth mentioning was two days ago in the last town they'd passed through and that they'd survived of small river crabs and water chestnuts since then. Even though they were far from home, their strong backs were all that helped them get food for their stomachs and if there was no work to be done in this town, salvage would be their best bet at a good meal. Besides, their feet were weary of this road and the storms that brewed were the kind that required shelter.

“Aye that be true.. we check it from the safety of these woods then, see whats happening”, Anlon pushed off as the rain swept in from the south, leaving the cart while Ehram mumbled and followed. Gareth dragged himself away from the cart, stuffing those items he felt were useful into his new duffel-bag.

Katanapunk...The Riddle of Midnight... http://members.westnet.com.au/manji/

Posts: 186

« Reply #3 on: April 05, 2004, 06:59:23 AM »

The Dorns struggled for cover amongst the ferny undergrowth. Their large frames were not accustomed to crouching at length and even with the darkened skies and shady braken to hide them, their pale skin practically beaconed their presence. As the last rays of the sun filtered through the trees the sky took on a more menacing palor, something creating an unholy red glow in the overcast heavens. Silently they watched from their vantage point overlooking a Sarcosan town, its low domed buildings of stone radiating out from a tower in the centre, the slope of the land gently leading down to rivers edge. Then beside the road leading east a massive pit had been dug some thirty yards long, the source of the night sky's glow and the greasy streak of smoke that snaked its way into the sky. It was here that the smoke emenated from, its fuel the bodies of fallen Sarcosan townspeople, the Odrendor still piling corpses onto its raging flames. Anlon flinched somewhat, even with the horrors of his past he still felt the pang of pain when faced with such scenes of slaughter. Ehram's eyes glazed over, heavy set inside his thick brow, Anlon recognised the look of someone who's mind was blocking out what he saw, something he'd done many times before. After years on the run though, Anlon felt a fair degree of comfort here, for once he could see Odrendor were preying upon someone else and derived some disconnected ease from the scene before him. And on they watched from the safety of the hill. Ehram's thoughts drifted, Gareth considering his next meal and Anlon trying his best to subdue the feeling as if some insidious beast was gnawing away at his insides as he looked on, eroding his very soul with its every bite.

As the procession of Odrendor out of the town thinned to a trickle the companions considered their options. Though most of the Shadow's warriors had left the town to the east, a few still stalked the streets, occasionally seen kicking in a door here, or chasing a screaming inhabitant there. Finally the night sky went quiet, save for the crackling sound of the pyre as its flames lept high, reaching for the bloody canvas of clouds. Almost without a word the three Dorns, of a tall and proud race, noted for their prowess in ages past on the open battle field, skulked their way past the borders of the town. Silently they made their way door to door, taking food and trade item, looting abandonned larder from houses whose owners now rested on their final fiery bed. With guilty grace Anlon went about his task, the necessity of this final age playing heavily on his thoughts. The slave-brand on his forehead ached as it did in these times, when he knew he took from those in a worse position than his and who likely would suffer more, if indeed they were still alive. He tried as the others did to still his mind and cast out any thoughts of compassion for others, eyes aged beyond their bearer's generous years squinted with resolution, but Anlon's intentions could not overcome his breeding. For ageless generations his people were the proud bearers of traditions bold, courageous and heroic. Stealing from the victims of war just wasn't in his blood. It was then they came across the tavern. Two horses, tall in the withers and solid around the barrel, patched with mail, quilt and plate in places, tethered at the front of a two-storey Sarcosan drinking house. Their standards fluttered in the smokey wind, bearing a penant to some unholy general. The companions retreated to a nearby alley and considered taking the horses, casting glances around when the scream shrill and tear-soaked flew from the tavern. Their attention drawn they honed in on the sounds coming from within.

Katanapunk...The Riddle of Midnight... http://members.westnet.com.au/manji/
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