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Author Topic: [Dark Age:Fae] Hack and Slash  (Read 1633 times)

Posts: 172

« on: June 26, 2004, 03:21:00 PM »

We played White Wolf's Dark Age: Fae the other day and had great fun.

Character-generation took a whole evening, since we had trouble getting a good grasp of the setting, figuring out what play is supposed to be about and look like.* Eventually we settled on three members of the Winter Court (the ones that don't like humans) because the –absent – GM had asked us to have all PCs come from one court. We phoned the GM at one point to invoke the golden rule** and allow us to max out Dominions to five from the start and double the number of cantrips (two per point in Weaving) because we figured a game with kewl powerz is less fun if you don't really get to use those kewl powerz.
The PCs were: Gilden (played by "Sara"), male master of despair and nightmares (Firstborn; Dominion: Night), bastard son of an unnamed baron who was dismissed from court after an affair with with Gorgoroth (played by "Ron"), daughter of said baron (Yes, that's incest. Yes, it was my idea. Yes, "Ron" and "Sara" are a couple IRL) and mistress of fire and control (Firstborn; Dominion: Day). My PC, Taeryn was your average deformed misfit with razor claws*** (Inanimae; Dominion: Dusk) sent after Gilden to eliminate him, but eventually convinced to let him live and get a taste of life outside the court, together with Gilden and Gorgoroth, who had come to save her lover. As part of the backstory we'd also built ourselves a nice house, complete with spirit servant.
The next day our GM ("Steve", who is a regular in our online games, but not at the table) rightly complained that we'd make a very nice set of NPCs, but poor PCs since we had no motivation for anything except causing mischief (as I mentioned, we were having trouble with the setting). We eventually decided to have our home taken away from us and take it from there.
The beginning was a bit rough, since the GM allowed us to see someone who was inside our home (which we had trouble entering because of some fire magic), which in turn led us to enter and search (using a heat shield) in a mistaken go for a "realistic reaction".****
Next, the GM left us no other choice***** but to go to "Underbridge", an alternative word composed solely of connected bridges with small patches of land in-between, where every bridge is connected to a bridge in the real word and one passes from one to the other by going under the bridge. We had a brief dispute with two golems trying to demand something in return for passing their bridge – and quickly dispatched them. Next we went under one bridge, came out in Paris and immediately got hit by Echoes (because we were seen by humans) and promptly retreated. We learned of the "Map master" (which reminded my of "Labyrinth" the movie and also something from an old PC roleplaying game; very, very nice idea) but he wasn't very receptive to our request for help and eventually attacked us, so we killed him as well.
After that we had a curse upon us (and the MM's head as a trophy) which kept us from leaving Underbridge and soon afterwards the "Nighthounds" came to punish us. We easily killed three, disarmed one and charmed the other, though we had to throw the latter into the void shortly afterwards. The remaining Nighthound led us to his boss, the Lord of the Night, who turned out to be a lady. She wasn't pleased to see us, but eventually agreed to help us if we got her another MM. A few dead border guards on both sides later we had another chat with an uncooperative MM, but this time we charmed him to follow us.
Back at the castle of the Mistress of the Night things went wrong. See, the lady was trying to get around her end of the deal, so Gorgoroth made her attack the MM, Taeryn tried to stop her, she unleashed some depression spell which caught her as well, and Gilden's hellhounds took care of the guards she had called and eventually consumed the lady. That ended the spell, and while we were taking a look at the carnage around us some friendly Winter Court Fae came and we struck at deal with them. They removed the weirdo from our home and got to keep the MM and the castle in Underbridge in return.
And thus it came that we returned to the comfort of our own abode. Pity that we had to destroy the MM's head to remove the curse, it was such a nice trophy.

No idea how well I got it across, but we had lots of fun. Juvenile fun, trashing around the setting like twelve year olds, but great fun nonetheless. I'm also aware that this style of play gets old fast. Still, once in a while ...

* After the game we agreed that the setting leaves room for lots of different stuff and that it's vital to get everyone on the same page regarding what aspect of the setting will be emphasized. (This is especially important here, since it's rather easy to create PCs which are incompatible in the sense that it is very likely that only one PC will get all the spotlight for a particular "theme".)
** Interestingly enough, we all had a feeling of doing something "out of line", which to me was a vivid demonstration that the "golden rule" only applies to the GM in practice, while it doesn't say so explicitly. Other's mileage may of course vary.
*** in keeping with the childish nature of the game, I rolled up sheets of paper, made myself some paper claws and wore them all evening. It was fun, and "Ron" later commented that they had been a good, visible reminder of who my PC was.
**** Very interesting case IMO: in retrospect allowing the PCs to see someone was probably a mistake, probably arising from a desire to hand us some information in return for our intensive search for clues. That search in turn was a mistake, since we'd agreed to loose the home to kick the PCs into motion and the remedy increased the problem. While a minor matter, I think this sort of thing happens to us on a regular basis and it always takes some time before everyone is back on track.
***** overall I'd say "Steve" did a great job. Despite some initial reservations he was fully on board with our rules drift and for instance handed over descriptions of outcomes to us players, thus coming close to using Fortune-in-the-middle as well. The whole session was much more a product of shared creation than my account suggests, simply because I've been thinking so much about GM-force that the alarm goes off easily. In retrospect, "Steve" provided key turning points in the story, and we needed them.

Rules drift:
As I said, we started with Maximum values in our Dominions (magic). Players declared general intent, GM decided on modifiers and players often narrated outcomes (there was no regularity behind this IIRC).
I'm not sure we handled Unleashing (freeform magic use without spells) correctly, since it's supposed to put you at risk to go nuts, but with 9 to 3 dice for the two Firstborn that risk was rather small and we even found that it was generally easier to use Unleashing.

"The real problem is not whether machines think but whether men do."
--B. F. Skinner, Contingencies of Reinforcement (1969)
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