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Author Topic: [TSoY] the Forest King  (Read 2193 times)
xjermx
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« on: June 19, 2006, 07:10:27 PM »

This was my first TSoY game.  I'd convinced a couple of friends to gather so I could demo/try/play the system.  I was going to have three players, but one was not able to make it, still, Jason and Krissi were there.  Here is an account of our first semi-informal game of TSoY.

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. Itwas 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 :)
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Sydney Freedberg
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« Reply #1 on: June 21, 2006, 10:09:15 AM »

That sounds fun, but where TSOY really shines is when the players are interacting with characters they know and care about, whom they can choose to help or hurt, rather than just fighting strangers for loot -- it'd be interesting to see what they do if the thief's cousin shows up again, for example. I just started running a campaign myself and most of the intense conflicts were player vs. player social conflicts: take a look at http://www.indie-rpgs.com/forum/index.php?topic=19812.0.
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xjermx
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« Reply #2 on: June 24, 2006, 04:55:44 PM »

We sat town to play again, a continuation of last week's game.

This time we had Michael and Maddie as well.

I missed going over this in my last post about the game: the characters.

Jason created Kragar, a Khale Human.  He currently is Adept in React, Stealth and Deceit, and Competent in Reist, Aim, Theft and Guerilla Warfare.  He took Secret of Contacts and Hidden Pocket.  He took keys of the Outcast (thieves guild back in the city) and Impostor.

Krissi made Violet, a Khale Human.  She is currently Adept in Endure and Spear Fighting.  She is Competent in React, Stealth, Athletics, First Aid, Sense Danger, Woodscraft and Scrapping.  She took Secret of Mighty Blow and Signature Weapon (Spear).  She took Keys of Bloodlust, Conscience, Masochist and Carousing (gets 1 xp for engaging in boisterous, drunken merrymaking.  gets 2 xp when she engages in drunken merrymaking which results in a bar fight or a problem with the law.  gets 5 xp when her drunken merrymaking results in an incarceration, arrest, or becoming a fugitive, or when a barfight gets way out of hand)

Maddie created Reek, a Ratkin of unknown origins.  She took Adept in React and Scrapping.  Competent in Resist, Litter Bond, Streetwise and Athletics.  She took Secret of Suddden Knife, Rat Familiarity, Contacts and Throwing. She took Keys of Reknown, and the Litter.

Michael created Sedu, a Zaru Human.  He is Adept in React and Zu.  He is Competent in Resist, Uptenbo, Research and Counsel.  He took Secrets of Kinetic Redirection, Zu (syllable), Sand/Sleep/Weaken (syllable), Spyglass/Focus/Intensify (syllable).  He took keys of the Collector, Pacifist, and Conscience.

As we all sat down, I explained that after the events of last week's game, the food-carrier who got away in the forest earlier, burst into the Meeting Hall with 10 guards on his heels and called them out.  They were slapped around and thrown into a hut to await dawn, when they would be hanged.  Also in the hut with them were Reek and Sedu.  These two had also infiltrated the bandit camp in search of a huge garnet, which they'd been commissioned to find and return to a noble in a nearby town.  They were caught and were also awaiting the noose.  I explained that they sat huddled inside this dark hut awaiting dawn, but that they could hear the snoring of the guard outside.

Maddie announced that Reek was going to start digging.  Stakes involved either digging a good enough tunnel, or having the guard wake and come investigate what was going on.  She managed fine and dug herself a tunnel under the wall of the hut.  They all managed to crawl out, and huddled beside the hut in the darkness, debating in whispers what to do with the guard near them.  Sedu advocated a non-violent course of action, while Reek nearly set upon the guard with a dagger that Kragar produced.  Violet brought an end to the argument though by thunking the guard on the head, rendering him even more asleep.   I had set the stakes as guard is knocked out/guard is awakened and pissed off, and will try to attack.  Jason disliked the stakes, saying that the guard wouldnt be able to respond so quickly.  Dice were rolled though and the guard was out.  While Violet hid the unconscious guard in the hole they'd dug, Kragar took his helmet.  They spied a wagon being loaded a distance away, apparently with assorted goods.  About this time another guard patrolling the camp came their way.  Sedu spoke the syllable "Sleep" and the guard collapsed in a snoring heap.

The players sat and debated for a few minutes, their next course of action, wanting to locate their missing gear - I implied that they loaded a couple of spears possibly including Violet's into the wagon.  I suggested at one point that it would be really awesome if they posed as bandits again and approached the wagon and ordered it off, basically taking command of the wagon and its guards.  Krager headed in on his own.  He told the fellow who looked like he was in charge that "Your Captain wants to talk to you. You better get back there right now."  Dice were, of course, rolled.  Jason and the NPC came out dead even. [Question: should I use Jason's Deceit vs the guard's Sense Truth, or should it be Deceit vs Resist?]  So Krager has not convinced the guard that he was needed, while the guard was not certain that Krager was lying.  The guy he was talking to turned out to be a Captain.  Krager played dumb though, and said that he was just following orders.  The guard Captain agree'd to go with Krager and talk to the fellow that supposedly sent him.  Krager led him back toward the hut where his compatriots lurked, and Sedu attempted to use "Sleep" on the Captain, but the roll outcome was even!  He didnt go to sleep.  Reek charged out, using her Athletics to charge before using Scrapping.  She rolled incredibly well on her Athletics, getting an outcome of 5!  So she added 5 dice to her Scrapping roll and got a smashing success.  The stakes dictated that the guard captain was down and out!

They advanced back to the wagon, Kragar had donned the scarf of the Captain.  They reached the wagon, and Kragar told the sergeant that he was the Captain in charge now, that the other had been reassigned (ding, xp for Jason).  At the same time, Reek climbed on top of the loaded wagon and proclaimed that in fact, she had killed the previous captain! (xp for Reknown)  The sergeant bought Kragar's story, and Kragar's subsequent explanation that the Ratkin was uh.. insane.  Reek continued to menace the guards, until Sedu discreetly used "Sleep" on her, sending her into la-la-land.  They played it all off, and soon has the wagon and its guards heading off along the narrow track into the forest.  A few hours later, they planned to stage their inside heist.  "Captain" Kragar stopped the wagon and said that he'd heard something in the woods, and sent Violet and two of the guardsmen into the woods.  Reek (awake again) followed Violet into the woods, bitterly bickering about a misplaced pendant of some sort.  Reek, Violet and the two guard stomped around in the bushes for a few minutes, and just as they were all ready to spring the trap on their unsuspecting guards, an arrow thumped into a tree near Violet.  Then a number of heavily armed soldiers emerged from the trees, making straight for Violet, Reek and the guards.  The guards turned and ran back toward the wagon, shouting that they were under attack.  Two of the soldiers attacked Violet.  Dice were rolled, but everyone broke even and no damage was done.  One soldier began to attack Reek but suddenly recognized her (Secret of Contacts).  The soldiers were from the same region as she was, and one of them knew that she was in service to one of that region's lords.  They ceased attacking the two of them.  Reek hurried back toward the wagon, where Krager had ordered the guards to both sides of the wagon - splitting them up.  Reek walked onto the path and demanded that the guards drop their weapons.  I had her use Sway, even though she was unskilled, resisted by the guards.  These players had some great rolls.  And a few terrible ones as well.  This was a great roll though, and they all dropped their weapons.  Then the soldiers walked out of the trees as well.  They bound all of the guards and took possession of the wagon.  Krager explained that he was a spy in service to the soldiers' region, and they bought it (ding!).  Meanwhile, our characters had found both the Ruby and the Garnet that they'd all been hunting for.  The soldiers were taking the wagon back to their town.  The characters traveled along with them, and at one point they stopped and the sergeant of the soldiers decided that he didnt want to continue to keep up with prisoners, and ordered one of his men to kill the tied up guards.  Sedu of course objected, and managed to talk the sergeant into not killing the prisoners (ding! key of Conscience).

On they traveled, and came to the town, Ammen, from where the guards were as well as Reek's employer.  The characters split off from the wagon and headed toward Lord Duval's place in town.  Reek explained that they had gotten the Garnet that he sent them after.  Also Kragar asked if he wanted a ruby.  Duval was certainly interested in the ruby, and they set to haggling.  Finally Kragar agree'd to let Duval have the ruby appraised, meanwhile, Duval would put them up in the Horse and Tack Inn, "the finer of the two inns in this town".  They ate and drank, while Sedu looked around forlornly for a library.  Violet hit on her key of Carousing.  They overheard that someone was in town asking around about some fine gems.  It was a very very tall man with black hair.  Jason used the Secret of Contacts, and so this fellow turned out to be the Boss of the local thieves guild, with whom Jason was formerly affiliated (key of the outcast).  They laid low that evening, but then heard something from outside, and discovered that Lord Duval's place was on fire.  They raced over, well except Kragar, who for some reason chose to hang out at the Inn.  At Duval's they found the home in flames, and ruffians doing battle with Duvals men-at-arms in the courtyard.  Also in the courtyard was one very tall, black haired man, and a woman with long red hair who was using magic against Duval's men.   She used "Flight/Flee/Fugitive" on one of Duval's men, and Sedu promptly stole it!  Reek and Violet rushed in to do battle, Reek leaping onto one of the ruffians to assist the combatants.  Sedu attempted to use "Sleep" on one of the ruffians, when the red haired woman stole his syllable!  He of course brought down the pain.  I debated for a bit on how to properly run this bringing the pain.  What actually occured was that Sedu used "Sleep" on one of the ruffians, successfully, then red-hair stole it.  The pain was brought, and I finally concluded that the conflict was simply over controlling the word- Sedu trying to keep it, and red trying to steal it.  I tried to figure out what the bits of the conflict were, the actions that they'd be rolling over.  Finally I just had Michael and myself start rolling the conflict.  The first round went to Sedu, as his fellow players were being liberal with their Gift dice, but then it was back and forth after that.  Both characters in the conflict were Adept at Zu.  The Gift dice, and pool dice quickly ran out, and quite a few rolls were dead even.  We probably rolled a dozen times, and still only ended up with red being Bloodied.  Still, she dropped out of the conflict, and Sedu kept the syllable.

Reek and Violet rushed in and dispatched tall black hair and red hair, while Sedu and Duval's men finished off the ruffians.

We left off there.

I'd explained to my players that this two-game session was really intended to be a figuring out of the system.  Thus, I'd dispensed with some of the things I'd normally do, like setting up relationship maps and really striving to make sure all the characters were super compatible and so forth.   The players seem open to making it a semi-regular game and keeping it going.  They seem to like the characters that they've got, and say that they're enjoying the story.  So I will probably try to flesh out the characters and tweak them some and keep it all going.

Michael, having never seen TSoY before, and being somewhat new to Role Playing Games anyway seemed to jump right in, but took a little while to start hitting his Keys.  Admittedly, Key of the Collector isnt super-easy to hit if I'm not trying to help with it- so I'll have to work on that.  But he got some points for keeping the guards from having their throats slit, and for his non-violent approach to conflict.  Maddie really racked up some xp using key of Reknown.  Jason and Krissi both did pretty well also.
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Twobirds
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« Reply #3 on: June 24, 2006, 09:02:22 PM »

This was a very nice read.  Thanks!

George
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