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Well of Souls 2

Started by Peter Nordstrand, September 19, 2003, 09:57:44 PM

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Peter Nordstrand

This is a continuation of this thread.

Finally, we've set a date for playing this game. Originally I planned to start a new thread after the first session, which will take place on monday, but the last thread has been inactive for over two weeks, so...

For the first time in years I am actually feeling a little nervous. I'm sure everything will be okay once things get going, and the players start involving themself in whatever is going on. It is the kick off event that worries me a little. What if one or more player doesn't react at all to their intial Bangs? Yeah, I know, it will probably work out fine.

So, I'm thinking about what Bangs to start with. I'm planning to start off the players more or less simultaneously, cross cutting between their individual scenes.

Sir N (I cant't wait to hear his proper name): Originally I planned to begin with Lord Oleg de Boor's tempting offer, but I've changed my mind. Assessor Ratier's marriage proposal affects Dacius as well as Sir N, and it will probably create some stimulating extra tension when it turns out that Josette is pregnant.

Dacius: Brier asks him to kidnap Hugo. I intend to start this scene after Ratier's proposal to Josette, but before Sir N has made a decision. Hehe.

Rickard: Since the other two starting Bangs involve someone asking something of the heroes, I'll begin differently with Rickard. Trencavel gives him his immensely valuable family hierloom: an enchanted spear. Hm...I need to give it some evocative special power...

Two More Bangs
It is not imperative that I introduce these in the first session, but I want to keep them in mind.

Father Rance's vision telling him the general source of the coma, thus making it obvious to a lot of people that a heroquest may be a solution.

Lady Noella and her daughter Aimee arrives. She arrives from far, far away to marry Aimee to one of Eustef's sons. This is a strong political bond, but it is not yet decided which son. For the first time I see this character's potential (who is not yet revealed to the players). Will Aimee marry Guilbert or Hugo? A lot of people will be interested in influencing Lady Noella's decision. I can't believe I didn't see this before.

Well Then
I'll do a little more prep during the weekend, but I think I'm mostly ready for play...

See you on monday, folks.


/Peter N
Any sufficiently advanced incompetence is indistinguishable from malice.
     —Grey's Law

Peter Nordstrand

First proper session is over.

Player Heroes
Sir Giliam (the knight formerly known as Sir N)

Here's what happened.

- Assessor Ratier asks for Giliam's daughter Josette's hand. I play up Ratier's wealth, fine breeding, and good manners as much as possible. Giliam replies that he wants to talk to his daughter first, which Ratier (naturally) accepts.

- Brier asks Dacius to kidnap Hugo (for his own protection). In return she promises to ensure that Josette will loose her interest in Guilbert (by having Josette discover her and Guilbert in bed together). Dacius says that he wants to think about it.

- Trencavel gives his sacred relic spear to Rickard. "You are like the son I never had." Rickard gladly accepts it.

- Giliam tries to find out more about Ratier, and hears only good things: He comes from an affluent, respected, and influential family.

- Giliam goes to Sir Maslin to ask for advice. Giliam worries a lot about proper etiquette, such as whether it is appropriate for Ratier to marry Josette, but Maslin tells him not to worry about such matters. "If he treats Josette right, and you can benefit from the marriage, I can see no reason why you should refuse. If you have reason to believe that he will mistreat her, or if the marriage is detrimental to your interests, it is a different matter."

- Maslin asks Giliam to let Guilbert have an accident, but is interrupted when Dacius arrives to ask for the old man's advice. It is quite unclear what kind of advice Dacius is looking for, but he makes it perfectly clear that he is ready to support Hugo against Guilbert. Maslin involves Dacius in the conspiracy, and asks the two player heroes to cooperate on the matter.

- Lady Colette tells Rickard that she can revive Lord Eustef. All she needs is a human sacrifice for the ritual. Will Rickard find a suitable sacrifice for her? Rickard say's he'll think about it. [This is clearly not what he expected ... he is hardly enthusiastic.]

- Dacius and Giliam come up a bizarre plan to kidnap Hugo and make it look like Guilbert did it. It's a lousy plan, but Giliam somehow (using a hero point) manages to get Maslin to agree to it. The first part of the plan involves making Guilbert believe that Hugo is trying to take his position (which is weird since it's essentially the truth).

- Rickard is at dinner at Trencavel's house. Meets his sickly wife, and his two daughters (2 and 15 yrs old). Two facts are revealed: 1) Trencavel wouldn't be able to support his family if he didn't have his job as leader of the garrison. 2) Trencavel makes it clear that his daughter is approaching marriageable age...

- Giliam sends a messenger to his daughter, asking her to meet him regarding something important. (It turns out that Giliam is reluctant to speak to his daughter since they don't talk that much, and he doesn't want her to be associated with him and his shame.) Giliam gets drunk while waiting and eventually falls asleep. Josette never shows. [Why? I don't know really. I was too keen on introducing the next Bang, and passed over this great opportunity for father--daughter interaction.]

- Dacius parties with Etienne, and plants the rumor that Hugo has made a deal with Raoul de Nesle to give Raoul the dye monopoly in return for Raoul's support when Hugo tries to overthrow his brother. Etienne invites him to lunch the following day.

- Rickard encounters Father Rance, who has had a horrible vision of Eustef's soul being captured by evil snakes. It is obvious to everyone with knowledge of the local myths that Eustef's coma is in some way connected to the earth daimon Damsel Ophidia of the Moist Between the Rocks. A heroquest is presented as an obvious solution. [I totally regret introducing this Bang, BTW.]

- Dacius talks to one of Deliam's household servants, repeating the rumor that Hugo is about to oust his brother. (Deliam is Etienne's father, remember?)

- Rickard asks Lady Josette (who is obviously knowledgeable in the magic arts) to check out the spear. The spear burns her hands severely. It is most likely a true relic.

- Josette asks Dacius for advice. She has slept with Guilbert, but Guilbert acts as if nothing happened. And now she thinks that she is pregnant. Dacius offers to marry her to hide her shame, but she asks him to talk to Guilbert, which he agrees to do. Dacius also advices her not to tell anyone else about this, not even her father. [Josette never really reacted properly to Dacius' "proposal" ... another mistake, I think.]

- Xavier warns Rickard to watch out for possible treason: Someone (read Serge) may try to hurt Trencavel.

- Serge awakes Giliam from his drunken sleep and drags him to court. Serge tries to resist, but gets his butt kicked. At court, Serge tries to exile Giliam (on account of his untrustworthiness), and Maslin tries to take the blame. Giliam argues that he has already punished for the thefts by Lord Eustef: "You all act as if he is already in the grave. Why do you see it fit to question his decision?" This strikes a chord with Alfan, who manages to convince Guilbert and Serge to start an investigation into the matter now that both Maslin and Giliam is taking the blame for the thefts.

- Rickard decides to try out his new spear in a mock fight with his two followers. The spears powerful magic causes a magnificent explosion. (Critical vs. fumble.) Rickard leaves the scene at once, with one follower dead and the other dying.

- Rickard buries the spear in the floor of his cellar, and gets drunk by himself.

- Alfan asks Dacius to handle the investigation of the old theft.

Well, that's it.

I've probably forgotten something, though. All in all we had a good time, despite the fact that I made a lot of stupid mistakes. Too many Bangs too fast, I think. Not enough time was spent on my part actually playing the NPCs. I sort of rushed from one situation to the next without really taking the time to think about what was going on. More comments from me about that later.

Meanwhile, what do you think? Questions? Advice?


/Peter N
Any sufficiently advanced incompetence is indistinguishable from malice.
     —Grey's Law

Peter Nordstrand

First, let me say that we did have a good time last night, despite the horrible mess I made. The reason why I concentrate on my mistakes is that I can learn from them.

I think I have figured out what I did wrong.
    1) My main concern before play was that "nothing would happen." I worried that I'd introduce Bangs, but the players wouldn't do things. In the end this prevented me from seeing that the players
were reacting to the Bangs. They were doing stuff.

2) Whenever I felt the need for "something to happen" I went to my list of Bangs. This was a mistake. I should have gone to my list of characters instead.[/list:u]
The result was a never-ending series of Bangs, and the players never really got the chance to do their thing. I should have relaxed and listened more to the players. For example, when Giliam turned to Old Maslin for advice, I should have just played the Old Maslin character, giving the best advice I could. Then I should have asked Giliam's player what he wanted to do next. If that turned out to be a non-action (and only then), I could have introduced new complications based on the original Bang. How would Josette react if she found out? What can Ratier do to make Giliam like him? I didn't do that. Instead, I gave a quick answer to Giliam's question, and then immediately proceeded by introducing a new and completely unrelated Bang: "Make sure that Guilbert has an accident." When Giliam turned to Maslin for advice, he was preparing a decision regarding Ratier's proposal.


Don't introduce any new Bangs for a while. Listen intently to the players and what they want to do. There are so many things going on, and the players must be allowed to deal with them any way they choose.

Next, I'll go over the player heroes one by one.

/Peter N
Any sufficiently advanced incompetence is indistinguishable from malice.
     —Grey's Law

Mike Holmes

Sounds like you've identified the only problem. It's not so bad, however, IMO. That is, if you follow your own advice and let the players take things where they want next time, the first session will seem like a really big setup session. Almost like it was background. Which gives you lots of room to expand.

I'm somewhat surprised that after all the effort you put into getting the Bangs right that you didn't trust them to get the players into motion. I don't see how they could have failed. But then you're playing with some new assumptions for the first time, so perhaps there should be no surprise.

Anyway, for the next session still have a few Bangs thought out. Because you never really know what's going to happen. But then try to see how long you can go before using another one. If you have to, just do "refresher" Bangs, which are just events that remind the character of the previous Bang their character was addressing. Some NPC comes along as asks, "So what were you going to do about problem A?"

You didn't use them all, did you? One of the neat things about Bangs is that if you make as many as you did for the game, that you shouldn't end up needing them all (and you certainly shouldn't try to get them all out; the idea is to introduce them only if/when it makes dramatic sense). Which means that, assuming that play hasn't made them irrelevant, you have them for later if you need them. Always make a few too many, and you'll keep ahead of the curve. And then if you get "caught" having done no prep for a session at some point, you'll still have all you need to play.

Really, the thing that I most like about the Bang presentation in play is that once you've gotten the start for the characters, preparing for future sessions is pretty easy. Just replace the Bangs that you've used with others that have some of the same elements of the ones that were most successful. Or mix it up. It's all good, and I find that Bangs present themselves fairly readily just thinking about the last session.

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