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Independent Game Forums => lumpley games => Topic started by: Valvorik on April 05, 2008, 11:33:54 AM

Title: [IAWA] Talky But Fun Session
Post by: Valvorik on April 05, 2008, 11:33:54 AM
Alia and the Lord of the Leprechauns

I ran a tutorial/game of IAWA for two friends when our regular D&D night was cancelled because critical mass of players couldn’t make it.  The two are long time friends.  One is located out of country and links up via Skype.

I gave them links to Ryan Stoughton’s flow-chart for conflict resolution and the PC, NPC, Particular Strength (PS) sheets.  I ended up not making explicit reference to Ryan’s chart ~ explaining things went pretty smooth, though one player at least was following along on it as fights resolved.

After very minimal explanation (e.g., that it’s player vs player game), did a “show rules as we go approach”.  It worked pretty well I think (will let them know if they want to post thoughts).

We tested our oracles online, with one player also able to see full set in book, to show what they were like and choose one based on what grabbed players.

[Players can be wiser than Gms] I admit to thinking that for players who had mostly played classical RPG’s (D&D, Call of Cthulhu) that God Kings of War, a fight, would be easiest to get into.  However, one player said that was the one oracle he was not so interested in precisely because it might be too much like regular game.  So we went with Unquiet Past and boy it was not like a usual game at all.  And not like any other IAWA game I’ve played or seen.  But great fun.

We start with:
A youth or maid, the reincarnation of an ancient sage, remembering uncanny arts but forgetful of safeguards.
The fey and unfriendly guardians of an enchanted glade.
A treasure seeker, following the whispers of a slave spirit.
A wandering intelligence, intent on driving mortals mad.

Characters - aside from explicit ones, a madman.

Choosing characters - they slip very easily into creating content (I had explained this is a shared content creating game) with first player supposing the fey guardians are leprechauns, who have leader and that is his character.

The leprechaun lord, his Lordship Quicksill, also wanders about driving mortals mad (is the intelligence), for it’s mortals made mad and enslaved, robbed of their possessions that enrich leprechauns and are the basis of their wealth!  He is sensitive about his height, wearing a tall crown to exaggerate it.  Best interest are getting more mortal slaves and acquire their jewels.  His PS is Blarney (I end up also giving this to Noddy the Leprechaun NPC, see below), it’s Broad.

After ghost stories and Conanesque etc., that came straight out of blue for me.  But it was fun sounding and other player was fine with it.  So we end up with a fairy tale like story.  I had “The Last Unicorn” style animated version of it running in my head as it unfolded.

2nd character is Alia, an unkempt maiden with a noble air, who is reincarnation of sage, who is also a treasure seeker.  Instead of a “slave spirit”, she actually has a madman (unknown to her a victim of leprechauns who escaped) who with her arts she has calmed enough that he is semi-lucid and functional and giving her clues to the strange force in the woods.  She has a manly spirit for a maiden (best stats Covertly and For Myself)
Her PS is her Dumbfouding Filibuster which is her ability, recalling magical lore, to go on at such erudite length that it magically overpowers a listener allowing her to solicit information or just leave them speechless.  It’s Potent.
Best Interests are to discover what the malevolence in the woods is and acquire artifacts.

-- at this point both have picked Particular Strengths that are about talking/used in conversation, I didn't really cotton onto that at the time as I was busy thinking about the situation etc.--

The situation is that Alia is seeking magical lore and also seeking to learn what is going on in the woods, something malevolent.  Her remembered arts means she knows a bit about leprechauns but doesn’t suspect them of this villainy.

GM (me) creates NPC, Bodkin, the madman Alia is learning bits of information from.  Bodkin was a wizard who has lost the ability to work magic with the disording of his mind.  He also lost his book of lore, which is now part of the leprechaun hoard (being a treasure of the sort Alia seeks).  Best interest is to kill that devil leprechaun, whenever he remembers its what he wants that is.  PS is Madness (allows him to act unexpectedly, Consequential).

The Quicksill likes the book because it’s thick and bound in thick soft leather, so it’s a nice addition to this throne that is comfy to sit on and makes him look taller.

Alia’s seeking of magical lore treasure wasn’t yet casting a clear enough conflict with the Leprechaun Lord so I used fleshing out Bodkin to more clearly but the two PC’s in opposition, giving L. Lord something Alia wants and Alia a helper who’s an escaped property of L. Lord

Other NPC’s include Noddy, a classical normal leprechaun (thin little man not even there if you’re not looking at him right) who also has the Blarney PS, with Best Interest of upstage the Lord, and Lady Elfkin, a singularly pugnacious and muscular lady leprechaun who fancies herself the Lord’s spouse and who the other leprechauns are not brave enough to dispute (her Particular Strength is “Wallop of Oak”, she hits you like a tree falling on you).  Her Best Interest is to get recognized as wife of Lord Quicksill.

I emphasized the leprechauns via NPCs since it was clear the situation was a trip into Leprechaun court - okay, mostly cause I was having a blast doing it.

The collapsing of characters together and fact there are only two PC’s does make a very simple situation but that’s not bad for a quick tutorial game to try to move along in one evening.

There were three scenes.

First Scene, what’s Alia doing - Player - she and Bodkin are going into the woods to find out what is wrong in them and perhaps find some treasure.
GM - You could have sworn Bodkin was just behind you but suddenly he’s gone ~ these must be magical woods.  You now see a short man fishing in a creek.

- this is an encounter with Noddy the Leprechaun, I had Bodkin lost in order to avoid a three way conflict right off.
- Noddy wants to upstage the Lord Quicksill by showing he can get mortal slaves by maddening them too, Alia wants to find where the Leprechauns live.
- Noddy’s Blarney isn’t a match for arcane bafflgab, Alia wins (no owe list, she had larger dice), negotiated that Noddy leads her to village and reveals about the treasure of the Lord’s favourite treasure (the comfy book) instead of suffering any harm.

2nd Scene -  Lord Quicksill is lording it up with his court when Bodkin, who has been found by the leprechauns, is brought before him.  Surprising everyone with more lucidity then he should have (Alia’s arts) Bodkin sees his book under Lord Quicksill’s bottom and flies into a rage, throwing off his leprechaun keepers, he hurls himself at the Leprechaun Lord intent on wringing his little neck.

The Lord’s cries for his court to defend him are of no avail, the court is too startled (or disinclined to leap to his defence) and he ends up fighting for his life against the madman.  There is attempted strangulation, biting, bitch slapping, and slipping out of coat to escape Bodkin’s grasp and finally down him with a well-delivered kick in shins (the classical Leprechaun move).  At which point the Leprechaun court “wakes up” and all dive in to restrain Bodkin.  Bodkin is negotiated as being once more rendered docile (witlessly mad).

- the Leprechaun Lord Quicksill comes across as a delightfully preening insecure fellow who is also menacing.

3rd Scene - just as Bodkin is being dealt with, Alia arrives (Noddy slipping away to not be seen betraying the Lord Quicksill, though his absence from the court is noted).

Alia and the Leprechaun Lord agree to a duel of wits to see if she walks out with book and Bodkin or she remains as another acquisition for the Leprechaun Lord.

- this became a continuing very “talky” set of conflicts, I have explained that conversation isn’t a conflict but each time the conflict was talky there seems an acceptable explanation ~ each side is using magical PS’s relating to speech, and now there’s an audience whose judgement essentially does decide things, nobody is forced to doing anything as a result of conflict unless negotiated etc.

- Lord Quicksill's player wants to use “With Violence” in talking, I say that can be disputed as it really means physical violence in my view, Player says he’s thinking the talk is really vicious trash talk, the other Player says that’s okay by him so I accept it.

- the ‘fairy tale’ sensibility seemed also to make duels of wits more appropriate.

In this one scene we then go into several (three I think) back-to-back conflicts as the loser each time refuses to compromise in fiction and so takes dice damage and another conflict ensues, all played out as the debate before the Leprechaun court.  It’s trash talking back and forth, the rightful claims of Leprechauns over inferior mortals vs accusations the book is already corrupting Lord Quicksill while the court of leprechauns look on with eyes as big as saucers.

- I emphasize ability to negotiate etc., and they do a bit but each time neither is willing to back down on core issues - I’ve not seen this many “try again right aways” and “no compromise” back to backs.
- There was some form switching between bouts during the extended conflict (not during a specific conflict) as verbal tactics shifted.

Eventually, Alia (who has compromised down to arguing for book only, abandoning Bodkin), is forced to admit defeat but by backing out before the argument is too telling is allowed to leave the Leprechaun court minus Bodkin.

Thus ends the Chapter. 

It took about 50 minutes to get through intro and oracle and start with characters.  The whole night was about two and a half hours.

Both indicate they had fun.  Perhaps this could be a regular “when we fall below critical mass for other game” fall back.  One notes that game is very open in genre.

We had very little owe list activity.  In the 3rd scene, at least twice conflicts were won in the 1st round with a doubling that meant no one got on owe list.  Leprechaun lord got on and used it as conflict went on to get an advantage die.  Owe list ended blank.

My own “do better” is to do a better job tracking forms being used and encouraging people to script in keeping with form.  Though as players get more familiar they can also call each other on that.  I was using a “sense of the table rules on these things, not GM alone” approach.

Once again, I just loved IAWA as a no-prep game creating stories and fun.  The surprise of the totally different genre and tone to this game just added to it.

I went to sleep that night smiling at the image of Alia and the Leprechaun Lord’s trash talking argument and it helped sustain me through a lousy next day at work.

Title: Re: [IAWA] Talky But Fun Session
Post by: Valvorik on April 06, 2008, 01:15:14 PM
I meant to ask this in post above but was rushed for time.

In multiple chapter games, how often do people see PC's acquiring increased/new Particular Strengths vs re-assigning dice to clear damage?

In my past games, people usually negotiated interesting things into the fiction others accepted instead of take/insist on damage, and thus took an increased or new Particular Strength.

We didn't get to a 2nd chapter, not sure we will since it was "play test" for group, but the play style so far here (don't back down, multiple rounds in fights, take the damage) left PC's fairly damaged and suggests re-assigning dice (even if to same stats for same values) will be very tempting as it clears the damage.  I see slower "PC progression" as a result.

Has anyone had experience with these choices? 

Has anyone opted for a "fast progression" of "just clear damage automatically, and let the choices be reassign dice (but didn't need to in order to clear damage)/add or increase PS"?