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[In a Wicked Age] Gushing all over and AP thingy (long)
Topic: [In a Wicked Age] Gushing all over and AP thingy (long) (Read 1665 times)
[In a Wicked Age] Gushing all over and AP thingy (long)
January 16, 2008, 09:03:09 PM »
A couple of weeks ago, Remi mentioned that there was this cool game he played, called "In A Wicked Age", which was now being published. He told us a little about it, and from there, it became evident that it was an awesome game. After reading everything I could find on it (including the old playtesting stuff), I broke down and ordered the thing, and I'm glad I did. When I got the PDF saturday morning, I immediately read it cover to cover (top to bottom? Pixel to pixel?) and set out to find some people to play with. I managed to round up two people who agreed to try it, and we had one of the most awesome times I have ever had roleplaying.
IAWA appeals to me very directly in how the situation is set up, I love the Oracle and its power, and how everyone works together to create a story. I just love that collaborative aspect. I also like its serial nature, and how it can go back and forth and up and down, too. So, basically, I like everything about it. I've made plans to play again this weekend (with another crew) and spread the gospel (the Oracle?) as far and wide as I can.
(As a side note, I was also inspired to create a
. I've only got about 5 plays in there now, but more are coming.)
Here is how the first adventure went.
abi, Alex and I sat down at about 5:30, and I explained the rules briefly, and the game as best I could, and then we started a game. I was GM, and Alex and Gabi were players.
We chose "Nest of Vipers" as our oracle, and drew the following:
-An ambitious farmer, hungry for gossip or silver.
-The written deed to a certain house, affirmed and sealed.
-A tower of silver and alabaster, which rises from the sea under the new moon.
-The daughter of an emperor, denied nothing, prey to fleeting whims, craving discipline.
Alex decided to play the Steward of the Tower, while Gabi chose to play the town gossip and sometime confidant of the farmer. Leaving me with the farmer, the princess, and her retinue. It was decided that the Emperor had recently died, and his daughter was even now touring her new domain, taking possession of the various territories ceremonially. A wealthy landowner, hearing of this, decides that he stands to gain both both power and wealth by marrying the princess himself. In this plot, he was aided by the conniving town gossip, who had her own plans. Meanwhile, the steward was in a panic because of the princess's imminent arrival.
After violently waylaying a messenger boy in order to steal several invitations to the welcome feast, the gossip and the farmer infiltrate the dinner, which the steward thrown together. Halfway through the meal, the princess excuses herself, to the consternation of all the guests. As the dinner breaks up haphazardly, the farmer and the gossip explore the tower.
Meanwhile, the steward, desperately seeking some explanation, returns to his office, and interrupts the theft of the most vital documents in the province - the deed to the tower which must be given to the princess for the ceremony to take place. The princess's chief advisor himself is pilfering the steward's strongbox. As the advisor attempts to leave with the deed, the steward blocks him. Alas, the steward is thrown to the floor, and the thief flees the room, running smack dab into the gossip and the farmer.
As the steward seeks to raise the alarm, the thieving advisor rushes down the stairs, only to be stopped cold as the gossip, in a fit of heroics, bodily throws herself over the railing and onto the thief below. As both steward and farmer rush to assist her, the farmer takes advantage of the confusion, and takes the deed for himself.
As the advisor is being hustled off to a prison cell, the steward is informed that the princess herself has been abducted, and is no longer in the tower. All hell breaks loose as the steward calls for a posse to form and the remaining guests take up the charge.
As the steward is organizing a rescue party, the farmer and the gossip, seeing their quarry on the verge of escaping, decide to chase after her on their own. The gossip seduces a stableboy into revealing where the princess went, and the two set off after the escaping royal.
End of chapter one.
In chapter two, we went with the oracle, the Unquiet Past, drawing the following:
-A youth or maiden, the reincarnation of an ancient sage, remembering uncanny arts but forgetful of safeguards.
-The young, beautiful wife of a man whom the gods have touched
-A fallen temple, overgrown with moss and ivies, and the forgotten animal spirits of its cult
-The soul of a dead wizard, seeking an advantageous rebirth.
This chapter was set maybe a month after the first chapter. The princess and her bodyguard, who was also her lover, stop in their flight to rest in the protection of an overgrown temple. The place works its might on her, and in doing so, awakens powers she never knew she had.
By chance, the temple is also home to a the ghost of a wizard who, while seeking immortality, had turned himself into a frog by accident. He sees the bodies of the princess and her guard, and the unborn child she carries, as the key to his escape from the temple to which he is spirit bound.
Finally, the gossip from chapter one is still on the trail of the princess. In the interim, she has killed her companion the farmer (no honor among thieves, I guess) and taken the deed to the tower for herself. But she still seeks the princess in order to eliminate the only other legitimate claimant to the deed. The gossip, however, is in turn being followed by her husband, a man made demented by the gods, but who also knows where his wife is at all times (the better to torment him, I suppose). Alex chose to play the ghost of the wizard/frog, and Gabi once again plays the gossip.
As the chapter opens, the young lovers are making camp for the night. At long last, the gossip has caught up with them, and even now spies surreptitiously on their activities as they prepare for sleep. As they both drift away, the gossip begins her stealthy incursion into the camp.
However, she herself is being watched by the ghost of the wizard/frog. The ghost divines the gossip's motives all to well, and does not want to share his prey with an enemy, and so causes the gossip to see the ghosts of spiders and snakes which even now inhabit the temple. Taking fright, the gossip retreats, and bivouacs slightly apart from the temple.
She is awakened rudely at dawn by her irate husband, who proceeds to shout to the heavens and all who can hear him how he's been done wrong. While the gossip responds to his blandishments bravely, and violently attacking him with a cudgel, he easily disarms her. However, his shouting has roused both the bodyguard and the princess, who suddenly appear, armed and dangerous.
Using her quick wits and her silver tongue, the gossip convinces the bodyguard that her husband is a dangerous lunatic rapist. The bodyguard reacts as would be expected, and quickly attacks and kills the old man. However, he soon recognizes the gossip, and wonders why she has been following them. As smoothly as a spider, the gossip weaves a web of deception which takes both the princess and the guard completely in. They allow her to accompany them on their journey.
As they break camp, the ghost realizes that if they leave, he will lose his best chance for corporeality in 30 years, and takes possession of the bodyguard. As the bodyguard struggles (and fails) to resist, his thrashing so frightens the princess that her latent pyrotechnic powers awaken completely, setting the temple on fire. This further frightens her, and more and more of the woods begins to burn. The gossip, and the wizard possessed body guard hustle the princess out of the inferno, and together they all flee down the coast.
That night the princess is near catatonic with shock. The gossip makes a play to seduce the body guard (actually the wizard) and succeeds. As they embrace and make plans to kill the princess, they are interrupted by a scream of rage as the princess herself discovered them.
Launching herself at the gossip, the princess calls down fire from the sky to burn her rival to ashes. And, while the gossip is fast tongued, she herself is not able to dodge the attacks, and soon falls, consumed in flames. The princess then turns her attention toward the wizard, and attacks him as well. The wizard decides to abandon the body to its fate, and returns to ghost form, while the body guard, restored to his true self, is suddenly consumed in fire. At the last moment, the princess realizes the difference, but it is too late to save her lover. She goes irredeemably mad, while the shades of the wizard and the gossip haunt the treacherous stretch of beach forever.
End of chapter two.
After chapter two, we discussed what we liked about the game, what we thought we could do better, and so on. All of us had a wonderful time, and the points of weakness were generally the conflict resolution, and for me, some of the scene framing. Both, I think, will come with practice, and even in the second session it was a lot better. I also need to review the rules again, and probably explain character creation a little better, and be sure I'm using the "we owe" list to its fullest potential (and correctly). On the whole, however, it was marvelously done, and I had such a good time, we did another session after these two. In all, we spent about 5 hours doing three sessions, which is pretty impressive. The last session in a completely different story arc, however, and didn't use any of the characters from the arc above.
Our third session of the night used the Oracle of Blood and Sex. We drew
-An oasis of sweet water in a barren wilderness, haunted by the shadows some vast atrocity committed centuries ago.
-A simple insult, casually inflicted, striking very, very deep.
-The death of the primary heir of a local noblewoman.
-The seizure of arcane powers by an arrogant and brutal wizard.
Magda the Crone, a powerful sorceress had three sons, Antonius (Alex), Shalman and Nur-Ayya (Gabi), each more powerful than the last. Magda also had an apprentice, Eristi. 300 years ago, Antonius insulted Eristi, and for his troubles, was slain. From him, Eristi stole an Orb of Power, which commanded four elemental spirits, and fled the land.
Magda's sorrow was great, and her rage terrible at the loss of her son. She spent centuries searching for her apprentice, but to no avail. Gradually, she sunk into decay, and began to fade from the world, losing faculty and sanity, until she was almost gone.
Magda built of tomb for herself and for her son, but her son's body was lost in the desert. As the tomb neared completion, she ordered Shalman and Nur-Ayya to retrieve the body. Whoever succeeded, she said, would become her heir. Ambitious Nur-Ayya commanded the wind to carry himself into the desert in search of his brother's body, while scheming Shalman had an efreet carry him there on a pillar of fire. Both were sure to find the body themselves, and reap the reward.
Eristi, however, had also heard Magda's promise, and it was her intent to claim Magda's kingdom for herself. If Eristi brought back the body, and even better, bound the spirits of Antonius, Shalman and Nur-Ayya to her, she would not only gain Magda's kingdom, but also gain the brother's powers.
Arriving at the oasis ahead of the brothers, Eristi begins the process of binding the ghost of Antonius to her. As ghost and sorceress struggle, Shalman and Nur-Ayya arrive. Seeing that battle has already been joined, the brothers thrown themselves into the fray.
Nur-Ayya blacks the sky as Eristi hurls fire at him. Batting aside Eristi's attack, Nur-Ayya causes waters of the oasis to engulf his enemy. As they trade blows, Shalman stands aside, and waits to see the victor. At last, Nur-Ayya casts down Eristi, and seizes the Orb of Power for himself. Shalman, appalled at this turn of events, at first tries to slip a knife into ribs of his brother, and then tries to cause the earth itself to swallow his rival. But it is to no avail, and Nur-Ayya defeats Shalman utterly.
Nur-Ayya returns to Magda with the bodies of his brothers, and they are interred in the tomb. Magda, asking for the Orb of Power, proclaims their spirits must be laid to rest, but Nur-Ayya offers to use the orb himself, intending to dispatch his brothers, and then his mother. Sensing his treason, the shade of Antonius enters Nur-Ayya's body, and returns the orb to Magda. Antonius/Nur-Ayya become Magda's heir, as the scene fades to black.
This session was a lot better than the first two. Gabi (Nur-Ayya), who had initially been somewhat hesitant to name truly big stakes, got into the hang of it, and almost dominated the game. Here, again, though, were some problems with character creation, and me not being specific enough (and neither of my players having read the rules, so), where Nur-Ayya had more special advantages that the others, and more than is usual for a chapter 1 character (I think she had 3, which I didn't really catch until after the game). Alex was also a little more quiet, but it was at that point getting a bit late.
My first three sessions, however, were so amazingly extraordinarily good, that I really can't say how good they are. I can't gush about In a Wicked Age strongly enough. 'A+++', truly.
Lars M. Nielsen
Re: [In a Wicked Age] Gushing all over and AP thingy (long)
Reply #1 on:
January 16, 2008, 11:39:01 PM »
Thank you for your awesome oracle. I guess i should thank Shakespeare as well. This oracle is a good candidate for using "Embarrassed " in addition to Injured and Exhhausted.
Your chapters sound great. I'm so looking forward to trying the game out. I'm hoping to try the game out with my wife. Let's see how it works with just one player.
Re: [In a Wicked Age] Gushing all over and AP thingy (long)
Reply #2 on:
January 17, 2008, 04:33:29 AM »
With only two players, would it make more sense to divide the characters in half? Sort of have two GMs? You might get some interesting tribal conflicts that way. Let me know how it works.
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