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[IAWA] Excerpts of AP and some Q's

Started by Valvorik, February 25, 2008, 06:19:00 PM

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Siege of Akar Dal

Vincent noted lack of AP reports with dice/round by round included etc.

This was a game couple of weeks back over Skype, two sessions, hoping to get another.  Text records weren't generated at the time except for the oracle, owe lists etc game requires and some notes. The exception was multiple party conflict because we were working through it more.

So -  draws and character list resulting from the God Kings of War oracle.

8C: A high, many-towered wall on a fierce border.
Characters -> border guards, the fierce people of border
KS: An enemy champion, fearless and bellowing.
Characters -> champion of enemy, leader of enemy,
3D: A war-sorceress, slender but commanding, with golden hair.
Characters -> war sorceress who commands the tower
10S: The mutiny and revolt of a prestigious cavalry company.
Characters -> members of company, officers, leaders of revolt, loyalists.

PC's - Balashi (bellowing fearless champion), Hadir Eil (commander of the Red Cloaks, the mutinous cavalry company), Damrina (the sorceress commander of the tower outpost).

GM - the enemy leader - a barbarian general, Nardeen.

Talking through situation the oracle suggests before going further -

The Red Cloaks, a prestigious cavalry company has been sent to the under-defended border as punishment for its participation in a mutiny after the disputed ascension to the throne of current King of Aquilonia.   The Keshti barbarians at the border are restless and tired of petty exploitation by Aquilonians.  They are attacking the border wall fort under a war-sorceress' command.  The tower/fortress is called Akar-Dal.

[some of these names are backfilled]
[Question 1 - is this kind of mini-situation before going further common/not ?]

Best Interests being named and PC's statted up result in:


Champion Balashi - defeat a notable foe among the defenders of Akar-Dal, find a worthy bride (some banter among all male group as Damrina's player asks, 'you looking at me when you say that', 'maybe' etc.)
Particular Strength is his Bellowing War Chant that is good With Violence.
(this character ends up being played in a pretty much "what would Conan do" mode, fun)

Sorceress Damrina - teach these invading savages a lesson, see the Red Cloaks decimated as I have been secretly commanded to do.
PS - Sorcery of Wind and Flame that allows her to conjure apparitions and wisps to confound foes in battle when she is not herself facing them directly but is near battle (e.g., she's not a front line fighter but is with the troops).

Cavalry Captain Hadir Eil - regain honour on the field of battle, avenge the Red Cloaks wrongful dishonour
PS - Imperial War College Graduate in Strategy, With Violence/NPC - Action, to organize troops and combats of company and larger size efficiently. (We lost track of this one a bit over play, mucking up was it With Violence or For Others (player shifted to latter with feeling it was about organizing troops well and fit with his character)).


Keshti General Nardeen - glorious victory!
S - Keshti Shaman that aid in battle by summoning spirits.

Fleshing Out Situation More:

The invading barbarian Keshti want to capture the Aquilonian strongpoint of Akar-Dal on its high, many-towered wall along their fierce border. The Keshti fearless, bellowing champion Balashi calls repeatedly for its defenders to send out a champion to face him in single combat.

The Aquilonians refuse to engage in this primitive rite of single combat, preferring to fight in formation or behind walls not in single combat. 

Damrina, the Aquilonian war-sorceress who commands Akar-Dal, must hold out this outpost against the invaders and is under secret orders form the capital to see the Red Cloaks decimated.

The Red Cloaks are deemed mutinous because they were loyal to the old King and when he died suspiciously they suspected his successor of having a hand in it.

[we agree to use a never-never fantasy background we'll make up as we go but with Conan-esque inspiration]
[the red cloaks mutiny reason was actually backfilled in between chapters as we moved to the 2nd Chapter]

1st Scene Hadir Eil's cavalry troop is out scouting when they run across a larger Keshti force afoot, with Balashi among them.

Player-Hadir Eil  — I'll harass the Keshti, running circles around the foot-soldiers, Player-Balashi not so easy, we're not easy prey.

- though neither has troops etc. as a PS, we agree they can play not only their actions but those of the soldiers with them as long as the PC is "up in front" for all those actions, this fits with the PS's of characters etc.

The fight goes to the Keshti, with the scripted actions and reactions being a Keshti feint that drew Aquilonians into close combat, an Aquilonian withdrawal effort mired in staked pits the Keshti had dug and concealed, and ultimately the withdrawal of mauled cavalry only taking place because Hadir Eil agrees to meet Balashi in single combat.

So we go into a follow up conflict right after this one, the combat between Balashi and Hadir Eil, GM breaks from that to ask what Damrina was up to during this time. 

Player - Damrina, she is leading her defenders in a covert strike to destroy the siege engines the Keshti have been building for their assault.  Hadir Eil was sent out, though the fool doesn't know it, just to distract the savages.  GM decides that the NPC Keshti war chieftain Nardeen opposes this.

Damrina's assault destroys the siege engines and wounds the Keshti war chieftain.  The loss of siege engines is only a temporary set back for the Keshti [the PC wanted to injure the war chieftain more than obtain anything meaningful otherwise, we initially scripted destruction of machines backfilled later that since the war chieftain was injured no compromise, there was no other lasting effect].

Back to the duel, Hadir Eil's luck continues to be bad, and he gets beaten by Balashi.  He's not killed but is humiliated and barely escapes the field with his fleeing men.

[The Red Cloaks are not doing well at all, however HE's Player is getting on the owe list twice now so being set up to do better in future, Damrina on owe list once].

4th Scene  - the Keshti General goes "King Saul", worried his failure to counter the attack on siege engines combined with Balashi's success makes the latter a threat to him personally.  He manoeuvrers Balashi into pursuing an immediate follow up attack on the Aquilonians, claiming they are weakened and the siege engines are not needed.

Balashi's player can dispute this action before battle happens, but in a scene not using Direct or With Violence or he can play out the scene of his attack against Damrina and Hadir Eil with the Keshti General effectively on their side too!

[Question 2 - is it okay to set up a scene like that saying "really violence is not an option", particularly as long as an alternative is available.  The idea was that Balashi had been all For Myself/Violence all the time so far and to see him in a different situation.]

Player decides Balashi is a noble, true warrior and does not suspect this treachery, though he will realize it in the battle. {declines the non violent scene}

So the General manoeuvrers Balashi into pursuing an immediate follow up attack on the Aquilonians, claiming they are weakened and the siege engines are not needed.

Balashi, Keshti General, Darmina and HE are all in scene.

- this one I have notes of because we were working through the multiple-character rules -

Balashi, Directly with Violence with PS Warchant d10, d12 , d10
Damrina Directly For Others with PS Sorcery d12, d10, d8
HE Directly with Violence PS Tactics d10, d10, d8
Keshti General Self Protection (not using Shaman to help? ahah treachery!) 12 d8

Initial rolls, characters arranged into initiative order they are

Damrina d12, d10 with d8 = 9, 4, 2
Balashi, d10, d12 , d10 = 3, 7, 8
HE d10, d10 PS d8 = 4, 7, 2
Keshti General d12 d8 = 5, 1

1st Round
Damrina is high roller - plaer declares  Challenge, naming Balashi and Keshti General to answer (playing that she doesn't know of general's plans) how the  Aquilonian's stout defence hails down deadly fire on the foolish barbarians as they charge across the open ground.  So both pick up and reroll to see how it goes.
Balashi answers first with 5, 4 , 2, he avoids being doubled but was weaker so must hand over an advantage die to Damrina,  as the Keshti indeed find the attack harder than anticipated, taking heavy casualties as they advance .  Damrina will go on owe list as she had smaller dice and she is still in fight, and has an advantage die in next round.
Keshti General answers second, 3, 2, he is doubled and out.  Player just wants injury not looking for anything more. General Nardeen came too near the fray and a stray arrow pierced his side, he was carried off, wounded, but not so badly he will not fight another day.

Balashi had to answer in this round, so he doesn't get an action. 
Hadir Eil is now up. Hadir  sees a chance to regain honour, seeing the Keshti General's honour guard carrying him off, he wants to attack the Keshti General.

[question here, if someone is "out" of a combat, can they still be named to answer?  To keep it simple and prevent one conflict resulting in too many die losses for same character, decide no, later checking message boards, Vincent confirms this is correct ruling]

So instead, HE  sallies to attack the Keshti force still coming on , Balashi to answer

HE rolls 7, 5, 1; Balashi rolls 7, 7, 3 - after the tie, Balashi is higher number!

HE sallies against the Keshti but is driven back by Balashi and the ablest Keshti, Balashi gets advantage die,  HE's attack actually manages to block some of the defenders' angle of fire at the Keshti!
[We realized later the scripting of the advantage die effect should have been left to its use]

Round 2
All reroll, the order results as
Balashi with adv die, d10, d12 , d10 = 10+4, 4, 1
Damrina with Ad d12, d10 with d8 = 9+2, 6, 2
Hadir d10, d10 PS d8 = 8, 5, 6
(general is out)

Balashi, the  Keshti attack is pressed on to breach the defenders' walls, exploiting the opening HE's sally has created, Damrina and HE to answer.
1st Damrina picks up her dice and rerolls, with Ad d12, d10 with d8 = 9+6, 6, 2, she takes the Advantage from Balashi (her 15 beating his 14),  the defenders are still more than able to fend off the attack
Then HE d10, d10 PS d8 = 9, 9 2, (losing again!) he must give Advantage to Balashi,  once again HE fouls his own side.

Round 3
All reroll, placed in order again, Damrina strikes herself from owe list to get a 2nd advantage die - she's determined to smash these savages and sees Balashi's advantage die as too menacing.
Damrina with 2 Adv. Dice, d12, d10 with d8 = 8+4+2, 6, 1
Balashi with Adv Die, d10, d12 , d10 = 8+6, 4, 3
HE d10, d10 PS d8 = 9, 2, 1

Damrina,  the attackers make their way into a courtyard only to be surrounded and cut down!  Balashi to answer.
Balashi picks up and rerolls 8 +1, 8, 5, he loses.  It's the 3rd round so it's total loss even though he wasn't doubled. 

Negotiated outcome - the attackers are indeed massacred, Balashi falls wounded and is taken prisoner.

The Keshti champion has been taken prisoner, and knows himself betrayed by his own general.  The Keshti have suffered several smaller set backs with loss of replaceable siege engines, temporary wound to general, and loss of champion and those with him.  The mutinous cavalry have suffered severe losses, more a couple of squads now than a company, and their commander has been defeated in combat and proved a liability in his duty.  The War Sorceress has taken her enemy's champion prisoner and beaten off the attack.

The Chapter seems good to end.  One character has been successful, winning both contests, two others have been messed up good but not out of picture.

For Chapter Two, the nature of conflicts and resolution of last one, the background of mutiny, seems to call for Nest of Vipers oracle to be consulted.

We get to choose an Element to add (we decide this should be something reflecting the events, the transition),

- Solemnization of Treaty between neighbouring principalities negotiated in face of brutality, assassination, doomed.

Seems so perfect, there will be an attempt to forge a treaty now to end the border strife!  This will be four months later.

The other three elements added randomly: 
4H: A fallen-in mansion, where by night ghosts and devils meet.
-> ghosts, devils
8S: A warehouse on the docks, full of stolen silk
-> pirates who stole the silk as plunder
10C: A devil of the lower air, malicious and full of pranks
-> the devil

We decide the Keshti barbarians are also pirates (yes, Conan stories at work) and the stolen silk is their plunder, hidden here unclaimed.  This city is also the site of the cavalry's original "mutiny" and it was here most of their officers were killed, slain at a mansion where they met to discuss overthrowing the newly crowned king.  Their ghosts are still taunted by the devil that tricked them into this folly and arranged their destruction, and who looks for new chances to pit mortals against each other.

It is four months later we are now in the Aquilonian port city of Astari, where the Keshti are to negotiate a treaty with the Aquilonians, where the Red Cloaks Cavalry met their misfortune.

Hadir Eil is automatically in this chapter (tops owe list), the ill-starred officer of the few remaining Red Cloaks.  He has come here with Balashi (not on owe list, comes in by taking on one of the entries to further define his character, saying Balashi was a pirate raider and knows the location of the hidden riches of silk) as his prisoner, exchange/ransom planned.

Damrina buys herself in (owe list now blank).

Chapter was fun though I don't have many notes on it (play moved faster so ironically less time to make notes).

NPC's -

Keshti General Nardeen present once again, healthy once more to negotiate treaty (and see to Balashi's demise - the assassination element of oracle).

Prince Sahand the brother of the King here to negotiate, best interest is to conclude a treaty allowing troops to be removed from the frontier to deal with the unrest and challenges to his brother's rule.
PS - Royal Blood, Self Protection, can always rely on lackeys or technicalities to protect self from harm.  Potent d10.

Devil of Lower Air - create misery and conflict (prevent treaty)
PS - Seeming, Maneuvering and Self Protection, adopt the semblance of others to cause mischief, d8

Red Cloak Ghosts - revenge for their deaths
(no PS)

In summary - the devil's attempts to ruin treaty didn't work out and it was destroyed, but not before Damrina tried to bargain with it and got a bit of "devil stain" on her soul, Balashi did end up getting free and slew Nardeen, putting end to possibility of treaty since the Keshti side no longer had a negotiator/leader empowered to deal.  He retrieved the plunder hidden here before and went off to be come a pirate, Hadir and he actually ended up allies and Hadir joined him, the king's brother was frustrated by Damrina who spoke against the proposed terms of treaty Keshti demanded (marriage to the King's sister) as dishonourable and made it impossible for him to go through with deal.

Comment - in this chapter particularly we did see that who sets up/frames a scene can mean little in terms of who progresses in it, the other parties by scripting actions in scene and negotiating something at end of it take it somewhere else.  Hadir vindicated the Red Cloaks in a scene Damrina started intending to stain Balashi as using deviltry to win his duel with Keshti general.



This makes a great story!  Very 'Conan-esque' in style.  I particularly like the narration of the big battle scene in the first chapter;  it's an excellent example of how to do a battle -- the characters take action, but the in-story results are sweeping engagements of armies.  (There was a thread somewhere around here about how to use that technique in Sorcerer and Sword, but AP makes the concept come to life in a way that theoretical discussions can't.)

I find it interesting that the players emptied out the Owe list at the start of chapter two.  Was everyone so engaged with their chapter one character that they wanted to continue with them immediately, or was it that no one felt that the new oracle characters for chapter two were that compelling?

It's also interesting that Balashi, who seems like the 'Conan' of the story, the linchpin character, didn't make it onto the Owe list at all and had to continue in chapter two by using the 'Mekha-option'. 

A thought on that last:  striking an entry off the Owe list to buy-into a chapter is a price paid;  getting in by using an oracle entry is a price paid too:  character development you hadn't planned for.  (Mekha's serpent-demoness bride, Balashi's back-story as a pirate.)  I hadn't considered it that way until I asked my question above -- the decision for the player is "Are you so taken with this character that you will accept an untoward development of some sort, just to get the chance to play him again?"  That's a cool choice to have to make -- and it functions like a kicker, driving the story.

I hope you get the chance to play more of this story, and that you will post the AP when you do.  I want to find out what happens next!  :)



Balashi's player (old friend from high school now living on other side of country, we scripted made up fights between fantasy nations in high school even before finding RPG's) was pretty much using strongest dice every time - every fight For Myself, Violence and Bellowing!  But he played so fun, rolled with being the character who would do that (e.g., walking into betrayal), it wasn't annoying.

Everyone was pretty much determined to play same PC, even Hadir's player who struggled to "find him" and didn't really until 2nd chapter.  I'm not sure Damrina's player ever really felt he was more than "surfing along". 

I explained "PC continuity not guaranteed, if not on owe list must accept oracle's offerings of things to write into your character" and people said "if that's the price okay".