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[Kagematsu] - Local Farmer warns Dragon attack imminent! Bleeds on town!

Started by Darcy Burgess, May 23, 2009, 10:46:10 PM

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Darcy Burgess


Waaaaaay back in the mists of time (ok, about two month ago, but it feels longer), I coaxed my wife (Kirsty) and one of my friends (Jason) to play Kagematsu with me on my birthday.  Kirsty had tried RPGs back before we were married, and it just wasn't her thing (then again, that was during the heady days of the 90's -- GM fiat, railroading, oodles of GM force and illusionism were regular guests at my gaming table).  Jason and I have been good friends (and more or less constant gaming buddies to boot) since about the same time.  Positive gaming history notwithstanding, Jason claims to prefer games where he (as a player) doesn't have to exert any narrative authority.  Emphasis on claims...and then only sometimes.  But it's my birthday, so there was no mercy on my part -- let's play!  (Honestly, it wasn't that dire.  Both Kirsty and Jason knew what I was asking for, and both knew that they could say 'no' -- Rock Band is fun too!) Me?  Well, I love Kagematsu, so I was very enthused (plus, birthday gaming!)

This time 'round, we had two younger women (I played Tomomi, the local prefect's overprotected daughter.  She was young-ish and shy.  Jason played Hanako as a more confident, mature woman.  I can't remember if she was the daughter or widow of the village's warlord.)  Kirsty characterized Kagematsu as a competent, well-travelled and experienced samurai.  His armour was fine but worn.  His sword was generational but not flashy.  She also did this really neat thing where she lifted the setup from the children's story, Stone Soup (three monks visit a village in turmoil and teach them to work together by slyly tricking them into sharing their provisions to make a tasty soup) and used it as Kagematsu's introduction to the story.  The town square and the pot of soup would feature prominently throughout the evening.

Local Prefect's Daughter
Favourites: Her father's study; Her nephew, Takashi
Innocence 5; Charm 2

Favourites: the Bridge over the river; Her mother's kimono
Innocence 1; Charm 6

I can't speak for Jason, but I was much more conscious of the judgement mechanic during play.  At GenCon, I would almost plan scenes based on which Desperations I could believably bring to bear in a given situation.  I was doing the same thing this time around, but was tempering that plan with concerns over whether or not I'd earn Love or Pity, depending on how I'd have to characterize Tomomi in order to bring in a given Desperation.  This was undoubtedly influenced by the fact that I was playing a younger character, who's avenue to Kagematsu's heart undoubtedly included sexuality.  I felt like I needed to tread more purposefully.

I think that's good.

It's also interesting to note that neither Jason nor I went after the more sexualized Affections -- the three 'hottest' Affections (A kiss, A confession of love and A roll in the hay) were unattempted when the endgame appeared.  This reluctance to go after the 'big ones' had a lot to do with the way the story unfolded.  There were barriers between the Women and Kagematsu.  For Tomomi, it was the barrier of first love, and shyness.  For Hanako, there were barriers of duty and honor aplenty.  In a solid couple of hours, we finally got to the point where we felt like these women would 'get it on' -- and then we noticed the real-world time.  Holy crap!  We've got to work in the morning!  The sexiness would have to remain in the subtext of play (and yeah, it was there -- although no overt sexual Affections were attempted, there was a great deal of sensuality in the moments of play.)

Jason -- you should totally talk a bit about the kimono.  I remember that Hanako's mother's kimono featured in a scene in an important way, but I don't remember how.

Kagematsu failed to save the village from the dragon in the woods, and in a really nice use of leitmotif, Kirsty had Kagematsu's own cooking fire defeat him.  Kagematsu stands disarmed at the mercy of the Dragon.  Hanako slides the warlord's sword to him, and it skitters across the square.  Blinded by blood, Kagematsu reaches for the sword and thrusts his hand into the fire instead.  Howling in agony, he's knocked aside by the dragon's thrashing, and his broken body lays in the square.  I'm undoubtedly butchering it in the retelling, but it was exceedingly cool in the moment.

Wow.  What a game.  It was really good.

Danielle, the Threat was really present in the game.  I don't remember how high it climbed, but man -- it was insurmountable.  I know that you'd tweaked the rules surrounding the Threat a bit -- the first time, it appears on double sixes or better.  I don't think that this is necessary; if memory serves, you'd done that because people were forgetting to trigger the Threat.  Upon reflection (and in light of our ignoble defeat!) if folks are going to forget about raising the Threat, it won't matter what the threshold is.  I'd suggest leaving it at three sixes throughout.

Also, a question: does Love influence the rolls against the Threat?  We played it as if it didn't.

I'm inviting both Jason and Kirsty to drop by this thread.  I'm sure that their reflections will be worth delving into.

Black Cadillacs - Your soapbox about War.  Use it.