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Author Topic: Raven's 3E Game  (Read 3672 times)
greyorm
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Posts: 2233

My name is Raven.


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« on: October 26, 2002, 11:10:50 PM »

The last three sessions of play have been very interesting, indeed.  Particularly tonight's session, which revealed a few surprises that are just, IMO, awesome. Like the last handful of sessions, I'm starting to really get the concept of player-character protagonism under my belt.

For tonight's game, I used the "A Game Within A Game" rules (which were once posted somewhere on the Forge, but have since vanished...anyone?), as the last time we used them was over a year ago and at the time it went very well. I'm glad to say it went even better this time around.  

Since I can't provide a link to those rules, I'll explain for those who don't know what I'm referring to: the basic premise of AGWAG is that each player takes turns "narrating" the recent history of their character, with the other players having the power to add a limited number of elements to the narrative through questions or exposition of facts.

Normally, this is used for "off-time" adventuring -- "what happened while we were seperated" sorts of things, but for tonight I needed to add a player's backup character to the group.

As the characters (with the exception of the new one) were still together, I had the players take turns, dealing with the trip across the desert to the meeting with the new character from their specific character's point of view. The results were different than this, however, as each of them described a portion of the journey from their character's viewpoint, revealing some interesting things about each.

The highlight of all this was that, instead of simply narrating some interesting events between the group leaving the dwarf-halls as heroes and their meeting with the new character, I ended up with was a series of new conflicts introduced which intertwine with the old conflicts, all player-created.

Those old conflicts deal with:
    the saving of one character's wrongfully imprisioned family

    another character's unrevealed love for that character and the racial taboos which inhibit his actions in that regard

    the attempt of another character to gain power in a male dominated society through dealing with her father, who sees her as a troublesome and uncooperative political pawn[/list:u]Added to this tonight was:
    the group being accosted by the very bandits the warrior-woman was sent to slay...bandits whose mercy they are now all at, held back by only the sudden love (or perhaps lust) of their leader for the warrior-woman

    the revelation that while under the sorcerous enchantments of the madman behind all the trouble, the latter character mentione above (a royal princess) somehow became pregnant; and due this, for an unknown reason, the same sorcerer manipulated events such that the princess would be banished from the empire as well

    this same character's father (the emperor) is also responsible for banishing the warrior-woman to the wasteland and imprisioning her family (and whether he did so under the control of the sorcerer or because of the character's breaking of societal taboos about male-female roles is unknown)[/list:u]Another conflict was introduced which doesn't really touch on the above, but which does highlight the hidden premise the last post on this game revealed (as most of the above support, as well): ie: "What is the importance family?"

    That conflict is with the surviving dwarf, who left his decimated clan because he is now useless to them (despite being a hero)...yet he and they know without new blood added to their numbers, their people will utterly vanish in a generation or two. So he is seeking out another clan of dwarves, kin who share the same bloodline, hoping to forge a bond and save his people from a much slower but not less certain extinction than that posed by the demons they just defeated.

    The surprise pregnancy though, was honestly the highlight of the evening. It was completely unexpected by either the player or myself, but utterly awesome in its conception (no pun intended).

    Now if you recall that the sorcerer causing all the trouble was put in his current position of authority by the princess and the warrior-woman, it could be said they are directly responsible for everything that has happened, and has been said to them -- though their characters' response was that they had no idea all this would happen.

    I'm wondering if this is the revelation or start of a second premise in the game (ie: "What is your responsibility for the unintended results of your actions?" or something like that), and if you can have multiple premises being addressed at once?


    Now, to reverse events chronologically, I'll explain the reason this new character had to be introduced: the player wanted to switch characters -- exchanging her dwarf for the princess, as she had been planning to do for some time.

    What led up to this switch unfolded in front of me the same as it did in front of the players, as a surprise.

    Near the end of the quest to free the lost dwarven city, the dragon goddess the one dwarf had made a deal with called in her half of the bargain. She sent a dragon to take the dwarf's life (to get him to the underworld to complete his half of the deal)...but things didn't quite work out that way.

    The battle against the messenger went surprisingly well, with the party dealing out a number of vicious wounds. Thus, the dragon changed tactics and grabbed the dwarf, pulling him down into the depths of the pit it had emerged from. Unknowingly, it brought the other dwarf along, who had happened to grab onto its tail (due a failed attempt to leap onto its back), just before it retreated.

    Being that the players of the other two characters could not make the next session, we simply decided that the two dwarves would have to face down the dragon by themselves -- and that the pit the dragon had retreated into was far too deep for the other two to descend and help, so the events in-game and out-of-game worked out very well, providing a very nice setup for an interesting conflict.

    We started the next session with the two dwarves alone in the dark with a dragon hunting them, and one advantage: it didn't know there were two of them. They went about making plans to even the odds, which mostly backfired, but after nearly being torn to shreds by dragon, they managed to lure it into a creavasse and cut it into pieces before it finish them -- the deal-making dwarf refused to yield even when it begged for mercy!

    I should also note the players of the dwarves used game tactics (ie: Gamism) in order to defeat the dragon. We scoured the rulebook for bonuses to rack up their chances of survival, including using darkness and invisiblity spells, the narrow crevasse (reduced movement and AC), a quick Web spell and flanking/positioning and charging to their advantage.

    Bt their reaction when they made their way to its horde, searching for the artifact necessary to free the lost city of the demon's curse, and found another dragon waiting alongside that very item was priceless.

    I could see the hope drop out of them, they knew they were doomed...luckily for them, this dragon was the avatar of the goddess, come to collect the dwarf in person, though I don't think the players believed me at first, and were sure it was just a devious draconic trick.

    The player of the oath-bound dwarf had to make a choice, to have (at the direction of the goddess) her dwarf leap into the underground lake the battle had taken place around and sink or swim as deep as she could, or to defy her and return to the lost city as a hero with a boatload of dragon's gold, but put her clan at risk (unless she could find some other way to appease the goddess).

    I know the former isn't the way she wanted her character to go out, and neither I nor the other player could tell what she was going to do, even after the character set down his possessions and said his goodbyes, not until she finally had him plunge in and sink.

    Meanwhile, the other dwarf was torn between his emotion at the sacrifice of his companion and kin, and his joyful dwarven greed over the dragon's treasure horde. I think it was one of the most three-dimensional moments for that character so far in the campaign.

    Thus, through the heroism of the two dwarves, the lost dwarven city the party discovered and its resident clan were permanently saved from the demons that had plagued and enslaved that clan for an aeon, and the oath-bound dwarf is a hero, but no hero's reward. This is awesome because it was completely unexpected.

    And that's where we left him...the player (as yet) has no idea what happened after the dwarf entered the water...whether he drowned or not, or what the goddess' intentions were with that action, or if or how the character will be able to return to the game at some point in the future.

    The tension in that ending was palpable.
    It was like a scene in a classic movie.

    The reason I bring this all up is because, again, none of it was planned...this arose in play, from player choice and player action. That session could have turned out so many ways: the dwarves could have died, they could have struck a bargain with the dragon in exchange for its life, they could have defied the goddess and/or made a new deal with her...had the other two players been able to make it, it would have been all four against the dragon (as they would have found a way down), and I can imagine the differences in the resulting scenarios.

    It's great this game is going places I never imagined.
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Rev. Ravenscrye Grey Daegmorgan
Wild Hunt Studio
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