stdesjardins: (Steven)
[personal profile] stdesjardins
RPGGeek had an online convention this weekend, and I participated in three RPG sessions.

The party in 13th Age consisted of Storm (me), a half-elf Cloud City warrior; Trevelyen Greeniron, a dwarven cleric with the bushiest beard in history; and Berioth, a wood elf ranger who is an amazing tracker in the forest but gets lost in cities. The GM pulled up a map, told us where we were, and asked me what we were doing there: I said we were on our way to the elven court to celebrate the queen’s birthday.

We reached an elven village which had obviously been raided, and still had smoke rising from many of the homes. Investigating, we found that the village had been raided by a small party of orcs, which had carried off a few of the villagers. We hurried off in pursuit.

Each of us described an obstacle we faced in the forest, which another party member overcame. Trev hacked his way through briars; I rapelled down a ravine, then climbed up the other side and tied a rope to a stump so the others could cross; and Berioth drove off a wood dragon (not a true dragon, just a big lizard) with a few well-placed arrows. Everyone rolled ridiculously high, 18 and 16 and 19 or something like that, so Aaron ruled we took the orc sentries by surprise, since they didn’t expect any pursuit this soon. We then made a stealth check, which my colleagues passed with flying colors: I rolled a 2, and the fight was on. We pretty thoroughly overmatched the mooks, and within three rounds the orcs were dead and the villagers rescued.

I would have liked a longer session to get a bit more of a story arc, but it was a good introduction to the system.

Mouse Guard is an RPG based on a comic book I'm barely familiar with. The town of Elmwood suffered heavily at the hands of rebels last Autumn. After a hard winter, the roads are finally passable—although another storm may come along any day now—and our party is assigned to escort a queen bee with some drones and honey to the city, to help rebuild their food supply and their defenses. We decide to also bring along some weapons and armor, in order to enhance the prestige of the Mouse Guard, and set off in two wagons.

We have trouble with the bees suffering from the cold, and the beetles pulling the carts becoming tired and mired in the mud and refusing to go on, but we overcame these obstacles and camped for the night. Unfortunately the beetles weren’t tethered properly, and we wake in the morning to find that they’ve wandered off. I stay to guard the carts, while the others track the beetles. They find them under attack by a blue jay; after a hard-fought battle, in which the jay’s mate also showed up, the beetles are all dead or carried away. Not the Guard’s finest hour.

I argue for cacheing all the weapons and armor, and proceeding with just the bees and honey. Falstaff wants to leave half the bees and half the weapons/armor, but I point out that the weapons won’t die if we leave them behind, and the party leader eventually agrees with me.

The next day was grueling. Pulling even a mostly empty cart with just four mice was exhausting work. We maintained a watch nevertheless. During my shift, I heard a plaintive cry for help in the distance. I woke Falstaff, who had the next shift, to take over my watch while I investigated.

It turned out to be a ruse, and Falstaff and the sleeping mice were taken by surprise by bandits, who held them captive with swords at their throats. They negotiated as best they could from a position of weakness, without much luck. I made my way back to the camp, alerted by shouting, and decided the tactical situation was hopeless: I stepped out into the firelight and offered the bandit chief a bargain. If he would release his guard captives, and leave us the cart, the bees, and half of the honey, I would tell him where to find a hidden cache containing a cart-load of armor and weapons. Otherwise, the Guard would fight to the last mouse, and I guaranteed we would take at least one of the bandits with us.

After some parlay (No, I would not trust him with hostages—he released his prisoners before I told him anything, or no deal), the bandit chief agreed to my terms. Once the prisoners were released, I told him where the cached goods were, and the bandits absconded with half the honey and the cart—treacherous bastard.

The rest of the group was furious with me, and wanted to go chasing after the bandits. I pointed out we knew where they were headed, and, as they were hampered by a heavy cart, we could go overland and get there first. (I might have considered this dishonorable if the bandits had kept their word.) Everyone liked this plan, so we hid the bees and honey in a safe place and hurried overland to the cache, where we carefully laid snares and waited in ambush.

Two bandit scouts passed us by with getting caught in our snares or spotting us. Then the main party of bandits, the bandit chief with four lesser bandits, came by, and we sprang the ambush. Garick and Reginald engaged two of the bandits, and quickly got the best of them. Falstaff and I engaged the bandit chief and his two henchmen, and fared less well. Fortunately, Garick came to our aid while Reginald was tying up the captured bandits, and between the three of us we managed to hold the bandits to a draw—we failed to capture them, but they were forced to abandon the cart. With the help of the two captured bandits pulling the cart, we were able to make our way to Elmwood without further incident, having redeemed the honor of the Mouse Guard.

"We’re nicking all the gods. No exceptions." Guards of Abashan was a fantasy city-guards scenario run using Fate rules.

Investigating a mysterious warehouse fire, we discover nothing out of the ordinary about the warehouse’s owner or contents—but the fire was definitely magical in origin, based on the strangely intense heat at the center of the fire, and witnesses reporting a green flame falling down from the heavens. Cantankerous Tink, our gnome brawler, manages to ingratiate himself with the local Vigilants (who were supposed to be putting out the fire, instead of looting the premises and letting it burn) by threatening to beat the crap out of them if necessary, and gets the name of a dwarf who was the first one to loot investigate the debris.

On our way there, we spot a fight between a brick-throwing mob and a guy slinging butterflies. The butterflies seem like the greater threat, as they’re quite obviously drawing blood. It’s pretty clear we’re dealing with some kind of divine avatar here. I order him to drop the butterflies and put his hands on his head—he doesn’t obey, but his followers start backing away. Cantankerous Tink tries to get him in a paralyzing grip, without success. I charge him, blades flashing, as a distraction, which gives Tink the opening he needs to lift him up and pound him into the ground: fight over. Meanwhile, Finley has gotten his sword into the face of the brick-god avatar, and gotten her attention. A combination of threats and offers of leniency induces them to tell us what this fight is all about: they’re looking for whatever it is that fell out of the sky last night. They don’t know what it is, but they want it very badly, and they’ll fight any other gods that show up looking for it. Great. We send them back to the station house, and tell the sergeant on duty to put out the word that any gods who show up in city limits should be arrested on Suspicion of Conspiracy to Disturb the Peace.

We finally locate the dwarf, and demand to know what he did with the item he took from the warehouse. Don’t play dumb, the thing all the gods are looking for. He says we’re nuts, all he took was an egg. Long story short, he gave the egg to his girlfriend, a baker, so we head to the bakeshop, arriving at roughly the same time as a eight-foot tall bright red god of war holding a flaming sword and a whip. Finley says he got this, so the rest of us head for the inn, where we interrogate the baker and find the egg on the stove in a pot of boiling water. Tink grabs the egg out of the boiling water, and after a brief debate—Tink thinks eating it is the safest way to get rid of the problem, I think he may not know what that word “safe” means—I take the egg from him and bolt out the back door, heading for the station house.

Finley managed to get in a good shot on the god of war, wounding him in the belly, but barely manages to block the god’s counter-stroke, taking a gash to the forehead. Tink comes charging into the fight, using Finley as a launch pad to kick the god in the face. Finlay takes advantage of the distraction to deliver a mighty blow to the arm, which shocks the avatar’s human host into surrender.

The station house has an artifact vault we lock the egg up in, until the priests can come and deal with it. We spend the next few days rounding up assorted minor deities, and dealing with all the paperwork that accompanies the spontaneous manifestation of a cosmic divine egg in the warehouse district. Just another week on the mean streets of Abashan.

I think the Fate session was my favorite—the player playing Tink was a hoot. But Mouse Guard also had a surprisingly satisfactory story arc. Good weekend.
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