So we’ve come back to continue our game. We decided that all characters would start out “random” to some extent or other. Since Syn is the only surviving character, and she’d decided to get away as far as possible from Bill and Bills-Fall, we started the session with only the one character, but she’d head off to recruit someone. Syn had enough XP from the last 2 session to make it to level one. I wanted to have some kind of “do something in game to get moves on sheet”, but I hadn’t had time to think about the whole process yet, so we decided to just make Syn a lvl 1 fighter, with the “Know your stuff” move as extra.
Syn collected her gear from the Butchers shop and wanders into the town square looking around for a possible guide. (Recruit _guide_: 10)
Here we made a random hireling as per FotF 2e playtest docs.
Evil Constable, Obsessive, Impatient, Malicious.
Sharp Cheekbones, Tidy, Know-it-all, In debt.
Meet Constable Dawn. She’s on the outs with Bill’s goons (owes too much money) and is more than happy to find an easy way out. She agrees to accompany Syn on the road to Ship-Hold where they can both start again and make a little jingle. She prods Syn to get some real supplies, who forks out 25 coin for travelling supplies and rations.
How exactly to they get there. Dawn thinks a little (know something + occupation: 10) and relates that there are two main ways she knows, the road south is shorter and easier, but often watched by more desperate Tribals who prey on easy pickings – like a pair of walkers – or there is a longer path that goes along the drop to the west first before crossing down. Less people, but there are sometimes things out there.
They decided to avoid the threat they were sure of, and went the longer way. (Set out – unsafe+1: 12 – 2 rations+keep company) Its a long day’s hike over hard terrain, but with some great views down into the Swampy forests of the Drained Sea. They need to stop for a break for lunch to rest. During the walk Syn is happy to chat away about her ill-fated expedition Hunting Dragonkin. (Keep Company: Dawn +1 bond to Syn)
That evening they approach the imposing structure of Ship-Hold. (we used the town rules from FotF2e Settlements and Citizens for filling in details)
Outside the Before-time structure is the Nomad town, made of “permanent campsites” of the nomad tribes who come to trade for the foodstuff grown in Ship-Hold. The permanent residents are the young and old unable to survive the rigours of travel. There is no central law, and no common traditions among the many varied cultures. Everyone is aggressive and on-edge. “We’ll have to stay sharp as we pass through. Watch out for Tribesmen on the warpath” warns Dawn. Both women try to stay casual as they walk through the riot of colours and smells. (Stay Sharp + help: 6 – mark&move)
The Tribals are different sizes, shapes, colours, and cultures. Some can’t even be really called “human”. This makes it really hard to know what to look out for, or when you are insulting someone. But a band of towering tusked green-skins with four arms, carrying guns and knives – thats an obvious problem. (Tharks) Dawn steps up “Hey, not looking for trouble here. We’re looking for work, we dont have anything to trade. We’re not worth your trouble. You can grab us on the way out? (negotiate/reason: 4)
“Heh. Funny little one. Maybe you go different way, maybe you bring friends next time. But now we we have.” The lead green-skin raised a spear in its right hands. The crowds suddenly disperse, people hiding from the trouble they know is coming. Syn pulls Dawn behind her, and is furiously trying to find a way out of this situation.. “Little help here?” Dawn tries to remember what all the rumours about Ship-Hold were about. (know something + occupation: 12) She whispers back “These guys dont look well off. Dealing with the Guilds is by invitation only.”
Syn grins and spreads her arms invitingly. “Hey, we can do each other a favor. We know a guy inside who offers work, and you have stuff you want to sell, right? How about we give you an introduction and you guard us from the other uncivilised folk out here?” (resist danger w/cha + help: 12). The greenskins argue among themselves for a few moments, before grabbing the pair and dragging them back to a huddle of ragged tents. Inside they gather up rough bulging packs and roughly push the pair before them. “We go to Gate. You get us inside.”.
Syn is panicking. “You know we dont actually know a guy inside”. Dawn nods and tries to remember the details of those rumours. (know something:8) “The guy we want to contact is this exile called Sabek. Independant operator and a kind of power broker in Ship-Hold. Sends people out hunting for weird stuff.” She points back over her shoulder “We have stuff, we’ll bluff the guards”.
Flanking the gates are what looks like suits of scrap armour mounted on skeletal frames. The women are about to walk past when an armoured arm blocks their way. The two women look on in horror as the armour clatters in front of them.
The leader of the greenskins leans down and growls in Dawn’s ear “The Tain’smen.” He points up at the Ship-Tower hanging above them. “They guard Him and His. So you can still get in?”
Syn holds up her hand “We’re here on business of Sabek. We need to bring him this load. (negotiate cha+help: 8) The Tainsman looks at the greenskins and their packages. It step away from the wall and beckons. “Follow me. Do not stray”. The gates open.
Dawn can hear the tribals grumbling behind her. “Keep it together, we got you in”. One glares back at her, drawing a finger across its throat. Dawn gulps and hurries forward. They pass into the shadow of the Ship-hull and the bustling Market built there. At the very back, built right up against the hull is the grand House of Sabek. They are led into an opulent hall. Floating blue spark-lights illuminate a rainbow-dressed man. He turns, frowning at the interruption.
“Your goods have arrived” the Tainsman intones.
(reaction: 8) Sabek raises an eyebrow, looking over the motley party. Syn sees the look and bows down low. “My Lord Sabek, we have fulfilled your request. As always we await your desires.” (negotiate cha: 9 +burn luck 10) Sabek waves dismissively at the Tainsman “Yes yes, thank you. I will take my men from here.”
It bows and walks away.
Everyone is still until the Tainsman walks out of the room. “Amusing way of getting in. But you must appreciate that I don’t like my name being misused. So what gifts have you brought me?”
The greenskins begin to lay out their wares. “We have good salvage from deep Rust Plains.”
“Shh. Let me be the judge of that.”
Dawn watches Sabek carefully as he pours over the collection. (pay attention:6) “This is mostly junk. But I like your drive.” He presents an iron armband to the greenskin leader. “Show me first what you have on market days. I will give a fair price”.
The greenskins expressions hover between angry and grateful. Their leader takes the iron-band and then all bow before leaving. Their parting look at Dawn is full of anger.
“That leaves you two. What am I do do with those who taint my name and bring me nothing?”
Syn looks to Dawn, who steps forward and bows once more. “But we did bring a gift. Ourselves.”
Syn looks shocked but stays silent.
” I am Dawn. I was a constable over at Billsfall. I’ve seen every con in the book, spotted forgeries, and found smugglers. This is my bodyguard Syn, who has hunted Dragonkin and still stands here to talk about it.”
Sabek chuckled. “And why did Bill throw you out?”
“Because he’s a pile of offal.” (negotiate + help: 9 +burn luck 10)
Sabek let out a belly laugh. “Too true. How about this. I’ll give you a month. If you can’t prove your worth by then we’ll part ways. yes?”
Both women nodded.
Sabek rummages through a chest near the wall and returns with two golden armbands. “These say you work for me. Don’t take them off inside Ship-Hold. Go find a place to stay nearby.”
The pair find accommodation in a cheap guest-house and pass time (Syn pays 16 coin to a week each).
(pass time, town -1: 6. Dawn burns luck, 7 – downtime+event)
Dawn: work a skilled job w/wis: 10 -> 12+1d6 bonus coin (17c)
Syn: follows Dawn and watches how she works – train Wis
Event – public execution – theft of food from Ship-Hold farms.
We did XP as per freebooters… No one really got xp for their traits/characteristics… and the players were talking about how to change these (1 per session). But the “group xp” proved better.
Exciting discovery: The “Tainsmen” are magical protectors of Ship-Hold.
Difficult Obstacle: Getting into Ship-Hold past the hostile nomads.
Memorable Booty: Working for Sabek! Free future entry to Ship-Hold!
This session was a lot of fun. And even though Dawn was a lvl 0 character, they still were able to contribute fairly meaningfully. Makes me feel that starting at lvl0 characters will actually be a workable prospect… But the threat of violence in the “nomad town” outside the gates was REALLY tense.
I’m probably going to have to write down the hack of a system i’m using at some stage – but I’m loving how more details about the world are coming out of gameplay. One interesting one I will need to think about is time keeping. We’ve agreed that there is no actual sun, just a “magical” aurora that lights up during the day… and we need to think about timekeeping.
Next in game we’ll probably have Sabek sending Dawn & Syn on some kind of mission.