Saturday, December 15, 2012

Playtest: The World Between for Fictive Hack

Okay, so last Wednesday I ran a session with the new and exciting "The World Between for Fictive Hack".  I came up with a short scenario loosely connected (same starting town) as my earlier Old School Hack scenarios.  The story was called "Archdruid of Charlak" and I designed it to run in one 3-4 hour evening session.  The players perused the book and chose to play:

Dan: Dea, a Hunter
Bill: Mereda, an Archer
Kaiser: Kev, a Thief
Mike: Sly, an Assassin
Kirk: Nominie, a Damsel of the Lady

Some designed their characters before arriving, some after arriving at the table.  After Kirk chose to play a Damsel of the Lady, some of the other players were surprised.  They had jumped in and chosen from the main list of templates near the front of the book, not noticing the magic/divine class templates which were mixed into later sections of the book.

The Session

The high priestess at the Church of the White Lady in their town had a dream about a fox of shadows who lived in a maze and was a druid.  There was a warning that this would spell doom for the town.  There wasn't much to go on, but the priestess charged Nominie with seeking out this druid and dealing with him.  Some likely types were recruited from the town to accompany her and off they went.  The Dea the Hunter was soon following the tracks of an unusually large fox southwest along the coast.  Two days later the tracks changed to those of probably a human male.  Searching about along the top of the sea cliff nearby they found ancient stone steps leading down into a large indentation in the cliffs.  At the bottom was a large carved open portal, clearly originally part of a temple dedicated to Father Sothak. God of the Briny Depths.

Peering in they saw a long sloping corridor carved into the rock, leading back inland away from the sea.  At the far end they could see daylight in the shape of another portal opening.  The party advanced cautiously in the shadowy darkness, taking time to look at the sea-themed carvings, odd empty niches, and dim recesses of the corridor.  Suddenly, one of the group stepped on a floor tile which shifted peculiarly.  With a crash and a rumble, a set of huge (3') stone balls dropped out of a compartment in the ceiling near the entrance and began rolling down the corridor.  The party members scrambled, two racing ahead to get to the far end, three others scrambling for places along the wall.  Luckily they survived and regrouped at the far portal.

At the end of the corridor they came out on a stone platform in a deep, narrow ravine.  Far above, through trees and hanging vines, was a long jagged slice of sky visible at the top of the ravine.  Many other trees clung to the rocky sides and vines drooped everywhere.  On the far side, across from the platform, was another tall portal with a similar platform.  A row of three tall stone pillars, apparently formerly supports for a wooden bridge, stood in a line between the two platforms.

As the party stood considering the best way across, one of them spotted (Awareness check) a fey fairy hiding in a tree above.  The fairy was the size of a small girl, in a tattered dress of black and grey which matched the black and grey of her fairy moth wings.

Dark Rose Fairy
Thorn Whip (Reach weapon)
some Thistlevine Seeds
- Fly
- Weakness Pollen ("Fairy Dust") Commitment check vs. 10 or go limp for 1d6 rounds

 Unbeknownst to the party, the fairy was set there as a lookout by the archdruid.  Like most fey, she quickly became bored with doing a job and looked on the party as a chance to relieve the boredom.  Damsel Nomine was easily able to (non-magically) charm the fairy who informed them that the druid was nearby, but then refused to answer any further questions unless they had some pie for her.  The party was perplexed.  The temple had provided them with some traveling rations and the Hunter had butchered a couple of sea birds earlier but that was all they had.  (I then suggested they make Awareness checks to thoroughly search their backpacks.)  A search of their packs for anything useful did indeed turn up a slice of apple pie included by one of the kindly little old kitchen ladies at the temple as a treat for the poor dears.  The fairy took the pie back to her tree branch and directed them to the portal across the way.  The fairy sat and slowly enjoyed her tasty pie, totally not caring about warning the smelly old druid.  (Note to evil leader types: don't rely on fey to have a work ethic.)

To get across the ravine some of the party chose to hopscotch across the stone pillars (Brawn checks), other to make use of the many hanging vines (Daring checks).  All made it without incident and they found themselves once again looking down a long sloping corridor carved with aquatic themes.  This corridor was only about half as long and soon opened into a huge cylindrical room lit with huge flames rising from the wide circular floor.  They could see that the walls were lined with row upon row of niches, clearly for holding the remains of the departed.  Some were still sealed, others gaping open.  Despite the bright flames they could not see a ceiling in the shadows above.

Then they turned their attention to the source of the flames.  There appeared to be a set of large concentric channels about six feet wide carved into the floor.  The outermost one was filled with water, the next with leaping flames, the next possibly with a hedge growing out of it, and in the center a tall, bell-shaped structure shining like polished silver.  Additional observation revealed that the channels formed a maze.  Lacking any alternative the party proceeded into the simple maze, water on one side and crackling flames on the other.  After a few moments there was movement in the water, which two members of the party totally didn't notice (Awareness checks), and something nasty surged up from below.

A mass of tentacles with hideous bulging eyes assaulted them.  One party member was slapped hard (though not over into the flames, alas) and another constricted for a while before escaping.  The creature was a bit of a shock, but the party dispatched it and moved on.

Tentacle Terror
Body: AC10, 3 wounds
Tentacles: AC8, 1 would (reach weapon)
- Pull (focus action); Brawn vs. 10 to avoid, Cunning vs. 10 to escape
- Squeeze (focus action); Brawn or Commitment vs. d10+2 or take 1 would
- Slap (constant);Daring vs. 10+2 or knocked 2d10 feet (Brawn vs. 10 or stunned)

The party wended their way past the flames and around some tall thorny magical hedges to a section where the hedges became stone walls.  Suddenly two fairies similar to the one outside flew down and covered them with their fairy dust (alas, everyone made their checks) and a weird masked figure jumped out and cast a spell.  The party attacked the mystery figure with arrows and thrown daggers causing injuries.  Damsel Nominie appealed to the fairies to depart and they did so, so charming was her personality and lovely red hair.  The spell of the druid (for that is who the mystery figure was) caused small woody creatures to leap from the hedges to attack as he threw a Thistlevine seed to make the party's surroundings "interesting".  The Damsel casually dismissed the druid's spell and the hedge creatures fell back into lifeless piles of thorny branches.  The rest of the party extricated themselves from the thistlevines and raced around the corner to confront the druid, still hoping they might take him alive.  However, the Archdruid of Charlak (for so he styled himself) had a nasty surprise waiting for them: he called out to his god and crashed his Elemental Bracers of Combustion together, causing a blast of flame to assail the heroes (who took 2 wounds).  The party engaged him in close combat and finally brought him down.  Investigating the large silver bell-shaped structure at the center of the maze, they found it to contain only a shrine to Charlak, God of Mazes.

[Thus ended the session for the evening]

So, overall everyone had a great time with the game.  I think the only real hiccups were that most of the players didn't notice the arcane/divine class templates embedded in sections back in the book and a big discussion about the wording for the Revivification talent for the Damsel for which we had a couple interpretations.


  1. Neat! Thanks for sharing a play report.

    I intentionally put the magic classes separate from the base classes, after some experimentation. That way, people who are more familiar with the system may choose spellcasters, but people who are just starting out will probably pick simpler characters to play.

    This skips the slowdown of explaining greater detail to starting players about their characters.

    Glad you all had fun!

  2. I may be able to help with "Revivification." I suspect the question came up because it can either heal 1 Wound or heal all Wounds on a target once per day--but it is a rested talent.

    This is because many talents that are not yet taken by a character are activated many times by spending 3 Awesome Points repeatedly. So, for this talent, even if you activate it repeatedly it can only heal someone to full once. All other uses heal 1 Wound each.

    Does that help?