Sunday, 15 January 2012

DRAGON WARRIORS – Gameplay report 2

Another session and another good game of Dragon Warriors.

After the night’s festivities the players (minus one, who couldn’t make it that night but we kept his character on hand as a pseudo-hireling) went into the tavern. They purchased rooms for the night and, while one of them inspected the ornately carved fireplace that seemed to move when seen from the corner of the eye, another questioned the father of the girl who had been carried off. He was very drunk after all the drinks of congratulations he had received, but they learned that he was proud and that his daughter was now with God, and that she had been carried away by a beautiful singing angel. Obviously, the townsfolk were seeing the opposite of what the players saw.

The social interaction was handled with two simple rolls. One roll against LOOKS to have the question be taken seriously or to even be acknowledged by the drunk father, and a (hugely modified due to the alcohol) roll against the father’s INTELLIGENCE to see if he was suspicious at all. Everything went swimmingly until the father rolled very low three times in a row and became suspicious of all the questions. The players realised they may have been pushing too far and back off just in time as the father’s friends arrive to take him home.

The next morning the players meet with the blacksmith and he fills them in with what he sees as the truth – while he was repairing the hinges on the door to the Lord’s library he saw a blue-bound book and, being able to read, decided to have a look at the curiosity. He realised that the book was a tome about demons and he saw a similarity between the story and the town. A demon named Alagog took a soul in sacrifice that he could feed upon for 180 days, and in return the people were given bountiful crops, food and wealth. So, intrigued, he did not consume the drugged food or water during one festival and saw the creature for what it was, not an angel but a horror. The blacksmith’s seven-year old daughter has been chosen as the next Festival Queen so he is desperate for help. So desperate he has asked the PCs. As far as he knows there is an abandoned castle atop Crag Peak in the Pagan Mountains and this is the probable place where the demon is taking the sacrifices.

No rolls here – the entire conversation was a roleplaying exercise and, as long as the players weren’t a bother in-game, the adventure could be outlined.

To determine if the Lord of Dungully was involved the players decide to go and introduce themselves and ask to use the library to see if there is any mention of an ancestor they are tracking down in a personal pilgrimage. After failing a LOOKS roll or two, the Lord and his aide become somewhat suspicious of the group, but still allow them access to the library. They discovered the existence of Crag Peak and how to get to it and, as they did this, one of the assassins decided to pilfer the blue book about demons. The pages are blank and, wanting to know more, they head down to the local church.

Stepping over the threshold of the church, the book bursts into flames. Panicked, and damaged by the burning book, the assassin tries to dowse the flames by throwing the tainted book of demons into the font, which is filled with Holy Water.

Yeah.

One huge explosion later, with the stone font shattering into a million pieces and the windows of the church blowing out, the players decide to beat a hasty retreat. They purchase what they need and get out of town.

Up to yet there have been no combats, even though some badly failed rolls in the tavern the night before almost resulted in some brawling. This concerned me a little – would the players become a little bored? The answer was no. As long as they had things to interact with and the story carried on at a decent clip then they seemed satisfied. I did have an encounter sorted for the forest should they decide to travel, but they left the town late and we were out of time before I could introduce it. I did hint at it – the PCs camped for the night in a ditch and a wolf stuck his head out of the bushes as they watched. Thing is, this wolf had the head the size of a horse. I think I’ll save that for next time.

I enjoyed the game – it felt like an introduction to the larger adventure so now I can concentrate on the quest they are on and the trials ahead. They’ve geared up, they have a target and they’re on their way, so all that remains for me to do is give them some decent obstacles.

Rules-wise this game was a little difficult as I had to make modifiers to the rolls of the players depending on how well they roleplayed so there was a lot of adjudication. Once again there was a lot of chatter and messing around at the table but you have to cut through that and concentrate on the moment. They also split the party, which I don’t really mind as long as I only spend a few minutes on each small group, but the volume always rises as the unattended group talk between themselves and over the group I’m working on. That can be annoying and makes people frustrated, not just me but the players trying to be heard, and it gets doubly annoying when a player ‘not there’ butts in with recommendations, advice or just a silly comment. I go with the flow where that’s concerned (I have little choice, frankly) but as long it doesn’t get out of hand then that’s cool. A short, curt ‘No, you’re not there!’ usually does the trick. All in all a fun night with some great moments (exploding fonts are always good fun).

Now they’re in the forest on the way to a village called Pleg as they travel to the Pagan Mountains. Hilarity will no doubt ensue.