13th Age: Gorram Adventurers #2

Still keeping this vague, as the Shadows in Eldolan is not out yet, even though the playtest is technically over. Commentary is in blockquotes, while the actual actual play is the main text. Hopefully that’s readable.

One new player joined us: AK.

I expect this to be a semi-regular occurrence as it is my preference to run a fairly open table: I’d rather juggle the story to shuffle characters in and out than wrestle with scheduling too much. My rule of thumb for this game is that I’ll run a game with at least two players, and not more than 5. The players present in the last session have precedence, after that it is first come, first served.

This is why I’m thinking about a metagame rule for session end like I used in Guild of Dungeoneers.

In that game unless everyone present can immediately schedule a new game within two weeks, a session cannot end in a dungeon. If the party is not out of the dungeon by the end of the game a rather cruel Escape From Dungeon roll would take place to determine what happens. The game ran for 10 sessions, not the three recorded here, and I don’t think anyone was ever willing to brave that roll.

For Gorram Adventurers I’m thinking the Flee rule of 13th Age might take the same role: if not in “a safe and location convenient for shuffling characters in and out” (say an inn, or taking a non-detailed overland journey, etc) at the end of a session, either schedule the next game immediately, or Flee to an appropriate location — taking a campaign loss. Less wear and tear on the characters, but more weight on the narrative. I think that might work…

Another rule I have in place in order to make running an open table feasible is that unless you already have a character, or have made one character beforehand, you’re going to use one of the ready mades I’ve built. Later you can adjust it to taste, or make a fresh one, but we’re trying to spend a minimum amount of session time on chargen. The one I make have just One Unique Thing, Icon Relationships, and Backgrounds left empty, and for the first session they can stay empty if filling them up would take too long.

Anyways, back to the table.

AK picked a half-orc paladin I’d built. His OUT is pretty outstanding: “Unknown to myself, I’m the reincarnation of the original Orc Lord.” He’s been raised in obscurity by a paladin of the Great Gold Wyrm, and occasionally has strange dreams of ages past. He believes he carries a taint of evil and must do good to counterbalance that. I love it. :)

Last session had ended up with H’s character Ancalimë being sort-of dead as the result a ritual gone wrong.

While T’s character Leo (who can see dead people) was communing with Ancalimë via an ouija board, he observes that the ghost of his father that seems to reside inside Ancalimë’s lifeless body is getting less ragged as time goes by, and worries greatly.

AK’s half orc Lucius arrives, having been given a magical guide to locate the group by the agent of the archmage on whose behalf the characters are working. Leo and Lucius know each other from way back, and thusly his offer of help is readily accepted.

Ancalimë’s body is bathed in holy water, which appears to banish the ghost of Leo’s father, and allows Ancalimë to settle back inside his apparently dead body. After a brief discussion the adventurer’s decide to continue with their plan to [sensored], because dead or apparently dead doesn’t really make that much of a difference — and if he is truly dead it would be a pity to waste his sacrifice…

Following through with their plan they’re eventually sneaking into a building they believe to be the lair of [sensored]. It is dark inside, but Lucius sees a flash of golden light illuminating on unwholesome form hiding in the shadows.

No-one’s perception roll was sufficient to notice creature waiting in ambush, but Lucius rolled well and had a 6 from the Icon rolls that had not been used yet, so with a little spiritual help from the Great Gold Wyrm the party avoided being blindsided.

I’m definitely not quite comfortable with the Icon roll mechanic yet. Don’t get me wrong, I like it, but I don’t feel I know what to do with it yet: some of the characters have already accumulated multiple as of yet unused sixes and fives. I have a decent idea of what some of them mean, but as for the rest…

One thing I’m thinking of is that I could hand out tokens representing them to the players, and allow using them as currency. I don’t like it as the default option, but it seems an attractive way to get rid of excessive successes even if it stinks of taking the easy way out.

Need to meditate on this further.

After a pitched battle the characters discover a hidden door to a tunnel that leads to [sensored cliffhanger].

So yeah, the “Flee at end of session if not in a nice place” rule is not in effect yet. …but now that I think of it, it can actually work pretty nicely at the beginning of a session as well. If there is too much change in the group composition between sessions, the game can start by the characters fleeing from danger and re-grouping.

A very fun session, if a short one. We convened at 1930, the game didn’t really start until closer to 2030, and curtain fell a bit after 2300.

I do need to write myself a cheat-sheet for some rules, though. I also need a better combat record sheet. Tracking initiative and HPs on one piece of paper and having the opposition stats on another means constant shuffling back and forth, and either paper getting lost way too often. When running the Guild of Dungeoneers I discovered how much combat is sped up by making sure I’m organized in such a way that even if I lose focus for a second I don’t lose track of what’s happening.

Can’t wait the next session!

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