Friday, November 16, 2018

The Bereaved: Sessions 0 and 1

"Angry Orc" by tomcii
This all started because of an apology. I'm running two solo Burning Wheel games (of which posts shall be made as well) and was talking to my buddy Andy about this, and just suddenly felt incredibly guilty. I was the GM who first introduced Andy to RPGs, only to find that I had an unintentionally created a monster. Andy is not kind of a good GM and definitely not kind of a good player: he's one of the best in both categories that I've encountered. But for the last ten years Andy has GMed for me, not the other way around. I generally go to him when I'm tired of GMing and he very nicely lets me play a game.

So, as I was talking to him, I realized I could do a game for him. And then I wanted to do a game with him. And then I was talking about it and realizing that two Burning Wheel games is going to be a lot of work, so adding a third was probably not a good idea. Andy and I are both gaming snobs. We also like exploring new games and enjoying mechanics that no one else has thought about before. I'd been wanting to try Whitehack for almost a year, having bought the game and gotten a Notebook copy of it for Christmas, one year ago. So I suggested it, and somehow Andy decided this was a good idea.

And then I couldn't think of a campaign idea. Nothing.

So I just had Andy start making a character. Because sometimes whole campaign ideas can spawn off of just one random fact about a character. So Andy sat down and began to make a character. He picked his class first. Now, in Whitehack there are three base classes: the Deft (specialists in a field), the Strong (the combat monster and able to harvest special abilities from dead critters), and the Wise (Miracle workers who pay for their spells with HP).

Andy went for the Deft. Deft characters' Groups are not tied to stats, and they also have access to special tricks/mentors/items that no one else does, one active and one inactive (switching between them takes a day). Andy decided his active Mentor would be a ghost by the name of Kenin, who was a rival of his, back to haunt him. His inactive benefit is a cloak that can hide with anything. It's not magical, it just... blends...

Kenin sparked off an idea for a campaign, and I had something to pitch. Kenin had died in a failed assassination attempt of the orc lord Kuntal, who had overwhelmed the country of Crondas and was at the capital city, Terl's, gates. Kenin would not talk about why she failed, but she came back and asked Mokola (Andy's assassin), her rival, to finish the job for her. But in the interval Kuntal had destroyed Terl, destroying it. The royal family had managed to escape, but it's the dead of winter and nobody can last that long.

So the campaign begins with Mokola's talk with the leader of his assassination guild, the Guild of Midnight Prowlers. In the wake of the wholescale slaughter of the Kingdom of Crondas the Guild has allied itself with the crown. A few days ago some scouts of the crown had been sent out to examine Fort Dragonskull, which was neslted a few days away to the east in the Dragonbone Mountains.These scouts have not returned and so the headmaster is sending Mokola out to figure out what's going on. The headmaster has already sent a number of his agents out, but he's worried about their loyalty, and is sending Mokola as a back up to the back up.

After gathering some supplies Mokola set out. After being taunted about how much he sucks and really has no drive by Kenin, Mokola sent her out to check out a nearby campfire.Kenin came back, laughing, and told Mokola they were no threat even to someone like him. Mokola approached the campfire and found five individuals around it who were heartily sick of each other. One of these survivors, Karl, asked to come with Mokola. Karl was a bit grouchy, but he tried to keep up with Mokola the best he could, asking whatever questions he thought Mokola would answer. Mokola kept Karl safe from gigantic eagles and helped him outrun a group of orcs, even burying one of the orc's blades in his face.

They also ran into one of the survivors of the Guild's party: Yron, who clearly was not happy with the headmaster's idea to make them friends of the crown. As they staged a perfectly normal conversation Yron motioned for Mokola to kill Karl, since he was nothing more than a rube civilian. But Mokola refused, and instead asked Yron what had happened to the others. Yron told them that his other compatriots were dead, slain by orcs, as were most likely the king's men. Yron did not offer to journey with them, instead turning back for home camp, telling the pair to watch out, or else they would wind up dead.

Karl finally had to rest, after going all night without rest because of the relatively clear weather. Mokola, who needed to scout, warned Karl not to rest unless he thought he could do it safely, and stepped out to re-orient himself. But the temperature dropped significantly and the winds howled, driving Mokola to reconsider his course of action.

Which is when Mokola found himself surrounded by orcs, including an orc with a deep impression of a blade in his face. Mokola could hear a captured Karl behind him, begging him to run, that the orcs were trying to cut off his escape routes.

Mokola fled. Karl's shouting stopped abruptly. Mokola realized that he was almost completely cut off, so he tried running right at one of the orcs, elbowing him in the face as he went by.

But the orc grabbed Mokola by his head and slammed his head into a tree.

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