1.I think it was our best session yet.
2.Our next session will be just past our one year anniversary.
3.Had players use some very powerful plot cards. a.Double Blanks From the Veeza Seer. b.Enemy & Relic(x2) from the Tauran Warrior.
4.Tried something completely different, A Prequel Flashback!
5.Set the stage.
1. This group of players has by far been the most interesting I have ever ran a campaign for. The most obvious difference is four of six players are women. In past I had never gamed with more than two in a campaign. At conventions I have played and run games with a majority women players, but never in a long term game. The second most curious thing is that half of the six players had never gamed significantly. Two of the women and one of the men had never played more than a single game or two. The other three players had not gamed in a regular campaign in as many as sixteen years or more. The group of players have been open and accepting of the style and pace of play. The last thing about this campaign is that the game world was built by 25 players over the course of six months using a set of rules to influence and alter the shape of the world and the races that inhabit it. The process has been extremely collaborative and very inspiring. This world has been an experiment from its creation to play. I am very happy with the results and hope the players enjoy the campaign. I think FUDGE has made a clear different in the players enjoyment of the game. In any case, all this and more made for “The Best Session Yet”
2. Given the real world players, I was uncertain if the game would last in its existing incarnation. I had anticipated some players wanting to change the direction or in the worst case I had prepared to switch to an entirely alternate game play and campaign model. This hasn't happened. The players group has developed and grown. They are creating an entourage and starting to amass some treasure (even if it is all cursed). Since I have a backup campaign and no place to use it, I am hoping to start a second monthly campaign, Modern Sci-Fi San Francisco! What else is a GM to do?
3. Rather than experience points, I give out cards. The current cards are FUDGE modified Savage Worlds Adventure Deck. Each card acts as one point. Some cards are faily mundane when played (Get A Clue) and others are plot potent (Enemy). Players can keep the cards and turn them in to advance their rank in any statistic (e.g. Profession, Reason, Body, Ability, Magic Item). It is when players start using cards for their written effect that strange and wonderful things happen. This session one player played the two most powerful cards (blanks) to direct her character towards a specific artifact. Another player tossed out three major cards, one which nearly killed him, one which will haunt him, and one which is still open on the table. The Blanks (Write your own story) changed the dynamic of a scheduled visitor. Rather than portend the arrival of a small army to support the players, the visitor also now brought news of the artifact. The small army coming would know who had it last and where it was headed. The three other cards played out slightly different.
4. The party is currently at the twice ruined dwarven city of forge. The first cataclysm event occurred about 6 years prior during the dwarven high holiday. A chaotic vacuum vortex sucked the life from the city and spawned life eating essences that killed the few survivors. About sixty days prior to the characters arrival an underground volcanic eruption filled the empty city, cleansing it of the abomination. The players and characters have been struggling with their motivation and the importance of the events in Forge, so in order to get them in touch with the location, we played a prequel flashback. The setting was the high court and nobility of Forge hearing the grant public works projects to be taken up during the next six years. But during this, the Chaos Vortex Struck and the players had to try and survive this tragedy. It was a very quick paced and gripped session that resulted in an insane Prince and psychicly damaged Princess secretly surviving. Most importantly, the players all witnessed, firsthand in game, the Fall of Forge and the birth of the unseen life eaters that they now battled.
5. The session began with the players wondering “why the hell are we here?” and ended with them resolved to disrupt the life eaters, corrupted avatars, and kobold slaves remaining in the ruins of Forge. I have heard for years about the feat of Game Masters having their story too disrupted by players with power over plot. I have been that GM. This campaign I embraced the concept that players should be the primary driver of plot. I've done it before, but never to this extent. I provide scenery and some over-arching connections. I find the method exciting; developing setting and motivation rather than plot is very rewarding. How it played out in mechanics:
BLANK 1 – Gave a clue to the location of the artifact. (It's across the continent.)
BLANK 2 – Gave clue + clear direction to the artifact. (It's across the continent, I'll introduce you to current owner's brother who is traveling over this way) The lead will arrive next session.
RELIC 1 – Play after major battle (End of last session) Player finds a minor relic/major magic item. : Beaux-dean the Tauran Warrior got a suit of finely crafted magical Hill Giant Plate Mail. The Hill Giants are the first great craftsmen from the plane of fire who taught the dwarves their skills. The catch was the the lead kobold trap master did a simple thing. He made a traditional peace offering (sks threat) to the party. He put the un-cursed, culturally important, armor on a large wool blanket; it was impregnated with a contact poison caustic to flesh. Beau grabbed the blanket, and started running off and nearly died from the poison contact as a result.
ENEMY – The player who played Beaux and this card also played the character that ended up as the Prince during the Fall of Forge Flashback. This insane survivor is actually a shape-shifter who was the secret passage butler for the royal family. During the Fall, he killed the Prince and assumed his shape. During the escape and hideout, the character killed all the other survivors except the Princess. Given his current shape and fractured mental state, he believed she was his sister. After they finally escaped, the shape-shifter set the stage to return to Forge. The shape-shifter is now the lead Kobold and the one who laid the blanket trap. The player created his own Enemy! YES PERFECT! This obviously changes the enitre dynamics of the kobolds, but it does so for the better. Rather than a bland support group, they now have a deeper history, motivation, and a very twisted leader brought forth to haunt the very player who created him!
RELIC 2 – Beaux's Player also played this third card in order to give someone in the group the option to power up an existing magic item, turn a non-magic item into a magic item, or change the nature/plane of an existing item. This is a pretty powerful card and the group has yet to decide how to play it. It will stay open until such time as it becomes obvious (or necessary) to use it.
I keep a visual diagram of the current groups and parties. This diagram shows the level of relationship (-100 to +100, 0 = neutral) and the known connections of the groups. If anyone wants, I can upload the diagram.
Thanks for reading! I hope you find this game update enjoyable. Here's to GREAT GAMING!