Monday, April 4, 2016

Easter Dungeon World play report

This easter i had the pleasure of running my first Dungeon World session.
Dungeon World is written by
Sage LaTorra and Adam Koebel.

The “powered by the apocalypse”-games have really sparked my curiosity over the last year and i was exited to it a try.
Games under the "powered by the apocalypse" umbrella seems to exist in that less-than-clearly defined space between traditional and more indie/freeform-type of games.
Not having run this kind of game with these particular players (some of my oldest friends) made last night feel, in a sense, like an expedition to uncharted territories. This is an account of what happened.
Omissions have been made to protect the innocent.

Adventurers three

They met in a tavern. Barbosar the Melancholic a dwarf barbarian cast out from his home for causing the death of his own father, the King under the Mountain, by elven assassins.

Ragnar, a fighter, had left his home village after it was destroyed by the warlord Pollax. His pregnant wife killed during the attack. Regrouping at the forest inn Ragnar plans to get his revenge.

The bard Baltazar the Bedazzeling, perhaps better known as the bastard of Blue Garden, was also run out his hometown after “having his way” with the Earl of Blue Garden’s daughter. Baltazar’s kryptonite is boredom and his cure is spurring his companions to unplanned action.

A bounty hunter and elf warriors

The adventure began when Barbosar approached the only newcomer at The Full Mug on a fateful moonlit evening. The newcomer turned out to be Falur, a bounty hunter from Blue Garden, seeking a price on Baltazar’s head and offering the dwarf great glory and wealth if he betrayed his comrade.

Using subterfuge(!) Barbosar stalled for time and alerted his companions. Not long after Falur found himself ambushed by the heroic trio in the stables of the inn. To save his skin Falur offered to tell the adventurers a secret.

When Falur had passed through a hamlet called Volderon’s Hollow he discovered that the wizard Volderon had abandoned his tower. Looting a wizard’s tower would be both profitable and glorious the heroes figured and decided to seek it out immediately.

Going to secure some important supplies beer from the innkeeper Raltvak, Barbosar finds that a party of elves have arrived at the inn. There is no love lost between Barbosar and the “Fair folk” and the indignant dwarf slaps Raltvak in the face before explaining to the innkeep how he feels about the pointy ears. The confrontation with the, possibly charmed, innkeeper escalates quickly with elven warriors rushing down the stairs of the inn.

Outside Baltazar and Ragnar have helped themselves to the elf band’s horses as Barbosar flees the inn. Elven arrows whistle by their ears, a few even strike true, as they make their escape towards Volderon’s Hollow with the elven warriors in pursuit.

Volderon’s Hollow

Arrving at Volderon Hollow the heroes encounter Gresham, a toothless old man, who seems to be last surviving villager. Gresham claims that ever since the wizard Volderon left his castle the villagers have been “eaten” by the shadows of the village.

Indeed as the heroes take a rest in Gresham’s hut they are attacked by a shadow creature which they fortunately manage to kill. After the figth they realize that Gresham is gone and they catch a glimpse of him running towards the abandoned wizard’s tower.

To the Tower…

The heroes rush into the tower crushing a pair of undead minions as they search for Gresham. He is easily found, as his mad howls to his master lead the heroes to a castle hall with a strange black gate covering most of the wall. When wicked flying shadow vultures burst from the gate and skeletal archers kill the tragic Gresham the heroes find themselves in a desperate battle.

Heroes, however, are want to prevail. They destroy the skeleton archers and drive the nightwings back into the black gate.

As they search the goods that Gresham have accumulated in the hall in an attempt to placate the entity beyond the darkness, Baltazar discovers that the old man still draws breath. With his dying words Gresham inform them that Volderon is captured beyond the black gate.

Then, in a somewhat stunning reversal of motivations, the three heroes decide to leap into the shadow void to rescue the wizard Volderon.

Into the void

Me being a TuffBoy preparing for the session.
Enveloped in utter darkness the heroes encounter the Lord of Shadow who, reasonably enough, inquires as to why they are in his realm. The heroes explain their presence and inquire about what they will have to do to escape the Shadow-realm.

It was a rather faustian deal.

However, seeing no other way, the heroes take it. Leaving the Shadow Realm, alongside the wizard Volderon, they are all bound to the service of the demon lord.

Good fun was had by all.