This was a new scenario for The Sprawl, and it went as well as any new scenario has gone so far, although it didn’t go quite as I expected. Both of those are good things! I’ve written several scenarios for The Sprawl by this point, and I generally find that the first one doesn’t run particularly smoothly, at least from behind the screen. Hopefully this means I am getting better at working out how to design missions for the game, and that I can translate that into some good scenario design advice!
Saturday Morning: The Regiment: Colonial Marines
This was my first time running the regiment and it went very well. The squad was tasked with recovering the crew (and cargo) of a downed spaceship, and of course the cargo turned out to be... special. The first half of the mission involved the exploration of the jungle planet and the spaceship and the second half involved recovery of the cargo from the mercenary company which had stolen it. There was an alien, but it was more for atmosphere than as a major source of conflict.
The only problem that turned up was a difficulty with trying to manipulate the Synthetic. The Synthetic doesn’t take stress, and the manipulation move deals stress, so there’s no way to brow-beat or pull rank on the Synthetic, short of the threat of physical violence. I definitely think that’s a feature rather than a bug, but it’s interesting to note.
Saturday Afternoon: Dungeon World: Number Appearing
Number Appearing is a Dungeon World supplement for playing monster races that appeared as a backer reward in the kickstarter campaign. I hadn’t played or read it yet and I didn’t think I’d get to play in Colin’s game, but he successfully squeezed me in as a fifth player. Everyone had an additional monster race playbook which essentially provides a new set of world generation lists to guide the description of the monster races. That slows down character generation a little, but the extra time is spent on creative collaboration, so that’s not really a problem. What did seem a bit of a problem, at least I found it so on this occasion, is the provided lists are quite specific and are a touch small for the suggested number of options when multiple players have one of the same playbooks. Our game had three Towering Brutes (and Ettin, an Orge and a Troll), one Small and Sneaky (a Ratkin) and one Hungry Dead, so the Towering Brute flavour lists were taxed a little.
But the game was, of course, awesome. We were all associated with a tribe of ogre/ettins (ogres being ettins who have lost a head – my ogre cleric’s second head had been a heretic, so I cleansed it with fire) living a Storm Giant monastery in a dormant volcano which was attacked by an Apocalypse Dragon. There were many heroic and foolhardy attempts to kill it or drive it off, but in the end we only succeeded by destroying our home as we caused the volcano to erupt. There was quite a lot of PvP as well... definitely more of an Apocalypse World flavour (complete with hardhold, in a way) rather than the standard gung-ho DW fare.
Saturday Evening: Dungeonhearts
I had jokingly proposed a reskin (hur-hur) of Monsterhearts to replicate the immature social/sexual interactions of a group of typical D&D characters at a previous Strategicon, and the name Dungeonhearts got stuck in my head. Thus, Dungeonhearts: The Messy Lives of Teenaged Adventurers was born. I’d played Monsterhearts three times previously, but had not run it before, so this was a slightly nervous experience for me. Fitting really.
It went really well. I had four players who knew about Monsterhearts but had not played, and they got the concept and ran with it. There was lots of great character interplay, some poignant scenes, some dark scenes, some terrible decisions were made, the darkest of magics were performed, a traitorous noble was brought down, and a burgeoning relationship was shattered. Everything you’d expect from a Monsterhearts game, but in a fantasy village.
Having just finished Storm of Swords I’m struck by the devious idea of running this again in the wake of catching up on the Game of Thrones tv series... Certainly, next time I run the game, I’ll write a couple of adventuring moves, as the occasional move selection dilemma could have been thereby removed.
I took some time off from the con on Sunday, so as it turned out, the best game of the con was the last game of the con.