Combine a hot day with people that have never played together with a lot of beer, smart phones with more important stuff than reality on them, Jack Daniels and incessant gas and you have an evening that is not conducive to any type of roleplaying whatsoever. About 1/3rd of the way through I was thinking about how I could double Henderson the entire fucking thing and throw in the towel. However, we made it through that session and after a couple of months, we got together again in a larger room with less farting and most importantly, non of the DEVIL’s OWN whiskey. Before I got there, I was thinking of any reason to not do it, which has never happened to me with an RPG session on a weekend (Week night sessions can get fucked from work). Could I have a flat tire? Could I get lost and just say I couldn’t find the place? What if I actually ate at Mcdonalds and got the drizzlin shits? Alas I showed up and while not the smoothest session, we got through it and may do it again and I even left it at a bit of a cliffhanger.
During the the first full group session, the characters, after fighting off an ambush of picts, came upon a ruined village with a lot of dead villagers about. The searched around and found a few living villagers scared out of their wits while the rest of their caravan buried the remains of the rest. They were not killed by the Picts as the bodies were torn and partially devoured. As night fell, the party split off from the main group holed up in the trading post, one group to hide in an empty house and a lone person, the Pictish THEIST: Brinna, to sleep in the chapel. Well the THING was on the roof of the chapel the whole time, resting from it’s gorge earlier that day and observing. It started to stalk the theist and pounced on her, destroying her leg and knocking her unconscious. That was the end of the whisky-fart session. One dead and three to go with a likely TPK on the horizon.
The session last night started with a new character joining the party (a Danish scout) which unfortunately didn’t work out well at all for the group. They couldn’t keep up their suspension of disbelief and it all pretty much broke down with complaining that he couldn’t get in on the action (a scout does scouting). I just would rather not have characters simply appear in the midst or step out of the woods and say “Hi, I’m now your best friend,” so whatever. While I don’t care about this in Lamentations (since it’s usually a meatgrinder style of play) in RQ character building has a bit more importance from the outset.
After some shenanigans the group actually were able to take down the THING without anyone being killed, mostly thanks to some good perception rolls. They had to hack it to fucking pieces due to very, very high physical stats and endurance, evade, etc., but once it got a major wound to the head, the fight was a forgone conclusion. I tried to have it break off and run away, but the dice didn’t fall that way. The coup de grace was from the Byzantine sorcery smacking it on the head with his quarterstaff for a stun location special effect. After that, they went to tear it to pieces and got a rather nasty surprise that is a hook into new problems…
Needless to say, what started as a straight Viking game has descended naturally into Vikingthulu, which, with a Byzantine sorcerer and a Pictish follower of Arawn (god of the dead) in the party, I was like fuck it we’re going weird from time to time.
I’m new to Runequest, so there were a few things of note in how I handled stuff, and a few rules clarifications I need to figure out for next time I run it.
Passions: I need to work with these more. At first I thought these were a stick to beat the players into doing stuff, a bit like alignment, and that certainly could happen, but I have yet to tell the players that they can use their passions to augment their skills. In some of the published adventures, NPC’s fighters have passions like “love to fight 75%” and this I do not like at all and think it’s a bit beardy if a player character did something like that. “Raging bloodlust” would be fine because it could be used in different ways.
Prone, Leap, general statuses within combat – I was not totally sure how Leap worked– knocked prone vs free ‘natural weapon’ attack with no parry or evade allowed so I just did both! Being prone SUCKS, but you can still attack and parry, just at what penalty? You’re really going to be hurting if you don’t have any friends around. There are a few other statuses that I am not sure on. RQ is not codified like 13th Age or D&D 5 with conditions (confused, dazed, hampered, stuck, vulnerable..) that have very specific effects to them, it’s more loose in that regard. For instance what happens when you take a major wound to the head? What happens when you take a stunning blow to the head (via the special effect)?
Ranged weapons, like nearly all other games, suck to use because of their reload times. As an archer, you are sitting outside of battle picking off stragglers while the fighters get all the fun stuff with hacking off arms (and getting eviscerated themselves of course). This is smart, but with 3 action points per shot (I think) it can get pretty boring in fights.