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15 March 2016 @ 11:46 am
[WotMK: Hexcrawl] Session Two  
Dramatis Personae:
  • Shining Star, mandragora sorcerer-priestess of Nyarhé.
  • The Green Knight, mandragora briarwitch.
  • Bonnie, kong Auspicious Orator.
  • Amos Burnham, a human from Earth.
  • Elaphe, a chuzan junior member of the Black Rose.
We started off west of the town of Tannin after the heroesprotagonists left to avoid the election-related violence occurring, possibly just ahead of a riot. They spent most of the day riding west toward the Etemenenki, the enormous Predecessor tower visible on the horizon, passing peasants on their way too and from their fields, a few traveling merchants, and watching the villages grow smaller and further apart until there was some grass growing in the burned patches on either side of the road and the only signs of civilization were some scattered homesteads. Around dinner time, they went off the road to find a camp site, rolling adequately on their Survival roll and choosing Concealment and Sustenance.

Brief aside on the survival rules: I'm borrowing Dungeon Fantastic's camping rules, though I use Comfort, Concealment, and Sustenance instead. Comfort means that they heal wounds and recover Essence normally, Concealment provides a benefit on nighttime random encounter rolls, and Sustenance means they get free food and can save some money on rations. Five+ successes on the Survival roll gets all three, 2-4 gets two, 1-0 gets one, and a botch means all campsites are terrible.

As they settled down for camp in a hollow out of sight of the road with a small, fish-filled pool, Elaphe spotted a partially ruined house to the south, further away from the road, and determined to go after it. Shining Star decided to follow him, and the Green Knight went as well. Leaving their mounts behind, they snuck through the prairie grass to the house, hearing a few noises but not encountering any wildlife on the way, and when they reached the house Elaphe immediately started casing the joint and looting everything he could, grabbing a good pair of shoes sized for an amanita, some loose change, and some mostly unburned candles.

While he was filling his sack with loot, Shining Star tried to figure out why the house was abandoned. She conducted her own search and found lines of salt across the doorway and the windows, but noticed that the line on one of the windows had been broken. Salt is used to ward off wraiths, and as she glanced out the window at the setting sun, she realized that they needed to leave. Now.

Howls pursued them back across the grassland as they ran to the campsite and warned Bonnie and Amos about the wraiths, which led to a standoff where Shining Star demanded to know what Elaphe took from the house and Amos sticking his musket in Elaphe's face (roll Manipulation + Firearms!). The second trick worked, and Elaphe gave Amos the money as the first wraith crested the hill, a horrible parody of an amanita running on all fours with a too-wide mouth filled with jagged teeth. Two more quickly followed it. Elaphe hurled a bob-omb at the wraiths, and while one managed to dodge out of the explosion, the other two were caught in it and seriously hurt.

One wraith charged after Amos, who started running as Bonnie ordered her iron jaws familiar to attack it. One of them charged the Green Knight, who set his spear in the earth and awaited it, and then other ran toward Shining Star, who began chanting and chains of light appeared around the wraith, but to no effect. In its frenzy to get to the Green Knight, the wraith leaped on the spear, skewering itself but getting close enough to slash through the Green Knight's armor, leaving him bleeding.

Realizing that he wouldn't be able to pick up his bow before the wraith reached him, Amos turned and blasted it with his musket, causing its attack to miss him as he dropped the musket and reached for his bow. The Green Knight tore into the wraith on his spear as Shining Star called up another set of chains around the wraith attacking Amos, binding its arms tightly to its sides and searing its flesh. Bonnie ran toward it to add to her own attacks, but was woefully ineffective.

Here Elaphe sprung into action, drawing his starmetal dagger and attacking the wraith that Shining Star had just bound in chains, ripping open its back and causes it to fall apart into ectoplasm and black ichor. At the same moment, the Green Knight reached out with his wooden claws and tore another wraith's head from its shoulders. The wraith near Shining Star swiped at her, but she dodged backward out of the way as Amos grabbed his bow and shot the wraith, which burned a hole straight through it. Soon after, the chains that were still wrapped around it burned it entirely away, and it fell to pieces which decayed into nothingness.

Shining Star looked at the Green Knight's wounds, using hedge magic to slow his bleeding--the players were especially happy at the delta-like hand gesture her player made--and Elaphe looked for the money that Amos had thrown away. The next morning, everyone rode south to the house and looked around, finding a root cellar and, in that cellar, three patched of turned earth. Buried underground were three desiccated amanita bodies, and the group took them upstairs, Shining Star conducted a brief eulogy over them, asking Nyahré to guide their souls to the Star Road, and then Amos muttered a few words and called up flames. They then rode away, the house burning behind them.


We had a bit of a late start this time, but it still went well! This session was almost entirely driven by random rolls and players asking what was out there, which is exactly what I was hoping for. I've been thinking that low-power Exalted would be a perfect system for a sword and sorcery hexcrawl, and this is my chance to prove it. So far, it's working well.

This session was primarily an introduction to combat, since one of the players in this game is new to the system. Since it was three vs. five (six counting Bonnie's iron jaws), I'm not sure I gave a proper introduction to how lethal it can be. But I'm really happy that the PCs ran from the house! I keep hearing stories about PCs that won't run even in the face of utter annihilation, so running in the face of a threat is a good sign. If random rolls determine your opposition, not all battles will be winnable.
 
 
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