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19 January 2016 @ 02:09 pm
Warlords of the Mushroom Kingdom: Short game finale!  
Last night was the final session of the short Warlords of the Mushroom King game I ran, and almost the entire session was a battle with the Super Mario Galaxy 2 Bowser Music playing in the background. That sounds like a nightmare, but we run relatively short sessions and got a bit of a later start, to a combat with nine major characters--the protagonists and the Blossom Guard that Miyamoto had sent for against the warlock Kurome; his lieutenants, a kappa Brother of the Hammer and a mycon Cultist of the Broodmother; Kurome's summoned demons, and the surviving bandits.

The protagonists opened up the battle by sending Chi's familiar, a self-reassembling bob-omb, walking up to the group and exploding. It rolled 8 successes on seven dice, none of the bandits saw it, and so the protagonists had a huge advantage as they attacked from stealth while the bandits were in disarray. Daiju charged straight at the Brother of the Hammer while Kabocha and Miyamoto attacked the Cultist and Kaeru started carving his way through the bandits. No one got near Kurome, especially not after the demon materialized to guard him.

The Cultist went down quickly, but the Brother of the Hammer took a bit more time due to his thick armor and his Charm-enhanced toughness, but once he started hurting a bit, Miyamoto managed to wrestle his hammer away from him and hurl it into the forest. Deprived of his martial prowess--hard to be a Brother of the Hammer with no hammer--he died quickly after that. Kurome and his demon vanished before the protagonists could turn their attention to them (I'm sure they won't show up again next game!) and the remaining bandits, confronted with the death or disappearance of their leaders and the fact that a single warrior had killed a quarter of them, threw down their weapons and ran. The protagonists let them, figuring the flora would take care of them. They then returned to a heroes' welcome in the village and walked off into the sunset.

I realized there was a third demon that Kurome had under his control--a decanthrope, if you're curious--that I should have had launch itself from bandit to bandit the way it's described in that entry. I genuinely forgot about it, though.

Kurome didn't do much in the battle. He conjured an aura of fear around himself, called on the demon to defend him, and then stepped through the shadows to get away as soon as the battle turned against him. That's a bit by design, though. One of my goals was the sorcery is more broadly applicable than martial arts, but in direct combat, sorcerers have very limited options because spellcasting takes time and blasting spells are highly limited. That's why Kurome had demons to defend him, and why he left early. Maybe he could have turned the tide if he had gone on full offense and sent the demon to attack the protagonists...but that would have been a risk, and he didn't become a powerful warlock by taking risks.

Also the game was almost over, so that did influence my decision making. But only a bit. I didn't conceive of Kurome as the adventurous type.

I learned from this game that Exalted is a great gritty system where Charms and Exalted ruin everything! It worked really well, especially when I introduced the glass beads for players tracking their timing. I called out tick, everyone tosses one into the center, anyone with no beads gets to take an action. It worked really well, and the limited selection of powers meant that combat never really got bogged down. No dice pools with 30+. I think the highest number anyone rolled was 14, and that was Miyamoto disarming people. No one got hurt, so I still didn't get to test my new Medicine mechanics. But next game!

I've mentioned I always learn something from the games I finish. Here, I think I can sum what I learned down to two bullet points: 1) The Seven Samurai is a great plot and I can see why it's been ripped off so many times and 2) Exalted, at its core, is not as terrible as the internet makes it out to be, but it's a bad system for actual Exalted. At the mortal level, with dice pools from 4-12 or so, it works great.

Next Warlords of the Mushroom Kingdom game starts next week!
Current Mood: ecstaticecstatic
Current Music: Super Mario Galaxy 2 - Bowser Final Battle (Extended Mix)