Month: December 2015

Randan Chronicle: Session #4

The Randan game has wrapped up after six sessions, with the departure of Von’s player to a shack in the swamps of Oregon. Here’s a brief summary of the fourth session:

Sanrei asked Blood on the Petals whether zie knew anything about the collapse of the entrance to the demon queen’s tunnels, but could make nothing of Petals’ bland denial due to a terrible Read Intentions roll. Petals, for hir part, was growing ever more taken with Sanrei, and asked what zie could do to be more like her. Petals proved to be a humorously poor student of the art of meditation.

While gathering information, Von visits one of the city’s taverns (our ST tends to default to standard Western fantasy tropes), where two merchants were slaughtered earlier that day by a one-eyed man after they’d spoken indiscreetly about Queen Dove White Sky. Von sent a runner to fetch his Circlemates to investigate. According to eyewitnesses, the attacker—garbed as a Lintha, bearing a shining black dagger—cut the two men down in total silence, then pursued a fleeing third man out into the street. Unable to track him by sight or scent, we tried the merchants’ ship, only to find its entire crew slaughtered and its hold scuppered.

After Sanrei patched the hull and Von tasked his minions with guarding the ship, the Circle went out to a restaurant, where they interspersed their dining with loud conversation about the Queen’s supposed illicit acts and bargains with demons, in hope that the one-eyed man would attack us as well. This bore no fruit, but by the time we were done, one of Von’s men had turned up the location of the surviving merchant, who’d been seen fleeing, wounded, into an abandoned home in the city slums. Sending for a chirurgeon, we made our way there.

The merchant was still alive, although unable to communicate; he remained under the influence of the supernatural silence the one-eyed man had used during his attack, and the effect somehow extended to writing as well, with ink refusing to stick to parchment in his hands. Sanrei managed to bypass this by writing the entire alphabet on a slate and having the man point to one letter at the time—slow, but sufficient. But as we began to question him in earnest, Von’s man passed the merchant a flask of liquor that proved to be poisoned; the one-eyed man had taken the shape of Von’s retainer, and now he reverted to his own form, a caste mark made of blood appearing on his forehead as he attacked.

The fight was brief. Von moved immediately to save the merchant; Sanrei attacked, but lost the clash and was wounded; and Petals struck the one-eyed man down, her magic hand-cymbals leaving him bleeding from ears and nose. Sanrei bound the now-revealed deathknight by molding the poisoned flask into manacles, and we hauled him and the merchant—both still unconscious—to Von’s own ship. To keep the deathknight prisoner until he was ready for interrogation, Sanrei encased him in a six-foot porcelain vase, its interior containing a spiked mechanism ready to snap shut on him should he try and break free. Sadly, this proved useless, as he vanished the next day, apparently teleporting via shadows to escape. Further tracking led us to a chirurgeon who’d treated his wounds, after which a man matching the Perfumed Man’s description retrieved him.

Petals remains a combat powerhouse. I suspect that when zie hit as hard as zie did against the deathknight, it’s because the player how decisive damage works and applied Graceful Reed Dancing to the damage roll, insofar as we had to explain the rule to him during session 6. But in general, hir homebrew Artifact weapon’s use of Performance instead of a normal combat Ability has been rather broken.

Social Abilities remain important for everyone. Resolve and Guile are always relevant, and no matter your focus on other fields, you’ll want to take social influence actions every once in a while.

Accumulating silver Craft XP is pretty easy! I managed it even with a relatively hard-to-apply craft like pottery. Note that it’s helpful to be well-known to others and to get along well with the rest of your Circle, as these things help you hit your basic objectives; I didn’t have either, and that made for slower going. On the other hand, Craftsman Needs No Tools is immensely helpful, opening up opportunities to use crafting “in the field” amid other activities.


Randan Chronicle: Session #3

Having just played session 4 of the Randan game, this seems like a good time to post a summary of the third session. Von Der’Harr’s player is moving across the country in a few weeks, so this is his last hurrah in our gaming group; we’ll miss him.

Anyway, to summarize:

A palace functionary, Iron-Under-Hammer, visited Blood on the Petals to investigate the recent battle in her pagoda, and to corroborate rumors of demonology—especially in the wake of our raid on the Potters’ Lodge, where the explosion had been spun by the palace as the Aokis’ very flesh having been impregnated with infernal powers. Petals proclaimed her innocence, then followed her usual modus operandi of enthralling Iron-Under-Hammer and his military escort with a seductive dance. She went on to invent a tale about how Yueh Strife had threatened her with demonic attack, and though she did not wholly persuade him, he left the pagoda uncertain of the truth.

After an interlude wherein Von Der’Harr discovered that his aide, Vince Smar, was actually a First Age automaton (with a cigarette lighter built into his forefinger, no less), Von sought an audience with Randan’s chief craft-goddess, White-Hot Hammer. After browbeating his way past the goddess’ priests, he bargained with her for her aid in constructing a ship whose hull fuses together wood, metal, and ceramic. Such was Von’s skill with bargaining and fine print that he easily obtained satisfactory terms. (Sadly, I don’t recall the details; hopefully Von’s player will chime in at some point.)

For her part, Sanrei spent some time investigating the palace functionaries involved in the plot against her family—including retired prime minister Soaking-Up-the-Moon, who had spent the past few months out of favor and heavily intoxicated, and ambitious courtier Apple-From-the-Tree—and attempting to establish ties with surviving Aoki cousins. Other than that, her time was largely spent on crafting projects, from repairing the damage to Petals’ pagoda to making ceramic hull sheeting for Von’s mystery ship.

After a few days had passed, Von gathered his fellow Solars to explore an underground labyrinth his men had stumbled upon while digging beneath one of their hideouts. After an hour of exploration, they were ambushed by an ape demon. But Sanrei was too alert to be caught unawares, and she lopped off the beast’s arm with a single stroke before it could even act. (Full Awareness Excellency + Sensory Acuity Prana for 15 starting Initiative, going straight into a decisive attack using Shining Starfall Execution for 9 health levels of damage.)

While the maimed demon was off-balance, Von persuaded it to join his ship’s crew. It then explained that it was part of the entourage of a more powerful demon that dwelt at the heart of the labyrinth, and agreed to lead us there. This proved to be Alveua, Keeper of the Forge of Night, one of the three demon queens of Randanese fable, caged by sorcery in a cavern amid a dozen lesser demons . After the demoness and Sanrei exchanged a few idle threats, Petals once again broke out the sexy dancing to seduce Alveua, then negotiated a pact whereby neither of the two would attack the other or any of the other’s friends. We then departed, though Sanrei lingered a bit to say that while she would slay the demon queen before allowing her to regain power in Randan, freedom outside of Randan might be arranged in exchange for knowledge of Alveua’s secrets of demonic forgecraft.

After our departure, Von returned to the temple of the White-Hot Hammer, where he informed the goddess of the demon queen’s presence and location beneath the city. The next morning, Sanrei visited the hideout to venture underground again, only to discover that the stairwell into the depths had been collapsed as though by a localized earthquake. Clearly, the untrustworthy Blood on the Petals was responsible for this…