Crafts and Conquest: Episode 1

Last week, I posted about the all-female game of Dungeon World I played in, which was a little hectic, but we played through and had a good time.

This week, with two players leaving the group (the paladin and the wizard), we met again to run a session of the game, which is being split into multiple parts to air on The Jessa Channel.

Part I: Setup, Introduction, and a House Rule

One of the things we did this session was go over RP Points, which is something Jessa has house-ruled in Dungeon World for doing something over-the-top for role-playing. It’s a bit like a benny in other games, and it lets you add +1 to your roll before you roll it, roll twice and take the best, or “GM choice” where in the current situation, the GM will manufacture some kind of solution to get you out of the situation.

Part II: Bonds

I mentioned last time that Jessa wanted to leap into the action first, and then do bonds later. Well, later has arrived. In this session, we had some idle chit-chat, then worked through our bonds. Here are Makino’s bonds:

  • Snikt is puny and foolish, but amusing to me. Snikt’s bond with me is that she thinks Makino has her back. This works because Makino’s name is “Makino the Mirthful” and keeping comic relief about it important to her.
  • Osona’s ways are strange and confusing. Osona’s bond is that she has tasted my blood, and I hers, and it has bound us.
  • Thistle is always getting into trouble– I must protect her from herself. Thistle’s bond is that she thinks I don’t understand nature and she will teach me.

Part III: The Adventure Begins

We have washed up on the shores of the Darksea, having fought cultists and abandoning the sinking vessel. We have the captain, a female cultist, and a male cultist. Makino has taken the cultists as her conquests, and insulted the male cultist. I establish that “he belongs to her, she belongs to me.” We establish her name is Saquina, and Jessa gives me control over her token, since I have effectively made her my hireling.

We do a bit of retconning to kind of leave behind the PCs who were in our pre-game the previous week, and eventually the captain, when we realize we’re not really interacting with him.

The other PCs start “playing a game” with the male cultist Govaine. Snikt’s game is to tie him up to roast him over the fire and get information out of him. I try to intimidate him, and he and Saquina are trying to keep it secret. He defiantly says he’s not going to tell us anything, and Snikt replies “you will tell us in due time. Osona– how are you coming with that fire?”

Osona is off searching for firewood and anyone else. She sees some tracks from humans as well as a few natural animals. There are a lot of tracks up on the trail. Jessa suggests that Osona might be a bit out of earshot at this point, her first hint to us of an impending threat.

Snikt uses “thief rope” from her adventurer kit and ties Govaine snugly (kind of a mummy-tie, more than a shibari prisoner tie). Saquina wants to know what being “mine” means, in terms of being a servant or “making home together.” Makino is very insistent that Saquina belongs to me now, and that I’m good to my belongings. I also insult her father by telling her that I do not need his permission to claim her as mine. She’s enamored, and Makino is somewhat clueless about this. Saquina carries a hunting knife, and offers that she is good with a bow, but doesn’t see why they should help us.

Thistle and her cat assist with this and with the fire-building initiative.

Osona has kind of lost all the twigs she’s been carrying.

Part IV: The Adventure Continues

The weather is turning sour, and Jessa is trying to push us to make camp or something. We’re terrible and are basically ignoring a good portion of her clues and dire portents.

Makino calls over to Snikt to tell her to “stop playing whatever game you’re playing.”

Snikt replies that she’s playing “Truth or Fire” with him.

He persists that he will not speak, even if they put him to the fire. Saquina tries to intercede on his behalf, that they have orders not to allow anyone to come to their land without permission. Snikt cries “but we can’t get permission before coming to your land! So, Truth or Fire!”

Makino demands Saquina tell them where the egg is, and she demurs, claiming not to know. She’s lying, and she turns bright red. Makino tells her it’s a very fetching color on her.

Osona, meanwhile, wants to perform a druid ritual to learn more about the dangers on the hillside. Although she is gaining many clues about the coming hobgoblins, Osona is being portrayed as rather clueless, so she doesn’t really give a big warning to the rest of us.

This is the point where I suggest the retcon to remove Captain Harlock from the party and have him stay with the ship and the paladin.

We decide that Snikt is done interrogating the cultist, so she spins him like a top to get her rope back. We move under the trees for some cover from the rain. Saquina, meanwhile, is trying to warn us of the impending hobgoblin threat and is frantically trying to build a fire to keep the hobgoblins at bay. Footprints start to appear.

Osona wants to be nice to the hobgoblins and thinks they might be nice. Makino takes her sword out, announces that “it is not called Friendmaker,” and waits for this danger to arrive. I tell Saquina to get her male and hide, but she can’t find him, so I go down to get Saquina. Jessa is trying to give us one more chance to make a fire.

Snikt wants to sneak up on Makino and see if she has any fire-making tools that might be stealable from her.

We discuss PvP rules. What Snikt is trying to do is so common in any group with a thief, in Dungeon World or otherwise, it’s an outright trope. It usually falls under “don’t be a dick” rules. Jessa makes this a hard-and-fast table rule: Snikt can’t pick-pocket a fellow adventurer.

Now, one of the reasons for this is that it’s a total dick-bag move to steal from fellow party members. It is amusing to exactly one person in the game– the player running the thief. We saw in the very first session, Snikt is absolutely this kind of thief anyway– her first act in the game was to rifle through the ship’s goods. I basically view her as a kender, and that’s why I made my bond something in which my character is always amused by her antics and views them as amusing, rather than annoying.

By the way, stealing from PCs is the fastest way to get them to hunt you down and murder you repeatedly. That’s murder, resurrect, then murder again. This goes for NPCs, nearly universally, so why anyone would play a PC that steals from other PCs is beyond me. Well, not entirely beyond me– sometimes you want to be the boundary-pusher.

It’s just easier, as a player, if you embrace “oh, yeah, backstabbing is kinda fun, I get that.” As long as it doesn’t get in the way of accomplishing our other goals, I’m good with it.

Also, I’d like to make a point that I bear no ill-will towards Jessica, the player, for choosing to play Snikt this way. Especially because she is accommodating if someone pushes back on the boundary.

Part V: A Threat Comes to Bear

We start in the forest near the beach landing, where Saquina is trying to urge us to get to fire to protect ourselves, while the rain is falling. We’re now being rained on, and nobody thought to brought a flint (or nobody is willing to use their adventuring gear in that way).

The hobgoblins burst from the trees, nasty and brutish and big creatures with crossbows and knives. Thistle starts cursing and grabbing her bow immediately.

The hobgoblins start hollering to us to ask what we’re doing here, what we’re doing on their lands. Osona decides to try diplomacy by offering them a stick. She thinks this is their culture and she should try to befriend them. Jessa is trying desperately to give Osona a chance not to get killed in this scene. Osona naively offers a stick to the hobgoblin, but the hobgoblin responds by shooting her in the chest. (I interrupt and mention that I was trying to defend her and keeping the hobgoblin from shooting her.)

Makino yells that she is here “TO CONQUER!!!“ Makino is trying to use a barbarian move called “What Are You Waiting For?” with the intention of drawing their attention and bringing them to attack her, which would draw them away from Osona. I roll 9, so only a few of the weakest will fall prey to my taunting. I am now seen as the greatest threat here and get +2 damage forward. Meanwhile, Osona gets shot in the chest with the crossbow. She hasn’t done anything to defend herself or defy this danger, though if the hobgoblins could be reasoned with diplomatically, a GM might have let her Defy Danger using Charisma. However, Jessa determines that the hobgoblins are too hostile for that, and so Osona gets shot. Staring down the sight of a crossbow should provoke a character to do something like get out of the way, but Osona is being role-played as a sweet, naive person with a very kind heart. She takes a point of damage for her kindness.

Three of the hobgoblins now perceive Makino as the greatest threat.

Snikt meanwhile creeps up behind the hobgoblin who is facing Makino, yells “Sneak Attack!” while she backstabs the hobgoblin.

Meanwhile, further up the hill, we hear the cries of the native cultists, particularly Govaine’s voice. Damn sneaky male. He’s yelling orders at Saquina and flying down the hill towards us.

Thistle tries to shoot the hobgoblin threatening us with her hunter’s bow. Jessa misidentifies this as Hack and Slash, and I didn’t notice. This should be Volley, which uses a character’s Dexterity modifier, and is for ranged attacks.

Govaine comes running down the hill towards us with 4+ men, carrying torches, and brandishing the torches at the hobgoblins. One of the hobgoblins edge off away. Makino yells that her reinforcements have arrived. The hobgoblins start to break in chaos, and we end the session on a cliffhanger.


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