Tuesday, March 8, 2011

On the Good Junk Haiyan

Toral DP
     Tory - hireling
"G" F
     Le Bouche - hireling
     Janis - hireling
"Z" F
     Mika - hireling
     Fabrino - hireling
     Pita - hireling
Gail MU
Mollie DP

The party finally left the island Nidus is on.  They piled on to the only intact ship around with their thousands of silver pieces (the vulture-pygmy belly coins).  And then they talked to the people on board.  That's about it.  We only rolled three dice all night and it was fun.
Thanks to richardthinks for this pic I showed my players

Some Thoughts
My players needed to know more about our imagined world in order to make decisions about what to do.  I finally had a map to show them (even though I'm not sure what all the points on the map are yet).  But how to give them some info about the things on the map?  I decided to try an NPC triangle and it seemed to work great.  So, on the junk were:

The Skipper (laodah)
The Templar
The Heretic

The junk has escaped from a war ravaged city to the south.  All three npcs were being tortured when the Templar finally managed to heroically rescue them.  The Skipper is indebted to the Templar for this.  The Heretic converted to the worship of St. Cecily due in part to the horrible times she experienced.  But, though a true saint, St Cecily's reverence has risen to the level of a cult in the eyes of the church.  A horrible blasphemous cult that involves self-mutilation and disfiguration (the body is but a husk that leads us into sin).  Thus the Templar, a knight in a holy order, feels obligated to take her to a church court in a city to the North.  She will inevitably be burned at the stake there.  The Skipper admires the Heretic for her strength, and perhaps is even attracted her, for though older and with her hair hacked off, she is a striking woman.  He cannot make himself sail her to her death.  He has been sailing in circles around Nidus for days.  And drinking.  Oh, yes and the Templar has the PLAGUE.

Enter the Players.

I didn't have a particular outcome in mind.  But I did think that the Templar might be convinced to sail instead to a city to the east with a large church to St Hubert-- a much more forgiving order and advocates for the downtrodden.

What the players ultimately decided to do was travel to the intended city and then attempt to rescue the Heretic before she is burned.  They want a heist scheme!  This is complicated by the fact that 1) they will be sailing against the seasonal winds, which means it will take them more than a week to reach their destination, and 2) they seem very interested to investigate a feature on the map just to the north.  Oh yes, and 3) one of them caught the plague ;) (the only dice rolls were saves vs. disease).

So, to conclude this was a nice change of pace, I think the players enjoyed it, but also, it was great fun for me to try to act out these three NPCs who I hope were likeable in their own ways, but had mutually exclusive goals.  I suggest trying your own NPC triangle, with one caveat.  I learned a really important thing about player/npc interaction.  I'll blog about it next.


  1. Nice. Your NPC triangle is delightful, thank you.

    And plague?! You don't believe in making life easy for them.
    ...I've recently learned that "jail fever" (also endemic on ships) was typhus, which is hardly less deadly in a confined space than bubonic plague. And either one could be mistaken for late stage scurvy.
    The Wikipedia Black Death page, BTW, has a nice map of Venetian and Genoese trade routes.
    ...this is richardthinks, BTW

  2. Thanks, richard. Wait until they find out the city they're travelling to is a pilgrimage destination full of lepers and the sick ;)

  3. Very good example of creating an adventure out of player - npc interactions! Very inspiring!