The Lady Blackbird Sessions - A play report

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Boddynock
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The Lady Blackbird Sessions - A play report

Post by Boddynock » Mon May 28, 2012 4:15 am

Preface: I'd like to thank Blacky the Blackball for such an awesome retro-clone. I'm sure you've heard a lot of bravos from corners, but I'm very happy to own a hardback copy and I was quite happy when a friend at work asked to borrow an RPG for his son to run. I let them have a slightly used soft-back copy. Last I heard they were having fun doing a school group, I don't plan to ask for the soft back anytime soon- but the hardback is obviously mine. As in, nobody is prying it from my vice grip. I did recommended the site to my Sunday players, to at least download the pdf for their home reading. None of them bought a book, I might buy a softback during a free shipping month as a copy to loan to them, that's on hold, but I at least have the hardback copy.

It's only been two sessions. Granted this an on-and-off game between my regular stuff with Over the Edge (now using the Pacesetter Sandman rules I bought from Goblinoid Games.) So generally when they get bored of conspiracy theories and drug induced hallucinations on Al Amarja I generally go back to Dark Dungeons as a fantasy. I also own Swords and Wizardry and the Goblinoid Games published Wizards' World. Both have been more inspiration than really wanting me to actually run a game. Especially Wizards' World having races like 'Demon Halflings.' Bad ass right? Anyway, the actual session

Session 1:

The plot of the first game is a re-imagining of One Seven Design's Lady Blackbird (http://www.onesevendesign.com/ladyblackbird/ ). The game itself has a self-contained system, that is neat, but not my taste. I did like the story and found it as a good started to a setting for Dark Dungeon's Skysailing.
In this case that's very literal as the setting is a celestial sphere, that contains sky. The cold star in the center pumps a blue gas that is breathable. You can fall off the side of your open deck ship and not die from lack of oxygen. You'll eventually die of starvation, thirst, or a space monster that eats you- but not by suffocation. So there was no fear of fouled air as written in the campaign. A nice introduction. Now to the characters themselves;

Loyrae Blackbird (aka Lady Blackbird) she choose the 'elf' class and is a noble on the run from an arrange marriage to a noble she does not love. She drives the beginning of the plot as she ran from her wedding, boarded the skysailing ship the Owl, and flew out hoping to be united with her true love; Uriah Flint, the king of Skypirates.

Migalo: A human magic-user and arcane engineer (put points into Arcane Engineer and First Aid). I asked each player to come up with an idea of why their character wanted to escape the Imperial planet Illysium and head out into the Wild Blue. He had the idea that one of his arcane experiments went awry and he's on the run from the local mage's guild.

Tabitha: A human thief. Her small backstory is she slew her lover in a jealous rage and is also fleeing the authorities.

The session began on the Hand of Sorrow. A dreadnaught class skyship. Colossal to the point that it can hold onto a single craft (in this case the Owl) and keep flying. The Empire controls the planets Illysium and Olympia with an area of smaller inhabited moons and asteroids called the Expanse. Slavery is legal, corruption is rampant, and an ineffective emperor is sidelined by a council of nobles who have the true power. Wretched hive, scum and villainy, the usual stuff that makes people flee. Lady Blackbird fled from her wedding in hopes to getting across the Blue Sphere to the free world of Haven and eventually to the Remnants base of Uriah Flint. However, the session began with her in a brig cell. One inept guard stands between them and freedom, and to show how the thief skills worked the thief started with a single lock pick for the door. The guard was called away to fetch food and water, the thief moved and with the click-clack of percentile dice she rolled and... 100, I ruled that the lockpick snapped faster than a pick in Elder Scrolls Oblivion.

When the guard returned with bread and water they tried a new tactic. This was to showcase how skill/attribute checks worked. And yes, this was the girl players idea. Let's just say Lady Blackbird had a pretty smile and that elven allure to can attract such fools to cats paws, like inept guards. She rolled quite under her score and got him close that I allowed a sort of coup de grace, but it knocked him unconscious and left him on the floor. They were able to scrounge the keys, a dagger, and a sword. The thief had basic proficiency with a dagger, the elf had proficiency with the saber (which in this game is just another normal sword.) So they grabbed the weapons and made their way to the storeroom nearby. The thief did another percentile roll, move silently, and successfully pulled off a sneak attack on the man. I also ruled that their stuff was in this store room and so they could get their armor, spell component pouch, and runes needed to activate their ship, the Owl.

An aside: Nobody wanted to be the Captain, so I just ruled he was unfortunately slain prior to the session. Granted it did give them a little much, being they now own a skyship; but I also wanted a short, exciting campaign for them.

With their gear the group escaped by sliding down the rubbish chute in the supply closet and landing in the rubbish bin. With a roll of 1 I also ruled a guard had seen them slip down and he gave chase. He slid down after them, when he landed we did an initiative roll. For now, for the sake of brevity, I just asked for a d6 side roll. I rolled the NPC's and let my players take turn to decide who rolls for their side. That might cut down on dexterity's utility, but I just found it worked for our purposes. We play every Sunday, but only for a little over an hour. I do have them use individual initiative when it's something like a contested action between each other. Like if a character tried to slay a man and another player said they would defend the prisoner with their life. I'd use a d6 to determine who would go first.

They beat the man's initiative. The mage was allowed to go first, since he didn't get a chance to do much in the beginning. He successfully put the man to sleep and then it sort of went off the rails to crazy town. The thief showed off her slightly off tendencies by pouncing on the fallen man and drowning him in the offal waste of the rubbish area. Yeah, he was drowned in muck- ick. I didn't want to be authoritative, but warned that her neutrality was slipping. She, to me, was slipping towards chaos and explained what alignment change could do. Depending on circumstances and such.

Anyway, they escaped and fled and were able to get the Owl from the Hand of Sorrow. It takes a ship time to aim cannons and it's quite difficult for it to turn around. So I let them slip away, warning them to be on the look out because a scrying spell might of been sent out with their description, or at least a thing on the ship. They were off to the wild blue.

We wrapped the session with them doing a quick battle with local pirates (not quite using the aerial battle rules. More just rolling some d20s and I described the situation. The first session ended with them finding a crew on a stranded asteroid and making plans to go to the free planet of Haven and preparing supplies to go to the Remnants.

Afterword:

My players said they had fun, though none made indications they'd buy the game. They did say they'd look at the pdf on their leisure. Though, other than the book is neat the read, it was fun having a game where I didn't need to refer to it as often. We didn't have all the people yet, but a good time was had. Granted; I gave the players a quick note on the classes/races and asked them to give me a sort of character concept. This time I did the roll ups and fixed it as close as I could to their concept. When I get them more situated with Dark Dungeons I'll have them do a full character creation and everything.
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Re: The Lady Blackbird Sessions - A play report

Post by Boddynock » Thu Jun 07, 2012 12:03 am

Hey I never got around to talking about the second session. We sort of had a late start so really what happened is we picked up a guy to play a Mystic and did a few minor combats. Nobody died, but nothing really happened. The girl who played Lady Blackbird was out, so it was more of a series of combats with little story to tie it together. We've gone back to Over the Edge (played with Pacesetter's Sandman system. Care of Goblinoid Games). But for the purposes of fantasy gaming; at least the ones I run I pull for Dark Dungeons. It runs smoothly and if I want to add something from other AD&D material I can just import it to the game.
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Boddynock Stotch - 17th level Gnome Bard of Far Shore, Isle of Dread - Savage Tide Adventure Path

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