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Our 'Corsair Council' campaign

Posted: Sat May 13, 2017 7:50 am
by 2097
Yesterday we had our first session of a new al-Qadim campaign that I hope will be a never-ending campaign. Maybe the home base will move over time but for now, it's based in Hawa. I'm especially using Corsairs of the Great Sea but we have the complete aQ (except Reunion, which I only have digital).

When you design an aQ game, you have to decide: are you going to try to emulate the tales of the genre or are you going to make a player-driven game set in the world of the genre's setting? For this particular campaign, I have chosen the latter (please don't take this as me trying to disparage those going with the former). That's not to say that I'm not scouring the 1001 nights books for NPCs and weird spells and curses and happenings, I am, but I'm not trying to impose the dramatic curve of those tales on the game. For me, the big kick I get from D&D is the emergent "story" if you want to call it that (I'm not even going for story, I'm going for "world"). Again, I don't mean to slag on the other style of playing, all I'm trying to say is that for this particular campaign, this is how I want to do it.

(I have the same issue with Star Wars (I have SWd6 in mind, because that's the one I read most recently, but I think this applies to all three SW games) — are they about trying to capture the magical, pulpy dramatic curveballs of the films, or are they about letting your players loose in the lived-in, grimy science fantasy world of the films? For the former, there are plenty of story games that can help you, from the rules-heavy, epic clash between worlds in Burning Empires, to a heavily improvised pulp game like Fate. For the latter, there's prep-focused sandbox games like Stars Without Number and Traveller. SWd6 is full of advice text that tell you to make it like the movies but doesn't really give you the tools to do so. It's based on a trad combat system vs NPCs that need stats, + filled with suggestions to wing it even though winging it is fighting that rules core. (Instead, consider something like Apocalypse World where you don't have to stat out NPCs to the same extent so are more free to wing it, because the character's biggest enemies are themselves, or something like Stars Without Number where you don't have to wing it to the same extent because you have the planets and their site tags to fuel adventure and guide your prep.))

Anyway… the campaign book in the CotGS is written with the 'tales' approach in mind. The tales aren't even that fantastical, it's pretty standard missions like caravan guard, spy missions etc where the players are errand gals for and against the real stars, the fantastic NPCs on the two councils. And they really are great characters. But I want to put the focus on the players.

I'm still glad I read the book because I'm using inn names, council chamber maps etc from the book. And two of the six missions are pretty standard OSRy 'here's a dungeon and a reason to go to that dungeon' setups and I'll use those straight up (one of them has a linear part, I replaced that with one of Dyson's map), and one of the six missions is just a very fun, open-ended little story about a living turban that I'll just use the setup from and see what happens. (When the campaign book just says to handwave the uneventful journey, instead I'll use the hex grid, navigation rolls, encounter checks etc. That's more to my taste.)

I placed a couple of extra dungeons from other settings near Hawa too. I love dungeon crawls because they have, in my experience, led to very emergent and player-driven games filled with engagement and danger. And Aladdin is a classic dungeon crawl story. Unlike when we tried our hand at aQ three years ago when I shamelessly put Cynadicea and Thracia in Zakhara, this time around I'm making sure everything fits aQ's lore, changing organizations to Zakharan factions etc, changing names etc.

But it's not a sure thing that the characters will ever go these dungeons (and I'm OK with that). Because I put them smack dab in the politics of Hawa as full members of the corsair council alongside Akura, Jayani and those other NPCs. They have their own ship, a zarug named Ummuhm. They have full ownership of the Inn of the Billowing Sails. The characters are tangled up in each others business, we have one pair of exes, two sibling pairs and a grandparent/granddaughter relationship. It's drama time folks!

Yes, the ruleset is an unholy, dysergic amalgamation of:
• An OSR-informed reading of 5e including exhaustion levels, getting lost in the wilderness etc
• Weather rules and boat stats from Golden Voyages & the 2e DMG
• Encounter tables and monsters from the aQ MC
• Mercantile rules and domain rules from ACKS

All of those things solidly in place as a "hard landscape", but serving as a backdrop to:
• The Dramasystem rules from Hillfolk!

Yes, that's why we spent four hours making characters and not one second of those hours was spent on stats. It was all relationships, drama, wants&needs, backstory, shared past, place in society etc.

Changes from Hillfolk:
• The 'procedural' system is torn out (as Hillfolk suggests on p65). If the PCs do something dangerous we have the D&D rules in place.
• The bennies system w/ voting is removed. All that exchanging between different types of tokens — esp since we don't use the playing card system. Instead, you can return all your drama tokens to the bank to give yourself or anyone else advantage or disadvantage on a roll — I've merged drama tokens and insp into one token type.
• The setting is less improvised than Hf. We are playing within the prepped sandbox. Not sure that part of the game pulls its weight because the weight in prep is significant + it limits how the players can play, how they can set their scenes etc. If you say "OK, I'm talking to Esari and Yufar on the other island" we might say "Hold on, time to scratch rations, make navigation rolls, encounter checks etc". If you want to talk to an al-Badia tribe I might say 'Hold on, let me get out The Adventurer's Guide to Zakhara for the tribe list."

Now, the hardness of this hard landscape might very well make the game worse and get in the way of the drama. But this campaign setup is an experiment. I am curious to see what type of game play will emerge.

I'm trying to have the best of three worlds: an OSR-informed sandbox game, a dramatic relations&emotions-game, and an experience of the setting and 'canon' of aQ. (We can and have made changes but I want those changes to be deliberate and informed changes.)
Over time, we'll see if those three things mesh well together or if one or two of them have to fall away. I'm curious — I want to play to find out.

Btw, in Rosewater's player types, I'm probably a "Mel" — game design itself is what fascinates me the most about the game.

Re: Our 'Corsair Council' campaign

Posted: Sat May 13, 2017 7:56 am
by 2097
I'm happy about the player mix.
For this first session, we had two players who I've DM:ed 5e for since the Starter Set was released (we've done LMoP, Lost City, Curse of Strahd, about 80% of Deep Carbon Observatory, about a third of Princes of the Apocalypse, and a lot of homebrew), one player whom I've never DM:ed for but I've played alongside him in a couple of B/X games under various DMs — no overlap between those groups and my home group except me and, now, him. And three players who have never played any RPG or even any board games.

I've also got a couple of more players lined up to join next week. Perhaps I invited too many. We'll see

Re: Our 'Corsair Council' campaign

Posted: Sat May 13, 2017 3:33 pm
by Big Mac
That's an interesting combination. I'll be looking forward to seeing how your group gets on.

Is "Dyson's map" a map by Dyson Logos? I've been hearing a lot of good things about Dyson Logos recently.

Re: Our 'Corsair Council' campaign

Posted: Sat May 13, 2017 4:08 pm
by 2097
Thank you Big Mac! I hope I'll remember to check back here after the next session (and ongoing).

Yeah, there's a section where there's no map but says "here are some things you can throw on them", I don't like that, instead I'll use this map by Dyson Logos and I placed those encounters there, some on the map, some on a random encounter table.

Re: Our 'Corsair Council' campaign

Posted: Sun May 14, 2017 2:04 am
by Tim Baker
2097 wrote:When you design an aQ game, you have to decide: are you going to try to emulate the tales of the genre or are you going to make a player-driven game set in the world of the genre's setting? For this particular campaign, I have chosen the latter (please don't take this as me trying to disparage those going with the former).
When I ran an Al-Qadim campaign, I did the same thing. I added bigger-than-life NPCs/villains that the PCs knew they'd have to outsmart rather than fight, but didn't force any sort of plot structure on them. I read several Al-Qadim adventures prior to running the campaign to get the right feel, and would introduce situations that were similar to those in the adventures, but didn't railroad the players into a particular outcome or tactics. Sounds like you're doing something similar.

Re: Our 'Corsair Council' campaign

Posted: Sun May 14, 2017 6:06 am
by 2097
I think we're on the same page, Tim. It's like the difference between an adventure text that says "Now that the PCs have disguised themselves as cultists, they do this-and-that" vs "There are three red cloaks in this room".

Re: Our 'Corsair Council' campaign

Posted: Mon May 15, 2017 12:40 pm
by Big Mac
2097 wrote:Yeah, there's a section where there's no map but says "here are some things you can throw on them", I don't like that, instead I'll use this map by Dyson Logos and I placed those encounters there, some on the map, some on a random encounter table.
That's a great map.

One of the things I like about having a map like that, is that the players can actually do things like try to sneak past the NPCs/monsters, rather than take them on. In theory, they could actuall go into the sewage water (if it is deep enough) and try to swim below the surface. It's not something I'd try with my own PCs, but if someone wants to give that a go, and I was running a game, I'd want to give them a shot at maybe being able to pull that off. (And of course, if someone does try a bizarre tactic like that, they then get totally covered in sewage and that could have an unexpected effect on later parts of the adventure.)

You just don't get that if you have a random encounter chart that isn't connected to a map (although you could use random encounters within a map if people hang about for too long).

Re: Our 'Corsair Council' campaign

Posted: Mon May 15, 2017 7:52 pm
by 2097
Yeah, the text only has a verbal description of the journey and some encounters the DM can use as they please. That's not my style. I placed some of the encounters in specific rooms and others on a random encounter table.

We'll see if they ever find their way down there, so far they've got their hands full with politics.

Re: Our 'Corsair Council' campaign

Posted: Mon May 15, 2017 8:03 pm
by 2097
I hope they go into the water 'cause there's snakes there!

Re: Our 'Corsair Council' campaign

Posted: Fri May 19, 2017 11:52 pm
by 2097
Second session. Two new players joined, and one skipped a session. So seven players + 1 DM. The most that have ever been in my apartment at once. We played for four and a half hours but we're still just building platform. We're learning the city, the religions, the mosque schedule, the surrounding region. We also settled on a definite list on who's got voting rights on the corsair council. Two of the PC:s and six NPC:s. We decided that the captains can bring allies in there to discuss but that don't have voting rights. This is the most detailed, invested, careful RP I've ever been part of. We'll see if there's any payoff coming. People seem excited to keep playing.

Re: Our 'Corsair Council' campaign

Posted: Mon May 22, 2017 9:26 am
by 2097
Even though we're mostly still building platform, here are some things that happened in that second session.

• Azira (a PC), an old leprosy-ridden Jisan-cleric, rescued a stillborn child with Revivify but used the occasion to spread propaganda against Kezim and the other council members. We're using "a long rest is one week"-rules so that's a big investment. But, of course, there's no better usage of a slot than rescuing a human life

• Djufak, a lizardfolk PC, who has refused to salt bond with any other PC or NPC, did so by laying an egg, and then eating their own egg messily in their suitmate's bed. The suitmate is Esari, a goblin PC.

• Djufak later plotted a campaign to murder Nalim, a human wizard, one of the two PC council members. Two other PCs joined the plan. We'll see what happens...? They'll have to eat together on the ship.

• Kezim (a PC), the dwarven pirate captain of a crew of 15 and a respected council member, drew his blade against Nalim. "If you want to join our crew, you have to prove that you can defend yourself!". Nalim misty-stepped away.

• Azira confronted her former bethrothed that she broke up with years back. Yufar (a PC), a sailor in his fifties. "Just give one chance -- give me seven nights with you". CHILLS! I ship it

The last PC is Tarala, Yufar's half-elven half-sister. Tarala, you're such a solid rock helping us build the foundations such as prayer schedule to Najm, gluing various threads together etc. Tarala and Azira are both part of the plot to kill Nalim.

Re: Our 'Corsair Council' campaign

Posted: Sat May 27, 2017 8:55 am
by 2097
We did a "session 2½" yesterday (the real session 3 is scheduled for tomorrow, if that's the fate that's given to us).
Two of the players (Esari's player and Yufar's player) came over and did some gear shopping, backstory talk, discussing campaign premises etc. I love that sort of thing. They bought every healing potion in Hawa (we use the rules in ACKS to determine how many of backpacks, how many healing potions, how many etc etc that are available per months in a city of Hawa's size).

Re: Our 'Corsair Council' campaign

Posted: Sun Jun 04, 2017 7:14 am
by 2097
Posters who are familiar with aQ's boxes, please be mindful that my players might accidentally read this thread. We use NPCs from those boxes such as Setara and Grima and the players don't know all their secrets yet. We use a mix of 'Things the player and the PC knows', 'Things the PC doesn't know but the player knows but has to pretend to not know', and 'Things neither the player and the PC knows'. That last category is very important, it brings a lot of suspicion to the table about who's loyal to Hawa, who's loyal to Qudra, who's part of the Istishia cult etc and a lot of this information is unknown. It's like a game of The Resistance in that way.

We had to cancel session three last week but we had it yesterday. Three absent players, so me + five.
The three people who have never played D&D were the ones that couldn't make it. I'm going to try to call them next week.

It became a little bit more about mystery solving this week, and we had our first dungeon crawl, but still plenty of drama.
They met Hamid from the council. Our council has two PC members along the six NPC members from the book. One of the PC members, Nalim is a Qudra refugee that Hamid has taken under his wing. Another PC, Tarala, a non-council member who's a spy for Qudra, finds this suspicious. She, a spy, was trying to convince Hamid that Nalim was the spy, not her.

They captured a couple of randos from the cult. Just a couple of '1d6 Cultists'. They started to interrogate them so I chose names and a backstory for them, a love story. Hakim and Kashma. They started claiming that the other was a new initiate that had only joined for tonight etc. They didn't want their loved one to die.

I was crying and trembling as I portrayed them. Nalim shouted angrily to Tarala and Azira who were the most gung-ho interrogators that "They better be evil after this!"
The party hasn't talked to Grima at all yet. They know from Setara that Grima is evil but they've gone after Setara instead, following her into the underground waterways.

Afterwards, while the party was moving them as captives, four more cultists came. At first, those four new cultists started attacking the PCs. But when the four were down to their last couple of HP, some of them started surrendering but the last one started shooting at Kashma. We were rolling for this. She died T_T Why do I shoot my own best NPC:s? Stupid 'crosshairs'-principle from Apocalypse World. But that's how it is.

There were some serendipity in the table results. They came to a room with seven sets of clothes. Three belonging to the cultists the had captured. The next encounter check decided that four more cultists were arriving. :D
This is why I love open rolls. :D

Re: Our 'Corsair Council' campaign

Posted: Fri Jun 09, 2017 10:11 pm
by 2097
Tonight was the fourth session. Four people canceled (they were going to arrive as a group) and they called to cancel fifteen minutes past starting time.
But, this is why big group was a good idea. Three people (+DM) did show up.
We had lots of fun exploring the tunnels under Hawa, meeting Grima, meeting some of Shing 徦烺's crew members but not Shing himself, and meeting a crew member of a ship that I've taken from Golden Voyages and moved to Hawa.
The Hillfolk system is really pulling its weight with lots of CvC and conspiracies within the party. And it's taken us a couple of sessions to start using the D&D half of the equation but tonight it saw a lot of use. They got zapped by a glyph of warding.

We use the D&D as "physics". Torch burn times, inventory, HP, spell slots, living expenses etc. And then on top of that "consequence engine", we set scenes and have drama. So far, the experiment feels like a success. It's been very synergic.

Re: Our 'Corsair Council' campaign

Posted: Fri Jun 09, 2017 10:12 pm
by 2097
One PC is salt bonded with Setara and has promised to kill Grima for her.

Re: Our 'Corsair Council' campaign

Posted: Thu Jun 15, 2017 10:40 pm
by 2097
We got played by the god damned Corsair Council like a fiddle!

When Grima comes knocking you better have answers. A giant eye peering into your window.

Jayani and her crew kicks in your door and Ministry’s “Bad Blood” starts blasting. After kicking your ass, she drops off a rolled up carpet and says “take care of this, and we’re square”.

Azira, gray-haired, leprosy-scarred… seeks out her lover from when they were young, Yufar, and begs for a new chance. His liver is made of stone.

A teen in way over her head, Ibiala, picks up a sword for the first time and says, without a doubt, “I can do it”.

Esari, the goblin musician, was the only one to pack food for the trip to a treasure island.

Tarala just wanted to ask Setara a couple of questions. With her bow. And arrow. In fact, forget about the questions, except: where can I buy a canoe in the middle of the night?

Session five was well-received!

Re: Our 'Corsair Council' campaign

Posted: Fri Jun 16, 2017 4:41 pm
by thorr-kan
2097 wrote:We got played by the god damned Corsair Council like a fiddle!

When Grima comes knocking you better have answers. A giant eye peering into your window.
Grima's a fun character to DM, isn't he?

In the Friday Night Gaming Group, I played him as a long-lost uncle for the adventures. They'd made reference to this uncle several times, and I've got a faris, a farisa, and a pragmatist of Kor. The script wrote itself.

Re: Our 'Corsair Council' campaign

Posted: Mon Jun 19, 2017 6:35 am
by 2097
Yeah, he's amazing!

Tarala (a PC) has vowed to kill him. She's vying for a place on the council. But she already killed Setara, after their salt bond wore off.

Ibiala (an NPC) is… hmm, how to put this without spoilers… she is a Qadibi teen that the party finds rolled up in a carpet. I couldn't find her name in the text (maybe it's in there somewhere) but I picked out a name for her and fleshed her out. She's been sort of Stockholm syndromed by the PCs, she thinks they kidnapped her because "she has corsair potential".
They leveled her up to level one, soon level two. They were fighting winged serpents on another island.

1001 Nights Off

Posted: Mon Jun 19, 2017 7:09 am
by 2097
We started our side campaign, 1001 Nights Off.

The idea is other characters, perhaps other cities, perhaps other rulesets, same continuity. For when we have smaller player counts. Two to four participants. For extra games (we already did the main CC game this week, Thursday). So we’re going to pick games that work well with smaller groups; like many story games supposedly do. This time we had two people + me. I was DM for Cthulhu Dark but joined them as a player in Chronicle.

First, we played Cthulhu Dark. Beggars in Qudra. (Qudra is the city that’s at war with Hawa in our main campaign.) It suited us very well and my players, one of them had been stoked AF and the other had been very reluctant, they both liked it. I turned Ammot (a weird al-Qadim–monster) part of the life cycle of Dark Young of Shub-Niggurath, and I also had that when the cult (the Hand of the Gray Queen) had made the nest for the DYoSN, they had unearthed Hook Horrors (from the 5e MM) and trained them to do their bidding. So there were a mix of different monsters which I was concerned would dilute the horror but eh the session was good!

Really interesting to see how monsters that would be a tiny road bump the main party completely outmatched the lower-leveled Cthulhu Dark characters. (In Cthulhu Dark, the rule is “if you try to fight any monsters, you will die” and then there are rules for hiding or fleeing. Where you just might die. Which is better.) Neither of the characters died or reached full Insight (which is dangerous in Cthulhu Dark), but one had Insight 5 which is where you might want to start destroying evidence of what you’ve found, which he did. He started hiding the cult’s work.

I wrote the scenario using the random template generators in Silent Legions, pretty much by the book with two tags, but instead of Silent Legions custom pantheon and bestiary, I used the above mentioned D&D monsters + the DYoSN from Trail of Cthulhu — and the “sample investigation” cues in that book I applied to the scenario that Silent Legions had generated (it just happened to fit very well). I generated a random gross dreamscape in which one of the characters constantly got sucked into when he got insight. Every time, the stinking mire was higher and higher and he carved for longer and longer. The Hand of the Gray Queen cult I just used straight up from Silent Legions. That book’s cult system is classic.

Then Microscope for the first time. We used the Chronicle expansion right away (after a while, I explained “and this and this are the differences compared to vanilla Microscope) and one of the players said”Yeah, but I can see why the expansion added these, I like these changes“. (Not saying we’re never going to do vanilla, just that we… really loved Chronicle!)

We did the story of the party’s boat from the main campaign from before our nakhuda and rubban Kezim bought our zarug (zarug is a type of boat), the Ummuhm. Apparently it got the name 150 years ago, when it was built to contain a wildly rampant djinn!

It was a wild story with fights against sea monsters, enemy fireball blasting sorcerers, and the Ummuhm was at one point shrunken down to tiny size and put into a bottle! The players wanted to continue this one game of Chronicle, they’re like “there’s so much left to fill in!” We only did two lenses (i.o.w. I, the first legacy, never got to be lens). And, we were so tired. We didn’t do the “this is going to be the last focus” thing either because we thought we would play longer. But we played so wildly. I was jumping around and laughing as the djinn Zobeida and her (also djinn) husband Hafam. I was playing the scenes like kids would play them!

A lot of our scenes were very short. We’re not used yet to not answering the question right away. Our very last scene we kind of got the knack of it. I understood where the player was going… but it wasn’t explicitly stated.

OK, one more thing about Microscope. The advice in Explorer is that the stories often aren’t pretty good as linear stories. They feel good at the table but when you tell it in chronological order, it’s often “yeah, of course”. So since I want to write up our 1001 Nights Off games as “tales” for our campaign site, that has been a riddle for me. But… it’s Scheherezade-style! I can go tale in a tale! First tell the story about how Dusty “One-Armed” Karim fled the ship after it being sunk by a fireball spell. Then later tell the story about how he, years prior, added the nickname “One-Armed” in a fight against gawwar samakat (an already established sea monster in our campaign—we paletted it). Then later tell the story about when the ship was in a bottle, then later tell the story about how the ship even had met the djinn Zobeida in the first place etc etc. I can wrap it up in fiction instead of as if it were an AP report, but I can still get the more interesting order rather than the chronological order. Best of both worlds♥

Dusty was created for the Cthulhu Dark game but it turned out in the chronicle game that he had served as bahriyin on the Ummuhm under previous ownership.

Re: Our 'Corsair Council' campaign

Posted: Tue Jun 27, 2017 7:32 pm
by 2097
Two days ago, I painted one of the NPC:s, Ibiala (she is the nameless girl in a rolled-up carpet in CotGS, I selected a name for her and fleshed out her personality. The party has leveled her up to Fighter 1 already).


She’s wearing some of Tarala’s old clothes, including a shirt that Tarala bought in Huzuz with an alphabet that isn’t used anywhere on al-Toril. Perhaps it’s from another world.

Then yesterday we had another session of 1001 Nights Off, using Chronicle again. We started the story of one of Setara’s jambiyas. This time, we steered a lot closer to Hawa and the many named NPCs there. Bint al-Jawsi is a rubban from the Golden Voyages box set and I’ve moved her to Hawa and given her a crew of corsairs, the zarug Blue Roses. Her crew has spread fear in the main CC campaign, and now we saw some basis for that fear in the NO game. Lots of lonely graves out on the Beauty Marks.

NO is seems to be a hit so far. It makes us even more fans of our continuity, our campaign.

Re: Our 'Corsair Council' campaign

Posted: Mon Jul 10, 2017 8:20 pm
by 2097
So, since last time we’ve played one more session of the main Corsair Council Dramasystem / 5e mashup campaign.

They are now trapped in one of the Tales from the Yawning Portal dungeons. I’ve moved it from Olman on Oerth to Nog on al-Toril (I know the suggestion is Maztica, but…) It was a pretty slow session with some good drama. The NPC Ibiala got a scar from lingering injuries table. I always get DMPCs not by choice but because the players often take NPCs with them. Don’t know why.

Then we’ve played two 1001 Nights Off sessions, both using… Dogs in the Vineyard!

Two young, teenaged mamluks of the Dutiful with their fresh level-1 tattoos go to small towns and bring the law. We’re having a blast and learning a lot about Zakhara. Given the nature of DitV, they’re constantly referring to p 16-17 in Fortunes & Fates, Zakharan law. I know it’s a DM only book but I figured those pages were OK.

The rule in DitV is that the GM is not allowed to butt in when they’re discussing the law or making judgements about the law. They are the law out in these small villages. How they interpret the will of the Grand Caliph, that’s final!

We’re having a blast with this system! I know it came out 13 years ago but I’ve actually never played it.

It goes against so many of my design principles (I mean, it’s quite a contrast from D&D where I’ve houseruled away all the Cha-skills and we instead roleplay out every conversation – here, dozens of dice are rolled for conversations – and, D&D where mysteries and exploring is such a big deal, here I’m working hard to actively reveal the town in play).

Re: Our 'Corsair Council' campaign

Posted: Mon Jul 10, 2017 8:37 pm
by thorr-kan
2097 wrote:Two young, teenaged mamluks of the Dutiful with their fresh level-1 tattoos go to small towns and bring the law. We’re having a blast and learning a lot about Zakhara. Given the nature of DitV, they’re constantly referring to p 16-17 in Fortunes & Fates, Zakharan law. I know it’s a DM only book but I figured those pages were OK.
Omigod. You're DMing rules-lawyers, and it's *campaign appropriate!* :) Truly, we live in the end times!

It just goes to show, there's a niche for any campaign concept in our hobby. My AQ players have a severe dislike of mamluks; childhood trauma. But I've got a pragmatist and 2 faris of Kor and a hakima of Najm with enemies in the moralist Kor church. We have *a lot* of similar discussions of the Law, the law, justice, and righteousness.

Re: Our 'Corsair Council' campaign

Posted: Mon Jul 10, 2017 8:46 pm
by 2097
I’d love to hear more about your campaign, thorr-kan!
In our main game we have among the PCs one priest of Jisan and three very devoted lay followers of Najm (two corsairs and one entertainer).

Generally, as a DM, I’ve always really appreciated having rules laywers in the group regardless of system, if they know their stuff. Our main CC game is so complicated I enjoy having some extra help remembering all the rules. One player helps me with 5e stuff & double checks that I don’t miscalculate monster HP etc, and another player helps me with the Dramasystem rules.

For example, in Dogs in the Vineyard tonight, I forgot about the rule that you only take the two highest fallout dice, not the entire pool (sorry if that became too much of an internal reference to that specific ruleset) but a player caught the error. It could’ve destroyed the entire session otherwise (you could die from talking).

Re: Our 'Corsair Council' campaign

Posted: Tue Jul 18, 2017 4:39 am
by thorr-kan
2097 wrote:I’d love to hear more about your campaign, thorr-kan!
Bog-standard 2ED AQ. I've got a human pragmatist of Kor, a human farisa of Kor, a firbolg faris of Kor (WHAT?!), a human sha'ir, and an elf hakima of Najm/barber.

We've been playing off and on for...OMG...10 years. How'd that happen? I'd give my thumbs for campaign logs, but you had to be there.

Anyways, you know that line from Serenity, the Joss Whedon movie, about Malcolm Reynods? "You run when you oughta fight, fight when you oughta deal… It makes a business person twitchy.” That's my characters. They fight to the last man standing; I've lost count of the battles one by the sha'ir wading in to club the last bad guy with his staff. They've successfully survived interviews with numerous officials in various cities, remaining polite, neutral, effective, and secretly terrified someone's going to squash them.

The pragmatist has actively evangelized to dao, and it's *working.* The barber somehow makes all the etiquette checks. The faris practices "dynamic entry" (i.e., door surfing) when the break into a place. The farisa makes efreet cross their legs in terror; she has a tendency to climb large enemies and threaten their gonads with magical scimitars. The sha'ir has made a point of rehabilitating Hazim the Fool; and it's working!

We wrapped the Geomancers campaign awhile ago. The three last battles of the campaign illustrate my players perfectly.

The quasi-mancer battles was hard fought. The enemy had air superiority; my players had numbers. A 20 round battle spanning two sessions ended with a everybody down except a wounded Hazim and a confused farisa. They recovered.

They bypassed the penultimate battle with judicious use of divination, illusions, diplomacy, and bluffing. So they didn't have to fight the demons outside the dungeon. So they hit the final encounter at full strength and loaded for bear and sabertooth.

The pragmatist banished the demon outside the site. The sha'ir and the faris kept the earth elemental cornered. The farisa and the pragmatist unleashed the artifact to debuff the big bad. The barber introduce the big bad to her little dagger friend and just about maxed damage. The big bad bolted; the pragmatist pursed and died; the farisa got in the final blow. She then kneeled over her fallen friend and superior and calling upon Fate: "I wish my friend had survived." Percentiles come up 01; the pragmatist draws a shuddering breath, and the crowd goes wild!

I love my players, and I'm sorry I derailed your thread with a wall of text. Keep us updated!

Re: Our 'Corsair Council' campaign

Posted: Fri Aug 04, 2017 8:40 pm
by 2097
We've had a couple of sessions of the DitV sub campaign (probably going to take a break for it and use Chronicle and also the story games in Seven Wonders for the near future 1001 Nights Off).

Today we finally played session eight of Corsair Council, our main campaign. We had the first PC death. It was looking like everyone was going to die and they still might. They're trapped in The Hidden Shrine of Tamoachan (re-skinned as a Shrine of Nog).