Tuesday, February 8, 2011

FateQuest session report 4

Our fourth role-playing session was different again to the previous sessions. The biggest change was the abandonment of RuneQuest II as the game system. We still have the same adventurers, the same setting (Glorantha) and the same plot (Summons of the Wyter), but a new set of rules. Rules that I've been working out for a while. I'm calling it FateQuest.

FateQuest is basically a hack between RuneQuest and FATE (hence the name). All the good things I liked about RuneQuest (lots of the combat stuff) and the good things I like about FATE (skill pyramid and aspects) have been melded together. The result worked better than what I imagined (and I was imagining something pretty good). I've already tweaked it some more, so it should run even smoother, without a loss of detail.

There is issue, however. It isn't about the game system as such, more about how people play. Half the group of six have never or barely played an RPG before. The other half have either played a lot or at least have preconceived ideas about how to play an RPG (me included). That's tricky. Furthermore, at least one of us wants to play more free-form (few rules, few dice, mostly narrative and role-play). At least two of us like the game/simulation element and the dice, though not all of the time. We all like the debating and figuring out what should happen.

The main thing I tried to do with FateQuest was expunge all of the power-gaming by design aspects of RuneQuest. I think I've achieved that. But it's still a game. Depending on how you look at it, you can still win. It's suppose to be more of a simulation than a game (see GNS Theory) but those two aspects can easily meld together. And people feel good when they win. I don't want them to lose the feeling you get when having a clever idea or solving a problem. In fact, I want to encourage it.

I like frameworks, they can help stimulate ideas and they can give you a game within a game. I'm not sure how we could completely free-form it, though the thought reoccurs. I.e., drop the rules and dice entirely. But who/what would decide? If the adventurer's life is in the balance, I don't want the game-master to decide the outcome. That's too much responsibility. That's why game-masters hide behind a probability wall - they can always blame the dice. And yet, adventurers' lives should hang in the balance. Perhaps all the players (GM included) can simply agree that the adventurer got into too much trouble to be able to survive, or at least, remain conscious. I dunno.

The other potential problem with free-forming it is that events will probably move a lot faster. We'd definitely be moving out of the Glorantha setting in no time. We'll also move out of an ancients setting too (i.e., Greek/Roman). Mostly because we don't know all that much about Glorantha (I know at least ten times more than the other players, but very little overall) and I don't think any of us know very much about an ancient way of life, though more than a regular schmuck. Neither of those things are necessarily bad, but I'm enthralled by Glorantha and imagining other ways of life is what role-playing is all about.

Trying to speed through the combat section - because I didn't want anyone to get bored - without actually allowing players to collectively decide what they were doing wasn't a great move. However, because we had a new set of rules, needing explanation at the same time as being played, it was quite difficult to fit everything in.

The horsemen approached Verstead. Hengall hastily organised a shield wall at the broken gates (the only feasible entrance to the stead, at least on horseback). As the horsemen closed in, it became apparent that they were clan-members from the Orldor family. They were Old Ways Traditionalists, perhaps, but not enemies. The shield wall came down.

As the horsemen rode into camp it became apparent rather quickly that something was amiss. Some of the Orldor carls looked nervous. Iddi Iddrosson, the Orldor leader, almost looked pleased.

Soon enough, Iddi declared that he'd like to move into Verstead now that the Jendarls wouldn't be needing it any more. Hengall and the adventurers attacked. Of course, the adventurers went straight for Iddi. Most blows were ineffectual, but Flavias managed to strike Iddi's head with an arrow, though his helmet protected him from any serious injury.

Anid, Trax and Soliste were heavily involved in fighting the carls and weaponthanes. Flavis, with her bow, attempted to stay further away. Ben Poleo slipped away to try to free Arlyn. Ben also shouted out to the assailants that their attack was without honour, further demoralising the carls.

Anid and Trax are competent warriors and they could hold their own against the carls and thanes. Soliste, on the other hand, struggled. By the time Hengall ordered them to leave to save the wyter at the Black Grove, Soliste had already suffered injuries. A short-spear became impaled in her left arm. With the help of Anid, she was able to retreat from the battle.

The party gathered their horses once they were out of the fight. All six (including Arlyn) mounted their three remaining horses - there was no time to acquire new horses. As Soliste mounted her horse she was forced to withdraw the impaled short-spear. The pain was overwhelming and she fell unconscious.

The group rode towards the bared exit. With Arlyn's help, the group managed to easily flee Verstead.

We left them as they were on their way to the Black Grove.

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