Sunday, July 15, 2012

Something Rotten in Blackmoore

This is the actual play report for a Dungeon World one-shot based on the Blackmoore Adventure Starter by watergoesred. The starter contains some interesting images and a city with a fantastic landmark: towers build on the stump of a giantic tree.

 1. Prep

Next to none. I read the starter and gave some thoughts to it.

2. Character Creation

This time around the players were a bit more decisive. One had a concept for a falconer and thus took the ranger. The next one rolled randomly and got the bard. Then the third player decided to take the wizard (the other alternative would have been the thief):
  • Cassandreius, the chaotic human bard with the stolen horn
  • Pyreios, the good human ranger with an owl companion
  • Morgan, the good human wizard
Then they answered the questions from the adventure starter. We ended up with Orthias van Morley ridiculing the ducal prefect of Blackmoore in the street side shows. Therefore he had been sentenced to death. He had already been executed twice and survived, therefore he was now sentenced to be hanged until dead.

Note: Most of us were very tired. The weather over here has been acting up. Warm one day, cold the next. Everyone is feeling it by now. Therefore we took our time getting started. And almost didn't.

3. Actual Play

The heroes arrived in Blackmoore on the day when Orthias was to be executed. First, they ended up in a halfling tavern, the "Clover and the Lounge". They were served by Brenna the Knee-High, a halfling with stunted growth. When they got into an argument with a tavern regular, a dwarf, a strangely burned boy stole Morgan's anti-toxins. Morgan and Pyreios tried to catch the cut-purse, but fail miserably. Morgan landed in horse dung and searched for a well for cleaning her clothes. All she found was the Goblin Well, where she dragged rotten meat from the bottom. She went back inside the tavern re-joining the others. When they heard about an execution taking place, they hurriedly left the tavern and promptly forgot to pay their tab. Well, they didn't possess any money anyway.

Outside, a ragged and mad prophet pointed at Cassandreius and told him that he would bring doom to the city. Talk that amounted to nothing more than empty threats and hysteria.

On the marketplace, Morgan was picked by priestess of Tittivilla to give the final kiss to the condemned criminal Orthias van Morley as is custom in Blackmoore. Morgan had misgivings about that, but obeyed the command of the priestess. Well, when Orthias and she kissed, he switched bodies with her. Morgan in Othias' body went "Oh! Oh!". Pyreios realized something was wrong and took a called shot at the rope in exactly the same moment when the executioner opened the trapdoor underneath the gallows. Morgan in Othias' body hit the ground below the gallows, Pyreios was seized by the angry mob, and Cassandreius persued the fleeing Orthias in Morgan's body.

Cassandreius followed Orthias in Morgan's body into a strangely empty street where all the houses had been padlocked. There, he was almost disintegrated by Orthias and was pulled through the window into a house when he dodged a hold person spell. Inside the house he was surrounded by zombies.

Morgan in Orthias' body turned herself invisible below the gallows, then went up and released Pyreios who was about to be executed instead of Orthias. Pyreios then jumped into the market well and Morgan in Orthias' body searched for her own body. She saw her body escaping down the street with the padlocked houses and had to save Cassandreius the bard from the zombies closing in on him. She succeeded, but only after Cassandreius had been bitten. The wizard and the bard went to the temple of Tittivilla to get Cassandreius healed. Three priestesses in almost transparent red veils led the bard into the inner sanctum. The invisible Morgan in Orthias' body couldn't follow. She left the temple and went to the lower bronze to lay low for the evening and get some rest and healing.

Meanwhile, Pyreios had some misadventures with an iron ooze and the lair of the night wyvern. But in the end he escaped with his life into an underground river.

On the next day, the heroes re-united. Kira, the owl companion, was very helpful in this. Then, Pyreios sent his owl on the look-out for Orthias in Morgan's body. After a short search, they found him entering a gnomish jeweler. They followed him inside. There a battle ensued. The heroes were trying to capture Morgan's body without doing any harm. That allowed Orthias to switch bodies multiple times. But in the end, Morgan shot him with a magic missile as she lost patience. Then Cassandreius persuaded him to switch bodies until everyone was back in their own body.

Note: The combat with the body switching was fun. First, Orthias jumped from Morgan into Cassandreius, then into Pyreios, after that back into Morgan - leaving Cassandreius trapped inside Pyreios' body and vice versa.

Then Orthias took an amulet of square topazes, put it on and vanished. But not before thanking the heroes for letting him go. He gave the Lamento Memento to Pyreios. The ranger briefly thought about looting the jeweler's store while the owner still slept. He had tried to cast a sleep spell on the battling strangers, but because of Cassandreius' quick thinking had ended up as victim of his own sleep spell. Morgan woke the gnome, he thanked the group and gave everyone some coins.

The heroes left the store and afterwards the city rather quickly. They thought this city is just too odd and too dirty for them.

4. Feedback

Not much to report here on Dungeon World itself. The adventure starter contains some very nice and neat ideas, but I think they don't mesh that well. Also, the introductory questions leave too much scattered all over the places. I would suggest to watergoesred to tighten the focus of the introductory questions, maybe leading up to the execution of Orthias or something. Also, interrelating the other stuff would probably serve to make the starter even more useful. I think, if the starter wouldn't bother too much with the surrounding lands and instead focus more on the city, it would also help. I hope I am not being too critical here.

Things I really liked about the starter where the tables with locations, ongoing events in crowded streets, the general awesomeness of the tree stump, the custom moves (even though I only used one of them), and the iron ooze and night wyvern.

I am probably going to use those location/going-ons tables in my own starters in the future. The idea is just plain brilliant!

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