I will be posting snippets from my Road to Caracorumbis campaign here. The game is a Dying Earth -esque road story, using Solar System / TSoY. Player pool in two figures, but max five players per session. All the characters are traveling -- for their own various reasons -- to the legendary city of Caracorumbis.
Caracorumbis is all things to all men. Something between Atlantis, Shangri-La, Shanghai, and New York in reputation. Getting there isn't the point. One possible interpretation of Transcendence is "arriving in Caracorumbis."
Session #1: Cheats and Saints
Character creation took maybe two and a half hours for the three players present.
First I went over the rules, then we talked about the characters and their backgrounds without reference to the rules. Then we made up the characters as per rules.
Everyone already had a good idea about what they wanted to play: I had sent them a few character centric questions to think about. Everyone created a thumbnail sketch of the weird-ass culture they were from, and talked about their character concept.
Picking abilities went pretty smoothly, but things pretty much ground to halt when choosing secrets. Need to figure out how to present the options here better.
Keys were much smoother sailing.
I think people are quite happy with the way their characters ended up being represented by the rules, though there will be some tweaks later. (Rewriting one key to be more appropriate, and probably switching a couple of misunderstood abilities around.)
Here's the context for the first, um, actually, make that the only extended conflict that occurred.
When traveling in a small caravan across pustza-like plains, one morning the characters are missing a horse. It's picked-clean skeleton is found in a puddle of blood some way from the camp. Think a chicken skeleton after dinner, but it's a horse. Plus blood.
So next night they post a guard. Devor, a dishonest lawman with a behaviour enforcing anklet (he gets nauseous when he breaks the laws of his homeland), is standing guard when he starts getting sleepier and sleepier.
He loses the initial conflict and is about to fall a sleep when I remind the player that he can always declare an extended conflict if he wants. He does so, and promptly takes some harm.
The player realizes that he doesn't have any real leverage in the conflict as it stands. He elects to fire his pistol to wake people up.
His parallel action to pull the trigger before succumbing to sleep fails while the sleep-inducement succeeds.
Next morning people find the guard asleep cuddling his pistol while an elderly scholar has gone missing. A bit later the remains of the scholar are found.
There were some minor confusions regarding the rules that cropped up during the game.
Some of it was about how to roll and what to add, etc. Totally my fault due to muddled explanation. For the next game (with a totally different set of players) I've written a short summary to ease this.
Some of it was misunderstanding of secrets. There was minor perpetual confusion about the term -- perhaps because most of the characters have plenty of dirty personal secrets. Additionally, in most of my games one-line descriptors that work in fuzzy ways are the norm (think HQ and OTE), so people didn't quite get that secrets are actually pretty specific crunch.
This plus the time it took to pick secrets means I really have to think about how I present them for the next group.
The extended conflict:
...no, it didn't really have to be an extended conflict (yeah, it was player choice but I suggested it.) It tended to the abstract, though: mystic sleep inducement vs. staying awake doesn't exactly lend itself to lively description.
...yeah, the thing about the character not having any real leverage in the conflict was weird too.
...no, I don't think it actually went exactly by the rules. I only later realized that given a stricter reading the character should have remained awake till he either gave up or lost the contest through harm. Not sure what I think about that.
For the record, the unseen opponent was a hypercarnivorous fairy masquerading as young woman. Her goal was to induce sleep while pretending to sleep a dozen paces from Devor.
Some of them I managed to play towards pretty well, some not at all. Oops. Need to pay more attention to this next time, esp. since it will be five players instead of three. Hmm.
Not my best game ever by any stretch, but not bad either. The Vancian tone was there, and there were some great moments (none of which appear in this AP because I have no idea how to write them up -- and they aren't really interesting, just very Vancian.)