I told the players that for each of them that agreed to wear whatever hat was randomized for them, I would put 3 awesome points in the bowl. They all agreed to wear whatever came up, so that was good, but none of them ended up with truly goofy hats (except arguably the samurai helmet hunter or the dunce cap gambler. No one mocked them, anyway.) The hunter, I had roll on the “fighter” category, the gambler on the “thief” category, and the goblins on the “halfling” category on the chart.
Also, two players wanted to play goblins. To me, the niche protection aspect of the game, where only one player can play a template and you can only get cross-template talents with that player’s permission, is not an important consideration. We had a lot of fun with two goblins in the party. The rule of one template at a table may solve problems in some groups, but mine doesn’t have those problems.
Some notes on goblins generated during play; they don’t have hair, they have “fungus follicles.” They reproduce asexually by budding, and it’s bad luck to see the buds when they split open and spill out a little goblin. Goblin corpses tend to bud, to replace the goblin. And goblins greatly enjoy rubbing their growing buds, in the absence of sexual organs.
And now for rulings!
- Pickpocketing: Cunning vs. Awareness. If they roll 5 more on Awareness, pickpocketing is prevented. Otherwise, they are seen in the act, but may still get the prize.
- In hand to hand, save vs. getting a wound with Brawn difficulty 7, not Daring.
- In a high place, test Daring to move. Failing that, test Brawn or Cunning (whichever is higher) not to fall. If successful, can test Daring again.
- You can spend as many Awesome Points as you want to boost a roll, not just one.
- It is okay for me as DM to describe what the characters are doing that is Awesome, and they can give each other points for it, as long as no one minds. If they spend the points, they are not required to describe what happens, they can let me do it if they want (and still get the rewards.)
- A Charm test can allow a character to inspire another character to get a +2 on a Commitment test.
Observations about templates:
The thief used her inherent ability to hit the chandelier, early on. The hunter used tracking. The gambler pulled off a couple great lies. The goblins had a ball with seeing in the dark and doing goblinoid things—a sneaky scout and a gladiator weapon-caddy/cheerleader. The gladiator really hammed up being a gladiator. All in all, it really worked well.
Observations about preparation and resulting application to play:
I kept myself to a 1 hour maximum prep time for this adventure, giving myself more time because there would be 7 players (I ended up with 6) and of those only two had played before; I wanted their first experience to showcase the richness of the system’s strengths.
I planned for 3 significant fight scenes, with a 4th in reserve. As it played out, the characters created a fight scene at the wedding (easy to improvise), ran from the fight with the Stenchites, acted predictably for the fight in the spiny rock crawler lair, and negotiated their way out of a fight in the Retreat itself. We concluded before my reserve fight was useful, which was fine; it was back-up in case the adventure went really fast, or they decided they didn’t want to do what I had planned.
Negotiating out of the two biggest fights did not displease me; on the contrary, I value cleverness in my players far above combat prowess in their characters.
There were two mysterious elements they did not explore, and while it would have been cool if they had, the game did not suffer for the lack. Here are the mysteries.
- The retreat had a Stenchite artifact that I statted up and historied. Not finding it meant that the characters will not understand what the Stenchites had to do with all this—which is fine.
- The retreat also had a hunting horn that would allow the players to potentially rule the Ghelbiu, the animal-headed people that once served Sordeg and now are in this place waiting for a new ruler. They could have gotten it as a loot piece, or got some animal-headed henchmen. In any case, just fine that they didn’t put those pieces together or find the horn.
Another source of treasure: if they had a scholar or someone who at least made an effort, they could have tried to sell maps and trip reports to scholars. They didn’t, but they were not hurting for the gold, so that’s fine.
My final game element was that Hector owed Mongrok 700 gold. Well, Hector wussed out (told them later he slipped a disk in his back, whatever that means) so he didn’t even get a reimbursement for his outlay for the expedition. If we had the time and interest, he would gladly have led a commando expedition to take out Mongrok before Mongrok took him out.
As it turned out, by the end of the adventure, Brenna was no longer feeling Hector was her friend; so her new adventuring goal is to get to Grizelle’s Horde, and she’s fulfilled her original goal of helping a friend in distress.
Finally, a confession. I forgot to start the bowl with awesome points. I put points in for the headgear, and forgot the base quantity. I don’t think I’ll forget that again. And, as it was, it worked out. Still, about everybody had unspent awesome points by the end of the night. They were starting to see the beauty of the AP expenditure, but weren’t quite there at the end of the first session–to see them as more than an insurance policy.
Well played, good fun!