Jacob as the GM
Charlie as Effy Varrow, an Avalon soon-to-be famous explorer
Lee as Finn Hopkins, the vengeful son of an Avalon privateer
Vinnie as Vanya Steiglig, a grizzled Eisen monster hunter
Josh as Janina Kohrs, a Samartian union leader who makes pacts with honestly-not-devils
Amy as Galina Rurick Olgovna V’novgorov, an Ussuran noble searching for technology
I’m a player in this session, so things in the report will be a little bit skewed. Unlike when I run a game, I’m drinking. There are a lot of players to keep track of and without being a GM, it’s easy to lose track of where people are.
Jacob is the other player in the group who runs games. Generally he has run Legend of the Five Rings and Buffy. He’s run 7th Sea First Edition for me, briefly. These are on the looser, better end of traditional games. 7th Sea Second Edition rewards the players and GM with sharing a lot of storytelling, bringing a lot of modern RPG techniques to the game. As someone who’s been a player in a few of Jacob’s games, he’s really levelled up in his skills with the campaign. At the time of writing this, it’s still going on and been a great game so far.
We made characters in session zero, which you can read here.
The adventure started with a brief montage of us getting the same communication in different ways; we had to meet a man named Vincent in Kirk. Kirk’s the capital of Vestenmannavnjar, a place of great trade and a lot of ex-viking types.
Finn was passed a note by a boy from the “upman” telling him to go to Kirk.
Galina was heading that way, looking for tech.
Vanya was in a sombre church in Eisen (so basically any church in Eisen) and told that Vincent may be up to no good.
Nina was told, “it happened again” by something mysterious.
Effy was in the Carleon chapterhouse of The Explorer’s Society, eager to get a membership into their number. She was told that there was a missing statue of import to them.
“I will get your statue!”
“No, you need to speak to Vincent.”
“I will speak to Vincent!”
More enthusiasm than skill, Effy was pointed in the direction of Kirk and let loose.
We all arrived to the pub where Vincent could be found, then retired upstairs to discuss the matter. There was a statue of a little mermaid which had been stolen. The guards of Kirk were corrupt and couldn’t help, especially as someone from The Vendel League called Master Red is a suspect. He also got Vincent kicked out of the league, so there’s a bit of bad blood. The League’s basically like a weird big banking consortium.
He gave Finn a map of Theah which was apparently one of two made by his father. The legendary privateer Jeremiah Berek claimed he’d made it, but that was a lie. The map was said to lead to something, “The myth leads to the crown”, apparently. The other copy was still on The Dawn Star, the ship which was stolen from Finn’s father. Before Vincent could get into anything more, there were shouts from outside. Guards. Time for drama!
We all decided what our approach to the challenge was, then were given a list of risks by Jacob. The main problem was the total damage the guards would deal. As a brute squad, if we don’t deal with them by the end of the turn, they’ll deal us their remaining damage. This was a ten person brute squad, so they’d each drop after one hit, but any left would wound us all.
In case we got split up, Vanya yelled that we’d meet at The Shattered Keel. Given The Shattered Crab in Dungeon World, I assume these pubs are part of a chain.
Effy decided to flee, flinging a grappling hook out of the window and Batgirling away.
Galina ran out looking noble and shouting, “He went that way!” pointing in the wrong direction.
Finn laid down covering fire.
Nina backed up Galina by trying to lead the guards away.
Vanya let loose with his booming voice to scare the guards.
So with those announcements, we rolled a ton of d10’s each (normally Trait + Skill + 1d10 if we’re using a skill for the first time this scene + 1d10 if we’re narrating what we’re doing). We used to results to make sets of ten and whoever had the most narrated their side of it first as they could help the people who rolled the worst. We all did what we wanted pretty well. Effy drew the fire of a few guards before they were downed. The slight problems were that Vincent was arrested while we ran about and Nina was now alone with a bunch of guards. So more action was needed!
Effy ran along the rooftops with an aim to kick a chimney down on top of some of the guards. Finn threatened them by shooting their hats (and the belt buckle of one guard) off. Vanya took this time to rummage through any of Vinnie’s things in the pub, narrowly avoiding a spike trap on a chest. There were a few fun things with raises and risks here:
One of the risks Lee had for his ‘threaten the guards’ approach was that he’d be left with a single bullet in his guns.
Assessing my risks and my amount of Hero Points, I decided not to roll for Effy and instead to fail the action, netting me one more point but putting her in danger. She kicked the chimney, failed to budge it and slipped off the rooftop. Finn shoved a cart in the way of the falling girl and she landed in a pile of hay.
We’d dispatched the guards but needed to work out what would happen next. Jacob decided to run this information-gathering scene as a dramatic challenge where we all declared what we would do, rolled and added more issues to the mission. We had a statue to find, a mission provider in prison and guards hunting us…
Josh decided to have Nina look into contacts with any counter movement against the Vendel League.
Lee wanted Finn to hang around some docks asking about his boat.
Vinnie had Vanya decrypt notes.
I wanted Effy to bother the local Explorer’s Society chapter for information on the statue.
Amy wanted to check on Vincent in the prison
Josh changed his mind and decided that he would try and convince people he was working for Master Red.
Jacob grabbed some paper and got ready for our plot elements.
Josh – The statue is magic. Bad magic.
Vinnie – Master Red’s hands aren’t clean.
Me – The statue is from (looked at map of Vestenmannavnjar) The Wyrd Lake!
Lee – The Dawn Star was seen recently in Kirk.
Amy – The Vaticine Church and their strange technology is involved.
Josh – The corruption goes beyond the League.
Vinnie – Red is linked to the statue and wants to make an offering with it.
Me – The statue needs to be returned to some old ruins.
Lee – Shadowy figures were asking about the statue.
Amy – The statue’s huge and heavy. Black alabaster. About the size of a baby.
Amy – There’s a thieves den nearby.
Me – There’s a scale which vibrates near the mermaid statue.
Vinnie – The scale attracts bad things.
Lee – The shadowy figures were passengers on the Dawn Star.
Josh – The scale is under guard with the Explorer’s Society.
Lee – The Dawn Star dropped passengers off here.
Josh – The thieves guild is an unlicensed fencing guild.
Josh – There’s an order of the Rilasciare who are in need of members.
Me – The statue leaves here at dawn.
Me – And the Explorer’s Society are having a ball tonight.
Amy – The guest list is exclusive.
Vinnie – It looks like someone else wants to steal the scale. Yes, there’s a counter-heist!
Josh – A dissident group can get us on the guest list, as long as we steal something from them.
Vinnie – Something perishable. A mummy.
So to cut through all that; the little mermaid statue is somewhere in town and leaving very soon. We have to steal a scale from The Explorer’s Society in order to track it. Not just that, but the Rilasciare want us to steal a mummy for them in return for getting tickets for the ball. Someone else also wants to steal the scale and will be heisting while we heist. We will have to counterheist!
Difficult? No, we’re adventurers. [dons sunglasses, heist music plays]
The place is tightly-guarded and most exhibits are locked away, so we need people to dress up as guards. Vanya and Finn plan to knock out some guards and do that.
Galina, Nina and Effy will enter the party with the invites, dressing the part. Effy has few changes of clothing and none ladylike, so instead she’ll be in her tattered fake Dig Jacket (an Explorer’s Society long brown coat). Galina’s going to distract people by doing a traditional Ussuran sword dance, she offered to show off her skills despite the small room in a pub that we were in and Nina managed to talk her out of it. Effy will play the part of an explorer from Carleon. Nina will be part of the entourage.
Vanya and Finn knocked out some guards offscreen and showed up dressed for business. The doors to the museum burst open with Nina and Effy flanking Galina. We were ready for action. Galina started sword dancing to draw everyone’s attention while Effy set to work.
Effy found the nerdier group of explorers at the ball, keeping to one side away from the partying ones. She played up her enthusiasm (not difficult) and asked to see the rare items which were hidden away from the rubes at the party. Vanya used his natural terrifying authority to scare the guards into adopting a patrol pattern of his design, one which would make it easy for Effy and Nina to sneak around.
Speaking of which, Nina’s poking around the rooms led to her finding the counterheist who she managed to lead further away from the artifacts, convincing them that they should enter a room. They did and she used her weird dievas magic to freeze the locks shut. Sanderis, the magic of the dievas, is a new addition to the world of 7th Sea for second edition, it’s basically pacts with honestly-not-devils.
Back with the Explorer’s Guild nerds, Effy saw the statue of the mermaid in a glass container and pretended to slip up, breaking it out and faking a panic attack. The nerds ran away and Effy realised the statue in her hands was a fake made of wood. Someone already heisted it! Effy left in the direction of the sound of gunfire, expecting it to be the sound of Finn. She turned out to be correct as Finn and Vanya’s cover was blown with the smashing noises. Finn and Vanya collided with Nina and Galina who had found their way to the mummy and now had to work out what to do with it. Being good, heroic types, they decided to dress it up in Galina’s spare outfit (because of course she brought a spare outfit).
The mummy was sorted, the statue and the scale were still unaccounted for. Nina had locked the other heisters in a room, so we realised we needed to break them back out and shake them down. Vanya popped one of his potions made from dead monsters (Hexenwerk, another magic system new to the world). I decided to try using words to start us out; Effy ran into the room and shouted that they needed to give her the scale. Nina and the others banged on the door to sound like attackers. Somehow Effy was convincing enough, took the scale, shouted, “Nina!” Effy ran through the door and Nina said, “Hey guys, chill!” before freezing the door shut again. Then she had to pay bad ice pun royalties to Batman & Robin’s version of Mr Freeze.
Galina returned to the party first to get everyone dancing and cover the group’s exit. Once they were all going, Nina used her magic to snuff some of the lights, Vanya grabbed the mummy and then danced his way across to the way out.
The mummy started to move in his arms, waking up at the absolute worst time. The sword dance and the darkness made for a great excuse for any swords flying. Finn lunged at the mummy mid-dance, Vanya kept dancing but used his ice blade to paralyse it. The group put a bag on its’ head and left the party.
In the nearby alleyway, the group tried to assess their situation. Effy showed the scale to everyone and the mummy immediately tried to arrack and Finn cut its’ arm off. It kept trying with the other arm which was also cut off, then legs and basically there were a stack of mummy parts which we stuffed in a nearby trunk. Vanya tried to set it on fire in order to stop the monster from rising again, but Nina stopped him, recalling that it needed to get delivered to the resistance. Being Sarmatian, she insisted on a vote and it was decided to take the mummy to, “The True Path”. Finn and Effy went to the docks to return it, but the guys at the door were more surprised than anything else. They agreed to take it, but Galina had a worry about what they would do, having realised that they probably knew it would wake up and ruin the Explorer’s Guild party as they evidently never expected us to get out with it. She asked and they said that it would be unleashed at a Vendel League meeting. Vanya punched the guard out and we returned the box of mummy parts to the Explorer’s Guild with a note of apology.
There was still a mermaid statue out there to deal with. Pretty quickly, the group found the boat belonging to the shadowy figures who had been travelling on the Dawn Star. The guards were easily distracted and the group took the mermaid statue which was made of a really dense black stone. Effy noticed something odd on the bottom of the statue, grabbed a piece of paper and started making a rubbing. It was this:
After a quick look at the rubbing, it led to Charouse in Montaigne (coincidentally where Remy, played by the absent Ash, came from). The heroes rode through the night to the lake the statue back to the lake where it came from. Finn filled everyone in on Albert DuPaix, the man who killed his father and took The Dawn Star, which had been transporting the shadowy figures. By the morning, they arrived at the aptly-named Wyrd Lake and placed the alabaster statue into the centre of some ruins. It turned white and locked in place.
The group decided they would stick together, set sail to Montaigne and see what they could do to free Vincent!
To be continued!
And here’s a new feature; GM’s Corner, where Jacob adds anything he needs about the game.
This is the prep he had for all you’ve just read.
As a GM who tends to run Dungeon World using notes written on a post-it note, I approve.