Lee as Ethan Gale, Warden for the Order of Eternal Light. His mother Helena is missing.
Jacob as Holden Luck, stubbornness mage. The son of the family he protects is missing.
Vinnie as Bryan Weaver, Goblin bounty hunter. His friendly rival Ali is missing.
Ash as Captain Urit Morca of the pirate ship Thondir’s Dagger. His mentor Falren Varley is missing.
Josh as (Fight the) Goodfight, an elemental savant. His sister Hope is missing after the pair had been fighting.
Session Zero: Vs Character Creation
Session One: Vs Two Cohesive Units of Seagulls
The loved ones of our cast are missing and a blood red crescent moon is in the sky. Bryan punched out a noble who hates the Order of Eternal Light and the group stole his schooner. They found an islet with a crescent moon statue, but were attacked by a kraken!
Starting us off dramatically, Bryan held out the pistol he stole from The Fourteenth Duke of Dane and pulled the trigger. Click. He’d not loaded it and had no ammunition. Goodfight saw the tentacle which had slammed down on the aft side of the schooner, punched it which did nothing but anger the kraken. He was lifted up into the air by the tentacle, which meant it wasn’t tugging at the schooner, at least. Ash asked me whether this counted as a ‘charged situation’. Yes, Ash, giant tentacles smashing the boat apart are charged.
Down in the front of the boat, one of the unconscious guards got up and started shouting, “Thief!” at Bryan, evidently not yet having noticed the kraken. Vinnie stalled in his reaction so I cut away to Ethan who decided to run down one of the tentacles, towards the exposed head of the monster. Despite his heavy armour, he had a class ability which meant that he could move as if he was unarmoured.
Holden decided do use the “Defend” move and target the ship, gaining three hold to block attacks from the tentacles. This was great, apart from that the tentacles being battered against the ship had Goodfight on them. He created some ice to try and freeze the tentacle that had him but failed. Ethan psy-bladed the kraken in the brain which angered the beast. It smashed the mast of the ship which collapsed and nearly knocked the characters off. Bryan fell in the water and drowned. His character died.
There’s a move in Dungeon World for when a character dies. They describe The Black Gate and in this case for Bryan it was like being swallowed in mud. Death appeared and sounded like his mother, who he abandoned with the rest of his kind. It said he needed to return to greatness. He rolled with no modifiers and was given a pact. He had to kill Davian Silver; the boy Holden was sent to rescue from the cult. He was allowed to come back, as long as he fulfilled the pact. Bryan woke up, still under the water and drowning, but rescued by a freed Goodfight.
The guard at the front of the boat finally saw the tentacles and shocked by it, was ambushed by Morca. He slammed him into the deck and took control of the boat. Not just that, but Morca summoned some dolphins (aka, the arseholes of the sea) to rescue the now-drowning Goodfight and Bryan. Ethan gave the kraken one final stab with the psy-knife and as it died, it tried to grapple him. Holden attempted to grapple the grapple in return!
As a quick aside, grappling rules in roleplaying games are a load of bollocks. Of all things, the glorified board game of D&D 4th Edition had it as a simple combat move which restricted movement. D&D Third Edition had a nightmarish set of rules for how to grapple, to the point of it being a sub-system separate from combat (which in itself was a sub-system of D&D itself). My ex-lover, the Fantasy Craft RPG, actually made it worse. Not as bad as its fire rules, but close. Even simpler games like World of Darkness had them. Initiating a grapple in most of these games is an action. Then once you’re in a grapple generally you can only resist or enforce the grapple, sometimes with a menu of other options. Luckily in Dungeon World you tell me how you’re grappling and you’re grappling. Roll and we’ll see whether something goes awry as well.
Urit still had his crew (like Gerry in Tremulus, we often forgot the crew were there) so he commanded them to take control of the ship. One of them, Baldo, nearly fell overboard and they were distracted pulling him out from the water.
Goodfight had control of the whole drowning thing and ran up the smashed mast with Bryan. Urit summoned some turtles to help out with getting Ethan out of the water without sinking. He may have been good with moving in his full plate, but it was still really heavy.
They fixed the mast, Goodfight summoned some wind and they sailed to the islet.
Urit looked around the possessions inside the schooner and found an eyeglass with suns emblazoned on it. When he looked through, even though it was the middle of the night, it appeared to be daytime. He saw seven lizardmen on the islet.
Holden tried to cast Cause Fear with a hedge as the target. The leader of the lizardmen ran away but the rest of them were fine. Ethan shouted down with the hope that they were law-abiding lizardmen. They didn’t recognise the authority of the Order of Eternal Light. Bryan picked up a gun from the guard who had been on the boat; a companion for the one from the Fourteenth Duke of Dane last session. He pointed both guns out, aware that there was one shot between them. He fired which shocked them. Urit used this leverage to bargain with them using a Parlay move. They needed concrete assurance in the form of the ‘fire sticks’ the goblin had. Bryan wasn’t keen on giving them up so Ethan suggested a pardon for any of their crimes so far and one gun. They agreed and left.
The islet had a giant stone in the shape of a crescent moon, ill-lit in the moonlight over Exodus. They found a hatch in the ground with some stone steps going down. The walls were stone too, appearing to swell with the pressure of the water. Bryan staved off his anxiety by rubbing some of his sleeping drug into his gums. Holden felt the entryway as he went, the wet, cold stone under his fingertips. I reminded the group of the classic problem; how will they see in the dark?
There’s a fantastic thing called, “Adventurer’s Gear” which count as an amount of unspecified gear which you can pick in game as and when you need it. This way you’re under no pressure to buy rope, chalk, a fishing net or in this case a lantern. Ethan ticked off one use of his adventurer’s kit and Goodfight used his magic to light up his bracers. The dungeon looked like an old temple. There were long, thorned tree root-looking things through some walls, there were two single doors leading round from each side and a fancy set of double doors which looked like it led to the main area of worship. There was a noise from in there. Dull thuds. Goodfight and Holden led the charge, Goodfight shouting, “Where’s my sister?” without even looking to see what was there. A mob of emaciated people in golden chains were savagely beating a large old man in the centre of the chapel. Holden dived in to help, using his defensive abilities to deflect their blind rage to himself. Ethan joined the fight and was dogpiled by enemies. Bryan observed the situation and realised that they weren’t in control of their bodies. Goodfight used his telekinesis to lift one slave by his chains and hang him from a statue. The group KO’d several of them and the rest fled when there was a rumbling deeper in the dungeon.
With some interrogation of the remaining slave, the group discovered that the ruler here was an avatar for The God of Tears. The old man on the floor looked fit, but beaten half to death. His name was Lem and his niece was kidnapped, just like the NPCs the rest of the group were searching for. He mentioned that she was called Tia and while he couldn’t get provide any further assistance, he wished them luck. They got him to head up to the boat.
They’d saved a person, now it was back to the adventure! Urit and Goodfight led the charge in the direction of where the mob ran. The hallway they’d gone down looked like a cave-in had happened and more horrendous vines had punched through the brick walls. Fortunately everything was still sealed tight. Bryan spotted something invisible creeping towards them, maybe about the size of a dog. He threw a net over it and the thing jumped at him. I realised I had made the stat block for this monster during my lunch break and left it at work. Fortunately this is Dungeon World and the monster creation’s really simple. I went through the worksheet while describing what happened and added a custom move to reflect something extra that this monster does.
This is what the worksheet looks like:
I wanted something nice and creepy in the dungeon, smarter than the denizens and suitable of the overall enemy here who I won’t go into detail on as they’ve yet to be uncovered even after the season’s end. I came up with spiders the size of dogs who were also invisible. These just became known as Nopes, due to this:
The move I added had the Invisible Nopes poison their foes if they were bitten. Bryan and Ethan both got stung by them, suffering damage but not attracting more of them. Urit sliced a Nope and the damage made it partially visible. Ethan saw that and went into a powerslide, blade out. The Nopes were dispatched and they found the hole the monsters came out of. There were several empty-looking cages, rattling away. They decided to leave that room along, while Bryan milked the dead Nopes for their poison.
Going further into the dungeon the characters found cages with some of their loved ones, chained slaves and even more people as sacrificial offerings. As Goodfight was the first one to see the cages, I let Josh have the choice of who was there. He decided Helena Gale and Davian Silver, who was sulking. “That’s so Davian,” he remarked. The teenage boy was moody about how long the rescue had taken and how he’d been treated, which helped him win over the player characters so well. Helena explained to the characters that the others had been taken into the chapel through the other set of corridors, ready for a big sacrifice. They ran back and saw a demon made out of chains ready to sacrifice Hope, Ali and Tia on a bloody altar. They saw the rivulets which had been on the map all went out from the altar. The sacrifice was drain the blood of the victims and send it out of the temple. Tia was first in line for the sacrifice and Holden tried to defend her using his, “Meat Shield” ability. He took the hit from the Avatar of the God of Tears. Several cultists joined the fight and Urit sliced a pair of them apart. Bryan started picking the locks of the prisoners. Goodfight used his elemental mastery to sink the avatar into the ground, where it was easier to fight him. The walls started to rumble, loudly. Ethan jumped off Goodfight and sliced the Avatar of the God of Tears in two. It fell apart and with that, so did the walls of the temple.
The group ran for the stairs, desperate to get up before the flood hit. The walled shattered and instead of the ocean, there was a red sky. The vines moved and lashed around, looking for food. A black sun shone over a ruined land and in the distance a gigantic wall had been sundered, allowing gigantic monsters to roam. Horrendous bats flew around, desperate for prey. They fled, back up the stairs and to the island, along with the freed slaves and their friends.
We had a quick montage of what each party member was getting up to now they were done with the adventure:
Goodfight asked his sister to crash at his place in case kidnappers were still around.
Ethan returned to his order’s main hall, has a reunion with his mother. His father is disappointed about the attack on The Ugly Gull without a warrant, but he’ll keep his son and Holden safe from any reprimand.
Urit was in The Shattered Crab, a terrible dockside tavern. He and his mentor were drinking run and enjoying recounting war stories. Varley seemed more spry than he was letting on with the rest of the cast, like maybe he wasn’t as old as he’d been pretending.
Holden returned Davian and went to the Ugly Gull, returning their boat to them and finding out the smuggler they’d arrested simply got off with a fine.
Bryan was also at the Shattered Crab, making friends with Urit and his crew.
So things ended fairly nicely. There was still the God of Tears and the dark world lurking out there somewhere. The cult were still in operation in the city. The Fourteenth Duke of Dane’s grudge against the order had been made worse. The adventurers had split up after their first successful adventure, but soon fate would bring them back together.