Monday, May 16, 2016

Magnificent Samurai: Session 1

We played the first session of The Magnificent Samurai yesterday.  I think this campaign is going to be fun, but it's going to be a bit of an adjustment for me, in having 250-point badass warriors right from the start.


From Session 0, we have:
  • Augustus Scitiori - A former centurion, and a dual-weapon master of shortswords.
  • Elliot de la Frau - A Saber-master and pirate.
  • Erland - a Jotun wrestler.
  • Markus - A Hobgoblin Paladin of the God of Chivalry.
  • Melek - a Nephilim (half-angel) greatswordsman and user of Imbuements.
  • Tonokai - a Kazanjiman horse-archer (but not technically a Samurai as she has no Status.)
Plus, two characters were finished yesterday:
  • Catonio, a Catfolk Swashbuckler searching for the Six Fingered Man who killed his parents.  This character is basically a cross between Puss-in-Boots from Shrek plus Inigo Montoya.
  • Gortak, a Jotun master of the Greatsword and fellow-tribesman of Erland.

Mr. Han's Noodle Shop

Play began in Mr. Han's, the biggest and best noodle shop in the town of Muyang.  A number of travelers from strange and foreign lands just happened to be sat at the same table on the upper floor (where, coincidentally, their barbarian customs and use of forks wouldn't offend the regulars.)  They heard a crash below, and looking down saw Mr. Han being shaken down by dozen thugs.  The entire group headed down to check on things, and combat initiated quickly on a failed Intimidate roll, and the group so quickly defeated the thugs none of them even had time to act.

Mr. Han invited the party upstairs, and told them about the Red Turban bandits, his tormentors and a group who started as one of the last remaining bands whose rebellion broke up the Yu Empire.  He spoke flawlessly in several Western tongues, and told the group about his youthful adventures in the West as a pirate.  He offered the party the last of his pirate silver ($4,000) if they could deal with the Red Turbans for him.  On a lark, Catonio asked him if he'd ever encountered a six-fingered man, and Mr. Han told him of the Bales, a hidden race of living vampires with six digits. The party asked for a guide and Mr. Han told his grandson to show them the way.

The Lady of the River

Leaving the city and travelling a couple of hours, the party encountered a woman playing music (on an eastern variant of a lyre) on a stone in the middle of a fast-flowing river.  Everyone but Tonokai had to make a Will roll, with two of them failing.  They were drawn to the lady and a fight began.  

Both Swashbucklers made a running jump to leap to the stone, being just within reach.  Eliot, unfortunately, slipped on approach (missing an Acrobatics check) but was able to make a Climbing roll to grab the rock and avoid falling completely into the water and getting swept away.  On shore, Melek drove his horse into the water, and three tentacles of water reached out and grabbed the horse.  The party's weapons weren't doing much until Markus hit them with his enchanted broadsword.  Once two tentacles were severed, the "lady" deflated to a robe containing a strange human-shaped skin and the last tentacle fled.  A First Aid roll showed them that it likely wasn't actual human skin.

Farmers, Fish, and Rice

Continuing on, the party encountered a group of five men eating rice and fish at a campfire off the road.  They were discussing a recent murder in their home village, the accused being one of their nephews.  The consensus among them was that the boy either didn't do it, or the young woman was a fox-spirit so it didn't count.  Markus went away from the group to check the roads and made a critical success on a Sense Dark Powers roll, getting a vision of a tall, thin man in a leather robe, wearing the hat and mask of a plague doctor, and carrying a meat hook and scalpel.  Tonokai and Gortak searched the area, and found a bloody meat hook and skinning knife buried in a shallow pit off the road near where Markus had the vision.

The Standing Stone and the Bandit Keep

The party took a left at the Standing Stone, a locally-famous mysterious rock carved with strange symbols.  Erland and Gortak thought the symbols sort of looked like the runes of their homeland, but were definitely a different language.

Scouting out the keep, Tonokai reported that the Red Turbans had 20' fortifications, two small cannons at the gates, and a clearing up front that made for a clear field of fire.  The group elected for a stealthy approach, sending Catonio, Eliot, and Tonokai to climb the walls while the rest of the group would keep to the trees and make a distraction.  One cannon was fired, missing the distractors, and the assault team climbed the wall and quickly occupied the tower with the unfired cannon, and then killed the occupants of the second tower.  Eliot and Catonio spent 5 turns opening the gate while Tonokai rained down arrow-y death on the bandits below (Heroic Archer and Weapon Master (Bow) are a hell of a combination.)  A group of fully armored guards came up and launched a couple of rockets at her to no avail.

Unfortunately for Tonokai, NINJAS! are a thing.  A sneaky little goblin git stabbed her in the kidneys from behind, scoring a Major Wound on her, but she made her HT-5 check and wasn't stunned.  She was perched on the edge of the tower, so on his next turn he attempted a Karate-based Shove to knock her off.  She parried him with Judo and on her next turn did a Judo Throw to send him over, instead.  Eliot, being a Mighty Pirate, fired the loaded cannon at the survivors in the courtyard.  They sent up a flare then surrendered. This ended the session.

All in all, this was fun.  Coming up with challenges that aren't just bigger numbers is going to be interesting, and I don't want to overuse magic, as I'd like to keep that kind of thing on the level of swords-and-sorcery challenges a-la Conan or Fafhrd and the Grey Mouser.

Sense Dark Powers

Finally, here's a bonus writeup of Markus's Sense Dark Powers ability.  I chose to make the Critical Success rolled give him a vision instead of distance and direction, sort of like a critical success on Seeker.

Sense Dark Powers, 8 points

You can feel the presence of unholy supernatural powers. The GM will make a Perception roll when you’re near an evil power, or when you cross into an area of unholy sanctity.  You know the exact distance and direction on a critical success, otherwise you only know it to be near.

You may purchase an Acute Sense for this ability (2/level).

Modifiers: Holiness, the Range modifier from the Speed/Range table.

Statistics: Detect (Evil Supernatural Powers, Occasional; Reflexive, +40%; Vague, -50%; Holy, -10%; -20%). 8 points.

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