It’s been a loooong time, but we’re back! It’s been about four months since the last Shadows of Keron session, due to a mixture of deadlines at work, family events, and Tenchi (AKA Gutz) running the first part of the Dawn of the Artefacts Shadowrun adventure path for us. But now, we’re back in the Dread Sea Dominions.
As always, I’m trying to balance a session writeup against avoiding spoilers for the adventure, which is GRAmel’s Shadows Over Ekul. The session began in a tavern (naturally) with a bar brawl (naturally) and a subsequent visit to the local potentate, who offered to overlook their misdemeanours if they would just do this one little job for him… and thus the party, currently reduced to Gutz, Nessime and The Warforged, found themselves on an Amazon-crewed hawk ship bound for a neighbouring city, en route to involvement in palace intrigue surrounding an arranged marriage and a royal wedding.
Not much scope for bloodshed there, you might think, but if you did you would be overlooking the known proclivities of Our Heroes.
The most memorable part of the session was the earliest, in which The Warforged found himself challenged to an arm-wrestling contest in a bar by a group of Lhoban sailors. Gutz amused himself by betting on his colleague with money stolen from other people’s purses and taunting The Warforged’s opponent (named Dragon), while Nessime shouted encouragement from the sidelines – she had decided that as a paladin of Hulian she ought not to use Lower Trait on Dragon to give her friend an unfair advantage.
The match ended in a victory for The Warforged, followed by accusations of cheating from the sailors. This was especially galling as The Warforged’s repeated attempts to use Puppet to force his opponent to concede had all failed. The obligatory bar brawl ensued, ended decisively in the party’s favour by an overpowered Blast spell from Guess Who, which killed most of the patrons and set fire to the tavern.
Gutz decided Dragon had put up a good fight, so dragged his unconscious body from the blazing building, emerging right in front of a patrol of Amazon warriors.
“Awkward,” said Gutz.
However, with no surviving conscious witnesses in earshot to contradict their story of accidental lantern spillage, and the Amazons only having seen them helping injured victims from the flames, they were escorted into the presence of the local ruler, Ulesir Shah, who said they would be well rewarded if they’d just do one little job for him…
“They always say that,” said The Warforged. He was for ignoring the mission and pressing on, feeling the pay was too low, but Gutz’ Hindrances argued against him giving up easy money or the chance to stay close to the drop-dead gorgeous Amazon leader for a couple of weeks. So it was decided that they would help.
The later encounter with river pirates was, of course, merely a courtesy detail; and by the end of the session, all three had achieved Heroic rank. I think this is now the most experienced party I’ve ever run under Savage Worlds; it’s interesting that the feel of play doesn’t change that much – SW is very tolerant of increasingly capable characters, with the basic Fighting d6 pirate still being a credible threat, and I can’t think of another RPG system where I could run a set piece battle with the party and a couple of dozen NPCs on one side and several dozen pirates on the other, and still finish it in under an hour.
The main change from the early days is that now Gutz has the full set of initiative-improving Edges, he usually draws 5-6 cards per turn, so we chew through the action card deck faster than before; but with a second deck of cards and whoever goes last reshuffling after a Joker, it has no real impact on play.
Finally, we had a new guest player for this session…
At the right of the picture with the giant blue d12 you see Anna (Athienne) holding Leo (character’s name unclear, although it sounds like “Guh”), the latest addition to the family, who is one of the nicer reasons why our gaming sessions are shorter and further apart this year.
As you can see, we’re starting him early.