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Path of the Nokwazi – continuing play

March 1, 2013

We’ve hit our second session of our African Fantasy Riddle of Steel game.

Spiritual Attributes

Players are starting to really get into their SAs at this point. Looking for opportunities to work them all in and looking at changing some of them to meet who their character is or who they want their character to be. This is pretty much the heart of the game, so I’m glad everyone’s starting to click with it.

They’ve also begun spending down the SAs to make improvements to their characters, which is a crucial point – having to pick when and how to spend down dice which creates a flow to every character – a story arc of being down and out vs. being “powered up” with the extra dice.

Combat Strategies

One of the reasons I really like Riddle of Steel is that it does have a level of system mastery in the tactics of combat. It helps to know the rules and what you’re trying to do. This session involved a competition which involved wrestling crocodiles and then having a mock battle with wooden weapons – the players choose competitors who were quite skilled, and I played them smart.

We started using special Maneuvers and range became a key issue, and everyone started really thinking about “Do I want to spend those 2 dice to do this thing, or play it safer? And is it really safer to give this guy another chance to take a swing at me?” and all that kind of thinking. I’m pretty excited, because next time we play, I’m guessing the players are going to have thought a bit more about their strategies and turn up the heat.

I had to do a lot of work to clean up the maneuvers from the book as most of them were pretty badly designed so it’s good to see them running smooth in play. I’m sure we’ll find some bumps though.

Setting and prep

Prep has been pretty light – we’re running 90-ish minute games which means I simply need small situations and maybe 3-8 NPCs. Prep is about 30 minutes or less with most of it being pondering what’s better choices to use rather than stat juggling.

I’ve been running it as “each session = new place” but I might play around with the idea of a larger area (a nation, whatever) so I can start reusing some ideas or NPCs. If anything, I’ve been pretty light and weak on NPC characterization because it’s been “Hey, let’s all learn how the rules work, hey, let’s get right to the conflict” but one of the strengths of using SAs is NPC motivations become the source of conflict.

The other thing which has been a lot of fun is the “magic roll”. We’ve set the default setting to “magic exists, it’s just rare and people have a lot more beliefs about it than happen to be real” – so when players encounter something that might be magical, they roll a die and then we find out if it actually IS magical right then and there.

The surprise of the night was Bafana slamming a crocodile into submission and demanding to know where the Father of Crocodiles dwelled and having the defeated beast speak!

These are things I can’t prep for and make things pretty damn amazing.

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