Monday, March 30, 2015

Catching up on Jadepunk (part one)

I know I've fallen behind a bit over the last few weeks, so I'm just going to jump right in and get to work covering our first three sessions. To keep the length manageable I'll split it over a few posts, but I expect them all to come out within the next few days.

First, let me say that I'm very please with the direction our game is going in. I'm a pretty big fan of giving players some shared authorship over where the campaign begins and where it is heading (see my posts on Campaign Mapping and the Jadeborn Campaign Map for details), and the technique hasn't let me down yet. Between our map and some outside inspiration from books and video games I have a very solid idea of what my version of Kausao City looks like, and what the opposition is likely to do. Now it's just up to the players to throw a wrench into their plans.

Speaking of which...

The Characters

Other than myself our group consists of three players: 
  • Lisa, playing Han, an aristocrat serving one of the most powerful families in Kausao City (The Qin). Once a loyal servant until his love was captured by them and sold away. She now works from within the family, using her access to their information and Jadetech to tear down the system from the inside.
  • Schroeder, playing Saffron, an Aerish jadetech engineer who uses her knowledge and a series of cleverly built devices to take on the enemy in a language they understand: power and explosions.
  • Willy, playing Kei (or perhaps Keiko, depending who you believe actually lives under the jadetech mask), a former gang leader who was taken off the streets by an old monk and taught to use his skills to help the people instead of being part of the corruption that's oppressing them. Kei's primary weapon is a blue jade staff that can be manipulated to grow or shrink depending upon current needs that the character inherited when the monk was captured and sent to work in a penal mine.

First Session

Unfortunately we didn't get a ton done on our first night. Between finalizing characters and discussing the setting all we really had time to do was a quick intro. In this case we picked up right where my post on the Opening Scene left off. Our players chose to be members of a small but growing resistance movement dedicated to taking down the corrupt government of the city, and working to free people who are being held or worked unreasonably.

To this end they were tasked with meeting at a tea shop in an upscale portion of the city where My. Nguyen (their contact with the resistance) would be meeting them.

Now, I should throw in here that I like to start campaigns off with a fight. I find it gets the characters active and working together right away without the awkward small talk. It also serves as a crash course on the system for newer players, as well as making sure everyone knows what the team was capable of. Tonight was no different.

As soon as our characters were (mostly) ready to play we jumped right in. The group's contact was escorting an older man into the tea shop on the floor below the group when a lit lantern was thrown through a window, spreading burning oil across the middle of the shop. Immediately following it was a group of eight armed men, looking for trouble.

The group jumped right into action, with Keiko covering her face with her mask and extending her staff to slide down into the midst of the enemy. In the mean time Saffron wet a piece of cloth with water and used it to cover her face, hoping it would protect her from the smoke, as well as protecting her identity in the crowded shop. For his part, Han knew little of combat, and couldn't afford to be seen fighting in a shop his employers frequent. Taking the safe route, he pulled at table cloths and drapings to attempt to smoother the fire.

The fight itself was a lot tougher than anyone expected. The enemy outnumbered them badly (especially with a third of the group caught up fighting a fire that I also ran as a character), and it was all the group could do to hold their ground in the tight quarters. Keiko and Saffron managed to take out 5 of the enemy, but their ally Mr. Nguyen was badly injured and pinned to the ground by an enemy spear, while Keiko was (Thanks to a concession after losing two consequences) thrown out of a window, too badly hurt to return to the fight.

In the end Saffron managed to chase away the remaining three thugs, but not before they captured and carried off the man Mr. Nguyen had brought for them to meet. A scattering of ravens took flight as the young woman chased the enemy out into the street, hoping to follow them. Unfortunately, the enemy's rear was being protected by a newcomer to the fight, a tall man wearing a duster, with his hand resting casually on the grip of a red jade revolver, a red dragon tattoo etched in jade on his hand.

The fire finally out, Han ran to the door and dragged Saffron back inside. They were too hurt to continue this fight and face a new, unknown opponent.

End of Session One.