30 July, 2017

EttinCon Debrief (Part 2)

The last debrief post started going longer than I expected, so I've decided to break the debrief into three parts for the three sessions of the day.

Between Sessions 1 and 2 was lunch, looking at the stalls set up by the local game store "Afternoonified" and a few others who came in for the con...and generally stressing out because I thought I'd left almost everything for my evening session of "The Law" at home. Thankfully, that last bit turned out to be a false alarm. But stressing about that, filled yhe rest of the hour-and-a-half before session 2 began.

Session Two: Honey, I shrunk the Heroes!
This is the first time I've played +Sage LaTorra and +Adam Koebel's Dungeon World, and the first time I've played rather than GM'd anything for a long time. I played with my wife, in a game run by +Saul Alexander.

Interesting premise that was basically what the title promised. Five stereotypical fantasy adventurers filling the standard character tropes, all shrunk down by the evil curse of a witch...trying to find a way to grow big again, and generally survive a hostile world of bugs which seem the size of dogs, and carpets that seem like forests.

I can see why Dungeon World has the following it does, it strips back a lot of the crap from D&D, generally streamlining everything into the AW mould, but it still has that issue where every power has it's own quirky mechanism, and those quirky mechanisms are very formulaic in the way they enter play and manipulate the flow of the narrative. That said, I'd probably play this before playing another game of Pathfinder.

I felt a bit lost in the game playing a thief in a tiny world, where none of the obstacles faced in the game were traps or locks, and most of the "monsters" encountered were in pairs or swarms, so my poisons which affected a single target had minimal effect against the rest of the attacking horde. No real blame to be pointed; but in the scenario given, it really felt like the party's cleric and mage were the most useful characters (with their assortment of spells and abilities), followed by the ranger and fighter (with their combat skills, and the ranger's similarly miniaturised falcon)...then me, with less hit points than the combatants, less useful abilities than the mystical folk. I giess if I had a better understanding of the "adventuring gear", I could have MacGyver'd my way through various situations, but this didn't rally become apparent until the final half hour or so of play.

Generally the story focused on five adventurer's shrunk by the infamous witch Laughing Anna Pigpaddle. They had been trapped in a crystal ball, and the game began with the ball fallng off a shelf, shattering and releasing us. Through play we escaped the pantry of the witch, then headed across the floor of the main room of her hut. As time ran out, we released a Salamander fom the witch's fireplace, which proceeded to burn down her hut as we escaped. I still thought we'd need to find something to dispel our curse, but the deus ex machina at the end of play saw us all restored to full size once we reached the edge of what was basically an "area of effect" spell contained within the hut. It didn't feel like we accomplished much, but I guess not all games meed to weave a complex narrative. It was fun as a "little adventure" diversion.

It also allowed two more locations to be added to the map, "Pigpaddle's Peak" and "Salamander Swamp".

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