Thursday, June 19, 2008

Closing My Fistful

With the last of the summaries from phase one of our Burning Empires game posted, this blog is closing down. Using this as a place to post session reports has been a fun experiment, but I'm consolidating my online presence over at the Gameslinger Enterprises website. I'm going to continue to post about my Actual Play experiences over on the Gameslinger blog, but with a slightly different slant. I'll be focusing more on what I learned from my experiences and less on the facts of play. (I've already been doing this for a while with my board game session reports, but I'm going to be applying it to my RPG reports as well.) So, if you're one of the four people following this, thanks for reading, and come on over to the new digs!

The Multitudinous Seas Incarnadine, Phase 1 Wrapup

Sadly, I don't have a recording of the final session of phase one to give a good summary from, so I'll jot down what I remember. The Vaylen, sensing victory was near, chose Gambit, so as to prevent Flak. The Humans, realizing this was probably their last maneuver of the phase, chose Inundate, so as to do as much damage to the Vaylen as possible.

The pirates staged a daring rate on the island of the mediums. Jabin warned Jael about this ahead of time, giving Miriam a chance to ask Tay to bug out. The Archocotare, having gotten wind of this through Levi, ordered Michael back to the Temple so that he couldn't participate. Jael forced Levi to admit that there was a prophecy concerning "one from the Outer World, coming at a time of great crisis, who would be tested by fire" and that Levi believed Jael to be the subject of the prophecy. Michael's ship reported "technical difficulties" en route and diverted to the island. A huge Firefight ensued, with Michael's Anvil supplementing Miriam's Hammer and Jael's security forces. In the end, Tay himself disabled the Pirate Queen with a shot from his stet gun; her forces were smashed and the survivors scattered. Miriam made good on her word to let Ahab go, and he and his brother Jabin escaped in the pirate flagship. Goliath also survived to lead a ragtag band of Mukhadish freedom fighters.

In the maneuver roll, both sides reduced each other to zero, thanks to lots of dice, Artha, and call-ons. We decided that both sides got part of what they wanted: the quarantine was reduced to normal levels, and the pirates were eliminated as a faction for phase two.

The pirate threat ended, peace descended on the planet. For a time...

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Riding That Train

I had my first chance to try out the Ticket To Ride Card Game this weekend, as Gwen and I picked it up from a local shop with some gift cards friends had given us. (We also grabbed the new version of Acquire, which, sadly, I have never played.) My snap judgment based on a single two-player game: the mechanism are very familiar but the feel of the game is quite different. Yes, TTR has always been a set-collecting game. However, the connection element in the board game seems to be an important part of why I enjoy it, and that's not at all present in the card game. The memory component also adds to the foreign feeling. I'll play it again, but I suspect it won't be an evergreen title in my collection.

The Multitudinous Seas Incarnadine, Session 10

25 March 2008

Session Summary

Both sides choose to Take Action

Roy's Color: Jael's police forces raid several suspected pirate-allied merchants.

Ted's Color: Michael's forces plant evidence on several of his enemies before the raids.

Christina's Interstitial: Miriam and her retinue visit one of the Mystes to read the omens about the pirates. She casts the sacrifice into the fire and it spits fire back at her. "The Wheel spins out of control. Fire blazes everywhere. Those would ride this Wheel: beware."

Roy's Interstitial: Jael sends Elisha to investigate the ancestor cult. Elisha expresses his pleasure that Jael has learned to accept its existence, and he agrees to help look for "outside influences" on the cult.

Ted's Building: Michael talks Benjamin, an administrative dregus, about the placement of "spiritual advisers" with nobles. Benjamin reveals that the Archcotare has been maneuvering these chaplains, perhaps for his own plans.

Benjamin: "Don't take this personally, but thank the Wheel you're not the Archcotare."

Christina's Interstitial: Miriam goes to visit Tay on Medium Island, where she ceremonially installs him as the local governor. After all the pomp and circumstance, they discuss the current pirate situation. He is a bit drunk, and his guard is down. "Jael has always served you faithfully. Tell me, do you think of her more as a husband or a daughter?" Miriam avoids answering. Tay talks about how Hagar is a figurehead, inspiring the imaginations of the pirates. Tay explains that he doesn't share their ideology. Miriam is relieved to hear this. They agree that they're stuck with each other.

Ted's Color: Miriam flies the grav sled back, though no one really knows it.

Roy's Conflict: Elisha has been on the temple island for some time when he notices Mukhadish symbols (like hobo signs) that reveal a secret way into the complex to speak with their own ancestors. He finds a secret chamber with primitive paintings of Medium Island. Elizabeth enters from the water, and Elisha hides but eventually reveals himself and confronts her. She is surprised to see him, and asks forcefully why he is here. Elisha backs down and tells her why he has come. She reveals that how the Mukhadish use this chamber and some about her own background.

He pushes her about her history and she reveals that her son is prominent among the pirates. Elisha comes to see the Mukhadish as spritial kin of the Kerrn.

Ted's Building: Michael accompanies Erik to meet Leah at one of her clan's residences. Makeda greets them and tries to cover for Michael's lack of ceremony. While Erik and Leah get to know each other, Michael assures Makeda that he has no intention of arranging the death of her eldest daughter to advance his own family's interests. She see that she had underestimated him. Michael wants to know if he can trust Makeda, and she questions whether or not he is capable of trust. Makeda says that she does not want be his enemy. "I think we're too much alike to be good friends, but I think we can come to some understanding." They exchange priority access codes so as to keep the lines of communication open.

Roy's Interstitial: Jael debriefs Elisha about his mission. Jael is annoyed by Elisha's new-found respect for the Mukhadish.

Paul's Conflict: A would-be kidnapper breaks into Makeda's residence to make off with Leah. Unfortunately, Michael is there and foils the attempt.

Miriam's Interstitial: After speaking with her mother, Miriam talks with Elizabeth about the bad omens. Miriam warns Elizabeth about Jael's intentions towards the cult. Elizabeth tells her about Elisha's visit. Miriam thinks that Jael's problem is that she is not married. Elizabeth wonders if it would help if Jael could speak to her ancestors.

Paul's Interstitial: Hagar throws the kidnapper out of the ship and into the water.

End of Maneuver

Jael's Investigative Logic: 5d, 2s
Hagar's Smuggling: 8d; help from Jabin and Jonas, 4s

Vaylen 11, Humans 5

Things we learned (fiction)

You purify yourself with smoke before visiting the Mystes.

The Mystes are very parallel to the ancestor cult.

The Kerrn relax in mists.

Most Anvil and Hammer Lords have personal chaplains, some of which are officially appointed.

The temple complex is on an island in the bay near the capital. The complex is built into the shear cliffs facing out to sea. On the side facing the city, there is a huge patchwork of shops on the approach to the temple.

Elizabeth wears a ceremonial amulet that is used when speaking for the Mukhadish ancestors.

Elisha is gendered male. He's like Jael's brother.

Elisha's regalia includes a funny hat.

Part of Serena's personality has bled over into Elizabeth, especially with regards to family.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

The Multitudinous Seas Incarnadine, Session 9

18 March 2008

Session Summary

The Humans choose Take Action against the Vaylen
The Vaylen choose Take Action against the Humans

Paul's Interstitial: Cerelia and Makeda suggest striking economically at the pirates by removing the quarantine on various items. These regulations were put in place after the last confrontation with the Vaylen, and the Merchant League has been agitating for changes for years. Miriam agrees, but asks Cerelia to follow up with Jael about the security aspects. Afterward, Cerelia suggests to Miriam that she talk with Pitr. He hasn't said anything, but she can tell he's upset. Miriam thanks her and says that she will.

Ted's Interstitial: Michael calls Lord Omri to talk about how the pirates continue to vex Omri, especially without Nimrod. Michael leaks word of Makeda's proposal to Omri. Omri points out that the league has been clamoring for this for years, but that the nobles have been dragging their feet. With Miriam's support, though, it should pass. Omri notes that this sort of insider information could be very profitable, and Michael hints that his information is not free, as he's looking for a way to supply his secret forces with military tech. Omri smiles and says that they'll be in touch. Afterwards, Michael makes a call to another noble...

Christina's Interstitial: In the secure room, Miriam and Jael talk "off the record." She asks, "Jael, why is Cerelia coming to me complaining about how her brother is being treated?" Jael admits he's been cutting Pitr out. "I did not tell you about this because it is not fair to talk about your husband without more proof, but certain signs are present that Pitr might be compromised." Miriam has a hard time believing this and grins her teeth when Jael mentions that Michael was also in a position to know. Jael expresses his surprise and disgust that Pitr would take it so personally. Miriam thanks Jael for doing her dirty work, but she insists that Jael bring him back in from the cold. Jael assents and apologizes. "Bring it too me sooner next time," Miriam asks.

Jael's Building: Jael ask Michael to put her in touch with a propagandist. They work on pro-quarantine posters. "Use only licensed prostitutes." "A brain-scan a year keeps the world safe from fear." "Vigilance. Inspection. Customs. VICtory!" "The Worm Is Always Watching"

Paul's Building (Hagar): Hagar, Jabin, and Goliath track down a master smuggler, Jonas, to fill the gap left by Ahab's capture. When Jabin is informed that there will be no rescue mounted to recover Ahab, he is surprised and shocked.

Michael's Interstitial: In Michael's private house on the church ground, Tay says his goodbyes before heading off to oversee the island of the mediums. ("I suppose being shipped off is better than being married to Leah.") Michael asks why he did all this. Tay says he wanted be respected for who he was.

Miriam's Interstitial: As the breakfast plates are cleared, Miriam and Michael discuss their sons. Miriam jokes about marrying Tay off to Jael. "Choosing marriages is women's work." "Men don't seem to have much sense in terms of getting getting into marriages, one way or another." Miriam asks Michael to talk to Erik about his impending marriage to Leah. Michael agrees it's a good match, but he's worried about giving Makeda a hold over him. Miriam wants Erik to want this.

Miriam: "He's good boy."
Michael: "He does what his mother tells him."
Miriam: "Like I said."

The two of them both are made slightly uncomfortable by the similarity between this marriage and their own. Michael suggests sending them on an off-world honeymoon.

Miriam: "Michael, how are you of all people telling me they should go off world?"
The glass shatters in his hand.
Michael:"I'm sorry. I can plot all I want, but sometimes things hit a little close to home."

Paul's Conflict: Miriam confronts Pitr about the situation with Jael

Miriam: "Do you have anything to report? You haven't been reporting to Jael, I hear."
Pitr: "I don't have anything to say to Jael."

Miriam: "Surveillance does things to people."

Pitr: "How many husbands before me will you have? Michael, Avram, now her?"

Pitr questions whether or not he's supposed to be here, and he admits he's been thinking of joining the Church.

Miriam: "I run a bureaucracy Pitr. Sometimes things get... lost. Sometimes I'm as confined in iron as you are. You need to help me figure out what the best place for you is."

Miriam: "There's something you can do for me. Michael's gathering a secret army of Mukhadish. Jael doesn't know about it."

His sense of purpose re-invigored, Pitr agrees to stay.

Pitr: "Am I your loyal subject."
Miriam: "And my husband."
Miriam: "Always."

He smiles as he leaves.

Jael's Interstitial: Jael asks Nimrod how someone like Lord Omri is affected by the quarantine. Nimrod says Omri breeds Mukhadish slaves for profit, but asks why Jael's is suddenly interested in him. Jael says he's more interested in the nobles as a class.

Nimrod explains how Miriam uses the ancestor cult to her advantage.

They briefly discuss the altercation with Pitr, and Nimrod blames himself for not anticipating it.

Michael's Interstitial: Michael passes Nimrod in the hall on the way to see Jael. Michael brings rumors of changes in the quarantine level, and Jael lets Michael know she's heard about his scheming (though not about the details). Michael explains the economic relationship between the quarantine and the pirates. Jael objects to these ideas, but Michael insists that unless structural changes are made, pirates will continue to exist, even if the current pirates are smashed. Both come to the conclusion that perhaps co-opting them is the best plan.

Michael objects to the portrayal of the Mukhadish in Jael's posters. "If they were like you, immune to the worm?" "If Kerrn had wings, they would be birds."

Jael: "Hope is a noble thing, so long as you do not let it blind you to what is."

Christina's Conflict: Following his torture, Ahab is brought to see Miriam and Jael in the throne room. He is treated suspiciously well.

Miriam offers him a chance to start over somewhere else, by leading pirates to desert. At first he resists, but Hagar's betrayal convinces him that he will never succeed her. A broken man, he believes that the Forged Lord will not betray him in this.

Jael's Building: Jael escorts Ahab back to his cell and pumps him for information on the way, trying to establish connections between various merchants and the pirates. Ahab sees through the ploy and reveals nothing. "Don't pretend you have my best interests at heart. She doesn't and neither do you.

Paul's Interstitial (Daniel): Levi calls Jael and patches in a signal from Jabin. Jabin offers Hagar in exchange for the release of Ahab, his brother. Jael does not agree immediately but does agree to keep talking.

Michael's Building: Michael goes to talk with Erik about his arranged marriage. Erik confesses that most of his unhappiness comes from the surprise of it all. "I thought Tay would be first." Michael raises the possibility of the couple spending some time off-world after the wedding. Erik asks Michael to introduce him to Leah. He agrees.

Later he follows up with Uriel about the state of her research. "Damn these Mukhadish! If only they worked how the books said." "It will certainly make a name for you if you succeed." She asks about Tay and the rest of the family. Later she calls up an old-friend, an off-worlder stentor named Nicolai.

End of Maneuver

Miriam's Rhetoric: help from Jael's IL: 1s
Hagar's Smuggling: help from Jabin and Jonas: 4s

Vaylen: 13, Humans 9


Jabin spys on Hagar and Jonas's planning.

Things we learned (fiction)

Cerelia arranged the marriage between Miriam and Pitr.

Avram is very fond of his younger sister, Leah.

Not all merchants are nobles.

Ahab had a distinquished Hammer career before he dead-ended and became a pirate.

Erik is a bit of womanizer.