Wednesday 30 November 2022

Imperfect Examples

Some will be pleased to hear that I've been dipping back into Mythic Bastionland. No updates to the doc just yet, as I'm going back in with a more deliberate approach now, getting the core polished up before I start working away on the Knights and Myths.

Top of the to-do list for a while has been writing an Example of Play.

I've been hanging on until I felt the mechanics were more stable, as I didn't want to have to rewrite the thing with every rules change. That's still a concern, but I feel like "demonstration of rules mechanics" is just half of what Examples of Play are for.

They also set the tone of the world, establish the expectations of play, and hopefully demystify the whole process by framing it as a conversation rather than a clockwork masterpiece.

It's easy to laugh or cringe at those old examples of play written like an amateur play script or... worse.

The GM grins and grabs the d12. The players watch it in terror.

GM: Aha! Now the real danger begins.

There's a glimmer in the GM's eye. Everybody applauds. 

Yeah I hate them too BUT I think a little informality goes a long way. Dare I say we should have examples of play where the GM makes mistakes? There are few GM skills more useful than knowing how to recover from a blunder or improvise your way out of a dead end. 

I haven't gone too far into that idea yet, but this is just a first pass. 

Here's what I have so far: 

A group of three are playing. Ash is the Referee and the characters are Margan the Moss Knight and Tanza the Talon Knight.


Ash: You see light flickering from within the cave. It’s maybe 30ft away through the trees. 

Margan: Any signs of life around the cave? 

Ash: It’s pretty dark here other than the light from the cave. I assume you put your torches out before you started sneaking up here?

Margan: Yeah, makes sense.

Ash: Well even under the moonlight you can make out shadows of movement. Looks like someone is moving around inside the cave. You also spot a silhouette standing guard, outside, a solid looking figure.

Tanza: Wait, I have a plan. Are they carrying a weapon? I could send my Raven to steal it if it’s on the ground. She specialises in Stealing, after all.  

Ash: They’re definitely armed, but let’s do a Luck Roll to see if they’re carrying it. We’ll call it straight 50/50.

Rolls a d6, scoring 2. This means fortune does not favour the characters. 

Ash: You can see a mace hung on their belt. Your Raven could still go for it, but would need a Save to avoid the guard’s anger.

Tanza: Let’s do it. FIN Save for the Raven, yeah?

Ash: Go for it.

Tanza rolls a 19, failing the Save.

Ash: Your Raven swoops down on the unsuspecting guard, grasping at his mace with her talons. The guard grabs onto the haft, wrenching it free from her grip and winding up to strike. What’s she doing? 

Tanza: Get her out of there! Actually, she can fly off in the other direction, away from us. Might cause a distraction.

Ash: Let’s see if he falls for it…


Ash: Right, so it’s the dawn of a new day.

Ash points to the pawn on the player’s map showing their location.

Ash: To recap, you’re here. Other than the elevated camping spot you found it’s rather unpleasant bog as far as the eye can see. The air feels damp and mushroomy. 

Both players look at the map and start to point at other hexes. 

Margan: We don’t have a route, so we’ll likely be hiking. We could make it to this Shire hex by nightfall. Get ourselves a proper  meal and actually speak to some locals?

Tanza: Yeah but we know these woods over here are where the Goblin was last seen. Can we see the woods from here?

Ash: Not from your camp, but they’re so far away that you’d only get a distant view anyway. Like you’d see there are woods, but couldn’t spot a person there.

Tanza: Okay let’s hike toward that Shire instead and do some information gathering. As we’re travelling can I search for any other travellers we could speak to? I can see through my Raven’s eyes remember.

Ash: Yeah that’ll help for sure. No real risk here so we’ll just make it a Luck Roll. With your Raven you’ll certainly find somebody, but this is more about how far away they are.

Tanza rolls a d6, scoring 5. 

Ash: Sure, there’s somebody travelling not far from here, let me see who we’ve got.

Ash decides to roll a random Prompt for a Person, scoring 1 and 11. They’ll also use the State prompt from the same page. The result is “Lost Knight” and “Nurturing”. 

Ash: Through your Raven’s eyes you see an armoured figure riding on horseback, a smaller figure on a pony trailing behind them. Looks like a Knight and their squire. You’ve got enough warning to skirt around them, or are you going to move closer?


Ash: The boar is huge, like a hay bale. Its eyes dead and black like a shark. It stands taut, as if it could charge any minute.

Margan: This pig is definitely up for a fight. 

Tanza: Fine!

Margan and Tanza discuss a plan briefly.

Tanza: Okay, can I climb up into a tree? Are there any nearby?

Ash: Sure, we’re in a forest. You scramble up without any trouble. 

Margan: I’ll get under the tree and try to bait the boar into charging me, then Tanza will dive down onto it when it gets close.

Ash: Hm, I think moving to the tree and climbing it is already an action for this turn. If you bait the boar over then it’ll get to charge you before you can respond.

Margan: Fine, let’s go ahead with that. I hoist up my shield. 

Ash: The boar charges at Margan and…

Rolls d10 for damage, scoring 9. This is reduced to 8 because of Margan’s shield. 

Ash: Eight damage! So the boar…

Margan: Woah, hang on. I’ll use the Endure Feat on that, trying to take the brunt of the charge on my shield. 

Ash: Okay, you use Endure, in that case meaning no damage. Take a Wrath though.

Margan: Got it. Our turn? Spring the trap! I attack with my cudgel and…

Tanza: I leap down with my hookhammer, which gets +d6 when leaping down.

Ash: Okay, who’s leading the attack? 

Margan: Me! I want revenge on this pig. 

Tanza gives their 2d6 to Margan, who adds d6 from their own weapon and rolls all three, scoring 2, 2, 6. The highest single die is 6. 

Margan: Six damage!

Ash: And it’s an Onslaught because you rolled the highest number on your die! You’re going to hit this pig, but what else do you want to happen?


Margan: Yeah this was fun! 

Ash: Wait, we have one more thing to do before we go. It’s the end of a session so you have to decide how many parts of your oath you fulfilled.

The table look over the three parts of the oath and discuss their actions. 

Tanza: Yeah I think on balance we didn’t really Honour the Seers, but I’m glad we ignored him anyway, he was a weirdo. 

Ash: So you’ll both gain 2 Glory. Tanza you’re on 5, Margan 7. 

Margan: So I’m a Knight Exemplar now?

Ash: Yeah, so you’re considered worthy of a place in court. Not much use out here in the bog but if you go to a holding you might be able to get a position of influence.

Tanza: Did we say about doing a time skip?

Ash: Oh yeah, that was the plan. We said we’d move onto the next Season. Are you happy with that?

Margan: I mean we have some loose threads but I think it’d be fun to move things along.

Tanza: Yeah let’s do it.

Ash: So next game we’ll move into Winter. What are you both focusing on between the seasons?

Ash shows them both the list of options.

Tanza: Oh I can just relieve a Burden? I’ll get rid of that Dread I picked up.

Ash: That’s Indulgence, right? What are you doing? 

Tanza: How about spending some time riding out alone, my raven on my arm. Hm, I dunno, would that work?

Ash: Yeah that’s a cool image. A bit of a recluse period. 

Margan: Can I do the court focus? I know we’re in the swamp.

Ash: No it’s fine, we assume you both travel about a bit and then reconvene next time.

Margan: Great, well I’ll see if I can get some influence at the Seat of Power with my new worthiness.

Ash: Nice. We’ll come back to that at the start of the next game. Okay, we’re done!

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