Thursday, 13 March 2014

Wednesday Weekly Oneshots 1&2: Strange Gods and Strange Lands

Wednesday has always been roleplay day. At the University where I met my good friends and regular roleplay team, Wednesday afternoons were free from lectures and seminars. I can only imagine this was so the numerous (and probably award-winning) sports teams could converge and train while it was still light. The delightful outcome of that was a tabletop gaming society that could run games from 2pm - 7pm every week.

This was a unique experience, being involved in a capsule game that ran for the length of a semester every week. It meant that we got to experience different systems, plots, GMs; I would whole-heartedly support anyone attending a University with a roleplay society taking part and trying all the games you can. It will form the way you look at games.
Anyway, what is all this preamble in aid of? Recently a long running Star Trek game came to it's end-of-season break, and we were left with our Wednesday evenings again. And it occurred to me: Why can't we reclaim our Wednesdays for exploring our game experiences?

Weekly Wednesday Oneshots seemed like the perfect opportunity to try out all the systems we're hoarding on the shelves, sample different plots and find something interesting to do with our free evenings. I have always firmly believed in roleplay as a tool to bring people together, so what better way to spend an evening with my friends? It's more social than a film, more creative than a board game, and it's a challenge. Pitching your wits against someone in the room with you is a sure way to feel awake and focused by the time you're done.

This week's oneshot comes from a highly successful Robin Hood game, one of the last we were involved with in the society. It was a spiritual successor to Robin of Sherwood, where the thirteen gods of Britain chose Robin as their champion to protect the land against the gathering storm of war and crusade. All in all it was a brilliant game and I still intend to write it all down one day. But in the mean time we have a oneshot to keep us occupied.

Anyway... The first WWO was a bit of a disaster, only in that we couldn't contain it to a oneshot, and we left it on a cliffhanger. So I hereby announce the first WWT!

Tudor Monastery Farm is AWESOME!!
     Since our Robin Hood game, the alternate history of Britain has been something i have returned to several times. So when the original GM offered to run a game set 300 years after Robin Greenwood was crowned High King, I was sold. It seemed intriguing, the idea of our Britain with a rich culture of paganism and religious tolerance behind it. I know an amount about Tudor England, so it was nice translating what I knew into a nation with fourteen gods and latent natural magic. Not a lot changed, Britain is still Britain, a place of excellent farming, quality wool, and faith aplenty. Overall the setting was still organic and exciting. 

     Edmund has a long-running love affair with GURPS, and the flexibility it affords roleplayers. The original game was run in Legends of Anglerre, a system that encourages character and drama. GURPS instead offers total liberty of character build. It allowed us to play largely realistic character with touches of magic and blessings along the way. The main downside of GURPS especially for a oneshot is that is takes a little while to trawl through your various options. In this case Edmund side-stepped it by genning the initial stages of our characters himself. We supplied our concepts and he supplied us with suggested skills. Then we did our own attributes, disadvantages and perks. The others spent a little longer on buying equipment, but I hoped to avoid combat all together! 

Thomas Wolsey
Alternate universe Thomas Wolsey where instead of Catholicism, he was a priest of Britannia and the Bishop of Northampton. He joined the party as a linguist and theologian. Without him we would have had no hope of communicating with the indigenous people of the new world.

Sir Erskine Borthwick
Our primary damage dealer, a knight of the realm of Scotland. Rife with phobias, night-blindness and wild overconfidence, he was a much needed injection of id into our party's cerebral consciousness!

Ester Green
My character, a sister of the faithful of Rowenna (lady of fertility). She is the latest in a long line of medics I've played. Not only that, but she was heavily inspired by my enthusiastic (totally not obsessive) watching of Tudor Monastery Farm, introducing some modern agricultural practices to our new friends. Bonus points for noticing the awesome human geography nod in Ester's name.

     The game followed a good sequel rule by taking us out of Britain's green and pleasant lands, and sending us across the great western ocean to lands unknown. Our cold war with the Catholic Spanish had been simmering for some time, and as they turned their eyes to the gold-drenched lands our mission was clear. To save the native peoples and gods from the influence of the brutalising Spanish conquistadors. Together the good ships John Longstride, Thunderer and Wild Hunt crossed the waters to strange lands.
     Over the course of the session we either befriended, fought or impressed various settlements of the Nahua people. Wolsey learned some of the language and became a grand diplomat, attempting to unify the kings in the face of the Spanish. Borthwick fought with the Jaguars and eventually trained some to take down an armoured man. Ester worked on their agriculture, trying to introduce some of her best plough designs using hardened wood rather than the much rarer metal. 
     It was relatively mysticism light, and mostly an amusing look at the representatives of High Queen Meredith II, faced with ritual sacrifice and blood drinking. Through all this, and with an MVP award going to Wolsey who became so famous that we were invited to see Montezuma. At the end of the session we all decided to go to bed and leave the session hanging off a metaphorical mini cliff.......

Overall... this was a brilliant kickstart to WWO (even if it was a WWT, but whatever!) WeIl had fun character moments and roleplay and the setting mash-up was fresh and original. The party was really well balanced, and the little cliffhanger waiting for the arrival of the emissary of Montezuma makes me eagerly await the second leg of our twoshot.... In fact I shall write about it now!

Part II... Strange Gods in even Stranger Lands.
     Was brilliant! It followed the ever-increasing curve of mysticism. We did rituals to the strange gods and turned the power of nature against the Spanish invaders. The forests rose up to cover their paths and cannons and frightened the Nahua who sided with them. We walked in the presence of both pantheons and reminded Huitzilopochtli, Quetzalcoatl & Xipe Totec how to protect their children. And, of course, we returned to the four kingdoms of Great Britain as heroes. Promotions, gold and unity abound, the gods were pleased and everything ended well. Great job guys!

Next week: Death Eaters following the fall of Voldermort...

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