'OK, you are hauled up thieves court in front of a scowling Silk, demure Morgan and the caterwauling underworld masses deep in the bowels of the Spanterhook. Tell me why again?'
Sketchy looks nonchanlantly about about at the assembled masses; lurking under mouldy beams, clustered hungrily in the shadows and brashly positioning for favour in the dimly lit hall. He's obviously discerning the reality
of the situation. Unfortunately his dice come up poorly and I glance at my general moves and correlate with my jotted notes from chargen, not having prepped any fronts (this being first session).
I go with turning his move back on him
, and ask a question, using the answers
as I too, am interested in exactly why they are here :)OK, Sketch, so what one question do you want to ask about the situation?
Sketch indicates that he wants to know what here is not what it appears to be
?'Well, you can see the smug look on Caleb the drug dealer's face as he leans in to Silk's ear and whispers something that brings a scowl to his face. From where you are Arwen, you can read his lips with your elvish talents! Is he mentioning Sketch's mental dalliance with Morgan le Fey, or the fact that Sketch was the one responsible for yet another prominent poisoning in Blacksand's merchantile elite?'
Sketch's player is scowling at this point....'Oh definately about his fantasies about Morgan. So creepy little man.'
She smiles at Sketch. I note down a stake asking why Caleb has spent his leverage on Sketch - What does Caleb want from Silk?
So the head of the theives guild enjoys a sililoquay about the obligations of members of the guild, that despite there being no honour among theives, there WILL be respect. For those who flaunt this in fron of him, there will be consequences. These two constantly disrespectful nere'do'wells have been banished from Blacksand, never to return unless they prove their worthiness by retrieving the macguffin inspired from the Spanterhook Starter. A sort of 'prequel' if you will. It needed to be something that pointed toward answering my stake of whether Morgan or Silk was dominant in the control of the guild.
'So, Sketch, what sort of magic personifies Morgan?
' He pondered before saying that is was demonology, arcane rituals, blood magic and all that. 'Cool. Silk proclaims your redemption lies in retrieving the Skull of Akatosh for the guild. You have till nightfall to leave town before your lives are forfiet. What do you do?'
Arwen wants to spout lore
about the skull of Akatosh (just like I hoped, as I was leaving blanks
about it.) 'Cool, what do you do?'
She describes talking with everyone she knows, Thranduil in particular, in the limited time they have left. She manages a 9 on her roll.'Hang on! I wanna help so she gets a strong hit.'
Sketch says he pitches in by grilling the apprentice of a Necomancer he collects rare body parts for, slamming him up against a grimy alley wall behind a house of ill repute in the muck and mire and cobblestones, knife to his throat asking him to tell all on the Skull of Akatosh or he'll tell his master of his proclivity for a certain fantasy involving a priestess of the temple of Light and Life. This was becoming oh so sordid. This was introduced on the spot of course, and I could have broken it down into all the sequential moves (finding the apprentice, establishing knowledge about the skull of Akatosh, Defying Danger to waylay him). But I wanted to get on with the adventure! So I just said YES and let Sketchy Roll his Aid
move. He managed to assist but at the expense of the apprentice's (who was named Gargamel) silent vow of retribution apon gaining power....
So now Arwen had a 10+ on her spout lore
. I decided to disclaim decision making
and asked her to tell us something interesting and useful. 'First, is it magical or mundane?'
Oh most certainly magical she authors. 'And where is it to be found? Have a look with Sketch at all these dungeon maps and blurbs ( about 10 from Dyson's website) and tell me where it has been ensconced.'
The two adventurers spend their last daylight hours in Blacksand poring over dusty maps and discussing where the magical skull of Akatosh was to found. They decided on 'Carver's Caves'
We adapted the hook with a little brainstorming to the following:
Carver’s Cave was converted into a secret fortress by a group of bandits (led by Carver) decades ago, but with their dissolution a few years back (most probably due to internal strife caused by our Darstardly Duo's longstanding con) the cave and their fortress was forgotten. Now something strange and insectile has moved in and converted the back of the cavern into a bizarre hive.
But now it has become known that the Magical Skull of Akatosh was among the treasures that the bandits stole and rumor has pointed to their excavations in Carver’s Cave as its resting place Thus a hardy band of adventurers is required to find the cave and then find the fortress and the lost Skull.
Our World map consisted only of a Rough scrawl of Port Blacksand, somewhere on the coast of the 'Kingdom', with Arwen's dis-enfranchised folk scattered into the wild forests. We had established the whole points of light ethos of D&D 4e and embraced the DW view as Dungeon World is a world of fantastic adventure. A world of magic, gods, demons, Good and Evil. Brave heroes venture into the most dangerous corners of the land to best fearsome monsters in search of gold, glory or redemption.
Through some enjoyable, time pressured, (each move or statement advanced the impending doom of the pair being hunted by their fellow thieves) world-building conversation and another Spout Lore by Arwen that determined the interesting fact that travel in the wilds around port Blacksand was arduous due to the heavily forested, mountainous terrain.... We discovered that Carver's Cave was rumoured to be scoured out of the sheer escarpments below Mount Grievous, deep in the tangled Woods of the Whispering Eye. (yes, someone had recently seen the film Role Models
*sigh*) So Awesome! We had a rough map (on a large piece of art paper) of the Port and the mountains / Forest nearby. Following the principle of make maps, leave plenty of blanks.'So its getting dark, you can feel the itchy trigger fingers of a dozen crossbow-wielding bounty hunters prickling your spines as you wander toward the crumbling poor quarter gates of Port Blacksand, what do you do?'Undertake a perilous journey
of course! Arwen as able to avoid the roll - being an elven Ranger - and describes them as being way off the beaten path, the dense forest swathed in mist and gloom, tracking their way carefully to the foothils of mount grievous, the ancient dwarven outpost protecting this end of the mountains staring bleakly into the valley. Nice, totally authored in. I run with that and as Sketchy hits his roll on a 7-9 tell them somewhat ominously that someone has been following them, though they haven't caught a glimpse of who or what it is....
So I grabbed my big box of dungeon tiles, sorted into caves / rooms / passageways, saying that we'll get to those later.... I then asked the players to choose a mini for their alter ego, and handed out HP as red glass tokens (I love those).
'You are staring up at the loft peaks of mount Grievous, swalled by the clouds, a fine drizzle blanketing the slippery, scrubby scree that leads aloft to Carver's hidden Fortress. You can see no discernable path, what do you do?
Next time the heroes ascend with some danger to the Dungeon and explore its ominous depths in search of the Skull of Akatosh!