So we began this week by transitioning the characters over to Beta 2.2. It was quick and easy. Everyone had gained enough XPs to level in last session so we all just agreed to pick up with everyone starting level 2 and going forward with the new system. Rudiger the Fighter changed his alignment over to Neutral after deciding that Good wasn't what he wanted and Pox the Thief, after seeing the new option of Chaotic, switched to that. We didn't stick to Alignment change rules for this, just considered it early character discovery and moved on.
Since we took zero time to discuss ANY world stuff or character motivations for the initial session, we spent a couple minutes talking a little about that. Its still pretty soft right now. We know that Rudiger was a member of the Black Gauntlets and though we didn't really establish what these guys are we did know that they had a plan for creating a goblin/lizardman threat to the area so that they themselves could swoop in, destroy the threat, and be local heroes. I'm thinking they're probably a mercenary band or something, looking for a good payout to take care of a problem that they secretly created. Who knows.
But we do know that Rudiger has bailed on them and has moved prematurely to end the threat in hopes of gaining all the glory for himself AND exposing the Black Gauntlet's plans to the people of Battlemore (or something like that). I'm still not really clear on what Pox and Siggrun's motivations are. We do know that the group established a working relationship after some failed heist attempt on the Black Gauntlet by Pox and Siggrun. I think they were running some sort of con on Rudiger just before he bailed on the Gauntlets but evidently in the fallout of the failed heist Rudiger liked what Pox and Siggrun were trying to do and supported their escape from retribution. If it sounds confusing, it probably is. You know exactly what we know about it, we left it pretty soft. Honestly, we spent about 2 minutes on it.
So this session turned out to be a bit more action packed than last and we had a lot of fun. It included an epic standoff with lizardmen and their leader in a frozen chamber, a near disastrous (and failed) attempt on the lizard man lair itself due to some hideous aquatic version of a junk yard dog, and a quick but bloody showdown with the goblins.
To retell in detail would be a bore but let me just say that the system handled action packed combat so well that we were all flying around the battlefield, shield bashing, backstabbing, eviscerating and pretty much creating a brutal pink mist where ever we went. We almost entirely forwent noncombat mechanics but really got into colorful uses of the various combat moves. I think we all came away with our own personal favorite moments of the night.
There was a rough section just after taking care of the lizardmen where Pox tied off with his Rope of Tricks (named "Ox") with Rudiger holding anchor. Pox took a swim up the stream that flowed through the frozen chamber to scout out what we assumed would be the lizardmen's lair. He was attacked by some hellish lizard/fish with tentacles and things were looking grim for poor Pox.
As I recall, instead of trying to escape he began Hack and Slashing and this was going poorly for him. At the same time, Rudiger is trying to reel him back him. We were confused about what we should have been rolling in that situation. It felt like Rudiger was aiding Pox but that would have fell upon a Bond roll which just felt weird, instead of relying upon the fighter's greatest and most reasonable asset, his strength. But Defy Danger felt a little strange too because Rudiger wasn't necessarily in Danger himself. We ultimately went with a Strength Defy Danger, as Siggrun joined in. It was weird because I think we had Siggrun do an Assist to Pox (or maybe Rudiger) but that just doesnt' make much sense either. Either way, Rudiger failed the Defy Danger, the roped slipped away and Siggrun is pulled into the water.
The whole time, Pox is alternating between hack and slashing and defying danger, mostly all were turning up with weak hits. On the other end, it was a comic routine of Rudiger trying to get a hold on the dwarf (who still had the rope) but with two Weak Hits on Defy Danger was mostly just thrashing around in the water. By now Pox and the creature had floated downstream enough that we were all in close proximity and the fish was starting to lash tentacles out at Siggrun and Rudiger. Siggrun played his alignment and bailed out, saving his hide and frantically heading for shore. Rudiger chose to ignore the tentacle and made a last ditch grab for Pox with another Strength Defy Danger, got another Weak Hit and managed to throw Pox to shore while simultaneously having his legs wrapped up by the beast.
This led to Ruddiger making a couple more defy dangers to try to escape, getting weak hits again, so gaining no real traction. Finally he abandoned escape and just brutally hack and slashed his way out. Everyone survived but it was harrowing.
So, all of that to say yes, it was a terrifying and exciting scene. But, we had a TON of weak hit defy dangers and hack slashes there. That scene really stretched out and we were having real difficulties coming up with good weak hit tradeoffs. After about 10 or so, you start getting a little worn down creatively and then 7-9's start just becoming status quo results as you wait for that next roll to hopefully just succeed or fail outright. Anyone else deal with this?
So after all was said and done, we've pretty much wrapped up the Bloodstone Idol location. We still haven't explored the lizardman lair, after the hellfish we just abandoned that area for now. But we have the heads of a goblin chief and a lizard chief, we have weaponry that is obviously from the Black Gauntlet foundries as evidence of their involvement with the humanoids, and a map depicting battleplans from the goblins that is obviously not designed by goblin hand, further evidence of collusion with the Black Gauntlet.
As far as the new XP system, it seems to be pretty sweet. Under Redbook our Thief nearly doubled the Cleric and Fighter in XPs. The Thief rolls amazingly hot. I'd guess 90% of his rolls are successes so he gained very little roll related XP. I think the Cleric and Fighter both had 8 roll related XPs and the Thief had 3 or 4? We finished up with alignment XP awards (Thief and Fighter got theirs), resolving bonds (Thief and Fighter resolved bonds), and then we all got 2 of 3 end of session question XPs. We all leveled and went home having played a very exciting and fun session. Everyone's hooked on Dungeon World right now!