Valley of Plenty Playtest Notes 2

Hi! Peggy again, back with part two of the playtest. This will include some things I gloss over as we made some changes and want to be sure we don’t spoil anything we might decide to use in a later part of the saga.

When last we left our Wildlings, they had finished the New Riders’ Festival and were rounding in on adult initiation. So, that’s where we will pick up.

We sent the players a copy of Elmal Follows His Shadow to read beforehand (homework, I know!) as that is the Hero Quest the characters use for their
adult initiation. It’s been said before, but I will say again because I like it, there is no gender separation for becoming an adult. Our version of Elmal believes everyone should give their best (whatever that might be) to the clan.

We also had the players choose their runes ahead of time. It broke down as follows:

  • Armakt: Fire Truth Harmony – He wants to be an Elmalian and chose Harmony because of his childhood epithet of Peacemaker.
  • Drella: Spirit, Mastery, Air – I wanted to play a shaman and with 2 near-death experiences it set up nicely. I chose Air because Drella really was an Air Child. She never sits still, is quick to do anything and join a fight…. and, I wanted to show everyone what it was like having to deal with an Air Rune person like I have to in our other campaign!
  • Ivarna: Horse, Fire, Harmony – She wants to follow Redalda and is easy going and tries to make everyone feel welcome.
  • Qorlmakt: Bear, Movement, Air – He wants to be an Odaylan and is not known for sticking around, wandering off on his own to commune with nature.

Onward to adulthood! No one rolled spectacularly good or bad in the lead up so went into it with no +/- to their rolls. For every contest, Shawn had each player roll first and once everyone was done, he narrated their outcome one by one.

Here’s where the playtest bit comes in: We did all Drella’s rolls ahead of time against Shawn’s. The goal was for her to die at the end and see how it would play out. So, when everyone else confronted the devil they came out, but Drella fumbled to his critical success and down she went. We ultimately
decided not to include this option in the book as we felt it was something that could potentially be more fun later, when the characters were older and more experienced.

The next session was off the book as the other Wildlings went in to rescue Drella. I’d love to talk more about it, but some of it might be used later in the written campaign so will save it for a later blog post. The only thing I will mention is Drella got to meet her hero, Perniski Fleetfoot, and thought dying worth it for that!

We jump ahead now to the raid against the Sambari. There were a couple of RP sessions from the time it was announced to the time we raided. Like I said, our players love to talk! I think half our players forgot to write down the stunt they were to perform, so we didn’t do much with that. So, remind your players if you aren’t doing this all in one session to make a note on their sheet!

We had players roll for the NPC parts and no one was excited to be the one to potentially fumble for Dinorth’s bit, so I rolled but didn’t fumble!

Our bit of the raid went well. We faced down the herders and rescued the thrall there. On the way back, sheep in tow, we ran into trouble. Most of the Wildlings stayed to charge the oncoming Arrenthi, but Drella (not a fighter!) chose to take a couple of NPCs including Banthis and keep moving the sheep to Ozgar’s Finger.

To face the Arrenthi, Shawn used a group simple contest. He narrated everyone’s action separately, but overall used them to determine the result for the group. Drella also made a simple contest to not lose the sheep with a bonus for having help, including the thrall who knew the region.

We made it back with no injuries and 20 sheep and 3 horses! The best of the raid so the Wildlings were awarded the silver arm band (we marked this on sheets as The King’s Eye under relationships with a rating of 13). We also received a temporary wealth rating of Looted Sheep 15. Players were awarded 3 points to raise abilities used on the raid.

In the next session we spoke with Velorina about taking gifts to her sister, Merewin Trueflight of the Stormcrows. Each PC was given the opportunity to speak with an NPC before leaving for advice or to say they would be gone. Armakt worried to Edora that the Wildlings were not up to being diplomats. (He was wrong. We mostly were!)

And here’s where I skip ahead. The meeting with Merewin went well. A random roll determined who would be closest to Hara and be the one she grabbed to present the gifts. Drella, a lay member of the Drogarsi cult, did well, and I used a Hero Point to make it a critical success, worried about future actions on the visit. (Wildlings will be Wildlings!) We did not change Merewin’s mind, but Alcinda appeared somewhat more receptive to us.

There had been a bit of teenage girl bonding earlier when Harvin made a typical Orlanthi comment and said Alcinda was too delicate to see something. Drella and Ivarna instantly rolled their eyes and the three of them shared a smile.

Manish tried to share wine with the Wildlings, but only Ivarna and Qorlmakt of the PCs went along with it. Armakt excused himself to bed and Drella spent her time speaking to the children, telling stories, and showing off the air elemental (Wisp) she brought back from the Underworld. It lives under her hat and she has it lift the hat from her head and spin it around.
At the end of the session each player received 2 directed raises, one to their Bluejay clan and one to a used ability.

The following morning, only Manish was there and accompanied the Wildlings when they were hurried off.

And here I will draw things to a close with an explanation of why our Wildlings did not face the Hell Cats. In our Anmangarn home game, we had a journey where we faced down three vicious sabercats. Called Ghosts, they were haunting the region around Asborn Thriceborn. (We killed one and injured one.) So, rather than do this again to players who had done it already, Shawn came up with a new threat. We did not face it on the way TO the Stormcrows, but we did on the way back. Ivarna and Hara enlisted the aid of Manish and his two Lunar soldiers to help face the challenge. Armakt, Drella, and Ula were unimpressed with this decision!

This monster is likely to turn up in a later book, so I am not going to give details other than to say it was damn creepier than even vicious sabercats.

We ended the session with an uneventful journey home. Each player again received a couple of directed raises. Next session we will RP filling the King and Queen in on the journey and wrap up any loose threads and give players a chance to talk to any NPCs they have lingering questions for.

Players were given a choice if they wanted to RP the visit or have it summarized by Shawn and we chose to RP! Kind of always. Because we have a great group!

Like last time, if you have questions, don’t hesitate to ask! We’ve a few months before we get back to the Wildlings, but if you’re interested, in a few weeks I will be doing actual play summaries over on the BRP forum for our home game.

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