Monday, October 13, 2014

Lacuna Locurae Play Session Report 1: Shipwrecked on Magyaru, and Problems with Very Bad Doggies

My apologies for the long absence. Writing deadlines, wives with broken arms, day job, etc., have conspired to limit my time and energy. I've decided to get back into the swing of things by posting some reports of the sessions I've been running in my Lacuna Locurae setting, as part of the DCC RPG World Tour.

I've been running some DCC RPG World Tour sessions (three so far) on my campus, for members of our student gaming club, and others who are interested. It's been pretty great. I'm starting them off with a zero-level funnel version of Doom of the Savage Kings, with some of the encounters nerfed just a little bit. Though, as you shall see, this probably wasn't all that necessary.

I've had a fluctuating group of players. We game on Friday afternoons, but sometimes people can't make it, or show up a bit late, so we end up with somewhere between 4 and 7 players on any given day. Most of the players are veterans of various flavors of D&D and/or Pathfinder, so they know what they're doing. One even has played DCC with me before. They're playing smart, and they're very, very careful. So much so, that I sometimes have to force a decision by providing artificial time constraints on planning, if the planning takes too much time.

Here's what's happened so far.

Our party consisted of those whose lives had led them to leave the Great Empire--third sons and daughters, indentured servants, slaves, fortune-seekers, and whatnot. The were en route to Magyaru, a colonial port of the Empire. The Great Empire is, culturally, a bit like the Ottoman Empire and the British Empire, put in a blender. The native folk of the island are modeled on the Picts and Gaels of R. E. Howard's stories. So, in essence, I'm trying to mash up something like the Roman experience in Britain with the settlement of Colonial America.

The port city of Magyaru is on the southern coast of an island roughly the size of Texas. The island itself is a single, gigantic mountain, bigger than Everest by a long shot. Parts of it extend out into the surrounding sea, and manifest as various island chains, fertile fishing grounds for both honest fisherman and ruthless pirates. The island is home to savage tribes of pale-skinned, fair-haired folk. They tend to keep clear of the colonials, but there have been incidents. There will be more. I've also placed Magyaru and some of the surrounding settlements in the midst of ancient ruins and barrowlands. This could be consequential, later.

The party's ship ended up running aground on a reef when it got lost in the fog. The survivors made landfall about 80 miles west of Magyaru. The crew died in the wreck, and all record of the nature of the ship's passengers was lost. With no records of identity, indenture, or bondage, all of them are now free colonists. They need merely assume whatever identities please them, and start with a clean slate.

One passenger died as he jumped from the ship (fumbled), and broke his neck on the rocks. The rest made it to shore and found that the coastal road was not too far inland. They made camp and rested the night. When they reached the road the next morning, they spotted a native, who ran away from them. Two of the players decided to pursue him, but instead encountered a sounder of wild pigs. The boar managed to kill two zeroes before they killed it. They left the bodies and hauled away the fresh pork.

After walking the rest of the day, they found themselves on the outside of a fishing village, Hirot. Just outside of town, they stumbled upon a group of townsfolk leading a young woman to be sacrificed at a group of ancient standing stones. They didn't announce themselves, but watched and waited for a bit. After a while they approached and found out that the sacrifice was intended to appease some kind of demonic hound. The Yamash (a title for the ruler of this town) and his advisor (Sylle Ru) had concocted a scheme whereby sacrifices would be made. This time, it would be the innkeeper's only daughter, Lilya. Her father, Uxo, had gotten on the wrong side of them, it seems, and this was their revenge.

The source of conflict, as the players would find out later, was contention over governance of Hirot. The appointed rulers, the Yamash and his bodyguard of noble warriors, had come into conflict with the town's notable men of affairs. This tension between the old nobility and the rising merchant class will be a source of constant tension in this setting.

In any case, the party freed the girl and disguised her with a hooded cloak. They entered the town and made friends with her father, while she hid upstairs in her family's lodgings.

Later that night, the Hound of Hirot returned. Not finding a sacrifice to appease it, the beast leaped over the wall and ripped its way into a house. After eviscerating a family of five, it returned from whence it came.

Next Installment: The Day After