Family Fun (Actual play)

Ran a game this week! AND I finally killed one of the bastards – even if the Cleric managed to save him shortly thereafter.

I was down in Oregon for my cousin’s wedding (glorious: the groom wore a Regency riding-coat, purple silk waistcoat and cravat, and pulled it off), and crashed at my sister’s place for a few nights.

We wound up with almost the entire family around a table for the first time in ages (missing 2 brothers due to work). It’s been a LONG time since I’ve had to run 8 people at once. Fortunately, we had a fairly sober table (‘cept for the drunken goat and his pet Irishman), which made things much easier. The game itself continues to run fast and clean. I tested out the LotFP fast-roll sheets (see the house rules link, above), which worked like a charm; the equipment lists continue to be a sticking point, however, and I think I may just need to set up some of my patented “Generic Adventuring Packs” on 3×5 cards again. More on that later. Still, I actually had players deliberately minimizing their gear to avoid encumbrance penalties, buying pack-animals, and using their remaining gear and weapons in much more creative ways. Guns continue to be a huge hit with the players, and a great deal of fun to manage; strategic misfires changed the outcome of several fights. I found a few minor points on the gun sheets I need to clean up and make clearer, so those will be addressed soon.   The players also continue to avoid spellcasting like the plague*, making me a sad monkey. Time to break out the wizards…

*Current total of characters rolled up for my games: 6 Specialists, 5 Fighters, 2 Savages (both shamans), 1 Cleric, and 0 Mages.

The players, in order of seniority:
• Malcom O’Maihle, Irish Whitesmith (Specialist). Notable items: cold iron dagger, tinsmithing gear, and Oliver the English Goat (“Called him that so I could beat him without feelin’ too guilty”) [Dad]
• Guysponge Fourpwood, Mighty Pirate (Fighter). Notable items: Fat sack of cash, Kettle Hat, Pig Latin proficiency. [Sister #1]
• Arturus Falconwrath, Dilettante and Upper-class Twit (Specialist). Notable Items: Elspeth the Camel-sheep (a pack-llama), Rifled carbine, attitude, disownment from family. [Sister #2]
• Giselle, Venetian whore Spy (Specialist). Kelptomania, hourglass, lockpicks, other tools of trade. History with “Arturus”. [Wife]
• Matahi, South-Seas Harpooner [Savage]. Taboos out the ass, shark-tooth sword, flensing knife, harpoons, the Arm of Zotz (God, I love that spell), assorted shaman’s tools. [Brother #2]
•  Kerwin, German Jäeger [Fighter]. Uniform, rifle, one of the only German-speakers in the party. Excellent character portrait. [Sister #3]
• Rajahan, Persian mercenary [Fighter]. One of the few players who brought shelter. Someone’s going to sleep way better than the rest.. [Sister #4]
• James, Cleric. Had Holy water and a good old “Holy-water sprinkler”. Only PC with a shield or armor heavier than a buffcoat. [Brother #4]

Plus one character who went unplayed due to its owner deciding that bed was the better alternative to math.

Scenario: Players are shipwrecked on the Isle of the Forgotten; items are what they’ve managed to salvage/lay claim on. The party were on two separate ships, both wrecked in the same storm, and of several differing religions, which I forsee making life interesting if we pick these poor bastards up again.  Mild spoilers for “Better Than any Man” below the cut, so if you still haven’t read it, go get it. (I re-skinned the Farmhouse complex from BTaM on the fly into a recently-raided Polynesian village.)

After picking themselves off, the characters sighted light smoke coming from the treeline, and headed for the source. The Savage and Jaeger went ahead as scouts, since they were only lightly encumbered, and the remainder of the party followed. On arriving an hour later, they found a partially-demolished, empty village. No bodies were in evidence, even though one of the outlying buildings had been shot apart with a cannon.  The Jäeger held back on the treeline with the pack animals, covering the entrances of the only buildings that were on the ground (as opposed to stilts): a heavily-decorated long-house (the smoke’s source) and a large wooden hut. The smoke was rapidly thinning, and disappeared in only a few moments. Ignoring this, the rest of the party investigated the confusion of tracks on the shoreline, finding tracks from many shod and unshod feet, plus those of some curiously large birds..
Meanwhile, Marcus, Giselle, and Matahi noticed that the long-house seemed to have been recently repaired, and slipped in to investigate.

Suddenly, the party heard a strange chanting and faint drumming noise; the Cleric immediately cast Bless on himself (which would prove fortunate later), while the folk outside started milling around in confusion. Marcus went into the loft of the longhouse, freaked out at the sight of two apparent walking corpses, and fled screaming. During the ensuing scuffle, our Harpooner managed to nail one of the disguised bandits in the groin with one well-placed harpoon throw. The other was dispatched shortly thereafter while attempting to set fire to the loft with the remains of his pistol and powder (The barrel exploded when he fired at Malcom). The drumming and chanting stopped abruptly, further spooking the party.

Investigating the long-house, they found a trap-door, setting the bodies on it before quietly sneaking off to investigate the other building. The two bandits within had been hiding at the back door. They ineffectually discharged pistols (two misfires, Poor-quality flintlocks and improvised powder), and fled towards the tree-line – but the Jäeger earned her keep, ably dispatching the first, while the unencumbered Irishman ran down the other and spitted him with a rapier (also, rolled him for his money and a few cartridges – the pistol broke during his fall. He rolled the rifleman’s kill as well, adding another gun to his belt, along with several more cartridges.)

After finding a secret door hidden in the rear of the second building, the whole party (less, again the jäeger in the treeline) successfully stormed the gang’s underground hideout. In the fracas, Matahi took a bullet to the face and dropped at 0 HP (exactly). Once his men were all dead, the leader of the shipwrecked Germans managed to use a Mexican stand-off in the party to flee through his secret door – only to be chokeslammed off the ladder by Malcom, in hot pursuit after a lucky kick at the secret door panel. The Cleric used Bless points after he muffed his Physic roll, narrowly saving Matahi’s life; after a bit of rolling, we determined that he’d lost an eye, but was still too weak to move on his own.

Short and unpleasant negotiations plus an extremely favorable Reaction roll later, Gunther has joined the party (and is slightly infatuated with Giselle). They even let him keep a knife and some of his money (hired on as a merc), which will go a long way towards keeping his loyalty. According to him, he and his men had been shipwrecked years earlier, and dug a secret channel from the house the locals had given them to the longhouse, then set up shop as false god. They would trade local foodstuffs and goods, as well as the odd native, to a group of French slavers in exchange for shot, powder, and trinkets. Unfortunately, something seems to have changed; the French had assaulted the village a few weeks earlier, enslaving everyone they could, with some kind of horrible featherless birds assisting them. Since then, Gunter and his men had been in hiding, going out only at night to gather food and scavenge the remains of the village. They’d lit the fire the night before, during the storm, and accidentally left it while they slept (after getting chased out of their barracks area by a swarm of giant cockroaches).

Sadly, the players failed to force the secret door leading to the Thing that was the real reason the village elders had been willing to kowtow to a mysterious pale being coming up through the floor of their longhouse..

We left them cowering, fireless, inside the Germans’ house with a barricade in the tunnel, nursing their harpooner back to life and binding their own wounds as they counted out what treasure they could find/steal.

The Payoff:
100 XP. Each member of the party walked away with four bits in gold, a good quantity of silver, and a few trade-axes and beads. There were a total of 5 salvageable pistols, one with a damaged lock (Malcom currently has 3 of them..), plus an additional pair of damaged ones, a boarding-pike, a few hangers and tomahawks, and a good German rapier. They also found 22 cartridges, but expended 5 shots of their own. Finally, they managed to get together a week’s un-spoiled food for the party.

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