Our regular GM cancelled his Star Wars thang this week (something about having a new job and needing to sort himself out, although he was still up for playing) and, as is the custom, I took the driving seat for a one-off. Since it looked – at the time – as though we’d have both the players from my last dalliance with AFF available, and since I’ve been thinking about it recently, I decided to give it another spin. Of course, neither of the prior players were actually in a fit state to play, so rather than disrupt what they’d been up to I decided to run something on the other side of the world.
I decided on the sandbox adventure I’d nicked off Coop’s at Fighting Fantasist – lacking as I do the actual copy of Warlock in question, I had to crack out some random encounter tables to populate some of the squares while the three players rolled up their characters and worked out just how much mileage there was in the Personalise spell (which I’ve houseruled to be a sort of meta-gamey “tell me what you want and I’ll tell you if you can do it and for how much” effect to encourage some ingenious play). It should be noted that I don’t plan on going with the “beetles have eaten your boat” dick move ending, largely because I harbour vague ambitions of bringing all the characters generated thus far together at some point so I can establish a pool for future one-shots.
Given my other house rule – the one where an Initial Skill of 10, 11 0r 12 warrants spending points on the Magic special skill, both because it’s the most efficient way of building a mage and because it reduces that Initial Skill down to the point where the character isn’t gamebreakingly good – we ended up with quite a magical party; a sneaky jackass journeyman wizard by the name of Rodriguez, a surprisingly sensible priest called (sigh) Leric and an inbred knight rejoicing in the name Sir Lord (double sigh).
The level of internal bickering and new-school backstory improvisation was high, as were the pranks played within the party, and consequently not much actual exploring was done. Our heroes struck north from their landing point on the shores of Mauristatia and headed north toward the forest, operating on the principle that trees mean cover and trees with a plume of smoke beyond them mean civilisation. They flushed and killed and (eventually) butchered a wild boar (demonstrating the combat system) and bedded down for the night near the old forest road running across the middle of the valley, awakened in the night by the passing hooves of a centaur war party (since they had someone on watch, I allowed some Skill and Luck rolls to successfully hide).
In the morning, they struck west toward the hills, trying to get a good look at the plains to the south, and caught sight of a centaur camp about eight hours’ walk to the south-west. They also fought a Boulder Beast after Rodriguez was dense enough to push its wife over the edge. Still squabbling over whose fault it was, the heroes descended the slope into a wooded valley and startled a pixie, who took umbrage at their antics and abused them roundly. During the ensuing argument, Sir Lord stomped off on his own and stumbled upon the Mungies’ lair, but didn’t feel like navigating the thorny, monkey-infested hellhole on his own. The session drew to a close with some shenanigans involving shield-surfing down a hill and the aforementioned noble knight heading off to draw up his own camp for the night in the next square over, away from shield thieves and other ignoble sorts.
I must confess that it was a slightly sillier session than I am ordinarily keen on, but what the hell – they can’t all be elegant crystalline structures of pure intellectual fulfilment. Though goodness knows I’d like one of those, I think they’re more likely to occur in a longer-term campaign/chronicle context. Some people have been expressing an interest in the World of Darkness of all things – maybe I could go back to my roots at some point?