Rituals of Succession (1st game)

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Rituals of Succession (1st game)

Postby Dionysus » Tue Dec 08, 2009 4:14 pm

Oh wow.

We've just had our first session ever of HotB. It was just insanely fun - I've never had so much player attention and involvement from everyone at the table in any other game. Just awesome. Anyway. None of us had played the game, and the players had only read the preview. We started by thinking how we could play and what we'd be doing. No-one wanted to start in on all the season actions to start, so they made characters as normal, but no devotions or lands or vassals - only 5 points for bonuses (which no one really picked until we'd gotten half way into the game.

But the scenario we came up with was the following - The ven have no idea of inheretance, so how does land get passed on when a noble ven becomes old and goes into solace - we have the "ritual of succession". Like the rituals of vendetta and revenge, the senate appoints an "adjudicator" to oversee the events, and a group of ven go to the land in question and battle between themselves for control of the land, while the adjudicator ensures that no laws are broken in the proceedings.

That was the beginning. Then the players made their characters.
We had two snakes, two elk, and a bear.

Tolfnet Lokaru of the Bear. Strong and dangerous as a wolf, but lacking in cunning.
Her aspects are: "chronically underestimated" and "Hides in plain sight." Other ven know she always strives against monsters and nature, and for some reason seems subservient and willing to play second fiddle.

Airisul En-Ru, of the Serpent. both cunning and wise but useless in battle. He has a nose for sec
Aspects: "I know your secrets" and "Cat-like". He has a nose for secrets and the supernatural, but no one trusts his constant questioning and strange ticks and conversations with thin air.

Isaren Perth of the serpent Beatiful and wise, but unacustomed to physical exertion.
Aspects: "The secret language of the world" and "artisan" - She is graceful and hypnotic, understanding hidden meaning in everything people say, but is vain of her own beauty and all her beautiful works.

Thayl Avilaeous of the Elk Wise and cunning, but craven.
Aspects: "Calculating planner" and "I know people", He always seems to know what to do to achieve other peoples goals, but has not the courage to carry out the plans himself, always playing the friendly advisor.

Sarflin Balinor or the Elk, A huge brute of a ven, not only cunning but able to use all to his advantage.
Aspects: "I will kill you with my teacup" and "act on intuition". Constantly scanning for how to use his surroundings as a weapon, but he never really thinks about the repercussions of his acts.

The story so far
Playing this out was very interesting. The first few rolls (wisdom to see what the situation etc) was very slow as the players didn't really know what they were doing - but as the game progressed they were almost fighting with each other to try to get their wagers in first and say what was going on.

It started with a banquet in their honour - as the Ven entering the ritual - Once they enter they give up all rights to other lands and titles, and must regain titles in this barony by their own hand. The lands are owned by an aging Count Assan of the Falcon, who has told everyone that he is nearing Solace and is preparing to be entombed in his castle/temple. The Adjudicator came to meet the 5 young Ven, dressed in black with a silver wolf-heads mask. He relates to them that the Senate has approved this Ritual as there is a growing threat from the east, and the Senate want strong young blood to protect this land which has been heavily influenced by ancient sorceries.

Thayl pointed out though, that the baron to the west is known to be risking his lands in obvious "secret" deals trying to put himself in a position to take the Count's lands for himself.

Tolfnet spent some time cozying up with the adjudicator, and learns that the Adjudicator knows that not all the Ven in the ritual are honest, and he's trying to uncover who the ven breaking his word in the ritual is. The Adjudicator gets a promise from Tolfnet that she will help the adjudicator find and expose this puppet.

Sarflin and Isarin work the crowd, and by speaking to the various coutiers and servants uncover that the Count is actually nowhere near his Solace, and that he has been having secret meetings with one of the "Young Ven". More worrying is that the senate has many ven visiting to keep an eye on proceedings, as the outcome will have wide reacing repercussions.

Airisul ends up exploring the castle, and seems to be finding mystical significance in the placement of corridors and statues.

Tolfnet tails Thayl as he sneaks away from the party, and overhears a secret meeting with the Count. Thayl is actually working with the Count! They are planning to have a murder take place so that the Adjudicator has to declare the ritual corrupted, and will be shamed for a failure in his duty to the senate. The count wants the Adjudicator shamed so that he has to wear the black permanently as he is actually the Count's son, and the biggest threat to the Count's power. And once the Adjudicator and Senate spies are gone, the Count can use the ancient artifacts hidden in the land to threaten the senate and make a bid to recreate the Imperial Seat.

Thayl went away to setup the murder amongst the competing Ven, little knowing that the Count has planned to use Thayl himself as an appropriate sacrifice... Tolfnet made her way back to the party, trying to work out who she should support in all this...

Everyone wanted to continue, but the hour was growing late and we all need to work tomorrow... But everyone was cheering and excited at the cliffhanger ending :) I know we probably messed up in some of the rules, but everyone was having so much fun "uncovering" the plots and competing with each other and tagging the aspects. We have to really look more carefully at the aspects and make them much clearer.

A phrase tolfnet's player said was "this is: Mornington Cresent, the RPG".

Isarin's player stated the intention (on the walk home) that she wants to form a romance with the Adjudicator, to get Isarin deeply embroiled in the family feud between the Count and Adjudicator.... so we'll see if that happens next session. While Airisul wants to get to the bottom of the "dark sorceries" that overshadow the land - and use them for his own gain.

A power hungry Count, his honourable son, ancient sorceries and artifacts, and plans within plans. And yes, best of all, I barely had to say a word as the players themsevles were coming up with everything. This was, hands down, some of the best fun I've had at an RPG table. :)
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