Play Report, part II
This was supposed to go up earlier, but then I got unexpectedly roped into what else but GMing two more sessions of Dungeon World for a different group of friends. So, expect more reports later, I suppose! Doing all of this playing back-to-back has been teaching me a lot about what I need to improve on.
To start, the previous cast, and a quick recap:
Abolished – the human fighter
Puck – the halfling druid
Baldric – the human bard
Foldpack the Brave – the human paladin
Our heroes, trapped in the fortress of a flame demon, deep within a Hell Dimension, just opened the door to the expansive courtyard of the fortress. Behind this door was what unexpectedly became the “boss room”, thanks to surprisingly high results from my rolling for the Dungeons As Monsters rules.
For this session, we were adding a fifth PC, Siegfried, the Elven Wizard. After establishing that he had already been acquainted with some of our heroes earlier, Siegfried was worked in smoothly by making him one of the four people chained up to the pillars around a summoning circle in a massive courtyard. These pillars crackled with energy to create a protective ring around the circle. Standing around were a handful of cultists, the High Priest from before, and another demon of the type encountered previously in the prison.
Fighting ensued, including some amazing antics involving the difficulties of remaining mounted on a mammoth-form druid as it charges. The priest was now using some sort of staff capable of creating a scythe blade of dark red energy, but the new armor-piercing magic missiles of the Wizard made short work of his previously impenetrable shield, letting the party discover that the staff was capable of producing any blade imaginable for the low cost of 1 HP, completely ignored armor with its attacks, and was capable of dealing +1d6 damage for another HP each attack.
On the other end of the battlefield, Foldpack dueled the demon as well as several of the cultists. He should’ve made short work of all of them, but a sudden grab by the demon resulted in the Paladin getting trapped in the ritual circle just as whatever magic was powering it was at its peak. A this point I revealed that the Darkness that followed Foldpack was actually the fire demon himself, trapped within the Paladin’s body (he’s named after a take-out box: get it? [rimshot]). Suddenly the party was facing down a demon two-and-a-half times as large as a human, wielding a molten flail with a head a meter in diameter, and completely covered in fire.
In the ensuing battle, Foldpack was continuously beaten and battered down to only 6 hit points, with all the Bard’s attempts to heal him getting interrupted by the dark magic lingering in the area. As the non-fire-immune members of the party held back and tried to protect the Wizard as he launched magic missiles. Holding the staff from the high priest, Foldpack turned the weapon into a spear just as the massive demon attempted grab him. Unfortunately, the armor-piercing blade tore straight through the demon’s hand, which seemed to resist the brutal pain to push itself down the spear to pick up the paladin, causing the spear to be dropped to the floor. Time slows as the bard rushes under the demon’s legs, throws the halberd to Foldpack, and the paladin spends 2 of his remaining 4 hit points to deliver a brutal blow, chopping off the arm of the demon as it hold him… and forcibly dropping himself a good 20 feet onto the hard ground. I have him roll 1d4 falling damage… and he rolls a 2. In one fell swoop, Foldpack not only slew the massive demon that he once contained within, but he also slew himself.
But this is where the story really starts to get good. Stunned at their companion’s death, the rest of the party tried to figure out a way to turn it all around. The Wizard came up with using the demonic ritual circle as a place of power… and surprisingly, the entire party seemed to think that this is a good idea. I warned them that they will be exposed to the dangers of the evil magic, and told them that the ritual would require the severed heart of the just-slain demon. They ignored my warnings and carried out the ritual, so I had each of them roll 1d6. Then, they each lost that many maximum Hit Points, and the total result (12) became Foldpack’s maximum HP. Needless to say, the Paladin was not pleased that he had been pulled from his well-deserved resting place, and had his heart replaced with that of a demon. As a small token reward for the brutality suffered by his character, I had him immediately resolve all 4 of his bonds, and then write a new one for each party member detailing exactly how he blamed each of them for this horrible mistake.
The escape from Hell itself was surprisingly uneventful, and we ended session number 2 as the party prepared to take the adventure to a larger scale, and journey to the capital city of the empire to discover the answers behind this demonic corruption.
All in all, I was very pleased with this session. Everybody seemed to enjoy themselves, and the dramatic twist of Foldpack the Brave becoming Foldpack the Returned was both unexpected and absolutely delightful. As far as lessons to be learned, I found myself having trouble remembering which players I had not talked to for longer periods of time, and as such the quieter players found themselves unintentionally pushed out of the limelight.
It was also this session where Bonds, and in particular how to resolve Bonds, really started to make sense to me. Presenting it as “taking something that is not as interesting or not as specific, and making it both interesting and specific” helped the players build relationships in a much more fluid and meaningful way.
This session was pretty short, as it was only the first half of the day, before the group split up to get dinner in various locations. My next post will cover the most recent 3rd session with the group, and then I’ll start writing up the new games that I just started up—a surprisingly hectic week!
Thanks for reading these little novels I end up writing. Succinctness is not one of my talents.