Friday, 1 September 2017

Retrospective 15 - The Rise, Fall and Rise of the Moondin Arc

The player's time in Moondin rounded itself off neatly enough that everyone just sort of naturally started calling it "the Moondin Arc".
I don't hesitate to say that I didn't plan it this way, the vagaries of emergent narrative just spat out a pearl of self-contained story arc.

We had the rise of Rake to stewardship, his death, and the political free-for-all that followed.
We had Blue Jon whose final mission to summon Baba Yaga ended with his witchy apotheosis.
We had the brief political career and retirement of the sometimes-annoyingly-law-abiding Raaf Van Held.
And we had Rake's daughter, who proved that sometimes someone with great promise will still just die a stupid death.


My favourite part of the Moondin Arc was the politicking system I made up, which I'll post some time soonish I'm sure.
The main fun part was grilling players with "media questions" and watching them squirm and attempt to pivot when they realised they actually knew fuck all about the political situation in Moondin.
Good times! Now they know how Sean Spicer felt!

They basically started the post-Rake Steward era by trying to cement his rule.
The Necromancer-General who had apparently died in the Arena Disaster, Castigate Pox, turned out to be alive but severely weakened. Rake wore his hollow armour, and wielded the black greataxe that housed Castigate's soul.
It was pretty badass. Together, it legitimised "Castirake" as the Steward of Moondin.

The enormous black dragon that POWERLAD had Phantasmal Force'd into existence in an attempt to stop the terrorist Andromeda was being worshipped as a god in a classic case of unintended consequences.
The solution, of course, was to get him to summon it again, and to have Rake kill it in a display of showmanship that many believed.
It worked! Sorta. Lots of dice-rolling on my end to see how believed it was after the fact.


After his rise to power, one of my favourite running jokes was the insistence, in every official decree, that "WEED IS NOW LEGAL!"
And in fact weed turned out to be a really effective wizard drug. Blue Jon the weed-smoking wizard (in the great pothead tradition of Gandalf) was immune to both spell interruption AND illusions which made him very effective.

Blue Jon's player, Henry, revealed during this time that he was going to be leaving to live in China. Oh no!
He wanted to do something good with his last weeks in the country, and so the Blue Jon fetch quest to fetch the artifacts of Baba Yaga (reskinned frog idol relics) was born.
I streamlined things juuuust a little behind the scenes to make it possible within his three week time frame, and luckily for everyone they managed to complete it!
Baba Yaga is back, fused with Blue Jon to create "Baba Jon" who may or may not own a pizza shop.
This is going to have massive repurcussions for my campaign world going forward.


Rake died in a lake during this fetch quest. He followed a Kelpie (as in the water horse from Scottish myth that drowns you) into a lake, despite warnings from one of the players (who is, in fact, Scottish) that following it into the lake would drown him.
It did.
The power vacuum that opened up meant that I had to upgrade the political subsystem a bit with schmoozing influence from interest groups. Unfortunately two of the players stood on similar platforms and essentially split the vote. Such is politics!


After they left Moondin behind, they ended up at the Barrowmaze for some traditional megadungeon breach-and-clear.
After all the high-concept stuff, some classic dungeonbashing as a palette cleanser is right up my alley!




Mini-Reviews:

The Temple of Lies
I didn't run this because one of the players ran it while I was away, but by all accounts it was really good!

Challenge of the Frog Idol
Just an amazing free adventure. The lynchpin of a whole segment of the campaign, it would have been in use longer if only I hadn't allowed a little corner-cutting for the soon-departed Henry's benefit.

Barrowmaze
A nice, flat megadungeon in the classic style. I've made a bunch of supplemental stuff for it, like a hex map of the mounds and a time tracker (since I added a fast-travel from Helix to the Barrowmoor). My biggest gripe - no bookmarks in the pdf?! What the fuck!?
I love undead enemies because they're the only type of enemy I'm comfortable with giving a consistent suite of powers (instead of the LotFP ideal of unique baddies every time).
I'll post about my changes and stuff at a later date.