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SotC: The Curse of Kusim-Ra, Part 2

19 February 2009

One of my friends mentioned that he had no idea what the Part 1 post was about. Think of roleplaying as collaborative storytelling, where one person (the Game Master or Narrator) sets the stage and the other players take on the roles of their characters and interact with the challenge at hand. In this case, we started the second session where we left off, with Draco Wolf in the clutches of the evil Annalise Gitoux.

In Spirit of the Century, a roleplaying game about daredevils in pulp-era adventures, there is a narrative device called a Fate point, which allows players some measure of narrative control. As I did last time, I gave the players each two Fate points at the start of tonight’s play.

Characters are defined by their aspects, the things that make them unique, and their skills. (We’re using the stuntless variant rules for simplicity’s sake. In the regular game, there are stunts that allow players to bend the skills rules, but we’re using aspects to achieve the same effect.) In these narratives, names of aspects and skills are capitalized.

One way players can use aspects is to tag them. In other words, they describe what they are doing in terms of how an aspect of themselves or the situation would aid them in some way. The Navigator’s use of his Eagle Eyes aspect at the beginning is a good example. Players can also compel other people’s aspects, if they are aware of them. Likewise, their own aspects can be compelled and thus used against them, so players work to hide their aspects from non-player characters like Ms. Gitoux.

This game uses special 6-sided dice. Two faces have plus signs; two, minus; and the other two, blank. They modify skill use. Tagging an aspect can give a bonus to one’s roll, which is why the Navigator tagged his Eagle Eyes aspect when using his Mystic Kung-Fu Powers.

As Gitoux and Draco flew away in their sea plane, the Navigator called on his Mystic Kung-Fu Powers (using a Fate point) and tagged his Eagle Eyes aspect for extra oomph to blow up one of its engines. The kids playing Captain Who and Draco were aghast that he’s risk Draco’s life like that.

When the pilot was unable to recover control of the craft, Ms. Gitoux smiled wryly and told Draco that perhaps he should help their submarine locate the Book! They parachuted away, leaving Draco handcuffed to the plummeting plane! Captain Who ordered the British Beauty to rush to the scene.

Here’s an example of using a Fate point. Normally, planes are really sturdy and wolves aren’t exactly known for their upper body strength. So Draco’s player spent a Fate point to make his action plausible by declaring that the fuselage was weak. Had he mentioned the stress of the impact or otherwise used that aspect of the scene, he might have saved himself a Fate point.

You’ll notice Draco’s rather ineffective in this section, which is due to him missing skill roles by a plus or two. His efforts were fair, but not good enough.

The plane smacked into the sea, with Draco powerless to stop it! Desperate, he transformed into his wolf form (1 Fate point). After an unsuccessful Sleight of Hand role, the handcuffs were still too tight, so Draco mustered all his Might to bend the surprisingly weak fuselage and wrest his paw from the handcuffs. He managed to slip a life vest on, as water came rushing in through the cracks! The life vest, however, kept him from escaping! He couldn’t swim through the door, being held up towards the ceiling by the buoyancy of the vest. Draco ditched the vest and slipped out just in time!

The ship came alongside the wreckage. Captain Who, with her Great Athletics, jumped in the water to rescue Draco. Draco tried to swim away, but the plane’s bulk created a strong undertow. Being a wolf, his mediocre swimming skills weren’t up to the task.

The Navigator called upon his mystic turtle powers to calm the waters (normally it costs him a Fate point to use his Mystic Kung-Fu Powers, but by giving his description some color, I waived the fee), but it was just barely enough to allow Draco’s mad dog paddling to inch his snout out of water for a much needed breath. (I treated the lack of air like a poison, impacting Draco’s Endurance.)

Captain Who reached him before he collapsed from exhaustion, and the British Beauty picked them up. In the excitement, Ms. Gitoux and company escaped to fight another day.

Next morning, the team took a page from the Red Panda adventures. Being the “Pride of the British Fleet”, Captain Who decided that the ship would have some experimental gadgets. (Since she has the ship as an aspect, I allowed this without a Fate point).

They used the British Beauty‘s “aetheric wave detector” to find the mystical energies of the Book. The Navigator learned that the Book must now be somewhere near Peshawar, a distant British colonial city in what is now northern Pakistan.

To be continued….

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