Wednesday, 12 January 2011

Planescape - Update, Part 2

So, after starting two separate play-by-post games of Planescape, using D&D 3.5, one has sadly dried up a bit. The other, however, is still going strong!

The players started out as members of a trading caravan, travelling the Planes trying to earn some jink. They were led by K'Liv, a Mercane trader. Mercane are very Lawful, and as such make great trading NPCs in games (they come, do deals that you probably won't get screwed over on, then leave - perfect!). K'Liv, however, is something of a rebel - he still makes deals, but with unusual clauses, and oftens twists his words to get the best for him. Think "Plane-hopping Opium Baron" and you're pretty close. The PCs didn't know any of this, of course, until he was ambushed by an Zelekhut - a big-ass clockwork centaur, built to reign in those who break oaths and deals. General consensus is the other Mercane traders saw him as a threat to their good name, and called in the services of the Zelekhut to bring him to trial.

So, the players were left with K'Liv's caravan, cash and goods, as well as his Mimir.

A Mimir is an enchanted skull, designed to hold knowledge and information - while K'Liv could have used it for many functions, it tended to act as his personal organiser, holding dates, info and tid-bits of info on clients and potential dangers. (As such, I styled it on a slightly buggy PDA I used to own, complete with indecipherable junk-text and bizarre grammar. Also, due to the influence of Alistair Reynolds Revelation Space, I went with a text-based interface - glowing letters that float in the air beside the Mimir, instead of a voice and personality. Skilled users can probably get a bit of a Minority Report- style switching of "holograms" to order information.)

After enquiring about K'Liv's current buisness deals, the group found a meeting scheduled for that day in a local pub, with Ashen-Khe (very little other information given). They hung around and waited for him/her/it, Bilal hitting on the Goliath barmaid Rose to while away the time.

Ashen-Khe made his grandiose entrance, and took the PCs on as bodyguards to escort him into The Courthouse, home of one of Sigil's most powerful Factions, The Guvnors - champions and students of Law. He claims to have information that may help prevent an attack by the Xaositects, a Faction devoted to Chaos and its place in the universe. They managed to recruit the raw muscle of Rose the barmaid, and managed to get him there in one piece, despite being tailed by three suspected Xaosmen - some nifty thinking meant the group split, leaving Tik-Tok (as the shortest) to sneak Ashen-Khe into the building, while the flaming-headed Bilal and the winged Tam'lin caught their attention, and led them into an alleyway.

While there, the three Xaositects shed some very worrying light on the situation - they were tailing the group to get Ashen-Khe, but not for grassing them up - they claim his real name is Kirrish, and that he may be planning something against the Guvnors himself - somethijng to do with a Xaos splinter-group, The Sons of Arril.

Time will tell who is lying...


So, the game is going pretty well, and is reminding me what I like and dislike about PbP.

Firstly, the game is slow. This is a night's worth of game, played over three months. Fatigue can set in quickly, but the group seem to be intent on hammering through and sticking with it - fine by me.

However, it also allows for a much greater deal of flexibility - as an example, I saw that the originally planned "Escort Ashen-Khe to the Courthouse, fight some Xaosmen, get rewarded and make some allies" wasn't going to cut it - not by a long shot. So I threw in the possibilty of betrayal, the reveal of unexpected allies, and the chance to be big players in something way above them - namely, the plans of The Sons of Arril.

It also means more prep time - I don't need to work out stats for fights until they are about to happen (don't tell anyone, but I haven't had stats for anyone yet!), unexpected turns and twists cn be looked at, evaluated and ajudicated, instead of a knee-jerk ruling.

We will see what the future holds, soon enough - the plot has really started kicking in now, and I can't wait till it all comes crashing together!

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