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Wednesday, 24 April 2013

One-shot of the 2010s: Enemy Gods

This one was the last in the series of one-shots I had planned.
So, Enemy Gods. Like the Unknown Armies game, I’m going to contain myself to the highlights of the game.
A word on setting: I ran it in a “Antiquity if the gods really had champions” mythic fantasy equivalent. The players loved it, setting-wise (we always comment on setting, system, and how the game was overall – since it depends more on the GM and other players). Still, we used the original gods from Enemy Gods. And the polis where they started was keeping the best and basically, only bridge over a river that separated the civilized lands in two. So all trade passed via said trading hub naturally, as the rest of the river had created swamps, which prevented establishing another trade route.

A poisoner (anti-) hero goes to a tavern. He is approached by a band of local mercenaries-ruffians. He doesn’t want to give his table to them, so they proceeded to “tax” him for lack of manners. He gave them his swag,
Then he went to find new poison, and found a rare Black Lotus, which he managed to make into powder. He mugged some mugger and took his knife, too, then went to find them in the abandoned temple they had used as a base.
He killed most of them in their sleep and in the ensuing fight, only using his knife. But he got captured. Due to the heavy losses, their leader tried to indoctrinate him into serving as his first-in-command. There was a prize on some wild beast (a boar or wolf, not sure). And he wanted to take that one.
It was when their captain tried to put a hand on the inner side of his thigh that our hero grabbed the knife from his belt, and proceeded to stab them to the last.
After that, he was approached by the fell gods. Really, petty vindictiveness is par for the course for a hero, but wasting precious lotus powder just to kill them with his own hands?
He could have sold this and hired a superior regimen to confront them in a battle. Ah well! He said he’s going to consider it. I wonder, what should I have done with a PC that starts worshipping Fell Gods? NPC him?
In a way, it’s good there was only this session.

A swordsman with silver tongue tried to help two influential traders reach an agreement. One of them was bringing South the skins and paint made from the horns of Northern beasts, making tremendous profits. He wanted the other one’s daughter, because his second wife has recently passed away. The trader himself had been injured this morning.
The proud father wanted a discount on his goods.
The silver-tongued hero sold the daughter, and part of the profits, for a serious discount – although he didn’t get quite what he was hoping for.
Either way, the point rapidly became moot, as the daughter had heard about plans about her wedding, and ran away with her bodyguard, a gladiatrix. Some say there has been romantic involvement. Knowledgeable people claim the reason has been naughty and animal-like instead, with no hint of romance.
Ah well.
To top it off, the Northern trader returned wounded from the vomitorium. But he had managed to stab his attacker to death.

A gambler and champion of the common people witnessed the brutal murder of a poorer woman. She had managed to scratch the hand of the attacker, but he killed her with a twisted-looking curved dagger.
(Yes, it meant he worships fell gods).
Besides, his dress was painted with expensive Northern paint.
Our hero followed him, and found out he’s a trader. Then he snuck up on the house, and managed to a) find his altar to the god of Murder, b) fight off some well-endowed slaves (shut up, they just had large muscles!), and c) see him going away in a carriage.
He followed that one, too, and following Odysseus’ example, dressed as a servant. Son, he found him talking with a famous swordsman in the main hall.
Then he ambushed him in the vomitorium. Alas, he didn’t manage perfect surprise, so they had to fight.
The hero lost, and was drowned in a vomitorium, and finished off with a cursed dagger that enslaved his soul.
If it wasn’t a one-shot, I could well see the PCs raiding Hell to free the enslaved souls. Alas, it’s a one-shot. But we managed to combine some tragedy to the negotiations and murders.
All in all, I’d say these weren’t really the traditional kind of heroes.
What would you say?