Posted by : David Guyll March 25, 2014

Cast
  • Augustine (human paladin)
  • Jaya (human bard)
  • Mouse (halfling gnome thief)

Jaya was accustomed to drawing a crowd at the Tipsy Gnome, what with her being a rare form of entertainment in the backwater village of Pinestraw.

Another, more common form was getting drunk. Pinestraw was a small village, and it was rare that anyone got violently drunk. At least in public. She had just finished a song about how a warrior named Augustine had valiantly defended the village of Pinestraw from a gang of bandits. The men that had approached her looked objectionable, and had objected to her portrayal of the bandits which, when combined with their demands for her flute, made it easy to guess their particular field of expertise.

To their surprise she drew a rapier and sliced one of them across the arm. She had hoped that they were not used to resistance, and combined with a tavern full of townsfolk would back down, but their expressions of shock quickly turned to rage, and they drew daggers.

A man stood up. He was clad in a suit of polished scale armor, and a halberd was resting against his table. He met each of their eyes in turn before simply stating that he had quite enjoyed her performance. The men exchanged uncertain looks: they only just outnumbered the pair, but one was considerably better equipped and looked more than capable. The one Jaya had wounded spat at her feet, then craned his head towards the door. As they left, grumbling threats and curses under their breath, the patrons cheered and shouted for an encore, which Jaya was only too happy to oblige.

Meanwhile Mouse was ferreting around the church. He had it on good authority, or at least good enough to spur him into action, that there was a gem-encrusted cross made of solid gold buried somewhere in the church. A growing pile of flagstones attested to his fruitless endeavor, but since everyone was at the Tipsy Gnome for a night of drink and song he figured he had plenty of time to try and find it.

Until he heard someone was approaching, which he only heard thanks to the unmistakable clank of armor. Armor was a rare commodity in these parts, specifically something that only Augustine owned, meaning that Augustine had probably left the party early, meaning Mouse would have to slink out and make up a story about robbers in Augustine asked about all the missing flagstones.

"This is the place" said a gruff voice from just outside the front door.

That...was not Augustine. Fortunately Mouse had locked the door. Unfortunately whoever was out there had started to go to work on the lock.

Well, maybe the story would not need much "concocting" after all. Okay, time for plan B. He went to a window that he had tampered with before, so that it could be easily opened at his leisure: he would just slip out and go get Augustine. Not too quickly, of course: they were probably here to find the cross themselves, and if he gave them a headstart it would increase that odds that he would know where it was, so he could come back later.

Someone was trying to open the window.

Okay, time for plan C. He darted back into the chapel, grabbed a brazier, and lobbed it through a stained glass window. Noisy, but efficient. He managed to leap through just as the door was opening, and as he fled heard someone give an order to torch the place.

Jaya was in the middle of another song when Mouse burst through the door. His clothing had been intentionally torn in a few choice places, all the better to support his story that he had been attacked while investigating some questionable men snooping about the church. He told Augustine that he tried to hold them off, but there were too many and they were going to burn it, probably to find the golden cross that certainly existed beneath the foundation.

Mouse had hoped that Augustine would confirm the rumor, but he just thanked him, asked Mouse to join him, snagged his halberd, and bolted out the door, followed by Jaya. Mouse followed with a sigh: the things he did for gem-encrusted gold crosses.

As they headed for the church, Mouse slipped away into the woods surrounding it, as he was much more useful when he could get the drop on someone. Plus, he was hoping he could pick off stragglers without having to share any loot.

There were four bandits waiting for them at the entrance. Three were armed with clubs, while the fourth had a bow. As Augustine charged them he loosed a few arrows, but they were harmlessly deflected by his armor. Jaya used her magic to bolster Augustine's attacks, which combined with the reach from his halberd made it easy to cut them down while keeping them at bay.

Mouse could hear someone barking orders from inside the church. He peered through the window he had broken earlier, and saw their leader, who he recognized as Killian the Red thanks to the red armor. They were occupied by the sounds of combat coming from the front, and he had not only sent out most of his men, but his back was turned, too.

Mouse took out a throwing knife, coated it with some goldenroot, and gave it a toss. It cut Killian across the arm, and he hissed in pained and turned around to find the knife's source. Since goldenroot only worked on the first person seen, Mouse made every effort to ensure that he could be seen. Mouse hopped into the church, introducing himself and warning Killian about his traitorous men.

The two bandits fled out the front door, only to be cut down by Augustine and Jaya. While Killian was understandably occupied, Mouse stabbed him in the back. Heavily wounded, he tried to flee, but did not even make it out the window before Mouse finished him off with a well-placed throwing knife.

With the bandits defeated they were able to turn their attention to the burning church. Unfortunately it had already spread too far, and there was nothing they could do to stop it. Augustine wept as his home went up in flames, while Mouse wept at the fact that he might not be able to find the cross.

Behind the Scenes
Holy shit this session was a blast: Dan did an excellent job, even when you do not factor in an entirely new group and no prep.

It was Ben's first time, and I think he really dug the amount of player input the game demands. I firmly believe that roleplaying games greatly benefit when the players are required to help build the world and story, as it invests them in more than just their own character. It is a practice that I have taken into my Dungeons & Dragons games, and if I ever make my own clone it is going to be a cornerstone of a new campaign.

Yeah, Melissa recycled the name for the Tipsy Gnome from our Dresden Files game.

I was initially going to go with a halfling fighter, which was my first Dungeon World character and oddly functional despite the game drawing a lot of inspiration from previous editions (namely 2nd, what with the whole paladins-can-only-be-human  bit). However, Ben wanted to make a paladin, and I figured I could break out of my comfort zone and make something more iconic like a halfling thief.

Then someone mentioned Celtic influences, at which point I changed my race to gnome, which better fits my playstyle of doing impulsive things when the group takes a long time trying to, for example, figure out which door to open. I was fine with keeping the halfling move, though in hindsight I would have pitched this: When you try to hide in natural terrain, take +1 forward. Simple and flavorful.

One of Mouse's bonds with Augustine was that "Augustine always has his back". Since Mouse is not the kind of person that Augustine would likely associate with and I took goldenroot poison, I decided that at some point in the past Mouse had poisoned him.

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