A Sundered World: Into Halba's Bowels

  • Cheveyo (male scion storm shaman)
  • Devona (female deva infernal pact warlock)
  • Pan Votu (female deva invoker-by-birth)
  • Kresh (male scion dragon-tongue wizard)

We keep meaning to post podcasts of our games, but for some reason the mic only picks up Melissa and myself; everyone else, despite being clearly heard through the speakers, sounds mostly like faint static.

So we decided to try Hangouts on Air, but it didn't record (Melissa and I both checked our Youtube channels and got nothing). Unfortunately this means that you're only going to get...

A Very Abridged Summary
The party traveled to the remains of the ice primordial Halba in search of its heart (or, given its size, a piece of it). Using Devona's ship—which was made of bone and propelled with a hellfire engine, yet another thing I have to add to the book now—they surveyed the corpse for an easy way inside.

They settled on the mouth.

While exploring the interior they fought off a pack of frost wolves (not wolves that breathed ice: these were icy skeletons "clothed" in snow, and could fly about as a torrent of snow and bones), then a kind of Scylla-like amalgamation of great wolf heads and tentacles before having to abandon ship in order to travel deeper inside.

After spending the night near part of the tine of a bident that had impaled Halba (presumably killing it), they fought a piece of the heart (apparently whoever had slain Halba had really good aim), but when Kresh tried to obtain a piece it released a massive chimeric beast...that Cheveyo almost killed with one spirit-charged strike.

After failing to meaningfully harm anyone Kresh—I think, one of the players might correct me though) finished it off with a blast of magical fire, they picked up the heart fragment, and left.

Behind the Scenes
We tried running with the rules as-is again, just to make sure that any issues we previously encountered weren't merely flukes.

Melissa took the invoker for a spin, and while I think it is working as-written it could stand to have the mantra-pool tweaked (namely, have all mantra replenish after you make camp).

I haven't heard anyone complain about the The Skeleton's Bones and Living Star's Radiance mechanic yet (and both have stood the test of several game sessions), so at this point it really just needs to have it's advanced moves refined and it's done.

We want to add in a kind of personality flaw for the spirit ("Trigger" has been suggested), so that when the shaman gets a 7-9 or misses the GM can use it to inform stakes or consequences.

The other big question as to whether the Spirit Magic move should remain roll-and-hold boon, or get shifted to a kind of point pool. Similar to the wizard's Cast a Spell move, you roll+WIS, with 10+ granting you 3 hold, 7-9 granting you 2, and a miss only granting you 1 (in addition to whatever else the GM says). You spend these to gain various benefits, but then have to roll-and-hold again once you run out.

Chris has suggested that when you make camp (or right before, or right after), you perform a ceremony for your spirit that gives it a number of points. Could be a flat value (like 10), could be based on a stat (equal to your Constitution or Wisdom), or could be a combination of both (5+CON). You would still roll and hold, but your limit is based on this pool. So, if you have 10 points, and roll a 10+, you hold 3, reducing your Spirit to 7 until you perform the ceremony again.

Finally, the third option is to just make it a pool of points like the Invoker's Mantra, and have you spend points to do various things (possibly even rolling+points spent).

I like the first two options more, because I don't imagine spirits necessarily always getting along with their shaman, though I suppose a miss could still have it conflict even with the third option.

I haven't posted a preview of the warlock yet, so here we go...

The warlock starts with three moves: Eldritch Blast, What Is They Bidding, and Pact Magic.

Eldritch Blast allows you to unleash unshaped magical energy. It's basically a CHA-based ranged magic attack. Various warlock moves like Empowered Blast and Explosive Blast ups the damage and adds other tags like forceful.

What Is They Bidding lets you communicate with your patron in order to figure out what it wants from you, and while you are acting on it's behalf you gain various benefits (which can include a ship). It's similar to the paladin's Quest, but instead of you deciding, your patron makes you do something, and if you stop doing what it wants then you get penalized.

This works with the debt mechanic, which comes into play with Pact Magic.

Pact Magic currently is a roll-and-hold move, but you also gain a random amount of debt with each use: 1 for a 10+, 1d4 for a 7-9, and 1d6 for a miss. Once your debt equals your Charisma (the entire score, not just the mod), you reset your debt to 0, write a bond reflecting something your patron wants you to do, and take -1 ongoing to use Pact Magic until you resolve it (you also get XP).

It is otherwise similar to the wizard's Cast a Spell move: you spend hold to create a variety of effects like conjuring a minor magical effect (similar in potency to the wizard's cantrip spells), giving you or an ally +1 forward, conjuring magical barriers, or impeding someone.

As last time I'm leaning towards changing it so that you gain debt first, make a roll, and have one of the 7-9 results be that you can gain more debt. Maybe even having the move be a roll+CHA, with the option to gain debt in order to choose an effect from a list, or gaining debt and then rolling+debt gained.

Kresh passed out once, and that was after quite a few spells since fatigue goes away after a short period of time, so I think this could remain as a random number (which would help differentiate it from the warlock). Shane (the player of Kresh) is going to talk with me on Thursday before our Expedition to Castle Ravenloft game, so we'll see what he thought then.

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