Monday, April 1, 2013

Showdown In The Wabasha Caves!

This is the session report on our first adventure using FATE Accelerated Edition with the episodic sandbox Alwyn Campaign setting.  The campaign model is based on the West Marches campaign structure. The setting is the post-apocalyptic future Earth of the Babylon 5 universe's far future. The campaign has a medieval feel, even though it is set in the future. All posts related to the campaign are archived here.

The prior week, when we designed our campaign parameters and began creating characters, the players decided that they wanted their first adventure to be to the Wabasha Street Caves, which are located in present day Lowertown, St. Paul. They wanted to go there to search for ancient booze that they could bring back and sell in Fort Town (the safe base area for the campaign, a fortified town on the location of the historic Fort Snelling).

They found some. After they fought and killed a supposedly prehistoric Short-Faced Bear. There have been changes in the landscape since the Great Burn!

The session started with the players finishing their characters. I created my blacksmith character while the three players finished theirs. The PCs were:
  • Derek, High Concept: Outcast Merchant, Trouble: Drunkard. Other Aspects include: Knows the cost of everything, value of nothing; "Million Pockets"; and Skankeroon.
  • Big AlHigh ConceptFort Snelling's Hardest Working HustlerTroubleIt always costs a favor. Other Aspects include: Pillar of the (criminal) community; and Nothing worth having is behind an open door.
  • LarissaHigh ConceptIntrepid HunterTroubleCurious, other Aspects include: At home in the wildEagle-eyed; and Iron Stomach.
I used a D12 to determine the month of the year for the campaign start, and RPG Inspiration Cards to determine a number of variables such as the weather (the PCs rafted down the river under snow squalls), whether the PCs were being observed as the rafted down the Mississippi River toward Lowertown St. Paul, and other conditions and circumstances. The card below was drawn for the environs of Lowertown, which was eerily devoid of most plant and animal life. (Later, when the PCs returned to Ft. Snelling, they felt sick for a while.)

RPG Inspiration Card

The PCs pulled their raft up on the shore and walked toward the Wabasha Street Caves. They saw two open cave entrances, as well as a set of large metal doors secured with a huge iron padlock. They approached the doors. The padlock was picked and pocketed in short order, and the PCs went in to explore.

The PCs discovered three badly dismembered corpses right inside the newly unlocked cavern doors. The victims' hands had been bound behind their backs, but this was no simple execution. The bodies were badly mauled.

The PCs cautiously explored a bit. For the session I used two - that's right only two - of the geomorphic dungeon tiles from Hereticwerks' wonderful dungeon Revised Geomorph Series One.

Hereticwerks' Geomorphs Series 1, Set 0

The PCs soon discovered that the two open cavelike entrances had been trapped. They explored in different directions and then entered some twisty tunnels where the eventually picked up the scent of an animal. They came upon a sleeping Short-Faced Bear. It was a furious battle, with Larissa using bow and arrow, while my blacksmith (being run by Big Al's character) and Big Al himself engaged the short faced bear up close. Derek hung back, distracting the bear in various ways using Create Advantage skill.

The Short-Faced Bear had the disadvantage that the PCs were able to start their attack while it was still sleeping. It nevertheless took a while for the PCs to take it out. The bear somewhat disconcerted the PCs because during the battle, they saw its lips move as if using words. It wore a medallion with the image of an open mouth, which hung from its neck by a great chain. Both the medallion and the chain were made of some ancient material.

The PCs skinned the bear readily; they were happy to recover the bear skin, but very surprised when foul alien guts began spilling out from the bear's body cavity. You get the picture:


The PCs took the bear skin, chain, and medallion home with them after the battle. Elsewhere in the caves, the PCs also found a crate of ancient spirits to sell back at Fort Snelling. The bottles of what looked like wine had a strange peacock symbol on the label.

The players thought the session went pretty well. Everyone had something to do in the combat, and FATE Accelerated Edition (which we call FAE) worked really well. One player commented that "this is the first time we have used just about ALL the rules in a FATE game, instead of just a few."

Our next session is this Wednesday.

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