Saturday, March 08, 2014
Elthos RPG Play Test - Western Knights - Game 1
Charles, has inaugurated the Western Knights Campaign. It's a doozie of a world, and I have to say I really enjoyed our first game a lot. I was, despite the fact that I have some insider information as to the nature of the world, caught at least a few times by surprise.
The basic premise is "Cowboys and Knights in the Wild West". Except we're not playing in the West-West. Our characters actually started, to our surprise, on our way to West Albion, which is where the United States is, in an alternate universe. When we arrived at Fort Kennsington (where New York would be) in the year 1859, we found a mid-sized township that had two wooden fortresses. One to the North and one to the South. No wall. On the edge of what we supposed is a vast and seething wilderness, but we're not sure.
The reason we're not sure is because we're not members of the High Aristocracy of His Most Royal and Supreme Majesty, the King of Britain, who rules the entire world, including all of Europe, now named East Albion, all the way to the ends of Russia, and most of what once was called China. There are few pockets of the world that are not under the Iron Grip of The Empire. And Iron Grip it is. Even for us, actual citizens of the Capital. But that's because we're not members of the Aristocratic class, and thus... we're nothing. We were literally Shanghaied from our farms and pressed into service aboard one of His Majesty's Sailing Ships (a 3 gun merchant frigate under a certain Captain Carlyle). Our jobs? Chad, the brother of my Character Flint, was pressed to clean the hold - including piling up the dead bodies during the voyage, of which there were many. By the time we reached port of 150 men, there were only 76 left alive, having mostly died of diseases, poor conditions, or starvation along the way. Flint's job was to ensure the cannon balls were suitably stacked and cleaned. And our third PC was a Galley Cook. The Captain, his 1st Mate, and the Guards on board were not very nice at all. Nope. Not one bit. And if anyone even mentioned the Captain, even in praise, they were put in the stockade. My character knows that from personal experience. No mentioning of the Captain. At all. How about an example of our Captain's disciplinary protocol?
"You're all about to come into Port Kennsington," quoth he, with nar'y a glance at any of us. "And some of you are to return to The Capital with the ship. I want to know, which of you volunteer for that?"
At that, several servile miscreants eagerly raised their hands to show off their devotion to the Wonderful Captain. He had them all shot. Boom. Dead. Why? Because The Empire TELLS YOU what your going to do - and they don't brook any independent thinking. So if you demonstrate that you have a thought of your own, you'd better look out. They don't care for that one bit. And that, basically, describes the ruthless nature of the Aristocracy of Pendragon. Yes, very annoying, harsh, and dangerous. WE got the point right away, that these guys are not messing around, and we'd better be careful or we'd likely end up deader than a doornail right quick.
Well, by the time we got to Port Kennsington, we'd pretty much decided that His Most Royal and Supreme Salshazar could just go and stick it where the sun don't shine. We were looking for a way out. Any way out. So we whispered plans to each other as we walked on our assigned task to go to the Kensington Market and pick up supplies for the return trip. Flint tried engaging a local nobody to ask what's around the town outside there in the wilderness, but the poor blighted man panicked immediately and practically began crying because Flint asked him a question about what's outside the town. We left him. He later showed up again, still freaked out, and so we falsely accused him of picking our pockets to the town guards in order to keep him out of our hair going forward. He was disposed of, we assume, because we're under the aegis of Captain Carlyle, who is a relatively well known Big Wig. We even got half off on our purchases because of it.
We began plotting our means of escape. Better to be free men in the wilderness than return to The Capital as less-than-slaves. All of our plans however, we realized, spelled out one definite result: D.E.A.T.H. We had been contemplating setting the ship on fire and escaping in the confusion, but figured we'd be hunted down by The Magnificent Eleven, the Kings Personal Knights who happen to be in Kennsington to keep law and order in the town, and battle the savages beyond. The Magnificent Eleven have, by the way, chest mounted cannons on their armor. Yup. They're really that magnificent. At this point we were whispering down in the hold contemplating blowing up the kegs of gun powder and escaping in that confusion, but Flint didn't have the heart to kill the other crew members, and we nixed that plan.
So all bets were off on the escape when suddenly the town was catapulted into war. Savages from the north were attacking in force. Chaos! We were ordered to the front to act as cannon fodder for the Kings Troops, and that didn't sound like the way any of us really wanted to die. Chad charged bravely to the right and fired his gun telling everyone to follow him into battle. Some men followed after him, but Flint was not one of them. He ran the other way, and hid in a doorway.
Oddly, at one point in that skirmish Chad came face to face with The Enemy. The savage was large, muscular, bare chested with a huge long Mohawk, large nasty fangs, and brandishing a long serrated dagger of some kind. The fellow had lizard-like attributes. And yet, when he sprang out in front of Chad and had the opportunity to gut him from neck to pelvis, he paused. Chad, sensing that the savage was really not very intent on out and out murder, threw his gun on the ground in a show of deference to the husky lizard's apparent wishes. The savage barreled past him on his way toward the fortress where the Magnificent Eleven were hold up. There were lots of cannons and gun shots being fired and explosions everywhere. And the war cries that the savages made were positively inhuman. After that Chad made his way over to the doorway where where Flint was holed with a couple of others.
So we dodged into a building along the way, and got into a serous brawl with a local Militia Leader by the name of Mr. Kennsington (yes, THOSE Kennsingtons). Fortunately, Albedo Rey, the Cook, happened to be a Ranger, and had Night Vision as one of his few powers. He politely blew out the candle, and all hell broke lose in the barracks as the Platemaled and broad sword brandishing Mr. Kennsington and his right hand man tried their best to find us in the dark. He even broke Albedo Rey's guitar, which really is just a bit too much to bear. In any event our heroes did manage to escape, but as the planning wasn't really so good in the heat of the chaos, Chad went one way, while Flint and Albedo went the other way, through the window, and down the street. Chad ran out the front door while Kennsington and his man tried to pursue us. And thus we found ourselves separated.
And that's where the adventure left off for the evening.
Wow! That was fun!