Posted by: lordkyler | January 16, 2016

GreenWyld Adventures: Volume One – The Foxfire Festival

If you’ve been following this site, you’ve probably come across my posts detailing role-playing adventures in the home-brewed steampunk setting of Radiance. While occasionally frustrating, I had a good experience overall, and I really enjoyed the world created there (even if the players barely managed to scratch the surface of it).

However, a few of our players have left, and I didn’t want to continue without them, thus leading to a possibly permanent hiatus. In the meanwhile, however, I have concocted a totally new RPG, using the same FUDGE system, but completely different in scope, tone, and playstyle. (A definite point to FUDGE for its flexibility, there.)

The world of the GreenWylds is heavily inspired by such works as Redwall or Mice and Mystics. It takes place on a formerly volcanic island that is now home to various species of small mammals, including roguish squirrels, valiant mice, and industrious moles, all living a quaint but vibrant life among the great trees.

Players can access powerful elemental magic, but only at the cost of their health, as they must pay sacrifice to the Gods of the Wood, powerful and enigmatic gods such as the Fox, Lynx, Otter, or Hawk. The many races, gods, and cultures of GreenWyld offer a near-endless variety of adventures to those that dare to dream small.

GreenWylds is designed for single-session gaming, so that players can easily drop in, drop out, or change players between sessions, thus eliminating the need to coordinate conflicting schedules, which was a major concern for Radiance.

We’ve played some practice session of this in the past, but I was still adjusting the mechanics, making them as simple and robust as possible. I’m still tweaking details, but today we had enough of the basics laid out to hold our first “real” GreenWylds session, which I will recap below.

These summaries will not be as in depth as the Radiance ones were, nor will they be in character, but I hope they will be entertaining nonetheless.

This is a map of the GreenWyld Isle, a mountainous island with dense forest and several calderas.

This is a map of the GreenWyld Isle, a mountainous island with dense forest and several calderas. Most cities have a dominant race, but there are several with heavily blended populations. The geography and species of this island are a mix of American and European, although I have ideas for expansions into other regions.


 

GreenWylds Session #1

Date: 1-13-16

Players:

  • Joseph, age 15, playing Theoron, a ferret fighter.
  • Duncan, age 13, playing Emerald, a mole engineer
  • David, age 10, playing Leaper, a squirrel rogue

Location: Graycliff (lower left of map)

It is the summer solstice, the height of summer and longest day of the year. In cities around the island, worshippers of the Fox – god of fire and summer – are celebrating, and given their penchant for passion, they are joined by anyone seeking a good time. Food and drink are in abundance, bands are playing, speeches have been given, and as twilight crawls over the land, torches are lit in preparation for the revel.

After describing the scene and drawing the playing field, I asked the players to describe what their character would be doing at this time. Duncan’s Emerald was busy eating and chatting, David’s Leaper was flirting with a band member behind the large stage at the center of the map, and Joseph’s Theoron was some distance away from the festivities, perched in a tree and drinking with others that held a disdain for the crowds and exuberant cheer at the tables.

The bands stilled as the mayor stepped to forefront of the stage, an older but determined mole with large glasses and a peg leg. He cleared his throat in preparation for a speech, but before he could get past his introductions and thanks, he was interrupted by screeching cries coming from the direction of the sea. War cries. Most of those present knew that cry all too well. It was the sound of bats on the warpath.

Bats are an NPC race that live in simple, barbaric tribes. While they are normally content to mind their own business and dine on insects, every so often they will band together and attack innocent creatures for pride and plunder. This was one such night, and Graycliff was in the unfortunate position of being nearby the largest of all the bat colonies, the Moonlight isle tribe.

The crowd began to grow uneasy, on the edge of panic, but the mayor’s booming voice cut through the worried murmurs of the crowd. “Don’t worry, my friends. We have a defense against these marauders: the Wailer. It emits a sound we cannot hear, but is so terrible to the bats that they must flee. Now, if our esteemed engineer Basil could just activate the machine?” The mayor gestured to a pole with several trumpet-like instruments on the top, just visible over the tops of the bushes.

(In this world, of course, trees are of similar size to skyscrapers – although much easier to climb – and bushes are the equivalent of trees.)

A skinny, nervous-looking ferret with grease-streaked golden fur stood up at the table farthest from the Wailer. He began jogging awkwardly toward the machine, tool-belt jingling.

“As you can see, everything is under control,” the mayor said, at the precise moment that the pole holding the Wailer shook. The crowd gasped, and the Wailer slowly toppled over, landing in the trees with a crash.

As the silhouettes of the bats swooped in, black against a red sky, the crowd began to panic in earnest. Plates shattered, instruments were dropped, and the crowd began to stampede, leaving Engineer Basil and the mayor to fight with the crowds as they tried to perform their duties.

The bats began to dive. Most followed the crowd as it stampeded toward the safety of town, but a several pivoted toward key targets, including Basil and the mayor. One went for the group on the tree branch.

The objective of the session was to repair and activate the Wailer. Bats supplied a constant threat, swooping and diving from target to target constantly.

Joseph squared off against a persnickety bat as he attempted to make his way against the tree, while David attempted to help the bat that plagued the mayor (although he handled himself quite well.)

Duncan ended up finding trouble, as he ended up trying to help Basil, but got caught in a claw-to-claw confrontation that his character wasn’t truly equipped for. He did get one critical success to slay one bat that was chasing them, but the bat that followed next forced him to seek shelter beneath a table after his vital glasses were knocked off, and he took a wound before the bat was hit by a rock the mayor threw.He eventually managed to retrieve his glasses, patch his wound, and rejoin the fight.

The bat going after Joseph ended up getting caught in the bark, where Joseph was able to finish it. Joseph then proceeded to wreck the deadly but fragile bats with his obsidian axe and meteor hammer. By playing to his strengths, Joseph was able to kill multiple bats and wound even more.

David, meanwhile, a less experienced player, struggled for numerous rounds in melee combat, going back and forth ineffectually until he finally managed to finish the bat with a throwing knife. After that – and a few hints from me – he began using his crossbow, which was much more effective. (At one point earlier, though, he nearly shot a wounded Duncan by accident. Whoops!)

Basil slowly but surely managed to cross the distance to the Wailer, holding his own, and the mayor did well, bashing enemies with his peg leg and cursing all the while.

Eventually, Joseph freed the engineer of com”bat”ants, and brought him past the line of bushes to the Wailer, only to find a bat chieftain with obsidian claws and bark armor. He attacked both of them, using a fancy technique with his wings to distract. Joseph managed to keep from falling victim to it, but the engineer took a hit. Joseph cracked his armor on the way past, and subsequent shots from David and Duncan struck the wings, crippling it. The chieftain then ran afoul of a guard who’d come to assist the mayor, tying him up. (So much for the boss, huh?)

Duncan and David were both wounded pretty badly, but they fought valiantly. The engineer finally reached the Wailer, only to have a squirrel emerge from the machinery and punch him in the nose. A saboteur! Working with the bats! What a shocking twist!

The squirrel saboteur bolted, cutting his losses, and Joseph tried and failed to intercept the traitor. He gave chase, but ran into a rogue bat coming away from an attack on David. It was dealt with in short order, but the traitor got away.

But the mayor saw him. “Piney Hedge, you rapscallion!” he roared. “I kick you out and you go to the bats? I’ll brain you myself!” Though his peg leg had been broken, he stumped after the traitor regardless. “Take him alive!”

David loaded his grappling hook in his crossbow to trip up Piney, but was only partially successful against the nimble squirrel, causing him to stumble. Another pull on the rope kept him there a moment longer, but he soon circled around behind the bushes and attacked the engineer as he labored to fix the three parts required.

But by this time, Joseph and Duncan had mopped up the remaining enemies, and Joseph tackled and knocked Piney out cold. Duncan hurried to assist with his engineering skills, but in a case of terrible timing, he rolled a critical failure, and Basil didn’t fare much better. Progress on the repairs was set back, just as a new wave of bats began to approach, against which they might not be able to survive.

Frantically, the two engineers worked to repair the machine, succeeding on their next attempt. But there was one more problem, as Basil explained to Joseph.

“We must lift it!” he said in a thick accent. “The sound, it will not travel unless we lift it! Can you lift?”

Joseph tried, but the requirement was too high to do alone without a critical success. However, when the others arrived and pitched in, just ahead of the incoming bats, they managed to raise it just in time for Basil to crank the shaft and set the horns to blaring.

A sound that was just on the edge of hearing pierced the twilight, and the bats about to strike pulled back, reeling in pain. Elsewhere, the bats attacking the crowd and valiant guards also recoiled at the sound, and within a few minutes, the skies were clear again.

With nobody seriously hurt, the festival resumed sooner than one might expect, with many toasts and speeches in celebration of the heroes. A song was written in their honor, and the revel continued, all the merrier for the close call.

Each hero was rewarded with XP, Joseph’s character receiving extra as a reward for his excellence in battle. Furthermore, when they searched the unfortunate Piney, they found precious moonstones on his person, doubtless payment from the bats for his work of sabotage. The mayor offered the stones to the heroes for compensation before muttering dire threats against the traitor. Joseph and David sold theirs, and Duncan kept his for an additional bonus in making healing checks.

So that was the game. In a setting this rich, I have lots of ideas for future sessions, and even Joseph expressed interest in GMing a game, which would be interesting. When or if this happens again, it may involve different players, or the same players using different characters, but it’s sure to be fun. I hope you enjoyed reading about this little adventure; we had fun playing it. Until next time…

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