Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Return of the Grove

At the start of our last 13th Age session, I decided that I was finally going to start using the Player Picks suggestion from page 189. It was Jonathan’s rule originally and I’ve used it a bit but never gotten into the habit.

Then the game happened. And I was reminded of why I tend not to have to use the option of giving the players a vote on an element that will reoccur.

Because Sandilarion the oldest elf in the world, discovered and saved the ancient fey temple named Trill that he had spent a century or more running as a friend of the sprites, though those memories had previously been suppressed by the Archmage’s just-fallen ward . . .
... and Haara the monk wood-shaper discovered that he can truly shape wood, into buildings and tree homes even, as one of a lost line of Architects from the party’s fallen blood-line . . .
...and Thorin the dwarf bard found a helmet of a dwarven hero also named Thorin but from another world, and so Thorin sang The Song of the Broken Brother for the first time and began learning songs from that other world, where dwarves rule the Empire not humans . . .
...and Talimir the rogue/ninja slipped through shadows far more effectively than anyone had ever done (so mysterious….) and reported that he had done his best to dig an intricate network of ambush tunnels beneath the grove (which was bullshit but inspired bullshit and will no doubt turn out to be true, in the long run) . . .
.... and Brial the autistic elf bard found the bardic Keystone he had been supposed to find up on Vantage where it had fallen after Vantage exploded, temporarily crushing Sandilarion's ancient grove, and when addressed properly the Keystone revealed that Brial's magic is so alien and unknown (even to the Archmage) because it literally an echo of a Great Chord struck on some other world (Brial being the name of one of our PCs from a 3.5 game called The Nine Chords) . . .

Well. You can see that there’s a lot of stuff coming that’s going to be coming back. No player votes necessary. 

The funniest moment of the game came when Talimir was intent upon getting everyone into ambush positions in the sacred grove. The plan (originally created by Brial) was to ambush the undead 17th Legion as it cut past the grove headed to the battlefields to hide for the day. But when the PCs reached the holy ground just in time to set the ambush, every PC other than Talimir started what you could probably call an independent craft project. Sandilarion and Haara performed a ritual to save the sacred grove, newly crushed and almost destroyed by the fallen Keystone and other pieces of Vantage. Thorin sang a song, an ancient battle hymn of the other world his helmet is telling him about, to wake up the broken Keystone, and then Brial lectured the Stone, telling it all about himself, but of course Brial ended up saying things he hadn't known until that moment. The grove erupted in woodsy-sprite-filled splendor and the ambush was entirely ruined despite Talimir’s best advice. So the PCs just had to get the job done in straight combat.

And they still believe there were no consequences for spoiling the ambush. Ah, I love GMing. 


  1. I really need to incorporate Icons into the story. Last game was such a mad race to get ready after coming home from work, that only remembered after it was all over that I did not have any Icon interactions. :( I like the concept, but I need more practice. Unfortunately they are now outside a cave of the Bad Guys and I can't think of a plausible way to key up on the Icons.

  2. Your players will forgive you if you handle one or two icon interactions in flashbacks that set up the action is to come, won't they?

    It can be helpful to get players accustomed to a variety of dramatic techniques instead of always having them expect that the narrative flows *only* forward.