Wednesday, April 10, 2013

The Gossamer Saga e01 : Homebrewed System

The Gossamer Saga : Revolution
Episode One
"Basic Training"

Home-brewed Game

My partner, Rocky, only started playing table-top games after I introduced him to the hobby.   After being together for almost four years, he has finally decided to do something that makes me even more proud to have him in my life: he has decided to run a game! And even more awesome, rather than just run a game system that exists, he asked me to help him craft a game based on a long-unfinished story he had written from way back during his school years.  So here it is, The Gossamer Saga.

The Cast is as follows:
Kale, played by Rachel.
He is a young messenger boy who makes up for his lack of Courage with a lot of Cunning.  He travels between regions to deliver messages and parcels.

Quince, played by Erich.
He is an apiarist.  He has always had a greater connection to the bees than his fellow men.  His lack of Beauty made it even harder to reach out and relate to him.

Larkspur, played by Mahar.
She is a farm girl with a strong religious streak.  Her being devoid of Cunning made her very upfront and bold of her opinions.

Ash, played by Tobie.
She is a fourteen year-old assassin with little recall of her previous family.  She awoke buried under a pile of dead corpses, with faint recollections of three faces.  She had no true Wisdom of the world.

The game opens with a group of people from the colony of Jahn Maije walking down a corridor where wisps of people seemingly appear and vanish.  In the tower, the group are escorted by a man in full-plate armor to a chamber where a woman named Dawn awaits them.  She calmly addresses each one, welcoming them to the Order, and shows a number of glowing orbs.  She talks about the Trust, and how the orbs reflect this.  Each one reaches out to the orbs, and it transforms to an object we prefer.  Kale has it become an arm-band.  For Quince, it becomes a throat choker.  For Ash, it becomes a small hair bead.  And for Larkspur, it embeds into her skin, just jutting out from her chest.  Each one finds their thoughts hearkening back to when and how they were invited to join.

Larkspur recalls her introduction to the Order.  A woman meets her after she delivers an ewe.   As they discuss things, Larkspur notices the scent of the sea upon the woman.  She mentions something about the Order, and "invites her" to join after offering to give her time to think about it.  The woman freezes time around Larkspur, trapping her in a strange world stuck in stasis for two days.  Larkspur finally relents, and vows that joining will be regretted by the woman.

Kale was travelling through the woods when he hears a strange thing.  Lacking the courage to deal with it head on, he clambers up a tree to hide.  That's when a young man emerges from the tree as well, and tries to sell him on the idea of being able to travel and visit faraway places.  Though hesitant, Kale finds the young man interesting enough and agrees to join.

Quince goes about his usual day, killing a bear that has been caught in one of his traps, and tending to the bees in his apiary.  A burly man in armor pays him a visit and explains the need for more people like him.  The man discusses the importance of order and of people who can help enforce such order.  The mindset appeals to Quince's curiosity, and so he decides to go with the man.

Ash was in the process of waiting for the opportunity to kill a new target, a cult leader, when a gloved hand grabs her and keeps her from swinging down to decapitate the cultist.  The two suddenly shift and are a distance away from the temple! Ash tries to strike what she perceives as a gap in the armored figure's armor, but the armor it turns out does not have any gaps.  The two argue between need, want, and whether or not the world is cruel.  The woman explains to Ash that she had been sent to recruit her and explained joining the Order is a chance to make a greater difference.  She reminds Ash not to mention to Dawn that she had been the one to get her, and when Ash asks her for her name, the woman admits to having given it up.  Ash is shunted away and finds herself now standing before the Tower itself.

And that was how they were all invited.   As Dawn welcomes each of them, she then dismisses them to retire to their chambers and reminds them the training begins in the following day.    Kale and Larkspur walk down the corridor with Kale trying to befriend Larkspur, but the farm girl instead takes his forwardness as improper and rants about it aloud.  Quince realizes he wants to speak with the young girl, whom he senses is like a "Young Queen" in the wrong "hive."  He waits outside, and meets a woman who seems excited and easily distracted.  She tries to explain the use of the gem, but vanishes before she could finish her statements.  And Ash talks to Dawn, curious to learn more about the Order ("Its like a brother, but with strange arts."), on why it protects the Cult (or at least, its leader), on why it would need someone like her (a killer).  Dawn explains that she sees in Ash someone familiar in the past.   Ash reluctantly leaves, finds Quince outside, and notices a dead bee still stuck in his hair.  She points it out, and he takes it, then eats it.    The others explore the "parallel" feel of the Tower, how it had been magically altered in such a manner as to accommodate far more individuals than the space seems to allow.

As each retire to their rooms, they learn how the rooms adjust to be more appropriate to what the other has grown accustomed to in life.  Larkspur finds a ready stock room and the stove needed to bake some bread. Kale finds supplies to prepare some nice sandwiches and a four poster bed, and a window providing a view of a multi-colored sky with floating islands.  Quince sees a simple cornered cubicle to slide into and sleep.  And Ash, so used to fighting for her life and food each night, finds herself in a shadowy chamber, besieged by faceless goons, whom she kills and scavenges from for bits of bread and meat to eat.

The rooms are absolute.  No one else can enter without the permission of the owner.  The places are attuned to stones we have in such that those who visit have to be invited in.

A new day begins.
The group gathers to meet for studies.  Kale feels sad for Ash who looks disheveled and tired.  She explains spending the whole night keeping watch for assailants until she fell asleep.  He offers her a sandwich to eat.  The group gather in a room to be taught by Gorval the basics of the Trust.  He has a polearm, and wears plate mail armor.  He explains that the room give the occupant  "what we need" but these things are not real.  The need for actual sustenance it seems is held at bay while within the Tower.  The young man who visited Kale, Faraker, appears as Gorval asks him to help demonstrate the basic lesson.  Faraker creates a sapling from what was once his empty hands.  Impressed, Larkspur subconsciously reaches out, hoping it was bigger.  She tapos into the Trust and causes it to grow massively into a gigantic oak tree!  Ash's panic manifests as an attempt to rot the tree, but all she succeeds in doing is make some leaves yellow.  As further talk is shared about the nature of the world, of magic, of miracles and Gods, Ash comes into an argument with Larkspur on whether or not the Shining One is real.   Ash believes in a world abandoned by hope and such illusions of something that cares for us.  Larkspur holds fast to the believe even this Trust is a gift of the Shining One.

As Gorval explains the different facets of the Trust, he explains that each one of the four has become attuned to a specific type.  This attunement helps represent what aspect and facet of the world can be better swayed by the Trust.  For Larkspur, the gem  glows a bright steady white, the color of Order.  For Kale, the arm band pulses with green hues, the color of Nature.  Ash feels the crimson glow envelope her hair band, the color of Chaos.  And for Quince, light pulses between two shades of color, mixing into opal.  There is a general feeling of empowerment.

Class ends and Kale and Ash decide to explore the Tower.  They search for a way to find the highest peak but discover there seems to be no such stairs leading up.  They learn to explore the place through intent, rather than actual walking, and Ash finds herself back home in an eye blink.  When Kale comes over to visit, he overhears her in the throes of battle, and is "invited" to come in and help.  Kale tries to explain to Ash these are all illusions, but Ash does not seem to grasp it.  When he sees Ash has been eating rotten food, Kale insists she stay with him instead in his room.  The two spend the night talking about their lives, and Kale discovers how troubled and violent Ash's life has been.

Quince uses Trust to perceive the "hub of the Tower" and learn more about the true goals of the group.  A man in hub emerges with intricate bead work in his hair.  Quince enters and finds himself in a room lit by thousands of candles.  There, he finds certain answers, and more questions to plague him.

And Larkspur finds herself having a dream.  As she tumbles in her bed, she sees a vision of the Bright One visiting and questioning her if she is truly ready.  It reminds her that to learn, one must unlearn many things that have been learned before.  "The very fact you answer back is proof you have not yet reached a point you are ready to learn."  Larkspur reaffirms her focus and dedication to preaching and carrying the Bright One's word.

Dawn stands beside the armored figure that recruited Ash.  The two share no words.  Dawn has the odd expression on her face.  "I wasn't sure if you were coming back."

The figure just stares.

"As talkative as ever, you were my most difficult student."

"You didn't have much to teach me, did you?" the armored figure replies.

Dawn nods a bit, "Still, I am glad you brought her.  I know you hate coming back here."

Armored figure responds, "Yes.  I don't know why you need her.  She may be more trouble than she is worth."

Dawn admits, "Yes but, it is what has been foreseen.  We will need her in the end."

"But you are the only one who has seen this end," the armored figure challenges her words, "None of the other seers have.  What makes you certain you are right?"

Dawn, "If you did not believe me, you would have not brought her here.  You've seen it too."

"I don't count.  Nobody ever believes me. That's why I left your stinking order," the armored figure growled.

"No one may seem to believe me now, but the visions are too powerful to ignore.  We must be ready. I fear the end is near.  Things will hang in the balance and we will be the only ones who can save everything, including the order."

"But really, you need that little girl?," the armored figure asked, "I don't understand why. She is dangerous, Dawn."

"They said the same thing about you, firechild," Dawn calmly replied, "And yet I brought you in.  Are you uncomfortable... because she is too much like yourself?"

Armored figure just stares out into distance.

"Do you need anything else from me or is this favor done?  After this, I don't owe you anything else."

Dawn comes up hand on shoulder.  "There is just one more thing that I need you to do."

The Gossamer Tower continues to stand amidst the ether.


Without a doubt, I had so much fun in this game!  And yes, it was by my partner who has never run a game before in his entire life!  Woot! I got so excited for this game I ended up creating a logo, character sheet, and a teaser trailer!

 I'm sure he will have a more comprehensive blog post soon about this game world, including the systems we devised around it to represent its crunch and magic system. For now, though, I do hope you enjoyed reading the summary! And here's to more sessions soon.

Character Sheet by Tobie Abad

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