Saturday, October 11, 2008

Synnibarr Actual Play

I was finally able to run my Synnibarr one shot.
I had created the chars for the 3 players, following their basic character concept description.

I got a "pretty fairy that throws bombs" by a casual gamer girl (And),
a samurai with laser sword and a werman that actually is a cyborg in wereman decoy and absorption powers. Those 2 were played by guys (Ser and Vla) from my regular gaming group.
The fairy named Sprinkle had the master mutation Super Speed (which equals Mach-1), because that also gave her great armor. Otherwise she would have been stomped quiet easily.
Follow the link to find the one shot Synnibarr character sheets as pdfs!

The adventure was set on a small volcanic island (as you can read in earlier blog posts). I sketched a small cave map on a single A4 piece of paper and wrote down some NPC and location details on the back, as well as a few notes of rules summary.

You can see the scanned pages here:

These notes actually would have been enough for two sessions (or a long 6 to 7 hours one).

The adventurer started with the PCs arriving in the only harbour village of the island. It was noon and from the ship bringing them there (I did not detail that at all) they could see a single volcano rising from the sea. Its slopes were covered in jungle and some fog was covering that area. Around the volcano flocks of flying deer were circling. What would Synnibarr be without this kind of stuff?
Obviously there was steam coming out of the volcano.

The harbour village (I never introduced its name "Winterhaven" because it is quite nonsensical for a tropic village, but actually it was a reference to D&D4's KotS) was mainly constructed out of stone houses with straw roofs and obviously there was an inn next to the harbour square.

I came up spontaneously with the idea that only a few old people were outside the building at noon. The characters were supposed to find their contact person Dusk in the village.

The casual game girl playing the fairy started intimidating people to get information where Duke was and when they could not really help, she started to attack them.

The talking raccoon who was hanging out in the inn and should have been their contact person, noticed that and prepared her bazooka to save the villagers. In the following fight the fairy/flygirl dodged the bazooka shell and was actually able to alter its direction to fire back at the inn. A bomb later the inn was aflame and the fire was nearly starting to affect other buildings.

The other two player character had in the meantime examined the mansion of the mayor and found a part of a robot there that had "Dusk" engraved in it. When they returned to the village they were able to stop the fire from spreading.

The most important rule part I did not really use was the multiple attacks each round. In the end I skipped the phases and let everyone act following their advantage bonus. The super speed fairy could act first when she wanted to use her 5 actions.
I did not want to take the pace out of the action by calculating who could act when. Although it would have made players loose their proactive play style. Who had an idea could normally act right away.

What was obviously confusing was the roll-under, roll-over mess for different actions - especially, because some roll-over skills are stated in percentages and I accidently marked other roll under stuff as +xx.

Generally the system was quite fast though.

One problem was the scaling. A lesser (= level 5-10) monster like a Gremlin can easily kill a level 1 character with one hit.

When I our time was nearly over, I dropped a hint and the players finally moved all up to the top of the volcano. For whatever reason-even though there was little time left-(actually it was because I wanted the wandering being risky), I rolled a random encounter. It turned out that they encountered "Rock Weird" (p.433). This is a fog creating 6m tall creature that I image as a whale like thing camouflaged as huge rock. While the rule book stats that it leaps up and unfolds a huge mouth, I misinterpreted that-reading over it fast-as a more Sarlacc like creature. So it swallowed the wereman who was walking over the trap door like mouth. The Rock Weird jumped up only after swallowing him and the fairy following the wereman in the maw to help him. I changed the 6 meter vertical jump to one that hurled the creature with its prey (and the other PCs standing on top) hundreds of meters in the air - right up to the cloud of the Gremlin "final boss".

I also ruled that there was acid inside the Rock Weird, but can't find that info in the creature description. So I must have made that up on the spot.

I described flying deer flying away in panic when the Rock Weird thundered by - up to a "hard" cloud. This was the place were the Gremlin kept the 2 baby raccoons. They were supposed to be the McGuffins by the contact person, but it played out different now.

The samurai still standing on the "flying" Rock Weird was able to split this creature with one amazing slash of his katana and saving his comrades.

Next they landed on the solid cloud of the Gremlin, which hovered over the lava lake of the vulcano. After some short interaction, the Gremlin slashed at the samurai and killed him with one hit. This I mentioned above already. If this would not have been a one shot and we were already over time, I would have probably changed the result, but in this case I was happy I had one less player to worry about.

The fairy went all suicide bomber and blew herself up next to the Gremlin. The monster survived that though, while the fairy was annihilated. Game over in any other system, but the Fairy had a minimal chance for a God roll success - the direct intervention of her deity.
And guess what: the player was able to pull that roll off - despite the less than 5% chance.
So I decided that the a huge golden shining flyhead would pop up in the sky and reassemble his flygirl follower. Somehow the Gremlin was nearly pushed off the cloud in the following chaos.

And that was the moment when the wereman followed up and finally pushed down the creature in the volcano. Would have been a happy end somehow, but the fairy decided that she had to kill the baby racoons. All the other players were grossed out, but And gave me exactly what I learned to expect from casual gamer girls: brutal bloodshed. :) She shot the 2 babies and the adventure ended here.

Picture material (added only now):
Volcanic Island
House in Winterhaven
Baby Racoons

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