A few successful experiments simultaneously performed today:
-Small Group/Big Party. Jesus Christ this game generates an ungodly amount of paper. I dropped it in front of Mandy and her sister and told them to each pull out two of the megajillions of PCs they've somehow managed to leave alive over the last few years. The party: cleric, wizard/fighter dwarf, wizard-elf, illusionist. 2 PCs per player and afterward it felt like one of those games that you want to just talk about (for no particular reason, to no-one in particular), because it was just right and good and the way it should go. Again: recommended.
-Hideous mongrelized systemclash: So 4 PCs. Two native to my usual AD&D20 hybrid, one from a straight AD&D game, one from Dungeon Crawl Classics. Pretty much just figured out saves and bonuses when we needed them. Not a problem. Each wizard used the spells native to their own system. Different wizard schools, y'know.
-Wavecrawl Kit Hounded by the militia and level-drained back to one, Mandy's PC decided she'd had enough of the Isle of Oth. Naturally, her other PC agreed. Her sister hadn't played on Oth before, so she was all whatever, and the foursome took to the Sea of Ignorance and Pain, sailing to aid Vornheim in its hour of undead-sieged need--at least until they thought of something better to do.
So it was 7 days at sea. Doing nothing but rolling on the Wavecrawl Kit. The first encounter of any consequences was...
38-Lone maiden and several swine. Secretly, she is a witch and has transformed all of the crew, her harpy allies are currently off seeking land but will return soon.
The hitch here is, by coincidence, one of our PCs actually speaks hog (old house rule--wizards can pick animal languages). Squeee squee, trust her not! We've been transformed by her abominable sorcery!!! Well naturally that started an argument. Said argument might've actually been a total slaughter if it'd occurred to me to rule that the wizards having their tongues turned to vipers meant they couldn't cast spells. Still, it came gratifyingly close to a TPK which is the best result of all: all the PCs almost die, but none actually do, on account of last minute lucky dice. So I've decided not to be too hard on myself. Still: keeping track of weird persistent effects is something I'm always tryna work on.
After passing a Goblin Grubship, this came up...
72- Passengers heading away from PCs native land. One is a PCs mother. What the hell?
Turns out it's the mom to Mandy's Librarian (Yuan-Ti) PC. After some bribes and crying they decide well screw Vornheim, let's take mom to safety in the Goblin Empire (the goblins are on good terms with the snake people). So goblinward sailed they...
So then, a storm, a slain albatross, pirates scared away by a judicious use of phantasmal force (always seems less useful if you actually attack people with it), then more pirates--this time goblin ones, who quickly took off once half were dead and their boat was on fire.
-Boat chase mechanic: each side rolls a number of d20 dex checks equal to the number of hands sailing (not "sailing or shooting arrows at the other ship", just those devoting their full attention to sailing). Whichever side gets more successes moves a round ahead of- or up on- the enemy.
A very good day at sea. What I particularly like is the Wavecrawl Kit is not just managing to cough up adventures, it seems to be impressing in the players' minds that the way you decide to travel is important, and that choices about how to go have consequences. Going by sea feels very much like its own thing--which it should. And the world is feeling like a world, not dressing on stories.
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