Saturday, 14 April 2012

Wrath of the Iron Phoenix (Post-game wrap-up)

Last Saturday saw my FS LARP go.  The plot was pretty simple; a replay of the invasion of Rampart.  It seemed like a good idea; doing it as a one-off allowed players to dictate a part of history, creating the environment they would then have to play through.

EDIT: for the uninitiated, this game is set during the Emperor Wars, a big dust-up between all factions of the Noble Houses, Church and Guilds that defined the 'current' setting.  Essentially, House li-Halan were leaked details of heresies occurring on Rampart - nascent democracy and various techno heresies - and decided to put a stop to that.  

Some say House Decados did this to distract the house from attacking Decados words, while the Guilds are also believed to have shafted their own.  By letting the li-Halan take care of Rampart, the guilds on Leagueheim were able to remove a technological competitor - and while some guilds harboured thoughts of equality, Rampart was far ahead in this belief and the other guilds liked their position enough not to rock the boat. 

There were problems - some of my prop ideas didn't work and I forgot to buy GM radio.  Also I had a grand total of one npc aside from myself, so a lot of ideas were discarded as simply impracticable.  

That said, it went stormingly well.  I didn't catch everything -being GM on the Guild side- but I saw a fair bit.  Including one part where I walked back to the Conseil chamber in time to see the Ukari Reeve pistol-whip the Amalthean!

(Yeah, yeah, about that: basically there was an argument between the Ukari and Amalthean.  The Ukari said that he was happy as long as they caused more casualties than they took, while the Amalthean - naturally - took umbrage at the sentiment.  He got a pistol at his chest and then slapped with it.  Probably not amongst his top five experiences.)

I started with the Guild briefing, sending the other GM to brief the li-Halan.  In an overly-empty Conseil chamber (a masonic hall), a handful of the remaining Guilders clustered around a large map.  Their fellow members were dead or had fled, fearing death or conversion by the li-Halan.

Everyone listens to the Ukari.  There is absolutely no way this can end badly.

Elsewhere, in a brightly-lit room on a li-Halan ship, the nobles planned their assault.

The Guild struck first.  The Ukari Muster ended the li-Halan's occupation of Kempston mag-rail station by sending one of the trains at high speed.  It crashed through the station, killing troops waiting to board and scattering the rest.

They also used their Charioteer allies to set up direct radio communications and shuttle flights (the latter being rather dangerous, with Archangel fighters patrolling the area).

In response the li-Halan chose to reach out to local nobles, landing on Camlaan island and negotiating with the landless nobles there.  Unfortunately their shuttle was spotted leaving the island by the Ukari's Reeve's friends in Bava.  The next time their came back, the two Ukari and their Charioteer friend were lying in wait.  

The li-Halan guild member (right) talks to the li-Halan emissary and her Priest.
The guilders left their captives mostly to their own devices, unsure of what to do with them.  Although the Orthodox priest did come up with escape plans, the noble refused to do so.  She did hope that her father would come for her...

'I'm going to take everything you have.  Including the priest's hat.'
He didn't.  The guilds did try negotiating, but didn't get far - the li-Halan in charge started by saying he had to stop the rot and ended becoming more blatantly about money and power.  He said that he'd spent far too much to stop now - his part of the spoils would probably be dowry for his daughter's Decados husband-to-be.

An Engineer offers weapons of mass destruction in return for forgiveness. 
One of the moral dilemmas (dangling tech in front of the li-Halan) where players don't bite at all. 

Despite repeated negotiations, the two sides kept fighting.

Eventually the li-Halan make a surprise strike to take the Agora, leading to wild rumours that the Battle Brothers were slaughtering captives (they weren't - I had no idea where this came from!) and started pushing towards parliament.  

Anyway, things went from really tense to incredibly tense.  The Guilders prepared to fight, before deciding to leave in a li-Halan shuttle taken at the same time as their captives.  The li-Halan pushed through the parliamentary double-doors, throwing in a grenade...only to face an Amalthean who prayed to bring calm on the crowd.

The guilders then spent all the Wyrd they had to avoid getting shot down by the Invictum Stella, the li-Halan flagship in orbit.  There they became pirates, biding their time until they could return and take their world back.

The li-Halan Duke isn't playing gentle either.  He's purging a couple of levels of tech, as well as closing down the Guild-maintained public schools.

And that was the event.  There's already popular demand for a sequel so I'll have to go back up, though I do want to get a serial game set up down here.

I'll pick the game apart in another post - what worked and what didn't.

The Guild players (L-R) Ukari Muster, Reeve apprentice (and li-Halan spy), Ukari Reeve and Charioteer.

The invaders: (L-R) Amalthean, Battle Brother, li-Halan leader, his daughter and a Decados Orthodox Confessor