If you backed the Veranthea Codex at $25 or more, you already have a copy of the playtest document (over 60 pages of goodies!) and the rest of the book is coming along beautifully (especially the gods, which Indi Martin has been illustrating with deific skill). We had another big hour long development meeting and I’ve been keeping an eye on everybody; I’m happy to say the whole team is operating extremely well. For my part, the mini-adventure in the Trectoyri section is all finished up (minus a map and Jacob’s awesome illustration of battling kaiju!). 😀
I’ve also been churning away at N.O.W. and I expect to reach the next “big new system design” part later this week, which puts the Jan 1st playtest on track.
Really though, I want to talk about The Brothers Taisho, and what is quickly becoming my favorite new character—Rice Farmer.
Allow me to explain.
Now that the Veranthea Codex Playtest is out, I wanted to emphasize using the new rules in the book so I had my Tuesday group roll up new characters—for Bad Omens in Ominara, I limited them to the PRD to make sure the adventure balanced, but with The Brothers Taisho, only I am limited to the PRD (again, to check for balance).
So Player 1 put together a dhampir Conxecron instigator (inquisitor archetype), Satoru, and Player 2 made “Handless Dan”, a hook-handed (both hands) human adversarial armorist (fighter archetype). Because Player 3 wasn’t available for the first two games, and unexpectedly made it to the latter and asked me for a character, so I wrote up Sai-Ping, ju-wai shu sorcerer with the wild magic bloodline (two of the tastiest bits from the Veranthea Codex) [note: you can find some of these on the tumblr].
Returning from a recent trip across the country as guards for a caravan (on behalf of their friend Tesru the Iron Trader), the Brothers Taisho came home to find their mother dying, poisoned by some infernal toxin. Seeking out its source (and the meaning of the red ribbons found within their trespassed home), they travel southwest of the city of Crent-Sira, joined by their longtime friend and nominal step-sister Sai-Ping.
The trip does not go well.
A single ghoul rogue (from the Monster Codex omg thank you sooooo muuuch Paizoooo!!!!!) decimated the party, partly due to a wild magic effect (from the Gamemastery Guide, as it happens!) opening up a pit under Sai-Ping as she cast a spell at the undead. The whole thing was a comedy of errors, and a mysterious happening is all that saved them—an unassuming dwarven bodyguard to a late arrival of the traveling group seemed to be the bloody source of their survival. The strange noble he protected offers to house the overwhelmed sorcereress in his enchanted wagon (because Player 3 couldn’t make it to game), and they continued down to Poisoko (en route to the top of Mount Nestraka, and the answers to what mysteries trouble the Brothers Taisho).
Two routes offer the PCs a way to cross the great river bisecting southern Fordhatta: the Histo and Troka Bridges. Not sure which to take (botching Knowledge checks), they ask the other travelers with them: “have you ever been here before or know of the good way ahead?”
The percentiles abandoned them entirely, and the most common response out of the lot was, “I am a rice farmer!”
This becomes important later on.
Going for the Histo Bridge (avoiding troublesome monsters), Handless Dan braves its bloody apparition while Satoru flees in fear, but they exhume the body of the restless spirit, destroying the haunt entirely. Choosing to sleep on the bridge, however, proves to be a faulty plan, as (percentiles, oh, you dogs!) turned on the PCs and in a reckless, tactically painful battle they go unconscious fighting sahuagin (again, Monster Codex, go buy it, go buy it right now).
In the morning they’re woken by the surviving travelers (about 5 died in the onslaught) and are again left with a very bloody mystery, though this time the dwarven bodyguard is nowhere to be found, though before being knocked out, they did see him grow rapidly in size and push one of their attackers off the bridge [hey guys, if you are reading this? HINT HINT].
The strange noble with them, Fei-Hung Yin of the Silver Clan, urges the caravan to press on after seeing to the proper burial rites to all of the fallen travelers—Sai-Ping remaining inside with him, overwhelmed by the wild magic she exhumed a few nights before. The next night hobgoblins, two skirmishers from Hesstrickia, come upon the caravan at night, but this time Handless Dan and Satoru bring their mettle, killing the two battle clerics before they could enslave their wards (only losing two to channeled negative energy).
Reaching Poisoko the next evening (after pushing their horses into a forced march), Satoru heads into the town to find a place for the party to sleep that night, and Handless Dan accompanies Fei-Hung Yin to the Nakatomi Estate, where trouble arises.
The noble has done something strange to Sai-Ping, subverting her will. Handless Dan fights valiantly to break into the wagon, but the guards—off-duty members of the thuggish Lead Clan—eventually subdue him.
More hilarity ensued, but what about Player 3? Sai-Ping is a little tied up in plot right now.
When Player 3 first did character creation, I let him roll for his magical type—in Urethiel, there’s a 5% chance you’re immune to magic, like a golem (they’re called Forsaken), among three other options (again, on the tumblr). He rolled that, but had a mage all ready to go, so rolled again with the understanding that next time, he’d be playing a Forsaken.
Cut to now.
Rice Farmer really did take off with the Brothers Taisho, so we quickly wrote up a PC for Player 3 (who’s welcome to implement some changes) that makes him a badass immortal wielder of the garden hoe, albeit a very, very dimwitted fellow with, thus far, an extremely limited vocabulary.
I am very excited to see Rice Farmer in action next week.