Prelude to Manaburst

After finalizing the last few characters, our first actual roleplaying session  was dedicated to teaching the players the basics of the system and as a prelude, setting up the situation in which I wanted to start the campaign proper. In both regards the game was a success.

The campaign opened in media res with the characters on the plane of Whitesea, being ambushed by a herald of the demonic forces trying to invade the plane, and some of his forced-converts.  Our bold planeswalkers backpedaled initially but after Grrrk unleashed his destructive power in the area  indiscriminately, knocking the converts (and a companion) out of the fight, the herald fled.

While Nika and Ada helped get the companions back on their feet, Gaeleth took a moment to examine the fallen conscripts.  Under their armor she found the pale skinned faces of the denizens of the plane, eyes rolled back in their heads – vacant but alive.  Realizing there was little to be done for the conscripts except to end the Herald’s hold on them, the planeswalkers quickly chased after him.

The plane of Whitesea was named for the spires of rock emerging from the thick layer of clouds below the inhabitable portion of the plane.  These  tiered  formations are connected at various levels by suspensions of beautifully crafted  filigree.  The chase carried across a number of these bridges before the planeswalkers caught up to the  herald  on one of the mountainous spires.

Near the herald stood a magus performing a ritual from where he stood on  an arcane glyph carved in the middle of a series of standing stones.  As the planeswalkers approached, the magus wrapped the  herald  in sorcerous energies, mutating him a giant-sized demon.  The hulking creature bellowed out a challenge then turned to exact its vengeance on the planeswalkers.

With her encyclopedic knowledge, Ada recognized a ritual of  anchoring  – the magus was using an artifact to create a portal which would allow the demonic horde to begin invading the plane.  Some sort of field between the stones prevented the planeswalkers from hurling sorceries at the magus, and the demon’s unholy strength kept them at bay.

Eventually Torvolis and Nika were finally able to distract the demon long enough for Ada to dispell the field.  Grrrk darted between the stones, snatched the artifact from the magus.  He screeched in something between glee and defiance and threw himself from the sigiled  dais.

As the artifact left the circle of stones, the magus’ spell was disrupted.  The arcane energies built up atop the spire were  suddenly  unleashed, cascading out of control.  Everything flashed vivid colors, then faded to the black of  unconsciousness.

*   *   *

Session Date: 8/21/2010

From a session-design standpoint,  I chose a combat to start the game with for two reasons.  One, it set immediate stakes for the scene so the players didn’t have to fumble with what was going on as they tried to learn the system.  And two, the combat conflict resolution rules encompass every system of the game, meaning the players would gain a basic understanding of the whole system for them to build from.

Most of the players started out hesitantly, but one of the advantages of having a GM-NPC for this session helped here.  I pretty much jumped in the pool, letting them know the water was fine.  Once they all realized how far they could flex the system, the game just opened up for them.  ‘My’ character will be gone next session, though, and only show back up if someone else decides to GM a session.  I get all of the GM spotlight already, I don’t need a share of the player spotlight as well.  😉

And that sets up the first session of the campaign proper, the write-up of which should appear soon.