Manaburst Actual Play, Session 3 (Final Session)

On the 16th of December we had what wound up being our last game of Manaburst. It wasn’t intended as such at the time but between holiday scheduling and the fact that the system and/or world wasn’t working for most of the players we recently decided to call the game.The session it self did answer a small number of questions but also raised many more. It’s revealed all of the constructs around the palace were apparently going through the motions of their jobs but not doing any real work – chefs cutting at empty cutting boards or servants carrying empty trays around. After the guards are dealt with the servant the group was following leads us to what appear to be the royal apartments. In four separate suits were what appeared to be the royal family, each tucked into their beds but clearly long dead.

A more thorough investigation followed and turned up some minor clues but nothing definitive. However we did eventually find the throne room and the king- and queen-bots located there. After talking to them (they were the first constructs to actually speak to us other than Failure) Failure tried to machine meld with the king and found what appeared to be a prison for the king’s consciousness, soul, or something of the like. He tried to break down the prison to free the king but that only succeeded in destroying the construct and suddenly all of the constructs turned aggressive.

We made a fighting retreat through a hidden passage in the throne room and escaped through the sewers, eventually making it out of the palace grounds. The game was called with the intent to pick back up heading to one of the nearby towns we found out about while investigating, though that won’t happen now.

It was an unsatisfying conclusion to the campaign, but moving on was probably a good idea. The system didn’t gel right for most of the players and some of them felt the setting was a little to over the top. But Manaburst was meant as an experiment to see how well the Everway-style worked for us and we found out it didn’t. It was just too ambiguous for us and strayed a bit too far from traditional task resolution systems. But now we know and can tailor future games around that.

Manaburst Actual Play, Session 2

Session Date: 12/02/2007
Gamemaster: Prorpger

First, a few notes. My fiancee wound up coming down with a migraine on game night so we did a minor ret-con. Instead of NPCing her character, we just decided that she hadn’t appeared on the weird sphere with the rest of us. Also Luke, who directed the rock opera known as Renegade Horizon, was able to sit in for a session so he and Chad came up with a character concept real quick ahead of time. Presto change-o, start session 2.

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After the initial shock passes the players all head in different directions and when they meet on the far side of the sphere a few minutes later confirm that it was in fact as small as they had initially though. However on the far side they do find an odd mechanical device, completely out of place in this hand-drawn world.

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Manaburst Actual Play, Session 1

Session Date: 11/18/2007
Gamemaster: Proprger

On Sunday, November 18th, we had our second session of Manaburst. I’ve decided to split up the commentary and actual play content into separate posts. This will be the first Actual Play post of the campaign.

The game opened with Feral arriving in the city of Frostmourn – the sphere’s namesake – on a wagon she had hitched a ride on. Unlike the other settlements in the sphere which barely qualified as villages Frostmourn itself was a large walled city far larger than any other she had been to. After being dropped off a the gate Feral began exploring the city in search of the caravan heading off-world she was supposed to join.

As Feral wandered through the city, the world froze around her. The crowded streets were suddenly still and even the birds above had paused mid-flight. Although she recognized the onset of one of her prophetic visions, Feral was surprised with the speed at which this one had come on. As the color quickly drained from the world she unconsciously held her breath as she waited to see what her vision would show her.

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Earthdawn: First Dawn, Session 1

We finally had a chance to start First Dawn, the Earthdawn campaign that I’m running, this last Sunday. After talking to the players, we decided to start this campaign a little differently than our normal style. I wanted the characters to be more powerful than starting Adepts to rationalize their choice to be leaving their Kaer, but not all of the players were familiar enough with the game system to make more advanced characters without a lot of help. So to speed character generation and to help build a more cohesive group, we met a couple weeks before our first actual game session for a character generation session where the players would design their characters and personalities and I would take those and create stats later.

After giving the group the rundown of life in the Kaer and the different races and disciplines that they might have to choose from, everyone came up with their general character concepts. From there we began fleshing out backgrounds and motivations, tying the characters together while at the same time developing the Kaer where the game would start. Before the character generation session I had known what sort of overarching plot I wanted for the campaign, but I hadn’t imagined that the players would hand me the perfect vehicle to make it personal for them during character generation.

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