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Circle of Hands - Questions about the venture

Hi!

Yesterday I played Circle of Hands as GM, but I have some questions about my venture.

My dices were: Black 6, White 3, Red 6.

So it was settled in Spurr with a double elemento of Rbaja.

I chose a Splotch and a Rbaja zone, thinking about a black wizard dead who left behind a big corruption, because he had a lot of marks of Rbaja. 

So my first question is: When I have a double element, how do I say witch part of it is the lower?

What do I describe to my players as reason to arrive in Edithwend (the city)?

Second question: When I choose to put in my venture a Rbaja zone, does it means that, when someone dies near of it, he/she becomes a draugr for example? I'd say that it gives me some liberty about describing, how a Rbaja zone corrupt everything, and everyone near or inside, but it isn't so clear in the book, so I decided to ask.

Hope my questions are clear. ^_^

Department: 
Actual Play

Comments

Ron Edwards's picture

Hello! First, it’s good that you used the venture component roll correctly. The three resulting numbers were sequentially added to yield 6, 9, and 15. So that’s one component (Rbaja) in Spurr, with a doubled effect, and incidentally, rated at “squick.” Keep that last point in mind as it will help to answer your question.

Regarding the doubled effect, the rule or recommendation is to double a given effect, in this case, something from/about Rbaja, rather than to have two different things. So, for example, two demons rather than one. I do understand that since you wanted a zone, it’s kind of silly or impossible to have two zones, so you’d be forced into finding something in addition to the desired feature rather than more of it.

But do keep in mind that this was a choice. If you had chosen a wizard, a demon, or an enchantment, you could simply have had two of whichever one you chose and had no problem.

For purposes of telling the players what their characters know (or have heard), you treat the whole component as a unit, not as a broken-up or times-two thing. So they’ll know about both the zone and about the splotch.

However, they don’t necessarily know them by name like that, but through descriptions or evidence of their effects. Remember that you do not have to tell them everything about that unit, e.g., you wouldn’t have to say “there’s a dragon,” or “the gentry are murdering the professionals,” but rather some effect that makes those things pretty obvious to the players.

But I am getting ahead of myself. That is a later step, because you finish building the venture before concerning yourself with what to tell the players. In this case, you would have three NPCs to make, as well as the features of the community and its location, a particular dangerous location within it, and one tripwire. The “squick” aspect matters at this point: whatever happened and is happening, is frankly disgusting, to the point of maybe making you not want to see or think of it, personally.

As I’ve written about before:

  • Harsh – this is the minimum, the Crescent Lands are at least harsh; e.g., regarding a named NPC’s experiences,  The past winter was terrible, we lost half our crops and have been struggling to recover all year, one more like that will destroy us.
  • Grim – and my brother and baby sister were caught in a sudden snowfall and died.
  • Squick – and we had to eat them to survive.

This should help focus your creation of NPCs and their immediate problems, and so that they, the component (the splotch and the zone), the dangerous location, and the tripwire all make sense.

Once you’ve done that, it should be pretty easy to say something to the players that indicates a powerful Rbaja presence, which is also consistent with the presence of the zone and the splotch. But if you find yourself describing both of them in great detail, and especially if you are starting to describe other things about your backstory, then you are doing too much.

Let me know if that helps!

JuJu's picture

Yes! I did it right.

I described a nice "town", rich of salt but Rbaja zone forced the people to abandon some houses in the forest. So they have this Rbaja zone that is growing up, and a Splotch who lives in the zone waiting to eat someone. I thought about the Splotch like a remain of the dead wizard power, and it has a symbiosis existence with the zone. 
One of the pc is a Wizard/Scholar of Tamaryon, he is a good cartographer and he wants to map the Rbaja zone.

I describes some npc like they're used to this kind of things. Worried for their lives, their houses but not surprised about Rbaja presence, because they live in Spurr.
One of my npc said: we don't have a wizard lord anymore, other wizard, other litch will try to raid our rich city. And this zone is growing.

My players are very lucky with every roll on charm, they're very nice and welcome. 

I'm describing about backstory or the elements following they're actions, rolls, and npc reactions.
The Wizard pc used his wizard senses and I described a bit of what he saw. I'm trying to show my venture following what my players do.
 

Ron Edwards's picture

I'd love to learn more about the venture, but especially about the knights themselves. Maybe you could scan a character sheet.

And don't forget - squick is your friend!

JuJu's picture

We've made a Google doc.

In this venture Simone is Gertraud the Eagle, and Saverio is Oswald the Cartographer.

Ron Edwards's picture

Sorry it took me so long to reply, but I wanted to study your Circle a little while.

I hope you get to play more than one venture, as I'd really like to see Ingrid in action.

If I'm readying correctly, I don't think one of the players fully understood the point of the Key Event, but I've also learned not to waste time trying to explain it. The player can always go back and rework it when he or she understands the game better.

JuJu's picture

Simone forgot to write one keyevent and I'm not sure if I wrote my keyevents well.

Now we are playing the fourth venture.

JuJu's picture

Ron I'd like to know wich character is wrong, in your opinion.

Ron Edwards's picture

Whoops, sorry - didn't mean to drop the conversation. Also, "wrong" is a strong word for it. I don't intend anything so critical. Here are the Google translations into English for the two Key Events that caught my eye.

"The sun in the sky is slightly overcast, the air begins to get cold and people move around the city, each occupied in his affairs.
Oswald introduces himself to the guard in front of the large long house, hands a dried flower between the pages of a book, an edelweiss.
"" The king awaits me. ""
Under his arm he carries several leather cylinders tied together, the clothes are heavy but not enough for the cold of Rolke. In the presence of the king, Oswald presents his maps, he knows that good goods will flourish him.
Remains surprised when the king proposes to serve him on a permanent basis, he will send him as a member of his Circle around the lands, so that he can map villages, roads, places of interest. Even in the most dangerous places he will not be helpless, he talks about his idea of ​​teaching white and black magic in order to use them together. The king assures Oswald that in return he wants loyalty and accurate maps.
Oswald accepts, having a patron will be extremely comfortable, will allow him to improve his cartographer studies and tells the king that he is rather intrigued by his vision of magic. "

and

On a sheer cliff, armed men (Rolke people and club knights). They are arguing with Geartrud for crossing a stretch of sea. She asks for details about the king and the wars he is carrying out. Gertraud promised his services without asking for any payment except to be presented to their king.

They are both good visual descriptions, but they offer no sense of either character's personal drive to become part of the Circle, in terms of either commitment to the king or to a personal history with the magical war. As I wrote before, I would not tell a player to rewrite it, but would ask for more content during later play. If the player isn't fully appreciating how important this content is, then he or she will feel forced to drip words down for no real purpose, so it's better to play the character a little, then add more content.

In the game text, I quoted one of the playtesters, Gethyn Edwards (no relation), who wrote an extensive summary of what he considered to be a good Key Event:

Something happened to your character which was a Key Event for them. As a direct result of that event something within them broke, such that joining the Circle was suddenly the only choice which made sense thereafter.

The event involved one or more of:
Community
Family
Gender
Social rank
Status, power and authority
Ideology (religious or magical)
The use and effects of Rbaja and/or Amboriyon

The event will typically have had unpleasant qualities such as abuse, defeat, cruelty, helplessness, manipulation, death, failure, betrayal, ruin; it could have been caused by your character's actions or by another's; those actions could just as easily have been ill-intentioned or well-intentioned; the event could have been focused on your character alone or extended to others they care about.

Whatever the details, this event crystallized for your character into the fixed memory of a single, vivid moment - which could equally have been before, during, or after the event itself.

Describe that vividly remembered moment in 150 words or less.

I like this, and I agree with it, but it is also a pretty big demand for a lot of players, and as I'm saying carefully, cannot be forced or required in the sense of a bullet list. Basically, at the start, they either can or they can't. If they can't, then play a bit more and you will find appropriate moments to ask about the character's past, to build a Key Event that way.

JuJu's picture

Ok. I understand. We talked about characters and for now we didn't have problems playing them.

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