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Circle of Hands: Venture 4 of 6(+)

On Sunday, October 27th, we finally beat my schedule's cruel tactics and were able to play Circle of Hands again. 

I have to say that I am finding each return to the Crescent Land with a character to play has very satisfying. 

This session was run by Ivan and according to our plan this was his last to run. Eloy and I took characters this time. Ingulf returned from Venture 2 and Anselm appeared for the first time. 

The Venture entails a witch operating from a bountiful community in Spurr.

The runtime is around 2hrs 30 minutes but this includes some post-play discussion. Of note was this was the first session where all the Tripwires (there was only 1) were tripped in play. It was a nasty one, placed in a tough spot, leading to an exciting conclusion.

Department: 
Actual Play

Comments

This session was a blast. the most comfortable one I think.

Ron Edwards's picture

When a Circle GM opens with a view of the pole in action, you know things just notched up. I confess I have never had the guts for a cold open with that image.

I also like the unspoken reliance on social rank for perceptions, from everyone. Still viewing and into it!

Ron Edwards's picture

Oh man, I had to stop for a day because I thought you were borking the clash with the witch. The group almost jumped straight into damage without checking her defense result, and since she was on full defense (double Quickness) with three dice, it would have ruined the whole session to get that wrong. I only re-clicked with trepidation, fearing what I'd have to say in the response video (or similarly, fearing the silence if I didn't make one), to find that you all self-corrected just in time. ... Well, almost.

Ron, we look forward to your comments whichever way they might go~

Love D's picture

Great session! I was on edge during the discussion between the Circle knights and Ivo after the fight with the witch. Not just because it was a cool, evocative situation, but because I realized, then and there, that the circle knights decisions would have great consequences, which they did.

It looked like Ivan's (the gm's) top priority was to play the named characters and village people as he saw them working/acting/thinking. I think that Ivo's and the chieftain's decisions made sense for those characters, so my questions is not about that. 

If I remember correctly you mentioned the lack of rolls for persuasion during the session, Ivan. 

Did it feel strange or wrong to decide how for example the chieftain would react and answer when the knights asked him to go to the hill, or when Ivo were in a similar situation? 

Could you actually have made a (new) charm roll or some other roll to decide how they would react or respond? 

It didn't really feel awkward to make a decision on how the named characters would act in the situations. It did make me stop and think for a moment because these were very novel situations I had not anticipated! But this is part of the reason why I play.
 

By the rules as written I don't believe that there would be a reason to make a second  charm roll. I had to take into account that with the exception of the Werther/Ingulf roll, the named characters saw the circle knights as potential assets to their individual interests.  
 

Ivo certainly had good reason to confront Werther one more time (as he had for years), but this time he had unusual allies who had just done the impossible. ~ I had to think a little bit more about Werther's reaction. It helped that I had thought about these characters for a long time. Most of my preparation for both sessions that I ran was living with those characters in my head. Figuring out who they were and what their motivations were. When it came time to make decisions for them this made it much easier because I could step into their heads. 

Love D's picture

Yes! Totally with you on the novel and not anticipated situations, it’s definitely one of the biggest reasons why I play too. Circle of hands is very good at facilitating or promoting that kind of play, much because of the charm rolls power.

I get that you had to think a little more about Werther’s reaction, and it seemed to work beautifully. Their reactions were clearly motivated both by the initial charm rolls and by the named characters experiences and interests. If i'm reading the rules right only the players, not the gm, can call for new charm rolls with the same named character (and only if the situation has changed appropriately/the knight has done something to deserve recognition in the community). That goes against my usual gm-style (which could be good thing), because I often call for some kind of social roll if I'm on the fence about how a given character should react. On the other hand, I don't have a previous, establishing charm roll to fall back on in those other games.

It’s great that newly ascended persons, which often are less prepared in terms of history and motivations (relying for example only on social class) are immediately subjected to charm rolls.

Yeah, one regret I have about the session was not ascending the prisoner and having charm rolls made with him. (Looking back I believe it's in the spirit of the rules that he should have been ascended, during game i went with a more literal interpretation). ~ That would have been interesting to see how he felt about the knights and would have prompted me to have him act post fight as well. Live and learn. 

Gethyn's picture

... and probably the witch as well ..? I mean, she's a Named character too, right?

That could have got really interesting. She'd have still been skewered I guess, but maybe not, or at least maybe not without some nice itchy dialogue first. And with bad Charm rolls things might just have exploded instantly without any semblance of chit chat at all.

One thing I did wonder, on a rules point, was whether spending Brawn to go first can become a repeat-spend bidding war. It can between spell-casters sometimes, certainly, but I can't find anything explicit in the context of conflicts in general. The strict implication from "any player, at any time they aren't first" I think, is that say Feist jumps the queue, Anselm counter-jumps, then Feist can immediately spend a second point in reply ... and it's back again to Anselm to call or fold ... I'm sure that's how I've played it in the past, rightly or wrongly - although it's not something that I've seen happen in practice much because Brawn is so precious.

I do find lone NPC wizards really hard to play effectively in battle in CoH. The choice of spell use is fairly overwhelming for starters, plus they very rarely get a chance to unleash much at all, if anything, before they get utterly dogpiled by the knights. Then if they do get a spell off, their Brawn is lowered to the point that they hit the dirt hard and fast shortly afterwards. I need a wizard boot camp. Gotta think more evil-like. ; )

The witch was a named character & they did get charm rolls (albeit at 1 die because there was no way circle knights were going to get 2 dice with her) ~ It would have been interesting if they passed. Then she would have seen them as some kind of resource.

Ron Edwards's picture

Gethyn, I'm a little confused by bringing up Feist in reference to ascension because she's Named, and if I'm not mis-remembering, I think they did do the Charm rolls upon meeting her.

But to shift to the Brawn topic, yes, you are right - "who goes first" may well become the arena for Brawn bidding, just as certain opposed spells may. This is an intentional feature. It's also an important device for wizards, who may have high Brawn and low Quickness, but who also don't mind burning two or three Brawn to go first and still have more than most people. So depending on Anthony's nerve at the moment, Feist might have gone first after all.

Gethyn's picture

D'oh, sorry Ivan!

Brain-fart regarding the witch Charm roll. I think I conflated noticing the non-Ascended prisoner bit with only half-noticing the perfectly correct penalised Charm rolls you did do. I really shouldn't be let out sometimes.

And thanks for the clarification on the Brawn thing, Ron. 

Ron Edwards's picture

In a good way. Here's the direct link to my Circle of Hands session 2 Reflections, in two parts, and the larger playlist it's embedded in.

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