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Saturday, September 17, 2011

Mythic play-test continuation.

Scene 3 (Chaos 5)

Considering this the start of a new session so Willow's Spirit Dice are refreshed to 6. Also since the "tone" of the last scene was significantly calmer I drop the Chaos rating by one. I've got no immediate plans for what the next scene involves so I roll a random event. I get...Remote Event and Cruelty/Randomness. I decide this means that the mysterious Daimyo has occupied the nearby village with his soldiers and is engaging in all sorts of random acts of wickedness to try and force a reaction from Sagacious Diamond. Willow will try and sneak out of the school to confront the guy. I roll and find out it's an Interrupted Scene so I ask if I've been caught and the emulator tells me that I have. I ask if it's someone from the school and I get a no. So I decide it's Copper Tree. He's upset I made Wandering Moon cry with my verbal abuse and is going to ambush me on the road.

That evening Willow slips out of his blankets, pouring the pot of medicinal tea on the ground. His ankle is fine, Master Diamond's healing skills are exceptional and he's only forcing Willow to rest to keep him out of danger. He had heard other students talking in the hallways about the mysterious samurai lord and his followers attacking the small village of River Bend. Willow sneaks out of his room and into the hallway. He winces as he steps on a creaking floorboard. Pausing for a moment he gathers himself, relaxing himself with breathing exercises before moving onward. Fortunately the other students seem to be sleeping soundly and he easily makes it outside and then it's a simple matter to leap atop the school's wall and from there down to the road below. He makes his way down the path towards the village. Before he gets more than 100 yards down the path he's suddenly tackled from behind by an unseen attacker.


Willow doesn't have any particularly observant Strengths so Copper Tree, a roguish ex-thief and con man, has the initial advantage. He's no match for a trained martial artist (being only a sidekick). His Good [+2] Sneaky Strength beats Willow's Average [0] Perception in a Challenge. Now he uses his Good [+2] Streetfighting (along with the Techniques Dirty Tricks and Surprise Ambush) while Willow doesn't have any helpful Strengths and he hasn't Harmonized to any of his Styles. Willow suffers 4 Wound Ranks and applies them to his Motivation and Good Looks (both dropped to Poor) and one to his Strong Spirit (dropping it to Average). This nets him a Training Point and a Story Hook related to his Motivation.

Willow tumbles down the path with his mysterious assailant on top of him who is trying to jab him in the guts with his knee while simultaneously punching his nose and eyes with a furious, but undisciplined, flurry of blows. Willow tries to get a leg between them and kick his assailant away. However the rolling and tussling makes this awkward and before he can get any leverage Willow is smashed in the nose by a blindingly painful headbutt.

Willow's at a pretty big disadvantage. Wind Form styles rely on agility and freedom of movement, something that he won't have much of while being grappled so his Style is Downshifted and his nimbleness isn't much help here either. To compensate he uses a Spirit Die to add a Boost to the roll...ugh, terrible roll. Copper Tree meanwhile counterattacks...he gets a terrific roll of 14 while Willow gets a terrible 3. That would be enough to take willow out but he still has 5 Spirit Dice left so he spends 2 and gets a new total of 7. That's still 7 Wound Ranks, Willow is getting his ass kicked! That's Motivation and Good Looks Zeroed Out, while his Past, Cutting Wit, and Strong Spirit all go to Poor. This nets another Training Point and Story Hook, this time to his Good Looks. 

"Enough!!" Willow shouts, enraged beyond common sense he recalls the forbidden techniques in Master Sagacious Diamond's scrolls. He manages to get one hand free and forms the Seal of The Mountain Lightning Lord and he feels the energy of the stone beneath him and the wild fury contained in the sky above. With a mighty shout he thrusts his other palm at the attacker's chest. There isn't enough room to strike with any momentum but with this forbidden technique that doesn't matter. There is a mighty roar of air and a crackle of lightning as he unleashes his fury. 

Willow Harmonizes to the Mountain Lightning Lord style and makes an attack using the Supernatural Style which (not being a Wind Form) isn't downshifted in his current situation. In fact he also Flips Out adding an additional Boost. 

The blast of air hurls Willow's assailant off the edge of the path, flying through the air and landing in the treetops below. Willow climbs to his feet, one hand numb from channeling the power of the forbidden Style. Lightning crawls over his limbs, illuminating the scene. Below he can see his attacker, scorched but still alive, scrambling for balance in the treetops below. The man looks up, eyes wide, and Willow recognizes him. It's Copper Tree, the thief who camps out in the woods. Willow knew that Tree and Wandering Moon had struck up some sort of relationship over the past several months. His suspicions are confirmed when Copper Tree gets his balance and dashes up the cliff-face, launching a wild swing at Willow while screaming "This is for making Moon cry!" As the enraged young man approaches Willow leaps into the air, propelled by a blast of wind. Copper Tree jumps after him but Willow thrusts out his palm and an explosive ball of wind sends them both flying apart.

Copper Tree may not be a trained martial artist but he's still a Fantastic-scale fighter so it takes more than a 20 foot fall and a vertical cliff-face to get in his way. He rolls a 9 and Willow manages a miserable Snake Eyes on defense. It takes spending 2 of his remaining 3 Spirit Dice to get a roll good enough to avoid the attack. 

"I don't care about your stupid infatuation but no-one sucker punches me and gets away with it." Willow falls back to the ground in a fighting stance, gathering his Ki in a swirling ball of wind and launching it towards Tree. The spinning vortex kicks up a cloud of dust, ripping leaves and branches from trees as it screams towards the unfortunate rogue. 

Willow wants to end things now but he's only got one Spirit Die left. He uses a Mighty Blow attack (this is favored by his Flame Form so it only costs him 1 Spirit Dice to activate the Move at Good [+2] Rank) while Flipping Out. This had better work...if not he'll suffer -4 to his defense due to Flipping Out and using a Mystic Move with no Spirit Dice remaining. He rolls an 11 vs Tree's 8. Normally Tree would be hurt but still in fighting form, but with the Mighty Blow that's an additional 4 Damage Ranks for a total of 7. This Zeroes Out all of Tree's Strengths except for Street Fighting which is now Poor. If he wanted to he could keep fighting but there hardly seems to be a point.

The sphere of compressed air explodes when it strikes Copper Tree, slamming him back against the stone wall and buffeting him with gale-force winds. When the air calms and the dust clears he collapses the the ground. Willow snarls, his body shaking from adrenaline and the effort of holding onto the raw power of the Mountain Lightning Lord. He releases it and almost collapses but manages to stay standing and continues down the path. 

Willow is still intact but he's marching off into danger so he only recovers 2d6 Wound Ranks, I roll and I get 6, bringing his Wit and Motivation back to the normal level and bringing Good Looks to Poor. I also reward him with 2 Spirit Dice for winning the fight. If I was a GM and he was being run by a player I might have rewarded several other scenes with additional Spirit Dice, but it just feels weird giving them to myself. I drop the Chaos rating by 1 again and Willow tries to make it to the village.

Scene 4 (Chaos 4)

So, consulting the emulator there's no Chaos in the scene so Willow shows up at the village's gates. I ask if it's guarded (very likely) and get a Yes, I ask if they've spotted me and get a no. A few more questions tells me that there are about 8 more of the Daimyo's men stationed here keeping watch, but they haven't seen me. Considering he's short on Spirit Dice and a bit bruised Willow is going to try and avoid them by circling around the village and scampering over a wall. I ask if I run into any more guards and get a "Exceptional No" Okay so I figure Willow manages to make it through the village unchallenged.

Willow spots the soldiers lounging around the entrance to the village well before they see him. Most appear to be chatting or joking with one another and those who are alert are blind beyond the range of their torches. Rather than being drawn into a fight Willow decides to slip through the fields around the village wall (now burned and trampled). He easily vaults up to the top, balancing on the crude log barricade and looking around. The village has been devastated. Those homes that haven't been burned to the ground have been thoroughly looted, doors smashed in and the possessions of the villagers strewn about. 
Another question to the emulator, "Can I see where the leader is staying?" (likely) but apparently not. Hmm..the place is guarded but there seems to be no one at all within the village itself. Curiouser and curiouser. "Can I see where everyone has gone to?" (I figure very likely, lot of people after all). I get a Yes this time. Ah-ha. So I ask "are they somewhere outside the village?" (seems very likely, where else would they be?) and I get an Exceptional Yes. So it seems like they're far away.

Willow skulks around River Bend but it quickly becomes clear that the place has been completely emptied. All the villagers, men and women, are gone and beyond the guards stationed at the village gates there isn't any sign of the attacking soldiers. After a brief investigation he finds fresh bootprints and bare footprints leading out of the South gate of the village. A quick hop and he's atop the gate where he can see torches in the far, far distance at the foot of the mountain. Apparently the villagers were not only attacked...they were taken somewhere! But before he's ready to chase after them Willow decides it's time to deal with those soldiers at the front gate. He looks around a bit and finds a long chain in one of the broken sheds. He searches around a bit more before finding a fair sized weight to attach to one end forming a crude meteor hammer weapon. 

So for this fight Willow is sticking with his Incomparable Thunder Style. There are 8 guards so they'll be set up as two groups of 4 for this fight.

The soldiers seem to have decided that since they're unsupervised they should crack open a keg of the villager's beer and serve themselves. They're laughing and drinking when a long iron chain whips out of the darkness and lashes itself around one poor fellow's throat. There's the sound of running feet and Willow Dragon leaps over the gate from behind the guards with the other end of the chain in hand. The length of the chain loops around the gate posts and is pulled taught when Willow reaches the midpoint of his leap. His momentum carries him forward and swings the unfortunate guard in a wide circle, smashing the keg and scattering those sitting near him. Willow yanks the chain free and it recoils back to his hand while four men lay groaning. 

Willow takes down all four of a single Minion Gang in one roll. I also can't justify not rewarding that with a Spirit Die. Bringing him to 3. 

The remaining soldiers scramble to their feet, readying long spears as they circle around Willow, keeping free of his swinging chain. They rush forward as one, trying to skewer him. Willow simply vaults out of the ring just as the spears would have impaled him. His chain lashes out again, this time looping around a nearby tree branch while he runs forward, past the tree, picking up momentum then, as the soldiers give chase he leaps up and swings back the way he came towards them. His feet catch two of the warriors in the face, crushing their helmets and sending them flying. He lets the chain go and rolls back to his feet. The two remaining soldiers look at one another doubtfully but they still rush forward Willow turns and runs straight into a nearby tree. He jumps at the tree and leaps off as their spears stab into the wood. He tries to come down on their heads and end the fight but both let go of their spears and separate, dodging his attack and then rush forward again with swords drawn. Willow casually dodges out of the way and sends both men flying away with blows against their armor. They land in a crumbled heap alongside their compatriots. 

Didn't feel the need to go round by round here, but you get the gist of what was going on. Fortunately Willow makes it through the fight without a scratch. This ends the Scene with Willow going down the road to find the other villagers. Chaos factor drops to 3.  Willow also recovers 2d6 additional Wound Ranks, rolling a 9 and bringing him back to full on all of his Strengths.

Scene 5 (Chaos 3)

The emulator tells me everything is happening as normal for this scene so I ask, "Are the villagers guarded" (Sure Thing). I get a Yes but I trigger a Random Event. Lets see...PC negative, oh that's not good, Debase/Power. Hmm...well considering I was asking a question about the guards I figure that's what it'll involve.

Willow swiftly follows the winding mountain trail to the hills below leaping from tree to tree. Just ahead is the light of the campfires and torches but an arrow suddenly flies from the darkness. Willow twists in midair to evade the strike and lands in a cautious crouch only to see he's surrounded. Men with swords and archers in the woods all have their eyes trained on him. Stepping forward from the crowd of soldiers comes the masked lord, a large broadsword strapped to his waist. 

He calls out, "If you try to run you'll be cut down. If you grovel nicely perhaps I'll allow you to live long enough to watch me kill your precious teacher."

Willow snarls but there's too many soldiers to simply attack, "Sagacious Diamond is no "precious teacher" but you ran from our battle earlier. Now I see you just needed more men to bolster your courage." 

I ask, "will he order his men to attack me?" (Likely I imagine) and get a yes. Uh-oh...well will he try to take me alive (somewhat likely, he seemed to do the same with the villagers). Also Yes. Well that's good. With this many men I just go ahead and consider this a Karmic Misfortune. There's no way Willow could take them all in a fight and simply trying to flee wouldn't be much fun. So Willow's simply captured automatically and this gives Willow 3 Spirit Dice putting him back at 6.  

There's a soft growl from under the lord's mask and he waves to his men. "Take him." They close in on Willow who briefly considers flight but after he just finished mocking the Daimyo for the very same thing his pride won't allow it. He fights viciously leaving almost a dozen men dead or crippled but in the end their sheer numbers are too great and he succumbs to unconsciousness. 

End of that Scene, Chaos factor goes up to 4. Next Scene will involve Willow captured and trying to escape.  

Scene 6 (Chaos 4)

No Chaos influence for this scene so I start by asking some questions. Am I bound? Yep. Gagged? Nope. Alone? Nope, and this triggers a random event. Let's see. Close a Thread and Overthrow/Energy. Well my only Thread so far has been the pursuit of the Daimyo so one way or another that'll stop. The obvious interpretation might be that I defeat or overthrow him...but when you add in my two existing Story Hooks "Defeat His Teacher" and "Good Looks" to the mix things look a bit different and I like the twist...so lets see. 

Willow moans blearily and tries to roll over...only to find his arms and legs are tightly bound at his sides and tied to a chair. He opens his eyes to see he's inside of a military tent. From behind him he can hear the sound of a whetstone being drawn across a blade. He hears a voice:

"This sword should be sharp enough with about five more strokes." Another stroke of the whetstone, "Four now. If you can't free yourself from your bonds by that time I shall use it to cut your head off."

Willow strains against the ropes, testing their strength. The ropes are woven from exceptionally strong silk and while Willow's muscles are finely toned they are not bulging thews and he simply can't get the leverage to break free. 

Stroke.

For a Fantastic scale martial artist breaking free, even when completely bound, wouldn't be more than a Poor [TN 5] Challenge at best. However just to give some tension I'll make it at least Average [0] with the silk ropes. Willow gets a 2...a definite failure but it earns him a Training Points.

Willow knows he might be able break free eventually...but he's only got three more strokes to go and he isn't liking his odds. Instead he relaxes, calms his breathing and waits until his heart stops beating quite so rapidly. 

Stroke.

He focuses on the mental disciplines of the forbidden Mountain Lightning Lord style. He carefully shapes and molds his ki to safely channel its power.

Stroke.

There's a clap of thunder and a flash of light and Willow Dragon is on his feet. The smell of burnt rope and ozone fills the air. The swirling winds shake the tent and carry shreds of silk.

Willow has plenty of Spirit Dice so he's going for an Amazing Feat using the Mountain Lightning Lord Style (feats of strength being out of theme for his normal Style). He spends 4 of his Style Dice for a +4 bonus to his roll, easily ripping through his bonds.  

Willow spins about to face his would-be executioner. The figure seated at the back of the tent is the mysterious masked lord, still armored but without the owl-shaped helm. Willow can now see that it is not a man at all, but a woman under the armor. She smiles at the surprise in his eyes. 

"Good, I was hoping I hadn't underestimated you. I'd hate to have to cut off that pretty head of yours. Of course, if you aren't willing to talk I may still have to."

Willow rages inside but remembers his recent beating at the hands of her soldiers, who were no doubt right outside the tent, and decides to avoid attacking for now. "What do you want?" 

She sheathes her sword and stands. "It's simple. I want your master Sagacious Diamond dead...and I want you to help me."

Willow listens in shock as she outlines what she wants. She's come her looking for something that Sagacious Diamond has hidden within his school. She has no personal stake in a battle with Diamond but he needs to die for her plans to succeed. So she makes Willow an offer: she'll provide him with a potent herbal potion that will enhance his spiritual powers enough to allow him to defeat his master in a duel. Although Willow is initially horrified at the suggestion he begins to think more and more about it. He would have the chance to finally put his arrogant teacher in his place and prove that he doesn't need any more training...and if he choose he could then rally the other students and drive off this woman when she came to claim her prize...tempting
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Yep, things are turning Vader up in here! The Mythic emulator is pretty darn neat. I don't know about running long term campaigns with this but when it comes to generating plot twists the thing is pretty amazing. I totally did not plan on the route this plot took but at the same time I never had any trouble coming up with the results of random events.

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