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Notes from a Guildforged Playtest (Guildforged Spoilers warning!)

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Hi all,

After a few months hiatus I've got my regular RPG night back, and I have persuaded the players to let me playtest my Guildforged game. We just got through character gen last night, so I thought I'd share some of the characters and then move on to the a write up of the adventure as we play through it.

Myself and 2/4 of the players in the group play Guild Ball, so we spent a bit of time at the start discussing the setting, and reading up the background of the different sovereign states so and guilds so that they could get a handle on what sort of characters they wanted to play.

Initial ideas were:

  • An Eisnor Messenger - a mountain courier, used to carrying messages on foot to places inaccessible to horses and carts
  • A Figo Seamstress - a wily, political-game-playing brothel madam
  • A Hunter from parts unknown - a cunning knife fighter with a pet tiger
  • A Skaldic Butcher - a heavy-meat-carrier/enforcer for the butchers guild with a big axe

I think this gave us quite a balanced party. We've got some good wilderness skills, urban and social skills, and a mix of cunning, speed and brawn when it comes to a fight.

Choosing character stats worked out quite well, although everyone went for some decent combat stats, and picked skills that fit with their best attributes, so the whole party is TAC 5. That said, the differences in willingness to accept a limitation trait, in character play and trait selection, and in the playbooks, each character has a very well defined role when it comes to a fight...

The brothel madam will move slowly forward, Esters-like supporting her companions by throwing out dirty knives (what the dirt might be, I'll leave to your imagination!) and knockdowns, and has DEF 6+, ARM 1, 14HP and Tough Hide! Generating 3 TAC she can really help the rest of the group work.

The Butcher is the main damage machine of the group - a large base killing machine with momentous damage results throughout his playbook, reach and knockback (with a decent amount of pushes in there to make it really useful).

The Messenger gave me cause to add a new weapon to the game. He wanted to be a smallsword-fencer (the broader bladed renaissance-era fencing sword). Adding in the Smallsword as a new weapon option gives fencers a better variety of weapons, bringing the Fencing skill into line with other combat skills and gave him the ability to focus on a mixture of pushes and dodges. Taking Swift Strikes as well, he's a really mobile fighter.

As for the Hunter, he's not quite finished yet, so I'll have to wait a bit to fill you in.

I'll post up full characters here later, hopefully, and start session right ups following next Tuesday's session.

Cheerio for now,

Ben

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We had our first game last night.

This post included spoilers for the example adventure that will be included in the rules, so be warned if you are planning on playing Guildforged and your GM is planning on using the example adventure to kick things off you may find that you learn more than you should if you read on.

YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED!!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

So. Here's how things went down...

 

The adventure begins with a way of being able to bring all of the party together as separate individuals working for their different guilds. The adventure includes different options for the different guilds and ways for each party member to be brought into the story. To start with, then, I needed to come up with a short prologue for each character. The adventure works best if there are some players who start in the town at the centre of events, Schwartzberg. The butcher, Aldebrecht, being Skaldic, I thought I would have posted to Schwartzberg, and was asked by his guild master to investigate some losses of large quantities of low-grade preserved meat products. The "in" to the adventure for Hunters involves conflict over hunting permits, and given that Oak is very much an active hunter I thought it would work well if he was denied the permit. Hence he needed to be based in Schwartzberg, too. The other two characters I set up as outsiders. Jant, the messenger, was asked by the messenger's guild in the nearby regional capital of Reikmark to find out why they hadn't received any messages from Schwartzberg in a fortnight, and the Seamstress, Bella, was asked to investigate financial irregularities in the Schwartzberg guild "house".

The characters began their initial investigations. Aldebrecht, being a keen drinker, and possessing the Carousing skill, decided to hit the bars and see what information he could get from sharing a few drinks with the locals. Unfortunately a character inspired by Boar is not necessarily the most socially skilled, and Jenn rolled poorly, meaning Aldebrecht drew a blank. Oak decided to use his formidable stealth skills to shadow some of the potential suspects, and whilst he got no further to uncovering the reason for his permit denial, he did discover some interesting rumours about the Baron, who had recently returned to the barony from Aldebrecht, and has been hidden away in his castle ever since. Bella spent some time examining the Schwartzberg brothel's books and discovered that there were a large number of people being offered the "military" discount. Given the numbers involved, it was too many for a town the size of Schwartzberg, and probably an indication of someone siphoning off the discount for themselves. She also booked herself on a stagecoach to Schwartzberg, and met a noble family who were on the same journey to visit Baron Schwartzberg. They considered him a clever and charming man, who had been seen as a future leading light in Aldebrecht. Finally, Jant spent some time seeing what he could find out in Reickmark, and learnt that the Baron Schwartzberg, a nephew of the childless Graf Reikmark, was due to inherit the elderly Graf's title, but the Graf has recently adopted one of his courtiers and named them their heir.

Aldebrecht and Oak, whilst carousing in the local taverns, discovered a group of bandits who mentioned going to get some "Guild Agents" coming up from Reikmark on the stage coach. Wondering if this may be some extra help for their investigations, they decided to follow them. The Bandits led them to the staging post coach house, halfway between Reikmark and Schwartzberg, where Bella, Jant and the noble family were resting up after the first day of their travel from Reikmark. They saw the bandits enter the coach house, where they threatened violence if the guild agents travelling on the stage coach did not reveal themselves.

Oak and Aldebrecht came up with a cunning plan of trying to act drunk and stumbling into the coach house in order to surprise the bandits and rescue the guild agents (i.e. the other party members). Unfortunately their skills in deception are somewhat lacking and their stumbling entry proved no distraction, but did signal the start of a skirmish.

During the battle, Oak and Aldebrecht reacted quickest, with Oak shooting a bandit armed with a musket, then moving in to engage him. Aldebrecht charged another bandit armed with a crossbow and knocked them down, generating the party some momentum. Then the bandit leader and a couple of the bandits got to activate, the leader beating down on Jant and dealing 6 damage, whilst the bandit engaged by Aldebrecht stood up and tried to shoot the big man, but missed, whilst the one in with Oak elected to risk the parting blow and moved out of Oak's engagement, taking another 2 DMG, then spent momentum to heal himself back to full.

Then Bella moved to protect the noble family, especially their young daughter, and threw a dirty knife at the boss. One of the remaining bandits, with no INF left, moved to engage her, then White Walker jumped into the captain with his free charge and savaged him. The final bandit could only jog to add crowding out penalties to Jant, followed by Jant standing back up and giving the captain a further beating, whilst manoeuvring himself and the captain with dodges and pushes to get him out of cover and away from the crowding out penalty.

At the end of the first round the captain was left with 3 wounds and poison, so Oak spent a point to let White Walker attack to finish him off, and then he charged in to the bandit Aldebrecht had floored the previous round, who Aldebrecht was then able to finish off in style, with a wrap for 5 damage and 3 MP. The musket-wielding bandit tried to shoot the tiger but missed. With influence in the bank and not much for Jant to do, Bella then went to town on the bandit who had attacked her previously, sticking him with Dirty Knives off her playbook and then piling on damage to the DEF 3+ bandit, leaving him on 2hp and poisoned. He needed to generate some momentum or he'd be a goner. Then bandit then had a chance to try and hit her back, but only managed to deal 1 damage, which she shrugged off with her tough hide, and left the final bandit without influence to spend.

With the captain and two bandits now dead (the second died in the maintenance phase), Oak was able to finish off one of the remaining bandits, and then Aldebrecht made an imposing intimidation roll (5 successes!) to get the final bandit to surrender and submit to questioning.

At that point we called it as it was getting late. It was a great night of roleplaying, and the fight really gave them a good opportunity to get to grips with the rules, especially for Jenn and Beatty who have never played Guild Ball before. Overall I was pleased with much of how the system performed. The characters were competent where they should be and failed in appropriate places too. The party chose a lot of momentum generating results on their playbooks, and tended to use this well in managing damage and maximising dice rolls with bonus time. The new players soon got the hang of the playbook mechanic and the combat felt tactically reach and clear what was going on despite running with just pencil marks sketched on a printed map about 10cm square.

Next week, their investigations will begin in earnest.

Cheerio for now,

Ben

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After a week where we couldn't get together, this week we were back on.

The party began at the coach house where they had just finished off the bandits, keeping one alive for questioning. With an incredibly scary Butcher in the party they were quickly able to intimidate the poor minion into revealing the full extent of what he knew.

He revealed that their band had been caught raiding on the roads around Schwartzberg, but rather than be for the gallows as they might have expected, they became secret employees of the Baron. They met every so often with a man who wore a hood, in the King's Head tavern in Schwartzberg. They were also tasked specifically with intercepting the messengers guild members who left the town, and were to take the messages intercepted back to the hooded man. He admitted to killing several Messenger's Guild couriers, so the party's messenger decided to exact his own guild justice on the criminal.

Back inside the coach house, the noble family they had been travelling with revealed some more information about the Baron, and the party discussed the different clues that they had all been given at the start of the adventure. They were starting to build up a picture of what was going down: The Baron was a cousin of the Graf von Reikmark, and was awarded the barony as reward for his part in helping suppress it rebellion during the Century Wars, but the Graf was reportedly disgusted by the manner in which the victory was achieved (although no details were forthcoming) and so the baron was "rewarded" with the remote barony he had helped to quel, rather than a more juicy title of a more prominent seat. The baron was, until recently, due to inherit the grafdom of Reikmark, but his cousin has recently adopted one of his courtiers as an heir ahead of the baron.

The party felt that avoiding the main road in to Schwartzberg might be a good plan, and decided to investigate the hunting grounds that the party's Hunter had been denied a permit for. They travelled to the location and found a hidden valley, nestled high in the mountains. When climbing to the hidden valley, they discovered a small force of about 50 men engaged in military training exercises. They took it upon themselves to investigate further, and the messenger snook into the officer's tent whilst the others set up hidden ambush points on his escape route so that they could perform a fighting escape if things went wrong. Inside the tent, the messenger discovered a map with numerous other encampments shown, indicating that the baron probably had a secret army of about 4-5k men, able to swiftly deploy and attack Reikmark. He also discovered some encrypted orders, and chose to steal one from the bottom of the pile, hoping this would less likely be noticed as missing and give them chance to crack the cipher.

Following this, they returned to the town. They knew the hooded man would be looking to meet with the bandits again in 5 days, so they set up to investigate further, especially in trying to uncover the moles hidden within each of their guilds....

(which we saved for the next session)

No combat this week, but lots of good work investigating and getting a good idea as to what is going on.

Cheerio,

Ben

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