The fourth session of Whitecliff was run last night. We started a little late and were quite distractable throughout, so we didn’t advance the story very much. But more than a few useful things came out of it nonetheless.
We started the session by jumping forwards a month. The settlers spent that time seeing to their basic needs, building a rudimentary wooden storage shed (shed might be a strong word, a few pillars and a roof is about all it has – probably closer to a carport), and digging up some clay to sun-bake into some rudimentary bricks.
Whilst the bricks were drying, Ashmaran, Wayne, and Eshnud wandered down to the forest in the hope of hunting something that could be skinned for leather – after five or six weeks with a single set of clothing, people are getting a bit sick of each other’s odours. Whilst they walked, Ashmaran and Eshnud chatted about the nature of the universe and the gods. Mostly Eshnud chatted and Ashmaran politely mocked. Wayne brooded, more focused on how to get a forge up and running.
The rolling plains gave way to light scrub which grew progressively heavier until there was no doubt they were in forest. Ashmaran almost immediately found evidence of a herd of deer. The group snuck up on them as best they could and let loose with makeshift javelins. Ashmaran caught a stag in the throat, downing it instantly though it took a little while to stop thrashing. Wayne’s shot went wide and landed in a tree, whilst Eshnud’s hobbled a doe. Wayne ran over to the doe, yanked Eshnud’s javelin out and stabbed the doe, putting it out of its misery. The trio then carried their catch back to the temple, where Sabenne crudely skinned the deer and set to butchering it.
They set the skin tanning, and built their oven. And there ended the session.
So. A very short session with not a lot of story. Everything was fairly incidental really. Though I guess the first structure and plant being built is a decent deal. We also discussed next session briefly – we’re going to jump forward to the end of summer – so 4 or so months.
From a playtest perspective it was pretty enlightening. Combat was lacklustre, though I’m not sure that hunting is really combat, I basically used that system. It could use some sprucing up, I went too minimalist in my recent rewrite. In fact, that was the over-arching takeaway. In being scared of over-complicating things, I’ve over-simplified them.
The system felt a lot like playing nWoD (sorry it’s CofD now, isn’t it…), but with less randomness. That’s not a bad thing per se, but it’s not really the feel I was going for.
The non-random portion of competence being so much heavier than the random portion is going to take some getting used to, but promises to work fairly neatly.
I’m considering some significant over-hauls to the system, looking at ways to broaden the scope of *World style mechanics. I guess we’ll see what happens between now and the next playtest.