Whitecliff – Summer Days (Session 5)

For the fifth session we had a crack at seasonal play for the first time. It worked pretty well and will likely be the more common style for the next little while at least. In seasonal play, we take a step back and have less of a focus on day-to-day drama and more on large changes. At the moment the way it works is that everyone chooses three things to do over the course of a season, we make a roll (or not as appropriate), and then resolve it. If something that calls for greater attention or detail comes along, then we drop down into dramatic play until that question is resolved.

Heading into summer of our first year the population of Whitecliff is a mere seven, so we decided to detail everyone’s actions. In the future that will be impractical and I’ve got some systems to try out for managing that.

Sabenne spent the whole period managing food and other activities of daily living. She had help from Eshnud for much of the time and from Aeris and Nisid a bit of the time.


Late Bronze Age pottery from the region around Aiani (by: Dan Diffendale, source: flickr, licence: CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

Nisid spent the rest of his time collecting clay, baking bricks and building a forge / oven with a lot of help from Wayne and a little from Antimenes. He also used a bit of the clay to make some pottery.

Antimenes built four wooden huts outside the temple to allow for the next batch of arrivals – and so that people could get out of each others hair a bit. Ashmaran, hardly used to being around people let alone sharing a room with them, immediately claimed one as his own.

Ashmaran also spent a lot of his time trying to befriend the local wild dogs. He made some decent progress, though we’re still a ways from seeing how it turns out.

Ashmaran, Wayne, and Eshnud also spent a good bit of time together exploring the area around the temple. They’ve now got a pretty solid understanding of most things within a half-day’s walk of the temple. Interesting finds included a fairy ring populated by some brownies and an old fishing hut that’s been claimed as a nest by an earth elemental. There was also what might have looked like buildings a day or two east in the swamplands upriver. They may also have just been rocks. Though some parts seemed to change from week to week, so maybe not.

We spent a lot of time discussing the gods and cosmology and how they affect things like brownies and elementals. The conversation about the elementals was especially awesome, and I ended up expanding some of my lore with the player’s ideas. I won’t bore you with details here – I’ll save that for another post. I think in a normal session, without that degree of world building info dump, we could fairly easily get through a full year with two or three short dramatic scenes. My goal is for us to be able to do at least that much.

Overall the system worked fairly well and there’ll be no major rewrites this month. Winning!

Instead, I’m focused on some content creation – there’s a blueprint system I was using for building construction, but it didn’t work brilliantly on the fly. So I want to create a bunch of ready-made blueprints. I figure that’ll solve two issues – we’ll have a set we can just use without needing to think too much and I’ll get to suss out what it is about the existing system that makes it hard to run with on the fly.

In the next few weeks, expect to see a post on elementals and fairies (or maybe one on each depending on how verbose I get) and one talking a little about our budding village’s character sheet.

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