Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Personae Non Grata

See, Josh? I can use Latin too!

Okay, folks, here's the deal. I've got a gaming group that's been going semi-strong for a few years now. Life intervenes, but that happens when you're old. We've been running, jumping, climbing trees and putting on makeup while we're up there for some time now. Problem is, we ran out of makeup. So, we just ran, jumped and climbed more trees. But the luster had gone. We needed more makeup and I was gonna provide it!

So, whilst lamenting with Josh the utter encroachment of hack-and-slash style gaming in my once story-driven group, I happened upon an article by WotC describing the White Lotus Academy. Poof! Instant makeup! Opportunities galore for bigger, better story elements and infinite flexibility!

I ran my idea by Josh. He goobered all over it, stole it from me (as I stole it from WotC) and now here you go. Same premise, different results!

Each of the characters are attending the Academy (yet to be named something cooler than that) for "Master's Level graduate studies". Each has achieved an undergraduate degree in their chosen discipline from their previous educational institutions (ie, Magician Master, Convent, Monastery, etc). Each has been granted admissions to the Academy for different reasons. The Academy has all three levels of degree, Bachelor's, Master's, & PhD.

My company consists of:

One, the Eladrin Wizard (High Elf), is the academic achievement student. He is the proverbial elven mage with nose in the air. Snooty patooty. Book smart, but zero street smarts. Just begging for a beating. Which is funny because he plans on playing a "super mean" practical joke on the "biggest baddest" student there with the intention of demonstrating "his power". I see EPIC FAILURE in his future. But then, I've always been a meany.

Another, the Elf Druid (Wild Elf), is the Legacy student. Her family has attended the Academy for generations back and even donated the Aboretum to the school. She's a bit of an outcast from the family though. She's a bunny rubbing, dolphin kissing, tree hugging elf. All her relatives were arcane caster types and rather disappointed she's so different from everyone before her. Except her great grandmother. The Hierophant Druid. You know? The one that donated the Arboretum? Lots of story to play with here.

Another, the Gnome Sorcerer, is an escaped slave from the Formorians. She's super skittish, jumps at her own shadow, fights back only if cornered in a very bad way. She was accepted to the school for "doing something really cool". She's a bit of a thief and survived after escaping by nicking small loaves of bread, loose apples, etc and was caught, harassed and threatened over and above what was necessary, so she electrified the entire market block in an attempt to escape. It took the combined efforts of every arcane person in the town to remove the lingering shocking spell. One of these was an Academy instructor who persuaded the town not to imprison someone of her capacity, allow her to attend school where she could learn how to control her power and what it meant to be a free individual. I'm waiting for the school bully to do something stupid (not to her) but to someone else that is "weak" and see what she does!

The last, the Deva Invoker, is the scholarship kid. A divine caster from the poorest of poor towns, with the one room church/school/town hall, with great potential was granted a scholarship by the church to attend the Academy. He's the hardest one to judge potential story arcs for. The player typically goes for power characters with attitude (not necessarily arrogant, just powerful) and wants to play this one as a humble servant of the gods. We don't think he can do it, but are encouraging him to stretch outside his comfort zone. Should be interesting to watch. And I can't wait for the bully to start a pissing contest to see if this "humble servant" takes part or turns the other cheek.

The first game session went very well. It was very much an introductory voice over by me, talking about the town nearest to the Academy, having them spend one night there before checking into the school so that they could get a feel for the area. Having them attend the Admissions Day with the other eight new master's students (8 + 4 players = 12 total). Giving them the introductory speech by the Headmaster and ending with them meeting with the Bursar (a devil who is also the Infernal Warlock instructor) for room assignments, fees, banking etc. The highlight of the game came right at the end when the Deva was getting his room assignment.

The conversation started thusly:

Deva: "What kind of demon are you?" (Demon <> Devil; it's like asking an Australian what part of England he's from....really bad idea). It was a complete brainfart and unintentional, but I had the Bursar throw a fit.

Devil Bursar: "Demon?!?! Boy, get the f--- out until you can tell me what I am!"

The Deva decided to apologize rather than leave quietly like a good mook.

Deva: "I am terribly sorry to have offended you, sir. I didn't mean anything by it."

Devil Bursar: "Harrumph"

Deva: "I've never met a demon before, I was just making conversation."

Devil Busar: "OUT! GET THE F--- OUT!!!" Bamf! Small explosions. Sulphur smelling clouds. Mad dancing and jumping about! "OUT!!

Exit Deva like a good little mook.

It was priceless! My only wish was that the Deva was an Infernal Warlock. What a way to meet your major professor!

The next game is this Friday. And the fun continues.....

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