The following morning, the party coordinated with the Jamesons as they prepared to leave. There was some problem with the mounts: as none of the fleeing Jamesons had any, and Andreas’s horse had been returned to Lord Sterling for military service, only Lord Spaulding’s mounts were available, and Lord Cyril and Lady Faye Cantor-Jameson were elderly. Sam quickly surrendered his horse, as did Lord Spaulding. “Far be it from me,” he said, “to ride in relative comfort while Lord Cyril walks!” he assured them that this would not be an issue, and the party set out, with Lord Spaulding trudging along in full kit, pretending not to mind. Reed scouted for the party, reporting back at intervals.
As they sat in their tent, the group pondered their individual messages delivered by the morag Thorin. Lord Geoffrey Spaulding had received a most delightful note from his mother Deanna, who ran his house’s businesses so her son could remain blissfully unaware of where his money came from. Nan the Ess had received a short missive from Frogg. As for the stableboy Reed, he had received a sheaf of papers wrapped in a note translucent with old oils and smelling faintly of meat; so overwhelmed was he by his volume of correspondence that he seemed to lose the ability to speak in normal tempo, an affliction that would stay with him for some time.
“Plough! Where’s Gilikan Plough?” asked the stableboy Reed, noting the absence of the Jameson’s hulking, seemingly nigh-indestructible Morag bailiff.
Andreas looked down; it was Cyril who explained, “He remains behind, as is his duty as bailiff and castellan.”
The Ess girl Nan gasped, but Lord Spaulding nodded. “A good man, noble in spirit if not by birth. I am sure he stands proud whilst performing his duty of being tortured and eaten.”
“That depends,” replied Andreas, amidst a wave of dirty looks that flew by Lord Spaulding unnoticed. “As we had discussed at that unfortunate fishing village, the cromen are more organized than usual, at least moreso than when I’ve encountered them in the past. As you say, Plough is not a Nat, but he is a valuable asset, and if they wish to keep the remaining residents of the Rest working for them, Plough may be the only remaining person who can keep them functioning.”
“They weren’t too concerned with keeping those villagers functioning…” muttered Nan. They continued along the tunnel in silence for a while, the diminutive Tookie insisting on hobbling ahead, the tap-tap-tap of his walking stick leading the way.
Note: Check sidebar for a link to Erok’s map.
As I may be resurrecting this campaign in the near future, here is a quick bullet-point summary of events to date:
The party delivers a wayward message, is reunited with Andreas Jameson, Jonn Sterling and Gilikan Plough, and leaves one of them behind with the enemy as the Jameson household is rescued.
In the last session, there was a very long combat, 41 turns, involving 3 PCs, 2 NPC allies, and as I recall 10 NPC enemies. The whole thing took about 4 hours to resolve, and also included limited vision (night combat), which in turn meant some calls of “Where did I hear that sound?” followed by some spacebar beaconing on the map. So I guesstimate that was a total of about 700 or so actions, or about 10 actions per hour, including breaks, questions, defense rolls, damage calculations, a couple of rules lookups, descriptive speech, etc. That’s an average of just under 30 seconds per action. Compared to some reports I’ve heard of of anywhere from roughly seven minutes per action or 2.5 hours to get to round 8 on MapTool in GURPS (to be fair, text-only games without voice chat there), 30 seconds per action seems blazing fast.
And it still feels slow.
Some additions to the Noble Houses page have been made based on information found in a monograph, and some name clarifications in keeping with the naming traditions of the Nats.
The party finished up the partial liberation of a minor farming village on the outskirts of Cyril’s Rest, gets mangled in the process, and meets an old pal.
Paused after part 1 of what could be a long hunt and kill session in a peaceful suburb of Cyril’s Rest.
I think MapTool is a great tool and has worked out pretty well, but at the same time I have a significant problem with it: it gets in the way of being a GM. At least, it gets in my way. Part of this is my own fault as I can’t play with a tool without trying to fiddle with it to make it a little bit better, part of it is just unfamiliarity (despite the fact that I’ve logged a lot of hours in the kit), and part of it is just that it’s an additional barrier between me and the players. None of this is really MapTool’s fault, well, not most of it anyway.