This is posted on a friend's Facebook, but I thought it might be useful to stick it here as well.
Note, that I was using the first version of the QS to run this.
I’m currently running a 7S1E campaign that started out in the Freiburg box set (and took a sharp left turn recently into Eisen Unification). With the agreement of the players who were there, we took a week off from that and played through the 2nd Edition Quick Start instead.
With just 4 players, I dropped the Castillian Sea-captain: he seemed least connected to the plot.
Prince Aleksy Nowak was played by our normal Vesten Merchant Prince Skjaeren.
Azucena Esquivel was played by our normal runaway Fate Witch.
Domenica Vespucci was played by our normal Ussuran Merchant Pyeryem sorceror
Ennio Vespucci was played by our normal Eisen acrobatic doctor.
We decided that the gain a hero point for acting as described by their quirks was actually trying to say for acting as described by their backgrounds, since there were no quirks on the character sheets, and nothing else for backgrounds to do.
* * * *
After describing the set-up (Aleksy’s plan amused Aleksy’s player) and the basic rules, we dropped our heroes in an internal room of a burning palace. There were discussions about what they should do now. Azucena reckoned that she knew a way to get out, to which I described the route to the study window. Domenica asked if there was anyone else Aleksy trusted, or was it just this group? Ennio reckoned they could only trust each other, but Aleksy said that there were others in the palace and I suggest Captain Filip, of the Royal Guard. So, the plan was to break out of the palace, find the Royal Guard and get escorted safely to the docks.
Azucena ordered Ennio to take the rear, because she’d be leading the way. Ennio was a bit put out but couldn’t argue with the logic of having a competent fighter at the front and the back. Exiting into the Ballroom brought us to our first bit of mechanics. I explained the rules and the players rolled their Risks (as a side note, I find that to be an incredibly clunky construction, can we roll something else instead?).
Most of the group decided to make their way carefully and stealthily around the outside of the room, using Hide and Tactics. Azucena used 4 Raises to get safely across the room, and provide protection for Prince Aleksy. The Prince in turn had 3 raises, and used them to avoid the last Wound on himself and protect his fiancée, also spending a Hero Point to get in the way of any shots from the balcony and give her +3 dice. Domenica achieved 3 raises herself and managed to get safely across the room behind two layers of protection.
Ennio, on the other hand, wasn’t going to skulk. He charged up to the balcony, sword in hand, sending house Sabat troops scattering before him, before jumping to the ground and slamming the Ballroom door shut behind him.
The Heroes dashed down a passageway and into the study, Domenica wedging a seat under the door handle, and stood watching the door, while gathering their breath, when a female voice spoke behind them, “Hello, darling.”
Everyone turned, then the Prince relaxed, “Oh it’s you.”
Estara Sabat made her pitch, and Aleksy immediately accepted and they talked some more, until Ennio suddenly put two and two together “Your dad’s the guy out there who set the palace on fire?”
“Yes. But his interests do not align with mine this time.”
“Hmm. Can we borrow that grapple gun you have?”
“Sure, I have other things to do.”
Estara sits and watches as they peer out of the window at the busy courtyard below.
Ennio decides to go first and secures the grappling hook to the inside of the study before sliding down to the courtyard. He lands a trifle heavily (only managing to negate 2 of the 3 wounds), but safely, and immediately clears a place for the rest of the party to come down.
But in the meantime, they have decided that they’re not so keen on going down into the combat after all.
Azucena leans backwards out of the window, whilst being held by Aleksy, and proceeds to launch the grapple up to the roof, and securing it on a gargoyle. Aleksy more or less carries Domenica up the rope onto the roof (using an HP and giving her Raises, but using his exceptional Brawn), and Azucena clambers agilely up after them.
At which point Ennio shouts “I’ve got some horses!” and starts to wonder where everyone else got to. The rope is dropped as far as it can from the roof, and Ennio manages to escape from the courtyard, through the smoke and arrows.
The Heroes drop a gargoyle into the courtyard below, causing the brutes to take cover and head off over the palace roof, thoroughly off track (as warned :D).
Luckily, they decide to head back for the plot, with Azucena spending an HP to activate Second Storey Work and find a down out of the secured area. This seemed like a good idea, and the Heroes slipped down the wall, through the shadows and smoke, out of sight of there enemies.
Our Heroes have escaped the palace and are managing to just stay ahead of Duke Sabat’s soldiers, when a welcome face is seen ahead of them: Captain Filip Kumiega of the Royal Guard. He shouts “Drop your weapons!” and Domenica starts to move everyone out from between the opposing armed men until Captain Filip continues with “I’m sorry, my Prince...” and she realises that they’ve all been betrayed. Filip finishes his speech, orders the soldiers, now two dozen and a mix of Sabat and Royal, to seize the Heroes before turning to leave. Azucena eagerly pursues, leaving the rest of the group outnumbered 8 to 1.
Ennio and Prince Aleksy draw swords, while Domenica kisses her brother then pulls out a whip(!?) she had concealed in the folds of her skirts and they stand back to back. In a flurry of blades and whip, the 3 heroes fight like a well-oiled machine, dealing with a full 17 of the attackers before the can do anything (the Prince and Ennio gave each other a Hero Point, and with Ennio’s Sorté blessing it was a massacre!). The brutes fight back, managing to barely nick Domenica, while the two who go after Ennio are not just outmaneouvered but also put hors-de-combat (The Ambrogio anti-brute ability was useful). Ennio then sweeps his sword dramatically, “Here is where you fall!” and the last 5 flee.
And here I realised I should have been running Filip-Azucena simultaneously... Oh, well.
The Prince’s bodyguard runs into the alley where Filip had left, right into a gunshot. Filip’s shot wounds Azucena and he calls his assassins out from the shadows to do away with this foreigner. In response, said foreigner ignores the brutes and strikes out at Filip, causing wounds and then a Dramatic Wound using the Victorious Arcana (and the HP she got for pursuing him in the first place). Filip clutches his wound and turns to flee, leaving his assassins to finish her off. The assassins, untouched cause enough extra damage to bring Azucena up to her 6th wound, which she promptly takes as Dramatic, using the bonus dice to fuel here attempt to continue pursuing her nemesis. She manages to deal with all six of them but, alas, not quickly enough to see where Filip went.
The group reconvenes and meets up with the Black Cat and their ship. The ships cannons manage to deter the enemy soldiers for long enough to cast off, and the Prince, his fiancée and friends leave the city, with a Palace burning in the background.
* * * *
At this point, I described the fact that they would be covering a couple of months very quickly and said that we were going to do a montage of how each character had caused a problem and someone else had resolved it to cover that time period.
Prince Aleksy managed to turn up at the house of a noble who he trusted, but turned out to be working with Sabat and trapped them. Luckily, Domenica had been less trusting and had primed the local peasants to set fire to the house, allowing the Heroes to escape (“Why are we always burning down palaces?”, “You should make them less flammable!”)
Domenica, on the other hand, refused to countenance riding (since she couldn’t and didn’t want to show herself up) leading them to be stranded in the middle of the coutnryside overnight. Being the only one not of noble birth, Azucena was able to ensure that everybody was able to survive healthily.
If the nobility couldn’t be trusted, Azucena reckoned that her friends in the underworld would be able to help them, but it turned out that they had walked into the middle of a turf war. Ennio, of course, was able to kill enough of them to defuse the problem, but at the same time remove any help that might have been found.
During this time, Estara Sabat learned the motto of our play group (“Keep the Fate Witch happy”) and decided that any chance of being Queen of Sarmatia was gone, but she might manage to become his sister-in-law by pursuing Ennio.
* * * *
The Heroes were keen when the finally docked in Vodacce, looking forward to meeting with Count Vespucci, but disappointed that there was a message waiting for them saying that the Count was unwilling to support his son and daughter. As the players realised that they were going to attend a Vodacce Masquerade Ball, they began to become more and more apprehensive. A Vodacce ball, they opined, was something much more dangerous and life-threatening than fighting their way out of a burning Palace. They were not reassured as I described the colourful, reasonable, harmless-looking masked ball-goers. Go figure.
The way I ran the risk for working the ball was as follows:
Risk: Learn a true rumour
Consequence: Learn a false rumour
I then recited off all rumours learned without saying which was true or false.
Aleksy, dressed in subdued but refined clothes, went off to dance with as many people as possible, listening to whatever they had to say. His 3 raises succeeded at the risk, eliminated the consequence and gained an extra true rumour. He sent Estara (who was wearing a cat mask, what else?) off on her own, and she came back with two rumours.
Domenica was all in black, with black embroidery on black dress and a black mask. She went searching for her Friend at Court, who was able to provide 2 rumours without being able to guarantee their veracity, and made 3 raises as well. After totaling it all up and deciding not to remove the consequence, she had 6 rumours, at least half of which were true.
Ennio was dressed in steel grey, with a silver fox mask. He used his sister’s help to try to be diplomatic, but only succeeded in learning one new thing. However, he spent a raise to find out who was going to die tonight.
Azucena had dressed as plain and androgynously as possible, with a plain domino mask. She lurked at the edges of the ball, watching anyone who watched her charge, and keeping a keen ear out for chit-chat. Her four raises were used for two try rumours, and a rumour that they would know was false.
After all this, here’s what they thought they knew:
Marquis de Rege, their host, has the largest army of those present, attended the Ambrogia Academy and, despite rumours to the contrary, is an honest merchant who dislikes bribery.
Count Guttuso had won his title in battle and is said to have hosted El Vago once.
Baroness Manco is ambitious, seeking to prove herself in battle, dislikes Count Vespucci and would be glad to get more land in Sarmatia.
Admiral Cruz is trying to make waves for her patrons back in Castille.
Zyta Kurowski, Sabat’s bodyguard, is considered to be her Duke’s sharpest knife by Estara.
Azucena then spotted none other than (former?) Captain Filip of the Sarmatin Royal Guard, the ends of an angry red scar poking out from under his mask.
It was decided that Ennio and Aleksy would approach the Marquis and Domenica would approach the Baroness. Meanwhile, Domenica would use Come Hither to send Filip to a room where Azucena was lying in wait. (Not quite the way the power works, but close enough for me). I spent danger points to make both sets of negotiation hard, but the PCs threw resources at them as well, resulting in 4 raises (against 15s) for both the Marquis and the Baroness.
At this point Zyta made her play, publically accusing aleksy of being a traitor and a criminal and demanding him to be handed over. Ennio immediately stepped forward and challenged her to a duel over the matter, which she accepted, since that was her plan in the first place :).
So, I ran the two fights simultaneously, round for round: Azucena v Filip in the library in private and Ennio v Zyta in the ballroom with an audience. Unfortunately, the actual duel was one of the less interesting sets of mechanics in the session, so I’m going to describe them separately.
Azucena ambushed Filip, stabbing him then using an HP to make it a Dramatic Wound. Filip was on the defensive, with Azucena’s knife skill and Victorious arcana making him topple a bookshelf to protect himself and finally leaping out a window into a pond to escape, on 3 Dramatic wounds. He splashed off, shouting over his shoulder “I’ll make you SUFFER before you die!”
The duel was much less exciting. Neither of the participants had access to advanced maneouvers that I could find. Ennio was able to gain an HP every time he parried and had +1 speed built in. Even spending danger points, he kept parrying everything, then doing one or two point papercuts. If things continued in this way, we reckoned that it would have taken 36+ rounds of combat to do the necessary 72 wounds to make a Rank 8 hero helpless. And when all you are doing is Slash, Parry, Aside, Slash Parry, new round, we decided it was much better to just fight to first blood: a Dramatic Wound. The Marquis de Rege called the fight when Zyta took her first dramatic wound (round 4 or 5, I think).
And with that, we ended the session. Prince Aleksy and the Vespucci siblings had garnered the support of the Marquis du Rege and the Baroness Manco for their plan to take back the Commonwealth; the Duke Sabat’s attack dogs had been sent running with their tails between their legs; his daughter had attached herself to the group with eyes on Ennio and a bit of a Xanatos Gambit (if father wins and becomes the new king, she’s just been spying all along and is no a princess and possible heir; if Aleksy wins and becomes the new king, she can marry Ennio and be the king’s sister-in-law).
* * * *
Everyone enjoyed the game, and felt that the system was much quicker than the original one, but still heroic. There was a bit of feedback.
Victorious can be a very powerful ability against Villains, unless we were using it wrong.
Disception on Azucena’s sheet is spelt wrong.
Don’t get into duels unless both sides have advanced maneouvers, it really makes things boring. The duel was the only part of the game where we were bored, and that seems wrong.
Keep the Fate Witch happy.