Fun Gaming Evening
I had so much fun with this scenario with some new BRP players that I thought I'd share it with you guys. I had three scenarios lined up for them to introduce them to BRP. Each one was designed to require different ways to solve them so as to show them the strength of BRP: it doesn't always have to boil down to combat.
I started off having my two players make characters. One chose a simple rogue. Charming, able to lie through his teeth, and good with a dagger both up close and from afar. The other player chose a very interesting character. He wanted to play an agent of the chaos god. Luckily, I had the rules lined up for just an occasion. The god of chaos uses his servants as playthings. If they entertain him, he focuses more of his efforts on them, eventually twisting and mutating them horribly. So how did the PC stumble upon this cult? Simple: he was part of a dominant religious order. As an initiate monk, he studied his religion fervently. Eventually, he stumbled across the banished cults and became ensnared in the draw of the chaos god. As a monk he didn't have much so he was trying to find ways to make money to move out from under his religion and connect with others of this cult. I gave him two small, unnoticeable mutations (regeneration and pheromones) to show his descent into the chaos god.
For a quick scenario we could jump into I used a very simple narrative: Three nobles have asked three different tasks of the religious order. They could take whatever ones they pleased and all would pay out to the church if undertaken. The setting was a very Neverwinter type city. One in which many religious, magical, and cultural societies collided. The chaos servant teamed up with the rogue, who was looking for some quick gold, to undertake these tasks then pocket the money themselves. A rather tenuous relationship, but it worked for a quick and dirty introductory session.
One task was a disease spreading amongst the lower class and was intended to require a bit of investigative skills. This turned out to be a magical plague spread by a black witch to point the blame at a white witch. She was trying to undermine the white witch and get her locked up or disposed of by the nobles for selling fake cures to the plague as her cure disease potions weren't curing the magical plague. The black witch didn't like the healing and protection the white witch offered to people she could torture and manipulate. The second scenario was a simple combat exercise. A noble noticed the mausoleum his family had been buried in had been disturbed, and wanted it investigated. He walked the PC's to the mausoleum outside the city, wherein the PC's found a necromancer prepping and raising skeletons. A simple combat followed. The last task, which incidentally was chosen first, was by far the most fun. Several farmers and small groups of merchants had been ambushed outside town. They simply woke up in the road with all their goods and animals missing. The PC's were to investigate.
First, I asked them how they were to proceed. They decided to ask the monastery for use of a pack animal and a few sack of grain. They said they were going to help out victims of a famine occuring in a nearby town. After lying their way into their supplies, they decided to proceed. Just as the town was a speck on the horizon, they heard a rustle in the bushes. Both PC's were lit up with needles, and one resisted the poison long enough to see the vague outlines of small humanoids before he passed out. They awoke tied up in a room made of rock with only a rickety wooden table as furnishings and an old wooden door leading out. Their donkey was chained from the wall, and looked like it was mauled and mostly eaten by wild animals. Their weapons were missing.
Upon trying to discuss their situation they alerted the guards of the room. Four goblins charged in and demanded the two bring them more animals for food. The PC's tried to bluff and say they knew nobility and could negotiate for regular animals to be fed to them, they just had to let them both go. They failed, and the goblins decided to let one of them go as good will (the rogue) and bring them more food. If he did, they would have enough confidence in the two to let them both go and they would stop attacking the settlers as long as they kept the food coming as often as the goblins asked for it. They poisoned the rogue again, and dropped him off within sight of town. That night the rogue proceeded to steal a donkey from a farmer and then went back down the road, only to find himself poisoned once more and tied back up in the room again. However, before he left town he picked up four new daggers. Two for his belt, and two to hide in his boots.
Upon waking up back in the room, he found his belt daggers were missing but his boot daggers were still there. Further negotiation with the goblins failed as well. They would either have to fail to solve the mission and accept less pay for just giving the noble the information they had, or they could try to solve this themselves. I gave them one last window of opportunity. One goblin set down his spear and untied the monk as a second came forward with the poison. As the spearless goblin started untying the rogue, he grabbed for his daggers and the monk lunged for the spear on the ground. The fight was on, and it was epic indeed.
The rogue was fighting a goblin with no spear, and another with a small spear. The monk was fighting the head goblin, a bit bigger and more skilled than the other three, and one other goblin, both equipped with spears. The monk quickly injured one goblin, and it dropped its spear and tried to run from the fight. The monk, having none of this, decided to throw his spear and promptly caught the goblin with a critical impaling it and leaving it gurgling in a pool of its own blood. He then dodged through the head goblin's spear, picked up the second spear off the floor, and continued the fight. The rogue had a hard time even connecting and when he did didn't do much damage, and while he managed to dodge the spear ate a few hooks from the unarmed goblin.
That's when things turned for the worst. The monk ate a bad spearing from the head goblin. He was badly injured, but could still fight with badly decreased rolls. The rogue had a hard decision. Try to dodge out of combat and save the monk, or possibly let him die and hope he could get some good swings off soon. He chose something completely different... he threw one of his daggers at the head goblin fighting the monk and got a critical. He wrecked the head goblin, also hurting his rolls and sticking a dagger in his back. With that, the monk was able to finish him off and with their leader dead and one slightly injured spear goblin and a goblin without a spear left, they took off running out of the room. The two tried to chase but with injuries couldn't keep up. They decided to try to sneak out of the area, only to find it wasn't much but a tunnel and a rough room in the rocky hills outside town. They found their weapons in a cutout down the rock tunnel and their stolen donkey tied up outside unharmed.
I asked the two players after the scenario why they tried to chase, and why they tried to sneak out of the tunnel. They said they had no idea how many goblins there were and were worried about a possible large contingent of goblins. When I told them there were only four, they quickly realized why they still had their second donkey. I hadn't given them any indication of how many goblins there were, and they were worried they would have to fight dozens of goblins to get out alive.
It might not be as entertaining down on paper but it was super fun at the table. Although I tried to make this a non-combat scenario, offering multiple times and ways to negotiate and the option to take a lesser payout instead of combat outright the PC's did the combat very well when the situation degenerated and they tried their hardest to find a non-combat resolution. The combat was almost fatal for a PC, and showed how quickly things can degenerate in a fight. It was absolutely roaring fun introducing two new people into the BRP system and watching them have so much fun. The settings, while they could use some tweaking, really allowed the PC's to tell me what they wanted to do and me call for rolls to see how well the accomplished it. It really is a good feeling seeing new players get into the system and telling me they wholeheartedly prefer it to D&D and other alternatives.
Thanks for sharing your BRP experience. I'm always interested in reading about how other people are using the various BRP systems to game. I had the chance last year to teach a niece how to play Superworld (and about RPGs in general), and it is fun to see them grasp the system (which is pretty easy and quick to learn).