Happy Friday the 13th! It’s been a busy week and we’ve been kind of quiet, all things considered, and it’s because we have our Kickstarter for Æthermancy going! This one has been waiting for all the pieces to come together, so we’d appreciate it if you’d take a minute, look it over, and if it looks like it’s something you’re interested in, we’d love some support on the project!
We have a ton of information out there on this, and we’re trying to keep the flow of information going without repeating too much. In that spirit, here’s an old, brief blast from the past…a portion from an actual play log for one of the first Æthermancy playtests!
Play test of Æthermancy, Primus, and Medieval
Players: Amber Entrekin, Andy Kanuch, Andy Miller, Sarah Miller, Susan Rohan, Will Sletten
Narrator: Kevin Rohan
The Set Up:
The characters are exploring a temple deep inside the forest on a plane linked to Primus. The plane is set in a deep and permanent ice age, and as such only hearty creatures survive there. Ice-age predators are found in the primeval forests, as well as Humans, Elves, and Goblins. Æthermancy is common, though not abundantly so; magical items are rare, but spell throwers exist in every level of life.
The party is there to find a magical ring that has been missing for centuries. It is there only on word of rumor alone, and the characters are exploring the temple. They have been there for a number of hours by this point and they are growing restless of finding empty room after empty room. They know there are Goblins exploring the area as well, and one of them seems to have come in with a Smilodon. However, the Goblins are skirting the party’s position, and the Smilodon, large for its breed, is hunting.
Most of the party (they had split up) is returning to a central courtyard that contains a giant, eons old, Oak Tree. The characters present are an Elf, and two Humans, which are being played as brothers. Both of the Humans have spell casting capabilities, while the Elf is a mute (she was being played by Susan Rohan who had lost her voice that day. She had been communicating in and out of character in pantomime all day).
Upon coming into the courtyard, they all receive a Passive Perception check. Susan’s character sees something large moving across the courtyard, moving in and out of shadow and light, behind a half-wall with arches supporting a stone awning above. She motions that the big cat is over there and she takes off after it. One of the two Humans take off after it and their Elven companion, while the other runs as fast as he can down the hall they just came from and up a set of stairs to go fetch a slain Goblin. He’s gone for almost the entire fight, but he plays a crucial role in the end of the fight.
Knowing she is going on a suicide run and facing a possible entry in the Oubliette of Shame, Susan has her character run up to the Smilodon. The Smilodon tries to pounce on Susan’s character, but misses, albeit barely. Susan responds by barely squeezing out the whisper of “I’m going to ride it.” I almost asked her to repeat it because I couldn’t believe she said that. Seeing my disbelief, she nodded and smiled. “Okay,” I said, “It’s your initiative, roll it.”
Susan’s character managed to jump up on the back of the tiger, evading attack as the creature’s attention was split between her and the large human that was running up to it. Susan increased her grip dramatically by stabbing one of her daggers into the creature’s thick hide. She had tried with two attacks, but one simply scraped off the animal’s hide. The tiger decided that its best plan of action would be to jump up high and hard, slamming Susan’s character into the underside of the stone awning that was only 3 feet above her head. She was not only not knocked unconscious, but she managed to keep her grip on the beast and her dagger. On her initiative, she stuck her second dagger into the now furious and confused beast.
At this time, the other Human figured out what was going on (neither of them were the brightest pennies in the jar) and started making his way across the center of the courtyard for the oak, with the Goblin body in hand. The first Human squares off and punches it in the face, attempting to use a spell to charge his fist at the same time. The spell fails, but the attack is a success. The Smilodon takes very little damage because of its natural armor, but it’s angry and very confused at this point.
Susan’s character stabs the Smilodon in the neck again, doing a little more damage, and making it very angry. The Human grabs the Elf off the Smilodon’s back and sets her down, immediately after casting False Image to distract the creature, making the tiger think he threw her down the corridor along side the courtyard. At this time, the second Human has returned from fetching the Goblin and is casting the spell Electrify on it. The spell allows the caster to take any item and turn it into a grenade if the situation calls for it.
Susan hoarsely cracks out “I’m gonna stab it in the butt.” After the laughter died down, the second Human screamed, “Goblin grenade!” and prepared to throw it into the melee. The first Human wanted to do something different. The player declared he was going to grab the Smilodon, plant his feet, cast Root on himself, then use the immovability granted by this spell to keep his feet down while throwing the Smilodon to his brother, after the brother had thrown the “goblin grenade” into the fray.
All initiative in Æther is simultaneous unless someone specifically says they’re holding action. The thrown goblin hits its target perfectly. The Elf stabs the Smilodon in its hindquarter. Both the Smilodon and the Elf receive the meager damage of the spell. The Elf’s hand leaves her sword hilt in shock, and the moment the electrical discharge dies down, the Smilodon is the victim of some very good rolls by Andy Kanuch and he is lifted from the ground and thrown, landing in an unconscious heap at the feet of the character’s brother who promptly punched it with his fist after casting Electrify.
After that, it was a mash of fists, blades, and boots until the party was satisfied the Smilodon was dead. What could have easily been a TPK turned into a complete party victory, with only one character getting injured, and even then, only slightly.
All I needed to roll on any of the Smilodon’s attacks was a 20 on a D100 and he’d have slaughtered any of the party. I couldn’t even manage to roll that. Poor, dead kitty.