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 Post subject: 'The Thirteen Wives of King Mahoumik' campaign report
PostPosted: Sat Mar 05, 2011 9:09 pm 
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Markizo

Joined: Thu Jan 13, 2011 9:05 am
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Location: Toronto
This is the opening scene I presented to my players for our new campaign. I'll do my best to update this thread with session reports as we progress.

System: RuneQuest 3, somewhat houseruled.

Setting: TRIBELANDS OF ANTIA (homebrew).

Region: The Gudaean Tribelands, in the far east of Antia.

Campaign: THE THIRTEEN WIVES OF KING MAHOUMIK.

Players Characters:
-Two young travelers from the Noahim Tribelands to the northwest who are now working for the Mukarrib.
-Two Skalding warriors from the far north freed from slavery by the Mukarrib in exchange for their sworn oath for three years. Now working for the Mukarrib.
-One native Gudaean - a scroll-house (school) administrator.

Glossary Note:
Mukarrib - Gudaean word which means king, city, and city-state all at once.
Vizier - The Mukarrib's chief advisor and palace administrator.

Scene: The opening scene takes place in the audience room of Mahoumik, the Mukarrib of Aghoudan. The audience chamber is heavily whitewashed and tiled with blue faience from Zubbakhar. The floor in front of the throne is covered by fine Qashgari woolen rugs, and the throne itself is occupied today by Kitaab, prince of the realm. He is holding an audience to hear the grievances of the people while his father travels abroad. It is approaching late morning and the prince is in a foul mood. This is not his favourite activity – he would much rather be falconing or lounging in Allakh's basin (a popular bathing establishment), but listening to the (tiresome) grievances of the people is an old Mukarrib tradition which cannot be ignored – or at least so says Razm-al-Rabi, the king's Vizier.

To the Players: You have your own reasons for being here, and wait patiently for your turn to address the Prince. You are not currently on duty but have chosen to wear your official garb with the expectation that, when the prince recognizes you as a member of the palace, he will look more favourably on your request. You are leaning, half asleep, on a pillar and listening to a wizened old man go on about a slave he bought yesterday morning at a discount rate and how, during the afternoon nap period, certain problems manifested with the slave. It seems the slave is possessed by a Jinn and screams and emits foul odours when he sleeps. The man then describes how he tried to return the slave and receive recompense yesterday afternoon, only to find the slavers had vanished. He is just finishing describing how he is convinced the slave was fed camel fodder by the smell of his wind when three of the palace eunuchs burst into the room and insist on seeing the prince immediately.

A space is cleared before the prince (the man with the farty slave is shoved to the side) and the Vizier steps into the centre of the room. The senior of the three eunuchs approaches and whispers urgently into the ear of the Vizier while keeping his eyes on the prince, who has now lifted himself from his slouching position. The Vizier then turns to the prince, while the three sweaty eunuchs ring their hands in agitation.

“It would seem, my prince,” says the vizier in an oily voice, “that several of your father's wives have disappeared from the Harem. These lowly servants report that five of the Harem Guard have been slain, and that women disappeared in the night. They fear they have been kidnapped, my lord...”

At this, the prince pushes himself out of his chair and, leaning forward with a reddening face, yells at the three eunuchs: “WHAT!!?? My mother??!!”

“No, my Lord, she appears to be safe.” replies the Vizier. Relief briefly passes across the Prince's face before a new look of worry appears.

“But if my father comes home to find that all...”

“Several, my lord..” interjected the Vizier.

“...that several of his wives have been kidnapped, he will be furious! Who is responsible for this travesty? Heads will roll when I find out, and I mean that quite literally!!!”

The eunuchs visibly tremble at this, and the old man with the slave problem is trying to slink behind an incense brazier. You notice the people in front of the audience are trying to back up, while the people at the back are pushing forward for a better view, making for some uncomfortable meetings in the middle.

“My Lord,” stammers the chief eunuch, now bowing so low the feather on his headdress brushes the ground so as to avoid looking the prince in the eye, “it seems the guards were slain without a fight, and the door to the harem opened from the inside and without force. None of the window bars were broken. The only clue to the mystery is an amphora of good Paanite date wine found lying empty behind a potted plant, my lord. The...uh...amphora is of the same stock you recently purchased, or so these eunuchs report...”

Prince Kitaab suddenly takes three steps toward the chief eunuch and grabs him by the front of his robe. Twisting the cloth of his robes, he draws the man up and pulls the sweaty little man's face close to his own and asks between clenched teeth; “Are you saying someone has been at my wine?”

“P-p-puh-please my lord” stammers the eunuch, clearly having trouble breathing, “it seems the wine was drugged and maybe given to the guards. There's no knowing how many bottles might be taint...Ooooh!” This last exclamation is in response to a solid jab in the belly from the Prince. As the chief Eunuch sinks to the floor. A pool of blood grows on the carpet, and the hilt of a gilded knife can be seen protruding from the man's chest. The Prince glares at the other two eunuchs for a few protracted seconds before turning to the Vizier:

“Send these two remaining eunuchs down to my cellars and have them personally test the bottles of wine for poison while you look into the security of my cellar.”

“It shall be as you say.” replies al-Rabi, impassive as always. “And your father's wives, my Prince?”

Prince Kitaab winces visibly, remembering the problem with the harem. He turns to the Vizier and says “Yes, of course, they must be retrieved immediately. Who shall I send?”

“May I suggest some of your father's stout foreign mercenaries, my Lord? They will be immune to the influence of the regional tribes, should it be an internal plot...” replies al-Rabi.

“Yes, of course,” says the prince “you have guessed my plan.”

His eyes scan the far side of the room and come to a rest on two foreign looking men in palace livery. “Those two, and...” he spins around suddenly and looks at you “And those men as well! Have them leave immediately. They must hunt high and low, even to the ends of Gudaea to bring back these women!”

“Excellent, my Prince, and may I suggest a local man to guide them...?”

The Prince spins once more and his attention settles upon a rather surprised looking man standing off to the side. “You! What do you do, standing there?”

Unsure how to answer, the man says “I...I'm but a scroll-house administrator, my Prince.”

“Excellent!” replies Kitaab, turning his attention back to the Vizier. “Take care of the details, will you." he says, waving his hand around. "I have important things to attend to.”

With that, the Prince steps over the body of the dead chief eunuch and storms out of the room. Several of his cronies scramble to follow him, and within a few moments the number of people in the room has thinned considerably. With the Prince gone, a mood of relief descends upon the remaining people in the room and a confused babble breaks out.

You look up from the corpse on the floor to see the Vizier and several Gudaean palace guards approaching you for a chat.
It seems you've been volunteered for a mission...

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Last edited by Thalaba on Sun Mar 06, 2011 4:21 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: 'The Thirteen Wives of King Mahoumik' campaign report
PostPosted: Sun Mar 06, 2011 3:07 pm 
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Owner

Joined: Thu Apr 15, 2010 3:02 pm
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Location: Le Plateau, Montréal, QC
That's a great campaign introduction. The setting is really evocative. I could picture the courtroom. I also love the way you have constructed a very clear and simple objective, but at the same time baked in a lot of potential complexity with the royal politics going on behind the scenes. Makes it very easy for the players to know what to do, while allowing its richness to develop over the course of the campaign.

How did you present this to the players? Did you simply have them stat up characters that were part of the court or did they know ahead of time something like this was going to be sprung upon them?

And that prince, what a bastard! I hate him already.

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 Post subject: Re: 'The Thirteen Wives of King Mahoumik' campaign report
PostPosted: Sun Mar 06, 2011 4:38 pm 
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Markizo

Joined: Thu Jan 13, 2011 9:05 am
Posts: 1569
Location: Toronto
I presented it by e-mail, making it clear that they had the opportunity to veto this starting position. I had thought about starting in-media-res with this scene, by since my players are usually shy of giving direct feedback, I'm always a little worried (maybe too much so) about treading into 'Railroading' territory. So I thought it would be better to present it before we actually start to give them a chance to say if they didn't like where this was going.

I may have been mistaken in doing it this way. The comments I got back were three "sounds good, sign me up" and one "this scene would have had more impact if started in-media-res." Live and learn, I guess - I'll do that next time.

The character concepts were drawn up first. Two wanted to play Noahim Tribelanders from the northwest, and two wanted to play Skaldings from the far north. The fifth wanted to play an older and more worldly person. We decided they would all be working for the Mukarrib at the beginning of the campaign. The opening scene is built around the things they said they wanted, so really the only news in the scene above is the specific scenario of having to go after the king's missing wives, and the presentation of some court personalities.

As they go off searching for these 13 wives (and I hope to get them out of the city and looking right away), there will be a lot of scope for side adventures, and a lot of ground to cover in the main adventure line, too. Betrayal, love, politics, war, and brute survival should all feature.

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 Post subject: Re: 'The Thirteen Wives of King Mahoumik' campaign report
PostPosted: Sun Mar 06, 2011 7:13 pm 
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Awesome setting, and pretty good set-up.

Color me interested.

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 Post subject: Re: 'The Thirteen Wives of King Mahoumik' campaign report
PostPosted: Mon Mar 07, 2011 8:13 pm 
Markizo

Joined: Tue May 04, 2010 10:10 am
Posts: 1149
Nice !

I just bought Mongoose RQ2 system and It is awesome and combat seems deadly.

I may try to present it in a next roludothon depending on which system people picks up (MRQ2 or Sengoku).


I bought sengoku but I could use MRQ2 for a game in a feudal japan, but just for the Fluff in the book, it's worth the money. I have not thoroughly read all the systems but MRQ2 is pretty quick to read.

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-- Brewing a MRQ2 1 shot for Roludothon.


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 Post subject: Re: 'The Thirteen Wives of King Mahoumik' campaign report
PostPosted: Tue Mar 08, 2011 1:14 am 
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Grafo

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I love RQ. Its quite simple and perfect for one shot. I posted this a while ago and I would like to give it a shot:

viewtopic.php?f=8&t=824

what is your players impression of the system so far?

And the big set up and starting position was it intimidating or did they dive right in?


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 Post subject: Re: 'The Thirteen Wives of King Mahoumik' campaign report
PostPosted: Tue Mar 08, 2011 9:19 am 
Markizo

Joined: Tue May 04, 2010 10:10 am
Posts: 1149
Noirfatale wrote:
I love RQ. Its quite simple and perfect for one shot. I posted this a while ago and I would like to give it a shot:

viewtopic.php?f=8&t=824

what is your players impression of the system so far?

And the big set up and starting position was it intimidating or did they dive right in?


None, I don't have any regular group to play with.

But from what I've read, Magic is modular, you can add or retract some depending on your campaign needs.

Mechanic is the same across the board.

Combat is realistic and deadly.
If you need more details I can fill in with PM.

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-- Brewing a Sengoku 1 shot for Roludothon
-- Brewing a MRQ2 1 shot for Roludothon.


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 Post subject: Re: 'The Thirteen Wives of King Mahoumik' campaign report
PostPosted: Tue Mar 08, 2011 9:50 am 
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Markizo

Joined: Thu Jan 13, 2011 9:05 am
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Location: Toronto
Noirfatale wrote:
I love RQ. Its quite simple and perfect for one shot.

What is your players impression of the system so far?

And the big set up and starting position was it intimidating or did they dive right in?


Keep in mind we are using RQ3 (the edition written by Chaosium by published by Avalon Hill back in the late 80's) and not MRQ2. That said, I really like what they did with the Combat Manoeuvres in MRQ2 so I'm going to try and incorporate them into our system.

All the players have played this system and setting before this campaign (though not in this particular part of the setting, which will be new to them). I started the our first campaign with this system and setting world about 3 years ago and we played the last campaign for a little over 2 years. None of the players had played RQ before that, but they all love it now. Two of them were mainly D&D players, two have much wider experience with games and don't really like D&D but had never played RQ, one is mostly a WFRP or Shadowrun player, and the last is relatively new to gaming and, I think, is most familiar with WOD.

I don't think the set-up would be intimidating for them. They are familiar with my GM style and so will probably jump right in. If there's any confusion, the Vizier is there to steer them if they need it. I try to give players the field when playing, so they are free to approach the problem however they like. The first step (in my mind) will be to gather clues, and then follow those leads.

We are supposed to start this Thursday, but 2 of 5 players can't make it, so we may postpone starting for another week.

@Boumxyz: No initiative rolls in RQ3! (Can't remember now whether MRQ2 has them or not. MRQ1 did.)

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 Post subject: Re: 'The Thirteen Wives of King Mahoumik' campaign report
PostPosted: Tue Mar 08, 2011 1:12 pm 
Markizo

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MRQ2 has strike ranks to take care of that ! :lol:

I don't really mind initiative I just copied and pasted that in my signature because I found that quote quite hilarious.

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-- Brewing a MRQ2 1 shot for Roludothon.


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 Post subject: Re: 'The Thirteen Wives of King Mahoumik' campaign report
PostPosted: Thu Mar 10, 2011 12:23 am 
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Markizo

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Since we have no session this week, I thought I'd post some Gudaean background information, beginning with some geographical description and one of my wonky maps.

PEOPLES OF ANTIA ~ THE GUDAEAN TRIBESMEN
GUIDE TO GUDAEA AND THE KINGDOMS OF SEA AND SAND pt.1
Geography:
Gudaea is a large land bordered on the north east by the Sea of the Sun and on the southwest by the Great River, which the Gudaeans call Allakh's Belt. Between these two bodies of water lies a vast dry wasteland of sand, gravel, and rock which is dotted with small and medium sized oases (called wahha by the locals). The wasteland and the coast are separated by a rocky plateau called the Jebel Aghbar, which is the source of most of the region's fresh water. Ephemeral rivers from these hills feed the wahhas of the valleys just below them, and these are carefully managed by means of dams, channels, and embankments. The land of Gudaea is politically divided into two broadly defined parts: the wastes, wherein lie the oases; and the Mukarribs, also known as the Kingdoms of Sea and Sand. Each of these small kingdoms is ruled by a king, (called Mukarrib, locally) and is centred around a single city. There are six such city-states on the coast which are collectively known as the Kingdoms of the Sea or the Kingdoms of the New Sun. There are also six city-states on the inland side of the coastal divide and these are collectively called the Kingdoms of the Sand, or the Qayr Kingdoms for their closer association with the nomadic Gudaeans.

To the south and west of the Sand Kingdoms lies the extensive desert wasteland which is the traditional home of the tribal Gudaeans, who are collectively known as The Qayr. Many wahha are located throughout the Gudaean desert, but their locations are known only to the various desert clans and the Sahhari (a practitioner of magical art of Sahharia). The desert tribes are the oldest of the Gudaean tribes. They have been wandering the desert since the earliest times, and were often known to raid upon the settled cities of the river valleys that belonged to the now-forgotten Samarran Empire. The body of nomadic Gudaeans is known as the Qayr. Settled Gudaeans are not considered part of the Qayr, though as long as they practice the traditional beliefs they are considered as close cousins.

The Six Mukarribs of the Sea:
There are six Gudaean states along the north and east coast, each centred on a single city. These are:
Barakhish, a city made largely of grey-brown stone and known for its decorated masonry. Barakhish is the northernmost of the Gudaean city-states, and is bordered on the west by the kingdom of Pun, whose king dominates Barakhish politically. To the north is Balarkhan, a city state of the Khash-ga people which is also a vassal state of Pun.
Aghoudan lies to the east of Barakhish and, though not yet a vassal, also finds itself pressured by the King of Pun. It is known especially for its fine, dye-producing shells and its tall baked-brick buildings coated with a particularly white plaster.
Zubbakhar is the next state to the east along the northern coast of Gudaea. It is bordered to the south by the oasis city-state of Haluzu, and to the east by the Sea Kingdom of Hadrama-wat. Zubbakhar is not well known internationally, but is renowned locally for its decorative tiles of blue faience and its craftsmen who use the tiles to make colourful mosaics throughout the eastern cities. The Mukarrib of Zubbakhar is also himself renowned in Gudaea as an expert in the law and judges cases in the palace. It was prophesied once that if the Mukarrib of Zubbakhar should ever leave his palace and walk the streets, a great calamity will befall the nation, and so it is unlawful for him to do so. One Mukarrib did once plan to flout the law, but when word got out of his intention he was stoned to death in the gateway of the palace by an angry rabble which sought to prevent his leaving.
Hadrama-wat is the next city state along the coast. It is located where the north coast meets the east coast of Gudaea, and is bordered on the west by Zubbakhar and on the south by Saldea. Hadrama-wat is known especially for its boat-making and seafaring skills and is the state most likely to engage in a trade expedition by sea. The Mukarrib's palace is not large, but is very old, made of imported Kharak-Shi marble and decorated with Zubbakhar tiles in various half-man, half-fish motifs. The Nayah, Hadrama, is claimed to have descended partly from Bakhr, though this claim is refuted by just about all non-Hadramian people.
Saldea is on the east coast of Gudaea and is located south of Hadrama-wat. It is bordered to the west by both Zubbakhar and Marab, with whom it has good relations. Saldea is most famous for its very tall palms, the trunks of which are exported all over the region for the building of large homes. It also has very fine fruit crops, for it receives slightly more rain that other Gudaean states, and is a prime source of incense. There is a large stone statue depicting a prancing horse near the palace. It is dedicated to an ancient princess named Salamah al-Zarqa, though the inscription is now so old as to be barely legible. This statue is rumoured to be hollow, the inside lined with gold and the princess buried within.
Sifena is the most south-easterly of the Sea Kingdoms. It is rich in agricultural produce of all types, and especially incense. Sifena is bordered to the south by the tribelands of the Kharak-Shi-ahh (Qaroqshia, as they are known in the Middle Kingdoms) and generally has more dealings with those people than other Gudaeans do. Perhaps it is the Kharak-Shi influence, but the people of Sifena are considered somewhat odd by other Gudaeans.

The Six Mukarribs of the Sand:
There are six Gudaean city-states located in the oases which are squeezed between the waste and the coastal range. These are:
Talum, the smallest of the twelve cities, and also the most traditionally Gudaean. The Mukarribs of this state maintain close ties with the the nomadic people of the oases, and many of them prefer to come here to purchase civilized goods for specifically this reason. To them, Talum is the model Gudaean city – small, not too crowded, not too exotic, and its ruler 'barely out of the tent' – which is to say he thinks like a nomad. Talum's economic importance is small – merely a trading post between the northern coastal cities and the wasteland tribes. But its political influence is under-estimated by the other states. The Mukarrib of Talum has the sympathetic ear of many in the wasteland Qayr.
Haluzu is the one of the wealthiest of the inland states, thanks to its strategic location near two mountain passes through which the cities of Aghoudan, Zubbakhar, and Hadrama-wat can be reached. Haluzu is known for its military might, its very large caravanserai, and for the sprawling palace of its king. It is also known for the Haluzu poppy – a species unique to the area which has unusual hallucinatory properties. Haluzu has become an important source of the drug called mekshesh that is produced from this poppy. Mekshesh is usually traded to the coastal cities and the city of Paan in the far south, where there is an insatiable appetite for such things. The Mukarrib uses his army to enforce a monopoly on the trade of the drug. The surrounding hills and valleys are patrolled frequently and black marketeers are punished.
Sanaa lies to the south of Haluzu. Since it is not on any of the important trade routes to the coast, it is smaller and less wealthy than all other cites except Talum. The Sana valley is broad and fertile, and it serves as a bread basket for some of the northern mukarribs. The Mukarrib of Sana was recently killed by unknown assailants, and the young prince is currently assisted by a regent from Haluzu. Sana is home of a small cult of worshippers to a nameless god whose members make a habit of beating themselves in public.
Marab is probably the most important of the Sand Mukarribs. Thanks to a very old and large dam, it maintains a permanent reservoir of water in the hills above the city. The valley below thus has two very fertile oases which can be farmed year-round. The city is not presided over by a Mukarrib, but by an ancestral Queen, whom the locals believe to be the ancient Nayah, Marab, herself. The day-to-day affairs are run by the vizier, but the Queen of the Two Gardens maintains a watchful eye on her domain. Of the gardens of Marab, it is said that a servant woman can walk under the trees of a Marab garden with a basket on her head and it will fill itself with ripe fruit before she reaches the other side.
Shubaiqh is also called The City of Brass. It is located at the end of a long and steep-sided valley in the south of the Gudaean country and here, of all places in the known world, tin is in greater abundance than copper. The gates of the city and the walls of the palace itself are covered in brass plates, and the city is said to be the wealthiest of the twelve for this reason. It is not located on any important trade route, and were it not for the tin trade it would be quite isolated. It has a higher proportion of the people of Paan than all the Gudaean cities except Sayyun, and this fact, along with its isolated located, gives it a reputation for being the most enigmatic of Gudaean cities. This reputation is reinforced by the fact that its Mukarrib is also a powerful Sahhari (Sorcerer). Shubaiqh and Marab are fierce political rivals.
Sayyun is the southernmost of the inland cities, and usually the jumping off point for caravans heading south to the city of Paan. It is not only an important intermediate stop for all trade between the Gudaean Mukarribs and Paan (especially for tin) but it is an important city for the salt trade, too. Salt is extensively mined out in the desert to the west of Sayyun, and it is the only place this particular kind of salt can be bought. From here it is exported into both the Gudaean cities and also to far Paan. There is an important shrine to the Paannite Goddess, Hashtu, here – a popular place of worship with the Caravaneers.

In addition to the twelve cities mentioned above, there are numerous wahha (oases) of various sizes scattered throughout the Gudaean waste. The location of these oases is, for the most part, known only to the nomadic Gudaeans who wander the wastes, and to the traders, travellers, and curiousity-seekers who have dealings with them. Among the known wahha are the following: Zhabiba, Muqqabar, Siwahha, Nabataa, Dhakala, Bahhriya, Salima, Mariba, Rawwaf, Tayama, Markhabba, Tiwali, and Sayyad. These are also the names of associated clans and Nayah.


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The Chronicle of Ken Muir: An Ars Magica campaign set in the Kingdom of Galloway in 1171 AD


Last edited by Thalaba on Fri Mar 11, 2011 2:11 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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