Friday, September 4, 2020

TTJP B-Team Season 1, Episodes 9 & 10 A Fresh Beginning

This was our first and second session of the new characters. Also we picked up a new player (Randy) giving us 5 players in the group. With an announcement that another one would be taking over one of the NPCs for a total of 6 players.

GM Link Session 9

Basic Concept

This new group is a bunch of youngsters 8 to 12 living in a monastery kind of thing called the Order. There are twelve kids per creche, each creche has a "minder"or chaperone till they are old and fit enough to begin formal training. Some of us have been here several years, brought in as orphans or sold to the Order.

The Order is a powerful training and quasi military organization run by the Empire that patrols the land and its borders looking for monsters, rebels, and unrest.  Pretty much anything that can pose a threat to the empire. The outlined plan is to have several sessions then a break of a year or two game time, then repeat the cycle a few times till were all adults. GURPS Social Engineering: Back to School will be used to help with training, and of course as its a Wuxia/Xianxia setting GURPS Martial Arts will be essential for its additional rules and listed martial styles.

This format has an advantage over the "You all meet at an Inn" in that our characters grow up knowing each other. Also the training sequence lets us figure out our characters as we slowly build them (25 point templates plus bonus to start, and most of us reserved much of the bonus points). So we can interact with the other players and the environment so we grow organically and hopefully cohesively. This will be my first time but two of the players already did this in the GMs prior campaign (Ceteri).

So with the intro out of the way....

Casting

  • Jian Wu (Two) (Christian) 8M, strong guy
  • Jiao Ting (Eight) (Chris D) 8M
  • Liang Jing Min (Five) (Randy) 8M, sorcerer
  • Nongmin Chushi (Seven) (Rory) 8M, says he talks to spirits, inquisitive and charming more than creepy despite possibly being insane.
  • Shang Yi (One) (Calvin) 8M, natural leader and archer.
  • Zhiyu Zhige (Nine) (Laurie) 8F, sorcerer specializing in healing.
  • He Bohi (Eleven) 8M, Twin, grew up near the docks.
  • He Donghai (Twelve) 8M, grew up near the docks.
  • He Qing (Four) 9M, bully of the group.
  • Laoshu (Three aka Mouse) 9F, quiet and good with a knife.
  • Meiyou Ren (Six) M Also good with a knife
  • Rang Baozhai (Ten) 11F, our bookworm and nerd.

The Choosing

The creche is out working the farm when were all called in early through the ringing of the bells. Were led to an auditorium and told to take a seat. Each seat has a backpack next to it, most refrain from examining it though the curious Chushi does. It has some clothing, money, a knife, and some basics.

The grandmaster of the Order walks in and tells us it is our time of choosing. We must decide to leave the Order or stay. If we stay we will not be later permitted to leave until we graduate as we will learn some of the Orders secrets. Those who stay are tasked with going up a nearby mountain and retrieving a Jade Heart flower. Were then dismissed!

Most of the crowd chooses to stay, one of our creche departs, the rest head up the mountain after determining that Chushi at least knows what the flower looks like. Many of the other creches have obviously not hiked before and run, we pass them exhausted along the way as we slowly but steadily pace ourselves. The one who left (Rang Baozhai) also catches up with us after changing her mind on leaving.

The first real obstacle is a short cliff face they have to climb up. Taking our time, using the provided equipment, and helping each other gives us a+5 Task Modifier; trouble is some have to resort to default Climbing skill, which is DX-5! Chushi fails and falls for 1 HP damage, another falls for 6 and has to be healed by Zhige.

Session is then called due to real life drama.

Look! Man Eating Plants!

Next session the group continues on up the mountain until just above the snowline we spot a bush of Jade Heart Flowers up on a rocky outcropping. Qing shoves pas the group to get the flowers first and as the rest of us advance Jing Min is grappled by a plant off to our right. He does not take it very well and screams in a squeeky voice as he panics (18 on Will roll)! Chushi is hit in the chest with a sharp thorn hurled by another plant. It hurts, a LOT but he keeps his calm as the others, now wary spread out and forward.
The two plants do not survive the 11 children attacking them, though we get pretty banged up.  Its a big fight and hard for Chushi to track everything, but some notable highlights were...
  • Zhige yanked out the thorn from Chushi's chest (causing more damage and evoking a scream, but a semi manly one at least -just ask him!) but she heals his damage and he charges one of the plants.
  • Ting does an impressive belly flop on a plant, trying either a flying tackle or pretending to jump into bed, we cant tell.
  • Mouse really impresses anyone watching with her combat skill, didnt miss or fail to dodge once!
  • The plants are tough to cut with our knives but really flammable as Wu guesses. Confirmed by Jing Min walking into a spore could and one plant exploding on those fighting it. No one really objects though, the knives weren't doing much after all. Speaking of which, Baozhai helpfully remembers they are highly flammable about the time Jing Min walks up to one with a lit torch.
  • Zhige is not to be trifled with or annoyed. She kicked Qing in the groin for 6 HP! after he got down from the rock with his flower and laughed about the rest of us (who were still fighting).
  • It pays to listen to Yi as his directions helped us in the fight.
Chushi as a good gardener gets up on the rock and cuts out 11 flowers for the rest while doing his best to make sure the plant survives.  While up there he notices a cave a short distance away.  Climbing back down, slowly and with Jin Min's torchlight to guide him (getting dark) he tells the group about the cave as he passes out the flowers. Assuming no bear or other wild animal it might be a good shelter to rest while they recover from the battle,  However the group decided its not worth the risk as they have to return by dawn anyway. Undaunted Chushi opts to explore the cave anyhow while everyone else rests or gets healed. Jin Min carefully follows at a safe distance to keep an eye on him.  

Its not a deep cave and no bears, but inside is a hole in the ceiling providing plenty of light and some white jade heart flowers! Chushi asks the spirits if its ok to pick them and after a few minutes with no obvious objection he carefully does so.  He gets 11 flowers (the most he safely can) and carefully puts them in his pouch. The group ties some ropes together to make it easier getting back down that cliff, though sadly the last length unravels and Qing falls down, hurting himself a bit.  Hey, he insisted on going first!

The group makes its way back in plenty of time, not the first to rive but not the last either. They made sure to stick together, Wu even carrying Ting part of the way as he was still hurt. Chushi distributed the white Jade Flowers to everyone but Qing whom he determined the spirit of the cave did not want to get one for his behavior. No one seem to comment on the matter either way.

When we arrived the teachers took stock, made sure we passed the test and complimented us on killing two Dark Flowers. Apparently they lose several children a year to them on these quests. Chushi thanked them for letting us know ahead of time. The Alchemist made a tincture of all the flowers with each student getting one, he said we could drink it for its healing and health benefits or sell, as we choose. He was surprised at the white flowers  and asked Chushi f he knew what they were and how rare? Chushi only knew it was a mythical plant and when queried said he found it in a cave. Oddly enough neither he nor Jin Min could exactly recall quite how to find it again.

Aftermath

Fun game, our first with a new player. The flower rewards were a nice benefit (Green +5 pts, White +15 pts towards HT or a health related advantage - more if we let them steep a year or more). This was an obvious plot device to keep the group together as we all need HT 12 (including Fit bonus) to begin Intensive Training and not everyone in the group met that requirement.
It was kind of funny as the GM was mildly pained when the group opted not to go into the cave, I mean it was a pretty obvious hook but smart money was not exploring it since we had what we came for and were pretty banged up.  Luckily Chushi is more curious than smart (10 point disadvantage) and the GMs efforts were not foiled.

I got a better feel for Chushi and its still early yet with lots of tests and trials to shape him but with this adventure I filled out more of his concept and goals.  Currently looking at a Druid/Shaman or given that were also Martial Artists maybe a Ranger/Shaman without the bow (he started with Channeling and was going to be a shaman, had Green Thumb 2 but that was mostly for his cooking). Also going to play up the talks to spirits angle a bit more, its kinda fun. Shaman seem to be rarer than Sorcerers and of course martial artists so not everyone is sure about his ability. Especially the kids. Initially I had planned for more an urban than rural shaman as I expect most noncombat activity to occur in town and he will still be good in town since hes the designated Face.
The GM is still working out details but so far most shamanic abilities are heavily geared towards outdoors and reviewing that material plus the lucky plant plot seem good indicators.


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