Rings within rings of islands, artifacts of telluric violence from ages past.
Zohar, a smoking volcano isle of Builders and Glasscrafters lies at the center of the world. Commerce, power and intrigue are theirs.
Daramu, the city of Dreamers and their Guardians lies near the periphery. They create the world anew from their dreams, painstakingly reclaiming what was lost with new land cresting cerulean waves. An astronomer from the observatory of Nadu near the edge of the world has come to their citadel with warnings of signs and portents, the Aeolic Wyrm Raziel in his wake.
A score and seven dragons remain to this world. Twelve Pelagic, eight Aeloic, five Chthonic, two Calderic, the last of their kind. Each bestow their powers to a bonded human who can perform great magiks as a result.
This is our nascent archipelago.
My Sunday group has been talking about doing a full mini-campaign of Archipelago for years and we’re finally getting to it. All we knew initially is that we wanted a fantasy world with a literal archipelago (a la Earthsea), and that dragons would be an important feature. Pern was mentioned. This won't be be much of an AP, but I wanted to provide a place if others in the game wanted to comment on it outside of the bite-sized thread. The first session was mostly world and character creation but we're three sessions in now and so much has happened!
Jala - Eldest scion of House Akan, the most prominent among the Zahar familes. Her mother's heir, Jala negotiates trade agreements and politics with the other houses including their rival, house Gavi. She also protects her family's glasscraft interests. Jala's player Lisa owns Politics.
First Destiny Point - Jala will swear vengeance on the killer of the family's sword master, Aliz, as she dies in Jala's arms.
Dasa - Second scion of House Akan. Brother of Jala and Bahvi. Noble-minded, naive, and impetuous, he is restless in his position as second son of the House and seeks adventure and glory. Dasa's player Colin owns Dreaming.
First Destiny Point - Dasa will duel Dattama, second-in-command of the Citadel Guard of Daramu.
Aruvas - A Mage of Zohar. Bonded to Shesha, the eldest Chthonic Wyrm. He confirms and directs the most masterful smiths from all families at his volcanic glassforge on Zohar. Aruvas' player Matthew owns Dragons.
First Destiny Point - Aruvas will have to choose between the directives of Shesha and his most favored glass-smith, Bahvi of House Akan.
Mahdi - An Ascended Dreamer of Daramu. She is trapped in the Dreaming; her Guardian should allow her to wake but is part of a conspiracy. Mahdi's player Christian owns Culture.
First Destiny Point - Mahdi will flee the city of Daramu, accused of the death of the First Dreamer, Kumana.
Brata - Astrologer of the Nadu observatory from the island beyond the rings. His circle of mystics calls themselves "We That Remain," but most outsiders call them "Skywatchers." Brata has the enmity of the Aelolic wyrm Raziel who has blinded him. Brata's player David owns Geography.
First Destiny Point - Brata will discover that his old lover Anayam is a conspirator in Daramu.
We've all played together quite a bit and haven't made as much use of the key phrases as in previous Archipelago games I've played. We quickly got on the same page and seem to prefer saying "Yes, and" (or occasionally, "Yes, but") to one another as a group and rolling with the twists others have thrown our way than enforcing a singular vision. We're also able to do this without things getting wacky. As good as this system has been for me in one-shots with strangers, it is really singing in a group that's played together before. We did have to rush a bit last session towards the end. I plan to use the more details phrase more next time.
We haven't really pushed our fictional element ownership around much so far. I'm hoping we remember to do that more in future sessions. As the owner of "Dragons" I also own all things magical and am planning to introduce a few more fantastical elements going forward and not just for my mage.
The destiny points are so much fun - finding ways towards them and seeing how they emerge. Much like writing a good Move for a *World game, there's an art to writing a good Destiny Point and I think my Sunday group members are all naturals at it. There're still so many surprises about the nature of the destiny and all the points leading up to it.
As with the previous Archipelago games I've played, it's sometimes a bit of a stretch to arrive at what a Resolution card directs. Mostly with those those two that go "and something completely unrelated goes badly wrong / is a smashing success." It's a good stretch though, I think. Twice I felt like it shook up our flow, but I really liked the "unrelated things" we arrived at in the end; "Breath in. Breath out. Take your time."
The Fate cards are also cool. They seem to be acting as oracles of events that are already underway as often as they are giving us new material. It's a little spooky, actually.