Archipelago III - Isles of Amma

edited March 2013 in Actual Play
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!

Our Cast:

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.

Comments

  • edited March 2013
    David made an initial map based on our setting creation. The color came out a bit weird on my phone pic.
    image

    We've added a couple more locations since that haven't been added to the map.
  • That's such a beautiful map!
  • That indeed is a great map
  • Gorgeous and wonderful.
  • David is taking his Geography ownership very seriously. :)

    I should clarify that we do not literally say, "Yes, and" to one another, adding a new phrase. I meant it only metaphorically in that we do not say "Try a different way" very often, especially last session.
  • Man, this sounds fantastic. Beautiful world-building all around.
  • I should clarify that we do not literally say, "Yes, and" to one another, adding a new phrase. I meant it only metaphorically in that we do not say "Try a different way" very often, especially last session.
    I think 'That might not be so easy' was our most-used phrase last session. The cards really help stir things up.

    That being said, we had a nice moment towards the end when we just let a character have his way without challenge. When Venerable Brata trapped Raziel in a dream-state we all just nodded and said "Yes, I think that happens". He deserved some revenge after being blinded by Raziel and generally thwarted by the cards for two whole sessions. Another benefit of playing in the same group for a long time I guess - everyone recognizes when to just let something happen.

  • edited March 2013
    The blinding of Brata was actually the incident that provided to me the most insight on how to play him moving forward. Having traveled so far to fetch one last glimpse of Anayam, his first and only love, then to lose his sight upon the cusp of realizing his dream...

    It steeled him for the other task at hand - to bring the people together in defiance of the Dragons.

    It wasn't quite the punishment that it seems :)
  • 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.
    What lore can you share about the score and seven dragons? I am familiar with most of them, but the Aeloic are unknown to me.
  • Sounds like a supercool game!
  • Thanks for taking the time to write this all up, Matt :)

    The four kinds of dragons are elemental: water, air, earth, and fire, in that order of remaining numbers.

    I will admit that I was skeptical of Try Another Way. Knowing that my input could be shut down makes me more hesitant to put it out there. But more importantly, I really don't like rejecting other people's input. I tend to trust my fellow players that, of they're adding something, it's with good reason. There's no grounds for me knowing better what they should add than me. That said, we're not really using it like that in practice. It's more like, "how about this modified version of what you said instead, because xyz."

    Like Matt said elsewhere, some of the resolution cards are tricky, I think because they're not concrete. The fate cards work better in that they often refer to the reader's owned element, which grounds it in the game and provides some constraint.

    Overall, I'm enjoying this a lot. We're managing to pull the different ideas and characters together better then I expected :)
  • edited March 2013
    What lore can you share about the score and seven dragons? I am familiar with most of them, but the Aeloic are unknown to me.
    Aeolic dragons are sinuous and transitive masters of the element of Air. Their wingless bodies shift between transparency and ice-coated white and silver as they ride the currents of the sky. The icy blast of their breath is enough to freeze a man solid.

    Like all dragons, they are masters of their element and are not to be trifled with. Since the Skywatchers of Nadu earned the ire of the Aeolics they have had to resort to oar galleys for much of their sea travel - quite often the wind will simply not fill their sails.



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