Monday, August 15, 2011

In Which the Warlock Defies the Odds...

Call it a gamist point of view, but I love games that bring a degree of chance to the party.  It's all well and good to tell a fantastic story, but if you can't totally throw that story off of the rails with a well-placed die roll...well, then go write a novel. 

Pull up a chair, friends and neighbors, it's storytime: 
Essex Sho-Toran:
My lucky psion...

Once upon a time, when I was still a freshman at Wittenberg, I played in a D&D 3e game run by a friend of mine named Silas.  In the first session of that game, I was utterly worthless.  Playing a psion, I managed to knock myself out from psionic feedback in the first round of combat, and spent most of our first session unconscious.  However, at the final end battle, I managed to pull off a phenomenal feat...a lucky blow that turned my character from a feeble level 1 caster into a powerhouse of psionic might.  After rolling no higher than an 8 all night long, one well-timed Natural Twenty manged to slay a foe far beyond our scope, and turn Silas's campaign on its ear.

So, let's fast forward to our Deadlands game from last week. 

After destroying Rock Island Prison while searching for the mysterious "Heart of Darkness" diamond, we found ourselves in the Lost Angels Cathedral on the infamous Bloody Sunday.  Reverend Ezekiah Grimme, leader of the Church of Lost Angels, called down hellfire and brimstone...quite literally.  Demons swarmed through the cathedral, killing innocents by the score, with our heroes in the crossfire! 

Okay, so The Journeyman GM has been using the Savage Worlds Adventure Cards for this game.  Each game, we get 5 cards that provide a one-time benefit, of which we may choose 2 to keep.  My selections were pretty lackadaisical this time around, aside from one named "Make No Mistake":  "Play when facing any kind of creature with Immunity or Invulnerability.  One character may ignore those special abilities of the creature for the duration of the combat."

I looked at The Journeyman GM and said, "You know what I will be doing with this...should I take it?"

His reply, "It's the Weird West.  That's all I'll say..."

As carnage broke out in the Lost Angels Cathedral, Ramon Perez Francisco Villa-Nueva leapt atop a pew, drew the Cutlass of Estevanico, and challenged Grimme to pay for the crimes he had perpetrated at Rock Island Prison. 

From there, things went downhill steadily.  Ramon spent the next several rounds being swarmed by demons, hovering around two wounds and trying to throw off his "Shaken" result.  Grimme himself, though, answered the challenged, attempting to use a hideous rite to snuff out Ramon's life-force.  However, Ramon persevered, took some healing from the PlatinumChick's "gun-nun" Maria Pilar Vasquez, and then lunged for Grimme...

An ace!  Not familiar?  In Savage Worlds, if your die roll on a skill or ability test gets the highest possible result (a 10, on a d10, in this case), you roll it again and add the results.  Raising his cutlass high, Ramon slashed downward through Grimme with a 19 to hit, and an absurdly-massive 46 points of damage--resulting in Shaken and 9 Wounds, penetrating Grimme's Invulnerability and slaying him instantly!

Ramon Perez Francisco Villa-Nueva
rides into the Wasted West...
Okay, yeah...I know it's the Weird West and all...and the metaplot of Deadlands somewhat mandates that Grimme hangs around for a while longer, but still!  Wow!  My avenging fencer took out the Servitor of Famine in a single, massive blow!  Between that, the destruction of Rock Island Prison, and Ramon's old friend Morton "Four-Eyes" Marker heading back to his Texas Ranger brethren with incontrovertible proof of Grimme's villainy, Lost Angels may soon lie in the hands of the Confederacy!

It just goes to show that the dice are a fickle, fickle mistress.  Sometimes they hate you, and sometimes they give you a gift that'll provide for "gamer-stories" for years to come...

We just managed to finish the last segment of the "Devil's Tower" plotline this evening, with Ramon (and the huckster companion, Skippy, that the posse broke out of Rock Island) escaping far into the future, with the dangerous Stone in hot pursuit.  While the Weird West was saved, and the future altered, who knows what dangers await Ramon in the not-so Wasted West?!

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