This is a very short Actual Play of Neil Gow’s ERA Epic Storytelling Game. It only contains two scenes but should give you an impression on how the game plays. System info is included so the text doesn’t read that easily but you can follow the game mechanics. I did this session as a solo-session.
You can find (a glowing) review about ERA here. It’s PWVW, so give it a look (but it’s really worth more than 0 $).
Game: ERA Epic Storytelling Game by Neil Gow
Setting: Caliphport Setting Pack
Characters: Kalam and Syllabym from the Setting Pack
Adventure Seed: Beneath the Library of the Dead Gods
BENEATH THE LIBRARY OF THE DEAD GODS…
…lies the tomb of the The Alabaster King, the long-dead god who resided in the city that stood before the city that was ground by the winds to form the great white desert. White wisps of ghosts have been seen around the precincts of the Library and the Librarian has warned that the Alabaster King may be stirring. If he rises, and searches for his city, who knows what disaster may await. Dare a hero journey into the tomb of the dead Gods themselves to calm the rising King?
GM: You have journeyed into one of the lower halls of the Library of the Dead Gods because you have heard rumors that one of the long-dead gods, the Alabaster King, might rise again. You are in one of the underground halls which spans several hundred meters. It is a central passageway which is flanked by old bookshelves. Some oil lamps provide a steady light but there are many parts of the hall which are left in the dark. The air smells moldy from the old books and the dust in every corner. Beneath you you can feel the cold stone of the mosaic-covered ground.
At the end of the hall you can hear a moan and some whispery figures slowly float into your direction.
This is a CRAFT Scene of magic and the unknown. The player character decides that he wants to use SAND as a second element (knowledge, wisdom).
The intent of the wisps of ghost (standard threat) is to capture the PCs. The PCs want to gain information about these ghosts and their ruler.
Stats for the ghosts (made up on spot):
Elements: Craft (d10) 5, Sand 0
Trappings: Craft d10 (5) Whispering Voices, Craft d6 (3) Ghostly Tentacles
Trappings: Craft d8 (4) Bound to the Service of the Alabaster King
Player (Syllabym): I have seen many things in this world and I have read about theses wisps of ghosts in my Scrolls of the Scariffi (Element: Sand d8 A long travelled Scariffi and Trapping: Craft d8 The Scrolls of the Scariffi). I will use my Master Serpent Magic to bind these ghosts (Lore: Craft d10 Master Serpent Mage).
Player (Kalam): I will lead these ghosts astray so my friend can work his magic (Element: Craft d8 Master of obfuscation). I am an Initiate of the Seventh Circle so I know how to deal with the unknown (Lore: Craft d8 Initiate of the Seventh Circle).
Dice Pool for the PCs: d8, d8, d10, d8, d8
Opposition: 5, 5, 3, 4
Allocating the opposition into the three phases: 5, 5, 7
Allocating the dice: d10, d8, d8 + d8
Phase one: PCs roll 3 – win for the NPCs
GM: The whispering ghosts are much faster than you have anticipated. Syllabym, you were momentarily distracted by whipping out your scroll to confront the wisps. You relied on your companion to distract them but he was surprised by their swiftness. Their Ghostly Tentacles grab you both and for a moment you are entangled.
Phase two: PCs roll 2 – win for the NPCs
GM: Now that they have you in your grasp you hear voices in your head which muddle your thoughts and make you unable to use your own magic.
Phase three: PCs roll 13 – win for the PCS
Syllabym: My mind is strong and I shrug off their voices. My serpent magic slithers into their etheral bodies and I can glimpse into their minds and learn about them.
GM: I still want them to capture you. If you don’t want that you need to give up your declaration to alter my declaration.
Players agree to be caught.
Syllabym: I learn about how they are the thralls of the Alabaster King. They are enslaved souls who do not serve him willingly. The Alabaster King holds their souls in a gem on his staff which gives him the power to command them. They would be glad if we can free them by destroying the gem.
GM: Nice. However, their Ghostly Tentacles and their Whispering Voices have weakend you. You both get a wound to show the strain on your mind. That’s a CRAFT 3 wound for both of you: “Mentally exhaused – 3 Craft” Note: The wisps have a Craft 5 element, looking it up on the table on p. 22 in the rule book that means it is a wound with a rating of 3.
Pathway Scene #1
Players frame the scene because they have lost the first conflict.
Kalam: The ghostly wisps escort us to another part of the Great Library. It is several levels beneath the hall we were coming from. They lock us up in small room but leave us our weapons as they have no use here. At least they think so. The room is furnished bare bones: there is a bench made of stone and a lamp on one side. The lamp is not filled with oil but another substance. It glows in a bluish hue. We shiver in our prison as it is quite cold.
Players choose WIND as the first element because they imagine themselves escaping the chamber.
GM: The chamber is guarded by two mummy warriors. Their empty eye sockets followed you when the ghosts brought you into the chamber. When they move you hear a raspy, dry sound as if they were made from old paper. They are armed with a shield, a wicked scimitar and a helmet. Strangely they have no body armor.
GM chooses FIRE as the second element.
GM: Overcoming the door is an easy challenge, the rating is 1,1,1 WIND. The mummies can fight (Element: Fire (d8) 4 Mummy Warriors) and they are well armed. Their weapons may look old but they are in superb condition (Trappings: Fire (d8) 4 Fine Weapons with a history). The warriors are not very swift (Element: Wind 0 They are quite slow) but they have fought many battles (Lore: d10 (5) Warriors of the Ancient Times).
Kalam: I am faster than the desert winds and no prison can hold me (Element: Wind d10 Faster than the desert winds + Lore: Wind d8 Caliphport Thieves Guild Rebel). I will engage the mummies with my Trappings: Fire d4 Shimmering Scimitar of Flame and my Lore: Fire d6 Whirlwind Sword Style and then we will outrun them.
Syllabym’s player thinks that he cannot help much in this scene as nothing on his character sheet supports this kind of action.
The players want to escape the room without being chased, the guards want to retain them.
Dice Pool for the PCs: d10, d8, d4, d6
Opposition: 1, 1, 1, 4, 4, 5
Allocting opposition: 3, 8, 5
Allocating the dice: d6, d8, d4 + d10
Phase one: PCs roll 3 – draw
GM: A bad stroke of luck results in a broken set of lock picks. The door is jammed and Kalam needs to resort to violence to open it. This isn’t exactly stealthy so the guards are not suprised as you squeeze through the broken remains of the wooden door.
Phase two: PCS roll 7 – NPCs win
GM: The mummies readily engage into the fight, their skeleton arms trying to hack you.
Phase three: PCs roll 7 – PCs win
Kalam: But my skillful display of the Whirlwind Sword Style doesn’t make it easy for them.
Kalam: We can escape our prison and leave the guards behind without means to pursue us.
GM: Fighting the guards costs you a wound. Syllabym is not very fast and Kalam had to defend him which has weakened his fighting abilities: FIRE 3 Wounded.
Kalam: The high action has lifted my spirits and it didn’t need any thinking on our parts. So our CRAFT 3 Wounds from the previous scene are gone.