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Saturday, 4 February 2017

Classic Rant: LoO Play Report: Teenage Godlings Free-for-All

So the mini-con at the INJU (the Uruguayan Institute of Youth) went quite well. We had so many participants that the organizer had to activate a couple of emergency GMs to help out.

Meanwhile, my Lords of Olympus group went very well, it was a full house (7 players), and of these five were completely new to RPGs, and four out of seven were women.  Everyone had tremendous fun with the scenario, which was naturally simple as we had only 4 hours or so to play:  the PCs were all adolescent scions of different Greek deities, sent to a school were they were to be ostensibly trained to eventually become full-blown gods of the pantheon.  The headmaster was Dionysos, who had been assigned the task by Zeus, supposedly; though as the session went on it became clear that he'd actually more or less manipulated Zeus into 'making' him run it.  He took advantage of the opportunity to test out which of the young new generation might be on his side in a secretly-prophesied attempt on Zeus' throne.

The central premise was that the PCs were to compete with each other in a quest to gain the title of "class president".  For Dionysos' quest the PCs were required to discover all his titles, "including the secret one".  This would lead them to find out about the prophecy, and would also reveal which of the young godlings would be amenable to a revolution, and which would need to be dealt with (most likely kept as hostages to use against their parents).

The players were initially uncertain what to do.  A couple of them decided to immediately leave the school: the patron Goddess of Punk Rock set off to go to Mythic India, having heard of Dionysos' adventures there; while the patron God of Online Gaming decided to head to Earth where he could find an internet connection.  But as they exited they noted each other, and Punk Rock decided to try to incapacitate the competition; they fought but while Punk had more raw skill, Online Gaming managed to use good tactics to hold his own, and they called it a draw and went their separate ways.

The other five were lingering around the school for a while, chatting with each other and trying to figure out alliances; all except the Patron Goddess of Meaningless Relationships, who decided to set fire to the school library to prevent anyone from finding any useful information there (note that she didn't bother to do any research there herself first).  This drew the wrath of Atatraxos, the powerful Warrior-Librarian of the School, who sought to hunt down the perpetrator.  The group briefly headed off to Arcadia, to try to find clues, but got distracted when the Goddess of Adorable Pets decided they should stop to collect pet bunnies and pet fairies instead.  The group split into pairs, both heading back to the school surreptitiously (the second group trailing the first while invisible).  Adorable Pets decided to try (after some coaxing by the Patron God of Boy Scouts) to try to mentally control the young God of Meteorology, who was a nerd and they all thought he was up to something.  While she was distracted doing this, Boy Scouts went to the school record office to get all the dirt on his fellow students.  As it turns out, Meteorology was also able to hold his own in psychic conflict against Adorable Pets, so they decided instead that they would forge an alliance against Boy Scouts.  Still invisible, Meaningless Relationships and the Goddess of Social Awkwardness had seen and heard all of this undetected, but then decided that since they both had scrying skills, they'd try to spy on Punk Rock and Online Gaming to find out where they'd gone.

Punk Rock had gone through the Hadean Road to Mythic India; but this meant going through the Patala Underworld (in a cameo nod to Arrows of Indra!).  She ran into a group of slightly grumpy and aggressive Patala Goblins, and decided to slaughter them all with her Guitar-Axe, which she was able to do very easily.  It was only after this that she realized they were devotees of Dionysos and might have been able to give her vital information, had she not killed them all. As Punk Rock was the daughter of Hypnos and Pasithea, she decided to go to sleep and try to visit her family in the Dream Realm to see if they could be of any help.   She met with her irritating (and very gothy) older brother Morpheus, who mostly dicked her around but gave vague promises of aid.

Online Gaming, meanwhile, had made his way to Earth where he had an encounter with the Fates (due to a favor granted to his father, Hermes).  He asked them where he might find Dionysos' temple; they asked whether he wanted to know the temple he once had, or the temple he will have.  He chose the latter, and they told him it would be found in the center of Mt. Olympus.  At this point, Online Gaming realized that this implied that Dionysos would one day overthrow his father, and that the stakes were higher than he previously thought.  While he rested, he was visited by Morpheus, who offered him a favor if he would assist Punk Rock (not his favorite person); but he agreed in exchange for an enchantment on his sword that would put anyone struck by it into a magical sleep that they could only recover from at Morpheus' will (or Hypnos, but being a Primordial, Hypnos doesn't often do much).
Morpheus then informed Punk Rock about this, and suggested that both Punk Rock and Online Gaming should return to meet at the school. By the time Meaningless Relationships and Social Awkwardness had started spying on them, they were both starting to head back to the school.

Having established their alliance, Adorable Pets and Meteorology set out to find Social Awkwardness; figuring they should mentally dominate her (since she was the only daughter of Zeus).  Their combined mental power easily overwhelmed Social Awkwardness, and they got her to spill all her secrets and mentally rewired her using Enchantment to think herself their firm ally.  Seeing this, Meaningless Relationships decided to switch her side to this cabal before being brainwashed herself.

Online Gaming, on the way back to the school through Arcadia, met with a dove that was an animal servant of Hermes (his dad).  He sent the dove a warning about Dionysos, which was secretly overheard by some of Pan's satyrs.  Before he got back to the school, Online Gaming encountered a group of Lycanthropes, who warned him about the Satyrs and proposed to help him, since he seemed to be Pan's enemy (like they were). He agreed, and had them guard the world-path between the school and Arcadia, to prevent Pan (who was currently on the school grounds) from being able to return to his home realm where he'd be all-powerful.  He then got to the school gardens, where he planned to confront Pan, but there ran into Punk Rock.  She confirmed his promise of allegiance, and then proposed that she go and try to attack Pan by surprise, reasoning with him that not only was she the better fighter but that his guard would be down around her, since she was not the child of an Olympian.  He agreed, but when she got to Pan's hut, she decided to switch sides; Dionysos was the god of freedom, and she was the goddess of Punk, and she figured that he would make a much better god-of-all-creation than square old Zeus.  She warned Pan about Online Gaming; and in reward Pan told her that she would be able to learn Dionysos' secret title if she went to Hades (her home realm, after all) and found the Centaur Chiron's spirit.  She headed off  down the Hadean Road again, heading home.

Pan, having been warned about Online Gaming, used his power from the pan-pipe to incapacitate Online Gaming mentally before he could ever get a hit in; and around that time Boy Scout (who was trying to escape the Adorable Pet/Meteorology Alliance) ran into the two.  Boy Scout is Pan's child, so dad immediately put him to work, telling him that he should take the now-unconscious and bound Online Gaming to Dionysos (in the principal's office) and warn him about what's been going on; while Pan went to Arcadia to deal with the Lycanthropes.  Boy Scout agreed and headed back into the school.

Unfortunately, he'd barely gotten through the door when he ran into the other four godlings, and seeing he'd apparently captured Online Gaming, they decided it was time to take Boy Scout out.  What followed was an intense and epic but fairly short fight; where Boy Scout held his own briefly thanks to some clever metamorphosis, but was beaten by a combination of Social Awkwardness' superior strength and Adorable Pets/Meteorology's mental force.

Punk Rock had made it back to Hades, and went straight to Hecate to get help finding Chiron.  Hecate agreed, finding the notion of Dionysos' secrets interesting, so she quickly got them to Chiron, who spilled the beans about Phanes' secret prophecy that Dionysos would overthrow Zeus.  Punk Rock expressed that she would fight for Dionysos; unfortunately she didn't stop to consider whose side Hecate might be on.  The master sorceress of the gods took her out with one quick mental blow, and proceeded to wipe all her memory of recent events before depositing her in Hypnos' poppy fields, stupefied.

At this point, the natural time-limit of the con game ran out, so even as the Adorable Pet Coalition was planning their next move, Dionysos showed up and announced that the challenge was over; and "Daniel", the son of one of Olympus' many janitors, had figured out his secret title ("The Future King of Gods"), before anyone else could.

In spite of none of the players managing to win the challenge, all of them were extremely pleased with the game; several of them left me their contact emails asking me to please consider them for any future spots in my gaming groups.  And as for me, I was very impressed by the INJU event and its organizers; it was probably the most impressive, most impeccably organized event (catered, even!) that I'd seen in all my time in Uruguay.

So well done all around.

And maybe the best part? When all kinds of people I'd never met before, on finding out who I was, came up to congratulate and thank me for writing Lords of Olympus, which appears to be a fairly big hit down here.


Currently Smoking: Lorenzetti Half-Volcano + Gawith's Squadron Leader'

(originally posted May 10, 2014)

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