One of the players in KN’s just-started Nordlond campaign –  Forumite, Discordian and infrequent guest poster Kalzazz – wanted to play a character from “Totally Not England.” As it turns out, such a place exists. It is called Brionnu, just south of Nordlond, along the eastern coast. There’s another realm/raiding target called Arnulf as well. “Totally Not England” is strongly Celtic in nature. It’s organized in what are best called Parrishes, with a local priest or druid (lots of druids) communing with nature and the gods, and acting as chief and first citizen. The parrishes are not terribly large, which means raiding one won’t get you in trouble with an entire country…just maybe a few thousand folks.

Hey, Vikings gotta Viking.

In any case here’s the first session, which I reported in A Pair of Wizards, as told from his point of view.

We were starting level, we were on a boat, then we fought bandits and crushed them.

Starting on a boat was a nice touch reminding me of Shining Force CD, and bandits of course are the popular starting foes of untold Fire Emblem games (Fire Emblem Gaiden even gives you Bandits on a Boat!).  I was really hopeful we would get to fight Dire Conches though like in Shining Force, some author needs to make those happen.

The fight . . . well.  It was definitely a low level GURPS fight.  Natalie started off auspiciously with a good axe throw, then not so well with a shield rush, so she didn’t get to use her cool boarfolk power.  She fortunately did not actually fall off the boat (though I would have felt that pretty appropriate!).  

I had promised to get hurt so healing could happen, and I was successful on that end.

The topic of contention is to sell the boat or keep it, with the delta about 3.5k either way, so that isn’t enough for any cool magic items I have no strong feelings on the matter.

I did start Natalie with a katana (sorry, a Brionese Sicklesword, the whole D&D idea of druids can use scimitars since are sickle shaped, well, Brionu is Celtic so Druid Land so I’m sure they like katanas!) because reach 2 cutting seems fabulous and they may be hard to get later.   So no quick release backpack or armor.   Getting armor and probably hobnails are in my future.

I’m probably going to spend the 3 CP I just got on Lifting ST, so my armor doesn’t send me careening wildly into the depths of encumbrance.   Encumbrance is very very real even for ST 19 barbarians.

I usually think of low level to high level characters in terms of low level characters are those whose biggest challenge is overcoming their own incompetence that gradually morph into being challenged by the coolness of the opposition.   We really weren’t challenged this session, but it still felt pretty low level.  I haven’t played a barbarian before but I think it is a pretty slow burn template unlike knights, swashes or wizards who can really roll from the get go, so I am hoping this campaign goes long enough to be being burning brightly.   The fact we had 30 seconds before the enemy arrived and the enemy did not simply die in a hail of ranged attacks in 5 of those 30 seconds also felt pretty low end, only Chuff (with a sling) and the Elfard Wizard (whose name I dare not try to spell, whats up with Elf Wizards with challenging names?  Seep in DFW has a Special Character in her name!) had the only ranged attacks that actually had ammo.   

The burning question now is in the realm of the Encumbrance and Liquidity constrained, is it better to get overall wimpy armor, or better to have less wimpy armor but more gaps in coverage?

And on the less wimpy but gaps in coverage plan, what do you armor?   Torso (or even front torso) since it is easiest to hit, or hands, feet and skull since weakest points?

An enemy All Out Attack next to me, and of course, my instinct was ‘Telegraphic to the Skull!’, but no Telegraphic in DFRPG.  That is huge.   That really was my crowning moment of feeling like a low level no account starting character scrub . . . . when an Enemy All Out Attack and it had zero input on my action next round, because not enough skill to target the skull, and neck at 11 or less . . . . so I just threw the same generic body blow I would have anyway.

This brought up the other burning question – what option makes the biggest change?  Telegraphic, Committed/Defensive, Evaluate?  (thats a trick question, I am sure it is not Evaluate).   Telegraphic is the Universal Response to All Out Attacks when it exists . . . without it they may be more worth doing, at least against the skill constrained.   What option changes the game the most?  I would be interested to see that discusssed.

Who knows!  Looking forward to next session!  And I really liked the cool map and boats.

Special thanks to Bruno for being general awesome and the reason I wanted to play DFRPG to begin with (and making a fabulous character art for me), Zul for running this (and the super awesome DOA that preceded it), and DHC to creating Nordlond.