Sunday, November 07, 2010

Temple of Hentai (Old School Hack)

Oh my. Old School Hack's reputation is justified. Tonight's one-shot was gut-bustingly hilarious. I'm not sure a play report can really do justice to the night's festivities, but I'll give it a shot in the interest of providing further feedback to Kirin, the creator of OSH.

Taking a cue from recent play reports, I decided to play this one off the cuff. Well, it was sort of decided when the demands of a busy week (and day) caught up with me. I went into the session *almost* cold, though I did prepare with an extensive name list (that didn't get used) and a couple of sheets of geomorphs (which did proved very useful). I also decided to set the game in Sanctuary, from the old school  Risus/Mythic GME game that I was running back in the beginning of the year.

Character Creation
First off, I must say that character creation in OSH is a snap. The character all made an effort to select templates that played up to fantasy cliches (setting a tone of silliness early) and that played against the types of characters they normally played. The characters we as follows:
  • Belinda (Elf): Essentially, a cliched "Elf Babe" with Barbie-like proportions (and no armor... the player immediately saw the potential of earning awesome points for going without). She was "bitchy", "crunchy-nutty", and an Animal Friend (the talent) and her goal was to free all the animals on Farmer Barliman's ranch (a prominent citizen). 
  • Sven (Thief): A charming rogue from the western cities, his goal was to "get lucky". That means that he spent most of the session trying (unsuccessfully) to get into Belinda's pants.
  • Eck Redbeard (Dwarf): A female dwarf that could only be deduced as such (the female part) through close scrutiny. Her talent was drinking and her goal was to recover a stolen necklace that she was supposed to present as a wedding gift.
  • Drak the Wild (Magic-User): Dressed in black robes and wielding a heavy scythe, he had a surprisingly  pleasant disposition for one of such morbid appearance. His goal was to avenge the death of a former adventuring companion.
  • Gay-Ho, the Great Patriarch of Hakuna (Cleric): The Great Patriarch of Hakuna is the only patriarch of Hakuna. In fact, he is the only worshiper of Hakuna, a lost god now confined to a Brady Bunch tiki in satchel. Looking a bit like Don Ho in his prime, the Great Patriarch's goal was to gain at least one more follower of his god. He ended up getting two (along with a little nookie along the way).
Goals
As you can see from above, each of the characters had specified goals (as suggested by the rules). While we ordered dinner, I mashed these goals together to form the a kind of story hook.  Everything revolved around Farmer Barliman and a new monster lair discovered on his property.

Obligatory Tavern Scene
The players specifically requested a tavern scene, and since Eck took the Impressive Partying talent, I was more than happy to oblige. We started at the Silver Wolf tavern in Sanctuary and since it was between caravans, the characters were the only customers besides a group of four hobbits sitting at the bar. After introductions (in which both Sven and the Grand Patriarch tried to out-do each other to get closer to Belinda), the doors suddenly opened to reveal a gang of Farmer Barliman's toughs. Gregor, their leader, muscled his way up to the bar and spent a good deal of time insulting the party (and causing the hobbits to scatter). Belinda went outside with Sven to convince Gregor's horse to throw him when he finally returned to Barliman's ranch. Back inside, Eck challenged Gregor to a drinking contest and easily put the goon under the table. She put a few more under before the doors opened to admit more of Balriman henchmen, this time in the form of a more civilized adviser that we seeking out help in clearing a monster lair on the bossman's property. Seeing an opening to finally free the animals on the ranch, Belinda and the rest of the party agreed to dinner with his patron.

Aside: Awesome Points
At this point, I'll say that the Awesome Points were slow to start flowing. The players hadn't really grasped the economy just yet and they weren't rewarding potentially awesome behavior. That would change over the course of the session and by the end, Awesome Points would be flying left and right. It really is a strength of the system, though it does seem to steer things into silly territory (my players tended to reward funny moments more than cinematic ones).  

First Combat
En route to Barliman's farm, the party is attacked by "night creatures" (orcs, goblins, and such). This was our first chance to try out the OSH combat system (which reads so well on paper). It was a hoot and the interaction of arenas and weapons was pretty darn cool. If and when I run the game again, I think I'll skip the Hex Tracker. It's not really my style and we don't play at a table, so having all the players place marks on the tracker felt a little stilted and awkward. That being said, there's nothing wrong with the system and I liked how it breaks up the various phases of combat. Most actions were used at least once, though Push/Pull was only used by an NPC monster (described later). 

Anyway, the party was marching along a forest road past a ruined monument of ages past. Belinda spotted the ambush and the party had to fight off six "night creature" guards. It was a pretty evenly matched combat and many characters were reduced to 1 or 2 hitpoints. However, the Awesome Point rewards for fighting without armor ultimately meant that the unarmored cleric was able to heal up the party without too much trouble. The best bit here was that the Great Patriarch started with a very intimate and private ritual to heal Belinda. It should come as no surprise that the ritual involved only a pat on the head for the rest of the wounded party. 

Dinner With the Rancher
Given that Belinda had a history with Farmer Barliman, dinner was a bit awkward. It became even more awkward when Eck discovered that Barliman's wife was wearing her stolen necklace, Drak's fallen companion's gear was hanging on a wall, and the Great Patriarch accepted Barliman's wife into his flock with some nocturnal and very personal evangelizing. But it was Belinda's incredible charm that allowed the party to gain permission to enter the monster lair and claim full rights to any loot found therein (where Barliman had hoped to take a share). 

Temple of Hentai
Rolling randomly on my geomorph table, I came up with the following tile:


Yes, that's the tile based on the following Erol Otus drawing:


That provided much of the inspiration that I needed for the first dungeon encounter. The party entered the cave from the north, coming down the stairs. Sven the Thief saw a large cavern floor that was completely enveloped in noxious mist. After a little discussion, the party agreed to turn up the stairs. In the small 10x10 room, they found a fountain of glowing green liquid. Stereotypically, it was again Sven the thief that was made to try out the waters. He stared into the iridescent reflection and saw a vision of his lovely companion, Belinda, beckoning to him seductively while she drank deep of the mysterious waters. While my intent was for him to try to get Belinda to drink the waters, I was more than game we he chose to do so instead. Sure enough, it was supernaturally potent viagra and Sven and his extremely agitated appendage had to be dragged away from the area with full force, just as he was beginning to notice how attractive the bearded dwarf lady was under all that armor.
The party looked at the mist and the real-time clock [less than a hour to go in the session] and decided - "what the hell"? They would just walk into the mists and try to cross the floor ad quickly as possible. Of course, nobody was surprised when tentacles welled up from the mists and began fondling and attacking the characters. I believe one of the players mentioned that it was a "temple of hentai", which pretty much summed everything up right there. 

The fight with the cyclopean monstrosity of inhuman lust was a hoot. The various tentacles all fought individually and one managed to use the "push" maneuver to drag Sven into its gaping maw. Taking advantage of the strength of the OSH combat system, we spawned a new arena for the mouth of the creature and Sven ended up slaying the creature with his light weapon from the inside!

Moving on, the party heard a scream to the south and wen ahead to encounter this geomorph:


Which, of course, was based on the following:


Yes, this was the real Temple of Hentai! An assortment of "night creatures" were carrying a naked and screaming woman up towards an altar, where a robed ogre-like figure waited with a nasty looking apparatus. The party waded into the battle and Drak was able to put most of the regular creatures asleep, Belinda shot the high-priest with a poisoned arrow (saved from the earlier encounter), and Sven possibly made use of my misinterpretation of the "Defend" maneuver to kill all but one of the minion reinforcements in a single round. Everything closed out when Drak dumped a bunch of Awesome Points into a final "Magic Missile" maneuver and exploded the high priest. The temple was looted and the girl turned out to be Barliman's daughter. Never having managed to make any headway with Belinda, the Grand Patriarch and Sven engaged in a battle of charm to win over the poor damsel and yet another woman was converted to the cause of Hakuna through a generous application of sweet talking and full-body massage.

Yeah, it was that kind of evening.

11 comments:

Kaptain Kobold said...

You had me at 'Temple of Hentai' :)

koboldstyle said...

Brilliant and twisted!

Thanks for writing it up, it's pretty clear that there was no shortage of laughter around the table. Sounds like everyone had fun, and sounds like your group (like mine) can sometimes be the sort that always tries to take things one step further. :D

Trey said...

Sounds like a lot of fun. I've read OSH, but wasn't completely clear how it would come out in play.

Hypersmurf said...

... and since Eck took the Impressive Partying talent...

Well, duh.

I've yet to see an OSH dwarf who didn't! (I think the other talents are illusory.)

-Hyp.

koboldstyle said...

>I've yet to see an OSH dwarf who didn't! (I think the other talents are illusory.)

I've seen Fighters cross-class to get that talent! It's pretty validating to me that literally the least character-optimizing/most flavor and carousing talent ends up being one of the most popular.

For similar awesomeness I point you to Jeff Rient's carousing rules: http://jrients.blogspot.com/2008/12/party-like-its-999.html

Risus Monkey said...

@Kaptain Kobold: I knew that would attract some eyeballs. It has the added benefit of actually coming out in play. :)
And I dig Jeff's carousing rules. His blog was my gateway drug to the RPG blogging community.

@koboldstyle: Oh yes... and we were feeling especially goofy that night.

@Trey: I was pleased to be able to playtest the game. I don't often get a chance to try out new systems with my regular group. My impression is that it makes for great one-shots. It's suitability for long-term play is TBD (but I'm eager to find out).

@Hypersmurf: Having played with a bunch of the OSH folks, this doesn't surprise me in the slightest. :)

Rel said...

I'm so glad you had fun with this, Tim!

I did want to make one comment on the Hex Tracker (since it's my baby):

I think the game can run totally fine without it. It's really just an organizational tool to help remember what everybody (PC and Monsters alike) are doing during the round. My brain is typically working so hard trying to keep everything else moving that having such a representation in front of me is a big help.

I also note that having the players put their tokens on the Hex Tracker is not necessary for it to be helpful. In half the games I've run I've just kept the tokens next to the tracker and asked each player what they want to do. When they tell me then I simply place them on the Tracker for them and then the round gets going.

I will say that next time I run OSH I want to have different colored tokens for each PC because that makes the "at a glance" use of the Hex Tracker a lot more visually useful than having all the tokens the same color.

m.s. jackson said...

This sounds awesome, I am completely jealous of you.

Risus Monkey said...

@Rel:

I also note that having the players put their tokens on the Hex Tracker is not necessary for it to be helpful. In half the games I've run I've just kept the tokens next to the tracker and asked each player what they want to do. When they tell me then I simply place them on the Tracker for them and then the round gets going.

I like this approach and may try it out the next time I run. (And we used colored dice for the PCs on the hex tracker, which did work reasonably well... all D6's were reserved for enemies)

fictivefantasies said...

I have a dry erase board I use at the table, I number the round segments and move names around as needed. It's fast, easy to change, and very useful.

Risus Monkey said...

@fictive: my initial awkwardness with the hex tracker has pretty much gone away. The group is very comfortable with it now. Your technique sounds great too.