Wednesday, 29 January 2014

Ryuutama: Ashes to Ashes, Day 3

This is the continuing chronicle of my unorthodox solo Ryuutama game. The previous posts are PreparationDay 1, and Day 2.

  • I play Clover Hartfeld, a Technical-type Hunter. She's on a journey to take her brother's ashes home from the town of Polem to Feruto.

In the morning I awoke feeling completely refreshed. Yesterday's fog had lifted, but thick clouds shadowed the desolate plains. However, I knew that if I travelled well today I would make it home, so I set my resolve and began what would hopefully be the last leg of my solemn journey.

Today I rolled randomly for the weather and got Cloudy. As with the previous day, the topography is Wasteland, so my general target for travel checks will be 6. Even with my +1 from yesterday's Critical Camping check, Clover's condition today only came to 6.

Since there's only a little of the journey to go, and my MP was fully restored, I opted to Concentrate on the Movement/Travelling check and got a total of 15!

Halfway through the day I came across the tracks of some small monster. I decided to track it down rather than waiting for it to ambush me, and soon I spied two puppet-like Evil Souls from a vantage point on a low rock shelf. I leapt to the attack, skewering one in a single blow before it could react! I deftly dodged the second one's jerky attack and effortlessly pinned it to the dirt with my spear. The creatures' bodies dissolved into gas and blew away, leaving nothing behind. I was simultaneously relieved that it hadn't been something more dangerous, and disappointed that I was unable to collect any materials.

I wanted to run a simple combat encounter today, but didn't want to overwhelm my poor lone character. I initially decided to randomly choose a single Level 1 monster, since I had a single Level 1 character, but it quickly became apparent that it was no match for her so I threw in a second one to give them a bit more of a chance.

With a couple of decent rolls (plus Accuracy bonuses from using the objects in the landscape, and Damage bonuses from having used my tracking skill on them), they went down in one hit each. Initiative is used as your passive defence in combat as well as deciding action order, so it didn't hurt that I had an Initiative of 12 (2d6+1). With 2d4 Accuracy the poor little things had to roll a Critical (double 4) to hit me; actually, the rules as written don't say that a Critical is an automatic hit, either.

If I had been hit, the Evil Souls' attacks would have inflicted [Tired: 6] on me. This normally reduces Spirit by one die type, but since my Spirit is only d4 it's not allowed to get any lower.

I headed off again, eager to finish my journey. As the sun began to set behind the clouds, I spied the rooftops of Feruto. I was home.

I broke the sad news to our parents, and delivered Taragon's ashes to our family shrine. My parents were saddened to hear of their son's demise, but were relieved that I had returned safely despite the difficulty and danger of travelling alone. The village gathered a feast to welcome me home, but it was a melancholy meal. There were many toasts and tales of Taragon's bravery.

That night, I was grateful to sleep in a soft bed in the safety of my home.

That's it! Journey's over. I made it home in one piece.

Level Up

Clover gained 210 XP for this journey; 200 because of the Difficulty 10 Forest on day one, and 10 for defeating a Level 1 monster. She goes up to Level 2 and gains a stat increase. I'm torn between putting up Dex (to d8) or Spirit (to d6). I'll probably go for Spirit, just so she doesn't have any obvious weaknesses.

I get 3 points to divide between HP and MP. Since Clover's not a Magic Type (and will probably add Attack Type once she gets a secondary Type), I'll put all 3 into HP for a total of 19. Her Carry also goes up by 1, to 15.


I know I've missed out on a bunch of stuff by not playing in a group. The purpose of my test was to get a feel for the basic travel and combat rules, and see how the system "feels" in play. I'm sure it will be different with more players generating the world as a group, developing friendships between their characters, and overcoming hardships together.

The mechanics by themselves are simple and cute, and create a feeling that jibes with the feelgood, dinky atmosphere the game's attempting to create.

Looking purely from a mechanical point of view, the Movement, Direction and Camping checks are all simple pass/fail. This means that more difficult Topography makes it more likely you'll fail, but don't increase the severity of the failure. There isn't much difference for a starting character between a sunny Forest (10) and a Mountaintop during a Blizzard (19), but as proficiency increases it becomes more likely that you might succeed at more difficult checks.

On the other hand, the chance of a Critical (maximum or 6 on all dice) or a Fumble (1 on all dice) depend entirely on the character's stats and are not at all affected by Topography. It's equally likely for a character to Critically succeed (or Fumble) on a travel check in Grassland (6) as in a Jungle during a Storm (17).

The rules don't actually say if a Critical always counts as a Success, or if it's possible to roll a Critical while still Failing against the target (rolling, say, a double 6 on 2d6 against a target of 14). I kind of assume that a Critical always succeeds.

Anyway, those are only general observations about the system, neither here nor there. I think with a full party, the ups and downs will create an interesting orchestra of little successes and failures from a chorus of simple yes/no inputs.

Having completed this short "scout ahead" I feel more confident about running a game for a group. I would still like to read some example scenarios to get an idea for what might go on besides travel and the occasional combat. I guess simple social encounters, quests, problems, local obstacles to overcome (flash floods, landslides, fallen trees, bridges out), "set-piece" landscape features and the like would help to add variety and spice things up. I should also read through the bestiary and get some more ideas about where and how to use monsters in the game.

I hope you enjoyed my brief sojourn. When I run a full game, I'll be sure to post the Actual Plays (or transcripts from our Diary Keeper).

Thanks for reading!