We finished up the “Lotus Blossom’s Bridal Path‘ scenario a while ago. It’s very cool, and I would definitely recommend it. The second part features more kicking ass than drama (sort of a reverse Kill Bill), and it underlined how this game has managed to combine story game and crunch in one big system. I think it works, but for die hard story gamers like us it was very confusing.
Our final battle pretty much gives you an accurate picture of our confusion.
GM: So, you are finally eye to eye with the masked mecha-villain Flying Razor, a soul loaded with dark karma and bound this machine. Now, let’s pause there for a second. I’d like you to tell me who this particular soul belonged to and what his motivation for going after you is.
Me: This is so cool! This game is so narrative that big chunks of the story, like the frikking end boss, are totally up to us.
Players: It’s the assassinated son of our lord who wants revenge on the Daiketsu clan! It’s Ronsuke’s late mentor and he doesn’t want to see peace in the land! (happy narrative bubbling ensues as we iron out the details and play a cool confrontation scene)
GM: And with that, he attacks you. (rolls twenty dice) aaand he goes into overdrive… (rolls another twenty dice) and he hits you for 17 damage.
Me: Then… then I’m dead…
GM: No no, you can tick off your dead box. That means that you ignore all damage this round, and if you get any next round, THEN you’ll be dead.
Me: Well, er… I attack with my shuriken (picks up 7 dice).
GM: Okay, he defends (picks up 20 dice again)
Me: … I thought this was a story game!
GM: It would make a great tragic samurai story if you all died here so close to your goal, don’t you think?
We were scared!
Two rounds later, we find out our character sheet is actually loaded with ways to do massive, massive amounts of damage ourselves. We just hadn’t bothered to look at those things, because we thought we were playing a story game and we were enjoying the drama so much :)
We ended the game rolling hands full of dice and taking the End Boss down with everyone at the brink of death. Very epic, and also cool, but we just never saw the two modes of play combined in one game before. This’ll be one to remember!