Uresia: Three for Adventure

This is a campaign I'm running for my family. My wife is playing Tzo-La, a Sindaran Loreseekeer. My son (8) is playing Oresh Nightwalker, a bat-beastman ex-burglar, and my five-year old daughter is playing Essa Animalfriend, a magical girl with, well, a couple of animal friends. The campaign is set in the standard campaign Uresia. With very young players there's a limit to the amount of innuendo and adult-oriented themes I can insert into the game, but otherwise I'm taking my cue from the general campaign tone. I interested the kids by giving them a couple of Uresia bedtime stories; they particularly enjoyed the cooking contest ones, so I thought "OK, let's give it a go".

The Characters

I like to start my characters out lowish, so we built characters from 35 points. However, they have gained a few points in play, and are now in the range 35 - 40.

The characters in Caravel will be featuring strongly in the game, so I have made a page of BESM stats for the Poison Pepper Crew.

The Story

Indulge (if you have any money)

Arriving at the cooking festival in Indulgence, each character saw a notice offering work for 'adventurous' people. Oresh needed the cash, so he was interested and Essa had a few unpleasant encounters with shopkeepers in which she learned that, unlike in forests, in cities people do not just give you food because you are hungry. So she decided to join in. Tzo-La went to hear out the job offer as it sounded fun.

Arriving at the appointed inn, a gangly figure dressed in harlequin told them the deal; a certain someone had a document that needed deciphering, and the best bet was "Eroch of the White Fist", a sorcerer who lived in West Winnow. The three agreed to take the document to the sorcerer and were told that a caravel had been hired to take them to near the sorcerer's location. It was currently anchored just down the coast. On the way, the party tussled with some local hired thugs, who pressed their attack while Essa used Eagle Wing and Coughing Hairball attack on them and Oresh went to with knives, but withdrew very rapidly when Tzo-La froze one solid. Clearly someone knew what the three were up to ...

A ship, some wine, and thee!

Sailing to Winnow on the caravel under Captain Buckler was eventful. The ship's maid, Soubrette, immediately targeted Essa as someone to take care off and helped build a pen for UniMagic. Vela Skylark challenged Oresh to several races, high-flights and so on, mostly beating him, but they settled into daily practices at dawn. Tzo-La attracted the attention of the satyr Persus in 0.03 seconds and he started on a diligent program of seduction. After failing, getting drunk, apologizing for getting drunk and trying again, again failing, he started taking hints from the other crew, with predictably dire results. It was only when woken in the wee hours by love songs that Tzo-La got sufficiently irritated to tell him to get lost. He restrained himself for a whole day (more or less).

A storm sprang up and Oresh helped in the rigging, Essa had Unimagic pull the windlass and Tzo-La put up an occasional ice-wall to stop waves coming in. Nobody noticed a baby sea-serpent playing hide-and-seek creep aboard and hide below decks. The next day its mother comes to rescue it, but is fought off. The evening ends with Persus' new epic song "The Satyr that Died for Love of a Lady". Persus had dived overboard to rescue Essa who was swept off, so he received a smile in thanks. Stopping off in Vaussberg, Oresh climbs the waterfall and is brought out drinking by the locals. He is ill all next day. The others manage to notice an invisible person following them and capture him, confiscating his magic ring. The ring, on a very successful inspection by Tzo-La, turns out to have a one-way teleport spell in it, back to the castle, wherever that is. The agent tells them only:

I serve the Lord of the Castle of Springs, who will triumph over evildoers like you!
and is released and told not to be so naughty again.

A group of sea-serpents attack when they are back at sea and eventually Oresh works out that they want their baby back. With his great hearing, he finds it, and Essa convinces the baby to trust them and the two haul it out and throw it overboard, where it is spanked for being bold. Tzo-La, who has borne the brunt of sea-serpent attacks and is just about to be KO'd. They arrive at the closest sea location in Winnow.

Snowed Under

On the way inland, Tzo-La is captured by snowmen intent on using her ice-powers to help them live through the spring and summer, but Essa tunnels into their fortress as Oresh drinks a potion and flies in as a bird with Taro, Essa's owl. They send the owl in and lure some of the snowmen away as the owl persuades them it knows a very cold place deep in the forest where no sun ever reaches, leaving six behind. Essa uses her shape change to become a very attractive snow-woman and lures three more into conversation. Oresh (just!) disposes of the other three and Essa persuades the three entranced ones to fight each other over her. Oresh downs the last one standing and they free Tzo-La and run!

The Forest and the Tower

By dint of excellent navigation, Eroch's tower is found, in a forest which, to Oresh's keen hearing, seems populated with trees ready to make bad puns and attack invaders. He overhears them mention a secret way in, so they start searching. To no avail. Flying in is less than successful when Unimagic and Essa turn to stone in mid-air. Fortunately they were just skimming the trees and a light ice-wall was able to lessen their fall. Abandoned by the others who went off to seek health, Essa soon caught up when the petrification wore off. Arriving at the village of Rogan's Heath, Essa notes unusual behavior from one of the villager's cats. With the aid of Oresh, she recognizes a Heltish talking cat and Essa trades her small supply of cash for knowledge of Eroch's secret way into the forest (a simple path, illusioned over).

Thus informed, they sneak back in, avoiding the trees and tangling briefly with a giant swarming carnivorous "Keep Out" sign (after the fight, now reading "eep ut"). They meet a pair of guard dragons playing 4-in-a-row and wager skill against skill to see if they can get by. Oresh goes first, loses and a dragon eats his arm. Undeterred, Essa attempts it, also loses and has her magic potion taken. Finally Tzo-La wins and they go through. Now they only have to face Hazel and Petri, the captains of "Les Bunnies", a mercenary group hired to guard the tower. But even when Petri releases Derek (the vampire bunny who reincarnates by taking over nearby people's bodies) they are only able to damage our heroes, who make it through to the castle, wounded, but still alive.

The tower has several levels, with keys in a hatch in the ceiling on each one and a trick to getting through. Lowest level features a key hidden in one of 1,000 haystacks, which Tzo-La find through her magic sense. The next level has eight rooms with various imps and orcs busy cooking dinner. Although they give clues to the location of the key, much time was spent eating (the key was in the cheese room, which worked well as the adventurers were getting full at that point...) Happy and full the ascent continued into the mage's living rooms, where after nearly getting swept out by the automatic cleaning apparatus, and relaxing in his massage bed, they find the key by asking the mages 60" big-screen viewing mirror to switch channels and show the key instead of mermaid synchronized swimming. Up, and, at last! Eroch!

Eroch wasn't too upset to be interrupted, especially by an attractive lore-seeker, and an excellent chef (the imps and orcs only cook what they know, and he really, really wanted a decent mushroom omelet). He happily translated the paper and then showed Tzo-La more interesting features of the massage bed, while the younger two watched a jousting competition on the 60" mirror. The message described a missing ingredient ("gentian flower") that grew only on the mountains of Orgalt and would complete a potion of some form. After a leisurely dinner, the three decide to go after the flower and pick up the ship on the far side of Winnow, with Eroch giving a telepathic message to the Poison Pepper chief mate to let him know where to rendezvous. They overnight at the tower, rest there the next day as Eroch teaches some new spells to Essa and Tzo-La and gives Oresh a new metal arm, with two buttons, one for a one-shot flying attack, and the other to render it invisible for 10 minutes.

Pause to Save a Village

On the way across Winnow to meet up with the ship, the trio run into a village plagued by Yura of the Hair, a nasty demon who demands increasingly elaborate meals, and kills the villagers when they fail to produce. Oresh and Essa do their best to scour the forest for useful supplies, but even Oresh's excellent cooking ability fails to disguise crab meat as lobster and fighting ensues. Yura tangles Oresh in mid-air, and he drops into the forest. Yura takes out Tzo-La with a critical, and then walks off, demanding a much improved breakfast ... or else.

The trio, aided by a pair of brave villagers, plan to get the jump on Yura when she returns. Their plan is good, well-thought out, and they even semi-kidnap a monk found by Oresh on a night search for such people so as to have some anti-demon spells. The plan leaps into action and starts out well. It then takes a dramatic turn in the party's favor when Tzo-La rolls a critical attack with a charging freezing touch spell and takes Yura down. They are all congratulating each other when Yura regenerates back, delivers threats and then jumps away. Unknown to her, Oresh follows her to her tree-top hair-nest and his preternatural hearing hears her plot to return early and dispose of the non-villagers. More importantly he sees the source of her regenerative powers.

The three ambush her that very night; Essa sneaking over the trees as a cat, Tzo-La on Unimagic and Oresh flying with big bags of oil, which he drops on her nest of hair, then fails to drop the torch on and spends a few rounds dodging all-out attacks by an enraged and somewhat nervous Yura. Essa casts coughing hairball and Yura is now having serious trouble defending against two-three attacks each round while coughing away. She dives into her hair-nest, grabs her comb (her regenerating item of power) and tries to escape. Oresh goes for called shot on the comb, makes it, and when she fails her defense, the comb smashes and she dies! Many cheers, and it's back to the villagers for a serious feast.

Into the Depths

When their ship is damaged by a storm, it limps slowly into a harbor that bears signs of once being much larger. Talking to the locals in an inn as the storm dies down outside, they hear the legend of the haunted lighthouse that only appears once a full moon. That is, two of the group do. Oresh has wandered outside, bored by the talk, and flown to the top of the lighthouse, where he meets a cat-girl and is not quite persuaded to seek out an item for her, and then avoids a pair of trolls and returns to the inn. inspired by tales of the treasure (and books!) in the ruin, the three decide on a short break into the lighthouse.

For a while, their trip is fairly uneventful. A few goblins slow them down, and a lizard attacks them as the rest, but generally they have few problems as they search the upper level. Then they open a door hastily and meet a necromancer and his zombies ... and things take a more dangerous turn. Oresh flies to the mage and tries to fight him, but is soon in trouble; the zombies are commanded to gang up on him. The room is in darkness and Tzo-La can't see to use her magic. Essa finally saves the day by turning into a (cute) cat and sneaking in to the melee close enough to find the necromancer and fell him with a couple of well-placed spells. When looting the room, Oresh found a hollow torch and decided to cut it open with a blow from his sword. Unfortunately that shattered the priceless mirror contained within ...

Uresia is a campaign setting for Big Eyes Small Mouth, written by S. John Ross. he maintains a site for it called the Blue Lamp Road. This is a great site!. There is also a Yahoo Group for it that is all signal and no noise.

Big Eyes, Small Mouth is an anime-inspired simple system that I chose because, if you leave out the skills, my five-year old can understand it. I've also had fun playing it with adults in one-shots and so ... it wins! It's produced by the Guardians of order

In this campaign I'm using a supplement he wrote for it - Caravel. Caravel is great piece of work and I got download instructions for it just hours after ordering it. It's systemless, so if you're running any sort of non-deadly-serious game anywhere with seas, oceans or lakes, it's recommended.


Game Notes

I wanted a simple start that could evolve into more if the campaign worked for everyone. "Deliver this item to X" is a classic plot that allows adventure, adversity and is easy to understand. And who knows what Eroch will reveal?

For character backstory I used the Temphis Runes for each character's first name to come up with a set of important events in their lives and then we worked together to fit that into a coherent whole.

I love Caravel, so I built a whole session on it, with lots to do and enjoy. I told Suzanne that she had to let the kids work out why the serpents were attacking (in-game reason: she couldn't think for fighting off the serpents). Best responses of the evening by the kids were to the question "What would mummy sea-serpents be looking for?". My daughter 's was "daddy sea-serpents", and then my son said "they want the ring! the ring!". Fun.

"Snowed Under" was a short session as my wife was away visiting a friend in Canada. It was my daughter's suggestion to use shape change to make here a cuteness level 5 snow-woman and distract them.

The trees would attempt mind control to make you terrified of their awful puns, which could be easily defeated by bad puns of your own. They were, however, simply avoided. "Les Bunnies" were flamboyant, cocky, and not really very good. Even Derek wasn't that nasty, with a Body -2 roll to avoid becoming a vampiric bunny when bitten. It's soul -2 to avoid being taken over, and his reincarnating soul chooses nearest people first, so everyone runs when Derek dies.

I might detail the tower and put it online later, if anyone cares. I like designing buildings that I would like to like in if I were a mage. The bathtub, in particular, was a favorite: three pocket dimensions behind doors on the bottom. One to water, one to lava and one to the void. Neat, clean and very fast to heat up. Also highly dangerous if not used cautiously.

Yura of the Hair is a nasty 60-point villain blatantly stolen from the InuYasha manga. On a side note, InuYasha is an excellent source for Uresia; notable demons, half-animal creatures, and a similar mix of humor and danger. I'm sure other InuYasha-inspired features will enter my game in the future.

I am using the BESM Dungon module, with some adaptation for Uresia. It's nto a bad supplement, but I would have prefered a little more story in the meat of it. It has a good up-front story, but the body of the dungeon seems filled with disconnected rooms and wandering monsters. I think it will need some additions to make it more interesting.