Monday, 15 August 2016

CSR Dark Sun Play Report # 2 - Prep Work


  • Planning of the second session
  • Rules: Cypher System
  • Setting: Dark Sun - Burnt World of Athas
  • Number of players: 3
  • GM: Clay

Now that I've told you what happened during the Dangerous Mystery Items session (including the plot twist), I'd like to describe Clay's prep work.


  • To introduce the overarching campaign goal - with hooks: Cryo-Phoeix egg or Veiled Alliance.
Plot Points:
  • Party deposits (previous payment), shops, exchanges, etc.
  • Encounter Tarez and his goons in marketplace. Party confronted about stealing the wooden box. Potential fight. Tarez hints at value and significance of box and its contents.
  • Goron cooks meal with blood spice (Ngaire declared this as her session goal a few days before we sat down to play).
  • Cryo-Phoenix egg found in wooden box.
  • Tarez or Veiled Alliance are sources of additional information on the egg (remember the Veiled Alliance wooden coin that Gator got in the first session?).
  • Rufus - Ironworks (lock box dealer) - Lv 1
  • Iggy - merchant (elf) - Lv 2
  • Tarez - merchant (spices) - Lv 3
  • Goons - Lv 2
  • Groog - half-giant - Lv 4
  • Cryo-Phoenix - egg - Lv 5
Resources / Bookmarks:
  • Description of Balic (including the Dictator Andropinis and the Templars)
  • Map - City of Balic
  • Description of the Grey
  • Cypher Deck
Available Items:
  • Random cyphers - Iggy's shop - available to buy or through trade
  • Reasonable common items, armour, weapons, and supplies - available at marketplace.
Cryo-Phoenix Egg:
  • An egg that could hatch a baby ice phoenix (inhabitant of the Grey).
  • Potentially a powerful weapon or artifact.
  • Not intended to hatch this session. Intended to further interactions with Tarez and the Veiled Alliance.

So, obviously, the session didn't play out as expected. It is a perfect example of the "creative and unpredictable players" that seriously derail all the GM's planning.

Most of Clay's ideas for future sessions were effectively destroyed, and the session quickly dissolved into improvised story-telling.

Some notes on the in-game fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants decisions:


  • So, the party sort of disengaged from the encounter without gathering much information. Clay decided to just wait to see what they'd do next.
  • It wasn't suppose to hatch. But the party showed little interest in engaging Tarez or other parties for information (they were more interested in robbing the merchant). Then the mage started throwing spells at the egg - so why not hatch the thing? A baby ice phoenix could be hilarious, right?
Doomsday Device (cypher)
  • Random cyphers can be disruptive.
  • Clay quickly decided that total party death (and the destruction of a city-state) was not desirable.
  • The baby Cryo-Phoenix was used to absorb most of the destructive power of the Doomsday Device. But as a result, the phoenix grew big and strong, into an adult, in a matter of minutes.
  • The party was not ready to face an adult Cryo-Phoenix (much stronger than Lv 5), so Clay decided to have it fly away before the party had a chance to react.
  • The lesson: think carefully before using cyphers that you don't understand. As the commercial say, "If you don't know just what it is, don't put it in your mouth."

The session lasted about three hours. Even if we hadn't run out of time, Clay needed time to reconsider where the plot could go next.

By the way, Clay is reading over my shoulder, making sure that he agrees with my memories and explanations.

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