Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Chronicles of Yore: Teachin' Song of Blades

The nice thing about Song of Blades and other games sharing the 'small game, simple rules' philosophy is that new players can pick them up rapidly, even over the course of their first game. So when I invited a friend over to game (sometime in August, I think) and he wound up bringing two of his friends, I knew there was only really one choice.

I grabbed my deck of character cards and had each player choose a couple hundred points-worth of regular characters as well as a personality, just based on which figures appealed to them. Meanwhile I rolled out my gaming mat and some walls, cairns, trees, and stone heads. Then followed a bloody four-player brawl in two parts:

Once every year and a day rises over the 'wold the vermilion moon like the eye of  a dissipated god. It is said to awaken a hunger in man and dwimmer-beast alike, so that they spend the night in bloody carousal. Few, it is said, wake to see the sanguine dawn, but those that do awake renewed, with the knowledge that they have survived to see another foul year.

Among hollow cairns in the northeast, a party of dwimmer-beasts emerge in search of sacrifice. They close on a band of baleful men, sure in the advantage of darkness and surprise. But the men have the insight of the blood moon's rising. They seek struggle. They welcome strife.

Meanwhile in the Southwest, Dire men ride besotted, seeking the glory and bliss of death under the red moon's spell. Fortunately, Bilebroke's hunchymen are about and willing to oblige.

The struggle is joyous and desperate. The stones watch and chuckle their approbation.

At last, and one by one, the dwimmer-beasts are hunted down, and sent squealing back to the pit, while the hunchymen withdraw in terror and ecstasy into the night.

Barely sated, the maddened riders continue their charge across the fells, and the hunting party is glad of the change in sport. The red moon begins to set in the west, and each breath before the carnage stretches interminably like the streaks of red moonlight through the shivering trees. Soon the morning will come, and a new year will bestow it's ghastly, mocking smile upon the 'wold. But for the rest of this glorious witching hour, we all are lost.

Happy new year.

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