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April 20, 2009 / jadettman

Forge Midwest: In a Wicked Age

So, Tim reminded me that I was going to talk about the In a Wicked Age games that Peter and I played in at Forge Midwest.

First, Justice Platt ran both games for us and he did a great job.

In the first game, the players were me, Peter, Daniel, Dave, and a gentleman whose name I, unfortunately, don’t recall (Abrahm, maybe?). You can see a picture of us at the gaming table over here, courtesy of Robert Bohl.

Anyway, in that first game I was playing The Burglar, a legendary thief that had recently acquired the Unbound Tome. Abrahm was playing this crazy local Lord who was incredibly cruel to his subjects because he loved them. Peter was playing the lord’s spymaster, a man who had served the lord’s father before him and wanted to get rid of the new guy because he didn’t measure up to his dad. Dave was playing a magical librarian who was in charge of guarding the Unbound Tome and was a little miffed that it had gone missing. Finally, Daniel was playing the Unbound Tome, a book filled with all of the knowledge of the universe and possessing a mind of its own. Quite the cast.

I spent most of the game trying to sell the Tome, discovering secrets kept within it, or being maudlin because the book had told me that I would never know happiness unless I killed Mr. Lordy-pants. Really, my part in the whole thing was rather uninvolved though amusing.

Abrahm spent most of the game being cruel to people. Apparently, his noble lordship believed that the only way to get people to be better was to torture them into it. He also claimed to feel quite bad about that but I didn’t really notice a lot of remorse going on there. Amusingly, considering the number of folks out to get him, his lordship survived the session.

Dave spent the game binding ghosts into bottles, falling in love with attractive maids employed by his lordship, and trying desperately to get the Tome back. In the end, he succeeded in getting the Tome back just in time to thwart the plans of a local demon that was in cahoots with Peter’s spymaster and foiled a well primed plan to distract his lordship with a mystically enflamed riot.

Daniel, as the Unbound Tome, spent most of the game in my napsack though he succeeded in stirring up trouble in a scene or three.

The real winner of the session, if there was one, was Peter. From the outset, he schemed, planned, and plotted the overthrow of his lordship. He made pacts with demons for riots, falsefied intelligence about insurgent activity in the River District, and generally did all he could to set up the situation to end badly for his employer. In the end, the dice were against him and our spymaster got pinned to a building with his guts hanging out.

Overall, I’d say that the game was amusing and worthwhile. Certainly, it was one of the better experiences that I’ve had playing a story-game. I don’t think In a Wicked Age is one of those games that I’ll be clamoring to play regularly because, frankly, the dice mechanics are just too convoluted for my tastes and they distract too much from the interesting stuff going on at the table. If they were shorter and/or simpler I’d probably be willing to bust the game out for a one-shot every now and then.

– – – – –

When we finished playing, we looked around and discovered that everyone else was busy playing something. After waiting about half an hour to see if anyone would become free, we just started another game of In a Wicked Age. Sadly, that game was much less interesting.

I think the problem was that we just didn’t do enough to set our characters against each other and create more tension. Whatever it was, it just didn’t hit any notes worth mentioning.

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