Friday, July 18, 2008

Hollows & Hobgoblins

3 posts about Thursday:Part 1 Part 2 Part 3

Last night, we played Hollows and Hobgoblins. It's a dark fantasy RPG based on the Wushu rules. Humans were the minority, forced to live in the impoverished wastelands, not far from the haunted Hollows. The setting had a lot of depth behind it, I could tell, but our one-shot about a bar besieged by corrupted animals and something akin to a barrow-wight didn't provide us much opportunity to explore. We had fun, though, and I'd enjoy a chance to explore the setting further.

Wushu is a great system, a "hippy game" as they called it, since it's rules light and very flexible. Our characters were three descriptors, a magic item, and a signature move, all of which we made up. I made a somewhat Bleys-ian flamboyant warrior type, spiced up with magical power over metal. The magic was fast and loose: I made a doorknob bite a badguy, directed a coat-rack to grapple someone, and when the leaded window-glass shattered it fell onto the floor as caltrops per my command.

The best part of the mechanics is the huge amount of power granted to the players. On your action, you say what happens. Not what you want to happen, but what actually happens. The thing you described happens regardless of how you roll, but the roll quantifies the effects. For example, we faced an unspecified number of mooks, so we could freely narrate how many any given action killed and how we drove the enemy legions back. But until we scored 20 or more aggregate successes, there'd always be more mooks.

The cooler your description of your action, the more dice you roll (like Scion's stunt system, but more integral and more potent). The battle against the big bad was a bit more structured than the mook fight, but we were still empowered to describe amazing acts of heroism and skill. For example, we couldn't chop his head off until and unless we'd worn him down a lot, but nothing stopped us from using our actions to throw him off balconies or into the fireplace.

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