So, for Labor day weekend, @RobMITC and I spent our time down at the Sheraton hotel at LAX getting our game on at Strategicon: Gateway 2012. This was my first foray into a gaming convention and truly the first time I had sat down to role-play with a group of complete strangers. To say the least, I was intimidated, but within 30 minutes of starting the day’s first one-shot, I knew I was involved in something awesome. Something epic. Something LEGENDARY! How could it not be when, in the Skyrim: Vikings vs. Dragons game, the player characters ARE F*$%ING DRAGONS!
After arriving in the morning, I quickly found my assigned room and game. AT the table to greet me was Kimi of the Happy Jacks RPG Podcast crew (our GM) and a selection of folders with a single symbol on each. I quickly perused the folders and settled on the one with a snowflake… a snowflake that looked like the Imperial Symbol. I pulled out my dice bag, gathered up the new set of d10′s I had bought specifically for this particular Wild Talents game, and patiently awaited the beginning of a game that will likely go down in Strategicon legend.
Kimi started off the session with a brief introduction of the world of Skyrim, for those of us at the table who were unfamiliar. Then, we were instructed to open our folders and meet the Player Characters we had chosen. To a man (there were six male players at the table, so, totally not a sexist statement), I believe we all anticipated various forms of Skyrim races and classes, from Nords and Redguard to Khajit and Elves. Much to our surprise AND overwhelming delight it turns out there was a major twist at the start of the game… the fact that WE WERE ALL DRAGONS! As it turned out, not only were the six of us playing dragons, but we were also playing siblings… adolescent siblings… and as the roleplaying would reveal, mildly retarded siblings at that. Hats off to Kimi for not only providing a great twist at the start of a game, but for the great variety and balance provided in the party.
The Cast of Characters
Fendufyn, “The Devouring Tank” – Fendufyn, played by a guy I believe was named Sam, was immediately recognized as the leader of the group for the simple reason that he had the highest “Body” stat, which to us meant he was the biggest. In a player dynamic that essentially equated to Dragon Junior High, the giant dragon that can turn himself into impervious stone gets the leadership role by default.
Qorohgol, “The Raging Lightning” – Qorohgol, played by Stephen (aka @Clockverk) was one bad-ass mutha, as you’ll see later. Whether by happenstance or design, the most electrifying dragon was definitely brought to life by the most energized role-player at the table. Qorohgol quickly established himself as the Alpha personality (though not the de facto leader) by stating he hatched first and was the eldest of the brothers. Perhaps the most memorable quote was, “No one attacks and hurts my brothers unless it’s me!” stated prior to entering our first combat.
Haslovaas, “Song of Health” – Played by Kurt, Haslovaas was the most intelligent of the dragon kin (this is a relative statement) and also served as the parties healer. Kurt did an excellent job of keeping an even keel and moving the story along via his roleplaying, but found plenty of opportunities to shine when the brothers stepped in it. His ability to turn ethereal would also serve well in helping the end-game play out.
Strunduving, “Stormwing Devourer” – Strunduving, played by Matt (aka @Fray), assumed the role of “Baby Brother” and played it to the hilt. The smallest and fastest of the brethren, Strunduving definitely suffered from what could be classified as Dragon ADHD. Not only did he immediately start the session by instigating a wrestling match with Qorohgol (which helped us quickly learn the dice mechanics), he also morphed into what could only be deemed a giant Chihuahua with wings by the end of the game.
Yolvolun, “Fiery Night” – I can’t remember the name of the guy that played Yolvolun, and I’m not sure if his approach was by circumstance or pre-meditated, but the quiet resolve of the quintessential fire-breathing dragon was memorable, to say the least. Yolvolun was effective in combat, aware of all that was taking place, and fully capable of side-stepping all the dysfunctional family drama of the brood. My greatest hope is that the player took as much from the game as the rest of us.
Lizinjot, “The Icy Maw” – Finally, there was my character, Lizinjot He was built as a very balanced combat-oriented character, capable of a strong, icy Thu’um and powerful melee attacks to boot. His Charm and Command stats were the lowest in the group, and I think he was envisioned as the sneaky and conniving brother. While this crossed my mind it wasn’t long before I found the character’s voice, and this voice was Emo. Not only did his primary motivator become finding out why Mom and Dad had left the brood (abandonment issues), it also justified his combat abilities (rage issues directly related to abandonment issues). I even worked in to the character aesthetics that he had spent years grooming a horn to grow downward over his eye, because that’s what angsty teenagers do. I also gave myself a +10 to Emo.
The Adventure Begins – Act I
It wasn’t too long before Kimi was able to reign us in and get us heading in the right direction. Amidst the family quarrel and wrestling match, I caught scent of something. Something very much not dragon and getting closer. Drawing on my sneakiness and tactical sense I decided to sneak around and try to flank the scent that was now perceived as a threat (and possibly lunch). Yolvolun took to the air to catch sight of the intruders of our domain, whilst Qorohgol began uprooting the largest tree he could find… to throw at Strunduving (they were really committed to this quarrel). I rolled my dice, and although I succeeded my stealth role, I failed my tactics one, thus resulting in my hiding amongst a copse of trees, acting like a tree… Meanwhile, Haslovaas went ethereal and waited until the threat (which proved to be some knights, henceforth known only as “Big Mudcrabs”) got within striking distance. A few arrows were loosed, and then all hell broke loose. Qorohgol threw his tree at and over the knights and called in a storm with his Thu’um while Haslovaas charged the knight’s position and materialized behind them. I, Lizinjot, was struck by an arrow and leapt into the air, and Yolvolun began his dive from the sky.
Needless to say, the dragon brethren made short work of the six knights that had attacked us. Qorohgol’s Thu’um-born storm drenched the knights in rain, which froze under the blast Lizinjot’s icy breath. Strunduving began nipping (dragon sized nipping, mind you) at the half-frozen knights, while Qorohgol and Fendufyn quickly found themselves in with a knight caught between each others maws, like a human chew toy.
*As a side note, we – the players – commented on how the fate of that knight was something every D&D player since the 70′s has sought to avoid. I made the comment that on some alternate plan of existence, some player was playing that knight and was experiencing his Player Character getting wis-boned by a couple of dragons. This comment earned me a Happy Jacks RPG Bennie!*
Haslovaas materialized and gingerly plucked a night off the ground by his head for the purpose of questioning, while Yolvolun lit up the battlefield with his fiery breath so all could enjoy a “Mudcrab Barbeque.” Lizinjot, being a little too eager to eat, had to Thu’um-up in his own mouth due to burning his tongue our char-broiled plate armor.
Haslovaas questioned the knight, which probably sounded like this, and then let him go to spread the word of the terrible anger we would soon unleash on Skyrim. Strunduving promptly chased him back to his horse “barking” at his heels the entire way. That’s right. This knight had just watched his friends get eviscerated, frozen, burnt, gored, and crushed…then he got man-handled and interrogated… and chased down the mountain. All those guards in Skyrim that took arrows to the knee ain’t got nothing on this guy!
It turns out that the knights were carrying a book with them that had passages in the dragon tongue along with references to and pictures of High Hrogarth and the Throat of the World. We immediately assumed that if these knights came from there with something in the dragon tongue, that must mean there were more dragons. More importantly, that meant there would be GIRL dragons.
Our objective was now clear. Fly to the Throat of the World, find Mom and Dad, and finds the lady dragons so we could find out how “Dovah get their groove back.” We promptly ate the remaining horses and flew off for answers.
Click here to read what happened in Act II of our epic quest!