Story Games Seattle Message Board What We Played › The Order of Hermes (Kingdom)

The Order of Hermes (Kingdom)

user 8415259
Seattle, WA
Post #: 49
Players: Ben, Alex, Terry, Pat.

Great game!

We decided our kingdom would be a hermetic group of magicians hidden below the streets of Paris. Our Order was dwindling and wary of the outside world. Our characters included Asteralis, Keeper of Lies; Celeste, struggling chronomancer; "The Ring", enigmatic recruiter; and Chloe, only child of the Order.

We got off to a good start with some pretty evocative locations, like the empty library, whose contents were burned by our ancestors long ago; the promenade, an otherworldly park that overlapped its mortal counterpart; and the focus, an ancient site for focusing mass spells that has fallen into disuse.

From there we started with a simple crossroads: should the Kingdom admit Percival, the outworld hedge wizard who showed great potential? His admission was in violation of the Order's rules, but perhaps his skill could rejuvenate the kingdom? Apparently, it wasn't worth the risks, and Percy was sent packing.

Our second crossroads was whether or not the use of magic within the Order should be strictly regulated. You see, magic has always exacted a cost upon the caster and the world at large, but lately the costs have been growing steeper. The conservative move would be to reign in magic use to minimize risk. OR we could dive headlong into abusing the forbidden Deep Mind magic with reckless abandon, and embrace our magician destinies to be agents of chaos. Hmm, plenty of debate on this crossroads.
Ben R.
Group Organizer
Seattle, WA
Post #: 378
At the start I totally expected The Twisted Ring (Terry) to be the heavy authoritarian figure. Not surprising since he/she/it was our starting Power. But as Celeste (Alex) got more sketchy and it became clear Asteralis (me) was not exactly a pillar of strength, The Ring emerged as a more reasonable conservative center to the Order, even while most of the Order was poo-poo'ing him (thanks Touchstone!). So by the time our resident freak-born six-year old Chloe apotheosed (Pat, oh you!), channeling the ancient magicians and preaching "Big Scary Magic for the Win!" and "Humanity is for suckers!", The Ring was literally the voice of sanity.

I was _sooo waiting_ for the big smackdown between behold-my-divinity-Chloe and The Ring and I absolutely loved that it never happened. Their philosophical face-off amid the phantoms of the promenade was parfait. Between that and Celeste's turning back the clock on the Empty Library, you guys wove back in all the themes: the temptation of power, our mysterious past efforts at self-restraint not to mention the whole quesiton of why we were hiding in the first place instead of out changing the world. So good. I think there was definitely a correlation to the noise level in lounge: our role-playing improved sharply as the room got quieter.

Oh right: I suppose I should ask what you guys thought of the mechanics. I'm not sure how well I was explaining the rules in general (q.v. the loud room) but it seemed like you guys definitely got your sea legs and figured out how to get stuff done.
Alex G.
user 58620202
Seattle, WA
Post #: 17
I liked the mechanics a lot, an improvement from the rather old playtest I was in where there was a ton more to keep track of, I liked especially the substitution of but-only-if type mechanics replacing the "your character now has a permanent flaw" sort of Shock-esque system there was before (IIRC?).

I just want to point out publicly the Super Advanced Storygamer Move that Ben pulled off in this game too, I didn't even notice it until thinking about the game that night, but he played such a good straight man to all our shenanigans that he was a wizard the entire game and never used magic once. He was just a wizard in the Keeping Secrets Dept. who was trying to keep things from going all to hell as everyone around him started going mad with power and/or trying to prevent others from doing so. Perhaps someday I'll be able to play a servant of the narrative who just acts as a foil for everyone else... but for now I think I'll keep making crazy time wizards, that was immensely satisfying.

I was really pleased that my gradually-getting-corrupted-by-power plotline and Pat's Apotheosis plotline managed to both go off without getting in each other's way, I was worried about (and fully prepared to lose) a Mary Sue contest, but instead we were just high-fivin' it all the way off the cliff called Reality. Terry's steadfast sticking to his character was a beautiful moment too, The Twisted Ring was an entity without a definite form, gender, or name, and at one point I said he could resolve a situation But Only If the Ring took a definite, single identity... and Terry held fast, diminished, went into the West, and stayed The Twisted Ring.
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