Name- The Endless Road, a cult that was all about being in tune with the land and personal freedom
Threats- Government investigations, extremist sub-faction, and deserters
Locations- The Ampitheater (a natural valley), The High Road (a health food store), The Fields (where all the crops are grown), The Warehouse (windowless modern building, always locked), Gold Rolls Royce Convertible (the Master’s car), The Atrium (green glass building used for induction of new members), The Bus Tunnels (old school buses connected to each other and buried underground), Tofu Fermentation Vats
Ellipsis- Power, then Perspective. Head writer of The Endless Road, responsible for writing all the pamphlets and other literature. He wished to lift the veil of ignorance shrouding the rest of the country. His issue was that he couldn’t write sober. He was usually found at the bus tunnels or in the Atrium. (Played by Pat)
Skinfoot (Steve Sutton), aka Limbo- Perspective, then Power. A brand new recruit of the Endless Road. He wished that the kingdom would ascend to the stars. His issue was extreme optimism/naivete. He was usually found in the fields or the Ampitheater. (Played by Jordan)
Short Ed- Perspective, then Power, then Perspective. The Master’s driver. He feared that The Endless Road would run out of money. His issue was that he couldn’t (or wouldn’t) drive sober. He was usually found at the Rolls Royce or in the bus tunnel. (Played by Evan)
Ariel- Touchstone. Worked at the store and helped bring in new recruits. She feared that The Endless Road would fall to the divergent faction. Her issue was that her best friend was one of the extremists. She was usually found at the store or the Warehouse. (Played by Dani)
Our first Crossroads was “Will the Kingdom allow the extremists to recruit?” The presence of weapons was acknowledged and tolerated. After all, The Endless Road needed to be able to defend itself against predators of the human and animal variety, right? It was implied that the Master carried a weapon because there was a rack for a shotgun in the Rolls Royce. During a drop to distributors of The Endless Road’s other crop by Ellipsis and Short Ed, things went bad, making the need for protection even greater. It was decided that the extremists would be allowed to recruit. Skinfoot was going to be conscripted by Power used their… power to make Short Ed the one who ended up being conscripted instead. The increase in militant activity attracted further negative attention from the authorities, which brings us to our second Crossroads.
“Will the Kingdom cooperate with the investigation?” A federal agent in plain clothes approached Ariel and Skinfoot Steve at the store. She did her best to deflect him without seeming too evasive. Short Ed and Ellipsis decided to take advantage of the Master’s long absence- we never actually dealt with him in game and it turned out he’d been missing for some time- and seize control. Though Ellipsis decided that it was too much for him after a bad dream. Skinfoot, who was now known as Limbo, grabbed the gun from Short Ed and claimed leadership himself. The Endless Road ended up cooperating with the investigation. In the process, Short Ed was arrested and taken away by the feds, some of whom had been undercover as drug dealers.
Despite that and the continued absence of the Master, The Endless Road survived. Limbo remained the leader of the group, though he lacked the full support of the members. Ellipsis continued to write and became his right-hand man as it were. Ariel became a sort of mother-figure and did her best to help maintain stability and serenity.
First of all, I really love the whole concept behind Kingdom. Being able to explore the structure and function of an organization through the eyes of characters and see how they influence each other is really neat. Something I’ve enjoyed in other games and I enjoyed in this one too is how every role (Power, Touchstone, Perspective) has different things only it can do. And letting people change their role is a stroke of genius. There was quite a bit of that going on in this session! It’s fun to explore what that says about the character and see how it affects the game.
It does what it’s supposed to do pretty well in my humble opinion. Overall, the way the system notes what’s going on in game is simple but elegant. (I may be newer to the tabletop format but I think I have enough experience with RPGs to say that with confidence.) I enjoyed the consequences and side effect mechanic.
I think it ended up feeling more complicated than it is due to the different steps needed for different things. It is entirely possible that that is just me, though. None of those steps felt arbitrary and they definitely add something to the game. The way every player has a chance to influence things and talk about how their character is feeling about the resolution of a Crossroad is awesome. The Crossroads we chose felt more subtle. They weren't necessarily flashy or dramatic- which is not a complaint- but ended up having really interesting and deep effects on the nature of the Kingdom and the characters, which was cool to see.
I think a quick start thing would be very useful if there’s not already something like that- a page or two the players could look at when they’re trying to figure out how something should be resolved or what comes next. One question in my mind is whether or not a player can bring their character into a scene if their presence wasn’t established at the beginning of it. I imagine a group could determine that for themselves though.
Kingdom really shows the importance of active listening and contributing. (As do the other systems I have tried.) This was my first experience with Kingdom but I think it went pretty well. There were interesting things happening and some of the stakes with the Crossroads were high! I had a good time with the other players and look forward to getting to explore this system further.
Thanks to Pat for facilitating and to Jordan and Evan for a fun evening.
- Dani, aka Ariel
Edited by Dani L. on May 14, 2013 2:01 PM