Monday, July 31, 2017

Let's Play Kingdom: Eshbal - C1S1

Crossroads: Will The Kingdom Stamp Out Bribery?
Player's Turn:  Oscar
Characters in Scene: Gaithek (Power) , Zufar (Touchstone)
Set: Late Morning / The Lion Gate
Scene Goals: Oscar will try to establish Gaithek's role as moralist, James will have Zaufar attempt demonstrate that bribery isn't hurting anyone.
Randomizer: Adventuresmith - "Being Spied On" + Absolve, Treacherous, Purity

[Note: This is the first scene I have played with these rules. Kingdom doesn't have a lot of crunch, it's a story game. My primary means of gamifying these scenes will be to use a randomizer/oracle to come up with some key components that I will need pivot the scene around. I will tag theses elements though the scene to demonstrate where they were used. At the same time I have to be consistent with the Player's interests and the Characters motivations. Finally, I will invoke the player's roles (Power, Perspective, Touchstone) as appropriate. All within the outline provided for playing scenes in the Kingdom rulebook.]

Scene #1

Gaithek has spent the week taking stock of the city. He can only describe his emotional state as dismayed. How could the great Empire sink so low over the relatively short distance between the capital and Eshbal? [Purity]

As he watches Zufar walks up to one of the Lion Gates many Watch guards. They speak briefly, laughing. The guard nods in Gaithek's direction. Zufar smiles, and something winks metallic in the sunlight as it's passed to the guard  [Spied On]

Zufar [Z] walks towards Gaithek [G] with a smile on his lips.
Z: Good morning, Minister. I have heard you are recently arrived, how is our fair city treating you?

G: *flicks his eyes to the Gate Watch, then back to Zufar*  I'm not sure how fair I have found it to be, sir...

Z: Zufar! To friend and foe alike. And I take your meaning, this is merely the cost of doing business. I do not mind so much as long as my trade wagons are not unnecessarily delayed in their coming and going. [Absolve]

G: Zufar...I surmise from your benevolence and fashion that you do well for yourself, and this business expenditure is no great matter. how fairs your competitors in this regard? Do they ever run short, unable to pay or match the cost to ensure their ventures run just as smoothly? [Purity]

Z: *with a good natured grimace* Ah, my dear Minister it is not my business to mind others on their behalf. However, trade is a competitive venture and advantages must...[Absolve]

G: *cutting him off* At the sake of transgressing the just laws of our Emperor? [Treacherous]

Z: [Zufar is finally aware that he has swum into the deep end of the intrigue pool] Minister, surely you understand the ways in which the world moves. The law is a fine thing for keeping the human beast at bay, but in it's shade lay the leavers of progress and prosperity. [Absolve]

G: His Highness does not share your views on reality. As his sworn Minister of Imperial Oversight it is my charge to bring Eshbal back from the brink of lawlessness, his will be done. Let it be known, the old ways of intentional ignorance are over. The Emperor's law will reign here again.
*quick pivot and sharp steps away*


Tamriel (Eva): In a nice but spirited winehouse not far from the Lions Gate, the show down between the new Minister and Zufar was widely discussed. Tamriel is more than pleased to hear that Zufar had gotten his ear tweaked, but she agrees with most of the patrons. Standing in the way of trade here in Eshbal was like stepping in front of a rock slide in any case, the new Minister intrigues her she makes note to gain his acquaintance. 
Touchstone: The Minister's are unlikely to be effective.

Trebva (Celia): As high priestess, Trebva divides her time between the Ministry palace and the Temple. This morning it was the Ministry. Word of the exchange traveled at speed, as any Eshbalian would expect. The emperor had sent reformers in the past, but this one had a spark that set him apart. Trebva felt renewed hope that her broken city might have a chance at redemption once more.

Gaithek (Oscar): Gaithek knew that he'd caused a scene, though it was a short exchange and mild at that. However in a city like this, ears were everywhere and mouths galloped like yearlings. He hadn't planned it, but it was good for the word to spread.  Business as usual would not endure his devotion to the law or his vows to the throne. 

Zufar (James): He hated walking away from a loss, and there was no doubt in his mind that he had come out worse for the effort with the Minister. Always the powers that be want to have their cake and eat it too. More money, more taxes, the cycle goes on but now they wish it to be done in the light. Money grows like mushrooms, out of sight and in the dark. Still, they had brushed back reformers in the past. What is one more?
Touchstone: Like the reforms of the past, this one isn't to be taken serious.

Scene Outcome 
Advance Crossroads by 1

Time Advances 
☐ ☐ ☐ 

☐ ☐ ☐ ☐ 

 ☐ ☐ ☐ 

  • Predictions
    • Yes
      • None
    • No
      • None

Casting Call: Kingdom - Eva / Tamriel

The Player: Eva

To tell a good story Eva believes you must begin by building good relationships between the characters. Whoever she plays, you can be sure she'll be trying her hardest to build those connections with the other players. As stories go she certainly has a thing for story arcs about debt and despair, some about times the depths of the fall but often about the triumph of the comeback. She's not a big fan of death in stories, though.

The Character: Tamriel

Tamriel is an attractive, well born rogue. She was sent to her family's estate in the frontier city while her "indiscretions" in the capital are being smoothed over. Will she take the opportunity to grow up or just move the party?

The Bond
Zufar (James)

Zufar is an associate of her father's, having done quite a lot of business together in the years before the merchant relocated to Eshbal. He has been tasked with keeping an eye on her and reporting on her behavior.

The Baths, The Dog Market, Townhouse

Casting Call: Kingdom - Celia / Trebva

The Player: Celia

Celia has a weakness for characters who fulfill their duty in the face of hardships. She also loves to incorporate divine or supernatural elements into the narrative. However, she doesn't like to play characters with an unbalanced sense of self-importance. She understands that a story needs a varied cast, she'd just rather leave the annoying blow-hard types to someone else.

The Character: Trebva

Trebva is the devout High Priestess of the Eternal Flame, the empires official faith. She administers to the city's spiritual needs and has made it her crusade to push back against the influx of barbaric heresy. She is one of the youngest of the faithful to be raised to the rank of Holy Seer.

The Bond
Gaithek (Oscar)

Gaithek frustrates her tremendously. His commitment to fighting corruption should make them great allies, but he is focused on administrative solutions for problems she views as spiritual in nature.

The Temple of Eternal Flame, the Palace of the Ministry

Casting Call: Kingdom - Oscar / Gatithek

The Player: Oscar

Oscar loves a good story. He's more than happy to play along, even if the in game effects are not in his favor, as long as the narrative is interesting. Above all stories, Oscar can't refuse a good revenge plot. In his view character's who have been harmed, slighted, or even just embarrassed should be plotting their revenge. However there is one story type he hates, Sea Voyages.

The Character: Gaithek

Gaithek is a Minister of Imperial Reform. Raised to the newly restored office, he is on the front line of the Emperor's crusade against corruption. It is his solemn vow to root it out and turn it back wherever he should be sent.

The Bond
Tamriel (Eva)

Tamriel's greed and vanity are the embodiment of everything wrong with the empire. However she is a blooded noble and Gaithek is duty bound to pay her proper respect.

Palace of Ministry, Imperial Garrison

Casting Call: Kingdom - James / Zufar

The Player: James

James loves characters. Whatever rules are being used, he will find a way to put the people of the game world front and center. His favorite narrative mechanics is connivance. Given a chance, he enjoys nothing more than putting together a sneaky theme.

The Character: Zufar

Zufar, is a wealthy trader and merchant. He has made his gold by never fearing to go where the people and profits lead. For a number of years they have lead directly through Eshbal: money, merriment, and intrigue all can be found on the frontier.

The Bond
Trebva [Celia]

The High Priestess, Trebva, is not part of Zufar's fan club. She has often been known to use the merchant as a symbol of the corrupting decadence she views as a plague upon the city.

Palace of the Guilds, The Warehouse District, The Lions Gate

Let's Play: Kingdom - Eshbal, Door to Hardship

For my new campaign I've decided to play Kingdom, from the makers of Microscope. I've been waiting for quite a while to play this game. These initial posts will be the info sheets for the Kingdom I've chosen and the cast of characters who will help move the story along.

Without further ado...

Eshbal, The Door to Hardship

Eshbal is a Persian inspire frontier city. On the outskirts of the Empire, this wealthy outpost acts as both guarding and gateway. Holding back the savage barbarians from beyond the borders the city fortress has withstood the test of time and siege alike. Arguable it is Eshbal's role enabling trade and diplomacy with the lands beyond the civilized lands that truly demonstrate the city's importance.
For this campaign the city will be the Kingdom, not the Empire as a whole.


  • The Empire is recognized far and wide as the center of the civilized world.
  • The most magnificent thing about the empire is it's code of law.
  • The so called "barbarians" are a mixture of fledgling nations and tribes.
  • Bribery is rampant. Living on the Empire's frontier has corrupted the people, wealthy and commoner alike. Bribery is only one symptom, but one of the more obvious one.
  • Foreign culture brought in by barbarian traders, dignitaries, and travelers has become fashionable in the city. Exotic garb, art, food, even gods are gaining wider support, leaving some citizens uneasy with the pace of change.
  • Drought conditions have raised the specter of famine. The wealthy are still well fed and the crops are still able to be irrigated, but the commoners are preparing to tighten their belts.
  • Palace of the Ministry - The center of government bureaucracy in Eshbal .
  • Imperial Garrison - A fortress withing a fortress, the garrison houses the imperial legion in Eshbal.
  • The Baths - A rare bastion of societal equality. Wealthy and commoner look the same naked.
  • The Dog Market - Crowded and bustling, the district gets it's name from the merchants shouting their wares.
  • Palace of the Guilds - If the Minsitry is the center of government, this is the center of commerce.
  • Warehouse District - Not all goods are destined to stay in Eshbal, before transport they are stored here.
  • Temple of the Eternal Flame - The place of worship in Eshbal for the Empire's officially sanctioned faith.
  • Garden of the Seven Pools - A beautiful park with seven reflecting pools, preferred for meditational practices and quiet walks.