Author: Justin Love

Playtest Notes

On bloodlust: One flaw I've found is that there is no combat (unless the players provoke it). In the playtest session, I had a fire/earth virtually un-killable warrior who didn't feel like he had anything to do since there was nothing to fight. He could have attempted to use the players mind even if the character did not have the stats to match wits with some of the other heros, but instead a friend of his wandered through (one of the principal problems with playing in dorm lounges) and he spent most of the rest of session un-involved. This being my first Everway game, and still being fairly early in my experience as a Guide, I was kept busy with the other players and never threw out any hooks to reel him back in. Oh, well, other Guides be warned.

Potential solutions: Instead of being politely asked to come to the city, The City might have sent guards to forcibly bring River Reed there. The heros happen along just in time to fight them off. This of course immediately paints the followers of Shimmer as evil, so it has it's problems. On the other hand, the violence could be completely removed from the plot. The realm could happen to be inhabited by a particularly vicious type of animal that could present problems. If taking this option, bear in mind the effect it would have on people's life styles, especially the followers of Shine, whom live outside of stone walls. (Though they might have been forced to build less impressive (than The City) stone walls and centralized towns in this scenario.)

Another problem I had was that the players often seemed to not have any idea of what to do next. I filled in a number of details since then, such as the justification of the followers of Shimmer for being able to take River's life. I've also expanded the number of and detail in the visions.

To those who thought that the tomb of Sharza-Zara section had excessive detail, it should come as no surprise that my players paid it a great deal more attention then I had originally thought they would. For some reason I though the glowing eyes would get them, but no, they assaulted it in force, and even slipped past a pair or two once or twice.

Another mistake; the note about someone attacking Midnight Mere in his office was not unfounded. One player attempted to throw a knife at him. It bounced away with a flash of sliver light, "Shimmer protects me," said Mere. After this, the players agreed to tie there weapons, which was magically re-enforced by Mere, with a faint silver light around the seem of the sheath, etc. This is where I realized that they probably should have been made to check their weapons at the door. (Of course such physical manifestations of power are not in Shimmer's actual domain, which leads to the point about him being able to channel extra power from his connection with the Spell of Peace.)

The ending was 'The Happy Ending,' although my thoughts about what would happen if they failed to save River left me slightly guiding things towards 'The Dramatic Ending,' precisely because it was dramatic. As it was going quite a bit longer then I had hoped it would, and since it was therefore getting late, I allowed them to keep a moon rose open past dusk by cutting it off while it was still open. Taking that and a sun rose, they got Midnight and Summer together, I believe holding the 'opposite' roses, in front of the tomb (following their fascination with the structure). They then attempted to get them to walk into the tomb, side by side, but of course they must both have open minds and believe in a new balance between the religions for this to work...

The Silver gargoyles were blocking Midnight's path (and he had of course been going on about how ridiculous this whole thing was). By this point, the heros had already sent for one of the lesser priests they had meet earlier (a random character I had not planned for ahead of time and whom had no real characterization or significance at this point) planning to set him up as Midnight's replacement if he could not pull if off. So this is the big moment, after a late night of role-playing, bumping against puzzle walls, and very stubborn gargoyles, and I draw a card for Midnight.

Trickery, reversed: subterfuge revealed. Now this could have meant a lot of things such as Midnight being revealed as a fake and being replaced by the random priest. But I ruled that he saw through his own delusions of inequality (the fact that he could not walk down the path but Summer could being a big factor here,) and the gargoyles stepped aside as the pair entered the tomb.

What happened from here doesn't need too much explanation; they walked in, turned, and both sets of roses in the tomb opened at once as they stated in turn what the realm must give up to retain balance. The heros (in the outer room,) noticed sunlight coming through the door (it had been night).

The Origins of Ideas

Main ideas: When I drew the vision cards, the five main ones had two feels to them, one had earth tones and brighter colors, the other was darker. One of the vision cards also had sun symbol, and several of the fortune cards had moon correspondences. The great spells were a result of trying to figure out what the heck to do with isolation as a virtue and nurture as a fault, mixed in with the usurper, which by that point had been decided upon as 'magic,' with an possible incarnation, which later became Sharza-Zara.

Companions: Three of the five main vision cards had people with animals. It struck me as a bit odd, so I built on it, and used the names as a clue to the innocence bit.

The roses: The roses didn't actually exist until a few hours before the game when I finally thought about boons. Two (or was it three, grumble grumble) of the heros had ties to the Spherewalker's star roses, so I followed the rose theme with a useful power, and even tied them in as clue to what was going on.

Death mythos: It unfortunately didn't occur to me to justify the moon worshiper's sacrifice by the fact that they thought the person would actually benefit from it until during the first run. While doing this write up I expanded the mythos and added a corresponding one for the sun worshipers so it didn't stick out so bad as put there just for that reason.

The Lake of Dancing Lights (and by extension the story of Shining Son): The lake was just a random landscape feature in the first run; I tried to attach actual names to everything for the write up, and a name like The Lake of Dancing Lights needed a better reason than 'because.' I even managed to work in a bit of useful mythology in the process.

The reflective water: Just a random oddity of the realm, deliberately chosen to work with the sun/moon theme.

If anybody cares, Endeavor the owl came before Endeavor the character, and the companion is partially responsible for the character getting his name.

See Also: