I’ve been unable to run more Hari Ragat sessions since moving to Davao City in January, but two weeks ago I had a long layover in Manila between trips, so I met up with the group.
Marc was away in the USA for work, but Bots, Gelo, and Derek came in, and brought with them two ladies, Diwa and Cheska. The three guys played their old characters, while Diwa made a corsair, also called Diwa (spirit, essence), and Cheska made the first babaylan (shaman) character, named Liwayway (dawn). Thanks to Diwa for the kickass illustration of their encoutner with a bakonawa, above!
We had fun with the Bonding Roll mechanic (we referred to them as Bondage Rolls of course), with Gelo’s Dimasalang consistently ending up owing favors or worse to the other characters as a consequence of being born Orang Malaya (commoner) instead of Orang Dakila (noble). The results were consistent with the milieu, and actually afford Gelo more chances to gain Renown.
This mechanic is meant to set up the PCs for proactive play, as it creates a web of ties and obligations between PCs. The players took to it easily enough, and needed no prodding at all to quickly invent stories as to why another PC had a grudge against them or owed them something.
Speaking of Renown, much was gained again that day, but thanks to the players’ feedback we’re overhauling the Renown system. Currently the Renown awarding system favors warriors a bit too much, and can lead to large gaps in Renown between PCs. We’ll be changing this to an Honors system, whereby players can claim Honors for various notable deeds, and each Honor is recorded descriptively instead of just a number. This means characters will now have nice histories to boast about after just an adventure or two!
Highlights of the adventure were:
- Diwa encountering a bakonawa hatchling in the sea, and the epic battle with it; the bakonawa broke their ship’s keel and outriggers, but it was slain by Puri (Derek’s character), who leaped into its open maw and speared its heart from within.
Diwa and Puri cut out the heart and divided it between the heroes present, leaving a portion to offer to the spirits of the island.
- Liwayway sensing the Mother of Bakonawas awakening, disturbed by the death of its offspring. How bad is it for this creature to awaken? It’s only the backbone of the entire island chain they live on. Liwayway made an epic roll to put the monster back to sleep, with the aid of an enchanted mouth harp.
- Dimasalang hunted down the Merah Lembu, or Crimson Bull, of Mabannog Island. He found it was no natural bovine, but a sarangay, and an especially powerful one.
Liwayway made a divination and received hints that the Merah Lembu was immune to iron weapons, so Dimasalang took on the creature bare-handed a la Beowulf. He was almost burned as the Merah Lembu turned a blazing red gaze at him – an igniting gaze attack being one of the powers I gave this creature – but noticed a red gem hanging from its ear. Dimasalang bit the gem off, and the Merah Lembu’s powers dissipated away.
Dimasalang slew the monster, and drank and bathed in its blood. For this he received some magical … endowments. It was, after all, some sort of bull.
There’s a lot more I’d like to write about this session, one of our craziest yet in terms of humor, but … they could get this blog removed! I’ve had to return to Davao, though, so I’ll be moving this game to PBEM.
Thanks to this session, character creation will be streamlined, and as I mentioned above we’ve got a new Renown system.