Midgard Mayhem at MACE 2012 and MACE West 2013
Last fall Christina Stiles approached me about participating in an event she was organizing for MACE 2012 entitled Midgard Mayhem. The event was designed to showcase the just released campaign setting of Midgard by Wolfgang Baur by running adventures set in it. The idea sounded cool and I agreed to run a couple of adventures for the event.
The first scenario I ran was The Forgotten King’s Tomb by Mike Franke adapted to Green Ronin’s excellent AGE system. The premise of the adventure is that the adventurers are members of an elite cadre of kobold irregulars sent to seek a tomb with supposedly enchanted writing that their Akinji (dragonkin lord) Shard had discovered during an expedition into the Sands of Sorrows many years prior.
The mix of kobolds covered the standard archetypes of an adventuring party, but with the added benefit of some infighting politics centered around who really led the group, despite what the Akinji decreed. The kobold irregulars selected by the players were Char (pyromaniac mage and leader), Night Shade (thrill-seeking sniper), Klikjack (warrior enforcer for Char), Ghost (opportunistic albino rogue), and Dractus (elementalist mage and Char’s rival).
I started the irregulars off already trekking through the Sands of Sorrows looking for their Akinji’s lost tomb. The players received the information from the adventure background and roleplayed their meeting with their dragonkin lord in a flashback before we resumed play in the present. The players really seemed to enjoy the Arabian feel of the Dragon Empire as well as the high magic vibe of the setting with the idea of ley lines, magical travel, and magic used to transform oneself and station.
The players all said that they had a fun time playing as the kobolds, and I fielded several questions concerning the Midgard setting and the AGE system. As the session came to a final close the consensus seemed to be that Midgard offered a solid variety in terms of the types of games one could run with the setting and that the AGE system really brought the cinematic aspects to the fore with the stunt mechanics. Overall the first scenario and game set in Midgard was a very positive experience.
The second Midgard scenario I ran at MACE 2012 was Beyond the Ghostlight Reef by Christina Stiles. For this game I adapted the scenario to Savage Worlds to help facilitate the adventure fitting into the four-hour slot I had to run it in. Savage Worlds is a great system for a variety of reasons, but one of my favorite aspects of the system is its combat resolution that facilitates fast play at the table, a real bonus when running games at conventions.
I really liked the premise of the Seven Cities backdrop that the adventure was set in. The Seven Cities are a collection of nation-states made up of a variety of races in a near-constant state of warfare and political infighting set against the backdrop of the ruins of a once mighty empire. The area seemed, upon reading, to be very dynamic and a place where enterprising adventurers could forge their own fortunes.
For the adventure, I created an assortment of characters for the players to select from that highlighted the variety of player races that the campaign setting offered and lent themselves to the idea of a freebooting adventuring company seeking their fortunes. The pregens that were selected by the players were an arrogant human blade master, an impulsive kobold alchemist, an honorable Northman warrior, a greedy minotaur ranger, a heroic dwarf cleric, and a curious gearforged wizard.
The adventure opened with the freebooters answering the summons of Balack Giolan, a wealthy noble of Fruila. The adventurers made some common knowledge rolls to get some background about the noble and the general state of affairs in Fruila. This gained them the information about the rivalries of The Bibliotori and their desire to constantly outdo one another with secrets and knowledge. After some aggressive negotiations, led by the greedy minotaur, the group accepted the noble’s commission to secure a set of recently recovered chests in possession of the red hags of the Ghostlight Reef.
As with the previous adventure, my players all said that they had a fun time playing in the world of Midgard. Several of the players enjoyed the fact that it wasn’t just the typical fantasy races that were available to play. In addition, the sheer variety in terms of the types of games one could run with the setting seemed to really stand out to everyone as we talked about Midgard. As before, the adventure and setting proved to be a very positive experience.
My third venture into the world of Midgard was this past April at MACE West 2013. Christina had contacted me about helping with the Midgard Mayhem event and for this convention I decided to come up with my own scenario rather than use either of the ones I had used at MACE 2012. I had really liked the Zobeck entry in the Midgard Campaign Setting so I ordered the Zobeck Gazetteer from DriveThruRPG to gain a deeper understanding of the free city. When I had finished reading through the gazetteer I had decided that the adventurers would all be characters of a decidedly gray morality.
Using Savage Worlds once more, the pregens that were selected by the players for Zobeck City Nights were an honorable darakhul (true ghoul) paladin of Marena (the death goddess), an elf-marked swashbuckling magus, a greedy gearforged warrior, a huginn (ravenfolk) assassin, an impulsive kobold pyromancer, and a curious gnoll archer. Each of the characters was of veteran rank with a few magic items for each that put them closer to heroic rank. I had developed a series of questions related to the group’s identity as The Six-Fingered Hand and their individual lives. This allowed for a faster immersion of the players into the free city while organically developing their bonds as members of a very mercenary adventuring company within Zobeck.
The adventure opened with the group finishing a commission for a mysterious patron that involved the capture of a would-be crime lord. The group successfully defeated the crime lord’s retainers and captured the man alive in a pitched battle in the Dock District.
In all, I was very pleased with how Zobeck worked in play and that the evocative nature of the setting allowed for the shades of gray play I was interested to see happen in the city-based game. The players all stated that they had a fun time and most of them really liked the variety and diversity of Zobeck specifically and Midgard as a whole.
I have enjoyed helping Christina with the Midgard Mayhem events at these last two conventions. I think the events help to showcase that the setting handles a wide variety of play styles as well as game systems. Looking at the various locales contained within Midgard, each with their own distinctive flavor and adventure potential helps to make the campaign guide a truly great resource. I look forward to running additional adventures set within the Midgard campaign setting and encourage anyone at a convention that is running a Midgard Mayhem event to find a game and have some fun.