I played Realm Guard for the second time at IndieConon the south coast of England last weekend.
It was another quality game from this cool hack. The Mission from Faramir was to escort a wagon-train full of settlers from across Gondor to resettle and rebuild Fornost, the ancient capitol of Eriador. The players had characters that were pregenned with everything except Goals. Goals that came out of that Mission were:
[ul][li]Settle three quarters of the families in Fornost.
[/li][li]Prove to Athenor - the lead Ranger - that I am worthy of the title Ranger.
[/li][li]Ensure that my family secures the best land in Fornost.[/ul]
[/li]Start of the GMs Turn. First Obstacle was Pathfinder, to navigate a way through a valley in the middle of snowstorm. The player of one of the more eager younger Rangers shouted up, and so the younger Ranger with a poor Pathfinder rating made the test, which Failed. The resulting Twist, since we were close by the Trollshaws, was to have a handful of Trolls ambush the last of the wagons as they thundered through the valley. The wagons in question housed the family of one of the Rangers naturally.
Second Obstacle was a Conflict, with the Goals of either side being to “Drive the Trolls off” and “Drag the family away to the cookpot”. Damn, but didn’t those pesky Rangers thunder down the treacherous valley trail and beat the crap out of the Trolls, one of them using his Heirloom, the Spear of Rhudaur, to impale a Troll straight through the gut. Cunning use of Defence by the players in their first ever Conflict saw them only have to give up a Minor Concession. I hit 'em with Tired.
Third Obstacle was to convince the Dwarves - that had taken possession of the ruins and the underground in the thousand or so years since Fornost was abandoned - to let the settlers have shelter. A rousing speech - a successful Oratory Test - and the promise of trade agreements with Gondor saw the Rangers secure temporary shelter. One of the Rangers did recognize Norn, a black-hearted Enemy from his past, in the retinue of the Dwarven King. End of the GMs Turn, about an hour-and-a-half in. Time seemed to fly on by thanks to plenty of meaty narration, but the game didn’t lack for pace.
The Player’s Turn saw the Rangers attempting to heal up from being Tired, convince the Dwarven King to let the folks of Gondor settle the land, and bear witness to the first Dunedain births in the ancient capitol for over a thousand years. That last one was a nicely narrated colour scene, no test.
The Dwarven King was being stubborn, his Greedy heart holding out for more trade concessions and tribute from the Rangers, egged on by the scheming whispering of the Dwarf Norn. One of the Rangers presented the Shield of Telcor by way of tribute, which the Dwarven King gladly accepted and placed next to the Blade of Telcor which was already in his possession. At this, one of the players decided that his Ranger wasn’t going to stand for a vile Dwarf owning “stolen” treasures of the Dundedain, so he snuck back into the Dwarven Halls during night to reclaim the sword and shield. Sadly, due to a failed Scout Test, it was discovered that the Dwarf Norn had already buried the Sword of Telcor deep in the breast of the Dwarven King - greedy bastard Dwarves. The game climaxed during the Player’s Turn with the spittle-fleck Norn denouncing the Rangers and the Dundedain, and the Rangers managing to pull victory out of the bag by presenting the Dwarven Court with proof of Norn’s treachery. The settlers were allowed to settle, trade agreements were signed, and everyone lived happily ever after. Except Norn, who was hung, drawn, and crushed.
Thus ended a good pacey game, that clocked in at just shy of three hours running time. Realm Guard works nicely, with instant buy-in because of the Middle Earth setting. The Dundedain Nature still seems very easy to bring into play, much more so than Mouse Nature from vanilla Mouse Guard. System-wise, I haven’t yet made custom conflict and condition cards for Realm Guard. One, because I already have custom cards for vanilla Mouse Guard which work well enough. And two, because I’m not sure enough folks are playing Realm Guard to make it worth my while to soak time into them just for a small handful of folks to get some use out of them. If you are playing Realm Guard, shout out already.
Anyways, ta muchly for the hack, it continues top provide good gaming on top of the Mouse Guard engine.