Owls and Lions of Flame

Monday, August 16th, 2021

The Mission Sheets for the eighth phase of our Band of Blades campaign follow, with additional notes on meta-game events that affected play. This phase (and these missions) took place in Gallow’s Pass.

General information about these sheets and a full archive of previously posted sheets can be found on this page.

As long planned, the Legion heads into Gallow’s Pass to find forgotten artifacts for their Chosen. Since they were heavy with Intel, the Commander had decided during the previous session that they would be replacing two rolled missions with this region’s special missions. Thus I didn’t bother writing up more than a thumbnail for each rolled mission, and they picked which two to replace so I didn’t need to waste my time crafting sheets for missions that were not going to be used. However, I did include elements of those missions as part of the fiction of travel, and how the Legion avoided or blunted the problems before they became problems.

This was the fourth game our Spymaster player either didn’t show up to, or begged out of before the mission began. Expecting the player to still be involved in the game later, we had been making decisions about the Spymaster’s campaign actions as a group, rather than writing the command role (and their actions) out of play — and the group finished a spy’s LTP to learn all of Talgon’s special missions. Also, the Quartermaster made some impressive rolls here to acquire blackshot, which were improved further by a Fortune roll for selling an artifact, which (along with their existing supply) resulted in the Legion not having to worry about replenishing their blackshot for the rest of the game. A huge boon.

The Kevala monastery mission was the first special mission the group chose, and they surprisingly decided to put it as the secondary mission. Partly for meta reasons (everyone had read about or listened to other groups play through of the mission, as it is a popular mission) and partly because they really wanted the narrative payoff from the long build-up towards confronting Zenya. Zora was accompanied into the monastery by the Shattered Lions, the Officer, and the Medic, and the fiction was that the rest of the Legion was camped out on the trails leading up to it.

I was actually relieved they didn’t take this mission. I wasn’t sure at the time I could have done it justice. While I had developed some vague ideas about the scenario, nothing had geled properly by game night — a good chunk of the text above is a later addition for the sake of posting a complete sheet here. It would have been an interesting mission if they had taken it, and would have played into the problems of the Medic, and it would have been the first time the Shattered Lions saw any screen time.

They rolled a success, and the players decided the Legion would take the Time penalty and stick around for two weeks at Kevala to gain two benefits instead of one. They used this opportunity to really boost Zora’s powers: they added two ticks with the Blessing, which was enough to give her a new Ability plus one roll-over point of Favor. They took the Ability for her to earn Favor from more sources, and thus gained two Favor from successfully completing the local missions. Their plan was to concentrate on missions that granted Favor from here forward — which meant she could gain another Ability next session if they could pull off a mission they were considering in the Talgon.

The primary mission. The mission to retrieve the True Fire is a cool mission that often seems relegated to secondary status, and they wanted to do something different. More importantly: the payoff of the long build-up to a confrontation with Zenya and reckoning between her and the Legion’s Scout…plus the Sniper and the new Ghost Owls squad. Sometimes your players just roll well all night, and with the plan they developed, flashbacks, and multiple criticals, Zenya went down. This led to some arguments among the legionnaires about what to do with her body, in light of the Legion’s values regarding how the dead were to be treated: some wanted to cut off her head and throw it into the enemy camp to disrupt morale; others insisted her body be given a respectful burial.

We also gained our first glimpse of a character who would become a central presence in the Legion: a Zemyati woman who crossed the mountains, following a vision given to her by the Living God telling her to join the Legion. With that existing fiction in place, everything just sort of fell together by the end of the primary mission when she, and another long-standing character, were both marked by the True Fire. Each had very different reactions to it.

Our decision at the beginning of the campaign to make certain that missions fit into a single evening’s play crashed head-long into the narrative here, and the actual retrieval of the True Fire was, at least for me, a bit unsatisfying: it served more as a denouement to the action, which we resolved with a little bit of narrative and a couple rolls. Definitely one of the missions that led me to preemptively decide I will not do so in any future campaigns I run.

This was the mission the group ignored. They were slightly torn about it, as they wanted to handle Ache after the confrontation outside St. Oysingra, but the pull of the rewards of the monastery and the crown were more important, so they put off dealing with Ache for another time. With all their blackshot, and the previous project that allowed them to spend blackshot like horses, they just weren’t worried about the pressure penalty.

2 Responses to “Owls and Lions of Flame”

  1. Douglas Muir says:

    Hey Raven,

    I just want to say that these mission writeups are amazing. My first BoB campaign didn’t make it past Plainsworth (derailed by inter-player conflict) but I absolutely hope and plan to try again — and if I do, I’ll definitely use these, either directly or for inspiration.

    Thanks for all the time and effort you’ve put in here!


    Doug M.

  2. greyorm says:

    Thanks, Doug, I appreciate you stopping to comment, and I’m glad you like them! I do actually have a couple more write-ups waiting in the wings to clean up and post (but real life). If you’re in the Discord, I’ll be noting it on the BoB channel when I am finally able to do so. Good luck with your next game of BoB!

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