‘Henchmen’ Campaign – System: Fate Accelerated by Evil Hat Productions
In a fantasy world with strange races, magical powers and a hierarchy of heroes and villains, we are Henchmen – soldiers for hire and underlings to an evil Lord.
Our characters are thrown into battle, and acting quickly, make a big mess.
Our story began with the players crouched by the side of a wide road through a dark forest. They had been taken there by a muscular, bearded man named Elon who had recruited them on behalf of his Master. They were there to hijack a weapons convoy, he told them, as a test to see if they were good henchmen material.
As the convoy pulled into view, the players saw that there were four carts pulled by a pair of horses each, eight armed guards and some cart drivers. Two of the carts stood out to the players – one full of prisoners and one a solid steel box on wheels.
Launching into action, the players distracted the guards by throwing a rock into the trees on the opposite side of the path. This distraction worked especially well due to the fact that Elon had a second group of NPC recruits hiding opposite the players, who were instantly attacked by the guards. The players didn’t seem to have a problem with this, probably because those recruits were half-orcs and goblins who were also looking for henchman work.
The battle kicked off with Polly-Anne bashing in the head of a distracted guard, Hecate blasting another with magic missile, and The Knife jumping in front of the lead carriage and slicing the necks of the horses, resulting in an anime-style delayed blood fountain. With the carriage stopped, Tim the tiniest Wizard jumped onto one of the carriages and shouted at the guards to surrender, but none of them took any notice.
Most of the guards were quickly dispatched, but one of them managed to unlock the door of the large metal cart, letting lose a captive Giant White Ape which crushed him with a single blow. Quinn’s reaction to the arrival of this monster was to leap forward and partly disable it by striking vulnerable pressure points – her create advantage roll succeeding with style to create an aspect that could be invoked twice for +2. The Ape didn’t last much longer, as Tim struck the creature’s head with his magic staff, knocking it unconscious and taking it out of the scene.
I wanted to start our story in the middle of an action scene. Since none of us had played FATE or FAE before now, we were all learning how combat would work and we had to wrap our heads around how things were done. Using Approaches was a little confusing at first. Can you Cleverly bash someone’s head in? Is all combat reliant on being Forceful? The players did well to creatively use their strongest Approach to do what they wanted.
The NPC guards were fairly quickly overcome, but I expected the White Ape to present more of a challenge as a ‘strong’ mook with two hit boxes. I wasn’t counting on Quinn’s success with style in disabling the Ape, which instantly granted a massive +4 to the next attack. Looking back, I should have manipulated the outcome with GM Fate Points if I wanted it to be more of a challenging opponent.
The first scene went very well, especially with two first-time roleplayers at the table, and everyone picked up the rules quickly. The thing that surprised me most was the player’s instant desire to screw over their apparent allies by distracting the guards to attack Elon and the other recruits. I should have known that the players would relish their chance to play evil characters, as you will see very clearly in my next post – Gameplay Session 1 – Part 2.