My game group tried out Do: Pilgrims of the Flying Temple tonight by Daniel Solis. We had a great time. In short, the game involves Pilgrims (teens with too much authority) who go about the various worlds doing two main things: Helping people, and getting into trouble. The game is played by drawing three stones (or electrical connectors, in our case) from a bag. There are two colors of stones, and you pick one color or the other to keep. The amount you keep (from 0 to 3) determines on that turn if you get into trouble, get out of trouble, get into worse trouble, or help someone. You accomplish these things by writing sentences that briefly describe how a pilgrim gets into or out of trouble, or how they help either a fellow pilgrim, or perhaps the person you came to help. As an example, I’ll put below the results of the game. I’ll start with the pilgrims, who are defined by how they get into trouble, and how they help people, with both a word, and a phrase. Then I’ll post the story sentences that resulted.
Pilgrim Righteous Fire
Gets into trouble by being self-righteous
Helps people by enthusiastic encouragement
Pilgrim Leavett Nethers (not exactly a naming convention according to the rules, but oh well.)
Gets into trouble by running away
Helps people by shaking his hips
Pilgrim Lively Strong
Gets into trouble by being too friendly
Helps people by taking the moral high ground
Pilgrim Soapy Bebop (my character)
Gets into trouble by being melodramatic
Helps people by playing jazz music
Melanie’s planet was swallowed by a whale. She would like us to help her planet to bot get swallowed any more. We arrive at the whale, and there is some confusion in the story as to when we entered the whale, so just keep that in mind as you read. Slightly edited to keep in the 3rd person and same tense.
Righteous Fire called out to Melanie. When she heard, she cried out and Righteous fire assured her they’re there to help.
The whale heard the haughtiness in Righteous Fire’s words, and knocked the pilgrim senseless, and he started falling.
Lively Strong shouted “Hello! It’s wonderful to meet …” and dove into the whale’s mouth and toward Melanie, but clotheslined himself on the trees.
After waking up from a concussion, he gave the tree a lecture about where to grow.
Leavitt whipped his hips in a clockwise motion, causing the whale to get nauseous and flip upside-down, and his tail struck Righteous Fire back up into the air.
The world tumbled in the whale’s tummy, making Melanie toss her cookies, which grossed out Leavitt, so he flew off to avoid the smell, which made Melanie sad.
Soapy Bebop played a mystical jazz tune which cleaned the mess and smell from the house, so Leavitt returned.
But in his high state of emotion he is filled with melancholy and wept loudly into his sax, which emitted a noise so piercing that Menalie’s cat’s head explodes.
Righteous Fire enthusiastically began to list gross meals to the whale, encouraging it to upchuck the world.
Pilgrim Lively Strong decided to console Melanie by giving her a hug.
Lively Strong’s hug squeezed a little to hard and Melanie said ‘Ouch.’
Leavitt Nethers, as the world was being spewed from the whale, tried to run out first, slipped, and was in danger of being eaten.
Wiggling his hips vigorously, he was able to propel himself into the air and out of danger.
— At this point, we used all the goal words (you try to use them before the game is up) and got the Parades (good) ending (as opposed to the bad Pitchforks ending.) We then wrote a little ending to the story.
Melanie thanked Soapy Bebop for cleaning her house and putting her cat, who was dying of cancer, out of its misery and saving her a veterinarian bill.
Melanie expressed her admiration for Righteous Fire’s ability to enthusiastically encourage the whale to throw up.
Pilgrim Lively Strong released Melanie from the purely platonic embrace (don’t ask) and walks (probably flew, really) into the sunset.
Leavitt, well satisfied with with work, looked down on the group as he floated, hips circling like a propeller. He heard Soapy’s music and realized he could do more good by shaking to the rhythm and became Leavitt Salsar.
Afterwards, the stones you have the most of determines what part of your character changes. Two changed their first name, the other two their second.
Righteous Fire became Insecure Fire
He gets into trouble by not being confident in his abilities, because things didn’t always go as planned.
Leavitt Nethers became Leavitt Salsar
He helps people by dancing salsa, because it’s better than just shaking your hips.
Lively Strong became Fool Strong
He gets into trouble by being aloof, overcompensating for being too friendly and causing problems.
Soapy Bebop became Soapy Sweepy
He helps people by cleaning up messes, deciding that mystical music is too unpredictable, but that cleaning up messes is always good.
There’s a lot more to the game that I wont cover in detail, but the book has lots of setting to paint the worlds and skies the pilgrims play in, and explains each bit of the game fantastically. The art is top notch, as well. The target age group is 12+, but our group was 27+, so it was I think it came out different than if there had been young teens playing. The cats head exploding was a little outside the theme of the game in my opinion, but I was the only one who had actually looked at the book and read the setting and whatnot. It was kinda hilarious, though.
Lots more is explained on the game’s page if you want to know more specific details.
I think everyone should give this game a try. Anyone can play, really. It’s simple, fun, whimsical, and creative, which are all things I like.
For those unaware, my second child Owen (7lb 15oz, 20.5 inches) was born with all the correct amount of bits on Sunday. So far he’s pulled a few good powers out for a level 1 character.
So first thing Owen did was a Lifely Power (like a daily, but you can only use it once.)
As he came forth from the birth canal, he got an immediate reaction of ‘Amniotic spray’ which is a Close Burst 1. In a fashion true to my own, he rolled low and didn’t beat my reflex score. He did get half damage though and proceeded to roll a 2, just getting a couple drops on my hoodie.
No one slipped on the zone of slippery mess he created on the floor, either.
Today, he used an at-will power of ‘Pee Everywhere’ which is also an immediate reaction which triggers on ‘If your diaper is being changed.’ It’s a ranged 10 attack vs all creatures in range. Again, he missed me, but did cause 5 Urine Damage to the wall, a couch cushion, two blankets, three pillows, and rolled a crit on my wife’s hot cocoa and tool that right out like it was a minion (made me proud.) I’m going to have to use my Pee Pee TeePee items, made for us by our friend Lindsey. Those can reduce Urine Damage to all allies to 0.
I picked up the Dark Sun Bloodsand Arena adventure Wizard’s of the Coast put out for Free RPG Day this year. There are spoilers, so if you plan to be a player in these adventures, read with caution.
Setting and Materials
It’s for 1st level and comes with six characters ready made. The sheets are on nice coated paper, but are hard to write on without a dry erase marker. Also, one had a typo saying a power did 2d17 + 7 damage.
Even if your players really like to make their own characters, the fact that at this time there is nothing about Dark Sun in the character builder required they use these characters unless they want to miss out on the new Dark Sun powers. Plus magic works entirely differently in Dark Sun, so a traditional magic user wont work in Dark Sun.
The setting of Dark Sun is a post-apocalyptic setting in a fantasy world. In Dark Sun, the easy magic takes energy from everything around it. For example if a wizard cast a big spell, the plants around might wilt. One power the character has will actually damage team mates if you make it stronger. Despite there being ways to use magic without causing harm (but it’s harder to do), everyone just kept casting spells until the world came to ruin. Now all magic and those who use it are shunned. The world is a wasteland.
Metal is scarce in the desolate world, so most weapons are ceramic. On a roll of a 1, you can reroll but risk breaking your weapons, or take the automatic miss.
The maps provided are large and very nicely drawn. You can use them for any kind if arena combat in any setting.
I ran with 4 players, so I just picked one of the two provided back stories for all the characters. The characters are divided into two groups of three, so I picked the story that matched the majority of the characters.
After convincing the players that they should escort the caravan instead of trying to rob it (Players are a necessary evil), we got underway for the first section of adventures. There are two groups included, we only played the first. I game them five days worth of food each. I did this because failing some skill challenges had penalties for running out of food. I figured 5 would be enough if they did well, but not too many to avoid trouble if it camie.
The first part is a set of skill challenges. They are of an easy difficulty. If the players pass, they get a bonus to the next challenge or avoid misfortune. I didn’t tell the players they were running skill challenges. I just asked for some skill rolls to start, then presented situations based on what the skill challenges provided. This worked really well. They even got more food for hunting and catching some animals. I did make a ‘mistake’ on one. They should have avoided the first combat, but instead I didn’t read the whole thing and gave them a surprise round against the attackers. I think this worked out better, as the combat was fun. Due to having two less players, I removed two minions and one of the three bigger baddies. This worked out perfectly. One of the characters almost died, but not quite. That’s about right if you ask me. One of the bad guys had a poorly worded power:
Requirement: The raider must not have a creature grabbed
Attack: Melee 1 (One creature); +7 vs AC. While the raider has a creature grabbed, it can use Barbed Spear against the grabbed creature only.
This seemed to contradict itself, so I just didn’t use it.
Once they were done with the skill challenges I revealed that they had passed all the skill challenges. Everyone agreed that in this case not telling them they were participating in a skill challenge was a good choice.
The next section is where the PCs discover the caravan intends to capture them and sell them as slaves. I set up the map with all 7 bag guys (reduced from 10 due to having less players) and put the PCs on the board. This took a few minutes. Two of the snipers had shots, then the first PC went and in one attack bloodied the main traitor which triggered the city guards to show up and end the combat. All that setup time essentially wasted. Perhaps part of this was my fault, I think the enemy was supposed to be in the tent, not in the doorway, but on the other hand, the character could have made it there anyways, so maybe not.
Next was a skill challenge to see who the city guard believes. The result was the guards believed that the PCs were in the right, but wanted to put them all into the arena to give the caravan slavers some comeuppance. This is where things started to go terribly wrong.
A rule of the arena was no direct attacking of the opponents. Instead the goal was to have the most coins (large ceramic ones) in your teams coffer at the end of five rounds. The first mistake was I rolled initiative normally, where each player has their own, and each group of enemies has a single initiative. (two groups in this case.) What happened was the PCs got higher than all baddies, rushed for the coins and to block the enemy coffer … and aside from a couple good moments, the rest of the ‘battle’ was essentially boring. Had I given each PC and enemy their own initiative (which I recommend you do,) things might have been better, but I am not sure. It lasted way to long. Also, had the players just focused on the five rounds, it would have gone faster. It’s hard to focus on something boring though. Even adding the trapjaw monsters didn’t make it more interesting.
Overall, the skill challenge and first combat were great, the second combat took longer to set up than complete, and the final fight didn’t work at all for the group. I thought it would spark lots of roleplaying, but aside from the thri-kreen having four arms and taking two coins, nothing special happened.
I haven’t looked at the next adventure in the pack, so it might be better.
Still, if you get a chance to get a copy of this, the maps are super nice, and the skill challenge section is a fine example of how I think they should work in game.