Last episode of our second session of the City of Judas : the good, the bad and the Roc Bird.

Last episode of our second session of the City of Judas : the good, the bad and the Roc Bird.

Last episode of our second session of the City of Judas : the good, the bad and the Roc Bird.

As Azim and Grégoire were closing the gigantic bird of prey, they spotted the band of warriors led by Abdul al Kerim hidden behind rocks.

Without any hesitation, Azim charged the Roc bird straight on with nothing more than his determination and of course his heavy mace in his hand. As it happened, arrows flew into the sky hitting the beast as Al Kerim with three of his men went to engage Azim in battle. But they didn’t take the courage of Grégoire into consideration who rushed them brandishing his family banner and shouting Frankish war cries as he rose his winged mace (the mace seems to be the weapon of choice among this group apparently).

Two fronts then took place : Azim versus the monster and Grégoire against Al Kerim and his bodyguards.

The veteran took advantage of the fact that the Roc bird was turning its attention towards the archers at the rear, to strike him with a very heavy blow.

NOTA : Azim’s player got a 10+ on his Last Stand move and therefore could fight the monster as an equal, well so to speak. As the beast wasn’t paying attention at him I didn’t ask him to roll a Face Danger move+edge for this reckless action. He got as well a 10+ to his Engage in Battle move and did a lot of damage to the monster but not yet enough to strike it down.

As Azim got the full attention of the beast now, the fight turned dirty for him : he had do duck, dodge and resist to the tremedous strength of its monstrous adversary AND the powerful wind its colossal wings hurled at him.

NOTA : as i just said earlier, I asked Azim to roll some Face Danger moves, be it +steel when he did something tough of athletics, +edge when his reflexes were put to the test and even +shadow when he told me he tried to hide between the numerous rocks and boulders all around.

Grégoire got the upper hand at first against Al Kerim and struck him hard with two consecutive blows, litteraly hammering Kerim’s chestplate. But he took as well his fair share of retaliations when the bodyguards went for him with their scimitars and spears. Grégoire realized that he couldn’t take down their leader by himself, at least with his warriors flanking him

NOTA : Grégoire got several 10+ in his Engage in Batlle move and I decided to make a hard move against him (damage dealing) as he was fighting numerous opponents but not numerous enough to be considered as a gang.

So Grégoire grabbed Abdul Al Kerim and the two of them wrestled as they were rolling on the ground until they fell on a ledge further down. Now it was a duel. The two opponents locked on their gaze to one another for a while, trying both to catching their breath.

NOTA : as a result of a 10+ to his last Engage in Battle test, Grégoire chose to outmaneuver his opponents to manage to reduce their numbers against him. Hence the duel.

Above, Azim managed to climb on the Roc’s back, grabbing his large feathers with one hand and smashing the beast’ skull with another. Some arrows hit him as well as the beast but he stood strong and kept his mace firmly in his hand. Then, in a terrifying shriek, the monster took off, shaking its head to finally throw the hardy veteran off its back! Azim fell hard over the rocky floor.

NOTA : Azim’s player chose the also the outmaneuver tactic to “climb” on the Roc. This was a good strategy as the monster couldn’t really attack him and all it could do was to try to get rid of him. So I asked couple Face Danger +edge to keep his balance and he missed the last one. The fall dealt +2ap to him if i remember correctly but nonetheless enough to have his health drop below 0. He’s gotten the Unstable condition as several ribs and vertebraes were in bad shape.

Grégoire resumed his fight with Al Kerim and after a couple bloody exchange of blows, he tricked the war chief moving just out of his way when he charged the Frank head on. Abdul Al Kerim fell off the ledge and disappeared from Grégoire’sight in a cloud of dust as he saw him roll down the very steep slope.

NOTA : another consequence of the Face Danger move in favor of the fiction : I described the situation to Grégoire’s player like Al Kerim was charging straight at him, bull style, what do you do? Then he did the above and I decided it was enough to take Al Kerim out of the picture even if he still could have fought a while more.

The Frankish leader didn’t have time to catch his breath as he saw the Roc bird taking off and the body of his comrade falling straight to the ground! He tried to climb up the slope to help Azim but his armor impeded him unfortunately and he was then delayed. In the meantime the three bodyguards saw their master falling into oblivion and the beast about to strike from above. Better fight another day and avenge the death of their chief and they ran away.

The two archers who struck the monster (and Azim!) several times during the fight were now about to pay the appropriate consequences of their actions. The Roc bird swooped down on one of them and cleaved him into the ground while the other ran away as if the devil was on his tail!

This gave Azim enough time to get on his feet and Grégoire arrived just in time to defend his battle brother from the wrath of the beast which hadn’t forgotten about this puny nuisance. The Roc bird nearly smashed Grégoire’ shield in one blow of his talons as big as blades but he brave and tough Leader stood his ground, allowing his compagnion to break one of its leg! The beast fell on its side due to the tremendous force of the blow long enough to give Azim the opportunity to deal a last and fatal blow, splitting the Roc’ skull open!

NOTA : here we had a Defend & Hold move and Grégoire got a 7-9 so chose the Hold Position option and I think I should have have the Roc smash his shield as my move (instead I said nearly smashed, like couple more blow and it’s gone). But here i did a mistake and didn’t make a hard move on Azim as he was dealing the final blow to the monster. I forgot that he was Unstable…Well good for him!

One day later, the look-out at Bersaba’s watch-tower spotten two bruised figures limping about and dragging what appeared soon to be an enormous bird’s head…

Second part of our second session of COJ

Second part of our second session of COJ

Second part of our second session of COJ

Casting :

– Grégoire de Marsiac, Frankish Leader who went to the holy land to avoid ashaming his family further more

– Azim ben Arrabas, the veteran follower of the book of Q trying to redeem himself through combat for what he did during the crusades

Our two blood brothers just arrived at the gate of the remote village of Bersaba after being sent by Magister Geoffrey to evaluate the economical and strategical potential of the place and start partnership with the Iron Fist if worthy.

As they rode down the mountains where they had to flee an enormous Roc bird, they spotted a group of riders arriving at the village as well…

As they approached, they realized that the village was circled by a high (5m) stone wall and the door to wit they were arriving at was flanked by a wooden tower. A villager spotted them from afar and urged them to state their business. The compagnions declared being sent by the Iron Fist compagny to discuss the possiblity of a partnership with the village and there was a bit of a fuss from behind the walls. Several people were arguing amongst themselves and after a short while, the doors opened and two men welcomed Azim and Grégoire to Bersaba.

One of them, a broaded shoulders man by the name of Yakov, told them that it’s so rare to have so many visitors in Bersaba, especially the kinds who want to do business with them. The battle borthers were intrigued about the identity of the others and, as an answer, Yakov led them to the village plazza. The place was crowded by many villagers, men, women, old ones and children, gathered to listen and watch to the other visitors and as Yakov opened the crowd for Azim and Grégoire, they saw them as well.

A small group of warriors cladded in shiny and exotic armors, scimitars sheathed at their flanks, were standing next to a stern looking man, with an aquiline nose and an impressive and intricate helmet. They were grim, dour and dangerous followers of the book of Q and as soon as they saw each other, their leader stared straight at Azim with a murderous expression in his gaze.

In the middle of the two groups, sat on a small bench was a very old villager with a sheep pelt over his bony shoulders and a very long white beard. Despite his very advanced age sparkles of wits and wisdom could be easily seen in his grey eyes and he spotted at once the animosity that arose between the leader of the riders and Azim. Yakov hushed to his ear some words designing the newcomers and a cunning smile appeared on his dry lips as he spoke with a clear warm voice :

“By the Holy Vengeance of Judas, what do we have here? Other visitors who want to treat with us and from the City of Judas itself no less? So fortunate we are here in Bersaba! So, my friends, as I was saying to lord Al Kerim here, we, Bersabites, are a humble but hard working people. Our ancertors built this wall a long time ago, before even the Sons of Rome came and settle in Judea. We’re mostly herders and farmers but open to new opportunities nonetheless. So what is it you have to offer strangers?”

Lord Al Kerim, who didn’t stop staring at Azim with hate and disgust, answered to the Elder :

” We, followers of the book of Q, won’t demand much to your people, old one. We only ask you to convert and join our evergrowing army of followers for the benefit of the only Truth, in exchange of what you’ll receive protection from us against the carrion-eaters and scums that apprently roam this land even inside your very walls as it seems!”

Azim replied :

“At least, we, brothers of the Iron Fist won’t let their families rot when all the men will be killed in your senseless wars and feuds!”

NOTA : as you understood, Al Kerim & Azim knew each other. I introduced here an element of the BG of Azim as he chose for an issue which he will have to deal with soon. He described how some other followers of the book of Q beside whom he fought during the crusades resented him as a traitor and apostate, hence the behaviour of Al Kerim here.

The Elder, turned to Azim and Grégoire and asked them :

“So what do you have to propose then dwellers from the Holy City of our Saviour Judas blessed his name?”

NOTA : Grégoire should have spoken here for, as the Leader, his character was the most skilled at this, but as Azim stood up against Al Kerim AND it was an issue from his BG, I prefered to let him do the talking. So he spoke :

“Our brotherhood only want to start a partnership with Bersaba. As we saw, your walls are thick and high and your flocks plentiful. We may have the use of such an asset as your village as a place for shelter and resupply in this wilderness. In exchange, we’ll send brothers to help you out in case of need, some of our barbers might be sent here as well to tend the wounded and the sick, and our warriors will protect you against the rapacity of the desert wolves and other petty annoyances” said he looking at Al Kerim.

NOTA : he rolled+charm for a manipulate check the leverage being the help the IF might give to the village, and he got a 7-9.

The other followers of Q grabbed the hilt of their scimitars but Al Kerim raised his hand and they backed off.

Once again a witty smile shone upon the Elder’s face.

“Hummm…let’s see. So we both have here two valiant and potential allies and both their requests seem to be fair, in a way despite the fact that our faith is deeply rooted in Judas…”

“Then, you’ll have to pay a fine and go on with your faith. We’ll ensure that your temples and ceremonies go on as they always did.’ replied Al Kerim.

“That is very kind of you lord Al Kerim and a very sensible counter proposal. So now how to decide between the two of you?”

“Put us to a challenge! -proposed Al Kerim. We could easily overpower those ridiculous worms and son of traitor!”

“Then it is settled. There is a threat to us and our shepherds in the mountains nearby. A gigantic bird kills our people and our flocks for many moons but we can’t repell it. Warriors might. So here is the task : the first of you who brings us the head of the beast will receive our support. I swear it by the Holy Name of our Saviour Judas. What say you?”

The two sides agreed and the hunt shall begin.

As nightfall was upon Bersaba, Al Kerim and his warriors left the village by the way they came but the compagnions were offered a place to stay for the night. They really didn’t want to spend another one in the mountains… And as they were getting water at the village’s well by a young woman, Azim saw in guise of her the beautiful maiden he met in the Essenian district during his last mission. She was smiling at him with her radiant smile, her birght red lips and something, a primal urge to take her in his arms and kiss her was devouring his soul.

NOTA : remember the visions he had when he got bitten by the scorpion in the Part 1? I chose this precise moment to have him make a test your Spirit check that he totally botched. He chose then to take a -1 spirit instead of succombing to his urge…

NOTA : as it was getting late, I decided to jump in media res from this point to the confrontation with the Roc bird.

After a long day of hunting the monster among the rocky wilderness, they finally found it feasting on the remains of a few sheeps. But as they were getting closer, they could see the reflection of the light against metal : their rivals were here as well.

A tough and dirty battle was about to begin…

END of part 2.

As you saw there wasn’t so much of tests this time, I prefered having the players role play the talking but what I loved was the tension between the two sides and the surprise of Azim’s player when I told him that he saw this old ennemy in the village (I think he welcomed his presence with a “oooooh crap” or something like that).

Next part to come up soon!


This is the first part of my second game session of COJ.

This is the first part of my second game session of COJ.

This is the first part of my second game session of COJ.

For starters, the casting :

– Azim ben Arrabas, the veteran from the crusades follower of the book of Q who successfully accomplished one mission (and saved a mule called Judith^^).

– Grégoire de Marsiac, a Frank leader from Gasconny who ended up at Jerusalem after having ashamed his family.

The two of the blood brothers were summoned once again by the Magister Geoffrey but this time he sent them to the small and remote village of Bersaba in the southern part of Judea. Their mission was to assess the economical and strategical strengths of the place and if worthy to start negociate a business relationship with the Iron Fist (IF). Even if Azim was the most experienced brother, Geoffrey gave the command to Grégoire because he’s heard “some people” speaking highly of him (As a noble, Grégoire’s got some family in Jerusalem as he described in his background). Nonetheless, it didn’t really please the Magister who will particularily have an eye on Grégoire’s results. Better for him to succeed in his first endeavor…

The Quatermaster of the IF (have to give him a name next time, because I have the feeling he’ll be a recurrent NPC) gave them one horse each (strong european ones actually) and rations for the 10 days trip.

Before leaving the City of Judas, Azim thought that a map would (justly) help them to get quickly and safely to Bersaba.

NOTA : I, at first, thought they should have gotten a map but then thought that those items were rare and mostly very expensive at the time so I decided that, as rookies still, the IF wouldn’t invest so much in them…for now at least.

I called for a Equipment move and Azim scored a 7-9, so he could find a map but had to pay some extra gold for it (-1 equipment).

As for Grégoire, he had the very good idea to buy some presents for the Bersaba’s authorities, so both of them spend the rest of the first day around the numerous bazaars and souks of Jerusalem. They even witnessed to a christian flagellant procession towards the Mount of Olives.

NOTA : concerning the Grégoire’s request, I didn’t want to have him check his equipment move now as I thought it would be more funny/interesting to have it roll when he’ll give it to the village’s elder. I thought that maybe he could have choosen poorly the gift and maybe anger the Elder if he rolled 6- for example.

Anyhow, Azim & Grégoire got out of Jerusalem and started a long trip into the Judea’s wilderness. I asked only Grégoire to roll a Face Danger+steel and Azim to help him (actually both of them) rolling a face Danger+Brains as he was using the map. He rolled again a 7-9.

So…the map was really usefull to them as Azim’s player described how it’s got many places indicated to rest during the hottest part of the day and to find good shelter for the more than chilly nights (probably a map maide by an old pilgrim) but one day as Azim was looking at it at mid-day, he didn’t notice the scorpion crawling under the map and before he realized it stung him.

NOTA : the scorpion was the consequence of his 7-9 face danger test, it was a soft move at first as Azim spotted the crawly but failed at another Face Danger+Edge check. So I turned it into a hard move and had him loose 2 or 3 health (I don’t really remember how much it was).

BTW, how do you guyz rule the effects of poison? Do you give it a straight number of damage like I did? I thought that maybe one could give as well the Unstable condition even if Health is superior to 0? What do you think?

Grégoire decided to loose couple days to stay put to help Azim recover a bit from his strong fevers (I took there the opportunity, as part of the fiction to have Azim dreamt about the girl at the well from their first adventure and start having strange and mixed feelings about her. You’ll see why later…)

NOTA : Here I asked Grégoire’s player to choose between helping Azim and stay put but maybe loose their supply of food and water or to keep them but keep on going riding with a feverish veteran on a saddle.

After the two days, the fever was gone and they could resume their trip. So as part of the deal, i asked both of them to make an Equipment check to see if they’ll have suffciently rations to get to Bersaba, and they both aced it.

At the ninth day (out of 10) they reached a treacherous mountain path and had to take their mounts by the bridle, mostly climbing more than walking. I asked for another Face Danger+steel : Azim got a 10+ and Grégoire a 7-9. So as they were advancing amongst the rocky landscape, Grégoire spotted a strange shadow passing right over them. He couldn’t see what it was but it gave him an eerie feeling about it.

NOTA : here I used my move from the 7-9 of Grégoire to introduce a Remote Danger.

Some time later they heard screams quickly followed by a strange buzz and a sudden wind. As they were getting closer a flock of sheeps emerged from the top of a cliff, running in every directions. They peeked from over the cliff and saw a shepherd desperately trying to drive out the most gigantic bird they had ever seen. They noticed as well another shepherd lying on the rocks in a pool of his own blood. The huge bird of prey was flapping its wings with such a strength that he could create such a strong wind, that the shepherd had to wrestle with it to stay on his feet.

NOTA : the bird was indeed a monster. I just got my inspiration from the classical Roc Bird and have it be Massive with 2 armor points roughly speaking.

I asked the two compagnions what they wanted to do and after some considerations towards the beast, they finally decided to avoid any confrontation whatsoever with it. So as they were sneaking past it, I called for a Defy Danger+shadow test when the Roc just cleved the poor shepherd they could have saved.

NOTA : now I know what to do to them when they’ll reach -1spirit…Some tainting is on its way.

Azim, once again, proved himself worthy and sneaky and therefore avoided the monster quickly with his mount. But things didn’t turn out so good for our leader. Unfortunately he got a 6-, so he didn’t sneak past it AND the Roc spotted him! I also stated that his horse got scared and ran away (now I thought that maybe I was a bit hard on him at the time). Grégoire asked for the best course of action (or should has he said “survival”?) and I asked him to roll a perception test. he managed to figure out that the best way out was a small cave at some distance or trying to jump on Azim’s mount to ride double. But first he had to get the hell out of there at once as the enormous bird-thing was jumping straight at him! Time to roll an other Face Danger +edge. Grégoire just had the time to get to Azim before he heard the slamming of a gigantic beek right behind his neck!

NOTA : I had Azim helped Grégoire automatically as his described how he was getting his mount clsoer and ready for the Frank, waving and cheering at him to give Grégoire some more strength.

But now they weren’t out of harm’s way yet, they had to outrun the Roc and another time the battle brothers saved themselves thanks of the horsemanship of the veteran (who got another 10+ on his Face Danger+edge test).

NOTA : I’ve got a question here : I think I should have given him maybe a -1 to Azim face danger test as they were riding double. How do you deal with this kind of drawback in general? I believe that in DW you could do that but I’m not entirely sure.

They rode and rode quicker than the wind, avoiding the holes and the treacherous rocks along the way and after what was an eternity of riding, ducking and keeping balance on the saddle their got outside the mountain pass by nightfall. They didn’t catch any glimpse of the bird but could spot some lights down the valley. They had reached the village of Bersaba.

As there was 1 hour of riding left and it was dark, they prefered spend the night in a cave nearby even if the monster could be near.

NOTA : I thought that it was kind of a poor decision personnaly, as i described that the Roc was on their tail for most of their escape but their argument was valid, so I called for a spirit check. And they both failed (6-).

Azim and Grégoire spent the worst night they ever lived. During most of it, they could clearly hear the threatening buzz and the flapping of massive wings followed sometimes by a terrifying shriek. Azim was submerged by fear and crawled to the deepest part of the cave where he spent the whole night trembling and sweating, chanting all the prayers he knew from the book of Q. As for Grégoire, he was just furious against himself as he thought that he acted with cowardice when he let the shepherd got killed gruesomely by the monster.

NOTA : here I used the consequence of a failed test your spirit check and chose : “you show the worst of you…”

Only when the firsts rays of light shown themselves, they got it together and could they resume their mission.

As they were climbing down the mountain, Grégoire spotted from far away, the cloud of dust made by a group of riders approaching the village. Who were they and what was their business at Bersaba?…

END of the first part.

So, as usual, I’d love to hear comments, critics and advices from you guyz about how I ran the first part of this adventure. As you noticed, I called for a lot of Face Danger tests. Do you think there were too many? Or should I had replaced some of them with other moves maybe? To me it didn’t appear like weird really but I’m always open to suggestion! Hope you liked it! 🙂


PART 3 (and last!) of my first COJ game.

PART 3 (and last!) of my first COJ game.

PART 3 (and last!) of my first COJ game.

As they were getting outside of Jerusalem by night, Azim and Zeno (and their mule) went towards the port of Ashdod. Zeno’s gang stayed behind as they didn’t cross the gate in fear of compromising the mission (that was a call of Zeno’s player actually and not such a bad idea).

Staying on the merchant road heading to the west, Azim pondered and strong of countless treks in the wilderness during his soldier life, thought that the road would be watched and decided to get off the beaten tracks. But as the City of Judas was at least lit a bit, that wasn’t the case (at all!) in the wilds and that they might be spotted at a distance if they used torches. Azim’s player asked me if he could have a kind of thief’s lantern with only one beam of light that one could shut down quickly. That wasn’t something his character was supposed to have amongst his possession as a veteran but I called for an Equipment check anyway. Azim scored a 10+ and then used two holds to have something unusual for his character and the last one to have it while on the road. Our two Fraters started their trip through the wild and rocky countryside.

NOTA : I called then for a defy danger+steel (if I remember correctly) as the trip was rough and they had to keep on moving quickly to egt to Ashdod before the captain ran away. Both aced it. However, I have a question here for +Davide : have you considered a move to deal with this “adventuring into the wild” like there was in DW?

After a harsh night spent walking, climbing and exhausting themselves, Zeno the raider and Azim the veteran finally caught a glimpse of the shimmering waters of the sea! They reached the port itself and noticed the frank vessel, “le Fol Ventoux” not far away. But between them and the boat stood a group of tough mean looking mercenaries who were visibly patrolling in the vincinity of the ship.Azim told Zeno to stay behind as he’ll try to get past the guards to talk to the captain of the Fol Ventoux. He succeeded (10+) and managed to reach the dock just in front of the vessel. There he asked for the Captain and saw a frightened bearded face looking at him with extreme caution. As they were nearly mid-day, he Frank was tense. He hushed at Azim about hem being crazy to try to board their cargo now as the mercenary pack was searching for them all around the docks. Azim tried to calm him down but failed (6-) at his face danger+charm move… Suddenly a rugged voice shouted something behind him. The mercenaries finally saw him! (I used the GM move show remote danger – well not so remote actually ). Already two of them were nearly at him and he started a bloody fight standing on the footbridge. He managed to throw one of his adversaries off the bridge but the other one forced him to abandon his position (-1 to his AD) using the length of his spear. Zeno who saw the whole scene from behind a sturdy building started to shoot at the other group of mercenaries, mostly forcing them to dive for cover. Azim fought fiercely against three opponnents (should I had him used the face death as they were more than 2 Vs 1?? At this time I didn’t but I am not so sure now…) and Zeno was now crossing blades with the sergeant (a strong type adversary) whose broad sword moved aside the light dagger of the raider and ripped his armor apart (thought that some weapon should definitely be able to break some armor, for good, as Zeno was only wearing light leather armor) putting his life at a real risk.

During the fight, the footbridge collapsed as the boat was leaving the port! Worse, one of the mercenary started to take the mule with him (as a consequence of one of their failed combat move)! Azim fled the battle and sprinted along the docks to finally jump and land on the Fol Ventoux’s deck! Then as he was trying to assess the situation (using a perception check) he asked as one hold this question : what is the best course to have the captain stop the ship? To which I answered : in threatening his life, and that’s what he did. He rolled a test of manipulate (and succeeded with a 7-9. With a blade onto his throat, the captain reconsidered his option and acept to give a bit more time to the blood brothers (Azim player chose the “they give you what you want …” option). The boat stopped his course and a rowing boat came down.

At the docks the battle between Zeno and the mercenaries led by their grim and strongly build sergeant went bad for the raider (he suffered several injuries and was at 0 health). As he didn’t see where Azim was (the player didn’t want to make a perception check maybe in fear of a failure hence another GM move?^^) he decided to run for his life! The mercenaries didn’t really care to kill him anyway, so they let him go (they were paid to recover the shipment only). That’s at this precise moment that two sailors led by a determined Azim appeared from below the dock where a poor now exhausted mercenary tried to pull the mule away. Quickly and with a deadly precision, the veteran sneaked  behind the man and stroke him down with a blow of his mace crushing helmet and skull alike.

NOTA : here Azim asked to sneak behind the merc, so I asked for a defy danger+shadow. As he succeeded with a 10+ I decided that he stroke the man down without a Inflict harm move. I thought it suited best the fiction. Was the guard dead or simply KO, it didn’t really matter as he was taken down for the rest of the fight.

At once he started to pull the mule to get it inside the rowing boat when the rest of the mercenary gang spotted him and rushed straight towards his position! Zeno spotted this two from behind his hideout and rushed as well to help his brother. He ran like a madman until he reached the rear of the mule, pushing his bottom as Azim was dragging it!

NOTA here I asked for a help someone move and decided that Zeno automatically succeeded. I guess I was maybe a bit too kind having him spotted the whole thing as he said he was running away from the fight but it was late and I thought ah “what the heck”.

Finally the mule got in the rowing boat with Azim and the two sailors completely startled by the beast standing now next to them! As for Zeno he was the last to get on board and was baddly struck by a spear as he was trying not to regain his balance.  The spear head pierced his leather layers and broke his shoulder blade (I think he was then at -2 health and as such got the unstable condition). And the hit pushed him overboard! Fortunately for him, Azim saved the day (and surely his life!) and pulled him out!

NOTA : as he got a 6 on the suffer harm move, I chose the “it”s serious…” option and decided he strength of the blow pushed him overboard. Then I don’t remember well but I asked a face danger+steel (or was it edge?) at Zeno’s player and I think he missed it completely., but as Azim tried to help him and successfully got a 10+ I said that he saved him from drowning. Was I right here? Can you still increase the success of someone who just failed ?

At the end, both Azim & Zeno went aboard the Fol Ventoux and managed to deliver the opium. The mission was still a success but there were some questions here still unanswered : who paid those mercenaries and the bribe at the gate? How could he knew of the operation? What was the fate of brother Timeus? Did he die during the assault in the Essenian district? And most importantly what will become of their new friend the mule?^^

Anyway I had a good time running this game even if I screwed up from time to time. We still have to go through the “milestoning” and the end of a mission move but I think we had a good overview of the game’s mechanics. Hope you enjoyed this gaming report! Cheers! 😉


PART 2 of my first game of COJ

As Azim & Zeno were taking possession of the shipment of opium, screams and shouts started to be heard in the vincinity. (I forgot to mention that Zeno’s gang stayed in front of the first house where the PCs met Timeus giving his speech to the crowd)

Brother Timeus and several other members of his congregation ran towards the direction of what started to appear to the PCs as a battle going on.

Azim decided that their mission came first and therefore stayed with the mule while Zeno rushed towards the battle, running through the houses now deserted. When he arrived where he left his brothers in arms he found them fighting fiercely in a shield wall formation (he chose the move at character creation) against what appeared to be a larger group of guards mostly made of Westerner fighters. Two of his men were already wounded, one of them showing a grim and bloody injury where a crossbow bolt hit him. Quickly Zeno, assessed the situation (he made a perception move in battle and asked for the best escape route which was back towards where the mule was) and then decided to block the entry of the house he was in collapsing the ceiling. He managed to gather the other raiders without more losses and to destroy a joist (face danger + steel with a 10+).

The gang then started to run back towards where Zeno left Azim who had a lot of difficulties in having the mule advancing (at least the way HE wanted). But no time was to lose as the collapsing roof wouldn’t delay the guards for too long.

NOTA : Perhaps my mistake here was that I wanted to have them face a moral dilemma having the girl from the well and/or Timeus being targeted by the guards but as Zeno succeeded his move I decided to go along.

They decided to flee through the Essenian district. (I called for a Face Danger +edge for Zeno as he had to keep it together and +steel for Azim as pulling the mule was pretty exhausting

NOTA : I thought to made a move for the mule but didn’t really have time and thought in the end that a face danger would do the trick. But anyway the mule could still be the target of some of my move : it’s kinda difficult to transport some barrels through a city like Jerusalem and its rocky countryside ‘well that is to say if they don’t have a gang helping them)

Azim managed to drag the mule (and the opium) without too much trouble but Zeno got a 7-9. So I had him to make a choice between saving one of his man who was shot by a crossbow but then all the ennemy gang will finally find them or basically leaving his man to die but he would then escape the guards. He chose the second option and then took a -1 spirit as a raider.

Then i don’t recall exactly what happened but if i remember it correctly the PCs started to argue about what course of action they should do regarding of the shipment…in a middle of a chase. So after a while (and told them that it was dangerous, that they were still chased…) I decided to go for a hard move : as they finally agreed to go on with the mission and finally got out of the Essenian district, they faced a smaller gang of guards (actually I thought that the guards splitted in two smaller gangs : one chasing, and the other one surronding them). At once Zeno and his men shot several of the opposition (thanks of another move he took from the raider’s playbook) and decided to go for the kill (he chose the option of being ready for a mêlée fight). The battle was as quick as it was bloody and the gang was (almost too quickly) dispatched.

NOTA : it was during this fight that we started to have some questions about the raider as I’ve discussed in another post.

Azim, Zeno (and the mule) finally got to the walls and one of the gate (I decided it surely was one towards the port) and as they assessed the situation (one of them successfully managed to score a 10+ on a perception check) they saw a shadowy figure leaving the guarrison followed by what appeared to be the captain visibly smiling at the mysterious emissary and poking something in his hand with content (I thought it was obvious he just received a bribe and didn’t want to make things too easier for the PCs either so I didn’t described more than that. But nevertheless, Azim and Zeno took the mule and walked directly towards the gate…

NOTA : at that moment I was thinking : “the guards captain just got a bribe to look for some sucpicious individual who will probably try to pass through the gate with a shipment of opium, and they are going right at him…” so at first I thought this was a very bad idea and wanted to make a hard move but then I realized that I wasn’t probably clear enough about the bribe thing so I decided to let them try away to see what happens.

Two guards speaking loud in frank and visibly drunk (stereotype here? maybe back then! haha) stopped them as they approached and asked them what they were carrying in those barrels. A glimpse of envy sparkled in their ox looking eyes…and Azim stated it was oliva oil. (He made a fance danger+Shadow and brilliantly scored a 10+). The guards looked at him with disgust (and  a big disapointment!) and let them through.

The two Fraeters left the high walls of the City of Judas lit by torches and braseros behind them as they were entering into the darkness of the countryside. Will they reach the port of Ashdod in time and alive?…. Let’s see what happened to them in the last part!

Hope you’re still enjoying that but most importantly I’m opened to any feedback : regarding the way I used moves, the story, anything.

So this is a report of our last session of COJ (and the fist!).

So this is a report of our last session of COJ (and the fist!).

So this is a report of our last session of COJ (and the fist!).

First of all, the casting :

– we had the veteran, Azim Ben Arrabas a follower of the book of Q who fought during the crusades (against the crusaders) and stayed at Jerusalem afterwards with a wish of redeeming himself through combat for some things (which stayed a mystery for now) he’s done during the siege of the holy city. That’s why he joined the Iron Fist.

– then there was Zeno the raider, a local from Jerusalem who was, alongside with his men, a bandit and made the most of the crusades to raid and plunder the poor soulswho managed to escape the war. Then when things calmed down he had no choice but to join the brotherhood to avoid getting revenge from those he stole from (especially a noble family from whom he killed a member). NOTE : the player didn’t chose the leader move so he was considered by his gang as a founding and important member but no more. He came up with several names for other important members of his gangs and we discussed a bit about their relatioships between one another. Turned out that the former leader of the gang (Tobias) led it to a bad situation (which has to be defined) and disappeared during it. Was he left for dead? Did he run away? The gang’s opinion on that matter is divided between the two.

As suggested in the book, I chose to run a focused mission for this first game, so here it was : The characters were sent by the Magister Geoffrey (from Anglia and looking a lot alike with Liam Neeson) to bring a package (of opium) to the port of Ashdod (roughly half a day of Jerusalem) for the benefit of the Judaists. They’ll have first, to pick up the package at a Judaist priest’s place, brother Timeus located in the Essenian district. (I came up with the name after seeing an older map of Jerusalem and made it like a maze like place with many small alleys and a potential nest for thieves). The brother Timeus will then tell them on what vessel they’ll have to drop the opium.

Before dropping them into action, I presented couple more Blood Brothers (as I didn’t see another way to name them, I called them Fraeters to stick with the Magister and Caesar nomenclature (not even sure if it makes sense!). Then they were on their own…

The plot roughly was that a Venitian merchant had some connection inside of the Iron Fist’s fortress and was told about the package and therefore will try to snatch it for himself. His plan was simple : to bribe some guards (as a matter of fact christians) to get the opium shipment as soon as the players will get it and if it doesn’t work he’ll have a gang of mercenaries at the port.

Azim the veteran deicded to check if they were followed as soon as they left the fortress and as he succeeded his perception move, I oltd him that effectively they were. They tried to ambush whoever was following them when they reached the Essenian district but failed. I made a move and decided that the spies managed to avoid the ambush and to follow them again more cautiously (if they had got a 7-9 rather than a 6-, I’d probably stated that they scared the spies and that they wouldn’t have been able to be on their tail again).

By the end of the day, as darkness fell upon the city of Judas, they reached a small plaza where a priest of Judas was giving a hateful speech against the christians at a small crowd and where a young woman was giving water to the old and the weak from a nearby well. She then turned to the PCs and asked them if they were thirsty telling them that Christ gave water to Judas as Judas quenched the thirst of blood of the people of Jerusalem. (I was hoping to introduce differences between Judaists and Christians here and build up the fiction. Not really sure if it worked but well).

They finally managed to talk to the priest who was delivering his spiteful speech. They’d found brother Timeus. He led them through some houses (some of which were occupied by families who looked at him with radiant smiles and respect even if he was accompagnied by a band of bloodthirsty cutthroats. They had a little chat during which he told them the name of the vessel they were supposed to deliver the package (le Fol Ventoux from Frankia) insisting on the fact that the captain of the ship was in a hurry and if they didn’t get a hold on him by mid-day (that is to say the next day) he’ll leave and they’d have failed the mission. Time wasn’t their ally… He then showed them the package : two sturdy barrels placed on each side of a mean looking mule. He gave to Azim some carrots and a stick when screams started to be heard from nearby…

End of the first part. I apologize in advance for the grammar and vocabulary as I can’t really review it right now (I’m as well in a kind of a hurry!^^). At this point they didn’t really make lots of move and the fact that the spies were still tailing them meant that I advanced my front to one step which will lead to what happens in the next episode.

Anyway hope you enjoyed it and if you want to know more about this adventure, I’ll try to post the rest of it asap. Cheers!

Here is another short report; this is about a sorcerer and the Hunting Demons (see the preview image).

Here is another short report; this is about a sorcerer and the Hunting Demons (see the preview image).

Here is another short report; this is about a sorcerer and the Hunting Demons (see the preview image).

Hunting demons are relatively weak monsters, although I wouldn’t underestimate them unless I was playing a seriously martial playbook like the Veteran or the Sellsword (or the Raider, with my gang covering my ass). The annoying thing about Hunting demons: they can be raised from corpses, even random pieces of dead meat assembling together and coming to life fueled by the dark force of sorcery. Sometimes, they appear as an animated statue or an empty armor. So, basically, they can appear almost anywhere, without notice.

They are evoked by the GM by spending points on the Taint Tracker; which is increased by characters taking 1 to Spirit. For a brief comment about Spirit, see Michael Sands quick and cool review of today: 

When you invoke with the Taint Tracker, as GM, you act as the Hell Prince himself: you know how to find your targets (including the character!). This is really a pain in the ass for my players (in a good way).

One of my best players (say hello to Tom, everybody) plays a Sorcerer. 

His first encounter with a Hunting demon (in the form of an empty armor coming to life) was within a tower, while he was sleeping. He had no time to prepare a spell, so he just went for his mace (he’s got quite an attitude, combining spells and furious mace swings). He made it out of the room, while the Raider and his gang came to his aid, blocking the demon inside the room while the sorcerer ran out.

Then the Barber stepped in, got hurt, and the Sorcerer got mad. They finally burned the bastard after breaking the armor into pieces.

The next time, in the desert, the Sorcerer (I have a soft spot for him, I know…) was on duty watching the camp, and was attacked by another Hunting demon (this time a collection of pieces of – mostly – human corpses, with dogs heads instead of hands). He had a big fire next to him, and managed to use his elementals powers to get rid of the beast.

Now, after a third encounter with a Hunting demon, our Sorcerer is gaining a strange reputation among the ranks of the Iron Fist.

He’s already quite a peculiar subject, with a nasty attitude (and dresses like a scarecrow basically). Add to that, that now he demands to have always a big fire lit in his room at night (remember, we’re in quite a warm climate), or several buckets of water always at his disposal (he likes to use water to confuse enemies and then strike with the mace). He needs the fire or the water to cast his spells fast enough to be able to fight the next Hunting demon.

I am inclined to let the mercenaries of the Iron Fist think he’s a paranoid, crazy bastard. And then to bring up a Hunting demon just so that he can go all smug on them with his “I told you so”.

What’d you think? :)

Russell Hoyle stay tuned for more (hopefully tomorrow, we’re playing tonight)

During our playtesting, I played a few sessions with only a couple of characters, and the game went well.

During our playtesting, I played a few sessions with only a couple of characters, and the game went well.

During our playtesting, I played a few sessions with only a couple of characters, and the game went well. Having only two characters of course leaves less room for possible conflicts between them; but the game holds.

In this specific adventure, we decided to explore some political conflicts between the Church of Christ and the Cult of Judas. The Iron Fist worked to convince the two sides to negotiate a truce, and finally both Christians and Judaists sent a couple of negotiators to the location designated for the talks. The characters, a Veteran and a Priest (which in the game is a follower of the Cult of Judas), were in charge of the security of the meeting, which was held in a small fortress half a day out of Jerusalem.

While the four prelates began the negotiations, which lasted for several days, the characters collected evidence of someone trying to sabotage the meeting. In one case, a messenger sent by one of the negotiators was killed while carrying a truce proposal to Jerusalem for approval from the high clergy of the Church of Christ.

Seeking a final proof of the talks being sabotaged, the Priest broke into the rooms of the two negotiators from the cult of Judas. In one trunk, he found ciphered documents but managed to get a sense of what was going on: someone inside the Cult of Judas was subtracting money from the cult, and using it to hire mercenaries. In a previous adventure, in fact, the characters have retrieved a shipment of opium that someone stole from the Church of Judas ‘ and apparently it was an inside job, orchestrated from the same man.

With this final proof in their hands, they confronted the two prelates from the Cult of Judas. They managed to obtain a confession from the guilty one, but not before he managed to poison both the emissaries of the Church of Christ. While the Priest worked to save the lives of the Christians priests and avoided what could have triggered an armed conflict between the two religions, the Veteran managed to stop the traitor from escaping.

We ended the session with the militia of the Cult of Judas escorting away the traitor, while he threatened the members of his own cult of their mistake. And in the next session, those mercenaries indeed could have proved handy when the Book of Q. moved a little army to raid along the southern borders of the Kingdom of Jerusalem… but that’s another story.

So, this was for Joseph Le May who asked for another session report. I chose this one because, in contrast to the first that presented the giant demon, the characters basically had almost no need to resort to violence for the entire session – and it was a great session even for the Veteran which is in theory a ‘tank’ playbook.

This time, our preview image is text-only: it should give you an idea of the basic instincts and GM moves for threats like the Church of Christ and the cult of Judas –

And for those who’re wondering: yes, the little boxes are clickable in the pdf of the manual. I think the entire manual is quite easy to navigate.

If you’re interested in the game, check it out here:

In our last session of City of Judas, my players faced a Giant…

In our last session of City of Judas, my players faced a Giant…

Originally shared by Davide Pignedoli

In our last session of City of Judas, my players faced a Giant Demon:

They’ve been hired by the Christian church to investigate an obscure cult – apparently christian as well – that is raiding villages north of Jerusalem and killing priests. It turned out that the cult is searching for three little girls, born in the same day, and all three named Pax (Peace, in Latin). The girls, as our Sorcerer established, have some kind of significance in a ritual the cult is trying to complete.

The characters (a Barber, a Raider and a Sorcerer) kidnapped the girls to bring them to Jerusalem and protect them, but the demon managed to track them. They refused to let the demon take one of the girls and faced it in combat instead.

The fight was real fun: the Raider (known in our group for refusing to use anything but his own, cursed dice that roll 6- embarrassingly often) finally stepped up and his gang proved decisive in protecting the girls. The Barber, although not best equipped for the fight, did her share. The Sorcerer had a somehow clumsy start, but recovered and contributed to the final victory.

But the fight wasn’t easy: both the Barber and the Sorcerer ended up taking a Debility to survive. The Barber is now limping, and the Sorcerer horribly burned by his own magical fire, which the demon spit back at him.

We’re now on hiatus for some weeks, but the players really enjoyed the session and the final “boss-fight”. They felt all the time like they were facing a possible horrible death – which they did – but finally managed to prevail. We’ll be back in Jerusalem next.

I wonder why the church will now demand that the Iron Fist mercenaries will hand over the little girls to them, and what the characters will do [evil grin]

If you’re interested in the game, check it out here:

Against the Cult of Nergal

Against the Cult of Nergal

Against the Cult of Nergal


Aberlardus – The barber indebted to Geilar for saving his life. Played by Fred. 

Eban – The Sorcerer. Hungry for magical power. Played by Adrian. 

Geilar – The Raider.  A Vandal prince who stole the ring of the King of Corsica. Played by Ray. 

We started the game in media-res. The caravan the characters were escorting was attacked by what appear to be indigenous nomads. The sorcerer acts first, and with some foresight, by creating a stone barrier around one of the nomads who is trapped there. Geilar charges a large concentration of raiders with his gang, but is repulsed. Geilar took the move Last Stand so elects to face the enemy force by himself on one flank, while the rest of the group attempts to attack the other flank. Aberlardus goes to Geilar’s aide. With a few good rolls the nomads are beaten back and retreat. The character’s have a prisoner. 

The caravan master, Calix of Damascus, tells the characters that his rare beetles (a delicacy around these parts) have been stolen, but even worse the nomads kidnapped his daughter. He beseeches the characters to go find her. The characters agree for a fee then interrogate the prisoner. The raider starts torturing him, allowing Eban to manipulate the captive. The nomad talks saying they took her to an abandoned barn and adds cryptically that “She is to be give to the One that rises from Meslam”. 

The captured raider leads the group to the barn. The nomad claims that they have taken the girl into the tunnels under it. Eban casts the light spell on the captive. They go into the tunnel and after a long walk enter a large room where the captive is shot in the chest and killed by 2 other raiders. They run, but the sorcerer casts a fire spell blocking the way. One of the raider knocks the other one into the fire, and he is subsequently killed by Geilar’s gang. Since it’s difficult to carry a glowing body Geiler decides to cut the body to pieces and hands out body parts to the group to use as torches. (I added a level of taint here because this was pretty gruesome and the players were treating the captive pretty callously.) Eban took the create fire, but not the control fire spell, so the fire can’t be stopped. He had to cast Stone Spell to turn the burning stones away from the tunnel. They continue and emerge from a trap door into a house. 

The house is empty right now. Eventually the players leave (Geilar’s gang stays behind in the house waiting for the sign) and poke around town, finding a few things. The name of the town is Karak and there are several issues going on. Animal pit fights, infighting amongst the ruling houses, and of course mysterious disappearances. The characters ignore the pit fights and go directly to the militia and bully help from them by showing them the glowing body parts, claiming they are from some weird cult. The militia captain admits he has heard rumors that the cult of Nergal has been up to no good, but that cult has been dead for hundreds of years. We assumed that most of the inhabitants are Christian with a few Judiasts here and there. With amazing perception rolls they figure out that everything points to one of the weakest noble families.

They convince the militia to give them authority to search the family’s compound. While there they use perception moves to find a secret doorway. Once inside they come to a large room with some demonic statue at one end. There are body parts all over the place (all those disappeared people) and 3 masked nomads. Spirit rolls are made, but the barber gets a minimum success; he takes the -1 spirit and we move on. The nomads attack the characters. Abelardus jumps to block the attackers to prevent harm befalling Geilar, and is badly wounded (received the unstable condition). A fight ensues, with 1 of the nomads getting killed and the rest escaping.  Geiller gives the signal, the sorcerer causes the body parts to flash, and his gang is on its way. One of the nomads ends up killing several of the militia guards and then scales the walls of the compound like a spider. The other nomad is killed by Geiler’s gang. The killing of the guards causes the family to escape and a chase ensues. 

They reach the outskirts of the city and Eban causes the groundsunder the family head to rumble and they all fall. The group catches up to them and slaughters most of the family except one of the servants who agrees to take them to the Temple of Nergal. 

The characters arrive at the ruined temple and come up on a ceremony. The sorcerer can tell that the ceremony is charged with magic energies. Geiler tells Eban to prepare the Stone Spell to collapse the temple. The characters charge in, and with crazy rolls manage to push back the cultists who outnumber them. Abelardus then runs up and grabs the girl, but he is hit by the high priest (who is the surviving nomad from the shrine encounter in the city). He rolls over the altar with the girl and they escape. The rest of the group pulls back, and Eban causes the temple to collapse on all the cultists killing them. 

The characters head back and collect their reward. 


The final scene shows the blood of all the dead cultists running to the altar. It then opens and two large Hell Knights step through. The end.


1. I gave all the characters 2 free advancements in return for 2 free taint points that I used to bring the Hell Knights through. Seemed pretty cool, but taint points seem hard to get unless I give them to the characters for doing naughty things. 

2. Ray’s son, Adrian, played the sorcerer this time and he did great (when he wasn’t playing on his Ipad – hey he’s only 15). The sorcerer can be pretty powerful especially with the advanced spell schools. 

3. The players were rolling insanely well. A few bad rolls by Aberlardus caused him to get wounded pretty bad though. 

4. Having heavy armor is crazy. The raider is neigh invincible, especially if his gang is there and he takes the Veteran’s move of “Last Stand” which allows him to take on large groups with impunity. He’s also maxed out with spirit and equipment. Not sure why this is. The player rolled amazing throughout the game though, so there’s that. 

5. Most of the characters went up 2 advancements throughout the game. Not sure if it’s too easy.

6. I have to say though that the players were taking more of a gamist approach as they were picking moves and advancements that they were most likely to succeed on, or that gave them the most bonuses. Really would like to take them away from that mentality, but at the same time it’s strange because they are usually not like that. 

7. Players complained that they had to relearn the system, but that’s on me since we don’t play AW type games enough. There were some minor complaints about the rolling to attack then rolling for all the damage affects, but that was chalked to being unfamiliar with the system.

8. Players are eyeing the “Compete to become Ceasar” move, but we couldn’t figure out what it actually means. Players thought that they get their own fief or something like that. I thought that it means you can compete to take over the IF. Maybe this should be clarified. 

9. Geiler’s player also wanted to see if there could be moves to increase the size of the war band.  

10. In the beginning I started planning the game using Covetous Poet, but this game creation system is really bulky. I stopped and just ended up using the front sheets provided in the game. This was great, but I made a bunch of side adventures which the players totally ignored. I did end up using the countdown clocks and told the players, so this may have been why they were in such a hurry to find the girl. 

11. Overall the game went well and it was fun. Ray’s son really liked it.