Astergrad is a small port city built around a fortified chapel-keep. Once a quiet fishing village serving as a destination for pilgrims of the old faith, Astergrad was incorporated into the northern empire during the previous generation. The old faith was driven into the sea and supplanted by the conventions of the empire. New residents flooded the village from the north, never bothering to learn the old name, instead calling it “Astergrad” for the fields of bright purple flowers that flanked the road to the village.
This evening, a rumor tears through the streets, that not more than an hour ago, one of the pillars of Astergrad (The Lord Governor? The Merchant Baron? None seem to know.) was murdered. The assassin is said to sit, even now, in a cell beneath the chapel-keep. Someone claims to have seen a messenger passing the city gates in the direction of the nearest imperial stronghold, and it should be no more than two days before the agents of the empire arrive to collect the assassin.
If these agents are allowed to collect the assassin, we here in Astergrad will surely never know their fate, and are we not owed that much? (“Owed?” There are debts here that can never be repaid.) Who’s to say the agents won’t be in league with the assassin, and ferry them off to safety? (What of it? Perhaps we should give them a hero’s send-off.)
Our aim is to inhabit the characters, citizens of Astergrad, who happened to be in the right place at the right time to decide the fate of the assassin. Will you kill the assassin, and deal with the ire of the agents of the empire when the time comes? Will you hand off the assassin to the agents, and risk reprisal from the victims’ allies in the city? Will you secret the assassin away in hopes of interrogating them for information about their patron? &c.
As citizens of Astergrad, these decisions won’t be made in a vacuum; part of character creation will be tying your character to one (or more) of the city’s factions, none of whom are neutral on the subject of the assassin’s fate.
The scenario concludes once the PCs decide what to do with the assassin, carry out their intent, and we resolve the immediate consequences of their actions.
Tone & Subject Matter
The tone of the scenario is dramatic, fraught, and violent.
Subject matter will likely include physical violence, potentially including descriptions of combat wounds and executions, as well as depictions of colonialism and oppression.
We can work together to establish boundaries at the beginning of the session.
You’ll be playing Whitehack, a rules-lite OD&D-inspired game that centers strategic, creative play.
Like most retro-style games, most play occurs by narrating your character's actions, stopping only when the GM tells you to make a roll.
Also like most retro-style games, combat can get lethal fast, so be prepared to think outside the box.
Faction alignments will likely result in conflict between PCs, so come ready to discuss the situation in-character in order to decide how to proceed. It is also possible, though unlikely, that these conflicts will result in PVP combat.
No prep is required on your part (though I can provide a PDF of the rules on request) and the whole session, including character creation, should clock in around four hours.
During play, you should be able to inhabit your character, to speak definitively about your character's actions, and to stick with the tone. There should be no need for note-keeping, and dice math will be at a minimum.