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Topics - Jacko

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RPGs / The Mountain Witch
« on: April 15, 2012, 05:10:36 PM »
Want a great little PVP-oriented game to while away some hours backstabbing your friends?  Look no further!  The basis of the game is a troupe of masterless ronin gathering at the base of a volcano to defeat a supernaturally powerful witch and his army, while also finding out the dark secrets of their companions.  You must trust your companions to make it out alive but trust leads to betrayal...

My group just completed a two session, 9 hour run of The Mountain Witch. This was our second time playing the game and the GM and most of the players (3 out of 4) had played previously so we decided to change things up a bit. Instead of being ronin in ancient Japan, we were mercenaries in modern day eastern Europe sent to kill a mobster, dubbing the game The Bulgarian Witch.

Here's the write-up that the GM wrote up for us:

Kuzman Stoichkov was a senior bureaucrat in the Bulgarian intelligence / deep state at the time of the fall of the USSR. After the fall of the USSR, he saw the writing on the wall and transitioned smoothly into the background in the Balkans just as things got really out of hand. Need arms for that bit of ethnic cleansing you're planning? Call Mr. Stoichkov. Drugs smuggled out? Your friend Kuzman knows someone who can help you. Quiet place to retire before NATO tries you for those horrible things you did with the weapons you bought? Absolutely Mr. Stoichkov can provide documents for you. Missed your connection and now you're on trial? Mr. Stoichkov knows a man who can arrange for the witnesses to disappear, or have unfortunate accidents on rainy roads. Even in dry weather, the roads get amazing amounts of rain in the country.

Mr. Stoichkov has many friends, and much money, and has done very well for himself. Many people owe him favors. At least one of them has hired a team of independent contractors to make sure he never has to pay up.

With four players, the game had lots of twists and turns and we were trying to play up espionage movie tropes. We commandeered a boat, had a shady arms deal that went wrong, performed an invasion on a safe house and stealthy maneuvering in a deadly forest. We began to dis-trust each other as certain things came to light (Including mysterious text messages on one characters phone) but the mission was paramount until we actually got to the top of the mountain.

The Mountain Witch is a fun game so long as everyone has the same expectations. We all knew that getting to Stoichkov's manor on the mountain was going to happen, but none of us expected our characters to leave it alive. Dark Fates pretty much guarantee a complete implosion of party dynamics and a PVP driven TPK. One PC tried to blow up another but got gunned down by his potential victim, another character tried to literally back stab another PC while they were in Stoichkov's bedroom with the target napping just feet away. No one survived, in true Mountain Witch fashion.

If you can hack the scheduling (We had 5 weeks in between sessions) it's a great game to play alongside a regular campaign. The sudden but inevitable betrayal is a lot of fun so long as everyone is expecting it going into the game. 

Has anyone else had any experience with it?  How'd you find it, and did you make any changes to it?  I've been tasked with running the next session and I've decided to call it The Summer of '77 and setting it in SE Asia.  Think Enter the Dragon with a lot of funk mixed in.

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