Hey everyone, as you may or may not know, I've teamed up with Brian Tyrell (creator of Scurry!) to create a game that combines both of our most recent projects and our love for the great green places of Scotland and the animals that call it home.
To do that, we've taken the potion making and journalling of my game Apothecaria and the Bristley Woods setting and community building of his game Scurry!, added a bunch of new mechanics and created Apawthecaria which we're taking to Kickstarter on October 8th.
While we're trying to build up pre-launch followers (which you can do here) we've also launched a pre-alpha that you can play right now by clicking the button below :)
And to show you the sort of adventures you could get up to, I thought I'd do a playthrough of the alpha kit here on the blog.
The Story Of Lochheart The Otter
The first step in Apawthecaria, is to determine what type of animal you are. You can choose or you can draw on the table. I drew and got 4) Playful which includes Crows, Skylarks, Swifts, and Otters so I chose otter from that list.
Next up, you choose your travel style: fast and heady, slow and steady, or rambling and ready. The faster you move the less you can carry, so I opt for the best of both with Rambling and Ready. Giving me 3 Carry and 3 Speed which means I can Carry 3 things and move 3 Nodes on the map per Travel.
Then, I get to determine how I became a Poulticepounder. Again, you can determine this yourself or use the table to get a bit of inspiration. I drew and got ♣ which means I was treated after a run-in with a bloodthirsty beast which I journal as:
I remember when I first started on this path. I was attempting to make my way across the Crossing Loch when a terrible pike rose out of the dark water below. It bit my leg and left me bleeding something fierce. I wouldn't have made it to the shore if it weren't for Coleen passing on her coracle. She dragged me on, patched me up and made sure I made it to Vessel alive.
She stayed with me for some days, helping tend my wound and curing a few of the other beasts before saying her goodbyes and setting off to help even more people. I knew then that this was my calling.
The last thing you do for character creation is to determine what your Starting Trinket is. This is an object that means a lot to your character. Again, you can create this or let the cards decide by using the Trinket Table in the Almanac section.
My trinket is a "steel accessory inherited from family" which I take to mean:
Grandpa Riverpaw's old tummy pad. As he got older, he struggled to break things on his stomach without giving himself indigestion so he had a local orebeater fashion a circular steel plate that he could wear all the time. It bears many scuffmarks and is starting to rust but the family crest is still vaguely discernable.
With all the character stuff out of the way, it's time to see what my first Journey will be. In the full game, you'll have the entire map and be able to plot your own but for the Alpha we've kept things straightforward and given some choices.
As Lochheart is new to all this, I think a relaxed Journey would be best. My goal here is to end with 5 more Reputation than when I started. Reputation is gained and lost through Events and as a result of curing or failing to cure Ailments.
With our Journey in mind, the first thing we do is treat a patient at our Origin point, which, in this case, is the Forest City of Odoak:
Drawing on the various tables in the Diagnosing Section & Ailment Section I get:
My first proper patient! A noonmessenger sparrow by the name of Lucky. He seems to be near enough plucked and the explanation isn't too hard to find as he spends much of his time in my office Anxious Scratching. Apparently he's so wound up about delivering on time that he's made no time for himself to relax!
This is a Mood ** and Feather * issue with Timer: 7 before he plucks himself completely.
As I'm in Odoak, I have access to Forest Reagents and because I'm adjacent to Obridge, I can Forage for Loch Reagents as well though I will Decrease my Timer faster by doing so.
To see what would help, I head over to the Reagent section in the Almanac and make a list of useful Reagents:
Beast Sheddings -- All Regions (3) - Claws can be CRUSHED for [Feather **] -- Perfect
Yellow Wort -- Forest (7) -- Leaves can be BOILED for [Mood **] - Hard to find but my only option just now
With my foraging list made, I then draw on the Forest table and see what events I get:
Timer: 7 | Foraging Points: 0
I was barely out of Odoak when I came across an exiled beast. The poor adder had been branded on his back by the Lawkeepers. Rules were that I was to ignore his pleas, that his crimes, most likely murder, were to be re-paid with a life of never belonging.
I couldn't stand by. The poor fellow looked like he had barely survived the Winter and even worse, their partner had not. He begged me to give his husband a proper send-off as he was too weak to gather the Reagents for a Fond Farewell.
Note: We've edited the Fond Farewell to be more general, we will update the Alpha text soon. Hopefully before this goes out so this note seems completely out of place and confusing :)
To help the Exiled Beast, the Event says to start a Novice Ailment - I drew Fond Farewell -- Elsewhere * | Joy * | Timer: 4
So I have to also gather: Bird Leavings - Feathers - All Regions (4) -- Elsewhere ** or Joy *
We can't use just Feathers so I'll also collect Dense Charcoal -- Forest (4) -- Elsewhere **
Shedding Timer: 6 Farewell Timer: 4
Foraging Points: 1
As I drew a Jack, I can collect any Reagent equal to or lower in value so I'll grab that Yellow Wort now. Thankfully some was growing near the Adder's hiding spot.
I set off further into the forest to see if I could find any of the Reagents I need but fear I got a little sidetracked. As I was exploring around tree roots hoping to find fallen feathers, a toad invited me into her home to see her vast collection of reagents. Excited, and hoping to charm her out of some, I entered and wow, she wasn't kidding.
Reagents of every kind filled the shelves of her hollow-house. Jars full of mushrooms, fruits, and leaves. Charcoal lumps and discarded claws sat on display while glorious feathers hung from the ceiling. If I didn't know better, I would have assumed she was a Spellsinger or Stormweaver but she was far too unassuming... and magic isn't real. I know that.
Sadly she wouldn't spring for my charm and only offered to trade. A trinket for a reagent but I'm not desparate enough for that yet.
Shedding Timer: 5
Farewell Timer: 3
Foraging Points: 2
I drew a 6 to get this event so I reason that I could find some bird feathers underneath a branch-home nearby. Even a couple of black crow feathers should be enough for a proper funeral.
With both my patient's Ailments half-cured, I set off deeper into the woods and ran into something I hadn't quite expected: Beavers. Apparently they had decided to build their dam just up from Obridge causing the land around Odoak to flood! Whoever decided that will be exiled for sure.
The water is low for now but I have the feeling its going to get worse before it gets better.
This event means that I change my current Forest Region into a Loch Region until Winter comes and goes and the dam bursts. I can only imagine the chaos that will cause in the city. Perhaps a lot of unrest and annoyance, shops and homes flooded because of a miscalculation by the beavers.
It also means I don't have access to a Forest City for the rest of the year which could make Bartering a problem but thankfully we don't have that issue in the alpha.
Shedding Timer: 4
Farewell Timer: 2
Foraging Points: 3
I drew a 4 for this event which means I can find the dense charcoal.
The beavers have set up coal forges to help with the construction of their dam. More than just the piled sticks of our forebears, these constructive beasts are using nails and iron supports. I'm sure they won't miss a lump of coal though.
I can't claim two Reagents at once but with only one reagent to go and my Foraging Points higher than it, I will definitely find it on the next Event unless I get one that drops my Foraging Points below 3.
Heading back from the beaver dam, I thank my lucky stars I was born an otter as I see mice clearing out their burrows, squirrels lamenting the loss of their gardens, and furious badger Lawkeepers striking out from Odoak to have words with the beavers.
It seems as though the beavers haven't just annoyed the beasts of Odoak though as the sound of a bear's roar echoes through the woods. Speculation isn't needed. Clearly her den has been flooded and she isn't pleased.
I'm fortunate enough that on my way back to the adder, a clipping pot floats along the water in front of me. Most beasts would think it strange to steal someone's claw clippings but... yeah, it is strange but it works and sometimes you have to do weird things to help folk!
With all my reagents found and the Timers above 0, I can create my recipes and say how I help my patients.
The adder, who gives his name only as Ecksssile, curls up nearby to watch as I prepare the ritual. The feathers are attached to his husband's body, emulating the wings of a mythical creature. The charcoal is used to mark a stone nearby, my paw print as proof that I witnessed him and that I guide him Elsewhere. The remains of the charcoal is crushed and powdered over his head with a dab to Ecksssile and me.
It's a solemn moment but Ecksssile refuses to cry. Perhaps he's incapable or just doesn't want to in front of me. I offer my condolences and leave him be, he hisses a gentle thanksss.
I get no Trinkets or Reputation from helping an Exile but it feels right and I know I've done the right thing.
Heading back into Odoak, the root streets are already starting to get damp as the flood water rises. Those with family above are desperately moving their things up into the bough-homes. Those that have stores are holding desperate sales and beasts with an eye for bargains are thronging them. Thankfully I'm able to get through the crush and find my way to Lucky who has just finished a shift and lost quite a few more feathers.
Yellow Feather Tea
Yellow Wort - Boiled Claws - Crushed
Fresh drip water
A dash of ground hazelnut
The tea isn't great tasting, especially with that slight foot taste provided by the claws, but it'll work. She takes a few hesitant sips, then a few more, and then, even with all the chaos outside, she relaxes. We talk for a bit about her work-life balance and she drifts off to sleep in her nest-chair, muttering that I can have the "fish thing" hanging above the door.
And I get a Trinket which I drew for and turns out to be:
The fish thing looks to be an ancient Titan... thing? It looks like a rough idea of a fish but its bright yellow and red and has a couple of hooks coming out of it. Lucky said it came from one of the coastal towns. I have no idea what it is but its not that big and could be traded for something useful.
The chaos down below seems to be getting worse as people move up to the branches and while I could stick around, I think finding a place to sleep is going to get really difficult tonight. So.. onward to adventure!
And with that, we're ready to do our first Travel which I'll cover in my next post :)
I hope you enjoyed this little peek at what to expect from Apawthecaria, it was a lot of fun to play it through and see what happens. I really didn't expect the Beavers of Obridge and the beasts of Odoak to end up in a confrontation or for a dangerous bear to awake near the city. Very dramatic.
If you're interested in supporting us on Kickstarter, you can sign up for for the pre-launch page by clicking the button below: