We conducted our second playtest of Wandering Heroes of Ogre Gate through online video chat last night (the playtest report can be found here: REPORT).
The session went well, but we did run into mic issues initially. Once that was sorted out things ran smoothly until one of the player's was temporarily disconnected. So playing online, while convenient, definitely has its own drawbacks. I think going forward this will be manageable and despite these issues, we still had a solid night of gaming.
I talk about some of the mechanical observations from the playtest in the report link above. Here I think I can maybe go over some setting elements. One of the things really driving the direction of the campaign it seems is the sects. There are four players, and three belong to different sects, while the third is independent. The first belongs to the Mystic Sword Sect, led by the very severe and punitive Lady White Blade. The second belongs to The Temple of the Nine Suns, led by Laughing Fox and known (at the present moment at least) for their devotion to self indulgence). The third belongs to the Nature Loving Monk sect...essentially a group of wandering beggars. The adventure started with the first two characters, when the heads of Temple of the Nine Suns and Mystic Sword sect allied to find the Wind Sabre of Sunan. The other two characters are essentially along for the ride or for their own secret purposes (it is unknown which is the case).
The party's search for the Wind Sabre led them to the Witch of Zhaoze Zhou and to the Heiping Sect. They don't know the history very well, but are aware that the witch once traveled with her husband, and that he was killed in a conflict with Heiping Sect. She then avenged her husband's death by killing the head of Heiping and taking the Wind Sabre. So now Heiping is also looking for the sword and to avenge their fallen leader.
They have had a tense relationship with Heiping which turned into a kind of alliance by last session. Both Heiping and the party were present at the death of the witch. The Tsun River Gang, who are loyal to the witch and call her Li Sou Chao, confronted the part for revenge. Now the party and Heiping are working together to deal with the Tsun River threat.
Another complication is the sword. The party was instructed to retrieve it, but now it is in the hands of Heiping, who seem to have a legitimate claim to it. So they are debating how to handle it. The PC belonging to the Mystic Sword Sect is the most concerned because Lady White Blade has been known to kill her own disciples for any hint of disloyalty or significant failure (and the sword ending up in the hands of Heiping could be seen as both). The PC belonging to the Temple of the Nine Suns is far less concerned, and almost willing to hand Heiping the blade (because Laughing Fox is unlikely to care that much).
So it is interesting to see how the various loyalties are playing out. It is also interesting to see how the independent player is reacting, because his primary concern seems to be avoiding conflict between Heiping and any of the sects connected to the party.
This is all stuff that developed organically in play, through the sects based on where everything started and what choices the players made. On top of that one of the players took Fated as a flaw, and that is in the process of creating a potentially very dangerous situation for the party (which I will explore once the situation has fully unfolded at the table).