Savage Worlds : From Dusk Till Dawn with GM Marvin

Date : November 10, 2018

From Dusk Till Dawn

The evening of 26 October 2018 was the start of the last weekend before Halloween. Not surprisingly, many gamers got together to play during this occasion. I and two other players were invited to join GM Marvin Michael Khoo to play in an epic 10-hour fantasy adventure that would last from dusk…till dawn!

Meet GM Marvin Michael Khoo, longtime roleplayer, wargamer, photographer and traveller!

I first had a chance to really get to know Marvin as a gamer when he played in my Night Witches game at Kaijucon 2018. As it turns out, he’s quite a dedicated gamemaster and his preference is towards realistic houserules and elaborate miniature setups!

From left: Ian Iskandar (part of team Geniuz Maze), Marvin Khoo, Greg and me, Kai.
We four gamers powered through the night with coffee, nut snacks and enthusiasm!

This game was part of GM Marvin’s ongoing campaign storyline which he had previously run using Dungeons & Dragons. Marvin had grown dissatisfied with D&D and recently switched his campaign over to the Savage Worlds RPG system, a miniature-friendly gaming system known for fast and furious action, and flexible enough to handle a wide range of gaming genres.
The town of Featherfall (star) sits at the centre of a sparsely settled
wild frontier region dotted with ruins from an ancient past, before humans.
Each of the three players — Greg, Ian and myself — took control of multiple hero characters protecting the Featherfall region, a group of tiny settlements on a wild frontier. We would take turns playing characters from three different adventuring parties.
The gaming group looks on as Greg rolls the dice…

Savage Worlds makes it really easy to create characters quickly. I dreamed up a cunning and intelligent hunter/wilderness guide named Ennis, along with his loyal dog, Roll. The dog had a tendency to roll over and play dead whenever his name was called, which led to a few funny moments in the game.

Ian created several characters including the spellcaster Aewynn Sunbloom, and he lent me additional characters to play, like Yuslass the pacifist priest and Donut the reckless barbarian. Greg also created a whole slew of characters, but started out playing Victor the witch hunter and Colette the halfling sorcerer.

The first party of adventurers. Victor on the far left, Ennis and his dog Roll on the far right.

The story began at the end of winter in the village of Opsten, the site of a mysterious monster attack. Ennis and his fellow adventurers explored the nearby forest for signs of the trolls that had savaged a woodcutter.

Marvin meticulously set up each scene with buildings, trees, fences, monsters and more. Our game made use of a large pool of miniatures and terrain contributed by Marvin, Ian, Greg and others.

The heroes spent a night in Opsten, like Beowulf waiting for Grendel. In the middle of the night, Victor and the town watch spotted the movement in the trees…trolls attacking!

Battle was joined, and the trolls quickly tossed Roll aside like a little fluffball. Fortunately the spellcasters had fire and acid prepared, and we managed to bring down the monsters.

After defeating the troll attack on Opsten, our first group of adventurers proceeded to the nearby village of Waystone. The playful dog Roll proved his worth by comforting a terrified teenager who had escaped the monsters. Ennis and the others tracked down more of the scattered villagers and brought them to safety in Opsten.

The second major location we discovered was a circle of stones near Waystone.

Aewynn, Ennis and the others found the troll leader at the stone circle, conducting some sort of ritual. The creature died to their spells, but not before taunting them about a coming invasion from another world, through old portals left by the vanished civilisation of the elves.

Victor drew upon his witch hunter knowledge and realised that a red comet was arriving in the sky above, a portent of a grim time when the sun would be blotted out for 30 days and 30 nights. During this time, the dead would return to prey on the living.

The adventurers were resolute: they would have to evacuate Opsten and warn the other towns.

A moment of levity during the long adventure…

From this point onward, Marvin shifted the focus to two other groups of adventurers as they encountered more and more of the monsters that came with the red comet and the extradimensional invasion. This was when we had a chance to play different characters.

Battle at the cemetery. The undead horde had the bad luck to run into adventurers with holy powers.

Donut the Barbarian led the charge against a graveyard full of risen dead, and got surrounded by enemies for his foolishness. Fortunately, two of his teammates had powerful holy abilities to destroy undead from a distance. This was far more powerful than the equivalent “Turn Undead” power in D&D and the undead horde did not last long.

Reaper Bones Troll miniatures, painted by Marvin.

It was a long night, so Marvin made sure to let us pace ourselves. We took a break at 1am for food or rest. In my case, I took a nap, and when I came to, the third party of adventurers was in a desperate struggle, surrounded by monsters. Ian’s martial artist monk proved to be the most valued party member in this struggle.

However, even Ian could not resist fatigue, and he had to lie down and sleep just as I was waking up to rejoin the group! We continued the final battle until the early hours.

GM Marvin and his tired but satisfied players…
After a long night of slaying monsters and surviving the end of the world!

Finally, with the sun rising, Marvin called the final result for the heroes. Good had narrowly triumphed over chaos. He explained that this event in his campaign timeline led to the decline of society, with consequences that would echo for hundreds of years. And his other players would have a chance to see what happened next.

Thanks again to GM Marvin and the other players for the chance to participate in this experience. I haven’t played in an epic-length game like this in, well, a very long time. It was something to remember! Do check out our album with more pictures of our session.

– Kai

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