Miguel Hernández/El Jinete Nocturno (Steven P. Ross) - Caring Horse Trainer
Catalina Rosa Torres/La Lechuza (Tammy Powers) - Clever Vintner
Pablo Estebán/El Corazón de Oro (GM/NPC) - Generous Bandit
Date: April 9th, 1804 (Monday)
[I started the session with a redo on the basic sample combats, as I had screwed up how damage worked in Session 0. Went through the basics of the rules again, and ran five sample combats. I allowed the players to make any changes they wanted to their characters, but neither player chose to do so. This is the only opportunity I give the players in my games to make any such alterations. We then started the campaign...]
The scenario begins on a bright, somewhat cool early Spring day. Life at the de la Vega hacienda and in Los Angeles has been quiet, and Zorro has not been active for a little while. Some time after dawn, but before breakfast is served, Catalina Rosa Torres is inspecting the vineyards this early spring day, checking on their condition. Mateo Santibal, a Tongva native and her liaison to the de la Vega family, is accompanying her, and he chats amiably. The vineyards are in decent condition, but it's still too cold to assess the soil conditions; they will have to wait a bit longer to see if the soil needs to be augmented or replaced. Some of the leftover vines from the winter appear to be discoloured, perhaps diseased? Catalina takes a couple of samples to check it out, and notes to herself that they may need fresh grape seed. She and Mateo then head for the main building, as she needs to check the wines and their various stages, as well as the potential wines for the competitions in Monterey and San Bernardino.
Meanwhile, at the de la Vega stables, Miguel Hernández, a horse trainer who has only been with the family's workers for six months or so, is about to start training a new horse that Don Alejandro de la Vega acquired for his niece, Isabella. As he sets to work, Don Alejandro enters and regards the young man for a moment before asking how things are coming with the horse, whom he calls "Espirítu" (Spirit) for the moment. Miguel says that it is coming along, but slow, and Don Alejandro asks if the horse will be ready for his niece soon. Isabella will be coming from Madrid in the next few months, and she will need a compliant, calm horse to ride on her jaunts through the area. Miguel assures his employer that Espirítu will be ready for her when she arrives. Content with that answer, the Don departs the stables.
Around an hour later, back at the hacienda, Catalina and Miguel arrive just in time to have breakfast. They are greeted by Maria, the cook, and Luisa, one of the servants, and the smell of a typical breakfast at the de la Vega hacienda that has them somewhat drooling for breakfast once more. Luisa tells them that the de la Vegas have gone into Los Angeles very early. Don Diego was complaining all the time about having to get up so early in the day, but complied with his father's request. The meal is disrupted by some sort of disturbance at the front entrance. Reluctantly, Catalina and Miguel interrupt their meal to see what the fluster is all about.
At the main entrance to the hacienda, they find that another of the servants, Consuela, is attempting to prevent someone from entering the house. He cries out for the Dons, but the servant tells him again that they are not at home presently. Both Catalina and Miguel recognise the man as Montero, one of the Tongva people from the local native settlement of Ahapchingas. When they ask what is happening, Montero tells them that his daughter, Elena, is missing. Catalina takes an interest in the matter, as she works at times for her at the winery. Montero begs them to help him find Elena, and the two player characters agree. They decide to go to the Tongva settlement first, since that's where she disappeared, as Catalina realizes that Montero is too distressed to tell them what happened. Montero is grateful for her help, but questions why Miguel is also coming with her. Miguel is indecisive about why he's coming with Catalina, but eventually Montero agrees to this, as he's desperate to get back to the settlement. Catalina goes to tell Bernardo where they are going, and almost catches him by surprise. [He has been tidying up Zorro's costume, and he barely manages to conceal the mask of the Fox before she sees it.] He cannot communicate, of course, but she gets the impression that he will tell the de la Vegas when they return and that she and Miguel should be careful.
A couple of hours later, the player characters and Montero arrive at Ahapchingas to find there are soldiers present. Montero becomes slightly more distraught, but is just happy that he's back to help in the search for Elena. One of the six soldiers, seemingly their leaders, sees Catalina and Miguel approach with Montero, and comes toward them. He tells them that he is Sergeant Pablo Estebán and that he and his men are investigating the disappearance of a young girl from the settlement. Needless to say, Catalina and Miguel don't trust him or his men, and the situation becomes somewhat confrontational. Sergeant Estebán says he doesn't care if the player characters are there for the same reason, but they are to stay out of his way. There's something about Catalina that Pablo trusts enough that he comes to a decision on matters. As Montero prepares to lead them to his home, from which Elena disappeared, Pablo takes her aside to talk.
Pablo tells Catalina that he wishes to confess: he is not a soldier at all, but a former bandit turned mercenary and good guy. He tells her that when he was a bandit, he started to disapprove of the bandits stealing from the indigenous people; it was all right to do that to the Spanish, since they were rich, but not to the people who had nothing and whose land they were trespassing on. When he started helping the indigenous people and the bandits learned of this, they threw him out of their midst, and since then he has been serving the people for the most part. He still has to eat, after all. He tells her that he's trying to find Elena, as the girl has helped him with matters from time to time, and he feels that he owes Montero's family. The "soldiers" accompanying him are actually mercenaries who are with him for the moment (he's paid them well with what little he has), but they will likely soon depart. He says that perhaps they should work together in tracking down and finding Elena, and hopes she will decide that it's in their best interests to do so. Catalina says that she doesn't know whether she can trust him, but Pablo says that all he can do is try to earn that trust. Their conversation is interrupted as Miguel and Montero start over towards them.
Sunday's session of the Zorro: The Roleplaying Game campaign went as well as could be expected, given that it was the first time gaming proper for the two players in well over 6 months. I was in a great deal of pain and so had taken some medication that made me a bit...out of it, so to speak, and that had a lot to do with how the game went. The players needed time to get into their characters, since the backgrounds/personalities for the characters weren't quite ready yet, and the session introduced them to their setting, and gave them their first little adventure plot to go on. While there was no real conflict in the session, I like to think that it started the ball rolling well enough to lead to some fun stuff in the next session. And yes, there will be some swordplay and physical combat ahead! Tammy and SteveR both told me that they had a good time with the session, and they're looking forward to the next session in two weeks (as Tammy's on-call again for a couple of weeks).
Overall, a good start to Sunday gaming resumed and the Zorro: The Roleplaying Game, and I'm looking forward to continuing game play later this month.