Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Memoirs of Reudan - Chapter 3

I awoke from my vision with a new sense of purpose.  I was now to be a servant not to men, but to the New God and his everlasting prophet Astrid.  I now knew that my actions the night before which had taken me so close to death were guided by the New God.  I was set upon this path and chosen to bring the light of the New God into the world.

I awoke to find my travelling companions beginning to stir.  "Yes even this is a fruit of the New God.  We have been brought together to perform great deeds within the world" I thought to myself. This group while not perfect to look upon was ready for greatness I could feel the will of the New God infusing my actions.

Then the bandits struck.  They approached out of the woods, several of us were surprised still rising from sleep.  I attempted to strike them down with the light of the New God, however it will take me some time to master my new blessings.  I then resorted to that which I knew well, as did the rest of my companions, and we were able to slay or drive off the bandits that attacked us.

Shortly after the skirmish my resolve to stay with this group was tested for the first time.  Sage knelt over the cooling corpse of one of the bandits.  She then drew the knife that had been instrumental in leading to my vision.  With it, she RAISED THE CORPSE, and made it do her bidding.  I am very disturbed by this development.  The New God teaches that each soul must be allowed to travel forth to the afterlife, and constructs prevent this from occurring.  I allowed myself to be talked down by Sage, as I didn't believe that the group should leave her alone in the wilderness if I forced us to separate.

This line of thought started me thinking about Fox.  I had only taken him for a sophisticated mechanical construct previously.  However, I now wondered if he too was an aberration to the New God.  Could there be a soul in that body?  Again this is another scenario that would bare careful contemplation and observation.

Eventually Runt and Fox were able to lead us back to the main road.  We then continued on our way to Blackstone Ford.  During a stop for lunch Fox disappeared into the wilderness, and then attempted to lie to us on what he found.  This again was disturbing to me, as if we are to reach our potential as a group I believe we must trust one another.

We followed a trail into the wilderness, and eventually came upon the house of a wizened woman.  She was able to make a herbal remedy that fixed many of our afflictions.  She also spoke of the bandit encampment that often threatened travelers on the road.  I wished to go and end this bandit menace, but the group insisted we head to Blackstone Ford first.

Once we arrived at the village, I was happy to see a temple to the New God, and to think that the prophet Astrid slept it in this very place, and strode upon this land.  I spent much time at the temple I spoke at length with Mother Hepp and Sister Vinda about my concerns about both Sage and Fox.  I also spoke to them about my vision of the prophet Astrid.  I was also able to do a few things around town helping Ms. Devlin at the general store.  It felt good to be serving others.

After we had been in Blackstone for a few weeks, I was able to convince a few of my travelling companions and some members of the town, that we needed to go forth and remove the bandit scourge from Blackstone Ford.  It was the will of the New God that we do so.  The group of us went out and confronted the bandits about their activities.  The bandits turned out to be nothing more than people who had lost their lively-hoods, and in doing so turned to a life of crime.  I began to preach to them about he ways of the New God, and how he will save and nurture them, if they follow his ways.

I think the bandits maybe ready to rejoin society soon, I'm not sure if the people of Blackstone are ready to accept them yet however.  I continue to trek out to their encampment several times a week to teach them in the ways of the New God.  I believe that they will make great servants of the New God someday soon.

Friday, October 30, 2015

Memoirs of Reudan - Chapter 2

Realized I had never posted chapter 2 of Reudan's memoirs.  This takes him from his character background in chapter 1 through the first adventure session, and leads to his taking of the Priest path at level 1.  Chapter 3 detailing session 2 and the time after will hopefully be up soon.

Memoirs of Reudan - Chapter 2

It appears it's time for me to move on from Broad Oaks.  I've been able to make a decent living here for the past few months, but yesterday someone was asking around about people new to town, and I'm worried he was sent by the Faire to track me down. Luckily there is a caravan leaving shortly, hopefully I'll be able to tag along with them, I hear the town they are heading to Blackstone Ford might have some opportunities.

The next morning I pack up all my things into a sturdy backpack, and survey the small room I have stayed in.  Nothing left of mine here, and hopefully there is nothing here the Faire can use to track me.  I head down to join the caravan and start the walk to Blackstone Ford.

Some good fortune today on the road, one of my fellow travelers a dwarf (of all ancestries)  who is on this trek is also a follower of the New God.  It has been great to have someone to discuss the finer points of our religion.  I'm curious what Holgar's plans are when we arrive in Blackstone Ford as I would like to continue to accompany him.

There are several other travelers as well on our journey.  There is an orc by the name of Runt.  After spending so long among the Fairie his visage is jarring.  I don't know how common he is for his race, but they are very different from the elves I have known.  There is also a goblin, who calls himself Buckets.  I have no idea why he has chosen this name, it is quite strange to me.  I have several times noticed him telling partial truths to people with whom he is talking, I will be happy to part from his company.

There is also a kind older woman by the name of Sage.  She is very friendly, and seems to be wise in the ways of the world.  I am still learning much of how to live and survive without both the temple or the Fairie to shelter me.  Not that I'm complaining, I'm happy to be rid of the Fairie.

On our third day of travels we were ambushed by bandits.  I thought we were goners.  Thankfully the bandits were more interested in the loot of the caravan than they were killing us.  The previously named traveling companions and I were able to get most of the caravan workers and other passengers to flee into the forest, unfortunately most of the caravan guards gave their lives for this to happen, may Astrid watch over them on their journey to the next life.

During the ambush, Buckets coated himself in the gore of a dead guard.  This was very disturbing, I'm not sure why he felt the need to do this.  After we were away from the caravan, Runt did something to a small contraption he was carrying, and this is the first time I met Fox.  Fox is a clockwork, I have never seen one before.  I'm very curious to learn more about him.

Eventually we were able to stop and catch our breath.  Buckets cast a "spell" to divine which way we needed to go to Blackstone Ford.  This "spell" required some blood from Runt, which was very strange to me.  Then Runt climbed a tree and quickly overruled Buckets.   It's all very strange, I just don't understand why navigating a wilderness is so difficult, we should just be able to pick a direction and walk.

We traveled for the better part of the afternoon before noticing a tower in the distance.  We approached hoping to find a place to get a vantage point and see the surrounding area.  Unfortunately the tower was in rough shape, and we could not get any view from the crumbling roof.  I tried to make a comfortable campsite for my impromptu comrades.  

Then our respite was interrupted by the appearance of ghostly spirts.  These abominations are an affront to the New God.  As faithful followers it was the responsibility of Holgar and myself to assist these souls in moving on to the next life.  Holgar and I attempted to interact without avail.  Sage attempted to suggest a herbal remedy, but I was too agitated to listed to reason.  Shortly after searching the ruins, I found a glowing red dagger.  This was obviously a sign from the prophet Astrid to rid the world of these spirits.  

I took up the solemn duty entrusted to me by the New God to push these spirits on to their next life.  I plunged the dagger into the spirit, and then it attacked.  There was obviously a great evil holding these souls in this earth.  The spectre attacked me with a fervor, and as my companions were coming to my aid I fell to the spirits attacks, and then all was black.

Suddenly a light erupted into my vision.  The form of a woman shrouded in a bright light that hurt the eyes to look upon.  "You have been chosen my son.  Many trials have been placed before you, but your faith has never waivered.  Feel the power of the New God flowing through you, go forth and bring the light of the New God to those whose skin has not yet felt it's warmth."

My eyes opened and I blinked as I looked upon dawns early light.  

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

A Strange Halloween

Our normal weekly GM had a last minute conflict and was unable to run our Achtung Cthulhu game. Since it is close to Halloween and +Monte Cook Games has released a preview for the upcoming instant adventure book Strange Revelations. I've run several adventures using the Monte Cook Games instant adventure format.  I'm a big fan of the format, as it provides a solid outline for an adventure, but leaves plenty of room for creativity and improvisation.  This post will contain spoilers for the adventure Game of Screams.

The adventure revolves around surviving a board game that is actually an artifact brought to Earth from the recursion Halloween.  The game has a Show Me that you can print out showing the game board.  The game is described as having jade goblin figures.  I was able to find some green goblin miniatures in my old Hero quest game.  I then hunted down a black d20 to go along with the game board that I printed out large enough so the goblins would fit on the squares.

Even though this was a one shot, I wanted to test the character creation abilities of the Cypher System.  I had everyone just pick their player sentence (I am a descriptor type who focuses).  From there we quickly polished up the characters.

  • A Crazy Vector who is Adored by Millions
  • An Attractive Spinner who Entertains
  • A Slacker Paradox who Conducts Weird Science
  • A ?? Vector who Steals
  • A ?? Paradox who Conducts Weird Science
We broke the two of the same focus in the same group, mostly because by the time I realized it, we were almost done with character creation and I didn't want to force one of them to start over.

We then began the game, and the host of the part is immediately sucked into Halloween.  The only way to get her out is to finish the game.  During the game a D20 is rolled and results are determined via a table.  Players can get sucked into the game, or have Ghouls, Bats, or a Witch appear.  This is where I began to add quite a bit to the adventure.  The Witch came back several times, often to the same character.  I pulled up a list of silly Halloween riddles for her to ask.  They were pretty easy, but entertaining.

When the ghouls came to the door early in the game, one of the members of the Vector's entourage answered the door and was mauled.  This came into play later as the Ghouls and Bats can be bargained with using food.  I added in a werewolf, for whom the corpse of the entourage member turned out to be a nice little treat.   Later of course the corpse turned into a Zombie as well.

I also added as many Halloween themed items as I could think of.  Things like Jack-O-Lanterns, Tombstones, Fog, Fireworks, and strange sounds coming from the floor.  Several players got sucked into the game at various points as well, and were able to encounter the creepy doll in the potion room.

The players had a good time collecting all the ticks and treats.  It's a very interesting adventure, I had lots of fun coming up with interesting things for the players to do, and they had a good time overcoming all those challenges.  This is a great adventure to run around the Halloween season, or anytime you're looking for a little bit of spooky flavor.

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Padawan Training

Last Friday I ran my first game for the next generation.  Inspired by the great work of +James August Walls  and  the upcoming game No Thank You, Evil! by +Monte Cook Games I decided it was time to try this with my own younglings.  My players would be my daughter Allie (Age 8), her friends Astrid (Age 8) and Claire (Age 10), and my son Connor (Age 5).

Allie especially has been getting more interested in role playing games.  She sits and watches us play some of our bi-weekly savage world game.  I let her roll some dice, and hang out for a little while, but I knew she was hooked when the next morning she would start asking me about the outcome of whatever situation we were in when bed time came.

The subject matter came down to a decision between Star Wars and Disney characters.  I posed this question to the kids, and they were all very exited to play Star Wars as this is what they spend quite a bit of time playing in the yard and playground.

The next decision was what system to use.  I'm not super familiar with the current iteration of FFG star wars games, so I didn't want to tackle learned and teaching a game to kids at the same time. Eventually my decision boiled down to the Cypher System or Savage Worlds.  I was leaning toward Savage Worlds because there is a good fan created document already out there. In the end however I decided I wanted to see how easy it was to take the new Cypher System rule book and create a star wars feel.

The players then picked thier characters, and I worked up the character sheets.

Allie - Aayla Secura - Graceful Jedi Knight (Warrior w/ Magic Flavor) who Masters Weaponry

Claire - Padme Amidala - Strong-Willed Senator (Speaker) who Interprets the Law

Astrid - Ashoka Tano - Brash Jedi Knight (Warrior w/ Magic Flavor) who Battles Robots

Connor - Wicket - Impulsive Ewok (Explorer) who Looks for Trouble

I pretty much used everything as written, just tweaked hedge magic a little bit to make it a little more force trick like.

The characters were flying to a planet to negotiate with the ruling class.  Unfortunately they were shot at during their descent.  They then had to land in the jungle and make their way to the city on foot.  They had to fight off some ferocious jungle cats, sneak around a droid encampment surrounding the turbo laser that almost shot them down.  Finally they were able to talk to the planetary ruler, and found the separatist were holding his son hostage.

They ended the night rescuing the rulers son from several battle droids.  This involved them swing from one sky scraper and crashing through the window of the hotel suite were he was being held.  They were then able to rescue him and dispatch the droid, and finish their mission of negotiation successfully.  

Connor only made it about 45 minutes, but the girls were all ready to play another mission as soon as we were done.  We'll be playing again I'm sure.  The basics of the Cypher system are easy for kids to pick up, and I plan to introduce additional rules each time we play.  During this first run through I didn't have any GM intrusions, or get into the spending of effort.  They used abilities that cost points from their pools and took some damage, but I wanted to keep it simple for the first time.

A great success and we will play again.

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

I'm currently playing in a monthly Shadows of the Demon Lord campaign, and would like to share some character building.

This campaign has been talked about in a few places:

Mumfordland - Year of the Demon Lord Summary

One of GM Marc Plourde's posts about the campaign

Memoirs of Reudan - Chapter 1

The priests told me I was left on the steps of the church wrapped in very fine silk.  I like to imagine that my parents were wealthy, and maybe they gave me up to protect me from some political maneuvering.  Of course, I know better now, I was just as likely the son of a servant who was given (I prefer to believe they were not stolen) the fine linens by her employer.  My earliest memories are of Father Mathis teaching me the four truths.  Reciting the truths were actually some of my first words, or so I was told.  

As soon as I was able I began to work and help around the temple.  I did whatever tasks were requested of me, but I especially liked when I was assigned to help the old or infirm with their daily lives.  They would often give me small tokens of gratitude, but those didn't matter as much as their smiles of happiness at having their earthly burdens eased. Father Mathis was a stern but fair teacher.  The roots of my faith were watered by his joyous soul. 

Things changed when I was around 10 years old.  Father Mathis sent me out to the market to fetch some herbs for one of our ill parishioners.  I knew she needed the herbs quickly, and I decided to take a short cut through some back alleyways.  That is when I literally ran right into Jannolor.  I picked myself up off the ground, and looked up into her fine boned face.  My mouth hung open at her beauty.  "What's the matter dear? Have you never seen an elf before? Why don't you come with me, you are a fine looking young lad, I may have a use for you."

Thus began my years of darkness.  I was taken from the church and all that I hold dear.  I was given a nice room, and fed well.  I had less physically demanding tasks in the household of Jannolor than I did at the church, but she would parade me out to parties and various social gatherings among the Fae.  This was even more taxing than cleaning all the many groves in the floor of the church ever were.  I felt like an animal to be ogled, and even though I was never harmed, I still knew I was in a golden prison.

Eventually I was able to learn the elvish language.  For a time it was all I spoke, I thought I may never know the common tongue again.  I slowly was able to earn a bit more freedom, and slowly I collected the ingredients to make a special dust I had watched the men who were making an annex to our church use.  This dust would change stone to clay.  Once I had collected the material and was able to make the dust, I was able to make good my escape.  Using the dust to weaken the walls of my cell, I was able to push my way out into the open.  From their I ran, and the prophet Astrid looked down upon me, and must have smiled for I was able to avoid pursuit.

I stumbled into a small town, half starved, with little but the clothes on my back.  In the lands of the faerie time seems not to pass, I quickly learned that 17 years had passed since I stumbled into Jannolor on that fateful day. My years of servitude helped me to gain employment in that capacity again.  I do not have a constant master currently because none have lived up to my standards, but I have been able to work from time to time as traveling merchants or nobles come through town and need additional assistance.  Everyone always jumps at the chance to hire me, and often puts me foremost among their servants.  I don't really understand this, but I often see people watching me when they think I'm not looking.  I think it may be because I have a physical appeal, but it is so hard for me to judge after living among the beauty of the elves for so long.

For the first time in my life, I had a comfortable existence to call my own, and I could decide what to do with my life, and that prospect terrified me.

I have a blog!

I'm finally taking the plunge, and starting my own blog.  I've toyed with this idea for quite some time, but since GenCon 2015 it has been on my mind quite a bit.  I had very gracious offers from many friends (Thanks +Dave Hanlon+Marc Plourde, and +James August Walls ), but ultimately I decided I wanted something where I could have my own voice.

Right now I'm not sure if I'll have any sort of regular posting schedule but I hope to get to one at some point.  Some of the things I am probably going to blog about:

  • Session Reports - (Strangely playing many games and GMing none right now) 
    • I am currently playing in a Savage Worlds Achtung Cthulhu campaign
    • I am currently playing in a D&D 5E Evil Character campaign
    • I am currently playing in a monthly Shadows of the Demon Lord campaign
  • Game Mastering tips and tricks, much of this will revolve around the Cypher System as this is currently my favorite game system to run.
  • Eventually I would like to post my experience with doing more gaming with my kids and their friends.
  • Sketching out an instant campaign.  Based a little bit around the Cypher System instant adventure idea, I have some thoughts about putting together several instant adventures into a linked "instant campaign" format.
Thanks for reading.

Game On!