A Recent Purchase

About a year and a half ago, I tried...in vain, I might add...to acquire the Wilderlands of High Fantasy boxed set that Judges Guild and Necromancer Games put out in 2005. There was a copy selling for a (then) low price of $300ish dollars.

Then, I went so far as to put my Magic collection up for trade to an interested person who might buy the boxed set. Everywhere else still had the thing at over $1k, so this was a great deal. Sadly, I was unsuccessful at that venture.

Fast forward to two weeks ago, when, as I was selling cards on eBay for the shop, I decided to do a quick search of D&D products and found a copy of the boxed set that the seller had listed in fairly poor condition for a little over $120. This is still a product that can fetch over $500, and does...regularly.

I spent over 3 days thinking about buying the thing, sending off a couple of questions to the seller and getting fairly curt, vague replies to each message. This didn't make me feel too good, as I was led to believe that only one of the books was included, or that the second book was pretty much trashed, but I knew all the maps were included, and that was really the reason that made me finally look back into it.

To my surprise, the item had been relisted for about $5 cheaper, so I hit "Buy it Now." Six days later, I took it from my mail lady, pretty much thinking I was an idiot for buying something I was sure was in shit condition. Boy, was I ever relieved when I opened it up to find a product that's damn near mint. Only the box, which has some shelf wear, shows any signs of it having been used before I owned it.

All that is awesome, and it's more than I could've asked for. I'm super happy with the purchase, and I didn't really know what to expect when I got it. I had heard what the product was like, but I hadn't seen it personally before, even in pdf. This boxed set really is as awesome as everyone says, and I highly recommend it to anyone who appreciates fantasy (gaming or not), or the "old school" styles of play, especially sandbox.

Now, I've already spoken quite a bit about this already, but the whole point of the post (other than nerdgasming via blog,) was to talk a little about sandboxing...

Being a fan of quite a few of the "Old School" rpg bloggers here on the webbernets, I had been intrigued with sandbox-style gaming using editions of D&D outside of the norm for the playstyle, namely D&D 3.x. The version of Wilderlands I own was written for 3.x, but everyone I have read about that uses it does so under OSRIC, OD&D, BASIC Fantasy, or some other retro-clone.

I've not really done alot of things with the style, but I know the basics. All the bloggers I read do this stuff in their sleep, and they've given me a wealth of information to work with.

What experience I do have comes from a game I ran last summer that lasted a total of 5 sessions, in which the players did a little bit of exploration in the Caves of Chaos and the surrounding area. I was just getting my feet wet when we quit that, but I since nabbing the Wilderlands box, I've been wanting to do something with it.

I've been tossing around the idea of running Wilderlands using the Pathfinder rules set, which has gotten a little bit of interest from a few people. I'm rambling about this. Kicking it around. Wondering if anyone reads this and has thoughts. More on it from me at a later time.


Shameless Self-Promotion!

On the sidebar, you can now see a Facebook "Like" box for Greathammer Games.
If you want, go by there and drop a comment, or you can look us up on Twitter as GreathammerGame!

Eventful & Tragic

Hello, all.
As I write this, it's been three months since my last post. That's a long time, I know, and believe me, it's been eventful and tragic.

As some of you already know, in June I took over ownership of Bald Man Games. The shop is now known as Greathammer Games, and my goal is to continue offering the games, gaming supplies, and available space for gaming that Tony had offered, and I've set things in motion to increase product and in-store traffic.

Having a game store in Independence County is important to me, and something I am going to try very hard to improve upon at every opportunity. Thank you to everyone who continues to give the shop patronage.

That explains quite a bit of the "eventful," and tells why I've not been posting in the past three months, and now onto the tragic....

Recently, we lost a regular fixture to the gaming community. His name was Jeremy Wood, and he passed away after injuries sustained training to be an amateur wrestler, which is something he enjoyed and was passionate about, which makes it all the more tragic when coupled with some of the circumstances (which I won't go into here.)

I'm not going to pad this with emotion or false niceties. In truth, most of us were just acquaintances to Jeremy, and not true friends, but he has been in our thoughts, and he will be missed. No one deserves to have their life taken from them in such a way. I, and everyone at Greathammer Games extend our condolences to his family and friends at this time.

In addition to losing Jeremy, a close friend of mine passed recently as a result of a car accident, and another friend had supposedly died to the same circumstances, but the latter was a joke in terrible taste.

Needless to say, stress and worry have been in great abundance here.
You'll hear more from me in the future, though, so keep checking in!


Vampire Again!

So, I don't think I mentioned it before, but Tony picked the Vampire game back up a while back and I've been playing that when I can make it. This last session, I think there were 3 new characters introduced, or maybe 2.

I hadn't been able to make the last 2 sessions, so I was a little out of the loop and confused by some of the changes in cast and goals of the coterie. Apparently our Sabbat-search went into overdrive and we've now tracked down where the Bishop hangs. That's cool, but I think we're outgunned, both literally and figuratively. We're taking on the Sabbat in the city pretty much on our own. We have contacts that we can use to aid us, but we never really use them (my character has none of his own). We don't interact with other vampires or other supernatural things to have garnered friends, favors, etc. there. Except for like 3 of us, everyone in the game has only gotten about 20 xp, so it isn't like we're powerful, and we know some of the Sabbat we're hunting are.

On a side note, I'm not really sure what it is about the game, and I'm not saying that it isn't fun. I love Vampire, and I have a blast playing the game, but I never feel like I can focus when I come to play. I think a great deal of it has to do with the fact that I'm on my 3rd character, so I don't really feel like I've got much invested in the game, I guess. Taylor is on his 4th character, two of which he voluntarily dropped. I need to ask him if he feels the same way about the game.

Like I said, though, it's not like I'm not having fun. The characters are all enjoyable to see develop and the roleplay aspect is win, as it should be for a Storyteller game.

Personal reminder to me: Bruni needs a weapon that isn't the internet/Shreknet. Like a gun.

Scion: Titanic Ultimatum, Part 3

So, Tuesday I ran Scion, and though not much happened, action-wise, the roleplay was pretty top notch, and the characters and character interaction is fleshed out more.

After Henu-Akhet's casket was sent off with Lt. Connolly and his men on their lorry to the expedition warehouse in Cairo to prevent theft, the team kept on about their duties at the dig.

Jack and Ben were doing nothing, Samuel was aiding in removing smaller artifacts from the treasure chamber of the tomb, Sharifa and Saul were resting up from injuries sustained fighting the stone guardians of the tomb while still doing minor tasks. Carter and Jeremy, however, were trying to figure out an item Carter had stolen that he suspected was a relic - an eagle ushabti (mummified eagle) that telepathically screeched when first picked up. At seeing this, Jeremy began to think that the reason the band was at the site in the first place was probably the retrieval of a relic or something like it, and reckoned the real prize was in the casket that they had already sent off.

Discussing this with the others didn't get them far, however, as Saul's Duty virtue held him fast to his orders to stay sentinel at the site, and Sharifa was appalled at the thought of stealing an artifact, no matter if it was key to their being there/coming together. Those things belong in a museum, you know!

When Jeremy couldn't get any further aid, he and Carter headed out at dawn toward Cairo on horses that they had bought (and not cheaply) from some of the fellahin workers still at camp. This proved to not be the best idea, as the two riders were beset by bedouin brigands! Jeremy had been thrown from his steed and was brandishing a stick of dynamite as the raiders began to surround him, and Carter was still on his now-bolting horse when we left off.

Though I wished that there had been a little more initiative taken in the pacing of the game, I feel it was a solid session, with good roleplay throughout. Chris and Jeremy seemed to not do much during the session, but that's just how their characters involved themselves. I like that their are strong personalities cropping up amongst the characters. That does nothing but help the game out. I do wish John had been able to show up. I would have been interested in seeing what his character would have wanted to do.

In case anyone is wondering, I've handed out 11 xp so far.

Cast of Characters
Jack Monici (Hero Scion of D'Artagnan) Eccentric French-American philantropist, invited by the expedition as a V.I.P. when he decided to contribute funds to the effort. Played by Epic.
Carter Sykes (Hero Scion of Kali) English-Indian White-Collar Criminal. Was able to buy his way onto the expedition through various contacts. Hoping to make it rich off the burgeoning Black Market artifact trade. Played by Steve.
Sharifa Petrie (Hero Scion of Bastet) British-Egyptian grand-daughter of Flinders Petrie (father of modern archaeological practices). Working as an understudy under her father at the excavation. Played by Angela.
Saul Archer (Hero Scion of Robin Hood) British Army Captain relegated to security duty for the Oxford expedition. Somewhat resentful of the post. Having to make some tough calls. Played by Taylor.
Samuel Grey (Hero Scion of Badarus) Adopted child of an American archaeologist who is working as an understudy in the expedition. Plucky kid, driven by discovery of all types. Played by Chris S.
Ben Hogan (Hero Scion of the Dagda) Scottish pro-golfer doing the rounds, invited as a V.I.P. to the expedition. Smooth talker, debonair attitude. Staunch critic of the "Empire." Played by John C.
Jeremy Jarvis (Hero Scion of Br'er Rabbit) African-American "demolitions expert" (terrorist) who ducked into Egypt after a job to do a little up-and-up. Working as a "structural analyst" of sorts, for the expedition. Played by David B.


From One Desert to Another...

So, a couple of months ago, I spoke of how I was unsure of what was happening in my Dark Sun game. As a group, we discussed it, and ultimately that game was put on the backburner, since it didn't appeal to what the majority wanted in a game. I felt that if I continued the game in a way that I didn't really want to run it, that it would be sub-par, so we decided to go with the game that got the 2nd most number of votes when deciding what we could play: Scion.

At the outset, I gave the option of playing a Scion, an Aberrant, or a Scion who was also an Aberrant, using a character creation system that I mocked up. Everyone chose to play Scions, so I let the Aberrant thing slide (at least for now.)

I decided to set the game in Egypt a little before the second World War, in 1935. This for a couple of reasons: One, I had a motley group of (mostly) British civilans, a British/Egyptian, and 2 archaeologists. It just made sense. Secondly, I had some Pulp Egypt products by Griffon Publishing lying around, and I thought what I got from those products would really help get the group into the feel that I was trying to accomplish with the game. Third, I wanted to appeal to Angela. She was the most outspoken against learning a new system, and I wanted to give her character a solid hook to ease her character into the game. (Shameless? Perhaps, but I like giving my players what they want), and finally...I wanted to present a somewhat stable political and socio-economic climate to start the game before the serious stuff (like, oh...the war?) really heats up.

At this point in Egypt's history, Britain has declared them independant, but still were part of the Empire by being a protectorate. The rebellions have quelled for the most part, but the Egyptians haven't gotten rid of the British military presence (and to some extent) rule. There's tension (between the British and natives), there's treasure (via archaeology - Carter had really created a boom 13 years earlier), there's money to be had (selling artifacts, cotton industry, etc.), and there's adventure (Cairo is like a real-life Mos Eisley, the Nazi propaganda machines were reaching Africa).

I started the group off as being involved with an Oxford archaeological expedition under one Prof. Percy Mallory, who had uncovered the tomb of Henu-Akhet, a hero of the time of Ramses II. After Mallory is killed at the unsealing of the tomb, the PCs volunteer to go down and investigate, and there run into animated statues, guardians of the tomb (that combat took forever, but it was a good learning experience for us all.) After defeating the statues, and overcoming a few more obstacles, the group uncovered the burial chamber, and began prep to remove the artifacts.

During this time, there was some developing unrest among the fellahin workers present, who had originally been diplomatically addressed, but become more worried when artifacts were being brought up, saying that there would be curses and otherwise blaming the British for desecrating their ancestors' tombs. After the crowd of natives got more rowdy and there were rocks thrown, etc., Taylor's character gave the order to fire on the mob, bringing down close to a dozen of the workers.

When we left off last session, the outrage at the massacre both within the British in the camp and the natives was unresolved, and much tension was still in the air, and maybe growing. Steve's character had stolen some artifacts when not being observed, and the PCs had just sent off the sarcophagus of the hero in a lorry that had just arrived under orders from the quartermaster of Taylor's regiment. What happens next is anyone's guess, but things are going well.

The only thing I don't like about the game is that Andrew and Paul decided to not play. I like playing alongside both of them.

Cast of Characters
Jack Monici (Hero Scion of D'Artagnan) Eccentric French-American philantropist, invited by the expedition as a V.I.P. when he decided to contribute funds to the effort. Played by Epic.
Carter Sykes (Hero Scion of Kali) English-Indian White-Collar Criminal. Was able to buy his way onto the expedition through various contacts. Hoping to make it rich off the burgeoning Black Market artifact trade. Played by Steve.
Sharifa Petrie (Hero Scion of Bastet) British-Egyptian grand-daughter of Flinders Petrie (father of modern archaeological practices). Working as an understudy under her father at the excavation. Played by Angela.
Saul Archer (Hero Scion of Robin Hood) British Army Captain relegated to security duty for the Oxford expedition. Somewhat resentful of the post. Having to make some tough calls. Played by Taylor.
Samuel Grey (Hero Scion of Badarus) Adopted child of an American archaeologist who is working as an understudy in the expedition. Plucky kid, driven by discovery of all types. Played by Chris S.
Ben Hogan (Hero Scion of the Dagda) Scottish pro-golfer doing the rounds, invited as a V.I.P. to the expedition. Smooth talker, debonair attitude. Staunch critic of the "Empire." Played by John C.
Jeremy Jarvis (Hero Scion of Br'er Rabbit) African-American "demolitions expert" (terrorist) who ducked into Egypt after a job to do a little up-and-up. Working as a "structural analyst" of sorts, for the expedition. Played by David B.

A Continuation of A Stolen Idea

Hey folks, I'm back!

So, I read blogs on gaming all the time. In fact, in some ways, that's what I'm doing when I could be posting here. Sad, but true.

Anyway, these things inspire me quite a bit, and sometimes I'm way late on the pick-up of these ideas that have been put out there, because I just stumble upon (or get around to reading) a certain blog.

Well, this morning, I have been working my way through Neitherworld Stories, and came across this post. For those of you who don't care to check the link, I'll explain. In that post, Stuart proposed what he called "Spell Synergies," which allow you to piggyback a spell onto another spell that has a synergy with the one being cast. For those of you who are familiar with Magic: The Gathering, this is pretty much Splicing Into Arcane.

The examples that Stuart gives are things like Bear's Endurance onto a Summon Monster spell, or various divination spells onto Prying Eyes. I've thought of this before, when Chris, Paul, Zack, Richie and I were doing our braintrust thing with 3.x, but we never took it any further, and I'm wondering why.

As it stands, I'm not sure where I want to go with this...there are different things you can do here. Feats (a couple of which have been done), Prestige Class(es), etc., and maybe I'll see what I can come up with on both fronts. Going through the spell lists to find the synergistic spells, like Stuart said, will be the biggest problem, as it will be time consuming, but I devote quite a bit of time to the hobby, anyway.

We'll see...I have that and a few other things stewing in my head, and rough notes scattered here and there on things I want to tackle. I'll eventually get around to them all, I think.

By the way, for those of you in my current game group, Stuart covers 3.x and Storyteller system mostly in his blog, which makes alot of what he says relevant to our current gaming. Might be interesting to you.


This Is A Serious Game...

I think I would like to share this gem that was linked to me by my friend Jade. If I were in Tom's place, I might say I would do the same thing. Much hilarity here.
Thanks for the linkage, hun!
Everyone enjoy.


When Captain America Throws His Mighty Shield...

"...all those who oppose his shield must yield! If he's led to a fight and a duel is due, then the red and the white and the blue will come through...when Captain America throws his mighty shield!" - Old Captain America cartoon theme.

Yeah, so...this post isn't really about Captain America, not directly. What it IS about are games like Godlike, Weird Wars, Adventure! (none of which I have experience with,) Mutants & Masterminds, Aberrant, and Scion...and any other game that has a good enough feel to be dropped into WWII.

I do like Captain America, and as an extension, I like the idea of pulpy superheroes punching Hitler and his goons in the face. That's always appealed to me. I like the idea of men and women with extraordinary abilities running in the muck with the ground pounders, battling for every inch and inspiring their fellow countrymen to great deeds as they help the war effort in any way they can. It appeals to the values of America, and the pride most Americans take in the leaps we took during the War and in the Post-War era.

I bring this up because I have thought of it before as a viable campaign option, and I just acquired the Scion Companion, which puts forth a fairly solid framework to hang a campaign on, as well as introducing the American, British, and Soviet pantheons and further fleshing out the "Axis" pantheons for the model.

While Scion is a game about godlings, the abilities and items they have put them on the same scale as low-powered superheroes and I see no reason why any other supernatural types can't be introduced into the game, as well. Picture you're the scion of Sam, Uncle Sam, that is...and you're charging up a hill beside your pal who suddenly goes into crinos form and tears up some Nazis. Insane to think of....pretty cool. The possibilities for social dynamics in the roleplay mixed up with some two-fisted action is sweet.

I'm all over the map again, but the concept is really going wild in my brainheadthing, too, and I thought I would share some of the enthusiasm. I've been thinking about it lately as what I want to do next, should Dark Sun not go how I would like, or if some other opportunity presents itself.
I dunno. Just some stuff!

A Little More On Dark Sun's Fate...

I had mentioned previously that I thought the game was self-destructing, and that it felt like I was spinning wheels and some of the players (not all!) were just standing around and not helping push the thing forward. It's a frustrating feeling when everyone claims to be on-board for something, but their actions don't really show that commitment.

I had been thinking of many solutions to the problems inherent to the game so far, and along comes Josh D, a lover of Dark Sun, himself, and drops a comment the other day on it all. What he said had mirrored some of my own thoughts, and though it was one of the last things I wanted to do to get the players interested, I think perhaps he is right...railroading is sometimes the only option you have left. At this point, I can only throw out so many hooks...if none of those hooks work, then perhaps skydiving isn't for y....wait, wrong saying...

Anyway, the point I was trying to make is that when you have lots of fish, but you aren't getting the bites on the hooks, sometimes you're better off slinging in the dynamite and forcing results...at least at first. I'm partially to blame, don't get me wrong. I just spent over a year running a game that followed the "Adventure Path" structure. Even though I tried to make that as loose as possible, I think, perhaps, that the cushion of direct storyline still acted as a crutch, as did party dynamics.

I can understand the phenomenon. It's hard to break from molds that you're used to, especially when you've got little experience. I'm also very aware that there are a million OSR blogs out there saying that what I want to do is doomed for failure out the gates because of the system I use (3.x,) but Ben Robbins proved that the model of sand box play fits it with his Western Marches. I think it all boils down to attitude.

I'm trying to...not force this on my players, but work them into the style, and give them the freedom to develop their characters in ways that the path or story-driven campaigns (I hate calling them that...isn't every campaign story-driven?) might not allow. To me, it looks like opportunity...to my players, I don't know? I feel like I failed in the pitch.

Josh is right, I think, but I keep thinking "What if that, fails, too?" Well, then I know that it's just not the right time or group to run the game with. That happens.
I'll give it a few more weeks before I call it. I really wanna see this game get out of the gates. I love the setting. I love the group I play with. I think that this can work, the game just needs a boot to the ass to get it going.

I hope...it's even gotten me doubting any game I might run in its stead if it fails, which is a horrible feeling. I've never, in my 13 years of DMing felt that. Blah.

Edit: Sorry this post is all over the place. Just one of those things.


The Dark Sun Game So Far...

So, I already aired some stuff about the DS game, but I didn't really discuss anything that has happened so far within the game, or anything about the characters. I'll take some time here to do just that.

As I mentioned before, the campaign has begun in the city-state of Tyr. It's important to note that this is the pre-Prism Pentad Tyr, as presented in the original Dark Sun box set, and that the happenings of those novels might later impact my game.

As it stands, Kalak's ziggurat is about 1/3 of the way done, and there hasn't been the push for slaves yet that is presented in the fiction and in the adventure Freedom. I have, however, ran a couple of encounters from Freedom that haven't had a real tie to timeline. Already, there have been some uncertainties about the political climate within Tyr, as well as all the weirdness that needs to take place in an rpg.

And now on to our cast and what they've been up to...

Rhine Lockwood(Taylor) - [Dwarf Expert 3] Rhine has been able to use some old connections to enter into the society of the wealthy, playing the dual roles of sycophant and historian, recording the dynasties of the nobles of Tyr and trying to work into the graces of those he encounters. There have been plenty of opportunities for deeds both base and heroic presenting themselves to the dwarf, but almost all have been either overlooked or turned down. His true motives remain mysterious, though he has started a cordial relationship with one of Kalak's templars. Where this will go remains to be seen.

Kitcliff(David B.) - [Halfling Swordsage 3] Kitcliff has mostly been doing his job and hunting. While working, the roost he cleans for an innkeep that offers a room to aaracokra has had some stray body parts, and a ring...which made him inadvertently stumble into contact with a group of men who claim to be against those who defile the face of Athas. The halfling has now pledged his service to this group, but he's uncertain, as of yet, how that will impact his life.

Kal-Mek(Paul) - [Mul Gladiator 2] Kal-Mek has, of yet, done nothing too much more than work at a stone carver's shop. On one excursion out of the city to let his inix have room to run, he did encounter an odd kank herder who introduced herself as Krysta, and he has an existing relationship to Han, the Rain Cleric. Other than this, his employer's shop being taken as the property of the King has been the only thing that has affected the mul.

Khaz(John C.) - [Tari Rogue 2] Khaz has established himself as a brave member of his people, though other Tari might call him foolish. Upon hearing of/noticing a rash of disappearances among the ratfolk, he immediately went in search of answers, which led him and some of his mischief(pack/tribe) to venture to what they thought was the source, just to lose one of their number to a beast the likes of which none of them had seen before...a modified hook horror! Though they turned back at that point, our "hero" is undaunted, and still wishes to get to the bottom of things.

Han Daarken(Chris S.) - [Human Cleric of Rain 3] Han is the most junior member of the three-man clergy at his "temple," and as such has been tasked with carrying out the day-to-day wishes of anyone who wants something of the church. This has manifested itself, most recently, into a joint effort with the Ministry of Public Works of King Kalak to construct a fountain to "complement the ziggurat." To protect the work til the finish of the ziggurat, the fountain is to be completed inside a building, and it will be a stylized statue of the Sorceror-King, and has no basin, but drainage holes going into the ground.

Yor 'Kov Ent'Sieqe(Steve C.) - [Tarek Truenamer 1] Yor has yet to come into the game, due to Steve's inability to make it to the sessions.

Krysta(Angela) - [Half-Elf Druid 3] Krysta is a young half-elf who has been left to her own devices out in the wilds, and lives among a herd of wild kank a few miles out from Tyr. Recently, she discovered a dead, ashy-looking circle on the ground that has begun to expand after almost every night. After a few nights, she also discovered a few of her herd stripped of larger portions of carapace. Despite all this, she has yet to show any want to investigate or otherwise aid her herd. She does, however look forward to speaking with Kal-mek again, since they crossed paths earlier.

Knaun Orzan(Andrew) - [Human Psion(Shaper) 3] Knaun has actually done some of the most pro-active stuff in the game, and has had a run-in with a templar that might crop up again during the course of the game. Afterwards, our psion found his way to a flop house where he practically killed a guy who was trying to steal from him, making him run before he had another encounter with the templarate. Last we left off, he had shacked up in a nice place, but Andrew hasn't been back to the game. Hope it's not lame to him.

And there's our characters and some of the stuff they've been up to.
I find it kinda funny that, out of all the characters in the game, only 2 are from Tyr. It might become clearer why that amuses me once I can let the cat out of the bag about some of the character's backstories.

More to come on the Dark Sun game. It's something that's on my mind quite a bit lately.

Is Dark Sun Already Growing Tyr-ing?

I know we're just a little bit into the Dark Sun campaign, but it already seems to not be moving along. I thought the "ensemble" style would help fill out characters and give people alot to work with for their characters before they actually got together with other PCs, if ever.

When I pitched the concept, people seemed to like the idea, immediately picking up on how the dynamics worked, since most had seen the show Heroes, and were familiar with the style. Through character creation, things went smoothly, and everyone was pitching ideas and asking questions to help fill out the personalities and such, and I had no problem placing them in my version of Tyr.

Then actual game play came up.

Things are sluggish. It's hard getting characters motivated to want to do anything other than their workaday jobs, and pacing is killing me. It takes a whole session to knock one day out, because it seems like there's an assumption that you HAVE to play out your whole day, even if you do nothing. I don't know where this assumption came from, as I never stated that's how you have to do things. It seems common sense to me NOT to play out going to work, if that work is uneventful. I try to hit the high spots, like if anything changes, and then push the action along to cue my players, but it doesn't seem to work.

I have tried my hardest to lace everyone's action with hooks, teasers, and threads that they can ride if they want, but perhaps they aren't juicy enough. This makes me wonder what, if anything WILL be enough to make them want to look at the world outside of their non-PC lives. I would say non-adventurer, but I don't necessarily want them out dungeoneering or conquering the wastes one braxat at a time. I just want to see pro-action, and I'm stumped on how to do that. I've postponed my game for two weeks (and Paul has started running The World's Largest Dungeon alternatively) to give myself more prep time and think about how to better integrate things that would personally motivate or intrigue each character.

If anyone out there can give me some hints/tips/suggestions, then that would be awesome. I feel like I'm spinning my wheels on this campaign, and that makes me sad, because of how much I love the setting


More Musical Inspiration...

Often, in the games we play, our characters pay grave prices for the arcane or spiritual knowledge they gain, regularly with loss of something within themselves, high tariffs of physical objects, or (if others would have it their way) with their lives/health. On the flip side of that, our characters could be the ones persecuting those they feel are dangerous for their knowledge and abilities.

This week's song was chosen because of that flip side. I've been an AFI fan for quite some time, but never felt like they had songs that could tie in well with gaming, but lately I've been reading the Hunter: The Vigil core rulebook, and this song popped into mind. Pretty gruesome imagery, if you're familiar with history (or Warhammer 40k).

As a final note, I'm sorry that I wasn't able to get a video. AFI doesn't do many official vids, and the live ones had terrible sound quality. At any rate, I hope you enjoy NoCal's A Fire Inside.

AFI - "Malleus Maleficarum"

Open my eyes as I submerge
and I won't deny what I've been since birth.
I'll die drowned by your standards.
Breathe in the life of the summer's death as the orange
and red breathe their first breath,
so welcome as they're burning through.

We all begin to burn.
Autumn's flame dances in my eyes
Set alight for all we've learned.
My ashes falling.

My skin is singed but it heals my heart
and with glowing pride I'll wear my scars.
I'm honoured by your hatred.
Leaves fall we arise again,
and the end impending,
it will begin.

We all begin to burn.
Autumn's flame dances in my eyes
Set alight for all we've learned.
My ashes falling.

can you feel me?

Ashes fall and I'm rising up again. Ashes fall.
Ashes fall. Ashes fall as we all arise.

*As always, I don't own this, blah blah blah.


Character Meme

Going to try to get back into the swing of things. New job and sleep schedule has eaten into my spare time recently, but I miss posting. Anyway, I thought I would start it off lightly with an old meme I came across. Fun stuff.

Here's the premise:

Name 12 characters you have played in RPGs, before looking at the questions that follow.
List your characters numbered 1 to 12, with the name of the RPG you played them in.
Once you've picked your 12 characters, look at the questions and answer accordingly. (No peeking until you've picked your characters!)

1) John Keegan (JFK Jr. in hiding), Camarilla vampire in Poland, Vampire: The Masquerade
2) Aucros Kendra, Cloud Giant-blooded grappler, Dungeons & Dragons 3.x (Eberron)
3) Jimba, Hoop boat captain/treasure hunter...bunny pirate!, Gamma World ala Story Engine
4) Wade, Assassin for hire (Deadpool), Dungeons & Dragons 3.x gestalt superhero campaign
5) Ivellios Vyshaan, Scoundrel Sun Elf Wizard, Dungeons & Dragons 3.x (Forgotten Realms)
6) Kalec Mat, Superstitious starfighter pilot, WEG Star Wars
7) Rikus Blackheart, Dark-humored mul gladiator/assassin, Advanced Dungeons & Dragons 2nd Edition and Dungeons & Dragons 3.x
8) Eros Narcis, Jet-setting corporate playboy charmer, Aberrant
9) Richard Edgars, Professor of history at Rutgers, Call of Cthulhu
10) Manlebb D'ann, Twi'lek scoundrel, d20 Star Wars
11) Mourn Tarnruth, Wild Elf schizo shaman, Dungeons & Dragons 3.x
12) Jack Mason, Past-his-prime detective, d20 Modern Urban Arcana


1) Who would make a better college professor: 6, or 11?

lol...oh man. Well, I would say that Kalec might be the most stable of the two, but Mourn could bring alot to the table. More of a world-wise person than the starfighter. I really don't think either would ever get the job.

2) Do you think 2 is hot? How hot?

It never came up in campaign, but he does have bluish white skin and silver hair. 18 Str means he's got a nice build, I would think. If ladies are into 7'4" blue-white guys, then hey, I guess he's hot.

3) 12 sends 8 on a mission. What is it, and does it succeed?

Interesting. Jack is in way over his head. Getting caught up with an organization that wants to eradicate anything non-human (which he doesn't know yet) and Eros is definitely non-human, by the group's standards. He's trying, at the same time, to prove he can keep up with the younger cops. I would say infiltrating a group of supers or even worse, "monsters." This seems awesome, the more I think about it. Not sure how they would meet, but the possibilities!

4) What is, or would be, 9's favourite book?

One that he could read and not go mad? Such was his fate, alas. (Though, I think he would love to be able to read and understand any of the ancient texts.)

5) Would it make more sense for 2 to swear fealty to 6, or the other way around?

Kalec is so superstitious that I immediately want to say he would follow this huge, powerful, odd-looking human...but at the same time, if Aucros saw Kalec touch down in his Z-95, then who knows what he might think, especially since Kalec would be suited up. Might mistake him for a powerful artificer, might mistake him for something else entirely.

6) For some reason, 5 is looking for a room-mate. Should they share a studio apartment with 9, or 10?

Ivellios is married, so his wife might not like that too much, but if it were to come up, then it's hard to say. Both have their merits... Prof. Edgars, his intellect and good conversation, Manlebb for his like-mindedness, but I think our man Richard wins out. Manlebb is, ultimately, too evil and ruthless for Ivellios, and no doubt, would be Dominated within a week after personality clashes.

7) 2, 7, and 12 have dinner together. Where do they go, and what do they discuss?

Aucros, Rikus, and Jack, hm. Somewhere with beer...or whiskey and likely with huge steaks or other cuts of meat. They're all just that type. Like a bootleather convention of my characters, in a sense. I think they would just talk about how shitty life is, you know...how they throw their lives on the line and too often, it just goes unrecognized. I dunno why I picture these guys getting along so well. They just seem to have all bitten the same bullets.

8) 3 challenges 10 to a duel. What happens?

Much hilarity, that's what. Jimba pulls a knife. Manlebb draws a laspistol. Jimba pulls a shotgun. Manlebb draws another pistol. Jimba then produces grenades. Manlebb calls in a favor and a small squad of Imperial stormtroopers show up. Jimba winks to his mutant friend Bizkit and the dog-man calls down a lightning bolt on Manlebb's backup. It's all one-upmanship. Eventually, Jimba would take it to a physical level if he couldn't intimidate, and Manlebb would rather manipulate than kill, though he might eventually get tired of the back and forth and just shoot the hoop.

9) If 1 stole 8's most precious possession, how would they get it back?

Two VERY rich and powerful men who are more than men. This is interesting. They wouldn't take the stage personally. I picture each of them working through agents, going back and forth stealing and counter-stealing whatever it is. If they ever did meet face to face to resolve it, Eros would probably just work out a huge payoff to resolve it. Fun stuff. Board-room characters win.

10. Suggest a title for a story in which 7 and 12 both attain what they most desire.

Justifiable Homicide
, in which Rikus is given a trans-planar assassination job, and once he does the deed, Jack gets on the case. Jack's a member of a baseline group, and depending on where he is at that point with the group, if he sees that the murdered "person" was actually a monster, then he might work to put law enforcement on the wrong track, because he thinks the life taken isn't as precious as a human's would be.

11) What kind of plot device would you use if you wanted 4 and 1 to work together?

Wade, being based off Marvel's Deadpool, is an assassin. 'nuff said.

12) If 7 visited you for the weekend, how would you get along?

I want to say awesomely. I've always called Rikus my "flagship" character. When I think back on D&D games, the ones where I played him stand out most. I love the character, and his demeanor most matches mine, of all the characters I have played. I'm just...not a gladiator, or an assassin.

13) If you could command 3 to perform any one task or service for you, what would it be?

*sigh* Assuming he could even remember anything I tell him, or if he didn't misinterpret the directions, I would simply ask him to leave. Seems that he's keen on getting into tight spots.

14) Does anyone on your friends list resemble 11 (either in appearance or personality)?

No, and I'm very happy of that fact.

15) If 2 had to choose sides between 4 and 5, which would it be?

I think there wouldn't even be a debate. Wade might be good at persuading people to help him, but I'm afraid Ivellios is a pretty powerful enchanter, so Aucros would likely get no choice other than if he wished to forgo his saving throw.

16) What might 10 shout while charging into battle?

"What in the moons am I doing?!" Not quite the most combative guy.

17) If you chose a song to represent 8, which song would you choose?

Missa super Letatus sum. A classical Greek work.

18) 1, 6, and 12 are having dim sum at a Chinese restaurant. There is only one scallion pancake left, and they all reach for it at the same time. Who gets to eat it?

Jack does, I think. John doesn't eat food, and Kalec might not even like the stuff. Maybe Jack would pass it up to get some drink, though.

19) What might be a good pick-up line for 2 to use on 10?

"So...what are those tentacle things fo....oh, you're a man?! *red face* Sorry, sir."

20) What would 5 most likely be arrested for?

"Arrested? When? Who? Sir, I don't know what you're talking about 'called it in?' We didn't see anyone looking like an 'Elrond ripoff.'" I say again, Ivellios is a very powerful enchanter.

21) What is 6's secret?

He used to fly search-and-destroy missions for the Empire for pay.

22) If 11 and 9 were racing to a destination, who would get there first?

Mourn. Crazy he might be, but he still has magic, which trumps autos and the train.

23) If you had to walk home through a bad neighborhood late at night, would you feel safer in the company of 7 or 8?

Rikus, definitely. I can't say I wouldn't mind being in Eros' company, because he is rich and the life of the party, but he hits like a girl.

24) 1 and 9 reluctantly team up to save the world from the threat posed by 4's sinister secret organization. 11 volunteers to help them, but it is later discovered that he/she is actually a spy for 4. Meanwhile, 4 has kidnapped 12 in an attempt to force their surrender. Following the wise advice of 5, they seek out 3, who gives them what they need to complete their quest. What title would you give this fic?

Ok, so... John and Richard team up to thwart Wade. (Sounds reasonable!) Mourn volunteers to help, but is later revealed to work for Wade. (What were they thinking, anyway? He talks to rocks!) Wade has kidnapped Jack to force them to surrender. (No! You can't kidnap the everyman!) Following the "wise" advice of Ivellios, they seek out Jimba who gives them what they need. (First off...Ivellios would think, rightfully so, that Jimba's an idiot, but eh.) Jimba has alot of crazy junk, so who knows what they need to finish the quest. He probably has one somewhere.

I can't even begin to think of a name. This sounds so wonky that I think the only real title it can have is Deadpool #(whatever is next in continuity here)


In Search of Nine Worlds

Yeah, so I was reading blogs, as I do, and I came across an actual play of a game (produced in 2004, from what I can tell) called Nine Worlds.

The game sounds awesome. The game is concept based, so you don't truly have statted out characters and all that, just run with some basic ideas of characters and have fun. The game, just like any other rpg, can be very engaging and introspective or as juvenile as Warhammer 40k meets Clash of the Titans in space, and that's just awesome to me.

I'm not even sure of the particulars of gameplay, or really, any of the fluff, but it all just seems to thematically hook me. Afterall, who can resist intrigue and space theatrics with a backdrop including things such as centaurs, satyrs, and "primarchs" going by the names of the Greek pantheon, with aetherships offering passage between worlds.

My problem is this: I want the game, but can't find it anywhere for sale or download (I'm not sure if the pdf was free or not) anywhere. The full name of the product is Nine Worlds: The Game of Cosmic Myth, and if anyone out there can point me in the right direction for tracking it down, that would be keen.



While I'm around, and thinking about gaming, I thought I would ramble on about an idea I had a while back, which I had decided to name "Xalts," though I've forgotten why, other than it's an obvious take on the word "exalt."
As usual, this model uses my most familiar gaming vehicle, D&D v3.x, to accomplish its goals.

Here's what it consists of so far:
  • No change to races.
  • No change to class selection.
  • All characters are able to cast spells, at least to some degree.
  • Surges: At first level, and every level thereafter, a character gets one Spell-like Ability to use At-will, corresponding with spells a character of their level would be able to cast. These are activated as the spell chosen, and acts like the spell for the determination of duration or other variables, or may be activated as Swift actions, in which case the "Surge" only lasts one round.
For example, let's say we have a 1st level Fighter. This character could have either a 0 or 1st level spell chosen as a Spell-like Ability, which they can activate as (let's assume they have True Strike, a 1st level spell) a Standard action, in which case it acts as the spell, or they can use it as a Swift action and it would last one round, which True Strike does, anyway.

A 3rd level Fighter would, similarly, have Spell-like Abilities, but more. They would have access of up to three 0 or 1st level spells, or two of either and a 2nd level spell as Spell-like abilities.

The idea is really just a rough sketch, but I think it would be fun. I have NO idea, as of yet, what I would do with actual spellcasters, since the model isn't on the table for play yet, but I'll be hashing out something soon.

As far as story goes, there needs to be limits and such for Xalts, as they would (easily) outclass and command the populace, so perhaps there are laws against use of their powers outside of the bounds of structured combat or something? Perhaps a divine ban on such acts.

It's interesting enough for me, at least, but any comments are welcome.

Dark Ho-Hum

So, as the time for the Dark Sun game approaches, it just seems like the enthusiasm and want to participate is running on low.

Attendance is low, attention to various other things seem to crop up during a time when character creation and realization should be happening, and there's just an overall "meh" attitude swimming around.

Perhaps it's just fatigue. I realize it's the holidays and such, but nobody is even talking about the game. Nobody is really discussing their characters or the whats/whys/hows of where they want their characters or story to go. This is highly unusual.

So, I'm gonna bring it up to the group on Tuesday. We're supposed to start then, but if there's a hitch, then it will just make the game lose some of its appeal. We just knocked back a year's worth of some D&D'n, so maybe we need a taste of something else for a short while to get back into gaming.

I dunno, we'll see. It's kinda frustrating/saddening.