Mar 042020

Crypt Worlds

Small, uninhabited, asteroids in or near royal space. There are several of these in The Stones. Nearly all Crypt Worlds are made from mined out asteroids. It is here that the dead are brought for internment. Some of the inhabited worlds in royal space are unsuitable for the burying of the dead. In some cases the dead must be protected from the unlawful attention of looters.

Eventually, these crypts fill up and are moved to a distant orbit where they will be left to float eternally. No one but family or the occasional desperate looters visits these crypts.

The dead memories trade changed all that. Looters now seek the memories of the dead in corporeal form using a form of spirit alchemy to create their illicit substances. To combat this violation of the dead the wealthiest royal citizens add private security firms to the defense of their family mausoleums. The less wealthy add traps, tricks, and monsters to defend their ancestor’s remains.

The Op

  1. Crypt security – to protect the honored dead
  2. Party hired as part of a mercenary company
  3. A shipboard patrol
  4. Visit a sentry outpost
  5. Drive off grave robbers
  6. Capture or kill some graver Robbers to discover a new horror. (Grave Worm on-board raider vessel)
  7. Learn that the raiders were interrupted by Grave Worm attacks.
    1. Grave Worms are semi legendary cryptids
  8. Investigation reveals they are no longer legendary. Defend the crypt.

Basic Grave Worm

[subterranean predator]

[][] fair +2 : predator action

poor -2 : move on surface

stunt –  armor:2 unless exposed on the surface.

Created by insane warlocks using banned magic back on home world. The grave worm is one of the creatures that drove civilization into space. Originally, they were intended to guard undead crypts as they cannot detect the dead.

The reporting of grave worms to the authorities will bring swift overwhelming force to bear. The company would lose their lucrative contract. The crypt they guard would be destroyed by fleet ships. An investigation would tie up resources and pay for all involved until it was determined how grave worms got to this crypt.

The company believes the more reasonable approach is to cleanse the worms from the crypt, perform their own investigation and then relocate the dead worms and any evidence uncovered to another location, possibly one protected by a rival company, before informing the authorities.

The Company – The Lock

Originally started long ago to provide steady paying work for the veterans left jobless by the exodus from home world. Though the original founders were dwarves, the company is multi racial. Folk serve where they can provide the most advantage to the company. The work is easy and the pay is decent even good when bonuses are paid. The company’s discipline and reputation is good, though, many employers believe they are too quick to hand trespassers to the authorities. They would prefer a more permanent end to those who violate their ancestors graves. In truth, some in the company turn a blind eye on minor crypt looting. Without some trespassing the companies reason for existing and it’s contract could be threatened.

Major threats to their crypts are dealt with using the ruthless efficiency of a mercenary company filled with disciplined veterans.

 

The Captain

Malice Crackanvil Stoneborn

Malice was elected captain by popular vote. She has a record of successful campaigns on dozens of worlds. No one knows why she is called Malice. Everyone is either afraid to ask or too polite.

The Lt.

Tusk Trollborn

Tusk served during the orc uprising. He lost his left hand to an orc chief before strangling them to death with his right. Earning him the orc enemy name “Throat Crusher” a sign of respect the orcs in his command continue to honor.

Master Sergeant

Mary Vimes

A Human woman,she lost her right eye to a wight in a close quarters fight. Later, during a routine patrol an undead raid cut her small squad off and threatened to take the crypt they guarded. She led her team on a suicidal ambush of the wight leading the raid. The survivors of her team remain faithfully loyal. She caries an illegal “wight blade” concealed on her person. It is rumored to be made from the wight that took her eye.

Posted by Lodger
Mar 042020

The tomb of Opacus

Opacus was a necromancy researcher specializing in ghosts and apparitions. She was brilliant and driven. Terrible traits for an apolitical necromancer. A rival had her killed in her lab. Unfortunately, her true death was inhibited by the spells she had woven into the very walls of her lab.
Her lab is now her tomb. She is a specter bound to this plane of existence. Her magic allows her to create magical anchors which prevent her from passing on and allow her to travel beyond her tomb.  These anchors hide and house her incorporeal form allowing her to travel secretly. She can teleport between anchors. In A.N. Society, a lich is beloved for having defeated death, but Opacus has allied with death. There are many who desire her research.

Opacus

[Spectral Necromancy Outcast]
[Political dissident]
[Death’s ally]
Quick: +3, Forceful: +2, Flashy:+2, Clever:+1, Careful: +1, Sneaky: 0

Stunts:

Animation: Spirit summoning

Possession: Forceful+2 to possess a victim. Attacks do mental stress. A Victim must concede or be taken out to be possessed. (Mental stress)

4 Anchors: for a fate point, concede defeat and vanish to one of the seven anchors.

Incorporeal: great +4 – overcome to hit and (armor:2), Vulnerable to Fire, Magic, Alchemy (purified weapons)

Weapon techniques (stunts)

Read technique: use defense skill to learn an aspect of the target on a success with style. This costs the boost normally generated

Preferred Enemy: wpn:2 vs one kind of target (Human, Undead, Dwarf, etc…)

Elven Blade Adept: school of magic focused on the blade attack and defend with magic. A weapon is magically created for the user to use. Alteration magic. Self only advantages

Subtle Attack: tag a [feint:off balance] aspect for +3

Plan of Action: Carefully plan an attack, retroactively. Pay 1fp and describe a scene where you layout a plan in advance for this situation. Create aspect Carefully with 2 tags

Totem Crafting: Craft a totem to affect a zone . Place a zone aspect Carefully. Carve/Craft the one use totem with 2 tag aspect of a spiritual nature. Requires shaman spell casting

examples: [rage totem] [fear totem]

fair difficulty to overcome, Spend tags to increase difficulty or actively resist overcome actions.

 

 

Posted by Lodger
Feb 022020

The Night Sky, continued.

Visitors are led to the ‘Floor’. A vast multi level collection of open stalls and rooms where various merchants sell their wares to passerby’s. Some of the larger rooms are occupied by food and drink establishments. Opened to cater to the needs of both visitors and merchants.

Cherbog’s Elite

The administrators – A council of 6 vampires

Enforcers: Blind Seth – Wraith, surrounded by a frost aura

The staff: Revenants – Willingly raised to serve Charbog until their contract is up. They are then released into death and buried with honors.

The Pack – Vampire hounds, 12 in number. The largest is “Sinan.” The hell hounds are released by blind Seth. Usually to handle threats that cannot be handled by the staff.

Militia – some of the merchants have banded together to act as community police. They hope to handle small problems before blind Seth notices.

A.N. Cults

The current largest cult active in the stones is The Strangling Vine.

Majority: human

There are many small groups of mad folk, but clashes between them are rare despite their often opposed philosophies.

The ascension of The strangling vine was a surprise to everyone. An opportunity created when the Rolling Eye cult and the Fangs of Aphyron destroyed each other pursuing a exiled vampire.

The leader of The Strangling vine is Acacia Sym. Acasia is a cunning mad woman. She was driven mad by close personal contact with an extra dimensional being which manifests as mottled green and red vines with obsidian thorns.

She learned focus:evocation (vines) from it and carries its word to the unbelievers. It’s main goals involve the location of a peculiarly colored sun and a seed that is lost.  Occasional attempts to locate the seed or to investigate vine appearances are hampered by her madness.

Cult of Zen-Bratohn:

Majority: orc

Operating from the shadows, the followers of Zeh-Bratohn seek to improve attitudes about orcs. They act to police out of control orcs and perform charitable acts as orcs. Zeh’s followers have a high percentage of healers, magical and mundane. They are secretive about their purpose in the stones. They have ties to Klehnaki raiders but take pains to avoid them.

The Rose Garden

majority: mixed

technically a brothel catering clients in the stones. An inner circle is made up of 30+ initiates of a blind love god. Mostly harmless in nature, the rose garden is home to some of the stones most connected information brokers.

Order of Light

majority: human,elf

A Royal sanctioned anti- undead task forces. Their Official duties are officially to police cults. They have royal sanction to kill undead at will. This is why they are in the stones. Their presence is physically painful to the undead. They are all trained focus: evocation – sunlight and heavy armor operations. Officially, they lobby royals for permission to destroy the Stones by hurling them at A.N. Worlds. It takes very little provocation to get zealots to go rogue and start the purge without sanction.

notables:

Sarina Staroak – elf commander

Doriana Vey – elf, high crusader

Sir Johan Blank – human, sub commander

The order commissioned a small hollow rock to act as their base / sun cathedral. The base is the “Far Star Cathedral.“

The Fire Swarm

a klehnaki swarm comprised of three working ship sized vessels and a dozen smaller vessels.

The firestorm’s main tactic is to set their vessels on fire and crash them.  The fire swarm has an old orc fire and death cult at its heart. These shaman have changed the game for the swarm. The smaller vessels when tasked with fire bombing the crews are protected from fire and impact when they crash their vessel into a target. They emerge from the wreckage and fight crew using the flames as cover to hamper fire fighting efforts.

Bloodtusk’s Second Fireborn

[Orc firestorm traditionalist, Follow the old way, return Klehnaki, Chosen of the fire spirits, Item: book of the ancient flame]

careful-fair, clever-great,forceful-good,flashy-superb,quick(orc)-good, sneaky-good

stunt:

focus: shaman

Ancient flame, tome – because I hold the tomb of the ancient flame, I get +2 to flashily create a shaman advantage involving fire.

Disciple of the ancient flame – Because I am the chosen, I am immune to mundane fire.

Fire swarm orc raider

[][] attack: fair

stunt: immune to fire and crash damage

 

Antillum

[ghost ship – experimental warship]

careful-med, clever-poor,forceful-poor,flashy-med,quick(orc)-ave, sneaky-ave

working ship [][][]

stunt:

Navigation, Weapon station: scorching Ray 2, engine +1 mild consequence

Not there: 1/session vessel can concede and disappear because everyone is shooting at an illusion.

Cloud generator: Flashy +2 to defend inside dramatic black clouds

Ghost crew:  Slay living +2 / be subtle -2

 

Immortal pirate captain – Captain Dain

[vengeance driven revenant, hate filled monster]

superb: kill the living +4/ avoid trouble -2

stunt:

void filled cutlass – 1/fight increase the severity of a consequence.

 

Orc ship to ship sniper

[orc blow gunner]

shoot+2/avoid hand to hand -2

stunt:

blowgun darts: on a success with style trade a boost for a situation aspect of:

[poisoned] no action until overcome.

[hallucinating] this compels a full attack action on nearest person until overcome.

[sleeping] sleeping until overcome.

 

Torin ship yards – goblin collective of ship builders. The collective refers to itself as Torin yards. In addition to their work on several solid ship designs , they rent labor and expertise to other ship yards when they need skilled help. Torin yards is a great supply depot for the invisible fleet.  It is also a monitoring base for spying on royal and a.n. Interactions. The monitors are a professional espionage team. They occasionally finance adventurers to handle problems that haven’t been noticed by official channels.

Goblin Torin mechanic:

[sneaking and spying]+2/[direct confrontation]-2

Vaeda Torin:

[Goblin master ship engineer]

[monitor base commander]

[retired ship captain: serrated fang]

[deep reserves]

[Collector of A.N. Crypt artifacts]

 

A.N. Crypt artifacts

Phylactery : Bound soul of a lich. 1/fp call on a lich sponsored power to grant wpn:2 to a magical attack. User gains the aspect [sponsored] with no free tags. It lingers until payed off or the phylactery is returned to its owner.

Complication: if the lich is destroyed. It’s soul will possess and sponsored creature in possession of the phylactery.

Blood totem: a vampire fetish which contains one of the blood demons used to create a vampire by the A.N. creation rite. 1 charge – release blood demon servant. It requires 1 adult body’s worth of blood to manifest. Blood demon lasts for 1 scene.

[blood demon] drain or engulf+2/solidify or hide -2

stunt: All Blood – 1/ scene drain attack if successful with style it forces a med consequence and the advantage [growing bigger] instead of a boost.

Staff of Ebon Rites: Staff made of a gnarled black wood of great age. Careful +2 to cast rituals.

Ring of Vedec: Gaudy gold ring created by the fashion challenged wizard, Vedec. A duelist mage. Considered one of the fastest casters of his age. Ring provides quickness +2 for determining initiative.

Bracers of the Elements: Studded with black stones carved from some lost asteroid. When it’s user uses evocation lightning to defend a success with style trade a boost for 2 stress inflicted on the attacker.

 

(fin)

 

Posted by Lodger
Jan 062020

Sector issue: Riddled with claim jumpers

Planet base: Draug Hold (Asteroid Base)

Planet issue: the hungry dead are always watching

“The Stones” are an asteroid belt circling a binary system. A yellow star dancing with a brown dwarf. The belt is littered with valuable minerals and raw gems.

Miners of all types flock here. Mining the stones is hard, dangerous, work. Good work for dwarves. Small independent mining companies dot the belt. Attracting scavengers, who pick off the unwary in the shadows on the belt’s fringe. Rumors of an army of claim jumpers working the outer ring are unsubstantiated but plausible.

A large grey asteroid circles in the inner ring casting shadows behind it as it passes. This is the orbital tomb called “Draug Hold”. Set here by the annular necrocracy (a.n.)  to act as a listening post and trade center on the edge of their territories. The hold is populated by legions of undead led by a dwarven lich  named “A’heet” Stoneborn Glassmaker. Glassmaker is locally infamous for encasing miscreants in glass and keeping the preserved corpses as decorations in the trade tunnels of Draug Hold.

Synopsis:

The A.N established Draug Hold to act as a forward observation post and intelligence gathering tool in its cold war with the Royals. It performs the first function using a type of highly sensitive life sensing specter array under the control of the resident lich. It’s second function is achieved by sponsoring a trade hall (The Tunnels) in neutral space just close enough to the a.n. to prevent direct Royal assault. The trade hall is monitored and policed by a powerful revenant. Various servitor undead report interesting conversations to it directly. The revenant was a human named “Dral Tem”.

The trade hall is frequented by orc pirates whose missions are funded by Dral. They are generally well behaved when visiting the hold. Their leader , a nasty captain called Kirgaz’s third Ston Aetherclaw, is being blackmailed by Dral. He isn’t actual Kirgaz’s third or even of the line of Kirgaz and should his crew discover this. They would turn on him. Also, he betrayed his previous crew to an elven patrol to escape detention. This betrayal is public knowledge, if not the details of it. Among orc pirates, several popular drinking songs cover “The Betrayal”. Unfortunately for Ston, one of those killed was collected by Dral and interrogated postmortem.

Adventure seed:

One of Dral’s spies , a goblin named Pehn, has escaped the “3 Blades” shipyard with plans for a new class of dreadnought. Ston’s Pirates have been sent to collect Pehn by Dral. But, Royal fast attack boats are in hot pursuit.  The players find themselves caught in the middle of a slug fest between orc pirates and the Royal Navy.

5 pirate boats

4 royal fast attack boats

1 fleeing spy with plans on a goblin blockade runner

Pehn is a master spy. He could easily swap to the players vessel leaving his own (burning) vessel to smash into the pursuing royal boats. He will attempt to bargain or hijack the players vessel.

Players find themselves in possession of some very hot merchandise because of Pehn. The plans have a tracking spell on them making them easy to find. This is how the arriving Royal frigate “The Hand of Vengeance “ (HOV) will locate their current position and bear down on that location under full power.

Outcomes:

Pursued- fleeing the arrival of “The Hand” . The players play cat and mouse with a clearly superior vessel that can track them.

Draug Hold boarders – a platoon of Draug Hold dead arrive to acquire the plans. Compliance will be rewarded. They will not leave without the plans and/or Pehn.

HOV boarders – Capt. Zek, a troll with a no nonsense attitude and experience with pirates. He is a stubborn and calculating foe. He has a secret weapon he will use if it appears the plans are about to fall into a.n. hands. A platoon of anti-undead marines reinforced by dwarf battle healers. All platoon members are armed with alchemist solar silver weapons, very rare weaponry outside the Royal Navy.

Plans Acquired – detailed data on a new class of anti-undead dreadnought. A type of magic banned under the current treaty. The plans will allow the A.N. a short time within which to violate the current treaty without consequences if they can get evidence.

Secrets – unknown to both sides there is an application to this research that any spell user could see. The spell could create a creature of necromantic origin from a dead world or star. While ethically suspect such a creature could easily turn the tide of the ongoing cold war. Pehn used a spell to secretly transmit the data to a hidden specter array used for spying on Royal Space. Which leads the players to step 2.

Step 2: Ice Cold War

The A.N. Deploys a research vessel to a small dead moon at the very outer edge of the system. The moon is code named “the clouded eye”.  The vessel, “Bone saw”, is a black ops vessel used for black ops missions. It is typically crewed by intelligent undead.

The Royals approach:

The Royals send an operative of their own and contact the party. Considering player involvement in the last mission, the Royals are prepared to make them one of the two following offers.

  1. To clear their names in exchange for cooperation. Cash + maintenance in Royal shipyards.
  2. To Smear their names as traitors to Royal space. The Players do want to be able to travel in Royal space again don’t they?

The Clouded eye rises:

Sector issue: Hot dead star radiates no light.

planet: Clouded eye

planet issue: Illegal necromantic research

A tiny moon orbiting a dim star. A secret base ruled by a goblin vampire named Izmelda Darkshore. The Eye is technically a research base which moonlights as an observation post tasked with monitoring nearby Royal military transport corridor. The vessel, tracked by Royal Intel Scryers to the Eye, is the A.N. “Bone saw”. A black as space stealth frigate with experimental star field illusion generator. The “Bone saw” is captained by an ex human turned ghoul named, Ansel TurnCrow. Ansel has arrived to witness a new development in necromancy on behalf of the A.N.. The reanimation of a dead star. A potentially game changing magical technique. Depending on the outcome, the decades old cold war could end and with it all living things.

The Clouded Eye is a featureless rock with a breathable atmosphere and little else. It orbits a dead star which is slowly cooling over eons. There is a population of still living folk on Clouded Eye in service to the A.N.. They perform support functions for the base as well as serving as a food source for Izmelda.

Security: Captain of the guard [bound wight, the barrow calls]

fight +2/ control rage -2 ps:3 ms:2

4 shadows – elite security [untouchable undead shadow]

freeze+2/touch-2 ps:1 ms:2 (immune to non-magical physical attacks)

12 Draug Hold marines [Draug dead, only a head-shot matters]

fight+2/stealth-2 ps:2 ms : <n/a>  stunt: defend at +2 vs ranged attacks because [only a head shot matters].

the plan:

  1. Infiltrate
  2. Investigate
  3. Sabotage

Location – Ritual site: set into the rim of a crater is a small amphitheater. Symbols in precious metals that ring the 3 tiered amphitheater. An ornate alter on a raised dais lies at the center. The ritual itself involves the sacrifice of a dozen living slaves and the bones of 3 fallen necromancers. These slaves were delivered by the “Bone Saw”. The slaves are abductees from around royal space and are currently enthralled by Izmelda. They are also valuable evidence of a treaty violation by the A.N..

NPC: Izmelda Darkshore

[Exotic Goblin Vampire, Problems with sunlight, Brilliant necromantic researcher, I set my own agenda, I remember my roots]

Careful-good, Clever-ave, Forceful-med, Flashy-fair(vampire), Quick-ave, Sneaky-fair(goblin)

Focus: Necromancy (careful)

Fog Defense – because I am a vampire , I can use sneaky+2 when I transform into a fog to defend.

Create Thrall – because I am a vampire , I can use flashy+2 when I create the aspect [dominated] on a victim.

Blood is life – because I am a vampire , I recover 1 minor consequence if I succeed with style and sacrifice the boost when biting.

NPC: Ansel Turncrow

[Human turned ghoul, Flesh eating gourmand, Council’s agent, Authority and responsibility, Smartest ghoul in the graveyard ]

Careful-fair, Clever-good, Forceful-fair, Flashy-ave(human), Quick-good(ghoul), Sneaky-great

Falls from the bone – because I am a ghoul, I recover 1 minor consequence if I succeed with style and sacrifice the boost when biting.

Grave Rot – because I am a ghoul, I create the aspect [grave rot] when I attack with style and sacrifice my boost on a bite attack.

Paralyzing Touch- because I am a ghoul , I use quickly+2 to create the advantage [paralyzed] when I touch living non-elven skin.

Ship: A.N. Bone Saw

[shadowy stealth frigate]  fp:2

[universally reviled]

size warship (major ship)

Component: stealth field generator (Sneaky+2 when hiding but not moving)

Component: weapon system (spine torpedo)

Careful-med, Clever-poor, Forceful-ave, Flashy-poor, quick-good, Sneaky-ave

Scene: THE CEREMONY

The ritual to awaken a dead sun spirit begins.

  1. Consecration – a team of living servants (5) prepare the area with tensors of acrid smelling black smoke and 3 braziers are lit.
  2. Sacrifice – 3 bundles of bone filled rags are thrown into the braziers. The bones of fallen necromancers crackle merrily in their braziers.
    1. Living victims (12) are then sacrificed one after the other to feed the spell.
  3. The Naming – how Izmelda learned or created the name of a dead star is a mystery. Fortunately, the device required to be heard in the vast airless void is large and complicated. It is a design based on a modified spectral array common to the A.N.. The Sun Spectre’s name is “A’shuus the empty gaze”. A’shuus isn’t stated because it has a godlike level of power.

Scenario: Diamond and Stone

An accident unleashes an asteroid of undead into the unsuspecting mining range of the stones. A nickel iron asteroid, hollowed out with undead laborers to create a A.N. war ship.

Built in secret, it was fitted with an experimental “death drive” for longer operational range then black silver commonly used in the A.N..

and deployed to Draughold for crew. It’s officially gone rogue.

A.N.S. Hammer Maw

[hollowed out iron war moon]

[undead automation]

[crew of one]

size: warship

Force-ave, Sneaky-ave, Careful-med, Flashy—med, Clever- poor, Quick-poor

components:

  1. Weapon system – lightning projectors
  2. weapon system – armored ram (force+2)
  3. tractor chain – to catch smaller boats (careful+2)

Resources [][][][]

Introduction: Players are passing through The Stones carrying minor cargo. They are suddenly contacted by the A.N. via messenger spirit.

The indentured spirit of a human woman appears on the bridge of their vessel and begins repeating the message. “Message follows. Vessels traveling in the stones be advised. The rogue vessel “Hammer Maw” has been sighted in the vicinity. Use all caution. Avoid contact and report its location to the nearest A.N. Representative. “

The spirit lists a 10000 A.N. gold reward for the destruction of the Hammer Maw. The woman’s figure vanishes.

Delivery of their cargo proceeds without incident.

until…

The crew wass contacted for a short run to an outpost to deliver foodstuffs in exchange for minerals, an easy job with good wages.

Docking at Grinding Rock is made difficult by unusually high levels of ship debris. Overcome difficulty = good.

Secret issue: current – hotbed of the cold war.

Planet issue: Organized crime is good government.

Outpost – Grinding Rock:

After docking and assessing any damage taken during the landing, the crew becomes aware of the eerie silence. No outpost crew comes to greet them. This is very unusual.

The search: Grinding rock

  1. Forceful, flashy = great difficulty
  2. Clever, quick = good difficulty
  3. Careful, sneaky = fair difficulty

Discovery stress: [][][]

discovery box 1 = ore warehouse – dozens of corpses where an apparent last stand took place. Evidence of miner on miner combat. Clever vs. good difficulty to determine that some victims were reanimated before being re-killed by their crew mates. [Postmortem wounds]

discovery box 2 = living quarters – corpses with defensive wounds. These miners were caught unprepared and were unarmed. Clever vs. good difficulty uncovers the corpse of a standard issue A.N. Reanimated Assault Skeleton ( armored marine type)

discovery box 3 = offices – a few corpses, but obvious signs of looting. Strewn invoices, overturned tables, and the back wall of the overseers office has been torn open where the safe was torn out of the rock and carried off.

note: Failed rolls result in random wandering reanimated corpses attacking in numbers, as required, to keep the crew moving.

New Direction:

The “Hammer Maw” appears.

Description:

  1. If the crew posted a watch. They have time to load and try to escape.
  2. otherwise, check quickness of the Hammer Maw vs. lowest player quickness. (Note: faster crew may opt to ditch slower players and then circle back to rescue, or not. Their choice.) Failure leaves crew on the rock when the Maw begins attacking the ship.

The Hammer Maw uses flashy to attack with lightning projectors. It will use forceful to ram when in open space.

player options:

  1. Fight – Hammer Maw has the advantage in an open space fight, but in a [debris field] it needs to spend time flashily overcoming the aspect with lightning projectors.
  2. Run – Hammer Maw is not quick, but it will pursue relentlessly.
  3. Hide – The Hammer Maw can move in a stealthy (sneaky) manner if required. It’s weak sensors have difficulty overcoming  sneaky advantages.
  4. Boarding- Hammer Maw is big enough that it would have trouble spotting an opponent in it’s shadow.

Boarding action notes:

  1. Typical crew on the Hammer Maw are reanimated skeletons. They have programmed functions to perform. They will continue to work unless attacked. When attacked all crew present attack together.
  2. The commander unit is an elaborately decorated skeleton. It is bonded to Magda, the vessels current captain.
  3.  Removing Magda from control ends the threat.
  4. She can order the crew to defend her.
  5. Destroying the commander ends her control over the Hammer Maw. This also releases the being that is held in the death drive. (Oops)

The Death Drive:

An experimental new power source for ships is tested. Easier to create and longer lasting then the standard Royal Silver Sink drive system. This makes it extremely illegal in Royal space. It draws on the necromantic field of a powerful undead creature. The A.N. is planning to create special purpose undead to fill the power supply role.  In this instance, they have used a condemned criminal.

The elven vampire Brotol Vesh, was condemned to the Hammer Maw for experimentation. He has used his not inconsiderable charms to turn Magda into a traitor .

Brotol is an ancient vampire from Home world. He used his knowledge of troll lore to convince Magda that he is a troll cultural treasure. A historical source to learn ancient troll legends from. Legends that troll society considers lost before the calamity.

The A.N. put such a large bounty on the Hammer Maw that Magda’s attempts to put ashore and escape into Royal space have all been met with attacks. Magda is now focused on acquiring an new vessel by piracy.

NPC: Magda

[Terrifying Troll Starless Knight, A.N. Foster-ling, Rage fueled action, servitor: Command skeleton, Dark and Foreboding]

Careful-ave , clever-ave ,forceful- fair(troll) ,flashy- Good, quick- Fair ,sneaky- Med

stunts:

Evocation: Negative energy – create negative energy advantages and attacks

Skeleton – Fair: acts as controller of the Hammer Maw’s skeleton crew. +1 med consequence.

description:

A troll of the Starless Knights. Abducted at a young age from an orphanage in Royal space. She is a ruthless officer of the A.N.. She has been turned against the A.N. by the careful influence of Vesh.

 

Ship: ANS Hammer Maw

[Hollowed out Iron War Moon, Undead Automation, Official crew of One]

quick-poor, forceful-poor, sneaky-ave, flashy-med, careful-med

component: Weapon station – Lightning generator, Weapon station – Armored Ram (force+2 when ramming, requires a strait run),

Weapon station – Tractor Chain (Careful+2 to capture a smaller vessel)

 

Organization: The Starless Knights

An order of slave knights raised in the A.N.. The order recruits talented orphans from a series of orphanages run by a front organization in Royal space.  Children showing early talent in magic are recruited into the Starless Order. The order operates on the frontier seeking to subvert or destroy the lit worlds. The knights are trained in the use of evocation: negative energy. They are assigned to support undead groups as healers and special weapons units. Uniforms and armor are black with scarlet accents. Their symbol is a red stylized sun with a grinning fanged mouth at its center.

NPC: Brotol Vesh

[Ancient elven vampire, Problems with sunlight, Collector of trollish trivial, Leader of elven heretical sect, A.N. Traitor]

Careful- good, clever-superb(elf),forceful-fair,flashy-good(vampire ), quick- fair,sneaky-ave

stunts:

fog defense – because I am a vampire, I can use sneaky +2 when I transform into a fog to defend.

create thrall – because I am a vampire, I get +2 to flashily create the advantage [dominated]

Blood is the life – because I am a vampire, I recover my highest stress box when I succeed with style on a bite attack and I sacrifice my boost.

Description:

The pale white of death, Brotol is an ancient vampire and is losing his resemblance to the elf he used to be. His eyes are rich burgundy red in color and his face is vaguely bat like. He is currently dressed in a bloodied white hospital gown.

Location: The Stones

Ruling body: the Syndicate ( dwarves enforcers)

Majority – dwarves

The dwarves of the syndicate are a private lot. They count themselves as neither Royals or A.N. And are far enough away that neither the Royals nor the A.N. have pushed the issue. The area called the Stones has no obvious value, strategically, to either side. The main value of The Stones is a neutral force policed security zone between the empires. The syndicate enforcers keep the region under control and work to keep conflict low key. The stones have become a hotbed of spies, brigands, and revolutionaries. Dwarf religion is based on speaking to the stones themselves. The dwarves are more open minded then usual in The Stones. Each major asteroid has a name and a personality.

Welcome to Octus:

Octus is the undisputed center of The Stones government. Here the only requirement for a seat is undisputed rule over one of the stones. A seat grants one vote. Who casts the vote or sits in the seat must be determined by the inhabitants of the particular stone in question. The A.N. has a seat on the council because of the presence of the Draug Hold. The Royals do not maintain a seat, but are support by loyalists.

Organization: The Enforcers

Dark suited and well groomed, the Enforcers are not police. They are the made-men and women of the Syndicate. They buy their way in with gold and influence and become “The Made”. The face of the organization is Dram Hammersmith. Enforcers choose their leaders based on influence and power. This makes Dram the most influential dwarf in The Stones.

NPC: Dram Hammersmith Stonesborn

[Dwarf leader of the enforcers, Obligations to the stones, Native Octan, Steeped in the rich tradition of hammer making, Infatuated with goblin women]

Skills: careful(dwarf) – fair, clever – good, forceful – ave, flashy – fair, quick – med, sneaky – ave

Stunts:

Back alley general – Because I am a General, I can use careful+2 to create clever advantages involving groups of people.

Ancient hammer arts – Because I am a hammer maker, I get weapon:2 when using a hammer I made

Speachify – because I lead the enforcers, I can use flashy+2 to create adv on listeners from the Stones.

Description:

Graying at the temples, Dram is dressed in a finely cut dark suits of charcoal grey with a white button down shirt. He wears a memorable bowler hat with a scarlet band. A large gold ring is worn of his left hand.

Stones of note:

Octus – Which speaks of the eight foretold. The dwarf stone readers say Octus tells the story of eight heroes, unnamed. The stone readers never say anything more of what they read in Octus. They only say, ”He could not choose and she will not choose.”

Fin – Which speaks of food undreamed of and difficult to describe.

Relin – A collection of short tales in which the joke is always on the reader.

Desak – Which has no stories, but is a den of scum and villainy

Zuun – Which only asks ,”why?”, over and over on every tunnel wall and passage. The more superstitious of miners say that if someone digs deep enough they will find a new kind of rock that has the answer. These miners often gather as a cult in dark lit taverns.

NPC: The Speaker for Stone

[Dwarf critic turned holy woman, Not very sane, Stone reader, Dwarf nationalist with Klehnaki ties, Anti-Royal agitator]

Skills: careful(dwarf) – good, clever – fair, forceful – ave, flashy – med, quick – ave, sneaky – fair

Stunt:

Evocation: earth

Animation: earth

Word of stone – Because I am the stone reader, I get +2 to overcome the resistance of a dwarf.

 

Vessel: The Stone church – a ship built like a stone tower and crewed by loyal dwarves and elementals.

 

NPC: Lore Master Jon Troll

[Trollish lore master, Historian activist, Core world journalist, Rakish and fashionable, Loyal following of fans]

Skills: careful – good, clever – ave, forceful(troll) – fair, flashy – fair, quick – med, sneaky – ave

Stunts:

The Jonish army – 1/session find an extremely helpful person who is a fan.

Secret histories – because I am a keeper of ancient troll lore, I am sneaky +2 when moving quietly among non trolls

Trolls gaze – because I am a troll journalist, I can use forceful +2 when intimidating an non-troll.

 

Location: The Hammer and Stone pub.

Built into a mined out asteroid husk. The Hammer and Stone acts as a local watering hole and neutral ground. It is here that the various factions of the syndicate meet in peace. The proprietor is a dwarf so big he has been called ,”half troll”. No one ever does this to his face, or course.

Virgil  shoemaker stoneborn was born on home world and emigrated to The Stones shortly after arrival in Royal space. He crafted a web of agreements and coercion that rivals the Syndicate in scope. He is an unofficial member of the syndicate. His is a strange tale. His greatest talent is a nearly supernatural talent with logistics and accounting. He uses trustworthy agents throughout Royal space and the A.N. to ship and receive goods, services, and information in a timely fashion. Time acts as his ally due to his planning skills.

NPC: Virgil shoemaker stoneborn

[Biggest dwarf ever, Terrifying visage, Business partners everywhere, Owe a lot and owe everyone, Plan for long term. Adapt in-the short]

Skills: careful(dwarf)-fair, clever-fair, forceful-ave, flashy-med, quick-ave, sneaky-good

Stunts:

The Web – 1 FP to contact an expert who owes you.

Fixer – Because I am a fixer, I get a +2 to carefully acquire exotic items as an advantage

Mithril touch – because everything I touch has value to someone, I get +3 when tapping wealth advantages

NPC: Avena Shoemaker Aetherborn

[Dwarven mine collapse survivor, Survivor guilt and ptsd, Reformed tomb raider, Assassin guild sleeper agent and pub owner]

Skills: careful(dwarf)-fair, clever-ave, forceful-ave, flashy-med, quick-good, sneaky-fair

stunts:

Shadow strike – Because I am an assassin, I get +2 to sneakily attack from the shadows.

Hunter – Because I used to raid crypts in the a.n., I get +2 to cleverly attack the undead.

Proprietor – Because I own the hammer and stone, I get +2 to quickly create architectural advantage in the hammer and stone using hidden passages and equipment.

Items: Smuggled gear

Wight blade – 1/session, a combat attack with a magical dirk. Empowered to wpn: 4 if it hits. This ability can be triggered after a hit.

Specter bomb – (plot device) 1/campaign, inflict sever consequence on 2 zones. Those killed rise as angry souls and begin killing survivors who then rise as well.

Soul wand: (2 stunts) – necromantic weapon, flashy+2 to attack the incorporeal, Capable of attacking incorporeal creatures. Acts as a whip up to 2 zones and can maneuver around defenses, corners.

Dead memories(potion) – usually used by A.N. Interrogators to question the dead. An excellent tool for gathering intelligence. Unfortunately, it can become an addiction. The buying and distribution of dead memories is becoming a problem.

Stunt: Extra – potion of dead memories (1/scene), 1fp to pull out a potion of dead memories pertaining to the task at hand. Careful+2 to overcome pertaining to memories being consumed. Option: Succeed with a cost and gain the aspect [addiction] (for use as a permanent stunt by a player)

Stunt: Enhanced undead, intelligence: because they are enhanced, they get +2 clever to create advantage using their alien cunning. (add as a stunt to any unintelligent undead)

House Fen:

Lead by matriarch Lucinda Fen.

Lucinda’s daughters occupy all positions of authority in House Fen.

A powerful trade house, House Fen , has mysteriously moved all their holdings to The Stones. The main manor is in a large granite asteroid near Octus. It is woven with spells and wards providing security and comfort for its inhabitants. This is Fen manor.

House Fen ‘s daughters are notoriously ruthless and frugal. Several work as sell swords to the syndicate when the price is right. They are highly trained swords women and magical dabblers.

House Fen has an agenda in The Stones. They are forging strong trade bonds with the guilds, the syndicate, and crypt raiders. They offer unsolicited aid to adventure groups with casual mentions of monetary rewards for unusual stones, equipment or artifacts if any should be found.

Fen occasionally commissions dwarven guilds to tap and mine particular spots on very specific stones, often with no monetary expectations.

NPC: Lucinda Fen

[Elven matriarch of house fen, The house and only the house, Mathematician magi, Memories of home world, Goblin allies of the secret pact]

Careful-great,Clever-superb(elf), Forceful-fair,Flashy-good, quick-good,Sneaky-great

stunt:

alteration magic

focus: math magician- create adv in the form of blessings and predictions. The math magician is using divination to determine optimum success or failure. Magic acts as a computer , the magician’s will is the input.

Ex: a sword woman calculates fields of fire in her zone. She creates advantage +2 barriers to hit her as she knows where the enemy will hit and miss when attacking.

Ex: calculates a target’s actions to create a strike zone adv.+2 to hit.

NPC: Mabe Fen

[Lucinda’s 1st daughter , The house is first, Alchemist master, Syndicate ties, A.N. Ties]

Careful-ave, Clever-good(elf), Forceful-med, Flashy-ave, quick-fair, Sneaky-fair

Stunts:

Alchemy – Cleverly create adv by crafting potions, poisons, or philters. Requires a lab, resources, and time. Ex. Wraith oil- weapon venom adds wpn:2 to first hit by a treated weapon.

Dark charisma – Clever acts as flashy in social events.

Anatomy – Because I studied anatomy, I get +2 to Cleverly create weakness advantages

NPC: Jubek Sen

[Son of  the fen, The house and only the house,  Vanity with purpose, Order of light supporter, Royal ties]

Careful-med, Clever-ave(elf), Forceful-fair, Flashy-good, quick-ave, Sneaky-fair

Stunts:

Lay it on thick – Because I am handsome and I know it, I get +2 to flashily create adv based on my flattery

Misdirection – Because my flattery has purpose, I can tag a flattery adv at +3.

Organization: Klehnaki swarm

Orc raiders in stolen ships. The swarm has learned to stay away from established routes, but will wait at the fringes to attack and capture unwary vessels to add to the swarm. Several small secret bases are hidden in un-populated parts of the stones. Most swarm vessels are small merchant vessels stripped for speed and equipped for boarding.

NPC: Klehnaki boarder: [][] Skill: attack – ave

Ship: Klehnaki swarm ship

[Stripped for speed, Crawling with orcs, Fly it like you stole it]

quick-ave, forceful-ave, sneaky-med, flashy-poor, careful-poor

Component: boarding harpoon – forcefully create adv [hooked]

Location: Night Sky Market

[Clandestine necromantic moving market, Everything for sale, Master Cherbog ” The Leach”]

The night sky market is a massive ship. It was designed in the fever dreams of a necromancer. Bone, stone, and frozen flesh are its main materials. Created to emulate the elven tree stations, horribly. It is classified as as a small moon.

It runs an unsanctioned market for extremely illegal goods and gambling. Doubly illegal as the Royals and the A.N. both don’t approve of it. But, it is too useful for intelligence gathering to shut it down.

Its interior is opulent. Red carpets on black slate tile lit by flickering torch stones in somber but homey hues.

Master Charbog

[Flamboyant human lich, Independent operator, First order necromancy , Ultimate party organizer , Hobbyist orc genealogist]

Careful-great(lich), Clever-great, Forceful-fair, Flashy-good(human), Quick-good, Sneaky-gold

Stunts:

Absorb damage – Because I am dead, I get +2 to quickly absorb damage when defending against physical weapons

Experienced necromancer – Because I am a lich, I get a +2 to carefully use necromancy ritually

Focus: necromancy

focus: evocation-Frost

(fin)

 

Posted by Lodger
Jun 302018
“Simple. This was supposed to be simple,” Jacob thought, as he panted, near exhaustion. It had been, of course, but one-way traps were like that. Easy to walk into, hard to leave. Sue had set it off, of course. She always had to touch something.  No, don’t think about Sue. She was gone. Survive now, think later.
A door slid open behind him as he rested. Because with the D’ni it was always about thinking. When you stopped thinking, you died…
 
Meanwhile, in the Deep City, a small community of people slowly grows as “The Called” arrive at the Cleft near Carlsbad, California. As the populace grows, a dark thought becomes an obsession, and with it the will to recreate a violation of the D’ni way of life. The rebirth of the Hunter’s cult.

Scene:

An acquaintance of the party’s named Claudia Jones uncovers evidence, using survey information, indicating the possibility of a concealed chamber in a mausoleum under a D’ni noble’s house. The house is located in an unexplored section of the city across the glowing lake. Careful excavation reveals a puzzle room of colored light on a bas relief depicting playing children. She calls the players in to investigate with the promise of an undiscovered D’ni chamber. Aspects are marked using brackets such as this: [aspect].
 Claudia Jones (FP: 3)

Aspects:

  1. [Reluctant Anthropologist]
  2. [Agoraphobic]
  3. [Writer, Savant]
  4. [Reader, Influencer]
  5. [Strategic Thinker]

Skills: Great – Research, Good – Surveying, Good – Experiment, Fair – Deceit

The Search: Buried Secrets

On a small island where the wealthiest D’ni once lived, with large manor homes towering over the glowing waters of the lake, Claudia has made a discovery: an entry in a log detailing a request by a wealthy citizen to move the link to the Age of Gilder to a more protected area as the Fall began. There is a family name that she has cross-referenced to a manor home location using new survey information. Most of these homes are in ruins after all this time. This area has the least “reclamation” work done to it due to its distance from the new arrivals. Most of those who come out here are bottom-feeding looters looking to pick over bones long ago stripped clean. The majority of the new arrivals spend their time rebuilding more urban locations among the residences.  The area is located far away from the comfort of the group and shrouded in cold mists which rise from the lake in streamers of phantom blue and green light. The area feels [Foreboding] and [Damp].
Discovery of the lost passage can be achieved in several ways. Some of these are easier than others.
  1. Dig – Athletics vs. Great – each failure adds an additional one hour of backbreaking labor to the three hours required effort and gives the party the scene aspect [Exhausted] for the next scene.
  2. Survey vs. Average – create the advantage aspect [Precise Coordinates] which can be free-tagged to help with the Athletics or Intrusion rolls.
  3. Intrusion vs. Good – locate an entryway that is easier to reach, possibly by knocking out a weakened wall section.

The passage is dark and dust streams from the opening driven by the release of long held dead air. The breeze smells of old dust, rot and the sweet smell of books. Inside, a distant red glow flickers, inviting the intrepid to explore further within.

The Buried Chamber of Gildis:

The remains of a richly decorated hall lit by (red flickering fire marbles.?) The door is strong, hard stone and unlike the ruins surrounding it, shows no signs of age. A puzzle door is how ancient D’ni kept out the unwanted visitors. They are also how they tested and amused each other. The secret of entry was a bond shared between friends or a debt owed between rivals. The party has no such help and therefore must find the secret of the door themselves.

The Door is dark gray the same color as a stormy sky in winter. In a circle are 12 carved symbols that glow, burning white, when touched. All of the symbols must be touched in a particular order until the last. If the sequence is correct then the door slides silently open, if not then the light quietly fades.

(479,001,600 possible combinations, but D’ni never did anything random. Look for the hidden meaning.)

The buried chamber puzzle uses the deduction rules for its solution (Unwritten pg.136).
  1. Frame: How does the ancient vault open?
  2. Establish the participants
  3. Round 1-roll vs a difficulty of good
  4. Round 2 -roll vs result from round 1.
  5. Round 3-roll vs result from round 2.
  6. The Reveal.

The Reveal:

The door slides open to reveal an ornate chamber. Red flickering light from cracked fire marbles illuminates a book stand. The book stand resembles a small child holding a large open book over its head. It’s features straining to show the reader something, an expression of rapturous joy on its face. The book’s flickering linking panel displays a children’s playground. The discovery of a private book this far from the main paths of the Deep City is a important discovery by itself. The discovery of the lost world of Gilder has far reaching implications…

Gilder:

Theme – [Lost Childhood]
Aspects – [Long Forgotten Tragedy],[Buried Guilt and Hidden Crimes]
Written by an unknown genius of the art as a fun and safe place for children to vacation, much like Disneyland. Gilder emphasized education, puzzle solving, and exploration in a safe natural environment. It was staffed by natives, the caretakers, tasked with the care of the children. Now it is silent and scattered with bundles of rag and bone from the ancient dead. large and small, no one escaped their fate. There were no dangers in Gilder. In many ways, it was written to be boringly safe from the beginning. During the fall many families sought to hide their children here,away from harm. The bodies here didn’t die of the plague something attacked them and scattered their bones. An Age is marked using brackets and bold as [Gilder].

When the hunters came…

The fall was a turbulent time. Many fringe groups saw it as an opportunity to rise up. One such group were called, “The Hunters. ” They trained and worshiped in the park. the fall was interpreted as the realization of  prophecy . Their end time myth was enacted in Gilder.
The myth spoke of the great dying of the prey. From the dying would rise an apex predator. Who would rule as cities were devoured in a return to the natural order. The Hunters came through the book of Haldis with trained packs of Avian beasts. The Pack hunters found native in the Haldis jungles. Each hunter commanded a war pack of many, many dozens. The caretaker natives, most of whom were educators, were no match for the quickly expanding packs. Though they tried, most were slaughtered. A few caretakers escaped into the neighboring cities and a defense was rallied to contain the packs within the park. To this day the caretakers leave tokens and symbolic gifts around the walls of the park to atone for their failure to protect the children of the gods.
The pack rampage for weeks, but with little real effect. The hunters had failed to account for the plague, believing themselves immune. Several of their victims had been carriers. When the hunters died, the war packs turned on each other to eat or were slain by caretakers when they attempted to leave the park.

Areas of interest:

The zoo: filled with exotic animals from little-known ages, these beasts starved to death or kill each other.

The aquarium: once beautiful with examples of brightly colored fish and rare aquatic animals. It is now a brackish puddle more akin to a soup.

The library: exhibit books, dozens of linking books to small ages fitted with observation domes to allow visitors to watch creatures in their natural habitats. One book is central and ringed by the most bodies of adult size yet seen. Here is the stand for the linking book to Haldis (missing).

Locating the hidden Book to Haldis.

The book was taken from its shelf and hidden by a dying caretaker trapping the hunters. The Deep City return book is also missing.
Description: the corpses of six hunters and twice as many defenders, probably natives, lie here.
Notice:
Adequate= Scattered bones of victims and an unfamiliar species of huge avian
Fair= Area of intense combat at the book of [Haldis]
Good= Non humanoid bones in debris. A species of Ax beak. A pack hunting avian long extinct in the age of Earth.
Great= A smashed neck piece. A Hunter’s torque with strange gems. One shattered torque neck piece lies here where a custodian got lucky and smashed it before being torn apart by something large and beaked.
 Investigation:
Adequate = Evidence of cannibalization
Fair= Hunter bodies and smashed equipment, book stands and camping equipment.
Good= Evidence of plague in victims and hunters. Signs that the avian packs were abandoned to die here.
Great= Reconstruct the attack. Attack began at the book of [Haldis] and ends when the plague infects the hunters. The aftermath is the pack tearing itself apart.  Locked in the park with nothing left to eat it’s social structure collapsed into chaos. There are definite signs of the native caretakers killing stranglers after the D’ni are all dead.
Deduction:
  1. Frame- where is the linking books?
  2. Establish participants
  3. Round 1-roll vs a difficulty of fair
  4. Round 2 -roll vs result from round 1
  5. Round 3-roll vs result from round 2
  6. Reveal

The aviary: a large wrought-iron birdcage. Silent now, the ground is littered with little bones.

The park: square miles of park, now overgrown. Paths lead into and out of the village. A lake is located near the center of the park and fed by the river. The native flora and fauna have spent the centuries reclaiming the park. There is evidence of offerings being left at the wall as though the native people were trying to placate an angry God for some great failure.

The Draw bridge:  has 2 modes, 1 obvious and 1 hidden.

  1. A set of sliding crystals when set to a pattern reveals a linking book back to the library
    1. Frame: How does the Pattern “L” work?
    2. Establish the participants
    3. Round 1-roll vs a difficulty of good
    4. Round 2 -roll vs result from round 1.
    5. Round 3-roll vs result from round 2.
    6. The Reveal. A linking book back to the Deep City
  2. the sliding crystals can be set to a pattern found in the dark temple in Haldis (Pattern “H”). This lowers the drawbridge revealing a hidden nook under the bridge. A decoy book that looks like a book to [Gilder]. The small statue of a child holding a book up. But, this child isn’t in rapture its face is twisted with vicious glee and has small horns hidden in its hair. {Notice] vs good to detect. This links to the dark temple in a room without windows or doors, the Alter room

Haldis:

Theme – [Harsh Lessons in Caretaking]
Aspects – [Cannibal Cults],[Testing the  Fit]
Written for the genius of the Art that created [Gilder]. An apprentice was given the task of creating a reasonably “friendly” kid’s camp. A place of discovery and life lessons. Intended to give young adult D’ni a sense of responsibility and respect for the Ages they would be visiting as they entered D’ni culture and took their places as adults. Unfortunately, the apprentice was not of sound mind and a species of avian pack hunters was purposely included in the design. At first there were few issues, the D’ni lived apart from the avians. The inadvertent discovery of an ancient temple not found in the original text changed the relationship of the groups. The temple was in the deepest forest, deep in pack hunter territory. The pack hunter’s strange reverence for the temple and those who had lived there fueled the rebirt of a cannibal cult as D’ni with suspect goals moved in and began to assume the role of a lost priesthood.
The cult began indoctrinating like minded young D’ni and waited in the shadows preying on lone victims until the omens were right. The Fall started marking both the cults prophesied rise to power and their inevitable fall.

Areas of interest:

The Forest Glen: A beautiful place of tall grass and bright sun. Several stout stone buildings here provide shelter and comfort for the visitor. They are called “the barracks.”

The Lake: A bright blue fresh water lake. Small to medium sized fish can be seen swimming in it. A dock and a floating raft are provided for boaters and swimmers. No boats can be seen. The lake connects to the river.

The River: A slow moving river enters the lake on the opposite side. Down the river a days journey is the Forbidden Temple. Up river is another glen used for picnicking and camping. There are many simple camp sites visible both in the Glen and along the rivers edge.

The Forbidden Temple: Built by the original inhabitants of the Age, a race of human type that developed a taste for their neighbors. Early in their history they domesticated a large flightless avian predator and through selective breeding made them cunning and hungry for human flesh. These people easily dominated the region for hundreds of years, but over-hunting eventually turned them against each other. A priest class rose and through decree and divine inspiration devoured an entire generation of their own elders. With no guiding wisdom remaining the various factions decided the fault must lie with the other factions and so they too must be devoured. Before long, they are all killed and eaten leaving only a powerful species of pack predator with a hunger for human flesh. As a people, they vanish from history. A legacy is left behind in detailed temple art that describes the glory and power of the cult , but very little of its mistakes. The Pack training are shown in detail and the temples darkness calls to those of like mind. A D’ni centered version of the cult is born among the more decadent minded.. For decades, these D’ni hunters occupy and practice the rituals of the Devoured. At first, they limit their predation to the natives of the ages. Leaving trapped linking books around other ages and then hunting the unfortunates who find their way to Haldis. As they spiral into depravity, they build a secret linking trap into Gilder in the form of an elaborate Draw bridge puzzle. The D’ni clever enough to solve it will be the hunter’s greatest of prey.

Deduction: 5 orb puzzle in an old cannibal temple leads to a linking book back to [Gilder]
  1. Frame- how do I activate the orbs (Pattern “H”)
  2. Establish participants
  3. Round 1-roll vs superb = fact: orb colors correspond to ceiling mosaic.
    1. Success at a cost(SAC)= minor consequence
  4. Round 2 -roll vs result from round 1= fact: 5 panels match orb colors as they change.
    1. SAC:Player must hold exterior door closed as pack bird tries to get in.
  5. Round 3-roll vs result from round2=fact: panels accept the orbs and unlock door
    1. SAC:trapped in temple as a siren calls more birds. New challenge = mount orbs while restraining birds.

The Stones that Sing.

The hunters success is tied to a set of special crystals from another age. (The age of Stonesong (Unwritten Pg. 199): Research vs. good)
The stones resonate in tune with specific sounds, amplifying, altering,  and channeling the vibrations. These sounds were used to train the packs using ultra and infra sound.

Game terms:

Song topaz: allows performance(new skill) rolls to create advantages using sound.
  1. sonic blast – create advantage ,aspect [stunned]
  2. Infrasound- +2 provoke
Appearance: torque necklace with inset colored gems clear to bronze.

Scene: Avian Attack!

Research teams follow the players after they report their findings to Claudia. Claudia and several others begin an investigation of gilder. Use this to relay any info the players missed. It is during the debriefing that the chaos begins.
Challenge: contain the pack.
Information: the following aspects are in play. [undisciplined][panicked crowd]
Task1: attract predators away from researchers
Task2: protect panicking researchers
Task3: cage/ corral uncontrollable predators
This scene is about maintaining control of [Gilder]. All non panicking researchers have used relto books to escape. Those remaining have forgotten them, or lost them. Keep these people safe. A lone dark figure collects torques leaving damaged ones. Pack hunters run around and past this figure as though it is one of them. Attempts to confront the figure are menaced by pack hunters. If the players found a torque and turned it over to Claudia it was stolen in the deep city.
Scene cleanup/aftermath:
Depending on the outcome of the pack attack on gilder.
Options:
  1. Armed volunteers are brought to protect researchers.
  2. Full retreat to deep city with any loose books or equipment.
  3. Occupation , a permanent fort is created in the library. Open books to various research pods throughout th3 tree of possibilities. Researchers keep relto books on hand at all times.
  4. The gilder book in haldis is blocked behind wrought iron or removed.
Discoveries:
  1. All non broken torques have been stolen by unknown parties.
  2. Pack birds in attack were all young and inexperienced.
  3. The dark figure was wearing traditional dni h7nting garb. But no goggles, a bird mask instead.

scene: Rise of the Cannibals

chapter aspects: [Hidden cult],[Insidious presence]

A hidden cult has been preying on explorers and  restoration crews for weeks. What once seemed simple predation and accidents have taken a darker meaning. The Cult has decided to act on the discovery of gilder. Anyone could secretly be a cultist. The resident population of the deep city is tearing itself apart with paranoia. The New Seed was quick to attempt to capitalize on the situation until it is publicly discovered that they have been infiltrated by cultists. The discovery of several popular high profile victims results in a wave of Anti-New Seed sentiment. This backlash drives the New Seed membership into hiding among the ages. This is all according to the hunters’ plan.

Scene: New Seed runners

A very violent group of vigilantes begins rounding up suspected New Seed members on the grounds that they could be the killers. The vigilantes are planning to hold a trial followed by a down home hanging. Surprisingly, Claudia has overcome her agoraphobia enough to speak publicly against the New Seed. This further fans the conflict’s flames. A second camp of residents forms to support the New Seed. This group petitions the deep city’s most influential members, the players, for support. They ask them to step in before violence erupts.

events:

  1. Petitioners approach the party in an attempt to get them to stop the vigilantes. So far, no one has been killed, but they believe it is only a matter of time.
  2. A group of New Seed converts have been trapped in an old Deep City ghetto.
  3. The vigilantes are actively trying to flush them out. They are led by Claudia. Who has the best working knowledge of the deep city.
  4. The undecided inhabitants are watching to see who comes out on top before they pick a side.

Scene : The petition

New Seed supporters led by:

Simon Applegate (fp:2)

Aspects:

  1. [voice of reason, High School history teacher]
  2. [Inexperienced Negotiator]
  3. [How is this not exactly like High School]
  4. [Too old for this…]
  5. [Disciplinarian]

Skill:

Great – Empathy, Good – Will, Good – Experiment, Fair – Research

Petitioner mob (5 groups of 4)

5 x [],[],[],[] Skill: Rumble – Adequate

After the party’s actions in Gilder, most people living in the deep city have the opinion that they discovered Gilder and that makes the discovery of the cannibal cult their responsibility.  This belief also exempts them from being members of the cannibal cult and makes them the most apparently trustworthy public figures. They are member’s of a very tiny group of trusted folk.

Data points for the petitioners:

  1. The newest victims were all New Seed members in long standing. Simon new some of them personally.
  2. The discovery of trhe bodies was made by persons unkown and revealed initially to only anti- newseed factions.
  3. There has been no proper inquiry.
  4. Simon and several others are convinced that the murders were staged.
  5. Simon wants the party to investigate as impartial agents of the community. He believes this will work for both sides as Claudia is a friend of the party’s

Scene: – In the Ghetto

Vigilantes led by

Dorian Crowell (fp:2)

Aspects:

  1. [Vigilant hunter of evil]
  2. [Not a reasonable person]
  3. [Claudia is my guide]
  4. [Revenge for Ramon]
  5. [n/a]

Skill: Great – Provoke , Good – research , Good – Deceit , Fair – empathy

Vigilante mobs (5 groups of 5)

5 x [],[],[],[],[] Skill: Riot – Adequate

Dorian personally knew some of the victims. He was a staunch supporter of the New Seed until his very close personal friend , Ramon was eaten. Now his grief has taken on a form of murderous righteousness. A very bad combination of traits complemented by his ability to manipulate people.

Data Points for vigilantes:

  1. This is none of the party’s business. He’s only cleaning up the mess they and their explorer friends created.
  2. He feels the people in the ghetto stronghold may have personally snacked on Ramon and this sickens him.
  3. Claudia personally investigated this group and they were all in or near the part of the deep city where Ramon died. <she says>
  4. His group is bigger then theirs.

Scene: The Unaligned

  1. Keep track of unused or permanent aspects created in these confrontations. These can be applied to convincing a group of undecided watchers to join one side or the other.
  2. After the confrontations word will spread . The actions of the undecided will be based on these aspects and outcomes.
  3. Use a group roll to decide the final outcome of the se scenes. Players may use social skills to influence the outcome further.
  4. Pick a player or roll for them. The roll is a contest for control of the undecided.
  5. Roll versus Good with no skill modifiers. Use fate points or free tags on preexisting aspects.

Outcomes:

Success – creates a session aspect  [Friendly populace]

Failure – creates an aspect [Hostile Populace]

[Friendly populace]

Invoke – locate a handy person who can help out.

Compel – Responsibility for the population

[Hostile populace]

Invoke – For distractions or create advantages with provoke

Compel – Angry mob complete with pitch forks and torches

 

Chapter: New Seed Panspermia

Chapter Aspect [Panic of the ages],[New seed pariahs], [Hidden Cultists]

Scene: The Festering Quiet

The quiet is broken by the sounds of panic linking arrivals. Wounded and fleeing refugees arrive in the dozens from “relto” havens. Refugees quickly spread word of hunter packs striking at a number of New Seed encampments throughout the ages at strong holds they thought secure. Divisions and arguments flair up as , again, two sides form. One group wants to organize and attack the hunters. The other wants to leave the New Seed to their fate.

Dorian begins fanning the flames using provoke  to create barriers to action.

aspects: [What have they done for us?], [They are murdering cannibals]

(If Dorian was taken out in an earlier exchange his replacement is a stubborn old woman called “Dar”. Dar has the same skills as Dorian.)

Claudia will tag her aspect [reluctant anthropologist] to increase the barrier by +2

[Hostile populace] would add an additional +2

[Friendly populace] would reduce the difficulty by 2

Outcomes:

The hunters hunted: A popular uprising organizes to drive off the hunters from a entrenched New Seed encampment of New Avalon. Players can create scene aspects (1/each) to prepare to break the hunter’s siege on New Avalon.

Or,

Dorian’s Last stand: Dorian has convinced the populace to sit idle. The players may act independently or join in barricading the Deep City for a prolonged siege.

Dorian and Claudia seal access to the surface by disabling the old lift in the Shaft. A series of explosions seal the well known access routes to the surface cutting off the Deep City.

Scene: Siege

 Claudia Jones (FP: 3) – Cannibal Leader

Aspects:

  1. [Cannibal Anthropologist]
  2. [Xenophobic]
  3. [Writer, Savant]
  4. [Reader, Converter]
  5. [Strategic Thinker]

Skill: Great – Research, Good – Surveying, Good – Experiment, Fair – Deceit

Dorian Crowell (fp:2) – Cannibal Beast Handler

Aspects:

  1. [Vigilant hunter of prey]
  2. [Not a reasonable person]
  3. [Claudia is my guide]
  4. [Revenge on the Called]
  5. [Cult Beast Handler]

Skill: Great – Provoke , Good – research , Good – Deceit , Fair – empathy

Where the siege takes place is dependant on the successes or failures of the players. The actual events are unchanged.

  1. Ambush – Hunter packs link into positions behind the players. Using linking books previously written to these positions.  (notice vs great, Investigate vs good: They have a skilled writer.)
  2. Challenge 1 – Rally the defenders (Dangerous action)
    1. Drive off Isolated predators
    2. Barricade overrun sections
    3. Organize an offense
  3. Challenge 2 -Betrayal! Two dark figures join the hunters as leadership. Dorian and Claudia, dressed in traditional D’ni hunting garb of red and black begin stalking the battlefield gathering and directing packs dispersed in Challenge 1 Dorian is using the stolen sonic necklace to stun isolated pockets of defenders to allow packs to overwhelm them.
    1. Neutralized the sonic effects of the necklace
    2. Separate Dorian and Claudia from the packs.
    3. Capture Dorian and Claudia: They will be resisting by creating counter advantages

Scene: Aftermath

Fires burn out of control and the cries of the wounded fill the night. Smoke reduced visibility as isolated members of the broken packs run full speed trying desperately to escape.

Aspects: [Smokey Haze],[High speed pack hunter crashes]

Tasks:

  1. Fires to fight: Athletics (or anything else a player thinks up) vs good
  2. wounded to great: Medicine vs
  3. treat any wounded players (if any): Medicine

Scene: Clean up

The survivors will call a gathering to determine the fates of the hunters and in particular the fates of Dorian and Claudia.

Dorian will describe his becoming a cannibal and joining the cult after watching his love being devoured.

Claudia will reveal that she has been a cult member since her arrival to the Deep City. She read certain rare records describing the cults history and became infected with the idea of predation. She admits to carefully guiding explorers into dangerous trapped areas and then devouring these unfortunates. When she discovered the location to the book of Gilder, she knew it contained the last link to [Haldis]. She had planned to explore it after the players had been killed. When they failed to die, She was forced to “overcome” her agoraphobia to move her plans along. She stole the Control Torques.

Fallout from this adventure:

  1. New Seed camps are everywhere. Without their prophet new leaders are rising from their ranks. Some want only the best but others are charlatans out to improve their personal standing.
  2. A law enforcement task force is discussed. Does it grow built around the players?
  3. Hunter packs without guidance become an ongoing issue throughout the ages.
  4. Diplomatic problems are being caused by rogue hunters who have returned to preying on native populations.
  5. The next episode, The King in Night…..

 

I hope you enjoyed this. It was originally intended to be a four hour session in a duo I had with my wife. We are huge fans of Cyan and the Unwritten rpg .

If you find my typos , have questions or requests for clarification leave them in the comments, please. I’ll get to them eventually.

And Thanks for reading this.

The Lodger

 

 

Hello Dear Reader,
Please consider supporting us by purchasing some of our merch. Thanks again.
Posted by Lodger Tagged with: ,
May 202017

Urban threats are random items you might find in any abandoned fantasy or science fiction metropolis.

Ghost dogs

[][] fair: dog [Dark Mastif]

Stunt: dog +2 stealth in the dark.

Pack birds

[] average: bird [Pack hunting flightless bird]

Pack bird Alpha

[][] fair: bird [aspect alpha bird is smart!]

Stunt: Bird +2 to create advantage using leadership vs. notice

Posted by Lodger
Feb 062016

Unwritten: Adventures in the Ages of Myst and Beyond

Ancient_glyphs.jpg

Glyphs on black tablet

Unwritten, the long-awaited RPG based on the popular computer game by Cyan Inc., is the product of a November 2015 Kickstarter campaign that raised nearly $36,000. It was produced with the cooperation of Cyan and includes data from the Uru MMO. The url is here: Unwritten

The Book:

I have the PDF version. The PDF is well put together with art from the Myst game as well as from other sources. An abridged version of the history of the Myst games is included to ground a GM in the game’s universe. This material is drawn from the novels and from the canon of Myst itself. The basics are: a splinter group from an ancient species of humanity from a parallel dimension with a unique understanding of dimensional physics goes into hiding beneath New Mexico. There they continue to build and refine their core cultural values. They are a society based on puzzles and plenty, and fueled by access to the multiverse via a specialized knowledge of “the Art of Writing.” This civilization flourished and then died in an act of petty tyranny at the beginning of the 19th century. Years later their caverns are rediscovered by their inheritors, modern humanity.

The System:

The system is Fate Core with some minor system tweaks. The attack actions and stress bars have been removed to de-emphasize violence because combat wasn’t the focus of the Myst games. Puzzles and discovery are the primary obstacles of Myst, and to facilitate them some interesting mechanics have been added. In particular, I found the deduction and journey mechanics most interesting. Journey mechanics are used at character milestones to represent the “off screen” work the players have been pursuing. Things like “Writing” new ages or discovering rare tech are handled using journey rules. Deduction mechanics provide setting course corrections usable by GMs to create player-established facts in the game setting. This mechanic personalizes the scenario or scene based on player character skills.

I’ve included some example Ages below. Feel free to include them in your game if you desire. I created these for a longer campaign I ran for my wife.

Example Ages:

Gilder: The Children’s Age

Aspects: [Lost Childhood], [Long Forgotten Tragedy], [Buried Guilt and Hidden Crimes]

Written as a fun and safe place for D’ni children to vacation, much like Disneyland. Gilder emphasized education, puzzle solving, and exploration, the hallmarks of D’ni culture. It was staffed by natives tasked with care of the children. Now, it is silent. The scattered remains of the ancient dead, large and small, litter the park. There were no dangers in Gilder. Gilder was written to be boringly safe from the beginning. There were friendly natives and few predators. During the Fall, many families sought to hide their children here away from harm. The majority of dead here didn’t die of the plague. They were massacred in the Hunters’ attack.

Areas of interest:

The Zoo: once filled with exotic animals from little-known Ages, these beasts have starved to death or killed each other.

The Aquarium: once beautiful with examples of brightly colored fish and rare aquatic animals. It is now a brackish, evil-smelling puddle more akin to soup.

The Library: exhibit books, dozens of linking books to small Ages fitted with observation domes to allow visitors to watch creatures in their natural habitats. One book is central and ringed by the most adult bodies yet seen. Here stands the Book of Haldis.

The Aviary: a large wrought iron bird cage. Silent now, the floor is littered with little bones.

The Park: square miles of park, now overgrown. Paths lead into and out of the village. A lake, located near the center of the park, is connected to a river. The native flora and fauna have reclaimed the park.

History:

Then there came the Hunters…

The Fall was a turbulent time. Many D’ni fringe groups saw it as a time to rise up. One such group was called the “Hunters.” They trained and worshiped in the park in secret. They interpreted the Fall as the realization of a prophecy. Their end time myth was enacted in Gilder.

The prophecy spoke of a great dying of the prey, from which would rise an apex predator. This predator would rule as cities were devoured by a return to nature once all foreign influences were expunged.

They attacked through the Book of Haldis with trained packs of war beasts found native in the Haldis jungles. Each hunter commanded a war pack of many dozens. The caretaker natives, most of whom were educators, were no match for the quickly expanding packs. Though they tried bravely, they were slaughtered. A few managed to escape to neighboring cities and a defense was rallied to contain the packs within the walls of the park.

The packs rampaged for weeks, but with little real effect. The Hunters had failed to account for the plague, believing themselves immune. Several of their victims had been carriers. When the Hunters died, the war packs turned on each other. Those that weren’t killed and eaten by their fellows were slain by vigilant caretakers guarding the walls. The natives of the current day still leave ritual offerings along the park’s exterior wall as if to placate angry gods for the failures of their ancestors.

 

Haldis: The Age of Hard Lessons

Aspects: [Harsh Lessons in Caretaking], [Cannibal Cult], [Testing The Fit]

This Age was written for the creator of Gilder. An apprentice was given the task of creating a “reasonably” forgiving environment for older children in which to learn and bond, a place of discovery and life lessons. It was intended to teach young D’ni respect for the Ages they would be visiting as they entered D’ni culture and took their place within the Ages to which they were assigned.

Unfortunately, the apprentice was not of sound mind. A species of cunning pack predator was included, and soon after, several ancient temples from an extinct native population were discovered. At first there were only minor issues between D’ni visitors and the wild packs. The inadvertent discovery of an old temple frequented by the packs fueled the rebirth of an ancient native cannibal cult. No records exist documenting how this happened. The cult recruited like-minded individuals from the D’ni youth camping in the settled areas. The cult waited for decades, claiming the occasional victim, until the moment was right. The Fall started and abruptly ended their rise to power.

Areas of interest:

The Forest Glen: a beautiful place of tall grass and bright sun. Several stout stone buildings provide shelter and comfort for the visitor. The buildings have the D’ni word for “barracks” carved into them. There are no bodies from the Fall here.

The Lake: a bright blue freshwater lake. Small to medium-sized silver fish can be seen swimming in it. A dock and a floating raft are provided for boaters and swimmers. No boats can be seen. The lake connects to the river.

The River: A slow-moving river enters the lake and leaves on the opposite side. Down the river a day’s journey is the Temple. Up river is another glen used for picnicking and camping. Many prepared campsites of stone are overgrown but still usable.

The Temple: built by the original inhabitants, a race of human type that developed a taste for their neighbors. Early in their history they domesticated a large flightless avian predator and through selective breeding made them cunning and hungry for human flesh. These people easily dominated the region for hundreds of years, but over-hunting turned them on one another. A priest class rose and through divine decree devoured an entire generation of their own elders. With no guiding wisdom the remaining factions turned on each other. Before long there were only a few survivors left. They died when the large packs could no longer be controlled. As a people they vanished into history. The temple somehow calls to unstable D’ni and a new cult rises in the ruins of the old. The temple is occupied for decades before the Fall. Initially the newly reborn cult quietly brings in book world native people for ritual feasts celebrating D’ni superiority. But, before long they begin culling the “weak” from their own people using a carefully designed trap.

The Exit Book: a linking book with an elaborately gem-decorated stand. Located in the forest glen, passage to the book is blocked by a clever drawbridge designed to prevent pack predators from using the book. A D’ni puzzle must be solved to lower the bridge and reveal the book. An arrangement of crystals locks the bridge in place. Arrange them into a pattern found in the placement of the barracks, and a drawbridge lowers, revealing a linking book. This book returns the user to Gilder. Arrange the crystals into a pattern found in the temple (a semblance of a pack hunter) and the drawbridge lowers, but a decoy book is revealed. This book takes the user to a small dimly lit room without windows or doors, where red crystals light another linking book that looks identical to the book to Gilder. This book sends the user to a holding cell beneath the Temple from which no one has returned.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Posted by Lodger Tagged with: , ,
Jan 182011

Greetings from the sunset world.

Long time no chat. But worry not, development continues carefully, protected by layers of secrecy so deep and black in nature that, dear reader, for your own safety I cannot reveal anything. But having said that, against my better judgment, I reveal the elite mobile infantry unit: Incursion Unit November – Jandras’ Junkers.

Created for a nasty urban insurgency, the Gray Wolf ‘R’ series war strider was intended for drop into occupied zones, where its technological superiority and high mobility could be used for lightning strikes against enemy concentrations while avoiding roads and improvised explosives. November Unit has since gone rogue and now sells their services to the highest bidder.

4 squad members: Jer, Miki, Zendra, Vim; 1 fp each

Gray Wolf strider Series R

Mobile MEK Platform

Mobile Infantry Unit

4ap Lasers

1 right arm neural linked chain gun

1 left arm combat chain saw

Morale 2: OO

Move 4

T2

Skills: Direct fire 4, H-to-H 1, Movement(3)4, Veteran 2

Stunts: Cavalry-light (+1 movement), Agile, Scout

Aspect: Neural Linked Chain gun, Out-of-ammo

Leader: Jandras, 2 fp

Gray Wolf strider Series R1

Mobile MEK Platform – Leader1

Mobile Infantry Unit

4ap Lasers

1 right arm neural linked chain gun

1 left arm shoulder mount AA missile rack

Leader unit – 2 actions

Morale 2+2: OOOO

Move 4

T2

Skills: Direct fire 4, Anti-aircraft 1, Movement(3)4, Veteran 2

Stunts: Cavalry-light (+1 movement), Agile, Scout, Logistics Genius

Aspect: Neural Linked Chain gun, Agility Turbines, Out-of-ammo

As mercenaries they are forced to rely on their employers to provide battlefield support for signals warfare and retooling. Several times this “help” has fallen though. Jandras has earned a reputation for getting his troops through the roughest of scrapes. His current squad are ruthless slackers who despite their extreme laziness in camp are a by-the-book band of fanatical vets in the field. They are dedicated to closing a contract neatly and efficiently, so they can return to their boozing and carousing.

Posted by Lodger Tagged with: , , ,
Nov 212010

So a little hiatus, now over. It appears that there won’t be a Dresden files or Legends of Anglerre in the near term. So to fill some space while I work on this little issue.

Behold issue 8. In this episode:

MM = Michael Mason
UJ=Union Jane
CN=Commander North (NPC)

MM had a ship built (which he named Red Rose). The engineer (who made and sold the ship to MM) is Captain North. His pilot and constant compaion is Ticonderoga Rex (“Ty,” a 220-lb giant beaver, because why not?). MM was accompanied in the ship by the Avian princess Avcoria, who’s in love with him. UJ has bonded with the worm ship, & her passengers included Jessie, Joe Longshanks & Noh Avcor (the Avian captain of the guard). In flying the ship, some bio-appendage-thingy inserted itself into UJ’s back. (It eventually disconnected, but it was fairly gross.) CN explained to MM how he found Ty frozen in a block of ice in the Yukon & how they fought & couldn’t defeat each other so they decided to be allies. MM who now is a gunmaker, gunfighter, head of a gun company & has his own handmade pistol called the Ebony Flame, which is partly made of an alien material found in a meteorite & was especially good for slaying demons. Which MM had recently discovered that he was actually a hereditary demon slayer. (This player would eventually adopt every comic book character as he saw their movies. batman and Ironman had just come out, i think) was very interested in CN’s fusion gun, but alas, one has to be a Mad Scientist to use & make it. (Because when toying with fusion one must be MAD!).
At the start of adventure the party was heading to Stratospheria, the homeworld of the serpent people, a set of amber spheres. [note: Stratospheria is inside Hearthspace, along with Ava (the avian planet). Hearthspace is a giant sphere with air inside it.) Noh, who was trusted by the serpent people, was there to advise. He said that we had to talk to the serpent king about Dr Jin’s attack from Episode 7. We flew over to Stratospheria, but we weren’t allowed to land. The Serpent People didn’t want a worm ship near them. Instead they sent out 3 people (one was called the Emissary, another was the king’s daughter Envidris & her bodyguard Tephyria [OOC: sister of the glorious Tephys!]) on dragon creatures to meet with us. We docked our ships & met them in the Red Rose. They said we came at a bad time because the king was sick. We weren’t convincing them of our good intentions until UJ asked if they’d heard of Dr J, at which Envidris looked amused and the other two were taken aback. We told them we were after Dr J, and they eventually decided to let us meet the king. They allowed only MM, UJ, Avcoria & Noh to go. Noh apparently remained with the king [see below]. (They forgot about him after they headed off for the catacombs,) [also see below]. We rode off on dragonback & got attacked by razorwings like the ones in Episode 7. Eventually one retreated & the rest were killed. MM noticed during the fight that there was a little floating orb thing with a demonic aura that seemed to have something to do with the razorwings. He shot at it; eventually it went away (super guns do not compensate for poor dice rolls.). There were a lot of warriors protecting the king, but it seemed that there were also a lot missing; there were spaces in their ranks. The king was a small, old, hurt serpent guy in a bed. He told us Jin attacked him and his guards, and stole his scepter, which is the only key to Stratospheria’s catacombs. UJ asked if he’d be all right. He said he was going to be reborn in a new body (earlier Noh mentioned that death isn’t the same for serpent people as for humans & Avians.) The king dispatched Envidris and the royal huntsman Telys (who had a cool black-horned bow) to accompany us to the catacombs. Telys had been there before, but people avoided the place as a rule. We flew over on dragons. Telys knew of a secret entrance to the sphere containing the catacombs, which also housed a prison. The dragons had a perch outside the entrance. We entered a jungle that was silent except for ambient animal sounds. The prisoners were regressed serpent people who had mentally and physically devolved into wild reptoids. We had to look out for them, because they were dangerous and hunted in packs. We walked for a long time without incident, then MM detected a humanoid figure following us in the trees. Telys was worried because the prisoners normally fought in packs andif we were going to be attacked, we should have been attacked by then. MM shot at him, missed, then the creature ran and MM shot at him again and knocked him over. He turned out to be a prisoner, an 8-ft-tall heavily armored (as opposed to finely scaled like the normal serpent people) serpent guy. It turned out that this guy was intelligent and could understand us. MM convinced him to tell us what he was up to. He said (in crude English) that he was following us because he saw that we were going towards the catacombs and he wanted to kill us because “two moons ago” a guy matching Jin’s description and some minions attacked him and his pack mates killing them.  He wanted revenge. MM convinced him to help us, and he came along. UJ introduced herself and asked his name, which translated as something like “Stalker Who Kills Big Things”-So we decided to call him Stalker for short. Telys said he seemed to be un-regressing. We pressed on and eventually found the site of the battle Stalker referred to. There were 2 cairns where he had buried his packmates. It had been a 3-on-3 fight and only S & J had survived, so we surmised that S was a bad-ass, and we were glad to have him on our side. T healed his gunshot injury. Stalker called the catacombs a “bad place.” We entered and the place was heavily furnished with serpent people bones. MM expressed surprise, and T explained that because of the fact that the serpent people have a ritual that transfers their consciousnesses into new, vat-grown bodies, they didn’t place an immense significance on remains, since technically serpent people don’t die. In rare circumstances it’s possible for one of them to die (for example, Sethys, a statue of whom J had stolen in the last adventure.) We had to go down a steep stairway with no railing that had some steps that we found out would unexpectedly retract out from under you. (I love that old trick.) We managed not to fall, but at the bottom we found the corpses of those who apparently had fallen. There were regressed lizardman corpses, but there were also (at least) the fresh corpse of a regular lizard guy & 6 corpses that looked exactly like Jin. MM said he was “dumbfounded” by that last part. Eventually E revealed that she had a map, so we could follow her. (Isn’t that convenient? Suckers.) MM noticed that she was noting fresh carve marks on the walls. It was as if someone put them there to guide her, but I didn’t get it. MM got suspicious and wanted to see the map. She wouldn’t let him, but eventually handed it over. While we were looking at it we got attacked by 8 or so couch-sized bladed-limbed insects who hacked UJ good because only MM noticed beforehand that they were coming (off the ceiling, I believe.) After a nasty fight where it was discovered that the creatures could produce at will a blinding glow so intense that it could make you see your bones thru your skin, we killed them all. Oh yeah, near/at the beginning it turned out that E had summoned the creatures, and MM shot her and nearly took off one of her legs. At the end of the fight she was trying to get away. MM threatened her, getting her to stop and tell what she was up to. She said she was a clone of the actual Envidris, who was being held captive by J, & that she was a servant of his and meant to lead us to him. She mentioned that if she failed, J would “turn her off.” MM managed to convince her that she didn’t have to be “turned off” & that she could live a free life if she helped us (lucky luck roll that.). She agreed. She told us a word in Chinese (an approximation of which sounded kind of like a surprised cat & cracked MM up) that would get the insects to stop attacking. She said she’d wait for us in the main chamber; if we succeeded she’d come with us and if we failed she’d detonate bombs in the tunnels to trap J. We entered the place where Jin was working. He had a black octagonal object in one hand and was standing near a mummy (presumably Sethys.) He had with him some avian people, some reptile people,some of the big insects and 40 more duplicates of himself. Also the real E was there, inside a cage that was hanging by a chain over a noxious-smelling pit. She looked sick from the fumes. The chain’s other end was attached to a huge dinosaur that was straining to hold it up. Jin tried to get us to join him, saying he needed good lieutenants and we could rule parts of Earth with him, although we’d owe him allegiance. He also threatened to kill the princess if we didn’t comply. After MM said he’d be crazy to turn that down, he did, and shot the octagon out of J’s hand, causing Jin to scramble for it. His minions headed for us. MM managed to grab the octagon (which was the Fist of the Heavens that had belonged to Sethys.) Jin pulled out a chainsaw and said he’d cut the chain of the princess’ cage if MM didn’t give him the Fist (Spirit of the Century for the win! I wish I could convey the look of disbelief on MM’s face when Jin whiped out his chainsaw). UJ had Stalker throw her at Jin, and she knocked J over. MM then threw the Fist into the pit. Stunningly, J jumped in after it. Turned out he had a sort of jetpack with wings. MM shot one of the wings off, causing J to fall and get melted or something, leaving only bones. But not before Jin pulled out a device, pointed it at MM and clicked a button on it (this turned out to be bombs to destroy the catacombs; see below). The dinosaur was thoroughly spooked, but UJ managed to calm it down (with Survival skill roll of ++++) She climbed on it and shimmied along the chain to see how to open the cage, since about now some dull explosions started sounding and we thought it would be a good idea to leave. The cage door was secured with a bent bar of metal. MM had the idea for UJ to make the cage swing away from the pit so he could shoot the chain. He did it, but I rolled really badly & UJ ended up (somehow, I don’t remember exactly) dangling inside the pit while holding on to the remains of the chain that were still secured to the dinosaur. The dinosaur bolted, pulling her out. She used the word to stop the insects, and they stopped their attack. (Which was really funny because they had completly forgotten they could call off some of the beasts until that moment.) The clones thought it would be best to leave, I think after MM Rapported them into joining us, or at least into not caring about killing us anymore. Everyone except for maybe the insects escaped the blowing up of the catacombs. Oh yes, I forgot that all through the adventure MM had bottomless champagne that Avcoria was helping him drink and serve (he had the Aspect “Never spills his drink”) He had earlier caused I think the Emissary to regard us more favorably by giving him champagne. UJ had an entire bottle and more; at one point saying, “If I’m going to die, I might as well die drunk.” T said something like “I guess we’re not going to be burying people there anymore.” Back at the king’s residence, the king had acquired his new, young body. Stalker got robes and was accepted into normal serpent people society, because he was unregressing back to being civilized, so to speak. The king banished the clone Envidris to live with the avians, saying he already had one daughter who was trouble. The Jin clones decided to accept MM’s offer of having them work for him as gunsmiths (Hahaha Sucker.), on account of they’d only been alive for a month & needed time to “grow.” , MM married Avcoria and agreed to foster the young prince. (Ever had a player so smitten with an NPC that he married them? Until now, me neither.) Captain Noh, Ty, Jessie & Joe were okay while they’d had to stay in the ship[s], although Captain Noh was disappointed to miss the fighting.

Posted by Lodger Tagged with: , , ,
Aug 302010

Hello Lodgers,

August is here and it’s record-breaking cool here. I took a slight break to read up on The Dresden Files by Evil Hat Productions.

Technically this isn’t a review. Oh, I could go on and on about the books and their appearance. (Gorgeous.) Or, I could mention the price. (Reasonable but ouch.) The layout is clean and so on. But, I imagine that these things have been noted numerous times elsewhere.

Instead I will travel into uncharted waters: experiments in system and exploration of the outer range of what can be. Some of which, hopefully, will be of interest to those looking for inspiration.

The rules lay out some “templates” for characterization, all of which are taken from the series of books from which the game takes its name.

It is implicit in the text that these templates are guidelines. While these templates do speed up character creation, the section on powers and stunts is clearly filled with abilities not intended for use with many of these templates. Many are intended for the creation of unique character types, both player and non-player.

Here is where I come in. What follows is a series of PCs and NPCs for use in my campaign. I freely admit that I departed from the world building slightly.

Welcome to the Labrador Coast http://www.tarabryan.com/lamour/index.htmlhttp://www.ourlabrador.ca/member.php?id=46

A complex political landscape of both mortal and supernatural influences. The Labrador Coast is largely a collection of small fishing villages connected by waterways, and plied by aging barges and water taxis piloted by French-speaking descendants of the native Mikmaq peoples and the European fishermen.

L’Anse Amour

Centuries ago the first humans came to a small cove and buried a child. Something old resides there. Old even then, it made a pact with these travelers: peace and protection in exchange for their cooperation in some ancient, little understood, task. Thus was the first of the Mad Blades created to act as a supernatural sheriff. That Which Sleeps empowered its agent with a blade of whispering madness as their symbol of office.

There is a price to take up the Mad Blade. Those who drowned in the cove are given The Choice. They may take up the Blade and live, or pass on to their final reward. But those who take up the Blade are Its servants and they are doomed. There will be no reward for them, no promised afterlife. They will remain and sleep with the creature at the bottom of the cove. Forever their souls will be kept in a crude stone urn and their voices will be added to the mad whispers of the blade until the Mikmaq Armageddon is achieved at the end of the world and all things.

The current Mad Blade: Mike Sontag

High Concept: Wielder of the Mad Blade

Trouble: Doomed and he knows it

Phase 1 : Born oceangoing trailer trash

Phase 2 : Gambling is in my blood. My blood is on the floor?

Phase 3 : Bargains – Time to stop treading water

Mike made a terrible mistake. An illegal offshore gambling operation decides to write off his debt by drowning him and making off with his sister. That Which Sleeps offers him The Choice.

Phase 4 : Tunnel duelist

Trouble with rebel Boglins at the Gnomish Collective results in Mike dueling a Boglin work boss.

Phase 5 : No time for rules

As the representative of That Which Sleeps, Mike must negotiate a peace between the Eagle people and a human settlement. Mike is forced to break the peace when he discovers a black court vampire destabilizing the area, while his new friend Drale, Prince of Thunder, struggles to hold back his people from a murderous rampage.

Stunts:

Marked by Power (-1)

The Shadowed Gladius (+1)

Cloak of Shadow (-1)

Inhuman Strength (-2)

Supernatural Recovery (-4)

The Catch: Bright Sunlight (+3)

Refresh 4 remain from 8

There are several power players in the area. All of them are delicately balanced against each other. Each of them plays some mysterious part in That Which Sleeps’ plans. Of particular interest to the conspiracy theorist is the large number of rare werecreatures to be found living around the lake of That Which Sleeps.

These are the groups:

  1. Thunder’s Aerie – The descendants of were eagles. Once each generation, a prince is born with the powers of the Thunderbird. This youth is then raised to lead the band’s war parties. All day-to-day decisions are made by a council of elders.
  2. Spider Clan – Were wolf spiders, arguably the most powerful of factions. They are also the least organized. A coalition of family heads (male and female) leads the clan. Spider Clan places great importance on the safety and well-being of their mortal neighbors. Next to the Lich, they are the most active in hunting vampire threats.
  3. Abbey of St. Valentine – A Christian-based cult. The abbey takes in young women on a volunteer basis, usually from poor families. These girls must be extraordinary young women to be accepted. They then spend a year of toil for the abbey before they are inducted into the inner mysteries of the order. The ritual involves the ingestion of a very rare honey. At that point the young woman becomes a worker for the queen of the colony. The Queen is a particularly powerful were wasp. When the colony has grown large enough, the queen will choose her most promising worker and make a queen of her before sending her out into the world to start a new colony elsewhere.
  4. Gnome Collective – A freehold of gnome misfits from the isle of Jamaica. They call the tunnels beneath several human towns home. They run the Gnome Bazaar. The Gnome Militias protect their territories from the influences of Summer and Winter as well as anything that would prey on the human populace. There is a strange connection between the Gnome Collective and the Erl King in the form of Militia Hunter teams.
  5. The Lich – On the furthermost north island is a large, comfortably appointed mansion. The creatures within pose as eclectic scholars entertaining visitors from around the world with discussions of philosophy. These are the undying servants of the Lich, a wizard of ancient origin. The Lich is a freehold lord and thus governed by the accords. The White council takes a dim view of this creature but has more pressing matters to deal with. Perhaps one day, they will send a team to destroy it, but currently it is far too useful as an ally. It has a terrifying hatred of vampires. It has sent aid to several beleaguered warden teams in the form of mage hunters, a form of undead it creates from volunteers who have taken up “The Debt.”

Example characters:

Drale, Were Eagle Prince

High Concept: Were Eagle, Prince of Storms

Trouble: Noblesse Oblige

Phase 1 : The young rain caller

Phase 2 : Run! Logger scum!

Phase 3 : Thunder Bird Descendant

Drale learns to lead his people and to dislike loggers.

Phase 4 : Mike story: Storm’s Unquenchable Fury

Rescuing a swimmer leads to a fight on an oceangoing casino.

Phase 5 : Haley’s story: Why did it have to be underground?

Drale learns he has an inherited fear of being underground as he assists Haley in rescuing some children from smugglers.

Stunts:

Beast Change (-1) Really Big Eagle

Human Form (+1)

Claws (-1)

Wings (-1)

Modular Abilities (-4) (choose one at a time: Huge, Diminutive, Breathe Lightning, Inhuman Strength, Toughness, or Recovery)

Echoes of the Beast (-1) (Vision)

Refresh 1 remain from 8

Human                                                                                Bird

Superb: Presence, Might                                                   Superb: Fists, Athletics

Great: Alertness, Discipline                                         Great: Alertness, Weapons

Good: Endurance, Athletics                                         Good: Might, Discipline

Fair: Fists, Stealth                                                              Fair: Presence, Stealth

Average: Weapons, Intimidation                                Average: Endurance, Intimidation

Spider Clan Hunter (Were Spider Master Hunter)

High Concept: Were Wolf Spider, Clan Hunter

Trouble: Strange Family

Phase 1 : Back Woods Scholar

Phase 2 : 1st to College

Phase 3 : Feuding with the Queen Bee

Phase 4 : Night Stalker for the Eagle Prince

Phase 5 : Tunnel Homes

Stunts:

Beast Change (-1) Huge Wolf Spider

Human Form (+1)

Fangs (-2) [Poisoned]

Spider Climb (-1)

Supernatural Toughness (-4)

Catch (Obsidian Weapons) (+3 Common, research)

Refresh 3 remain from 8

Human                                                    Spider

Superb: Survival, Stealth                Superb: Fists, Endurance

Great: Alertness, Guns                     Great: Alertness, Athletics

Good: Intimidation, Fists                Good: Intimidation, Stealth

Fair: Athletics, Discipline                Fair: Discipline, Survival

Average: Driving, Endurance        Average: Driving, Guns

The Abbess (Were Wasp)

High Concept: Were Wasp Queen

Trouble: Territorial Matriarchy

Phase 1 : Abbey Obligations

Phase 2 : Pact with That Which Sleeps

Phase 3 : Drone Shortage

Phase 4 : Cold War with Were Spiders

Phase 5 : Ethereal European Beauty

Stunts:

Beast Change (-1) Giant Wasp

Human Form (+1)

Claws (-1) (Stinger)

Wings (-1)

Addictive Saliva (Honey) (-1)

Inhuman Speed (-2)

Channeling [Kinetics] (-2)

Refresh 1 remain from 8

Human                                                             Wasp

Superb: Discipline, Resources                Superb: Fists, Alertness

Great: Deceit, Alertness                           Great: Athletics, Discipline

Good: Lore, Presence                              Good: Endurance, Presence

Fair: Empathy, Endurance                    Fair: Empathy, Lore

Afer-Zuul (Undead Mage Hunter)

High Concept: Undead Mage Hunter

Trouble: Beholden to the Lich

Phase 1 : Beautiful Dead

Phase 2 : Runic Tattoos

Phase 3 : Merciless Hunter

Phase 4 : Soft Spot for the Young

Phase 5 : Secret Lives

Stunts:

Living Dead (-1)

Flesh Mask (-1)

Supernatural Toughness (-4)

Physical Immunity (magic) (-8)

Catch (+8) Fire, research

Refresh 2 remain from 8

Superb: Stealth, Guns

Great: Athletics, Alertness

Good: Conviction, Weapons

Fair: Intimidation, Discipline

Average: Lore, Investigation

There is a web of treaty and pact woven between these groups which keeps open conflict to a minimum. This is in each group’s best interest even if they may not realize this. Open conflict brings in the Mad Blade and their patron That Which Sleeps. None of the factions wants to be the one that forces the awakening. So conflict simmers in a supernatural cold war for the time being.

All of the characters are fit for player use in a campaign with an 8 refresh.

Places of note:

L’Anse Amour – A quiet and tranquil place where something old and powerful dreams, and in dreaming shapes the world.

The Gnome Bazaar – The ultimate destination of all that is lost or forgotten. Features of the bazaar include the animated skeleton of a North American mastodon, the hanging fuselage of a WWII vintage P-38, and a translucent blue obelisk made of unmelting ice. All are welcome here provided they abide by the rules. The bazaar is accorded neutral ground.

Thanks for visiting. I’ll try to be more punctual with my next installment.

Legends of Anglerre arrived this month. Who’s up for some dungeon stuff Fate style?

The Lodger

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