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: , ,
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: , , ,
May 172010

Hello and welcome,

My apologies for the extremely slow update interval. I’ve recently aquired the .pdf versions of Evil Hat’s Dresden Files and Cubicle 7’s Legends of Anglerre. I’ve been reading them and making notes. Unfortunately, it is a little too early to do a proper review as they are both yet to arrive in print form. I like to have a finished product in hand to do a review. I still need to set up an actual play scenario for them as well. Busy, busy. So here is another installment from my favorite player. More new character action here!

UJ = Union Jane

M = Michael Mason

BJ = Bob Jumper

A new character, Michael Mason, a “billionaire playboy” and leader of Mason Industries, joins the ever-shrinking group. He has a wrist blade Weapon of Destiny, and a secret lair. M ended up getting kidnapped from one of his mansions by Dr. Jin, who was disguised as a handyman. (I needed to get him caught up to the other player.) He ended up on the X-5 (Bob Jumper’s plane. No Bob in this game, so I filled in some gaps with NPCs), which Jin was escaping in the last game. Jin flew to a mirrored area in space (giant mirror in space , literally), with UJ, Captain Bob Jumper (NPC now), the semi-clockwork lady (the last surviving “demon” of Jin’s; M named her Jessie), and Joe Longshanks (the last Californian bear shaman) in pursuit inside the alien spacecraft (Hunter had somehow disappeared, and the alien ship looks like a long golden skinny tube). The X-5 appeared to crash into a copy of itself, but that was just it going through the mirror substance. The Alien ship followed, but BJ ended up being knocked out of his chair and unconscious for the rest of the game (because his player didn’t show up). Inside the mirrored area were three orb objects (which were later explained to us to produce water, air and sunlight) and two asteroid-like things, one of which had a waterfall, which was the thing we landed on. UJ fortunately managed to land the ship. M broke free of his bonds, but only in time for Jin to leave the ship (he ran into what turned out to be a customs building and disappeared) and cause it to produce a deadly ice field thing that killed some bird-winged guys who were approaching. Our ships ended up getting surrounded by bird people (who looked human except they had bird wings, and they talked in bird noises). They were accompanied by some robot things. M came out to try to talk to them, except that he didn’t know how, and he got a bunch of crossbows pointed at him. UJ sneaked out of the alien ship and behind some of the bird people. Luckily the man in charge spoke English (a guy named Noh Ahcorian, captain of the guard). He accused M of killing a prince (one of the frozen guys) and UJ of being an agent of “the worm.” We got taken to their king. He had us tell our stories while putting our hands on an “orb of truth,” which exonerated us. “The worm” was the worm that Jessie was controlling in the last adventure (now dead). The bird people (“Avians”) believed they were from Earth but were stolen by the worm and brought here (the king told us a lot of stuff about his people’s history and this asteroid; his name was Ahv). There were other species on this asteroid, including “Digs” (don’t remember what they looked like, except I think they were short) and serpent people (Tephys’ people, an ancient race who ruled the Earth in its pre-human dawn and may or may not have created the human race). M asked if the bird people had any artifacts, anything Jin might be after. Ahv mentioned powerful weapons which were in a vault that would only open if the mirror barrier had been breached. So we went to check on the vault, only to find that Jin was there, in an Avian-like outfit only with metallic wings, holding a statue. There were dead Avians all over the floor. Jin blew into a weird whistle and the sky darkened with a bunch of small black flying biting things called razor-wings, and then he flew off. Okay, I’m missing something here, because I remember we looked at the contents of the vault and UJ borrowed a set of metal balls attached to a belt or strap (which she never used), and we weren’t being attacked then. Also the king wondered why Jin would steal the statue, because it wasn’t a powerful artifact or anything. It was a gift from the serpent king; an heirloom or something. (She has forgotten that it was she who pursued Dr. Jin. She tracked him through the castle to the highest tower, dramatically smashing every obstacle he threw in her path without regard to her own health. Jin was forced to unleash his little pets on innocents to get her to stop pursuing him. M had to pull her back into the tower one-handed as she had failed in her attempt to leap from the tower and drag Dr. Jin down with her own body weight. Good dramatic stuff. It’s strange what players remember later.)  Anyway, the king said we had to go activate a defensive perimeter device, which was in a tower near our ships. So we tried, but we had to get through a courtyard, a narrow hallway and another courtyard, all the while being attacked by the razor-wings, which were actually pretty nasty. (Num num num, player characters can be so delicious.) M made it to the tower, but a clockwork-like snake guy was there, so he had to take care of that. Unfortunately, it turned out that the switch to activate the defenses had been pulled off, and M took a bit trying to fix it (he ended up using his sword on it). Eventually, UJ killed all her razor-wings and tried to head for the tower, but Princess Ahvcoria, who still blamed us for her brother’s death, had started shooting at her with a crossbow. The Princess was attacked by another clockworkish snake dude. UJ killed him. M helped Ahvcoria up, and he rolled so well that she became overwhelmed by his charm. The king knighted us for saving the Avians. UJ and M went back to Earth temporarily to check M’s immense arcane library for clues about the statue Jin stole. It was a statue of a serpent god, carved by a powerful ruler/artist. It had something to do with an extremely powerful weapon called the Hammer, which the serpent people had sworn to never use. The Library also had some ancient tablets that recorded a serpent man paying a lot of money for a rare substance that was later crafted into a hammer. Also in the library, we found a picture of a serpent guy (the ruler/artist, I think) with a hexagonal black object floating above one hand, which might have been made out of the rare substance. Oh yes, while on Earth, UJ checked BJ into a hospital and stashed the X-5. Oh, and UJ got to take over the alien ship, because M was rich enough to buy his own. She also tried to return the metal ball weapons, but the king said they belonged to an ancient warrior and insisted that she keep them.

That’s all for now. I’m working to advance my Diaspora conversion to Deluge. I’ll keep you posted.

Posted by Lodger Tagged with: , , , ,
Feb 142010

Hello my Lodgers,

To begin, VSCA games has released Deluge, a systemless pdf-only experiment under the Creative Commons Non-Commercial Share Alike license.

“One hundred years ago it began to rain and never stopped.“

The document is 34 pages and covers the Deluge setting in a toolbox fashion. It is intended that the purchaser use the contents to “Delugify” their home town. Details and resources for how this works are included. I hope to detail this and provide some transparency for my design decisions in an upcoming entry.

The setting includes aliens, talking bears, killer squids and five character “classes,” all laid out with the idea that a GM will be splicing their favorite system to the setting. Personally, I like what I saw.

That’s about all I’m going to give away. I have another plan in mind for Deluge. The license (and VSCA permission) allows me to distribute it as long as I don’t make money off it. With that in mind, I will now announce the beginning of the Diaspora Weapons Testing Ground – Malfeasance Range. Here’s how it will work. Buy a copy of Diaspora, or if you’re still holding out (why? Don’t make me come over there), go to the system reference documents and create a unique weapon using the rules provided.

The rules:
1.Weapon must be original design. No grabbing stuff from the book. I own that as well and I’ll know. 😉
2.The Range’s format must be followed (see below). I insist on this because a weapon is more then the sum of its stats. Players don’t remember their first +1 sword. But they do remember the blackened steel blade and the hilt wrapped intricately with the hide of a shadow wolf: the +1 sword named Wolves’ Bane.
3.I’ll choose the winner. Actually my team will but I’ll be taking the blame.
4.Contest ends when I have ten entries. So speed counts in this instance.

The Format: (example)
Title: Grandpa’s Modified Mining Laser (T1)
Stats: Harm-0 Pen-1 Min Range-0 Max Range-1 Stunt:Civilian (4 Bp total)
Description: A large laser pistol modified from its original industrial purpose. Blunt-nosed, the barrel is cut away at the sides to reveal the focusing lens, which shines a translucent blue when not in use and brilliant red when being fired. The weapon is powered by a cable-fed belt pack. The underside of the barrel is decorated in tribal fashion by three fetishes: an Iron ship signifying home, a small white figure signifying easy targets, and an Iron hand signifying the Iron handshake.
History: Conflict among the tribes of the Triskadar Belt revolves around resources. One such battle occurred between the Iron Tribe and Copper Tribe. An Iron frigate/miner had been ambushed by three Copper vessels near a contested asteroid field. The Iron frigate, badly damaged, fled into the field and exploded. The Copper vessels, believing the threat had passed, tethered and prepared to recover their salvage and begin mining. They were taken completely by surprise by eleven Iron Tribe warriors disguised as debris. The attackers used breaching charges on the command cabin of the tethering vessel. What followed was a vicious corridor to corridor skirmish that would be remembered in legend. While the Iron warriors killed the retreating crew, their best hacker used the tethering controls to vent atmosphere and sabotage the other vessels. The helpless crews desperately struggled to disengage their tethers. Thus was the term “Iron handshake“ coined for the tactic they used that day.

The winner will receive a copy of Deluge for their personal use.

Please post you entries in the comments section for all to see.
I look forward to your entries.

Side note: While playing Diaspora, play the song “A Glorious Dawn” by Carl Sagan and Symphony of Science. I thought it captured the feeling of the farmer in the first pages of the book.

Posted by Lodger Tagged with: , , , , ,
Jan 272010

This entry continues the previous battles against the evil Dr. Jin. His plans seem to involve randomly setting the city on fire. But wait! That’s not it at all! This has all been a giant charade to get his hands on Bob’s prototype aircraft. The horror!

Note carefully that the Hunter character has been modified, again. Very soon he will be replaced by another. SOTC lets this happen without fanfare or GM involvement. Very nice.

B = Bob Jumper

H = The Hunter

UJ = Union Jane

O’Houlihan gives Bob a Colt .45, which belonged to his grandfather. He said something like, “You’ll need it hanging around with these two.” B, H and UJ were in the mayor’s office, again. The mayor was upset about all the fires in the city, and now homeless people had started disappearing. So there was to be an investigation. Don’t remember where exactly the next scene was; think it was “Remembrance Park” (place with statues commemorating victims of the Petrifying Wind, from previous games) near the beach and sewer entry tunnel. UJ found a shop steward who said his brother-in-law had fallen on hard times and become homeless, and recently the guy had appeared hysterically going on about how he’d seen “devils.” But the steward said his brother-in-law was a drunkard and implied that he might also be (somewhat) crazy, so “he’s not a credible witness.” The brother-in-law was a Chinese man named Lao. Somehow B, H and UJ found Lao in a bar with this big nautically-tattooed guy behind the counter spit-cleaning a glass (actual spit: only the best for my players.) All the patrons hunched themselves over their drinks. H asked if he knew where Lao was. He said he didn’t know, so H tried to intimidate him. He said, “I might know…run, Lao!” and a fifty-something guy ran for the door. They chased him and caught up with him, but only B could win his confidence (oh yes, H has Linguistics now, so he can speak Lao’s language). Lao said he thought we were leg breakers. He said he owed money to a tong and so had ran. They asked him about the devils he had seen. He said he wasn’t drunk enough to talk about that, so they had to go to another bar, which he said was better than the first. Over at least one bottle of something cheap and nasty, he talked about the devils. He said they came out of the sewers, and there seemed to be a lot of them. Don’t remember if he could describe them or not. They convinced him with more alcohol to tell whereabouts he saw them. He also said his friend Blake had gone missing, and he’d appreciate being told if he was found; said “He’s good for some rum.” Turned out that it was the exact place where the urchin kid had seen the creatures. Now, though, there was phosphorescent slime in the tunnel. They went in and eventually found the place where UJ fought the tiger guy last game. Although now there was a new, large hole with claw marks. These appeared to have been made by a large burrowing beast. B determined that the marks were too big to have been a tiger.  They entered the hole. Eventually they heard chanting and as they approached, they saw a man with white hair and a rattle doing the chanting, in front of a door with symbols on it. Also there were some frog creatures with tentacles instead of heads, who were trying to keep him from chanting. Okay, I don’t remember the sequence of the following frog thing-related events (up until the huge room with the UFO–see below), but here’s what I do remember. Eventually, the frogs were all killed except one, which escaped by squeezing into a small crack in the wall. H broke part of the wall down with his new Brickbreaker stunt. Somewhere along the line the chanter guy introduced himself as Joe Longshanks, local shaman. He said that the things were the Children of the Worm, and that (occasionally) at night they would steal some or a few of his people, and then magical wards (like the one he’d been working on) would be placed to drive them back/keep them away, but somehow they’d gotten past the wards, and because it’s always dark in the sewers, they were more bold about attacking people. He thought some new thing was stirring them up somehow. H managed to kill the escaping creature, but not before it made a piping noise. This turned out to be a call for help from more frog creatures, who eventually turned into about thirty creatures who split up to attack each one of the party. (One group attacked B and Joe together, and Joe gave B a Companion bonus). One of the creatures was bigger than the others so H attacked that one. It was a long and Fate Point-diminishing fight, but the frog things were all killed. Joe led the way onward deeper into the tunnels. On the way saw alienesque murals depicting worm history. The murals gradually got cruder the deeper they went. Arrived at these two big doors with marble carvings of strange guard-like creatures. It was locked, but they managed to figure out the mechanism and open the doors. Inside was an immense, bigger-than-a-coliseum-size room with pools with glowing fish. There was a UFO sitting inside. Also there was a woman who turned out to have a mechanical body. She was next to a giant worm. The worm seemed weak. She gestured, and a guy who looked like the fire samurai from the first game concerning Dr. Jin appeared. This guy, however, could change his arms into various weapons. He turned them into blades, and attacked. B, like a blur, ran for and entered the UFO. At this point Joe sort of disappeared, on account of we all forgot about him (but the GM says he actually was still there, but sneaking around or something). The woman was able to touch the worm and cause it to summon frog things. The frog things went to help the samurai guy, who, it was somehow revealed, was called Unkillable (U). H attacked U. UJ attacked U’s frog minions. UJ eventually started doing a block to keep the minions off H. B was able to figure out that the UFO had a weapon, and how to use it, and he fired it at the woman, but she managed to get the worm to summon more frogs to shield her. H began attacking U’s armor. Eventually B lasered all of the frogs protecting the woman, so she compelled the giant worm to throw itself against the UFO, which caused it to die. She entered the UFO. When the worm died, the remaining frogs left. UJ started helping H bash U’s armor. U was extremely tough. It took the longest time just to make a hole in the armor; most of the armor-attacking part of the fight only managed to dent it. The woman surrendered to B in exchange for her life. She said she was called the Unblinking Eye (UE) (she had one glowing eye). B fired the laser at U. UJ and H managed to get out of the way, but there was a big old shock wave and UJ was thrown into some sewage and had to struggle onto a dry surface and get helped up by H. H went to see what had happened to U. There was nothing left of him but one foot. H and UJ entered the UFO, and B figured out how to fly it out of the room through a hole. It turned out that UE & U were the last of Dr. Jin’s seven demons, although she was now free of his control (something about how she’d been a pawn, and he told her that if she survived, she would be freed). (Ha ha ha, such trusting players.) She had been acting as a sort of administrator for him. She said that he did all this to distract some heroes while he went to steal a prototype aircraft called the X-5, which as related in the last game, is B’s plane. So B flew to the X-5’s airfield, but it was taking off with a yellow glow. Jin had modified it somehow. B chased it very high into the atmosphere, or maybe it was the beginning of outer space, because these meteor things began trying to hit the UFO. UE said, “Master, he wants this.” (That is, he meant to lure the UFO/the party up here.) B was able to evade the meteor things, but Jin managed to escape.

Now things start to get weird.

Posted by Lodger Tagged with: , , , ,
Jan 102010

Greetings,

For today’s adventure we were joined by a new player. Bob Jumper is a master pilot with an experimental aircraft and a Flash Gordon flair. Those of you who GM regularly will note subtle changes in my world as a new player’s goals are injected into my previous designs.

UJ – Union Jane

H – The Hunter

Bob – Bob Jumper

A strange semicircular cloud has appeared over San Francisco. Detective O’Houlihan(O’H) approaches UJ and H with a summons from the mayor (Sunny Jim). So, they go to his office. They find there as well Bob Jumper, an ace pilot, ladies’ man, and adventurer (also of the Century Club). The mayor tells him that they want a pilot to investigate the cloud, and they need a really good one because of all the flying concrete debris from the destroyed Etheropia. The mayor also says that an explanation is needed for all the unsavory occurrences in the city lately, and that he doesn’t have one, and that’s when he reveals the journalists. They flash annoying camera bulbs, and ask H how many people he’s killed. At first he gives them a cold stare, but then he says, “What business is it of yours?” UJ tells them that the city is going to be attacked by a Chinese crime boss who calls himself Doctor Jin. Bob tells them that basically they’re wasting valuable time because the cloud has to be investigated, and our intrepid heroes manage finally to get out of the mayor’s office with their reputations intact. O’H says that there was an incident that he wanted to call attention to, and which he couldn’t pin on UJ and H because they were at the press conference. Police had gotten a call, and found 16 bodies of The Dawn Fist tong members. UJ asked to see the crime scene. UJ, H and Bob all went. The bodies were in a building with no windows and only one door. There were oddly shaped long glass shards on the floor. The bodies had claw marks from a tiger, and there were claw imprints of a lizard on the floor. This was determined by H. It appeared that the people had been brought into the building and then killed when something very heavy had crashed through the roof (the building had two or three more stories) and killed them all. There also turned out to be secret rooms with more bodies in them. One of the rooms opened onto a sewer passage. The party goes in, and hears sobbing. It turns out to be an Asian woman who by her dress seems to have been a cigarette girl for the Dawn Fist’s gambling parlor. Bob calms her down, and gets a police translator named Rosie. Rosie says the woman keeps saying “The tiger came out of the darkness, and it walked like a man” or something. Bob and H go to Bob’s plane, an experimental, well-armored plane with guns called the X-5, to go check on the cloud. UJ goes to find a map of the sewer system at the library. Bob and H find near the cloud a roughly humanoid thing with dragonfly-like wings (out of character: The Brother of the Wind = demon #2 of 7). H jumps onto it, while Bob shoots at it. H then tries to pull its wings off. He successfully pulls one off and realizes he is above the city; way above the city. Bob flies the X-5 in an attempt to catch H as he falls. The creature lets out a cry, and a Chinese dragon appears (out of character: King of the Storm, demon #3 of 7). It sends lightning Bob’s and H’s way. Meanwhile, UJ locates a map at the city planner’s office after meeting some helpful people at the library. She finds the sewer section from the last adventure with the Axe Gang, and sees that the whole sewer system is connected. She finds a place with a manhole entrance where she thinks a man-tiger could be hiding. She’s escorted there by a police officer assigned by O’H to keep an eye on her because “I don’t trust her.” She enters and finds a stash of money littering the floor. Then she hears a metallic growl and is attacked by the huge tiger man (out of character: Lord of the Hunt, demon #4 of 7–moving right along aren’t we?). Meanwhile, H tries to jump onto the dragon and ends up stuck on its tail. Bob has to catch H, again. Bob points out that this is new for him. He usually only catches damsels in distress, but he’ll make an exception for H. The X-5 gets damaged by dragon lightning. Bob has H pilot the plane (which he does amazingly well for someone without the Pilot skill) while Bob makes his repairs in mid-air. They shoot at the dragon some more. H tries to jump on the dragon again. The dragonfly man finally hit the ground, out of commission. H ended up falling onto/into a building. By now they’ve helped set fire to and otherwise damage a number of buildings. They eventually kill the dragon. I think they even caused it to fall apart. (Metal and armor rain down onto the unprotected streets.) The dragon, the dragonfly man, and, as it’s eventually revealed, the tiger man were part clockwork machine, like the “fire samurai” from the last adventure (obviously these were three of Dr. Jin’s seven “demons”). It is discovered that hidden up in the cloud there was a balloon craft with the remains of another clockwork/organic creature. The creature was putting this yellow stuff into the air that had something to do with/was causing the cloud. After the dragon’s demise the clouds above the city became normal again. Somewhere along the line Bob flies through a building, which was cool. Somewhere else along the line he also informs H about the parachutes under the seats, which H notes would have been a big help a little while ago when he was falling. Bob says, “We’re not done falling yet!” The plane is again damaged, but he has to land to fix it. Back in the sewer UJ and the tiger man beat on each other. The tiger man eventually decides to vanish into shadows, and UJ with her crappy Alertness can’t find him (oh yes, she got a flashlight from O’H) until he jumps her from behind. Eventually she beats him up so bad that he ends up trying to crawl away towards the ocean. Bob lands the X-5 at an airfield where he gets people to help with repairs. UJ hauls the tiger man up out of the sewer and tries to take him to the police station. She finds the old Chinese guy who was the interpreter in the last game and asks him to ask the creature where Jin is. At first the guy doesn’t want to ask, but he relents. The creature surprises them all and says in English, “He is already here,” and dies. A ticking sound is heard from the body. UJ yells “Run!” and “There’s a bomb!” It so happens that Bob’s nearby, and that he has the Aspect “Throw Me the Bomb.” Thankfully, he disarms the bomb, and the city is saved, for now. But as H kept saying, “The press is going to eat us alive!”

The power of SOTC is again revealed as a player can drop in without so much as a character sheet and integrate into the story almost seamlessly. Bob Jumper also took my adventure into a more sci-fi dieselpunk direction than I had originally intended, as will no doubt be seen in future installments.

Be well.

Posted by Lodger Tagged with: , , , ,
Dec 252009

Greetings to those of you in the Sunset World. I was hoping to have another Diaspora writeup, but circumstance conspires against us. (Doesn’t it always?)

But, no matter. Our next Spirit of the Century adventure followed some reading I did about San Francisco and its Barbary Coast district. I highly recommend The Secrets of San Francisco by Chaosium for details of this peculiar era of Old Frisco’s history.

Again, my littlest player came through for me. What would I do without her?

Union Jane – UJ

The Hunter – H

Suddenly UJ and H find themselves in San Francisco in 1927. There’s going to be a memorial service on Thursday for the first victims of the Petrifying Wind, in which there will be an official unveiling of commemorative statues. UJ and H are to represent the Century Club. But since H took the silver coins from the ship in the last adventure, he and UJ decide to get them appraised and sold. So they go to a coin appraiser, who tells them they’re worth twenty dollars apiece. He can’t buy them (he can’t afford to), but he knows someone who will, so he sets up an appointment for them with this guy in a few days. Outside the building UJ and H hear a commotion and see that there’s a man beating up an old woman, and they’re surrounded by a crowd of women. H dramatically jumps out a window to save her (he lands stylishly on top of a car, blowing out all its windows), while UJ runs down some stairs and out of the building to help. H attacks the man, who is tattooed, strangely. Eventually the man decides to run, and H chases him. The women carry the old woman to a building marked “The Gray Swan,” (turns out to be a brothel) and UJ follows them. In the meantime, H attacks and kills the guy. He searches the body and finds some papers written in Chinese. Also of note was that the guy had tattoos on his hands. One hand with a sunrise and the other with a sunset. H heads to the Gray Swan to find UJ. When UJ enters “The Swan” she sees the old woman being tended to by a white woman (all the other women are Asian). They’re all naturally suspicious of UJ and H, but UJ convinces them that they don’t mean any harm and want to help. Turns out the white woman is their madam. She implies that the old woman (Mama Han) was targeted by a tong, and that the tongs have become increasingly hostile to anyone who defies them. She also said that the Asian women were “slaves” who’d been brought from China. There are three tongs: Dawn Fist, Axe Gang, and One Thousand Fists. Mama Han (a former “slave”) has “the sight,” says the madam, and she keeps murmuring that “The hunter is coming.” She has also said that a “Doctor Jin” (Dr J) is coming. UJ and H take “the hunter” to be H. Dr J is apparently a very evil person from China that no one likes to speak of. The madam gets one of the Asian women who can speak English (named Rosie, because why the hell not?) to tell UJ and H about him. She said that Dr J makes “demons,” (think she was also the one who mentioned that he traveled with “the Seven”) and that when he comes, something bad is going to happen. She also thinks that maybe one of the tongs has insulted Dr J, and that’s why he’s on his way. The Axe Gang has heavily fortified their headquarters. The madam also took UJ and H down into a secret room to show us a bunch of women sewing, who she said would be in danger when Dr J came. H wanted to find the Axe Gang’s headquarters, but the women wouldn’t tell us. (They might not have known, actually.) Turned out that a union acquaintance of UJ’s had mentioned the Axe Gang, so UJ and H went to talk to him. He said he’d met a coolie who knew about the Axe Gang, and told us where to reach him. The coolie was found in a bakery, where UJ and H were first greeted by a Chinese woman. UJ had to bribe her to get her to let them see the coolie, and then UJ had to bribe the coolie to get him to talk, since he was afraid of the Axe Gang and Dr J. Of Dr J, he said that a tong in China had killed Dr J’s “grocer boy,” who was actually an old man (even though it was said that Dr J doesn’t eat like normal people, among other horrible things), and that afterward the tong’s hideouts started getting destroyed. The coolie wouldn’t tell us how to get to the Axe Gang’s headquarters, so UJ asked if there was a back way or secret entrance. He mentioned a sewer, and said that the leader here of the Axe Gang was fond of mussels and noodles. The coolie mentioned Pier 9. (This pier happened to be in the same location as the Petrifying Wind memorial statues.) He mentioned more than once something along the lines of “When they torture you to find out who told you about them, don’t mention me!” In gratitude for his help, H bought a cake. As he carried the cake through the city streets, urchins started following him. He gave the cake to them to get them to stop following him. As UJ and H headed to the pier at night (H said to look for noodles and mussels as a gift), they were confronted by five guys. One seemed to ask for beer money, and UJ said, “What?” He said “Screw it,” and they attacked. UJ and H killed them, after which they went to the beach where the pier was, but it was high tide and they couldn’t detect anything that looked like some kind of entranceway. They decided to hang out on a park bench. H didn’t have to sleep, but UJ rested on the bench. A policeman named O’Houlihan (O’H) confronted them and told them that they weren’t supposed to be there, and did they know anything about these five guys who’d just been killed nearby? UJ and H said they didn’t, but O’H continued to harass them, so they showed him their Century Club membership cards, which finally caused him to let them go about their business. Since it was almost daylight but too early to find noodles and mussels, and it was almost time for the appointment with the coin buyer, UJ and H went to a coffee vendor and UJ had some coffee. They eventually met the buyer. H and the buyer haggled a bit, and eventually the price of ten dollars per coin was agreed upon (because he couldn’t afford to buy them all for twenty dollars each, he said.) They all went to a bank nearby so he could pay H, which he did. There were one thousand coins, by the way. All of a sudden there was a really loud noise outside. The buyer left in the opposite direction of the noise. H jumped out a window, again, to see what was going on. UJ rolled 4 pluses and impressively jumped off a fire escape after him. Turned out that a boat had plowed into the pier (Pier 9, of course). There was fire, debris and screaming people. Firefighters started arriving. UJ and H went to help, and heard a woman screaming, “My baby!” Turned out to be a kid in the water, hanging on to a piece of debris. H and UJ swam out and H grabbed the kid. Somehow UJ helped him swim and/or hang onto the kid as they tried to get back to shore. ( I nearly accidentally killed the entire party here, oops.) They actually got pretty burned before they got back onto the beach, but the kid was safe. They approached the boat, which was flying a Greek flag. O’H came up to them and “asked” if they wanted to board the ship. So they did, followed by O’H and a few of his men. (H jumped onto the ship, UJ nearly fell trying to get on but was pulled up by H, then the total dork policemen went up on a ladder.) First thing that was noticed was the two Chinese symbols probably painted in blood on this door of a cabin on deck. O’H got an elderly Chinese man who was their translator, and this guy said the symbols meant “Dr J arrives” or something like that. Two of O’H’s men opened the cabin door, which was unlocked, went in and then ran out in a state of almost-puking. UJ and H went in and saw that the “steering wheel” or whatever it’s called on a ship had been mostly torn out and replaced by something that was partly made out of human muscles. UJ and H searched the rest of the ship. All they found of note (other than that there was no one and no bodies on board) was that the galley was bloody and appeared to have been used as an operating room. Wait a minute, there was something else, which was that there seemed to have been cushioned pod-like areas that looked like they were meant to protect seven things that were now no longer in evidence. At some point UJ and H left the ship and O’H and his men, and found these kids on the beach, who said that one of their number (named Billy) said that he saw monsters leaving the ship. The other kids thought Billy was lying, but UJ and H questioned him, and he said he saw flying creatures and “a lady with one red eye,” and that (at least some) of them had entered this hole, which UJ and H hadn’t seen before because of the high tide (uh-oh). The kids said they weren’t supposed to go in there because of high tide. H bought the kids some noodles and mussels from a beach stand. Then he and UJ entered the hole, which was a tunnel with burn marks (with the magic of Fate points, they miraculously found that they had flashlights, which they needed to see in the dark tunnel). Eventually they found (a) room(s) with bodies and more burn marks. At some point, they found a door, inside of which were the remains of some damaged stairs, which they had difficulty climbing. They then entered a room that was on fire, and there they were attacked by 25 tong members with axes. At the start, fifteen attacked H and ten attacked UJ. Eventually UJ and H killed them all, although they sustained quite a bit of damage. They then reached a room where they saw a “man” wearing strange, Asian-looking armor who had fire instead of eyes and who was killing the leader of the Axe Gang. The creature jumped out of a window. H attacked and did so well that he severed one of the creature’s arms. Some other people showed up–firemen? But they didn’t stay long. UJ and H kept attacking the creature, and were doing very well, in sharp contrast to when they had to fight the 25 tong members. At one point the creature had trouble turning its head. Eventually H got the idea to attack the creature’s armor. He rolled so well that he clawed off a piece of its chestpiece, revealing a clockwork mixed in with human organs, including two eye stalks. The thing then burst into flames, and some fluid spilled out of it, and it was no more. Later it was determined that if UJ and H could understand Mandarin, they would have known that the creature said “Thank you” when it died. It turned out that that wasn’t Dr J (as H thought earlier), but one of Dr J’s “Seven.” And then that annoyance O’H showed up, accused UJ and H of being suspicious and tried to handcuff them, but UJ intimidated him into not doing so.

And the session ended there.

’till next time. Enjoy the Holidays.

Posted by Lodger Tagged with: , , , ,
Dec 062009

This was our next adventure. Again, it is written by my best player. :) It is offered here in its mostly unedited raw form. There was a no-show on the player side so I thought I’d run a sidebar to tie together the arcs. I needn’t have bothered, since one of the players changed characters yet again. This would become a theme for him. SOTC supports this, so the story changes slightly to match his new priorities.

Enjoy.

After destruction of the sky city of Etheropia, UJ and the Hunter (H) began hunting down various rogue cultists who had to find new hideouts. Turns out also that Etheropia’s destruction created an “asteroid field” of floating debris that occasionally rains down on “mostly” Europe in sharp, destructive particles in showers called the Petrifying Winds. Also, this debris field causes problems for heavier-than-air aircraft, so now dirigibles are relied upon for air transport. UJ and H are tooling around in a boat piloted by a crew loyal to Doctor Tigre-Morte. Their mission was to, in disguise, buy some nasty supernatural weapons (“demonbound” weapons) from these smugglers with cult ties. UJ was forewoman of twenty longshoremen who were there to load and unload the weapons. She and H arrived somewhere on the coast of Africa at a small village, and were met by a Spanish guy named Diego. He took H off to a saloon, and UJ got directed to a warehouse with her men. H got to meet this nasty leader guy called Atwon (full name: The Great Atwon) who offered him cheap alcohol. The saloon had a bunch of guys and a serving woman lounging in it. Atwon demanded payment, but asked for 20k instead of the agreed-on 10k. H refused to pay extra and Atwon offered to take the 10k, plus all the longshoremen to use in the unspeakable rituals involved in constructing the demonbound weapons. (He also complained about the quality of victims in the area, and how UJ and H had healthy men who’d make good sacrifices). Atwon killed poor Diego after Diego mentioned taking a cut of the 10k. He used a demonbound dagger on Diego, and the dagger drank his blood. Atwon mentioned something about how hard his business was, and H said, “Maybe you should get out of it.” Atwon offered H a position in his organization as a slave. H refused, and said, “I bet my friend has killed all your men and is heading this way.” Atwon said he’d take that bet. In the meantime, at the warehouse UJ and the longshoremen were met by an attractive, out-of-place, squeaky-voiced guy (later dubbed “the accountant”). He asked for the foreman and was surprised when UJ got pushed forward. There was this tattooed guy there who thought he recognized UJ, but UJ didn’t recognize him, and managed to convince him that he didn’t know her (out of character: he was a cultist who’d managed to escape our (meaning Jolly Rogers, the Crimson Specter and UJ) destruction of the sky fortress that contained the sky ash drug manufacturing facility in an earlier adventure. This was the game where Jolly dropped the building on CS and UJ). Tattoo Guy (TG) complained to the accountant that he and his guys hadn’t been paid, and so he sent one of his guys (called Sylvan) to the saloon to get a receipt of payment, and then we’d be allowed to take the shipment out of the warehouse. Sylvan made two trips. On the second one, Atwon told him to bring back UJ’s ear. Back at the warehouse, TG’s men started setting up the small boxes in preparation for them to be moved out. There were big boxes in the warehouse. One of them had the sound of someone sobbing inside it. UJ sidled up secretly to it and tried to look in. A finger popped out and touched her, and a voice said, “Help! They’re going to kill us!” UJ whispered, “Hang on.” TG started yelling at an underling, threatening him for poorly handling the boxes. They then grinned unsavorily at UJ and her guys. UJ went to TG and said something like, “I don’t trust you. I think you’re up to something.” He laughed and said , “Shut up, we’re in charge here, girlie,” whereupon UJ attacked and put some of his guys out of commission. Sylvan came back and failed to cut off UJ’s ear. The longshoremen found some rum and started drinking and cheering UJ on. UJ left the building in order to draw the baddies out into the street to get H’s attention (the saloon was only a few blocks away). Originally when UJ arrived at the warehouse, the street had contained people, but now the street was deserted. At the saloon someone commented, “She’s making a lot of noise for someone with no ear,” and someone looked out a window and said, “She’s coming this way!” At some point, H said the following things or thereabouts to Atwon: “I can kill you fast, or I can kill you slow,” and “I should let you run into the jungle. It’d be fun to hunt you down.” Eventually Atwon said to his men, “Seize him,” and his minions tried, but at this point H attacked. Atwon had a nasty magical spear, which was probably demonbound. He hurt H with it pretty badly. Oh yes, you weren’t supposed to touch or even really be near any of these weapons, because they would try to inspire in you homicidal rage. The longshoremen joined in on the fight, using shovels. So we got a bonus because they acted as our minions. A few of them even attacked Atwon. Eventually, Atwon found himself alone, and when he was about to die, he broke the spear, causing forces of evil or hatred or something to flow out and make UJ and H make Resolve checks (which failed). The longshoremen began burying the dead bad guys. Frightened villagers began peeking out of windows, and then an old man who turned out to be Diego Sr. approached. He asked if we’d bury his son, which the longshoremen did. He offered us food, even though the villagers didn’t have much. H said, “Oh, no, we couldn’t possibly..ooh, mangoes!” Diego Sr. said the cultists killed all the young men in the village and took all the weapons, and did their rituals out in the open. UJ freed the people in the boxes, who were women and children from other villages. They were welcomed by the villagers, but some or all of them decided to try to make it back to their own villages. The longshoremen started to fix buildings, etc. UJ and H wondered what to do about the demonbound weapons, since it was up to us. Could have dropped them in the ocean and the water would eventually destroy them because they were made of ordinary materials that had been enchanted; they were assassin weapons, meant to basically only be used once, but H was worried that doing that would adversely affect the ocean (there was mention of producing “demon fish”), so it was decided, thru H’s Contacting skill, that we would have the weapons unenchanted because there was a story of a holy man on an island somewhere who could do this. H thought the longshoremen should stay at the village to help out, which they did. UJ said we could pick the longshoremen up later. We headed off to find the island, after locating a Santeria priest named Carlos who knew where the island was. Actually, Carlos performed a ritual involving a rattle and an executed chicken and an arcane symbol drawn on the deck to find out how to get to the island. Because of that sort of thing, the crew were initially wary of Carlos. UJ tied the boxes down securely with some rope. We approached the island, due to Carlos standing on deck and pointing in various directions. There were actually two islands. One was big, and the other was small and ugly, with a volcano. Suddenly there was a big storm; UJ and H rescued a sailor who was almost washed off the ship. Carlos, who was standing on the deck, was swept away by a wave. After more Athletics rolls to avoid giant waves, the ship capsized onto the volcanic island (dubbed island “A” by H). The weapon boxes broke and the weapons were scattered on the beach, and UJ yelled to the crewmen not to touch them. The storm stopped. We went inland, following a “hidden path” and found a clearing with a graveyard filled with 25 small, extremely old and weathered crosses. What was weirder was that the graves were empty depressions. Upon leaving we got attacked by rather large poisonous spiders. They sort of almost poisoned UJ. We killed them, but further along on this trip we were attacked by more spiders; don’t remember how many times. They killed at least three of the sailors, one of whom said something like, “Tell my wife I love her,” and another said, “I love you, Jane” before dying. One of the guys who died did so in UJ’s arms as she was trying ineffectually to save him. She did save at least one guy (but possibly from a killer snake; see below). Anyway, eventually we trekked on down the path and found a lagoon with a partially sunken ship (note: some of the following stuff about the ship was adapted from a GURPS Horror adventure). It was anchored there, and only the (mossy) deck was above water. H, who had the higher Survival skill, surmised that it was salt water. He decided to jump onto the ship to check it out. UJ said to yell if he needed any help, and he told her to yell if she needed any help. There was an open window in the raised structure on the deck (structure called the poop deck, for horrible reasons), and a hatch in the middle of the deck. H entered the poop deck, which contained a galley. Below the galley was the captain’s quarters, which H eventually broke down (it was pretty hard to break open). Inside was the corpse of a guy in seventeenth-century garb. The open window mentioned above led into this room. The room also had a strongbox, which H opened. It contained some silver and a journal, both of which H took, although the journal partially crumbled in his hands. From what he could read (he’d had to fashion a torch, since no one had any sort of a light source), this had been a trading vessel called the Eliza, from the seventeenth century. It had made it into this lagoon after being forced onto the island by a storm. A foraging party was sent out but didn’t come back. They were then attacked by mysterious beings, who were later determined to be the reanimated dead foragers. Eventually, they killed everyone but the captain, who holed up in his quarters, ending his journal with the words “I am in God’s hands now.” He ended up with a huge hole in his chest. There was a “spare” room next to the captain’s room, which was empty. H also explored the gun deck. The gun deck had a hatch right below the above-deck hatch. H opened it and found a partially flooded hold with debris floating around. He decided to leave. While he was on board, UJ could hear some cussing coming from the ship as H struggled to open things and then six red-eyed snakes attacked her and the sailors. Eventually, she killed the snakes. (By the end of the game we’d lost six sailors; we were supposed to keep at least six or we wouldn’t be able to leave because UJ and H couldn’t repair the boat.) It was getting dark, so we decided to spend the night there on the beach. H took watch because he doesn’t need sleep. He didn’t notice (until it was too late) three guys come out of nowhere and attack him. They just started biting him. H killed two and UJ killed one. Right afterward one of the sailors got his heart somehow ripped out of his chest. The heart vanished upon leaving his body. They turned out to be zombies made from the three sailors who’d been killed. Next day we continued on the path, which ended at the volcano. There was a treacherous-looking path up the volcano, and at the end of that path (about midway up the volcano) was an entranceway that had columns with evil-looking statues. Not surprisingly, the sailors elected to not go on the path. H and UJ did, however (having to make Athletics rolls), and found a room, at the end of which was a hallway, which was filled with a bunch of corpses of long-dead, probably-dead-when-the-Eliza-got-to-the-island priestly-looking guys suspended by ropes. There was another entranceway at the end of this hall Through that entranceway was a room with an altar with hideous creatures carved on it, and six hearts, a few of them fresh and one of them extremely fresh, sitting on it. There was a light shining in through a hole in the ceiling, shining down onto the altar. H decided to climb the rather slippery walls to see what was through the hole (he has the Human Spider stunt).Turned out to be the sky. While he was up there an undead priest tried to pull his heart out, causing him to fall (but he didn’t get hurt because he has Safe Fall).This priest’s heart-removing ability was due to this magical mace. He also had a ritual knife that was one of those enhancement weapons (forgot the name; Rare Artifact or Gadget or something) and a cape made out of human (at least partly face) skin. A big old fight ensued. He was one bad-ass mofo who managed to cause us to use up all our Fate points. UJ set him on fire with the torch, but he eventually beat out the fire. She then proceeded to try to bash him on the head, which she managed, except he had a very durable head for a dead guy. She disarmed him of his mace and knife. She decided to do that after finding out that the knife could do that attacking-your-shadow thing that Eric Somebody the evil proto-Nazi wizard guy from way back could do. It pinned her shadow down, so she couldn’t move. Dead Priest (DP) tried to do that to H, but failed. DP waved part of his cape at us, which was so hideous we had to make Resolve rolls to avoid being paralyzed with fear. UJ succeeded, but H was paralyzed momentarily. UJ tore the cape off DP, revealing a thong-wearing, burned zombie. She continued to wail away on his head. Eventually H chopped DP’s head off, thus finishing him off. We decided to visit the other island, in the hopes of finding the holy man. He was indeed on the other island, along with Carlos, who had somehow survived and had a bowl of chicken for us. He said he could unenchant the weapons for us, which he did. He warned us to stay away from the other island, because there was evilness there. We told him we knew that already.

Remember to have fun.

Posted by Lodger Tagged with: , , , ,
Dec 012009

Hello Lodgers,

Here is another installment of SOTC. Someone tied to the previous adventure in that consequences from previous episode actions continue to haunt our heroes.  Basically, these APs become the continuing adventures of Union Jane (UJ) as she is the only protagonist to stick with the same character. She provides an interesting tie-in for the many (seriously) guest stars who would grace my game throughout its various arcs.

Two new characters: Juju Man and Death, respectively. Death (D) is a thin vampire with claws made out of solidified blood. He came from the underside/underworld of Etheropia. These eight or nine or so ghouls (Minions of a rival vampire) started following him. They wanted to kill him (because when the party splits up, call in the ninjas!).  He ended up taking refuge on the surface and found Juju Man (JJM) outside. JJM, who is a gaunt voodoo master (a “bokor”), intimidated the ghouls and they fled. While this was happening, UJ was still on the Sky’s Mistress dirigible, which was flying out of control towards Etheropia due to Petra (see last session) having vengefully fired a Pneumagun at it. A loa called Papa Legba (a real fun scene for me. Papa pulls rank and tells JJM one of his daughters needs help. This becomes a running gag through the adventure. Out of character, there was much speculation as to why UJ was a worker’s rights advocate for a voodoo spirit) appeared to JJM and Death (by this time they were in the city proper, and they saw a big shadow over the city) and told them that basically there was an out-of-control ship on its way containing a woman with a piece of paper, and they had to do something about it. UJ headed to the cockpit to try and keep the dirigible from hitting an orphanage. She managed to miss it but began heading for another building. D managed to jump onto the bottom of the cockpit, hanging on by digging his claws into the hull. He was able to open a door and come in. UJ asked if he could pilot a dirigible. He said no but that he could grab her and safely jump out of the dirigible. (He was a Human Spider and acrobatics expert.) UJ agreed with his plan. After they jumped out, the dirigible crashed into the building and caught on fire. People began jumping out of the building. Two firemen came to try to put out the fire. JJM got on top of a building, and more ghouls pursued him. UJ and D went up to help. Fighting ensued, and eventually the ghouls were no longer a problem. JJM was the first to notice that these ghostly moths had appeared on people’s shoulders and were saying to them, “Fight, fight, fear, fear” over and over. Eventually, UJ and D noticed them too. They had their own moths, as it turned out. Meanwhile, the fire in/on the dirigible and building unnerved D (he had an aversion to fire), and UJ gently dragged him away from the dirigible and told him to ignore the bug on his shoulder. JJM’s Mysteries knowledge told him that the moths were Shadow Moths and that the “Queen of Night” would be a harbinger of their appearance (ha ha, horrors from previous adventures), and that they would lead to the doom of all civilizations. UJ was able to confirm that this Queen was the Night Mother from a previous adventure. Almost everyone the party saw had the moths; some were frightened of them, and others were listening to them and going off to get weapons. The only people who had no moths were children. UJ spoke to one, and ended up being followed by a group of children, who she fortunately was able to persuade to go home. At this time the party was heading to an occult library, at the behest of JJM. This library was one of the tallest buildings in the city, except for the lab of Dr. Tigre-Morte (who was apparently staying pretty secluded in there, experimenting and not caring too much about what was going on among the populace, like a typical mad scientist). UJ’s contacts showed where to find the library, because she knew union people who had delivered furniture to such a place (teamsters are everywhere.). This attendant there wouldn’t let the party in at first, but JJM and D intimidated him into changing his mind.  (JJM’s Intimidation ability allows him to, well, among other things, unhinge his jaw and widen his ribs.) (Short pause in game while we regain control of the laughter. The store probably sold two more copies based on the laughing alone.) The party found a giant book in a dark area of the library that had a cool name: Book of the Forgotten Poets. It contained references to a pre-Atlantean people called the Poets, who could speak words that created objects. What seemed to have happened was that they created the moths, and the moths ultimately made them destroy themselves. It also said the moths would require a pool, sacrifices and servants (in order to create a hive of them). Once out of the library, on top of a tenement, JJM summoned a female entity (Erzulie, “she who would speak the secret words”) who was related to Papa Legba to ask where the moths could be found. This was the reason the party at some point needed some herbs, including what turned out to be the white flower UJ had been carrying around in a pocket since she pulled it out of the ground it was growing in in front of the gate the Nazis had activated through which the Night Mother came in an earlier adventure with the Hunter, Jolly Roger and the Crimson Specter. The summoning actually was the reason those items were needed; they were necessary for the summoning ritual. One of the other things necessary was a sacrifice, for which a pigeon would do. So D killed a pigeon. Afterwards JJM reanimated it. Then D killed the resulting zombie pigeon. JJM asked Erzulie where the problems were coming from. She pointed to the moths on the party’s shoulders. JJM clarified his question to mean their source. She indicated the House of Tenshuro. UJ knew this to be a Yakuza HQ (where else would I get my ninjas?) that union people avoided (their specialties were drugs and something else). Etheropia had two other organized crime HQs: the House of Finn (headed by an Irish guy. This wasn’t a yakuza group. They specialized in prostitution and drugs) and the House of Henzo  (who specialized in drugs and gambling). They all were having problems with the drug side of things because UJ, Jolly and the Hunter and the Musician in the previous adventure had disrupted the supply of the sky ash drug by ultimately destroying the fortress where it was being made, and causing this huge mess at the same time). The party headed to the House of Tenshuro. JJM hung back while D decided to just go up to the entrance, accompanied by UJ. D asked to come in, and a head guard type guy (there were about fifteen or so samurai out front) said he’d ask his lord. He left and didn’t come back for a long time, then told D and UJ that they couldn’t see the lord. D said something like, “I’ll have to kill you then.” The head guard guy was about to attack when UJ bashed him. In the ensuing fight, UJ rolled really well and killed a bunch of them. JJM reanimated seven of them. Afterwards, he went in with his new retinue. UJ followed, but D was temporarily delayed because he couldn’t help drinking some of all the blood. Inside JJM entered a courtyard and surprised three engineer types who were laying dynamite around a pool. JJM intimidated them; he tied up at least two of them. He took (some of) the explosives and secured them to some/all of the zombies. Oh yeah, turned out all/some of the dead samurais had living moths hiding inside them, which climbed out of their mouths upon death and flew up into an upstairs window. The party came upon this eight-foot-tall guy in a robe. He took off the robe to reveal himself to be a human(oid) with the head of a hyena (sewn on). D attacked him and got stuck to him by his claws. Hyena Guy (HG) flung D across the room. JJM used an artifact, the Ankh of Osiris. It caused a light to burn Hyena Guy, and the “Light of Osiris” to flood into the courtyard. Hyena Guy was stunned and gave a look of newfound respect to JJM. UJ bashed HG’s kneecaps so eventually he couldn’t walk and fell to his knees and burst into flames (but continued to attack). Sometime during the battle, HG summoned a giant spider, which D attacked. D pulled off two of its legs and beat it with them. It turned out that HG was a form of undead. JJM ordered some zombies to go and get blown up by the spider and HG. UJ got caught in (one of) the resulting blast(s) and took a lot of hits to her Health. JJM also somehow gave some blood to D to give him extra fighting power (D’s Weapon of Destiny was his blood–yes, his blood). Eventually the party killed HG and the spider. Oh yeah, during this fight and also the one with Goodwin (see below) the party had Resolve problems due to magic being used against them: JJM saw images from his Horrific Past (an Aspect) and UJ saw and heard her dead friend Arturo (another Aspect), which caused JJM and UJ to be temporarily distracted. The party then headed to this other pool that was about ten feet deep and had a brown gemlike object about the size of a human head at the bottom. D and JJM didn’t want to enter the water. (They were all sporting multiple consequences and full tracks.) JJM surmised that this thing was the hive. UJ swam down and brought it up. JJM determined that it was indeed the hive, but not finished. At this point, Officer Goodwin(main antagonist) arrived on the scene. His eyes were like shadows. JJM destroyed the hive and Goodwin said, “Do you know how long it took to make that?” or something. He then attacked, but with magic. He spoke words of power. He attacked the party’s Resolves. He also formed a shield of tentacles (Block with Mysteries). JJM ordered some of this zombies to shield UJ as she attacked Goodwin (Counterblock – mysteries). She faked him out with a feint (because he formed the shield only in the direction in which he was being attacked. Now, the party worked as a team and started placing aspects and free tags for the fighters), causing him to be off guard for a moment and giving him a taggable Aspect. Eventually D tore him open. He had moths inside his chest, which dissolved. He had been the deranged spirit of the last remaining Poet. At this point, the city began to crack into four pieces. D saved UJ again by catching her as she fell toward the part of the city that was starting to tumble away, because she rolled so crappy on Athletics but he rolled well. Some or all of the zombies guarding UJ, had, moments before, managed to save her from falling debris by shielding her. That was where the session ended.

Post any questions you may have in the comments. This was a while ago and our memory of it is pretty faint. I remember a lot of fun and the priceless expressions on the heroes’ faces when they realized that the big bad had just arrived and they were sucking wind on fate points. Classic terror. I believe one player summed it up like this: “We gotta take this guy down in the first exchange or we’re &%^^%$!”

One piece of critique here: SOTC makes this sort of timing very difficult but well worth it. The kind of fight it takes to wear down a full party is epic and players love that. When it’s done there will be dozens of bodies on the ground and the heroes will have no fate points left.  They leave the game drained so I usually aim this sort of thing for every third adventure. This fits my triptych adventure arc style.

My next adventure to post is a filler adventure because a player went missing: “The Hunt for Red Eliza.”  (Just kidding.)

Posted by Lodger Tagged with: , , , ,
Nov 192009

Sorry, sorry…I know I said I’d try for one post a week. But I have a really good excuse. You see, there was this monkey, a giant space monkey. He needed a ride home and I was heading that way so I said, “What the hell. Why not?” Well, you’ve probably noticed my bandages by now, right? No? Well, never mind then. Suffice it to say the monkey and I have gone our separate ways. I got bandages and he got tetanus. (Long story.)

So, how about two quick posts this week to make up for my negligence? I knew you’d agree.

Part 3 of my Diaspora adventure. I post here  my player’s writeup.

Diaspora, Iron Spiral’s first adventure, 11/14/09  Note: My player came up with a new name, so cool.

IS (Iron Spiral) was selling lichen at some market somewhere, when the GM decided to try the social mini game. There was one other salesperson there, a woman also selling lichen. We had one customer, a man who to start with wasn’t looking at either of our stalls; he was checking out refractory materials nearby. IS decided to say to him, “Hey, what do you think of that near miss between two ships last week that almost caused a political scandal between Gemma and Demon Rock?” or something close to that, because she recognized that he was a pilot from his clothing. He said he was a pilot, but hadn’t been there. She said, “But I saw you on the news!” That caused him to say he hadn’t been there, but he had been on the news before. The other saleswoman said something like “Come get your lichen cakes while they’re hot,” which failed to grip him. IS turned out to have a fancy lichen sculpture/painting of two fleets of ships in front of a nebula. The ships were made out of iron, the rest out of variously colored and textured lichen (IS has a high Art skill). The pilot came over and admired the artwork. He said he was a Gemman pilot of a trade ship, and then he lowered his voice and said they had a goddess on board. IS asked what she was the goddess of, and he said the goddess of light and shadows, which turned out to mean that she could use a technology that could create impressive light-based phenomena. He said he’d buy all her lichen if she sold it for half off. There was a little haggling and he eventually agreed to buy the lichen at 47% off, which wasn’t really much of a deal, but what the hell. At the same time the other saleswoman had put on some weird music to try to get his attention, but gave up when she saw that he’d bought from IS. (End of social mini-game.) Oh yes, part of the 47% off deal was that IS would also get to meet the goddess. The pilot’s name was Gene-G(Gene) asked when IS would be free to meet the goddess, and IS said, “Well, since you bought all my stock, how about right now?” IS took down her stall and helped him carry the lichen to his ship, which was named the Cloudburst. The ship was very impressive. It also had gold decorations befitting a goddess. It had an odd smell coming from deeper inside. G led IS to a strange, large room which he said was called the ship “park.” This was where the smell was coming from, for it had grass and trees and a stream, all of which IS had heard about but never seen personally. Sometime while they were talking, during which G became quite animated when IS told him she was also a pilot and he started rattling on about the Cloudburst’s engines, G mentioned that the goddess had a “pet savage” who turned out to be a man from Demon Rock. This man had what G called a “thing” that G believed should be locked up because it was so dangerous, but that the goddess said would probably then break loose and kill people, so no, it got to stay free. G said he’d make an offering to the goddess of the lichen, and then IS could meet her. They headed toward the goddess’ office. IS thought she saw something metallic following them, but wasn’t sure. She mentioned this to G and he said he didn’t see anything. Then a voice said, “She’s right,” and a huge man in an antique armored vac suit with a horned helmet suddenly appeared, along with a very large granite boar. This was Deng, the “pet savage,” and his granite boar, whose name was Snaps and Drools (Snaps for short). G was extremely startled. D(Deng) said to G that the goddess wanted to see him, alone. It was about letting unauthorized people onto the ship. G hurried off to her office. D said he was the ship security officer, and asked why IS was there. She told him. He said, “Well, you’re here, so you might as well get the rest of the tour of the ship.” She petted S(Snaps) and it licked her. D said, “He thinks you taste good.” While D escorted IS, he told her that there was a vacancy on board for a secondary pilot, because the secondary pilot had gotten injured by S (he shouldn’t have tried to play with S). IS got to meet the goddess, Tu-Anon-Romten, who G had said was the least popular in her family, and that her father (also a god) had given her the Cloudburst in order to get her out of his hair. T(Tu-Anon-Romten) appeared backed by a godlike glow, and offered IS the pilot job. IS accepted. IS had a tearful farewell with her parents. Her father gave her an energy gun that had belonged to her grandfather. T also arrived and gave IS’s family gifts, which had been tribute given to her by some worshippers. IS boarded the ship. After she familiarized herself with the bridge, T appeared by hologram and gave commands. T also revealed that IS was the new captain, replacing G, who’d been demoted to secondary pilot. T ordered that they fly to Plug. It took a day to get to Demon Rock, at which one had to refuel in order to get to Plug. Actually IS took the ship to the Demon Rock refueling station, not the planet. The administrator assigned the Cloudburst one of the last to be refuelled, which pissed off T. T had D, S and IS come with her on a visit to the administrator. Inside the station, two Demon Rock guards saw them and reached for their weapons, but D made signs at them, and they saluted and stood aside. The station actually had Gemmans and Demon Rockans working there, plus I think a few visitors from Plug. T had D order S to burrow/eat through the administrator’s door. Inside was a terrified Gemman administrator. S started eating some of the furniture in the room. T and IS convinced the administrator to move the Cloudburst up to #5 in the list, out of about 180 ships. The administrator claimed he didn’t know the Cloudburst had a goddess on board. T wanted the #1 spot, but the administrator told her that was taken by the God of Heavy Weapons and Machine Guns, so T backed off. So now it wasn’t going to take weeks to get refuelled; only a few days. As they were returning to the ship, they noticed that they’d turned up on the news. D was not happy. T gave D and IS the day off and thanked them for their support. IS asked to meet D at the park, where she asked why he was unhappy about being on the news, and he said it was because he was something of a celebrity on Demon Rock because of his saving that warren from rogue granite boars and taming a wild one, which isn’t something normally done (taming a wild granite boar, that is). He said he preferred to lead a low-key life. He asked IS out to dinner on the station. Said he knew a good restaurant, which was owned by his foster mother, and he wanted IS to meet her. On the way to, and during dinner, S had taken the form of a large walking stick that D held. D explained that normal granite boars eventually decided to stop shapeshifting and settled on a preferred shape, but not S. D’s foster mom was a tall, tough blonde named Ping. She and IS liked each other. She chastised D for not writing, then they started talking about life on Demon Rock, which was better because there hadn’t been any recent granite boar attacks. IS, feeling paranoid, noticed four young vac-suited Demon Rock women at another table watching, but they seemed to be only interested in staring at D. IS commented how much she liked the view of the Hyathis nebula from Demon Rock, because at the Triskidar Belt, all you could see was the nebula’s top left tendril. P(Ping) said she’d like to visit the Triskidar Belt again because she hadn’t in a long time, and IS encouraged her because now happened to be the regular but infrequent occurrence in which the Hyathis tendril would move, as seen from the Belt. It was an altogether pleasant dinner, after which, back at the ship, IS went to bed. Okay, nothing adrenaline-pumping happened, but I had fun.

As you might have guessed, there is quite a lot of player-based story being added here. My GM style is to create realistic NPCs with goals (usually clearer stated in their aspects). Each NPC will follow their goal to its logical conclusion if the players are willing to follow that course. This allows me the flexibility to drop story threads as they become uninteresting to players. It also creates an organic “lived-in” feeling for the universe, which some players respond to. It has its complications as well. A large group (I’ve run up to twelve players at once) will immediately start splitting off to pursue their characters’ interests. This can be a challenge for a GM and all that parallel processing can bog a game down. There is also a certain player type who will take advantage of loopholes in the system, derail the adventure, or attack apparently important NPCs. These players are flummoxed by this method of driving a story. Since each NPC carries a goal he or she is trying to reach, exclusive of the players, they are quickly outnumbered and neutralized, usually, by other players.

That’s how I do it anyway.

Posted by Lodger Tagged with: , , ,