Goodies in the Mail

I should be finishing up my Manor #6 edits for +Tim Shorts (Gothridge Manor). Instead, I have been playing my wife's new guitar (purchased today), watching three Game 7's in the NHL playoffs, and reading my new gaming stuff. I send my apologizes to Tim and I know forgiveness will come more quickly when he checks out the good stuff arriving at my front door:

Fantasy Companion (Savage Worlds): I haven't played Savage Worlds, but I keep hoping. I am inching my way towards running a campaign by picking up a used copy of Fantasy Companion. I am wondering how well a Savage Worlds megadungeon campaign might work, particularly if I borrowed some stuff from the Solomon Kane setting for Savage Worlds. I like the idea of a flintlock dungeon and haven't found the rules for it. There are a couple of conversions from D&D to Savage Worlds out there (check out the free Dungeons & Savages, for example).

Kefitzat Haderech: Incunabulum of Uncanny Gates and Portals: Any book that starts with Hebrew on its title page and ends with a few paragraphs about Dr. Who is going to be fun read. Paolo Greco provides a quirky set of tables that allow the GM to generate gates and portals to send player characters into the great unknown. +Tim Shorts' mini-review of this little booklet convinced me to buy it. I do wish I had paid more attention when I took Hebrew in graduate school many years ago.

NOD #5: It is no secret that I am a big fan of all of John Stater's stuff. He is the Isaac Asimov of the OSR. He cranks out product after product after product. We have been using his Blood & Treasure ruleset for the Montporte Dungeon Campaign. His PARS FORTUNA is my favorite OSR-style ruleset. I have been acting out on my man crush for John by purchasing an issue of NOD every month. NOD #5 features an article on medieval mining and another on vampires in found in various cultures. There is also Ibis, a city crawl that continues his expansion of his world of NOD.


Monday Moodsetter 52

By Pacman23
RPG Rorschach: What's the first gaming thought that pops into your head?


All My Characters

No Frilly Elven Characters on this List
Not much of a post. Just a list of characters that I have played in the last five years or so. You'll notice that there are no elves on this list. I have been an elf-free zone going all the way back to 1977. I have played humans, dwarves, halflings, and gnomes, but I cannot bring myself to play an elf:

  • Syrivald: Human Magic User (Mage of Thoth) in +Rob Conley's Majestic Wilderlands setting, using Swords & Wizardry Core (retired).
  • Chael: Human Fighter in a short-lived Castles & Crusades campaign (retired).
  • Corum: Human Cleric in a campaign run by +Tim Shorts, using AD&D 1e (retired).
  • Delvin: Dwarf Warrior in +Rob Conley's Majestic Wilderlands setting, using GURPS (retired).
  • Belafore: A Human Viking Priest in a GURPS one shot (retired).
  • Ampersand: Human Burglar in a playtest of +Rob Conley's Fudge-based rules for the Majestic Wilderlands (in limbo).
  • Hyroth: Human Battle-Mage in +Tim Shorts' homebrew game and setting (active, but currently creeped out).
  • Darius: Human Magic-User in +Chris C.'s Ephemera setting, using Swords & Wizardry Core (active). 

This list doesn't include a few characters that I have created but never played, including one for Dresden RPG* and one for Supernatural RPG.

*It is a shame that the Dresden RPG campaign was never played as my wife had coolest character ever--a teenage Amish mage. Not many spellcasters sport a head covering and a cape dress.


Ephemera Session 6: Playing Under the Dome...

"My favorite steel dome" - Darius
Unfortunately, I missed Session 5. However, Darius the Handsome made up for it as I was able to participate in the sixth session of Ephemera, run by Chris (The Clash of Spear on Shield). Here is Darius' take on the session:

So I missed some of the action [Darius and I missed Session 5]. However, we were still in the pyramid temple north of the village of Tarn, trying to figure out where the dark dwarves were taking the young people of Tarn. We found that someone was turning the kids into little skeletons. A sad and distressing discovery for even the most jaded adventurer.

As we continued our explorations, we soon found the culprit: A ghoulish priest of some kind. Despite our lack of useful spells (we are a bit heavy on charm and sleep), we were able to dispatch the evildoer with little fuss.

We went back to a room that had four pedestals, each with a bone under a small glass dome. It also had pipes or vents around the outside walls, each pipe opening had traces of oil and sulfur. Not a good sign. I decided that I would tie a rope around myself. I gave the other end of the rope to Egbert. I don't like him, but I trust him. For some reason, Sandy and Conner joined me in the room...this would put them in the line of fire if something came out of those pipes.

We cut up some rope and tried to plug the pipes as best we could. It almost worked. As I lifted the glass dome on the pedestal to take a finger bone, the stuff started to happen with those suspicious pipes. The rope plugs held...at least all but one did. The pipe closest to me unplugged itself and I was blasted with flame...I slipped into a coma but the rope survived and Egbert was able to drag my body back to the adjoining room. Apparently some sort of intervention took place in the room...having to do with the artwork on the walls and the beam of sunlight coming in through the hole in the ceiling. I was not awake or aware when all this happened, so I am a bit fuzzy on the details. All I know is that I was healed and ready to go.

With nothing else to see, we prepared to leave the temple and make the walk back south to Tarn. On our way out of the temple exit, we heard a rumbling sound and felt the ground shake. As it grew louder, we determined that it was coming from the southeast and it sounded like stampede. We were able to gain a vantage point and could see a stampede of forest animals southeast of us, moving directly north. Barring a change in their direction, we were out of harm's way.

We could see them fleeing a low cloud of some kind. The cloud, clearly some sort of nefarious magic, was quickly gaining on the frightened beasts. The slowest animals at the rear of stampede were caught first. It killed every animal it caught. YIKES!

The cloud passed through the herd of animals, leaving a trail of unmarked corpses in its wake. What deviltry was this?

We decided to follow the cloud's path to the south to find its source. Tarn and its evil leader would have to wait.

After traveling for a day or so, we found an steel dome, sitting in the woods like a hermit's hut. Only it was much bigger, maybe 100' across. We unlocked the door and started exploring. We noticed a signed that said "Armageddon Outpost 12." Well, okay then. There was a deep thrumming noise that grew louder as we pressed further along the interior of the dome.

We came to a room with some sort of machine. Lots of pipes and valves. That's where the noise was coming from. Sandy the dwarf studied it for a few minutes and then figured out how to turn it off. We decided to move along and continue our exploration, lest we get caught flatfooted by whatever might be lurking in other rooms.

We continued our explorations, taking on a few stirges, and then we ran into another one of those pesky dark dwarves. Conner charmed him before he could do any mischief. We learned that his name was Rundt. He could tell us little about his master or the purpose of this place...although, in hindsight, we could have asked some more pointed questions about his master.

We followed Rundt through a few rooms and met his master, Vagroth. Vagroth was a vapor demon. As I said, we could have asked better questions. So the charm spell didn't work on Vagroth. He just laughed. However, two of my three darts hit struck home and the demonic giggling was silenced.

We did notice that there were three urns behind Vagroth...maybe breaking them might have some effect on this guy.  I ordered my two charmed followers, Tub and Bob, to start breaking the three urns that were on the floor behind the vapor demon. They each broke one, spilling out treasure. This left one urn. The rest of the party decided to move around the demon and I, so that they could all attack the hapless urn. I was left to fend for myself, a first level magic-user with the dagger, against a vapor demon of unknown strength. And, I was soon to learn, possessing a dagger of his own, dripping with some sort of magical poison.

The rest of guys started knocking the one remaining urn around the room, but were unable to break it. In the meantime, the demon cut me with the dagger and I could feeling my whole body, mind and soul weaken. The rest of the party kept hacking and whacking at the final urn but could only get in glancing blows. Finally, the guys broke the urn, which killed the demon and spared me the insult of dying.

Rundt told us about some secret doors and exploring beyond them is the next order of business.


Five for Friday 28: Shameful Desires

I have tried. God knows that I have tried to not lust after gaming stuff. But I am a weak man, so here is an accounting of my current sins in the form of a wish list of hard copy gaming items (in alphabetical order):

I will quietly break the rules here and add a few extras to the list...don't report me to the blog police. I'd like to pick up some GURPS stuff in hardcopy: GURPS High Tech and GURPS Powers. I might have to settle for the PDF version of GURPS High Tech, as it out of print and the priced for print copies is steep. Tome of Horrors 4 has also caught my fancy.

Sadly, the purchase of a custom order bass guitar dented the bank account but not my shameless desire for musical possessions. Daddy wants an upright bass and a high end acoustic guitar. And I have to postpone my wish fulfillment as my wife also wants a new acoustic guitar...hard to argue that it isn't her turn when I have my new bass guitar on a stand in the living room. Obviously, the solution is a winning lottery ticket, but for now I have to balance the spending across two money-sucking pastimes.


Monday Moodsetter 51

"Dome" by syllo
RPG Rorschach: What's the first gaming thought that pops into your head?


In Absentia

I have been absent, for the most part, from the blog-o-sphere, with the exception of a few comments on one or two other blogs. I have had 5 gigs with my bass the last three weekends--a glad thing. Work has been brutal--a bad thing. I even missed the last Monday Night Gaming Group session--a sad thing. I am looking forward to getting back at it tomorrow night.


Game Night in Ephemera #4: Bringing Sleep & Charm to a Skeleton Fight

So it was session #4 in Chris's (The Clash of Spear on Shield) Ephemera setting on Monday night. We had three player characters, all first level magic-users armed with charm or sleep. We also had a few henchmen plus a couple of charmed "friends" that we had picked up along the way. Here is Darius the Handsome's version of the Monday night's adventures:

Having rescued the lost Ryan and saved the village of Alden from the scourge of a small but hungry minotaur, we decided to head north to Tarn. We had been told by Lana, the huntress of Alden that we might find more information about a prophecy, mysterious map and an even more mysterious magical gem that had come our way.

So off we went to Tarn, a slightly larger small village. The travel was uneventful until we were within a day's walk. At dawn, while the mists were still rising from the plains, we spied a young man running towards us at full tilt. Actually, we heard him first, his feet pounding on the ground and his breath coming in ragged desperate gasps.

He was running on a tangent to us and would have passed us by. We couldn't see anything behind him...nothing was chasing him, at least that we could see. We stopped him but he was in full panic mode, so I cast a charm his way.

We learned that the king of Tarn had fallen under the influence of dark dwarves...similar dark dwarves had played a nefarious role in the minotaur affair. Older children will being selected from the population of Tarn, escorted out of Tarn, and not seen from again.

As to intervening, there was no debate. Children being hauled away? Bad. Bad. Bad. The only question before us was "How?" How could we save these kiddoes?

Rather than enter Tarn and find ourselves outnumbered, we decided to work our way around the town and then continue north. Sam, our young charmed friend from Tarn, had informed us that the dwarves were taking the kids north from town and then returning without them. We opted to lay in wait to the north and then follow a group of dwarves as they traveled away from Tarn with their young captives.

We found a good hiding spot, north of Tarn, where we could see the dwarves crossing a river. We would start trailing them once they had traversed the ford near our hideout.

We didn't wait long. Four dwarves with a flock of children crossed the river. We were able to follow them through the tall grass of the plains without being noticed. The weather held for a few days but then the clouds betrayed us. As it began to rain, the tall grass bent under the added weight of the fallen rain.

We decided to act before we were noticed. Egbert cast a sleep spell, taking out the four dwarves. We tied them up and arranged to have Sam lead the children to a safe hiding spot in the woods to the west. I kicked one of the dwarves to awaken him and then charmed the pants off of him. Well, I charmed him but let him keep his breeches.

This dwarf, named Bob, gave us directions to a temple-like place a day's journey further north. We led him away and then dispatched the remaining three dwarves.

Bob led us to a massive stepped pyramid. It was unguarded so we entered. Bob was less useful as a guide, once we were in the pyramid as he had spent little time inside it.

We made quick work of these weird animated robes, but were deterred by a room with four skeletons. First level wizarding types tossing out sleep and charm spells pose little threat to the undead. After exploring a bit further, we found a room with cushions along the walls and a single human bone on each cushion. I noticed some small vents or pipes in the walls and found traces of sulfur and oil. Concern that this could be a trap, we hightailed it out of there.

We had to take on the skeletons. Using our henchmen and charmed friends, we were able to destroy the skeletons, fighting them piecemeal rather than all at once.

Our session ended here for the night.


Monday Moodsetter 50

RPG Rorschach: What's the first gaming thought that pops into your head?


Monday Night in Ephemera

Last night I played Darius the Handsome for my second session in Ephemera setting (it was the group's third session in Ephemera), run by Chris (The Clash of Spear on Shield).

Darius is neither strong nor smart, and he is downright slow of foot. He is, however, quite good looking. He can toss out a charm person with the best of them. He spent most of this session hitting on Lana, a woods-woman of vague orientation (not that there is anything wrong with that).

We did manage to deliver our rescued man, Ryan, back to his village. In the process, we discovered that Brill, the village elder, had sold out his people to a nearby minotaur runt. Thanks to a charm person spell, we got the truth out of Brill. His fellow villagers are not a forgiving lot and he was polished off after a quick up/down vote on the village green.

We stalked the minotaur and in an anti-climactic move typical of our Monday Night Gaming Group, we cast a sleep spell the minotaur and his minions. All the village archers stood down and we gathered up the booty after we dispatched the minotaur and his minions.