Tuesday, November 28, 2017

MoMj: The Corruption Saga - Session 9 (Winter)

For this Winter, the Men of Mjarn spend it in Alucard. The men have discussed the need for additional funds, mostly in the form of trade goods (according to the setting). As such, each one takes on a job to generate some income to fuel their adventuring.

Eirik, with his brand new (to him) smithy, spends the winter repairing vardatches, daggers, and any other metal items that are brought to him and his business. As a highly skilled blacksmith, it's not long before word is spread of his capabilities which brings the customers from throughout the town. Though, it's not just his skill, but the fact that he's a memeber of Krogan's elite squad that brings other customers who seek to gain favor with him, offering gifts, bargains, and family members to get on his good side. Aside from his income and the distractions his customers provide, Eirik can't seem to get his mind off of the boats that he "reclaimed" from the brigands shortly before Winter and the thought of leading some men to take them out on the open sea to not only go trading, but raiding and reaving as well.

Monday, November 27, 2017

A Lonely Hope -- Scenes 8 & 9

Scarlet Vampire

A Lonely Hope

Scene 8

Exhausted and drained, Hanson stumbled into her haven, a small apartment in the basement of the offices she shared with Gina. Dawn was less than an hour away, and the desperate need for sleep was ready to overpower her. The lights suddenly came on, and a voice said to her “pushing it a little close, aren’t you?”

Gypsy sat smugly in the only chair in the place. She was not only Hanson’s sire, the vampire who had turned her, but also her “boss”—the Prince’s top enforcer.

“What the fuck do you want, Gyp?”

“Just to make sure my favorite childe is alive and well. Oh, and to ask you just what the hell you think you’re doing?”

“My damn job.”

“Really? Your job? Since when does your job entail getting into a brawl in front of a cop? Or mixing it up with Cora of all people?”

Hanson merely shrugged. She didn’t feel the need to explain herself to anyone. Her childish defiance only increased Gypsy’s annoyance. “Why didn’t you check in? Get some damn backup? You’re not some anarch, for God’s sake.”

“Spare me the bullshit, Gyp. What the hell do you want?”

She stood up and walked up to Hanson. “Whatever is going on with Dona isn’t your damn job. Observe and report, that’s it, childe. Anything else is none of your fucking concern.”

“They threatened the Masquerade.”

“Did they? Oh, I’m sorry. I forgot when you became the Prince. It’s not your damn call, so don’t get delusions. So drop it, you hear me. Drop it.” Then, softening, she said “come by the club tomorrow night.  I have something else I need you to work on.”

Friday, November 24, 2017

MoMj: The Corruption Saga - Session 8c-Eirik

Upon Eirik's return to Alucard, he maintained his focus on the future. He requested Lord Krogan obtain some ore from Steel Hill from which he intended to make better weapons for himself and his brother, Deirik. Unfortunately, this would take time. Lord Krogan could initiate the trade negotiations, but the ore would not arrive until after the coming Winter.

A few days later, while seeing his family come in and out of the warehouse in which they were living, Eirik was visited by Lord Krogan. When he arrived, Krogan told Eirik to come with him to the Workman's District. As they progressed, Krogan and Eirik discussed the coming Winter and how Eirik may best utilize his time. It wasn't long before the two of them came to a small smithy already well stocked not only with the items Eirik would need to ply his trade, but also a number of vardatches and daggers to be repaired. As Eirik explored, he found that there was also a small one-man apartment attached to the back of it.

Thursday, November 23, 2017

A Lonely Hope -- Scene 7

Scarlet Vampire

A Lonely Hope

Scene 7

In the last post, Hanson finally got some much-needed information. The prompt for the next scene is:

Suffer betrayal by an Actor; face a fight as a you try to escape or avenge yourself.

Using Mythic, I determined that the Actor in question is Blaine, the well-connected Toreador who serves as Dona’s “patron.” Finally, I use Covetous Poet’s Adventure Creator to determine where the scene takes place.

It was a good thing it was a weeknight. From Thursday to Saturday, the Voodoo Lounge was one of the most popular places in the city, at least for the young, beautiful, and rich. And even Hanson didn’t meet the requirements. But fortunately, tonight was a “quiet” one, at least by their standards. Which meant the line didn’t extend too far out the door, and that once Hanson was in, she wasn’t crushed by the crowds.

Blaine was there, of course. Like she expected. She had done a check on the place a while ago, and, from a legal point of view, Blaine had nothing to do with it. Not a single piece of paper related to Voodoo had his name on it. But everyone, mortals and vampires, knew it was his. It wasn’t an unusual situation, and Hanson had investigated dozens of dealers and wannabe mobsters with similar arrangements. But she could never figure out why someone like Blaine would go through all the effort to not own something.

She strode into the VIP section, where Blaine was holding court with a handful of finance types and a bunch of girls who seemed barely out of braces. She parked herself in front of him, and he waved his friends away, saying he needed a minute. Hanson watched them walk away.

“Meagan!” He smiled his million dollar smile at her. “We were worried about you.”

Hanson avoided the smile and looked out at the girls. “I thought you guys carded here.”

“I thought you had stopped being a cop.”

“Same gig, different jurisdiction.”

MoMj: The Corruption Saga - Session 8d-Ygvard

Ygvard spends his first few days back in Alucard continuing to read the Tome of The Shadow. He still doesn't know if it's fact, fiction, or a combination of the two, but it makes some intriguing arguments that lead him to believe that Izrador could *possibly* be a god worthy of worship. Could it be that Izrador is truly fighting for the survival of this world and knows that the suffering he causes now is for the greater good of breaking the veil that separates Aryth from the heavens? Is he truly doing all he can to prevent the situation from getting even worse while genuinely sorrowful that it's gotten this bad? The Tome makes a convincing argument that the answer to both of these questions is, indeed, yes.

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

A Lonely Hope -- Scene 6

Scarlet Vampire

A Lonely Hope

Scene 6

In the last post, Hanson was suddenly ambushed. Her attacker was a man with burning tattoos, whose flames could have ended her. She triumphed, but is still left with more questions than answers. Her best lead at this point is the tattoos themselves—they are certainly unusual, and may even be unique. The prompt for the next scene is:

Convince an Actor ally of the foe to betray them. On a failure, face a Fight.

As of now, Hanson doesn’t know who is behind the events that have been plaguing Dona and her the past few nights. I decided that whomever she goes to for information next will be the ally, and that, no matter what happens as a result of the scene, she will discover who the foe is. Which raises the immediate question of “to whom does Hanson go regarding the tattoos?”  There’s no defined NPC in the game yet who would be the logical source, so I instead turn to +Zach Best's Universal NPC Emulator.

Friday, November 17, 2017

MoMj: The Corruption Saga - Session 8b-Deirik

Deirik returned to Alucard and continued to be consumed with finding the opportunity to kill Torvald the Betrayer. It was all he could ever think about, his sole focus, his reason for being. Lord Krogan knew this and, not long after their return, called Deirik in to the temple to have a discussion.

When Deirik arrived, Krogan met him in the sanctuary. Moments later, a beautiful Dornish woman, a bit shorter than most and with dark, black hair stepped out of the shadows to greet him. Deirik barely noticed some platinum blonde roots in her hair, which made him believe she was mostly Dornish, though her height suggested some Sarcosan blood in her heritage at some point. Krogan introduced her as Lyra, and informed Deirik that Lyra has been hired to train him in the ways of the Nephilim (**a hybrid class between the D&D 3.5 Assassin and the Midnight 2E Avenging Knife**).

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

MoMj: The Corruption Saga - Session 8a-Boldulf

Before Deirik, Eirik, Ygvard, and Boldulf leave Halderton, Deirik and Eirik both hire Merrick, the town's master leatherworker, to create a suit of masterwork studded leather and to refine his dire wolverine fur into a proper cloak respectively.

Then, the men return to Alucard with a few weeks of time available to them before they must hole up for the heavy Northern Winter. Each of them decides to spend it in their own way...

GM Note: At this point, each player was given a solo session to lead into a Prestige Class they'd expressed interest in, or give some story behind any skills they planned to increase once they leveled, etc. Beyond that, I also wanted to give the players the chance to purely play their character without the others around to dive into them a bit deeper and come to a better understanding of who they are, what their limits are, and how they operate. It's easier if I tell the stories individually. One thing I will do though is italicize clues on how the stories intertwine to help you keep these sessions aligned with each other.

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Metal Angel/SGAM thoughts

The story of Metal Angel has come to an end. I had fun playing that game--it was nice to try out a different genre and to play with some new tools. But, when all is said and done, I don't feel very satisfied with how it all turned out.  There were actually a number of different elements in this game, and I want to approach them each on their own terms. In no particular order:

Monday, November 13, 2017

MoMj: The Corruption Saga - Session 7

Once Deirik, Eirik, Ygvard, and Boldulf are comfortably out of Bergen with the unconscious Lord Voldash, they stop to discuss their next steps. Ygvard points out that Voldash knows one of them is a magic-user and may use that information against them to Lord Krogan when they turn him in. He's also fairly certain that Voldash can surmise who it is, seeing as he was the only one who did not dive headlong into melee combat. So the conversation then steers towards that presumption: "Do we kill Voldash, against Krogan's wishes, and say we had no choice to protect our secret? Do we hand Voldash over and plan our immediate escape? Do we wait to see if Voldash reveals us and, if so, fight our way out? or do we preempt Voldash by telling Krogan ourselves?"

They all progress to the North, away from Bergen and back toward Halderton, while they continue to debate these questions. Ygvard is especially concerned since he's the source of magic, and feels fairly confident that Krogan will kill him when he founds out. To take his mind off his concerns, and also to satisfy his own curiosity, Ygvard begins secretly reading the book he took from Voldash's temple santuary. He only does so when they have camped for the night, and even then, it's off on his own away from the others.

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Metal Angel #5

Solo Gaming Appreciation Month
Metal Angel #5

With Cole’s escape, the scene is over, and I move onto the next prompt. The Hangman
The reversal of a situation brings powerlessness, doubt, reunification, brings stillness and reflection. The head the rational mind - no longer controls so that a new and greater sense of life can emerge. Old pattern of behavior will die and with willingness and a full acceptance of the suffering that might be required implies an acceptance of waiting in darkness. This situation opens ourselves to life and life can hurt us, we feel terrible vulnerable. But this price of giving up our defenses and making the journey into loneliness seems to be necessary for any real sense of what supports us - the true faith can only be gained through risking ourselves in life.
Cole came close to the purplish construct, a mass of undulating alien technology. It seemed almost alive, pulsating and writing, looking like a squid trapped in an old bronze train engine.  He ducked behind some old crates and watched the robbers at work.

They were securing it into a mess of concrete and steel, like a bank vault, or a bomb shelter. Most were hard at work, being focused and careful despite their obvious rush.

“You sure this will work?” One asked. An older one, the one who Cole recognized as the leader.

“Sure? Heck no! We really don’t know HOW this thing works. What we DO know is that we’re part of it. That if anything happens to it, well, it happens to us. And we also know that it doesn’t follow anything like physics that we can understand. So, yeah, sealing it up should keep it safe, and keep us safe.”

“But don’t we need the energy?” Dominic asked.

“Hell, your girlfriend was never near it after the heist, and look at how she turned out.” A glare from Dominic brought him quiet, as he realized what he had just said. “You know what I mean, don’t be like that. The point is, we don’t need to be near it.  It just has to still work.”

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Metal Angel #4

Solo Gaming Appreciation Month

Metal Angel #4

Following from the last scene, Metal Angel flies off to confront the robbers.

Metal Angel soared over the city, following the old man’s directions. The outskirts of the city was full of dozens of seemingly empty warehouses, and it was impossible to determine which was the robbers hideout.

Suddenly, a loud burst of purplish energy shot out of one of them, followed by loud womp of an electrical discharge! Metal Angel dove to the building, praying he was still in time.

Metal Angel is flying around, so any attempt to avoid being noticed is a matter of luck.

Do the robbers notice Metal Angel as he approaches the building? 78, Yes
Do they wish to fight? 99 Yes and Unexpectedly…09 Upstaged.

Upstaged means that an NPC makes a big move, and any motivations or goals they have “go into overdrive.” Since the only NPC with motivation is Dominic, and he desires revenge on Metal Angel, he comes roaring out for a fight.

Suddenly, faster than Metal Angel could track, a man came barreling out of the warehouse, slamming into him. Metal Angel was knocked off balance, and began to spiral uncontrollably. As he flew by, Metal Angel recognized him as Dominic. With almost unimaginable speed, he turned and slammed into Metal Angel again, driving him down into the warehouse.

As soon as he landed, he was assaulted by a number of ions beams. His sturdy metal body protected him from the worst of the barrage, but he was disoriented. Just as he was about to fly up and out to safely, a burst of light blinded him forcing him off course, smashing into the roof of the warehouse.

He came to, just in time for another barrage, and then the sensation of a massive metal fist crashing into him. Looking up he saw another, just like him, one of metal body and wings. The man was grinning at him. Between his fight with Scarlet Wing and the punishment he had taken previously, Metal Angel knew a fight against one like himself would be near impossible. Then, came the darkness. Everything around him was pulled into lightless obscurity, and the two titans pounded at each other, barely able to see where their foe was. But others could see, and the pin pricks of energy attacks refused to let up. Metal Angel gave his heroic best, but to no avail. He soon fell into the darkness of unconsciousness.

MoMj: The Corruption Saga - Session 6

Deirik, Eirik, Ygvard, and Boldulf encounter no trouble on their way to Bergen, the town in which Lord Voldash's temple is located. Knowing that they're trying to take Lord Voldash alive, Eirik takes the time during this trip to craft saps for himself and Deirik. They finally reach the outskirts of Bergen after several days of travel, and see the large number of farms that surround the town itself. They note there is only one visible gate through the large palisade that surrounds it, and it appears to be well-manned by both Dornish mercenaries as well as orcs.

Eirik and Boldulf decide to scout the rest of the surrounding area, and determine if there are any more subtle entrances to the town, leaving Deirik and Ygvard to bide their time. Deirik and Ygvard decide to approach one of the nearby farms and see if they might talk their way into an escort into town. The find a man out in his fields and make their way to him. As they do so, the farmer looks their way and gives them a confused look. Once there, Deirik speaks with the farmer, trying to convince him that they are traveling merchants that are trying to enter Bergen but don't have the papers to officially do so. The farmer tells Deirik that he should simply go through the gates, get an escort to Lord Voldash, and announce himself there. Deirik offhandedly mentions a desire to not engage with the temple of Izrador, and the farmer responds with a look of shock, followed by one of scorn. Deirik and Ygvard share a look as they realize this farmer is far more devout than they expected, or wanted. Deirik senses that this farmer may be looking to report this conversation.

Monday, November 6, 2017

Metal Angel #3

Solo Gaming Appreciation Month
Metal Angel #3

After the last session, Metal Angel has brought the wounded Scarlet Wing home, and is surprised by a mysterious voice. Who is the voice and what do they want? To find out, I turn to the prompt. The next one is The Emperor.


Father who embodies our spiritual ideals, our ethical codes, a god of inspiration and sudden creative vision, a revelation of the truth. Self-sufficiency, authority and ambition which drives us to achieve and the discipline and foresight necessary to accomplish our goals. The father within us also fosters self-respect, because it is this part of us which can take a standpoint from which to meet life's challenges. Responsibility as power, his strength can create and build. Pioneer, adventurer, urge for action, self-confidence and recognition, executive power, success, optimism, fulfillment of wishes.
A good number of previous prompts from Loom of Fate (CRGE) indicated a plot thread was coming to a close. I decide that in this scene Metal Angel will start getting those answers, and then moving forward. I decide, based solely on the description of the Emperor, that the mysterious voice is an old, semi-retired hero who had been working with Scarlet Wing.

Sunday, November 5, 2017

Metal Angel #2

 Solo Gaming Appreciation Month
Metal Angel #2

Following the last scene, Metal Angel is flying across Eagle Harbor. A new hero, Scarlett Wing, is taking her first flight, and one of the men who almost killed him is watching her. And he’s dressed as a cop!
For this scene, the prompt is The Empress.

A matriarchal goddess, a beautiful earthy woman - experience of being part of nature and rooted in natural life, the appreciation of the senses and the simple pleasures of daily existence. Without this Great Mother within us, we can bring nothing to fruition, here is patience and gentleness to wait until the time is ripe for action. She governs the orderly rules of the seasons and the laws of the cosmic, she gives birth of new life, is initiative and has an eye for details. She is a caring and protecting wife and virgin, accepting the responsibility of own feelings, she has strength which nourishes and sustains. There is sweetness, passionate love and a playful erotic invitation to dance.


The obvious connection is between the Empress and Scarlet Wing—she’s a woman and as a flame-based hero, she’s tied to “being part of nature.” But, let’s ask some questions of The Loom of Fate and see what we can come up.

Is the robber/cop still present when Metal Angel arrives? 24 No.

Does Scarlet Wing approach Metal Angel? 03 No, and Unexpectedly…02 Tying off.

Tying off implies that a major plot thread is either resolved or moves forward substantially. Since the main thread is Metal Angel’s search for answers about his origin, it has to be part of that. I assume that Scarlet Wing is involved with the robber, certain that he is actually a police officer. I reinterpret the first question to mean that the robber flees as Metal Angel approaches, and that Scarlet Wing will intervenes to protect him. She has no interest in Metal Angel, and will flee once she is certain her beloved is safe.

MoMj: The Corruption Saga - Session 5

After winning the battle, Deirik, Eirik, Ygvard, and Boldulf take stock of themselves, their army, and their winnings. Ygvard realizes that he used magic in the presence of a Legate, Voldash, but hopes in the chaos of the battle that Voldash was not able to pinpoint the source. Eirik eyes the well-made chain shirt left behind by Voldash and decides its best use is for him to wear it. The men decide to return to Halderton to give them the news before returning back to Alucard with the hobgoblins.

When the men arrive back in Halderton, they get a mixed reception. Tianna and her friends consider them heroes, but the elders believe they've doomed the town to an even worse fate than they were about to experience. Deirik honestly doesn't care at this point whether it's a stay of execution or if the town was saved, as his outlook on life since dealing with his family's (especially his grandmother's) death has been bleak, dismissive toward others, and solely focused on revenge on Torvald the Betrayer. So the men decide that they should simply move on and deliver the hobgoblins to Lord Krogan.

Thursday, November 2, 2017

Metal Angel 1

All right, the prep work is all done, now it's time to get to the game!

As part of SGAM, I've been provided with a number of prompts from the Lone Wolf Community, which take the form of Tarot Cards. A number of people use a Tarot deck or other images (such as Story Cubes) to help inform their solo gameplay experience, but I never have. So, this will be a new experience for me. I have to make a bit of a confession, though. Despite my interests, I really have no particular knowledge of Tarot beyond the most absolute basics. Given that, I'm going to be relying on the information provided by +Todd Zircher's Tangent Zero site, which is the source of these prompts. If the information provided is wrong, take it up with him. Any failure of interpretation, though, falls squarely on my shoulders.


The first image is The Fool. Here's the info for this card:
The roots of one's abilities, talents and potential. Decision to start fresh, open to new possibilities within, not explored yet. Sudden impulse which comes 'out of the blue'. Like a young animal driven into life by instinct, not yet conscious or possessed of understanding. The hero of our journey represents the irrational impulse toward change and toward opening life's horizon into the unknown. These irrational impulses can sometimes be destructive and sometimes creative and often they are both together. Willingness to risk, courage to stand by oneself, independence, freedom, following one's own feeling, idealism and inspiration.

SGAM Character Creation

As I discussed in my last post, for SGAM this year I wanted to do something more upbeat and hopeful than some of my other Actual Plays, and I've decided to go with a superhero game. Specifically, Palladium's Heroes Unlimited game. One of the great features of Palladium's games for a Solo player is how well them embrace randomness and uncertainty, which is something I plan to exploit for this game.

But, before I begin, there are three rules I want to put into place:
  1. The character is going to be GOOD. He's going to be a Captain America, Spider-man, or Superman (Reeves) style character, not a grim dark avenger like Punisher, Venom, or Superman (Cavil). 
  2. He's going to have superpowers. Heroes Unlimited includes rules for a variety of heroic types, but I don't want to play a gunslinger "hardware" character or a battle-suited hero or the like. 
  3. Combat is going to be "comic booky" non-lethal. Even if a character is using swords or guns, people are only "beaten to unconscious" and not killed.
So, let's begin!

MoMj: The Corruption Saga - Session 4

Lord Voldash and his orcish army arrive at the edge of the forest and camp exactly where the Men of Mjarn predicted. They wait until the orcs remove their armor and go to sleep, leaving only the unlucky few to strain against the daylight to perform their watch duties. Once enough time has passed such that those orcs that are sleeping will surely be groggy, the assault begins!

The orcs react slowly to the rain of arrows pouring down on them as they shake the sleep from their minds. Lord Voldash's tent is easily visible as the most prominent, but he makes no appearance yet. With no time to put on their armor, the orcs, under the command of the three oruks, grab their vardatches and charge!

The hobgoblins, bolstered by the Men of Mjarn, continue to fire their arrows on the orcs, making the most of their ranged advantage. The orcs numbers are constantly being whittled down and they have yet to even reach the forest's edge!

Random Scene Challenges for Vampire

I recently got a copy of the 5th Edition of Vampire: The Masquerade. One of its elements that stood out to me was a narrative approach to ...