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 badger 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!

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 ...