Monday, December 18, 2017

MoMj: The Corruption Saga - Session 13

For Deirik, Eirik, Ygvard, and Boldulf, the Summer passes relatively uneventfully. They work as individuals or as a group on their skills and on generating a distribution network for the Fugue, as that seems to be the best road towards amassing greater wealth for them.

In Autumn, come harvest time, Lord Krogan calls the Men into his temple. Usually this means he has a mission for them, and this time is no different. Krogan informs them that there's a town named Rulla within his territory, but fairly close to the border he shares with Torvald the Betrayer, that is due for its harvest tithe to him. Not only has he not received that tithe or any messengers from that town, but the messengers he has sent there himself have not returned. At this point, he's concerned that there's something wrong with Rulla, or at the very least on the road between Rulla and Alucard, and wishes the Men of Mjarn to investigate.

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

MoMj: The Corruption Saga - Session 12

Deirik, Eirik, Ygvard, and Boldulf finally return to Alucard after raiding the East coast of the Sea of Pelluria with loot and casks of Fugue in hand. They bring the loot to Lord Krogan who picks and chooses the items that he wants as his share, and leaves a good amount for the Men of Mjarn and their crew. Krogan also gives his blessing to trading the Fugue in his territory as long as he gets a cut of that as well.

Eirik realizes that to really get the gears turning on the Fugue trade, it's a lot of legwork. He also realizes that there are 12 other crewmen expecting their cut of the loot and 12 casks of Fugue to be distributed. Putting the two together, Eirik and Deirik convince the crew that they can take a cut of the items that they brought back *or* they can each take their own cask of Fugue and earn much more as they establish a customer base and a distribution network of their own. Each of the crew, not afraid of a little extra work, takes a cask and heads off to seek their fortune.

Friday, December 8, 2017

MoMj: The Corruption Saga - Session 11

With their boat beached after escaping The Maw of the Pelluria, Eirik takes some time and evaluates the repairs necessary to ensure the rest of their journey doesn't still end at the bottom of the sea. With the damage done, he estimates it will take him around 3 days to repair it. Eirik sets himself to the task while Deirik, Ygvard, and Boldulf help establish a temporary camp with the rest of the crew.

Monday, December 4, 2017

MoMj: The Corruption Saga - Session 10

As the harsh Northern Winter abates, Eirik finds that Kiro, the hobgoblin sergeant he's spoken to the most and accompanied him on his recent outing to take down the bandits, has expressed desire to accompany him on his adventures and be his right hand man. Deirik has learned some new skills as a brand new Nephilim (reminder: 3.5 Assassin & Avenging Knife hybrid). Ygvard is a brand new Legate, though his path is not one of true faith and piety in the Shadow but that of a path to power. Boldulf feels more in touch with the wolf inside of him, but feels like he may have lost some humanity in the process.

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!

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Solo Gaming Appreciation Month

I've recently learned that November is "Solo Gaming Appreciation Month" (SGAM)--a time when a number of us Solo gamers work together to share stories that are linked in someway. 2017 is a bit of a special year, as we all come together to commemorate and celebrate the life of +Zach Best, who was not only a wonderful member of our community, but an outstanding creator as well. His work through Conjecture Games has been a major factor in many of our journey's.

While many Solo gamers will be aiming to create new games or tools to use, I will be focused on something a bit more humble, an Actual Play. I was already working on one, but I want to put that on hiatus and focus on the works that Zach had created.

The first is CRGE, the Conjectural Roleplaying GM Emulator.  This is Zach's take on the GM Oracle, and a bit of story framework. It is incredibly well regarded within the scene, considered by many to be superior to my beloved Mythic. I picked it up due to the comments of many, and, while I have owned this for a while now,  I have not actually attempted to play a game with it. An oversight I intend to correct with this play through.

The second is UNE, the Universal NPC Emulator. Unlike CRGE, I have had the pleasure of using UNE extensively. It's probably the simplest tool I've found for creating interesting and nuanced NPCs. Heck, it's so incredible that I've even used it create Player Characters, something I intend to do again with this play through. Whether you are engaged in Solo gaming or not, the UNE should be in every GM's toolkit. It's just that damn good.

Finally, there is BOLD, Universal PC Stories and Deeds Generator. Another of Zach's works that I have admired, but never really had a chance to engage with. Where as CRGE is a tool to play the game, and UNE is one to add depth to the game, BOLD is intended as a downtime resource. What happened to your character before play began? What happened to them when they off on their own that one night? Or, why was the character not present at the last session? BOLD is a wonderful tool to create wonderful anecdotes and clever stories

All of the above are "pay what you want" and I strongly recommend any gamer checking them out. In addition, the Zach's Book collection of material is available to continue providing support for his family.

MoMj: The Corruption Saga - Session 3

Still in Halderton, trying to understand what caused the rumors of a resistance, Deirik and Ygvard learn of a young woman named Tianna who may have some of the information they seek. They make their way out to Tianna's family farmstead and end up dealing with Tianna's overly protective mother who all but forces them to leave her land. However, Tianna is intrigued and meets the two at a fence further out in their fields. She, being 18 years old, is impetuous and has like-minded friends, so she explains that when the orcs were hurting her mother some weeks ago, Tianna decided enough was enough. Knowing that she couldn't attack just the one orc, she gathered a large group of the young adults of Halderton and ambushed all the orcs in town.

Deirik and Ygvard realize that this is no resistance, only kids who thought they were doing the right thing and have only made matters worse. This explains the aggressive anti-rebellion attitude of Seamus, the town elder; he doesn't want the kids of the town to pay the price. However, the Men of Mjarn have their orders, they must defeat Voldash's forces and embarrass him whether the town wants them to or not.

A Lonely Hope--Scene 5

Scarlet Vampire

A Lonely Hope

Scene 5

Hanson had run into another deadend trying to get help from Samuel, and has left the park frustrated and annoyed. Rolling for the next scene, I got the following prompt:

Be waylaid by a hostile Actor with a Clue. Face a Fight instead of a check.

Normally, I would use various tools to randomly determine this Actor, but this time I don’t. Almost immediately, an image came to my head of a big, tough guy, covered in burning tattoos, consumed by an unquenchable fire.  I decide his combat prowess is typical for the Story (Physical Threat 2, or 7), and that he is going to try and ambush Hanson. But, to keep things interesting, I decide that his tattoos mean that his attacks are going to be aggravated. Which means that Hanson both will not be able to soak the damage for this combat, but also that they will be particularly hard to heal. It also means that she could face final death in this fight.

Is he able to ambush her?

Rather than relying on an opposed system, I set the difficulty for Hanson to detect the ambush to 8, based on the Story’s Mental Threat.  She’ll need to roll Perception + Streetwise to figure it out.

Perception+Streetwise [4] 5,10,7,3 and she gets 1 success. Just enough to not be defenseless.

Hanson walked along the sidewalk on the edge of the park, trying to figure out where she could go next. What could possibly be going on that would bother Samuel so? And if they could scare him, why were they going through cutouts to actually call the police? Why involve the police at all?

She stopped. Something was wrong. This street, at this time of night, should have been busier. At least a few cars and cabs should be driving by. Junkies should be making their way to and from the park for their latest score. Music should be blaring from somewhere. But instead it was quiet, and empty. She heard something behind her, a loose bit of gravel being knocked along the sidewalk and turned just in time to see a blur of muscles and burning tattoos come rushing at her.

Monday, October 30, 2017

A Lonely Hope -- Scene 4

Scarlet Vampire

A Lonely Hope

Scene 4
At the end of the last Scene, Hanson was dumped into the sewers, after being beaten to near death by Cora. She fed as best she could from the rats that crawled around her, barely sustaining herself. At dusk, she crawled out and fed as best she could. Each victim gave her more strength and helped her to heal. Finally, she made her way back to her apartment, grabbed a quick shower and a change of clothes. Gina was of course worried for her, and Gypsy has left multiple messages. Hanson placated Gina, and ignored the phone calls. She grabs a good-sized satchel to complete her ensemble, and disconnects the sawed-off shotgun she keeps under desk and stashes it in the purse. She’s not sure when, or if, she’ll run into Cora again, but she’s going to be ready.

As Hanson took a “Rest” for the last Scene, allowing her to heal all her wounds, and replenish her Blood Pool and all spent Willpower points. The still-unknown Opponent, however, gained a Victory Point. They currently have 2, while Hanson has only 1. She needs more information, and her goal for the next scene is:
Trick an Actor into revealing a Clue. Roll a die; on an odd result, you face a Fight whether or not you succeed on the check.
For the Actor, I relied on a “Human Oracle” through the LoneWolf Group and got the following:
A Malkavian who is totally disconnected with reality, but is immensely potent in Auspex, although it's largely uncontrolled. He acts out a mishmash of all of the constant input he receives from thousands of minds he uncontrollably reads.
She needs to convince the mad man to help. This is going to be tricky. The Social Threat for this Story is 5, which means a base difficulty of 10(!) for Social rolls. Oh, I also didn’t know WHERE she would be meeting this scene, so I rolled on Covetous Poet’s Horror Location chart and got Memorial.

MoMj: The Corruption Saga - Session 2

Deirik, Eirik, Ygvard, and Boldulf all grab some well-deserved rest in the safety of the ogre's large tent. When they awake, they recall they're on a relatively short timeline. Voldash and his army should be arriving at Halderton in less than two months, and they still need to get there, connect with the rebellion, and empower them to win the impending fight!

The Men of Mjarn take some time to discuss Krogan's orders to them. He told them that he wanted to recruit these hobgoblins to *his* forces, not that they were to be used against Voldash. Do they take even more time and take the hobgoblins to him now? Or do they press forward with the hobgoblins to Halderton? After much consideration, they choose the latter plan and give the command for the hobgoblins to pack camp and prepare to march.

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

MoMj: The Corruption Saga - Session 1

Deirik, Eirik, Ygvard, and Boldulf all have a meeting with Lord Krogan, for whom they’ve been working for a short time. He informs them of their first “big” assignment. They are to go to the town of Halderton, to the East, where there are rumors of an active resistance underway. This town is in the territory of another legate, Lord Voldash, who shares a border with Krogan. The latest word is that Voldash is headed to Highwall, the Shadow Capital, to requisition more troops to stomp this rebellion and best estimates put him returning in approximately 2 months. Krogan wants the Men of Mjarn to ensure the rebellion wins and Voldash is embarrassed.

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

A Lonely Hope -- Scenes 2 & 3

Scarlet Vampire

A Lonely Hope

Scene 2
Hanson stopped in front of the Quick Stop Shop Convenience store. It was a rundown store located in a half-empty shopping strip on the edge of town. The place seemed dead—based on the signs in the window, it looked like most of their clients came for the calling cards, lotto tickets, and rolling papers. But a few shops down, past the closed shoe store and Chinese restaurant, was the only sign of life, a dive bar. It didn’t even have a name, just a neon green shamrock in the window. Clearly, they didn’t care to advertise.

That’s where he got hired, she thought. A guy out for a drink, looking for anything. Gets paid, grabs some smokes, and heads out to the “quick and easy” job.

She parked her grey Camry in the parking lot towards the back, making sure it was a decent distance from any other cars and angled to get out quickly. As she stepped out, she noticed her side. The bullet hole had healed, but her shirt was still torn and was stained with blood. Most of it hers, but not all of it. She grabbed her leather jacket out of the back seat and put it on, zipping it up to cover both the marks of her fight with Jake and her weapons, then headed in.

Following her lead (from Scene 1), Hanson is prepared form some sort of fight. As such, she has spent 2 of her Blood Points to heal, bringing her down to 6 currently. In order to further ready herself,  she also goes ahead and spends 3 more Blood Points to increase each of her Physical Attributes (Strength, Dexterity, and Stamina) by 1 each.

As soon as she entered, most of the eyes turned to her. They weren’t taking in her beauty. Though she had been dead for two years now, Hanson still carried herself like a cop, and it was clear that the regulars knew a cop’s walk, and they were seeing it now.  She calmly walked through the smoke and the crowd to the bar, where space was quickly made for her. The bartender approached, slowly. He was busy and in no mood to answer questions. But he also wanted the cop out of here as quickly as possible.

“What’ch’a need?” He asked, glumly.
“Lookin’ for a friend of mine. Jake Cawley. You know him? Told me I could meet him and some of his friends here.”
“Sorry, don’t know anyone named that. Sure you got the right place?”
Hanson leaned in, pulling the stack of bills out and placing them, one twenty at a time, on the bar. “Yeah, pretty sure this is the place. You sure you haven’t seen him tonight?”
She glanced up, expecting to see him eyeballing the cash, wrestling with indecision. But instead he gaze was pointed at her. No, behind her. She was about to glance around when she heard the voice say, “You sure you’re looking for Cawley?”

Monday, October 23, 2017

A Lonely Hope Scene 1

Scarlet Vampire

A Lonely Hope

Following the events of the Prologue, Hanson is attempting to shadow the stranger. To accomplish this, I use the mechanics from Vampire.

Shadowing someone requires two separate rolls. The first is to Track the target, and the second is to remain Unseen. Tracking involves a Perception+Investigation (Hanson has 6 dice for this roll) against a difficulty of 5 (the streets are practically empty around here). Remaining unseen is a Dexterity+Stealth (also 6 dice) against a difficulty of 8. The same empty streets make remaining unnoticed very difficult.
Shadowing: Rolling 6 dice, Hanson gets 6,2,4,1,5,7, she gets three successes against a difficulty of 5. But, the 1 costs her a success, leaving her with just two. Still more than enough to keep the target in site.
Unseen: Rolling 6 dice, Hanson gets 1,10,1,7,1,3. She gets one success against a difficulty of 8. But, the three 1’s means that she not only fails this roll, but actually botches.

Normally, it would be up to the Storyteller (or GM Emulator) for what happens next, but the Scarlet Rules clearly state that on a failure, she must face a fight.

A Lonely Hope -- Prologue

Scarlet Vampire
A Lonely Hope

With all the prep work out of the way (here), I'm ready to start playing. I've gone ahead and created a brief chart to keep track of all the various narrative elements for the game, and I'll be updating it after each scene. And with that, we're ready to start. 

Victory Points
Investigation & Action Scene Count

Scene Number


Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Session "0" for Scarlet Vampire

The tools are all in place. Now it is time to begin the game.

Base Game: Vampire: The Masquerade (1st Edition) 
Not familiar with Vampire? Check out the Primer
Story Structure: Scarlet Vampire
Oracle: Mythic
Other Tools: Universal NPC Emulator, Covetous Poet's Adventure Creator, and Everyone, Everywhere

Story Setup
Theme: 3 Conspiracy. Powerful forces are aligning together for nefarious ends. Well, more nefarious than is typical for vampires.

Threat: Physical 2, Social 5, Mental 3.

Narrative Summary:
A Target aspires to advance their business or status but an Antagonist opposes them Draw the Target and choose how they are trying to advance themselves. Either draw the Antagonist immediately or spend an Investigation scene discovering who is causing the obstacles. Scenes revolve either around trying to help the Target’s goal or trying to prevent Antagonist sabotage.

The Corruption Saga: Prologue

At the end of the Trader (Traitor) Saga, Deirik and Eirik had met their end at the hands of a pack of goblin worg-riders. However, after some time had passed, both the players (and the GM, honestly) expressed desire to play that game again along with a couple other friends who were interested in joining the adventure. So… we decided to apply the concept of a Fate Worse Than Death.

So, rather than die, Deirik and Eirik faced a turn of events so dreadful that they may have been better off staying dead:

Deirik and Eirik were, instead, captured by the goblin worg-riders and taken to the nearby city of Steel Hill. This city is the forge of the Shadow, where most of the vardatches (orcish swords) and plate are made to arm and armor Izrador’s legions. To supply this never-ending effort, massive slave camps are sent into the iron mines of the nearby mountains. Deirik and Eirik were enslaved and put to work for the next 4 years.

During this time in the camp, Deirik and Eirik met up with their kin, Ygvard and Boldulf. Both of whom explained that Torvald the Younger had swept through their homelands with a Shadow army and killed many of their relatives, and enslaved others. If any of them ever make it home, it won’t be the same.

Their moment arose when the snow elves attacked the slavers of Steel Hill to free one of their own, which provided the opportunity the four Men of Mjarn needed to make their own escape and trek South along the Be’neeya river, desparately trying to get home to the family they’d worked so hard, and sacrificed so much, to keep safe ever since they took over for their father.

When they arrived at the Cave of Mjarn, Ygvard and Boldulf waited outside out of respect while Deirik and Eirik went in. There they found the scorched skeletons of their immediate family, all burnt beyond recognition. Deirik and Eirik slowly took in the macabre scene until they heard something further back in the caves. Perhaps someone made it through?! The noise was in the direction of their beloved grandmother’s chamber.

They race back there to discover the body of their grandmother tied to her chair. Torvald the Younger, whom they now call Torvald the Betrayer, had tied their Grandma Rhiann to her chair and allowed her to not only die, but return as Fell. Her undead body was thrashing and flailing to get and eat the living flesh she now had before her.

This scene would burn into the memories of both Deirik and Eirik, as they then had to destroy her body themselves to release whatever was left of her in there.

They then returned to Ygvard and Boldulf outside the cave and decided the two of them, at least, needed to take on new names as they are not only fugitives of Steel Hill, but hated by the Legate who is now in power in their homeland: Torvald the Betrayer. Deirik adopted the name “Heming,” and Eirik became “Stigr.” All four then went to the only person they know is not only still alive, but still has the power and capacity to take them in. Their old “friend” and Legate of Alucard, Lord Krogan.

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

A Fate Worse Than Death

You've spent the past few months prepping for an exciting new game. You've purchased various supplements and adventures. You've carefully crafted NPC's and settings, and have done your best to make an exciting and engaging game. What do you do when everything falls apart? When the dice turn against the players? Or one simple plan turns out to be a disaster? When the entire party faces extinction at the hands of a "Total Party Kill?"

Monday, October 16, 2017

Creating a Random Vampire

Now that we have the basics for creating a random vampire in place, let's see what we can come up with.

Oh, quick note, I did some light touch ups on the random vampire post--cleaned up the tables, and added an "age of death" option.

Step 1 Background
Gender 8 Female
Age of Death 6 Early to Mid Thirties
Cultural Background 8 Natural Born American
Ethnic Background 1 Caucasian/White

Step 2 Concept
Nature 21 Traditionalist
Demeanor 7 Conformist
Concept 6 Investigator
Clan 1 Brujah

Midnight: The Men of Mjarn - Trader (Traitor) Saga

The Trader (Traitor) Saga

The game begins with Deirik and Eirik’s family’s trading stop in the city of White Cliff. They have already dropped off the goods they are giving and are headed to the location where the goods they are receiving are hidden.

Deirik and Eirik, and the rest of their father’s crew go to the barn with their goods to retrieve, only to find the crates and barrels are empty and they’re being approached by an orcish force. During the ensuing battle, several of the men die, including their father, Yakob. While their Uncle, Torvald the Elder, offers to take the lead, Deirik is the rightful leader according to the rules of succession and takes on the mantle of captain. With no goods to retrieve, and no knowledge of the people Yakob worked with or deals in place, the brothers take it one step at a time and go to the city of White Cliff to talk to their cousin, Torvald the Younger, whom they find was abducted by Legate Voldash too long ago for them to follow. Rhald, aka “Rowdy” and his wife, Sorna, their trade points of contact in White Cliff, reach out to tell them what they know of Torvald, but can’t help them there. Rowdy can help them get more boro meat and skins, to keep the trade route going, by telling them about some nearby Shadow controlled farms from whom they can steal. The brothers successfully take out the orcish guards, steal some boros, and return home with the goods and news of what happened.

New Year, New Character Day 22: Pendragon

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