Archive for August, 2011

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L5R JYTB Campaign Report 25 – Bad Omens in Blood

16 August, 2011

I should have had this up long, long ago but it got lost among other things (like GMing M&M).  Since we are back to this campaign on Thursday, figured I had better get it up for everyone’s reference.

JYTB Campaign Report 25
Something Bad is Happening

Our heroes, having cut down the core of the local blood cult, feel secure in their position.  Everything seems to be coming together in -at last- which is why the report of a mysterious murder is quite troubling.  Two villagers arrive at the magistrates’ compound to report that two of their friends is dead and drained of blood.

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Review – Minions: Flux Horrors (for M&M)

16 August, 2011

While designed for a particular game world, the flux horrors can easily be slid into any ongoing campaign using M&M (which is what I intend to do with them).  They are a useful set of creatures if you wish to have creatures from beyond to throw at your players and the art for the monsters are very evocative.

Minions of Splintered Serenity: Flux Horrors is a 22-page PDF (19 pages if you remove the cover, OGL page and ad) for the Mutants & Mastermind RPG (3rd ed) written by Stephen Coburn and Nathan Ellsworth and published by Ignitus Innovation.  This is part of their supplements for the Untold (Superpowered by M&M) line.

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Tuesday Magic Item – Tyrant’s War Banner

16 August, 2011

The personal guard of Hevron of the Bloody-Handed rallied around their leader, their shields and weapons splattered with the blood of the brave rebels would would tear down the tyrant.  Most of his army had already fled or defected to rebels after the church and the nobility at least came out against him rallying popular support.  The tyrant’s only chance was to make it to port and find a ship to take him away.  But the rebels wished to see him hanged, or worse.

The final assault came with waves of arrows, bolts and throwing weapons disrupting the ranks of the guards followed by a charge led by knights and holy warriors.  At last, it was only Hevron and his bannerman among a sea of sea but they did not sell their lives cheaply and the option to take him alive was never presented.  A cheer went up as his banner was forced to the ground and stained, at last, with the tyrant’s blood.

Tyrant’s War Banner

These banners are use to signal and rally soldiers loyal to a tyrant, they range from the simple and functional to the ornate and richly decorated but the design exemplifies the tyrant’s philosophy in some way.  However, a universal fact is that the banner pole is solidly built and capable of being used as a weapon.

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Shadowrun and Seattle Scream (Issue #30) prop

13 August, 2011

Today was another Shadowrun demo/episode at Tyche’s Games, skipping the game timeline forward about a month (to Sep, 2068) for Issue 30 of the Seattle Scream to provide a backdrop for the game to play out against.

The characters were hired to steal a trio of portable computers owned by Quantum Snowflake Systems at MATRIXCon.  I tried to keep the planning light and let them do Leverage-style flashbacks to firm up the plan in mid-play.  It worked quite well.  With the ork and troll of the team staging a massive geek-off fight, which escalated to actual blows, in the middle of the convention floor.   The troll ended up arrested for assault and destruction of property after he threw the ork into and then charged through the Quantum Snowflake booth (300 hours of community service and 2 years probation) and the dwarven tech got nailed for attempted theft (100 NuYen fine and his pistol was confiscated) but they succeeded.

They are slowly moving up, they have climbed up to a D+ rating in the Shadowrunning leagues.

Links to back issues of Seattle Scream from previous game can be found here: Issue 29 and Issue 28.

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Domestic Animals in the Sea of Stars

12 August, 2011

Like many things in the Sea of Stars, there are a huge variety of domesticated animals.  From the usual creatures of dogs and cats, goats and sheep, cows and horses to stranger things such as chimeric beasts and creatures blessed (or cursed) with distant dragon-blood.  There are islands were giant insects are used a work breasts and pack animals, others where riding birds and pack lizards dominate the landscape.  There are giant goats and miniature ponies, variations on variations as befits the theme of the Sea of Stars (“infinite variety in infinite combination”).

Nor can even normal seeming creatures be taken at face value, one group of venturers in my campaign caught a cow reading a book which it promptly hid, cleared her throat and said, “Moo”.  (Though this scene was inspired by James Branch Cabell’s writing.)

One of the more common of the domesticated (though still dangerous) animals are the dragon dogs, which are dogs with the dragon descendant template, though some of them have enhanced natural armor and others a breath weapon as well.  They make excellent guardians when they feel loyalty to those that they are guarding but they can be greedy and petulant.

This is, of course, part of this month’s RPG Blog Carnival: Animals in RPGs.

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Genre Resources I (Early Modern, Modern Horror, Science Fiction)

10 August, 2011

Various things I have found inspirational and useful, organized into broader themes.

Early modern, general:

Organizing information without computers, the Mundaneum of Paul Otlet.  It shows how difficult organizing masses of information before computerized storage systems.

LIFE’s pictorial of the Golden Age of Train Travel.

Why it is difficult being an adventuress in the Victorian period, the clothes are against you.

For modern(ish) horror:

Maundbury, an experiment in shared worlds fiction: an open-source, crowd sourced Gothic Horror setting for use in fiction and gaming.  A small New England town in 1968, filled with secrets and shadows.

Gun Street Girl, comic about the ‘gun’ (bodyguard/hitter) of a modern occult investigator and the problems they get into.  Excellent example for one or two player and a GM sort of game.

Science Fiction, Near Future

Vertical Farming, growing food -at high density- in cities.  Useful for cyberpunk adventures and on colony worlds.

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Tuesday Magic Item – Poet’s Book

9 August, 2011

The half-elf poet seemed nervous, flipping through a small book bound in blue cloth as he waited.  The jugglers seemed to please the Countess and her guests well enough but now it was the poet’s turn, he took one last look in the book and tucked it away.

He strode forward and bowed, beginning with a classic poem to warm up both his tongue and the crowd.  He soon moved onto an ode in honor of the Countess and her court.

The response was everything he had hoped for.

Poet’s Book

These small books contain advice and suggestions, forms and half completed epics.  A wealth of inspiration for any poet and containing much more such material than one would think would fit in such a small package.

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My Non-GenCon gaming experiences this Weekend

8 August, 2011

I was not able to make it to GenCon this year, but a group of my gaming friends got together from all over (from as far away as Orlando and North Carolina) for some gaming of our own.   Over the last four days, I have played: Thunderstone, Family Business, two RPGs in playtest, Unknown Armies (with muppets, er, poppets to avoid copyright issues and to see a brief clip of our brave GM playing a Beaker-esque cop), Shab-al-Hiri Roach, AGON and Old School Hack

The characters that have flittered across my mind over this time have been:

Abhal Tesh, spacefaring tech (playtest 1).  ‘Mitch’, drunken failure (Unknown Armies).  Indigo Ecstasy, master of disguise and trans-dimensional agent of the Ascendant Radial Path (playtest 2).   Assistance Professor Arlington Jackson-Smythe, demon-roach possessed drama professor.   Xanthos the Argive, Greek hero and money man.  Raven, now evil-mutated elfin archer.

While not as gaming intensive as GenCon, it was a blast to hang out and game with old friends.

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Steam-Powered 2 Anthology

4 August, 2011

Some of you may recall that I reviewed the Steam-Powered Lesbian Steampunk Anthology last year.  This year, there will be a second volume which I will not be review as I am one of the authors!   This is my first non-gaming related fiction publication so I am very proud of it.

Steam Powered 2The table of content for Steam-Powered 2 is:

Introduction: Kevin Steil (of Airship Ambassador)

Journey’s End: Elizabeth Porter Birdsall
Amphitrite: S.L. Knapp
In the Heart of Yellow Mountain: Jaymee Goh
Playing Chess in New Persepolis: Sean Holland
A Thousand Mill Lofts Gray: Jeannelle Ferreira
Dark Horse: A.M. Tuomala
The Return of Cherie: Nisi Shawl
One Last Interruption before We Begin: Stephanie Lai
Selin That Has Grown in the Desert: Alex Dally MacFarlane
Granada’s Library: Rebecca Fraimow
The Canary of Candletown: C.S.E. Cooney
Fruit Jar Drinkin’, Cheatin’ Heart Blues: Patty Templeton
Deal: Nichole Kornher-Stace
Not the Moon but the Stars: Shveta Thakrar
The Terracotta Bride: Zen Cho

Article/Afterward: Winding Down the House: Taking the Steam out of Steampunk: Amal El-Mohtar

Update: We have a release date, October 26!  As soon as ordering information is available I will have that up as well.  Updated Update: Kindle Edition is for sale – SteamPowered II: More Lesbian Steampunk Stories

Update 2:  There is a mini-interview about my story up at the Steampunk News.

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Festivals and GenCon

3 August, 2011

This last Monday was Lughnasadh and tomorrow sees the (official)  start to GenCon, both are festivals though of slightly different sorts.  Lughnasadh is the Irish-Celtic harvest festival, taking place half way between the Summer Solstice and the the Autumnal Equinox.  Like most festivals, it was a time for the gathering of a community, with events and contests, speeches and celebrations.

GenCon is an annual festival for gamers, especially roleplaying gamers, it is the yearly gathering of our tribe from far and wide.  We have our elders and leaders speaking to the gathered gamers and passing on their wisdom.  Contests of skill and luck with awards for the best among us.  Meeting of friends, old and new.  Trade and commerce, with new and exciting things shown to the wonderment of all.   It is the gamers’ festival and time to enjoy that something,a love of gaming, that all of us share.

Sorry, I am not there this year.  But those that are, have fun!  Those that are not, try and bring a bit of the GenCon spirit to your own gaming group.  Get together, talk, reminisce, play, enjoy yourselves.  It is our festival time, whether we are in Indianapolis or not.  Go Play!

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