Archive for March, 2021

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Step into April, Leaving March behind

31 March, 2021

April begins tomorrow with its usual day of tricks and misdirections, deception not being my specialty, do not expect anything clever from me.  But I hope to enjoy cheerful cleverness from others.

A to Z Blogging Challenge 2021While April is comes to us from the name of the Roman month Aprilis however it is unclear where the Roman name comes from, it may refer to the opening (aperire) of buds and flowers as Spring arrives or in some unexplained way to the goddess Venus, to whom it is a sacred month, or something else entirely.  We simply do not know, such is the way of history.

I am again doing the the Blogging from A to Z Challenge for April, the theme will be “People and Organizations of the Sea of Stars” so if you have questions about my setting or anyone you wish to meet from it, please ask.

March, 2021, saw the following posts here:

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Tuesday Magic Item – Guardian’s Sword

30 March, 2021

Take up the sword to defend“Good to be standing in defense of the people again,” said Gollaon.

Voddick looked over the half a dozen poorly armed militia standing with them.  “I appreciate their bravery.  But I think the lady of the manor will be our strongest ally, she and her sword look ready to fight.”

“That sword wants to help us, its magic is old and it seeks to defend,” said Gollaon.

“You know that by looking at it?”

“No, she told me last night.”

Guardian’s Sword

The guardian’s sword is always a superb example of the swordsmith’s art, sometimes they have simple decoration but they are never flashy or elaborate.  They are always practical weapons designed for use at their core. Read the rest of this entry ?

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PinkCat: Running in the Shade “Jailbreaker” (A different sort of SR campaign report)

28 March, 2021

Keep in touchTo understand what is going on here, you had best read the first PinkCat: Running in the Shade post, but short summary, this is a campaign report for our Shadowrun campaign set in NorCal through the filter of a cartoon made by one of the team members.

Episode Forty Seven: Jailbreaker

Guest Starring: Clawz, DoubleUp, Gimmick and Tora.

Pink and the crew are asked to help some local families of some of the poorer students, they comms keep getting cut off by greedy corporation (“GreedLink, it is all about the money.”) and their commlinks stop working.  They need them for school so . . . Time to jailbreak some comlinks!  Includes a PSA about how comlinks work, contracts and jailbreaking comlinks.  The team has to work out how to break the phones free from GreedLink, which involves sneakinginto one of their branch offices and disconnecting the comlinks . . . and then finding a fair service (“Connect Coop”). A big party with food follow now that everyone has working comlinks again.

What really happened:

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Tuesday Magic Item – Elephant Foot Shield

23 March, 2021

Shield of WarGollaon loosed another arrow as Voddick recocked his crossbow.  “Another day, another exchange of missiles with rival skirmishers,” said Gollaon.  “Gets the heart beating.”

“It would be more enjoyable if they were worse shots,” grumbled Voddick.

“The using of poisoned arrows is a bit unsporting too.”

“At least we are not down there,” said Voddick, “among the spears and swords.”

“Truth.  I like having cover.”

“Indeed.”

Elephant Foot Shield

These large shields are made of elephant hide over hard wood, sometime decorated, sometime not.  Often they are made to look like the legs of elephants, but the hide used to make them can come from any part of the elephant. Read the rest of this entry ?

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Tuesday Magic Item – Army Cooking Pot

16 March, 2021

Let's get cooking!“Well, the food is filling and hot,” said Voddick before taking another bite.

“We have certainly had worse.  Nice to be working with someone who appreciates that people need to be fed properly,” said Gollaon washing some food down with a sip of watered wine.  “Shame they cannot be as lavish with the wine.”

“At least you have wine,” said Voddick.  “I could murder a good mug of ale.”

“Perhaps in the next town?”

“I hope so.”

Army Cooking Pot

Theses cook pots come in two sizes, large and really, really large.   Made of cast metal almost always emblazoned with the symbol of the military it was made for be it a king’s coat of arms or the sign of a military unit, the ownership is prominently displayed. Read the rest of this entry ?

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Review – Shadowrun: Collapsing Now

15 March, 2021

Shadowrun: Collapsing Now is a sourcebook, specifically a “Runners Resource Book” for the Sixth World Edition of Shadowrun covering a variety of groups that shadowrunner might work for or against. It suffers from a lack of direction and uncertainty if it is a player or GM facing work. For the lore and background information, worth picking up for Shadowrun Games Masters, but not an immediate must have unless you are featuring one of the highlighted groups in your campaign.

Shadowrun: Collapsing Now, is a Runner Resource Book for Shadowrun, Sixth World Edition, providing a look at some of the groups that shadowrunners might work with, for or against. Read the rest of this entry ?

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Tuesday Magic Item – Spear of the Conqueror

9 March, 2021

Chase out the hated somebody“Why are there so many relics that inspire would be tyrants?” asked Voddick.  He took aim and released a bolt.  “It is the poor dolts they convince to follow them I feel sorry for.”

“Truth, my friend,” agreed Gollaon.  “But they seem very committed to their leaders.”

“Unfortunately true,” said Voddick as he recocked his crossbow.  “But still, cannot help but feel for them and their families.”

“But when it is us or them,” said Gollaon with a sigh.

“It will be them.”

Spear of the Conqueror

These spears are heavily built, made of strong wood carefully reinforced with metal.  While well made, they often show signs of use.  In the right light, words can be seen along the blade, usually something encouraging conquest and victory and changing from viewing to viewing, always encouraging its bearer to action and conquer. Read the rest of this entry ?

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RPG Blog Carnival – the Parable of the Bridge

8 March, 2021

Bridge to SomewhereIn support of this month’s RPG Blog Carnival Say yes to your players(hosted by the Roll4 Network) I thought that I would tell a story from some years ago that taught me a vital lesson.

So, I had gathered a group of five players. Their characters had all been drawn from across the Sea of Stars to the edges of civilization by a set of powerful dreams.  They arrive in the city of Asku-Korla, once a wealthy city that sat astride a major trade route, which has been slowly dying since the Sundering changed the world.  Much of the city is abandoned and the core is now ruled by the Bronze Lion, a Conan type former adventurer who deposed the former king.  This will be important later.

They find each other at an inn, the Compass, knowing but not knowing each other, where they each receive a letter inviting them to a tomb to discover the truth about the dreams.  Together, they venture out to the tomb, defeat some monsters and each recovers an item from the tomb that seem to be of a deeper significance, almost as if it was made for them.  Emerging from the tomb, there is Burns Brightly, a sorcerer and the source of the letters, who ask them to join her in her plans of conquest as together they can ascend and rule.  The characters refuse, a fight ensures, Burns Brightly escapes, vowing revenge and the characters return to the city.

So, here we have the characters (and the villain) as reincarnations of great heroes (actually demi-gods, but the characters never learned this) set up for a classic conflict of good against evil as they try to reclaim their birthright!  But it did not happen that way . . .

One of the characters, Kao Li, was one of the apprentices of a famous magistrate of the Jade Pillar Dynasty and disliked by his rival apprentices.  An attempt is made on his life and they trace it down to the Resident Magistrate of the Dynasty, who was acting on a request from one of the rival apprentices, depose him and install Kao Li as the new Resident Magistrate.  When they visit the Bronze Lion to introduce themselves, it goes well, and they learn who Ashu-Korla was once a rich and prosperous city on the trade route from the Dynasty to the outside world but it is rarely used now as it marginally easier to sail around the island than travel over it.  The characters decided to rectify this by . . . building a bridge!  Making travel to and from the Dynasty easier and restoring the ancient trade routes.

The rest of the campaign was devoted to the task of building that bridge: gathering materials, drawing up plans, making deals on both sides of the bridge and so on.

But that was what the players were excited by, so that is what the game’s focus shifted to.  That was the important lesson learned, follow what the players are interested in even if it is not where you thought the game was going.  I was a bit surprised at first (“My beautiful campaign idea!”) but quickly adapted and since then, I have never made big plans and let the players choose their direction (if any) for campaign arcs.

Image Suō Province: Iwakuni, Kintai Bridge (Suō, Iwakuni, Kintaikyō), part of the series Famous Places in the Sixty-odd Provinces, No. 51 (Sanyōdō group) by Hiroshige, found on Wikimedia Commons and is in the Public Domain.

 

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Tuesday Magic Item – Singing Chakram

2 March, 2021

Song of death“Duck!” shouted Voddick, taking the same action himself as a metal ring embedded itself in the tree behind him.

“Perhaps you should not have been so quick to dismiss those throwing rings,” said Gollaon loosing an arrow in the direction the ring came from.

“I still think they are an odd choice,” grumbled Voddick as he cocked his crossbow.  “But odd weapon can kill you just as dead.”

“Truth.”

Singing Chakram

These chakram are made of fine polished metal, often with the words of songs etched into their surface.  When held, they hum softly, waiting to be thrown. Read the rest of this entry ?

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