Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Bowing Out

I have decided to lay this blog to rest.

Looking back over my posts, it has been a long time since I have posted anything of any worth. I hit a new low recently by simply posting about my characters.

I will leave this blog and it's seven years worth of scribblings here, if only to check in on my blog roll from time to time.

I have created a new blog over at Wordpress, but I will not be posting anything there until there is something worth posting. The address is  (named after an unused mini-dungeon in my abortive Persian-flavored 5e game)

Fare thee well, fellow gamers.


Thursday, August 18, 2016

Gil the Healer

I returned to Steven's Thursday night game, which I have played in on and off since 2012. Right now we're playing RIFTS. I rolled up a Mystic, since our party is lacking in any magic and in most psi. We have a Cyber-Knight, a Wilderness Scout, a Rogue Scholar, and a Tattooed Warrior... all relatively low on the RIFTS totem pole.

Gil, my PC, is a refugee of the Coalition-Tolkeen War. He took to the roads after his village was destroyed in the crossfire of one of the battles. His sense of intuition carried him north, where he came upon a farm where the PCs are currently staying.

I spent most of the session making my character, as Palladium character creation is clunky. I did get to save an injured person from gangrene, which was kind of fun.

So far I'm playing Gil as a quiet, reserved thinking, very direct in speech to the point of being taciturn. He is so far unconcerned with money and offers his services in exchange for board.

This character is decidedly different from Big Billy Gruff and from my devious Warlock in my colleague's 5e game (which runs tomorrow.)

This RIFTS game is pretty rp heavy and there seems to be an impetus on exploring and problem solving rather than mini-nuclear wars with MD weapons. Very nice. It's good to be playing RIFTS again.

Sunday, August 14, 2016

William G. Gruff

I was invited to play in a Saturday night campaign of OneDice Urban Fantasy, set in the universe of The Wolf Among Us, which itself is based on Fables. Basically, characters from fairy tales and myths live in a hidden society in New York. The campaign is set after the events of The Wolf Among Us, with the PCs being deputized by Bigby Wolf (yes, the Big Bad Wolf, Sheriff of Fabletown) to investigate crimes while he recovers from injuries. There are three players and we elected to create our own original characters. Well, original in the sense that they do not appear in TWUA or Fables, but not original in that they have to be characters from fairy tales, nursery rhymes, etc. 

Our party consists of: 

William G. Gruff, aka "Big Billy" - the eldest of the Gruff brothers, Big Billy is a massive goat the size of a horse in his true form. While glamoured, he appears to be a biker guy in his mid-40's with an impressive goatee (see what I did?) and a bad attitude. He's constantly bailing his two younger brothers out of trouble. He hates trolls, and the feeling is mutual. 

Deanna "Dee" Woodson- The huntsman from Snow White's tale, she's sour at having been misgendered for centuries. She dresses all in black and is quick and deadly. She's the only character of the three who doesn't require a glamour. 

Bellina- Known in olden times as Thumbellina, Bellina is a hippy with powers of invisibility and fae magic. She is the stereotypical "dirty hippy," right down to placing little importance on personal hygiene. In her true form, Thumbellina is a tiny fairy. 

Our GM is new to the role, but she did a pretty good job. Our session was relatively short and heavy on investigation, much like TWAU is primarily focused around investigation. Unfortunately, nobody in the party has Investigation as a skill and only one PC put any points in Notice, so we'll be spending a lot of Stunt Points on those kinds of rolls, methinks. 

My character sheet: 

William G. Gruff aka "Big Billy" 
Strong 4   Clever 1  Quick 2   Magic 1
Health: 12  Defense: 12  Armor: 0 Magic Defense: 3   Movement: 20
Skills: Bruiser 2, Dodgy 2, Drive 1, Intimidate 1, Occult Lore 1 * 
Supernatural Abilities: Speak With Animals, Stronger
Weaknesses: None 
Equipment: Beat-up but tough chopper, leather jacket 

*The GM has given every character 1 free point in Occult Lore to represent the Fables being generally familiar with one another's stories and exploits from back home. 

This campaign looks to be a lot of fun.

In other news, I have rejoined my old Thursday group, the one that I used to play RIFTS and Beyond the Supernatural with. Currently they're playing a RIFTS game, so I'll be rolling up a character for this week. I'm thinking Juicer, because why the hell not? 

Monday, August 1, 2016

Saturation, again.

There comes a time when every OSR gamer asks themselves, "How many different highly nuanced/idiosyncratic reiterations of D&D do I really need?" In that regard, I think I am going to make a real endeavor for Seven Voyages of Zylarthen to be my last one. This has nothing to do with the content of Zylarthen, but between it and.... let's see... Labyrinth Lord, OSRIC, Swords & Wizardry (Complete and White Box), Lamentations of the Flame Princess, Ruins & Ronin, Beyond the Wall, Mazes & Perils, and probably a couple I'm forgetting.

Now, we'll see how much resolve I can actually muster to stick to it. My new job and new responsibilities might actually help me curtail my collector's tendencies, since I won't really have time to do much but run one game at a time.

Saturday, July 30, 2016

Places of Supernatural San Francisco

Below are some locations important to the supernatural side of San Fran. These are all locations that the PCs visited during the course of their investigations, listed roughly in order that they visited. I skipped places they went that are totally mundane. I took pretty much full license with the geography of the real life city, so some of these places aren't even based remotely on the real world.

The Old Metropole- A condemned theatre used by the Shadow Council as a meeting place or staging ground. Although condemned, the building is perfectly sound, and the actual paperwork to get the place demolished constantly disappears, gets misfiled, or the money to demolish it is taken and reallocated to higher priority city projects.

The Goblin Market- Most towns with a supernatural population have a Goblin Market, the place where supernatural merchants deal in otherworldly wares and services. The Goblin Market is on the Road (the midway point between our world and and other dimensions, detailed on my blog a month or so ago...comparable to the Near Umbra in White Wolf or the Twilight/Gloom in the Nightwatch series), though it's location roughly corresponds to North Beach, near all of the mundane flea markets. The PCs visited this place to find the Juiceman and ended up buying a magic maul, the Hammer of the North, from the minotaur.

Sultana's- Located South of Market, Sultana's is a Middle Eastern themed cafe and hookah bar. (Operating that section as a private club) Sultana's is a gathering place for the shi'irs of San Francisco, as well as supernaturals of Middle Eastern decent. There is a special meeting room that exists only on the Road where patrons can conduct magical business or talk shop.

Saint Cecelia's Hospital- This hospital has a special wing, maintained by the Shadow Council, for the convalescence of supernaturals. The ward employs many glamours, illusions, and wards. Many of the nurses and doctors in this ward are mundanes who are aware of the supernatural world.

The Kettle Black- A store that sells custom wrought iron goods, both decorative and functional. The proprietor is Maureen Dubois, an Artificer specializing in iron goods. Fae-Blooded tend to be uncomfortable in her shop, but her skills are sought after by a wide variety of patrons. Maureen is licensed with the Shadow Council and operates all over her business above board with them.

Never Ends Well- Located outside of San Francisco on the highway, this dive bar is run by Big Jim Raag and serves as a front for his biker gang's criminal operations. The place is currently undergoing some repairs after a brawl in their backroom VIP club. (A punch-up between the PCs and the Wolfpack while Amir tried to bind Hasan. )

Friday, July 29, 2016

OneDice Urban Fantasy: NPCs of San Francisco

Like many major cities, San Francisco has a secret supernatural community. Many members of said community lead mostly mundane lives, but others are part or even full-time members of the community.

Here are the NPCs who appeared in my KantCon game of OneDice Urban Fantasy: Djinn and Tonics. The PCs who ended up fielding the case were Lisa (Werewolf), Von (Demon-Blooded), Powell (Druid), Teegan (Fae-Blooded), and Cordell (Giant-Kin). I statted them up on the blog back in June.
NPCs are listed roughly in order of their appearance in the game session.

Harlan (??)- The PCs liaison to the Shadow Council. Harlan is one of the oldest non-vampire beings in the supernatural community of San Francisco, though nobody is sure exactly what he is, and even those with the Sight are unable to pin down his lineage.
Appearance: A very-tanned, slightly metro-sexual Joe Biden.

Peter Beaker (Goblin-Kin)- Pete fights on the underground boxing circuit. Like many who make their living in that shadowy world, Pete uses "enhancements" like magic potions.
Appearance: James Biberi (the guy who played Cook the Armenian in Drive) but if he'd had his nose broken one too many times.

Ollie (Selkie-Kin)- Peter's roommate. I wrote stats for him on the blog some time ago, but decided to make him an NPC due to his rather limited utility outside of a water-based adventure. Ollie is a hapless loser, the type of guy who will drink the last beer or try out his roommate's "performance enhancer" potions.
Appearance: Elden Henson (the guy who plays Foggy in the Daredevil TV show), but unshaven and slovenly.

"The Juiceman" aka Juicy James (Fae-Blooded)- A slick middle-man dealing in magic potions, the Juiceman maintains a well-stocked and magically protected tent in SanFran's Goblin Market. While he is a clever businessman and a skilled negotiator, his opportunistic personality sometimes causes a lapse in judgement.
Appearance: A young Scatman Crothers, but not even 1/10th as classy and dressed most tackily.

Kagaz (Minotaur)- Kagaz has to stay on the Road or otherwise out of the mundane world, as he is an actual Minotaur and not simply a human with monstrous ancestry. Kagaz is an old being and spent several centuries as an apprentice to both Giant and Dwarf smiths. He is skilled in forging melee weapons, magical or normal. He lives by a strict honor code and always repays his debts.
Appearance: The minotaur illustration from the AD&D 2nd edition Monster Manual.

Amir Mohammad (Shi'ir)- A young and ambitious sorcerer, Amir got deep in debt with local biker gang leader Big Jim Raagi and was extorted into handing over his bound djinni to them. After the scenario settled, the PCs convinced the Shadow Council to go easy on Amir. As a result, they placed a curse on him preventing him from using magic for one year and one day, followed by a two year probationary period.
Appearance: Comedian Dah Ahdoot, but with more facial hair.

Arash Mohammad (Shi'ir)- Amir's uncle. A businessman and sorcerer. He is deeply embarrassed by his nephew's incompetence, though he tries to help the lad out whenever he can.
Appearance: Parviz Parastui (you'll probably have to Google him, which is how I found him) in a business suit.

The Shi'ir of San Francisco (Shi'irs)- Two or three other shi'irs who are associates of Omar. While they try to help Amir as well, they have far less patience for him than his uncle does.
Appearance: A bunch of middle-aged or slightly later Middle Eastern guys in suits.

Maureen Dubois (Artificer)- Maureen is one of the best artificers in San Francisco, specializing in cold iron objects. While she prefers to work with iron, she can get her hands on various other artificed items at the request of her customers. Unlike a lot of supernatural merchants, she does not maintain a shop within the Goblin Market. She has a store called The Kettle Black that also sells high quality mundane objects of wrought iron.
Appearance: Susan Sarandon as a strawberry blonde in hippy skirts.

Swedish Fredrik (Technomancer)- A friend of Lisa's (one of the PCs) who is one of the few mages able to fuse technology with magic. Fredrik is essentially a high-tech diviner, able to assemble an electronic data trail on someone within minutes. Despite being the only person named Fredrik that Lisa knows, she still insists on calling him Swedish Fredrik. Swedish Fredrik also didn't physically appear in the game session; he communicated to Lisa through texts, a phone call, and a shared Vine video.
Appearance: He looks like my dorm RA my third year of college. Don't know what that looks like? Doesn't matter because he never actually appeared in person. If you must, imagine Joel Kinnaman (Robocop in the reboot, though I prefer to think of him as Holder from The Killing.) Bleach his hair, shave his face, give him glasses.

The San Joaquin Valley Coven (Witches)- Witches specializing in potions made from more natural and less crazy ingredients, the witches took great offense to what they perceived as Amir's attempt to mess with the magic potion market in SanFran's supernatural community. After the PCs unveiled the situation for what it was, they declared war against Ragg's Wolfpack.
Appearance: For the two who actually showed up in person, Uma Thurman, pre-Medusa reveal, in the film version of The Lightning Thief and Fairuza Balk, but dressed normally.

"Hasan" (Ifrit)- His True Name unknown, Hasan is a fire genie with a mastery of alchemy. He was bound to Amir, who was later strong-armed into transferring his contract to Raag's Wolfpack. With help from the PCs, Amir was able to bind Hasan again, though the Shadow Council insisted that his anchor to this plane be severed an he be banished back to the otherworldly City of Brass.
Appearance: Human scale version of the big red guy on the earlier printing of the AD&D 1st edition Dungeon Masters Guide.

"Big" Jim Raag and Raag's Wolfpack (Werewolves) - Big Jim is the leader of a werewolf biker gang with a history of being involved with prostitution, gun-running, drug smuggling, and extortion. They recently tried to break into the potion market by way of Hasan. The gang is presently regrouping after Big Jim was apprehended by the PCs and handed over to the Shadow Council to be imprisoned pending trial. The pack also lost one member in the fight to Lisa's claws, a fact they have not forgotten. They are also presently the subject of an Ancestral Vengeance conflict declared by the San Joaquin Coven.
Appearance: Dollar store Sons of Anarchy, with Big Jim being dollar store Ron Perlman. Well, until they turn into werewolves...then they just look like werewolves. (Reference the AD&D 2nd edition Monster Manual if you really need to know what a werewolf looks like.)

More Stuff...Just What I Need!

Yesterday I received a batch of like four or five issues of The Tolling of the Great Black Bell! Sadly, I had been at a day camp for the activity that I coach, so I was far too tired to sit down and read. I'll have to digest those sometime this weekend.

I also bought Vampire: the Masquerade 20th Anniversary Edition on PDF because it was six bucks.
Will I ever run it? Of course not. My interaction with Vampire is likely to be endless replays of the 2004 Bloodlines computer game. (It's the best Vampire campaign I have ever participated in, player or ST. Yes, I said it and I mean it.) This purchase was born from the powerful combination of nostalgia and an 80% discount. I'd probably buy Mage20 in hard copy someday, but their 25th anniversary year isn't until 2018 I think.

I still harbor a morbid curiosity for the newest iteration of WoD. (I'm not calling it NWoD anymore, because it came out in 2004...) For the time being, however, I have no more room in my life for new and untested games. (Somehow I typed that with a straight face...)