Saturday, July 11, 2015

Finally, Gen Con Event Luck (Torchbearer RPG)

My oldest son and I are attending Gen Con together this year. It's pretty cool in that it will be the first time I've been in the United States during Gen Con in about 7 years. Without the Army to send me somewhere else during the big convention, I thought it might be neat to take my son. This will be my third Gen Con (I went in 2000 and 2002) and his first.

The first year that I went, I barely did anything but wander around the dealer room, bleary-eyed and overwhelmed. My second Gen Con was a little more successful as my friends and I played in the D&D Open Tournament that year. Unfortunately, that event took up most of our available gaming time.

This year, my goal was to sign up for a few different events that not only featured my favorite games, but also gave me a chance to game with some of the designers whose work I enjoy. I'm not a fan of gamer celebrities, but I do see the value in having the author of a module running his or her work for you right there at the table.

Alas, I underestimated how quickly this stuff would sell out. I was on the Gen Con site just as soon as the event registration opened up, but everything I wanted to do was gone way before my wishlist ever hit the queuing process.

Mutant Crawl Classics with Jim Wampler? GONE

Anything DCC from Goodman Games at all? GONE

Fortunately, thanks to some events that only recently became live on the site, I managed to snag tickets to an author-run game.

I've had Torchbearer sitting on my shelf ever since its Kickstarter campaign. I love the physical book, but I am NOT an indy RPG guy. Every time I read through the rules, I come away feeling like this game is very cool, but also way outside my wheelhouse.

A month or so ago, my son expressed similar feelings. Leafing through the book, he said to me "Dad, we really should figure out how to play this game. It just looks cool!"

Well, request granted, son. He and I are now signed up to play the Torchbearer RPG with the guy who came up with the concept and helped write it, Thor Olavsrud. If I can't learn the game under one of its co-authors, then I'm a lost cause.

Plus, I'm going to see if he'll sign my book.

Friday, July 10, 2015

Petty Gods Is Now A Real Thing

Yeah, I'm a bit late to the party here, compared to other bloggers. However, since I originally posted to complain about one of my two contributions not appearing in the temporary version of the book that Greg Gorgonmilk was putting together, I thought it only fair that I officially announce this:

Petty Gods in now a real thing that you can download (for free) from RPG Now. It's pretty gonzo, but chances are you can find a deity in here to inspire your D&D or D&D-like game.

At 378 pages for free? You pretty much can't go wrong.

As for highlights (beyond my own two submissions), I thought that the inclusion of the Barsoomian Gods was cool. It's presence reminded me of the Cthulian Mythos that appeared in the early printings of Deities and Demigods. Speaking of the mythos, the Petty God most likely to see use in my home games is the Yellow King. Whisper Will has a little cool flavor that could easily be dropped into most campaigns, with the occasional leashed dog showing up at crossroads to temp the superstitious.

On a less serious note, I'll give a nod to Yessir. I was a Soldier, after all. Many is the time I've grinned and bared my fate while carrying out some very stupid instructions.

Kids Dwimmermount Session 3.5: The Adventurers of Bael the Henchman

[Author’s Note: This is a recap of the very last session of the Dwimmermount Kids Campaign. As it occurred many months ago and is no longer fresh in my memory, I’m doing it from a slightly different perspective. ]

“See Ialgo safely back to Muntburg, Bael. Find a healer who can treat the centipede poison and then get him someplace he can rest until he recovers. Wait for us in town. We’ll return to you, hopefully with enough treasure to pay off your debts and then some. Don’t come looking for us.”

Those were the last things that the wizard told Bael before he left Dwimmermount. He’d done as instructed, finding welcome help in the form of Emelisse, a cleric of Tyche who agreed to tend to Ialgo’s wounds and give him a place to sleep until he recovered. Best of all (for Bael’s shrinking purse), Emelisse offered her help in exchange for nothing more than a few days manual labor and a promise of a future donation to the Church of Tyche.

As the days passed, Bael’s initial concern for his employers grew. After a week had passed and he’d still heard nothing from them, Bael became convinced that they were dead. Frustratingly, there was little he could do to help them. Ialgo was still bedridden from the centipede poison and, although he was showing steady improvement, there was no way he’d be in fighting shape for at least another week. Bael knew that Dwimmermount was too dangerous to enter alone and he didn’t have the money to hire anyone else to accompany him. No, if he was to find out what happened to his friends, he’d need someone skilled enough to survive the ancient fortress, but foolish enough to work for nothing more than the promise of potential wealth.

He’d need more adventurers.

Bael’s first thought was to try and ally with Typhon’s Fists, the group of zealots from Adamas that Zazik and Marcus had encountered in the Flask and Scroll tavern. The Fists, however, were also missing. Rumor had it they’d departed for Dwimmermount shortly after Bael and his companions. By all logic, they should have returned by now, and their absence didn’t bode well for their fate. On the other hand, Bael recalled that Fists’ leader, Jehan, seemed irked that others groups were interested in exploring Dwimmermount. Perhaps the Fists were just staying clear of Muntburg for the time being?

In the interim, Bael hung a few “Adventurers Wanted” notices and waited for Ialgo to recover. He spent his days practicing fencing skills with a spare short sword that Ialgo carried [Bael’s last adventure brought him up to 105 experience points, meaning that he became a 1st level fighter!] and his nights drinking away his last few coins at the Flask and Scroll. As Bael’s money dwindled, so did his hopes of ever seeing his fellow adventurers alive again.

* * *

It was the twelfth day, nearly two weeks after leaving Dwimmermount, and Ialgo was completely recovered. Along with his strength, the Balashan swordsman had also recovered both his bravado and his habit of constantly bragging. It wasn’t long before Bael began to silently wish for another hearty dose of centipede poison to slip into the man’s drink. Even worse, they’d had no luck finding any locals willing to brave the dangers of the Dwimmermount fortress. Muntberg, it seemed, was all out of adventurers.

Just after nightfall, Bael was out posting a brand new batch of help wanted notices when he heard heavy footsteps approaching. Turning, Bael had just enough time to catch a glimpse of a very large man charging towards him before something struck him hard in the head and knocked him prone. Stunned, Bael’s vision swirled as he stared up at the hulking brute that stood over him. The man stared back, almost passively, as if this was all just another boring night’s work.

“Telon sends greetings,” the brute growled.

Suddenly, Bael knew exactly what this was all about. Telon was a debt-collector who worked for some of the seedier criminals in Adamas. If he was involved, it meant that Bael’s gambing debts were catching up with him. Still, it was a good sign that Telon himself hadn’t come to collect.

“Friend,” Bael began, struggling to regain his feet, “if you’ll give me a moment to gather my things, perhaps we can clear up what is obviously a misunderstanding.”

The big man answered by slamming a monstrous fist into Bael’s stomach. Doubled over, Bael fell to his knees.

“No talking. I’m supposed to teach you a lesson.”

The sound of drawn steel interrupted whatever the big man planned to do next. Through bleary eyes, Bael saw a turbaned man dressed in black and gold. He looked like the advisor to some foreign king or prince. Beside the turbaned man, an olive-skinned warrior carefully hefted a curved sword.

“You,” the man in the turban said, pointing a long finger at the hired thug, “Why trouble this man? Can you not see he has no money? Flee, thief, or I shall summon the watch.”

The big man considered the two intruders for a moment and then, giving Bael a parting shove, turned and left.

As the swordsman sheathed his weapon, the other man helped Bael to his feet.

“Who are you?” Bael asked him, “I’m sorry, I don’t mean to seem ungrateful. Thank you for your help, but who are?”

“I am Hasamanes of the court of the Great Tyrant Hab-Atet of the Kingdom of Kephtet. This is my guard and traveling companion, Amon’tosh of the Red Lands. We have come to your land, across the sea, seeking fortunes. We followed a star, actually, an astrological sign, that led us here to Muntburg.”

Bael smiled. Stooping, he picked up the crumpled notice off the ground and smoothed it out, turning it so that Hasamanes could plainly see the words “Adventurers Wanted” written there.

“Seeking fortunes, you say? What if I could point you towards a literal mountain filled with treasure?”