Tuesday, 21 April 2015

Belmont Reloaded

New games folks. We have had our second teaser for GM Bill's 13th Age and the Great Fall. A 13th Age overlay based on an alternative fantasy history of the Great Bronze Age Collapse. Below is the creation mythology and icon background behind the overlay for those interested in playing.

Before: Formless chaos.
Creation: The gods create themselves, divide living from non living matter, define the elements, shape the world, populate it and give all things their purpose.
1st Age: Gnomes of Sumer develop magic, which spreads quickly to other lands.  Human culture advances while gnolls decline into savagery.  Osiris of the Nile valley becomes the first Emperor, his sister Isis is the first Archmage.
Dark Age: Osiris is murdered by his brother, the Orc Lord Set, leading to civil war and anarchy.  Osiris expels demons from the nearest regions of the underworld and rules there as the Dead King.
2nd Age: Dwarves perfect the art of bronze working and elves develop funerary rites to ensure a safe passage to the afterlife.  Imhotep, the first Master Dwarf, designs pyramids enabling Emperors to control traffic between the lands of the living and the dead.
Dark Age: The Fool, supreme wit of the age, tricks the Empress out of her throne, but his rule is a disaster.  A series of audacious thefts culminate in the loss of the crown itself.  Courtiers plot and generals revolt against the Fool-Emperor, leading to bitter strife and the Empire disintegrates.
3rd Age: The Tyrant Sargon allies with Zahhak the Red dragon and becomes the first Dragon Emperor.  A succession of Tyrants rule a large empire from Akkad, but are unable to conquer Egypt, partly thanks to the protection of the Great Sphinx.
Dark Age: Losing patience with the latest weak Tyrant, Zahhak embarks on a rampage, burning a village every day until he can find no more settlements.  Humans everywhere flee their homes.
4th Age: The Great Sphinx and Ammit the Green make war on the Red, who is defeated and imprisoned beneath the island of Thera.  Ammit is slain in the battle and Osiris grants her the privilege of devouring the hearts of the wicked dead.  She dines well, but her diet of sin gradually poisons the breath of all green dragons.
Dark Age: The Archmage experiments with combining mortal flesh with beasts and primal creatures to create an army of monsters.  He attacks city after city in his quest for power until he is slain by his own creations, who disperse to wreak even worse havoc and destruction.
5th Age: Engineers build strategic forts and roads to hold off the monsters and fight back.  Dwarves become the most powerful group in society and Dwarf Kings rule many lands under the direction of their Emperor.
Dark Age: The dwarves grow ever more greedy, plundering the natural world.  The High Druid summons storms and beasts to fight back.  The Elf Queen seizes her chance to rally the common people against their unpopular rulers and the Empire collapses.
6th Age: The Elf King Minos establishes a maritime empire centred on Crete and gathers the most gifted young men and women to his court.  Minoans trade peacefully with other lands, spreading culture and prosperity.
Dark Age: after centuries stoking his revenge, Zahhak the Red bursts his prison, destroying the entire island and showering the inland sea with molten rock.  Apep the Black attacks the sun and blots out its life-giving light.  The Minoans are destroyed and famine grips every other country.
7th Age: The strongest dragons assert themselves as overlords to their weaker kin, who in turn use lizardmen and kobolds to rule over humans and other races.  The Red and the Black reign as co-Tyrants.  Other chromatic dragons scheme for power at the expense of their metallic brethren.
Dark Age: The Witch Queen assassinates many powerful dragons including Kur the Blue and Python the Black.  Most of the others withdraw into hiding.  But the demons who empower her spells drive her insane before spreading madness across the world.
8th Age: The Great Paladin and the Great Gold Sphinx fight back against the demons, aided by The Inquisitor who roots them from their hiding places.  Many dragons recognise The Great Paladin as Dragon Emperor.
Dark Age: Goblins and bugbears raid the fringes of the weakening Empire, aided by descendants of the aberrations that ended the 4th Age.  Hobgoblin kings claim the title of Tyrant and lead their legions on campaigns seeking to exterminate humankind.  People retreat into fortified cities and the Dead King reluctantly sanctions the animation of skeletal and zombie soldiers for self-defence.
9th Age: The Archmage designs the first practical golems, an improvement on undead troops.  Dragons and sphinxes support human armies.  Human and hobgoblin leaders vie for the title of Tyrant until the Dragon Emperor slays the Goblin King along with every other goblinoid he can find.  The surviving goblins retreat beyond the Empire.
Dark Age: The Archmage and Master Thief attempt to rob goblins of the power of speech.  The ritual backfires, and language is instead split between races, each retaining a small fraction of their original vocabulary.  The Archmage's golems misunderstand his commands and tear down his tower in Babylon.  Later historians speculate this was exactly what the Thief intended.
10th Age: The Fool invents new words and Elves spread them through poetry and song.  Priests of Mesopotamia lead the people to greater piety.  Blessed by the gods, many kingdoms flourish.  No great Emperor arises to unite them, but the Elf King is recognised as the standard bearer for culture and civilisation.
Dark Age: Ravaging bands of monsters grow in strength: orcs, giants, and the remaining goblins.  Striking from the wilderness, they make inroads everywhere and conquer numerous cities.  Some establish themselves in Lower Egypt as the Hyksos.  Wadjet claims the title of the Green and enters the underworld, but Ammit defeats her and eats her heart.
11th Age: The pharaoh defeats and isolates the Hyksos, who submit to his authority after purging their ranks of evil driders and medusae.  His dragons and chariots respond quickly to monstrous incursions, bringing relief to all human lands, earning him pre-eminence and the title of Dragon Emperor.
Dark Age: The Four greatest chromatic dragons (excluding Ammit) form an alliance, The Thalatth, and defeat the Emperor's metallic dragons.  Some rulers try to fight the Four and others to pay them off, with little success.  The Red tyrannises Persia, while the Blue, considered the brains of the group, rules Egypt.  People flee the cities to escape the rapacious monsters.
12th Age: The Elf Queen seduces Ladon the White, splitting the Four.  Human kings reassert their authority.  The Archmage lays down magic wards to detect, repel and weaken the remaining Three and other powerful monsters when they venture into human lands.
Dark Age: The Diabolist fractures the barriers between worlds.  Osiris and his loyal dead attempt to guard the breaches, but many demons manage to enter the mortal realm.  The more subtle devils corrupt officials and incite rebellion, then powerful Lords of Hell invade in force.
13th Age: The Great Sphinx takes up a strategic position before the gateway of the worlds at Giza.  The Alchemist turns the great Sphinx's body to living gold as a stable and incorruptible base for his spiritual fight against the demons.  A New Kingdom rises in Egypt, while the Assyrian crusader dynasty wars against the remaining demon-influenced states.  When in doubt, the Crusader kills them all and lets the gods sort them out.
Now: The Orc Lord sweeps across Greece and murders the Pirate King.  Using his new fleet he invades Asia with armies of Orcs and giants.  Osiris claims his right to rule the living, and dead rise from their graves as his agents.  The Diabolist tempts the desperate with offers too good to be true.  Both the Orc Lord and the Three court the support of the Shaman.  And a mere child inherits the title of Dragon Emperor - life, prosperity and health to him!
In other mists we are considering Blades in the Dark or Strike for the next game following the close of GM Johnathan's Achtung Cthulu. More on this next post.


Wednesday, 15 April 2015

The Great Fall

What do Achaemenid, Afsharid, Akkadian, Aksumite, Almohad, Almoravid, Angevin, Armenian, Ashanti, Austrian, Austro-Hungarian, Aztec, Babylonian, Baekje, Balhae, Belgian Colonial, Benin, Bornu,  of Brazil, Britannic, British, British Raj, Bruneian, First Bulgarian, Second Bulgarian, Buyid, Byzantine, Córdoba, Carthaginian, Chagatai Khanate, Chalukya, Chera, Chola, Danish colonial, Delhi Sultanate, Durrani, Dutch, Egyptian, Ethiopian, Fatimid, Second French, French colonial, Frankish, Gallic, German, Ghana, Ghaznavid, Ghurid, Goguryeo, Goryeo, Gorkha, Göktürk Khaganate, Golden Horde, Greater German Reich, Great Moravian, Great Seljuq, Gupta, Han, Hephthalite, Hittite, Holy Roman, Hotaki, Hoysala, Hunnic, Ilkhanate, Imperial State of Iran, Inca, Italian Colonial, Jin, Kanem, Kara-Khanid Khanate, Khazar Khaganate, Khmer, Khilji, Khwarezmid, Korean, Kushan, Kushite, Latin, Liao, Lodi, Macedonian, Majapahit, Mali, Mamluk, Manchukuo, Maratha, Mauryan, Median, First Mexican, Second Mexican, Micronesian, Ming, Mongol, Mughal, Nanda, Neo-Assyrian, Neo-Babylonian, Nguyễn, Northern Yuan, Omani, Ottoman, Oyo, Pala, Palmyrene, Pandyan, Parthian, Pontic, Portuguese, Ptolemaic, Qin, Qing, Rashidun, Rashtrakuta, Roman, Rouran Khaganate, Romanov, Safavid, Saffarid, Sassanid, Satavahana, Samanid, Scandinavian, Seleucid, Serbian, Shu, Silla, Siam, Sikh, Song, Songhai, Spanish, Srivijaya, Sui, Sunga, Swedish, Tahirid, Tang, Tay Son, Tibetan, Timurid, Tlemcen, Toltec, Tu'i Tonga, Turgesh Khaganate, Umayyad Caliphate, Uyunid, Uyghur Khaganate, Vijayanagara, Wari, Wei, Western Chalukya, Western Roman, Eastern Wu, Western Xia, Xin, Yuan, Zand  and Zulu all have in common ?

They are all Fallen Empires. Shortly GM Bill will be starting his alternative or, who knows, perhaps just lost history of the great Bronze Aga Collapse. Underpinned by the very popular 13th Age system the game charts the fall and descent of circa 1200BC civilisations into darkness.
In his own words:

A 13th Age campaign set in the Middle East circa 1200BC.  As you may recall (if you're old enough) this is the point when Egypt and Assyria started sliding into terminal decline - and every other civilisation in the known world was wiped from the map.  The result was the deepest dark age in history.

But hey, this is fantasy, not history.  The survivors won't have to spend eight gruelling centuries struggling to re-establish peace, roads, literacy and law and order.  The Orc Lord doesn't leave survivors.  And at least those who fall prey to orc brutality are lucky enough to avoid the ancient and refined cruelties of the Three.  Instead they can look forward to serving the Dead King as undead slaves in his war against the living.  Oh, and did I mention the demons?  The Diabolist has managed to bring them back, somehow.

So it's a good thing our defences are in capable hands:
- The Pharaoh of Egypt (life, prosperity and health to him) is Emperor over all human realms, holding everything together and organising the fight back.  He's 16.
- The Archmage is his trusted vizier, serving his master with great wisdom and learning, whenever he takes a break from his unnatural experiments.
- The Master Dwarf is the finest craftsman of Greece - and perhaps the only one, now the Orc Lord has slaughtered every human there.
- The Elf Queen of Sheba is beautiful and deadly and has no inclination to join the losing side.
- The Crusader of Assyria is fierce and ruthless, kind of like the Orc Lord except not an Orc.  So it's a good thing he's here, right?
- The Priestess of Babylon is a very nice person.  Just what we need.
- The Great Sphinx is a stalwart bastion against demonkind.  He hasn't moved since he was turned to gold hundreds of years ago.
- The Prince of Shadows is never seen, but when really important things go missing you can bet he was there.
- The Shaman of Africa is happy for demons and undead to ravage civilised lands and leave the wilderness alone.
- Then there are the PCs.

Looking forward to that one....


Wednesday, 8 April 2015

Which spaceship should you fly?

For those who recall partaking of their entertainments from wax cylinders or the very radio waves themselves you may recall a periodical by the name of the Radio Times. It is heartening to realise that in fact the tome has survived into the digital era and sports a rather delightful quiz regarding ones preferred method of space transportation.


I bring this subject up as the usual Dogs of the Vineyard game is on pause for a while which does raise the question of what to play in the interim. By way of whetting the appetite someone may volunteer a space game of course but for many of those that I have played, Star Wars, Spacemaster, Traveller, Gamma World, Jorune and god forbid Paranoia, to name but a few, equipment selection with regard to spaceships is a common dilemma.

A TARDIS certainly appeals as the most fascinating ship but personally I would definitely need something more reliable. The vagaries of time travel and the consequences of accidentally not wiping the dinosaurs out would concern me.


I'd find the Millennium Falcon a handy runabout for the local star cluster but it's hot property and disputed ownership would be a potential issue in a poker game. Conversely running a Constellation class ship would entail an awful lot of red tape and just too many people moaning about this that and the other. I am drawn to the Heart of Gold as a surreal yet highly efficient motoring experience; not exactly an enjoyable ride but if you appreciate a good Salvador Dali then its an opportunity to drift through one of his pictures.

No, I am an explorer in heart in an already well charted world so for me it would be have to be the Discovery One. A small crew to socialise with, a quiet little runner, very clean and only a marginally glitchy computer to play chess.

It would be ok tho as my name isn't Dave.


Wednesday, 1 April 2015

Ye olde casulaty department

Last week saw our first casualty in the Dogs of the Vineyard game. In one sense it is surprising that it took that long but even in less policed frontiers and outback towns people do try and support one another. Given that we are pushing out into bandit territory though it was only a matter of time before one of our Dogs was caught in a small ambush by a seasoned gunfighter. Nevertheless even a shot in the shoulder was a reasonably fortunate outcome at going head to head with guns, however given the attentions of 19th century medical technology the Dog is going to be severely compromised for a few months at the very least.
Having got back to town we decided to let the cat out of the bag and rally a local militia; the gamble being made against routing people in panic. We were not going to be able to hide a gunshot victim anyhow so faith, fortitude and the holy black powder of judgement were called upon. The town came together around us and we rode out in force.
We will see what happens in due course but I'm not expecting an even number of arms to come back.
The Achtung Cthulu continues on in form and it sounds like there are potentially only 3 or 4 weeks left for it to run. I am always somewhat concerned when a GM announces that a Cthulu game is nearing its end but I will take GM Jon on good faith that this is a professional logistical assessment and not the fruition of his evil machinations.
And on another note we also seem to have sprouted a sneaky Dungeons and Dragons game on a Tuesday early evening. There is always a strong undercurrent of D&D interest and its good to see that it can conjure itself into existence when it needs to. Interested players should get themselves onto the forum comms and ask GM Jo to write them into the adventure. 

Tuesday, 24 March 2015


So the Dogs in the Vineyard game has been progressing at a steady but fairly civilized rate. So far we have had some church business to attend to, some families to split up, some preaching that needed to be heard and some very harsh conversations. But as we have been approaching the outskirts civilisation we are now well and truly in bandit country. To be fair we are trying to get to the bottom of some kidnappings so we are on the lookout for trouble but the issue is that we scouted two riders with someone tied up on the back of a horse.

At first impression we had simply moved the plot along a bit but whether we have worried ourselves into our own little paranoid corner or not is yet to be determined. The point is, how many people are in fact wandering around out there with tied up people on their horses ? - nervously sitting in some scrub, spying on the pair of would be bandits suddenly raised the question of whether in fact this was not a particularly unique occurrence, or in other words were we about to spring on a bounty hunter in the pursuit of court business or worse still a deputised officer who had arrested a wanted criminal. As there were only two of us at the scene, one of us wandered back to get the rest of the group as we wanted better than 50/50 odds at a chance of parley. Then the real fun started, with only one character left watching the suspects, they started breaking camp. Poor James, and gawd bless him as its only the second time at the club, had to make the call and for a moment we were all holding our breaths.

So cut to 1 minute later and on the good side we have two dead bandits. On the bad side we have 10 other bandits closing in who have presumably worked out that the echo's of gunfire fire around the valley is not the result of a casual fishing trip. On the really bad side we have 10 bandits, 2 dead law enforcement officers and a criminal to look after. We shall see what next weeks episode will bring...

On a more upbeat note GM Jon has started mutilating his players. In true literary style I shall immediately copy and paste his game update:

"It occurs to me that the group at large may like to know that the Achtung! Cthulhu game is finally generating casualties... Despite their best (well not really) efforts, Weber has lost an arm (amputated after a serpent-man bite) while Professor Doktor Fischer and Bogdanovich are well on their way to becoming one with the vast unthinking depths of the universe (primarily as a result of overly coveting an ancient Atlantean artefact)..."

Well done Jon! :-)

Wednesday, 18 March 2015

It is a Sunless Sea

Ordinarily I do not do many game reviews here as it s a log of club comings and goings really; when a game review crops up on this tome it will be because it we ended up playing it or someone has expressed it as being the best things since sliced waybread. Moreover I tend not to appreciate on line games as, for me, they subtract from the imagination for the most part and of course are heavily bounded by their mechanics, though I appreciate that there are roleplaying initiatives in an awful lot of the MMO's despite their genre. I have wiled away many man years I daresay on single player roleplaying and fantasy computer games from Gauntlet to Guild Wars.
But for every rule there is an exception and this is one to make...
Welcome to Sunless Sea..
Before anyone is totally hyped on the idea and forks out £15 on something they are not into, it falls into the formal category of a dungeon crawler or 'Rogue' like game, where a lot of time is spent moving around and staying alive by the skin of your teeth. In the case of Sunless Sea though its the back narrative in all its Victorian steampunk prose that delightfully compliments the nerve wracking exploration of the world and the tense music. I would refer to it as a Cthulu crawler.
On the surface the game mechanics are somewhat baffling and full of curious and confusing descriptors for your ship and crew that steam around in a dark and unforgiving world. But when you start to realise that 'fragments' are experience points 'irons' are strength 'pages' are wisdom etc one can start to get a handle on things. You pilot a steam ship across a subterranean lake discovering islands and communities from the surreal to the downright scary and in a story book way you are then offered various choices which come with various risks, rewards and consequences. Outcomes vary from gaining trust, trading, carrying out missions to being manipulated or outcast. As sanity is a component, knowing too much can also cause problems. But at each stage the rich story is successful in drawing you into an experience rather than a problem solving exercise.
On progressing through the game one makes money, 'echoes', in various ways and can accrue assets that are conceptual and abstract in in nature. For example you can gain one of a  'Move in the Great Game' or 'Memories of a distant Shore' along with the more physically obvious items. These conceptual tokens are to be accepted at face value and are not sub plots, but to be traded or exchanged as is to advance the plot.
As the world unfolds you very gradually gain stats, money and fight larger battles, both mechanically and narratively which, a bit like Minecraft, give you a sense of accomplishment based on considerable effort.
On the down side I would say the world is not that large eventually, although the islands are randomised between games to offer a different experience each time. But to be fair the world is easily large enough, so once the exploration phase is over then survival is still an issue and the plot phase keeps rolling. There is a lot of going back and forth but it is somewhat nail biting as you are often down to your last barrel of oil, ration of food or sliver of hull.
Don't ask what happens when your crew run out of food.
So here are some links to the trailers, purchase at your own risk.

Thursday, 12 March 2015

Wednesday, 11 March 2015

Are you Mad ?

Insanity is a slippery subject. It is often heard between vexing party members in the depths of a planning discourse that one will shout "You must be mad!". Now its reasonable to be prone to a little exaggeration in the heat of an argument and I have heard my fair share of 'crazy' plans but it is never wise to throw caution to the wind in a roleplaying game where medical conditions extend into the supernatural.

Possession has roots in the real world but only as a symptom of delusion, schizophrenia or personality disorder. In an RPG you could argue that exchanging minds entirely is a also a case of possession, though not being nine tenths of the law, would be considered more akin to squatting.
Cthulu is of course a defining RPG in terms of madness management and Mythos exposure can lead to any number of phobias from the lighter end of the scale to wholesale evacuation of any and all faculties. So for those with an interest in the gradual fracturing of a human mind then I suspect most GMs would point you in this direction for a grand tour of the insanities. [Achtung! Cthulu currently running, though not sure of the average sanity rating at the moment..]

I have, before now had the chance to play a psychopath, probably one of my most enjoyable experiences. To be unbound by empathy can really create shocking circumstances but of course being on the one end of the scale gives you the freedom do what you want but the vulnerability of not knowing whether you should be concerned whilst sawing off the limbs of people who are still trying to use them.
Being sensitive to alternative realities can be a problem but often seers and clairvoyants are blessed with enough insight to cope up to the point that they encounter disturbing entities in one of the realms. Whether this characterises madness to is unclear to me; I think not as its a power but is the inability to cope with a supernatural gift actually a mental illness ?
I shall finally touch on Genius. When the cognitive faculties are pushed beyond the norm or augmented with technology do you become an exceptional member of society or are you driven off into the shadows? Either way if you an illness that is being celebrated or an infection that is being quarantined, it may be a case of Hero or Villain.
"Protect and Serve" or  "Evil Geniuses for a Better Tomorrow".


Tuesday, 3 March 2015

Mass destruction

Its one thing to lose a character but entirely another to lose a whole army. I don't mean as in "I put it down somewhere and cant find it" I mean the sort of entrenched fight to the death, the last order, the pre posthumous promotion to Field Marshal.
To be fair these are the trials of war and often or not a commanding general is left with no option but to defend with his honour after the bullets run out. Nevertheless spare a thought for the following chap.

34-YEAR-OLD Norman Steele has been left traumatised after his army of space marines was wiped out during a tabletop wargame.

Unemployed Steele could only look on in horror as his miniature battalion of spacesuit-clad Imperium troops was pinned against a fortress wall by six-limbed aliens.

He said: “They were using venom cannons and spore mine launchers. Not real weapons obviously, but scale models vividly painted to look very realistic.

“Anyway we were hugely outnumbered and there was nothing I could do. Everywhere you looked space marines were getting wiped out.

“Since the battle I’ve been unable to look at a picture of any futuristic alien or monster without experiencing flashbacks.

“Worse still I cannot go near a table of any kind without hearing the ominous clatter of dice and the gloating voice of a middle-aged man in a Sepultura t-shirt.

“I just want some professional help to get back to being the quiet, shy man who I used to be.”

We do have a Warhammer Fantasy running as  a home game at the moment so should the worst come to the worst I do hope that GM's are forewarned and have counselling to hand for traumatised players.
This Thursday the Dogs in the Vineyard continues with GM Rob. The party have a new town to repress after concluding our last issue by sending the protagonist away for 're-education' and ensuring that he will never see his son again.
GM Jon will continue his Achtung Cthulu and all the slime and monsters that entails. I cant go into further details as your mental health could be seriously compromised.

Tuesday, 24 February 2015

Staying Alive

Having recently been goading the current GMs to let me know who kills the first character it does occur to me that I may actually be tempting the fates by encouraging our professional and most honourable game masters to off my comrades before their time. I'm not sure of the Buddhist principal at work here; whether dead roleplaying characters are reborn in another game elsewhere or not, but I would doubt that would appease. Actually, if that was the case and  said character was reanimated in its original game, what would happen to its reincarnation ? I would suppose Karma would hold the universe in balance and take a souls from elsewhere..
Nevertheless, I digress. I do have a lot of respect for Buddhism especially when roleplaying it but in order to balance my previous post I had a quick whip round for the best tips on staying alive. So you definitely have no excuse to blame me when you do something monumentally stupid.
Here are some top pointers form our most learned contemporaries:

1. Don't spilt the Party -Adrian
2. Don't argue with the GM -Adrian
3. Never summon anything bigger than your head -Jon
4. Don't open the box -Jon
5. Don't attack the blind, crippled beggar... -Jon
6. Don't say, "this should be easy " - Julian
7. If the GM asks "Are you sure?" then you should be afraid -Mike
8. Never make assumptions. The obvious usually conceals the devious. - Jo
9. Never call your character 'Hugo', or you'll be taking all the risks -Chrish
10. Once a d20 has rolled 1, it should be removed from play -Chrish
11. Always pass saving throws -Rob
12. Seduce the GM. -Rob
13. Melt dice that failed you down in front of your other dice. -Rob

I sense that they are talking from bitter experience in previous lives.

Thursday, 19 February 2015

Not dead yet

OK, The Achtung Cthulu game was full last week and despite this I hear that GM Jon was still unable to kill any of the characters. Here's hoping for some headlines next week but in his very own words his game report read:
"Anyone die last week Jon?"
'Fraid not! They searched a murder victim's lodgings (and noticed some of his books were missing), disturbed (and recruited) his neighbour and fellow historian, then consulted a dodgy bookseller. Having been passed a message containing an equation for entropy they somehow realised that Boltzmann's tomb would be significant. They visited the cemetery, determined that something had been recently buried near the tomb and were planning to return after dark.
Meanwhile, the British spies received a message from HQ directing them to Rome and we discovered a disturbing element of MI6 tradecraft, when Professor Fischer got hold of some of their cover cafe's "special" brownies...
There could be bloodshed this week though! Jon"
I should really be taking bets on this.
And in another world completely GM Rob's Dogs in the Vineyard is tightening its grip around family values with the party trying to convince a young man that rushing off to university is in fact borderline blasphemous and he really should consider staying at home doing his chores for the rest of his life. Honestly, you cant tell kids anything these days.
Which game will claim its first character...? Tune in next week folks..

Thursday, 12 February 2015


OK, I have completed all of the quests, killed all the dragons and stolen all of the Hobbits and am now back from my adventures in Skyrim and am very happy to share all of my photos with you. As fascinating as I know you will find it, I will distil them down to one gem of a shop in the Gamla Stan for those who may venture that way.

As a hark back to the days of the Forbidden Plant and Virgin Megastore I found myself cast into the past and surrounded by real physical books and no virtual shopping cart. I wasn't sure what to do at first but as I understand it one can wander around the establishment, pick up the items of choice, flick through them as necessary and actually take them along to a human being who will exchange them for your money and put them in a bag. You can then leave if you are still a little confused.

By way of a competition with absolutely no reward at all, see how many systems you can identify behind the particularly handsome chap on the left.

It is heartening to know that Roleplaying is a truly international passion and I didn't get a chance to play alongside our resident Swede whilst he was in the country, sorry Nils, but you come from a beautiful computer game and hopefully you too are acquainted with the real shops in your capital city. I did procure some more dice and am relieved to say that D10s do have the same number of sides abroad as they do in this country.

I tried to get an autograph from Han Solo but there was a queue and he wasn't being very responsive.


Tuesday, 27 January 2015

Ready, Steady, Roleplay

Last week saw the 5e game go on pause now as the party returned to Neverwinter to assess their situation and count some recently acquired loot from a Dragon, though I wouldn't be surprised if it would be wanting it back at some point. There are some other choices to be made but that is for another time.

GM Johnathan will begin preliminaries for the Achtun Cthulu with the aim of starting the week after so grab a character if you are about; I'm in for that one.

And last week GM Rob did some Dogs in the Vineyard prep - I suspect there will be a little more to do as players settle in for the first time but basically it is under starters orders for a good Bible bashing.

And finally I myself am formally on pause for a week as I have booked some annual leave to see Santa in Skyrim, in other words I am going camping in Lapland. In Winter. Where it is very cold. If I come across any Zombie Nazis I'll let you know. Or not, depending on what happens, but if they find my camera then my last photos of chomping undead will probably get posted here.

Next post in 2 weeks...

Thursday, 22 January 2015

Achtung Dogs!


New games are afoot , though I think there may be a final 5e session before the Achtung Cthulu kicks in. GM Rob will be doing the prep and character generation for the Indy game Dogs in the Vineyard.

If you fancy an opportunity to tell people you are right at the point of a shotgun then Dogs in the Vinyard is for you. If you have ever been one of those knockers of the faith and put up with the usual 99.9 of door slamming, this is a great opportunity to let off steam and realise a world where you are subsequently allowed to kick in aforementioned door.

 From Wikipedia: The game is set in "a West that never quite was"—loosely based on the Mormon State of Deseret in pre­statehood Utah, Players are "God's Watchdogs" (Dogs), who travel from town to town delivering mail, helping out the community and enforcing the judgements of the True Faith of the King of Life. This may involve anything from delivering new interpretations to the town's Steward to executing heretics. Dogs have absolute authority within the Faith, but not within the laws of the Territorial Authority, and so their actions can lead to conflict with the government in the East.
"Sometimes it’s better for one to die than for many to suffer."
"Sometimes, Dog, sometimes you have to cut off the arm to save the life."

On another plane of existence GM Johnathan will be summoning a game of Achtung! Cthulu beginning February. ­A fusion of Call of Cthulu and Savage Worlds where the heroes find themselves in the secret B movie occult subculture of World War II. Think Raiders of the lost ark on a much lower budget. From the publisher: Achtung! Cthulhu brings you a two­fisted wartime roleplaying game setting packed full of fiendish Nazi scientists, terrifying ancient mysteries, legendary German war machines, desperate partisans, gun­toting paratroopers, determined investigators, and enough writhing tentacles to pack ten Reichstags. Discover the secret history of World War Two ­ stories of the amazing heroism which struggled to overthrow a nightmare alliance of science and the occult, of frightening inhuman conspiracies from the depths of time, and the unbelievable war machines which were the product of Nazi scientific genius ­ and how close we all came to a slithering end!
Zombie Nazis, insanity, no hope of rescue and humanity's inevitable and terrifying end..­ count me and my trusty, soon to be eaten alive npc sidekick, in!

 See you there in one guise or another.

Wednesday, 14 January 2015

Dragons and Sombreros

The end times are upon us once again.
In the DnD5e the party have, remarkably, managed to chase off a dragon. This surprises me given the large number of scales and teeth they generally have but I take their word for it, though I suspect it may suddenly have realised it had left the gas on at home.. there is some work still to be done by the party as I understand it but the end of this chapter of the game is in sight.
In another reality entirely the 13thAge adventurers almost put down an evil Wizard just in time for tea before a portal to the demon world opened and a Dragon presented itself along with a shuffling possey of undead. Whilst we are chipping at the dragon, I'm a little concerned that the portal is more like a monster generator out of Gauntlet - not sure what the priority is as we are in the middle of combat. Do we chip at the dragon, slay the undead or try and close the portal ? This I think actually will be the life or death decision for us as 'Paladin is about to die'. If only we had a magic potion...or some spare change.
Nevertheless, live or die, we have a couple of new games on the cards and I'll advertise them in more detail next post but one is a Western RPG. Think the characters are in fact all Mormon hard liners but it did get me wondering as to the genre. I'm leaning to ward either playing a Clint Eastwood or possibly a Mexican bandit but I don't think the characters will work in a Mormon party. It also raises the question of how large a sombrero can get before looking ridiculous. The other game on the cards is Achtung Chtulu - basically think Zombie Nazis and you're half way there. An opportunity for plenty of classic B movie action and on balance I think I may sign up for that one.
Either way, if you are thinking of coming along then now is a good time as change is upon us!


Wednesday, 7 January 2015

Useless Christmas presents

So its that time of year, 358 days until Christmas. A good month to expend any accrued gift tokens and to return any useless shit so thoughtfully gifted by loved ones. Its the thought that counts, even if those thoughts have been sucked out by malevolent undersea tentacle gods. For my part I attempted to buy some roleplaying friends the most useless dice I could possibly find. At some point I bought some stuff from thediceshoponline.com , some ridiculous prices but I had the money and needed to share my passion for finely crafted pointless things.

Perhaps you would disagree:
The D2 - I would suppose there are actually quite a lot of 50/50 decision to be taken in a typical game but tbh never really needed a dedicated dice for that and I have always been wealthy enough to own a 2 pence piece. The D3 - No idea. The D7 - Thought I was being clever but then realised of course there are 7 days in a week so perhaps let myself down on that one. The D18 - 2 less than a useful 20. The D22 - 2 more than a useful d20. The D24 - 2 more pointless than a d22. And finally the infamous D60.

As for club business, well we will restart the games this Thursday (The 13th Age and Dungeons and Dragons 5th Edition) but there are some new games due soon so if you have a new years resolution at all then come back and play with your favourite geeky friends! We miss you and you know who you are, and if you don't have any geeky friends then now is the perfect time to get some.

Happy new Yarballs