Reading, Planning, Creating: Slushy Friday

Reading: I’m reading The Walrus and the Warwolf by Hugh Cook and it isn’t bad. The fantasy and the wit has its moments but I have a low tolerance for picaresque tales. I might go back to The Expanse’s second book or maybe one of a few fantasy novels I picked up from the library today.

Planning: Some morning Burning Wheel with coffee in hand and then maybe some dancing and quad-copter flying. It looks like a nice weekend.

Creating: I’m writing up another blog post about using an Adventure Path Player’s Guide for BW.

And you?

Mining the Situation in Iron Gods

Paizo puts out these free PDF’s for many of their adventure paths and here’s the one for Iron Gods. They are chock full of art, ideas and a map or two. I used one like it and its accompanying Kingmaker adventure path as the inspiration, foundation and jumping off point our Traditions of the Swordlords Burning Wheel campaign.

This is about an adventure path called the Iron Gods, with lots of androids, lasers and other bits of science fantasy folks have salvaged from a spaceship that crashed in Numeria hundreds of years ago, offering lots of sci-fi artifacts and of course, the much sought after skymetal.

Iron Gods Cover

Torch is a small town in Numeria with a flame atop a hill that allowed its smiths to smelt and work skymetal. Through that industry, the town was able to scratch out a living in the shadow of the greedy Technic League, a confederation of merciless sorcerers who profit off of all artifact salvage.

Torch’s hilltop flame went out.

* BAM *

There’s the Situation.

The town’s flame went out. The town’s wizard has gone missing and the Technic League will be coming before too long to collect taxes.

Add in science-fantasy craziness to taste and there you go. I’d make Brigh, the Goddess of Clockwork, an actual Clockwork Goddess. Yeah, the Technic Wizards made their own Goddess.

To Disregard

There is a bit about not allowing players to play members of the Technic League. I’d let it. Shit, I’d love it.

You say the organization is a bureaucracy of sadists and bullies? The structure of the organization is probably set up to allow the wizards’ bullying and safeguard their position of power. That sounds like a great conflict to put the players in the middle of. Maybe the players are even bullies and are a little sadistic from having been brought up in the midst of this mess but then I’d encourage the players to make beliefs about where their lines are, about what they care about, not allowing them to be entirely evil.

How far will you go for your comrades in the league?

If you want more inspiration and give Paizo some money, you can pick up the Iron Gods Adventure Path or Numeria, Land of Fallen Stars.

Who would you play and what would their beliefs be?

And of course questions, comments and thoughts are welcome in the comments. I made up 4 characters and will find a way to attach the PDF’s of the sheets here when I can.

NOTE: This was also a post in the BW G+ community.

Burned Up Player Characters


Artifact Finder Character Sheet

  • Write a belief about your place in Torch and what you want to do for the community or your relationship with the Technic League’s greed and avarice.
  • Write a belief about what you want to accomplish or find in the Felldales or keeping your naive comrades safe in the Felldales.
  • Write a belief about someone or something you avoid in Torch but have to confront or settle before leaving for the Felldales again.

Iron Gods Wizards Apprentice Character Sheet

  • Write a belief about a strength of character you want to show in memory of your lost master wizard.
  • Write a belief about your place in Torch and what you want to do for the community or your relationship with the Technic League’s greed and avarice.
  • Write a belief about your gang or some heist or job you have brewing with them.

Skymetal Smith Character Sheet

  • Write a belief about your place in Torch and what you want to do for the community or your relationship with the Technic League’s greed and avarice.
  • Write a belief about something you want to craft out of materials only to be found in the Felldales.
  • Write a belief about taking on an apprentice.

Technic League Wizard Character Sheet  (Choose Spells)

  • Write a belief about the pressures the Technic League is putting on you.
  • Write a belief about something you want to find in the Felldales.
  • Write a belief about teaching someone a skill you have that you know would make an important change in their life.

Fate’s Fell Hand and Epilogue #DCCRPG

In which we begin *Fate’s Fell Hand

Spoilers for those who would like to play the module later. +Rachel E.S. Walton, +Eric Duncan and +Renee Knipe are welcome to read it.

Rest in Peace
Llaras the Elf, killed by Captain Kaschei in the manor’s throneroom, after throwing sorcerous fire at him and thus earning the knight’s ire.

Kaschei in the Throneroom
The PC’s found the population of the odd valley preparing to play Hunt the Stag. The watched in confused horror as a young soldier was given a hat with stag’s horns and sent running while Kaschei chugged a wineskin. When the wineskin was firmly chugged, the soldiers, the ladies-in-waiting and their matron ran from the throneroom to hunt the stag, leaving the knight alone.

When Inez told the forelorn knight that his spear was magic and could probably kill him, the knight attacked, taunting everyone and taking it as a game. Until Llaras threw around magical fire, then Kaschei concentrated his attacks on the elf until the elf was dead, allowing the rest of the group to gang up and kill the knight.

Llaras had an odd spell side-effect where he fell unconscious and dreamed of warring gods but since he was in this strange pocket dimension floating in the phlogiston, he instead dreamed of the wizardly feud after a demon-summoning that caused this valley to fall off of the Prime Material Plane. Alas, the elf never awoke to tell his comrades his vision.

Ladies’ Tower
The ladies in Waiting skulked by, with the stag’s head in their hands, giggling and flushed from the hunt. The posse had found the secret door under the rug and realized that the ladies’ keys were important.

Alright, time to come clean. I forgot to describe the keys, so I had them all make DC 5 Int checks and said that if they made them, they noticed the keys that aligned with the lock mechanism in the floor-plate.

They asked for the keys but didn’t get them. Inez got a very snooty response to her asking for them. So, they all watched their jester’s shadow puppetry. He was telling a lewd story of an elf getting killed by a knight with lots of dick jokes. He was clearly mocking the death of their recently deceased friend.

Jossi stole the keys off of their necks and then rolled a 20 to get the matron’s necklace, thus no one noticed she even did it.

They went down into the secret door and that is where we ended it for the night.
elf emperor

“Lord of the Stars and Master of 10,000 Slaves, we are sorry to interrupt your meditations but we must tell you that Llaras is dead. According to our seers, he died somewhere in the phlogiston.”

The Emperor of the Elves looks bored at the news. “Have his belongings doled out as my secretaries deem fit. He had that one piece of property called Groat who had destiny and possible greatness in his threads. Bring that one to me.”

“Emperor, I’m sorry but we can’t.”

The Emperor looks confused. “Can’t?”

“The slave is under the protection of the Chaos Titan. Our magics will not bring him back to your Solar Throne as is custom.”

“Send Llaras’ sisters to bring their brother’s property to me. I want it. Groat and all of his possible destinies are my property.”

His servants leave quickly, bowing on their way out and send missives with the Emperor’s Sun Seal.

Thinking about the Suicide Squad trailer and post-9/11 super hero movies.

If I were a media studies professor, I’d be writing a book about how post-9/11 super-hero movies are how America is digesting the attacks and the ensuing wars and politics. In some cases, they are highlighting who they think can save us from catastrophe and how.

Most are in some way about the towers falling – dust in the air, buildings falling, people running. This one might be kinda/sorta be about Guantanamo. I am intrigued.

Curse of Strahd Speculation Daydreaming

EN World is reporting a new D&D event, the Curse of Strahd. Let us dream a while.


Cover of Von Richten’s Guide to Vampires by Den Beauvais

How about a Strahd turned up to 11? The vampire who was stuck on a Demi-plane of Dread  with other monsters has evolved. Now the mists curl throughout the planes and the monsters are working together to pour those mists into all of the worlds.

In the weeks before Strahd’s arrival, augury turn to tragedy and blood. Marriages turn to murder and love to ashes. All dreams are full-terror nightmares as the evenings become more mist-shrouded.

At dusk the villagers notice a castle through the mists on the horizon that was not there during the day.  Lord Soth, Knight of the Black Rose, rides out with some undead knights and youngling vampires at moon-rise to do their thing and get back to the castle before day-break.

Lord Soth's Charge

Lord Soth’s Charge by Keith Parkinson


Steal what?

It is too easy to say they have to put some Ravenloft planar markers in place around a village in order to take it all back with them to the Demi-Plane of Dread? They are riding around a village, dropping bone and obsidian obelisks into the ground all night. Or maybe they want something specific, something this area has that they need to get some dirt done on a planar scale.

Eh. It feels like a mediocre boffer LARP adventure.

My instincts tell me to do something about Strahd’s bride and past lives but let’s evolve his motivations too. He doesn’t want that bullshit anymore. He’s evolved and over it. Strahd wants to suck on the blood of creation itself. He wants to be a vampire-god, seeing the other denizens of Ravenloft as his unholy angels. The mists of Ravenloft will be his tentacles, a Lovecraftian extension of his will and he will eat worlds.

The players are going to track him through the planes, from his spawn setting up shop in Sigil to his diplomatic overtures to Orcus and Vecna. And in the meantime he is marshaling his forces, getting ready to become a vampire god by biting the neck of a deity.

The adventure is busting up his operations and figuring out which deity he is stalking.

The Star Wars Prequel in my head #starwars

In the prequel, Anakin meets Obi-Wan, shit, maybe even Qui-Gon is there too. Anakin is a kid on a desert planet, about how old Luke and Rey are when we meet them on their desert planets.

The difference is they want to leave and Anakin doesn’t. Amidala, Qui-Gon and Obi-Wan are ready to go deal with some galactic space problems that could prevent the Clone War. But Anakin finds out he has powers beyond his wildest imagination and so he decides to stay and fight against the Hutt cartel and their industry built on slavery. Qui-Gon and Obi-Wan realize that there are no trade disputes, no galactic problems more important than these people here. Amidala and Anakin bond over fighting for something worthwhile.

They unite the Sand People and lead the Tusken Raiders against the Hutts, decimating their operations, leaving Jabba, a sickly youth who will never be able to put their human trafficking industry back together.

“He will only be able to rot here with a group of bounty hunters. Let him rot.”

It looks like Lawrence of Arabia with lightsabers. Anakin wears a triangular air filter that causes his breath to take on a sinister tone. They fly their spaceships into the orbital stations that keep the slaves marked and shackled and destroy the Overseer Stations one at a time, landing to lead the uprising against the Hutts and their soldiers in their desert skiffs. Qui-Gon dies in a battle with Darth Maul but it is a Darth Maul on loan to the Hutts from Palpatine, who has personal stake in their business interests.

It ends with a reversal of the medal scene at the end of Star Wars. The Jedi Council calls Anakin and Obi-Wan to trial and berates them for using their powers for war, for getting involved, for letting their passion get the better of them. Anakin tells them off and stalks off to fight in the Clone Wars. Anakin is fucking right. Obi-wan is forbidden from training the young, angry powerhouse but Yoda gives him the nod to stay near the kid and operate on the boundaries of the Council’s directives.

Senator Palpatine gives Anakin a medal in private. “If only the Republic were strong enough to end slavery forever. Without a standing army we are helpless and it is only a matter of time before it happens again.”

And it does but this time it is clones, people made to serve rising up.

Episode II is where Anakin is destroyed fighting in the Clone Wars, where Darth Vader is born. More on that another time…

Houndstooth is born in cunning, blood and luck.

We could talk about how the players made it through the Tomb of Ulfheonar with a magical spear and shield and got ambushed by the Jarl’s huntsmen and how they left several good people in that tomb but that was last adventure. Death did not cast her raven’s wings over any character sheets this session.

We could talk about how the players slipped a ghoul cobra into the Jarl’s Great Hall and it turned him, hiding in his guts. How they turned the common-folk against him and got his thegns and house-guard to abandon him with fast talking and Luck. How they killed him as two thieves cut him to pieces as he left his bedroom.

FullSheet (1).jpg

Custom DCCRPG Character Sheet by Sam Mameli

But no, this is about the players binding the damned Hound of Hirot, a chaos hound born of a murky swamp pool steeped in chaos radiation. They bound it with a dead man’s hair woven into a rope by Groat’s witch-wife. and then Jossie knifed it. Nat. 20.

In DCCRPG, thieves always get a crit against a bound opponent, so we reckoned a thief who rolled 20 got another crit on top of that.

Jossie Draden Reed did over 30 points of damage to the hound that had already been damaged by Inez the Dwarf’s shield bash. Jossie is a nonchalant killer.

Jossie, you have dreams about your knife. It demands a name. It has become something more than the sum of its parts in your skilled hands and it is grateful to you.

It has killed a creature of chaos, The Hound of Hirot, and it wishes to kill such a creature again.

She named the dagger, Houndstooth.

Stylish as fuck.

Why is the nat 20 crit so very satisfying? After over 20 years of gaming and it is still such a fun way to end a hated enemy.